European Muslims see dialogue hope in pope name

By REUTERS
March 15, 2013 19:18

VATICAN CITY - Muslims in Europe see hope for better relations with Roman Catholicism after the new pope took the name Francis, recalling the 13th-century saint known for his efforts to launch Christian dialogue with Islam.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio chose the name after his election on Wednesday in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, who is revered for his radical poverty and humility. Francis met the sultan of Egypt in 1219 on a peace mission during the Fifth Crusade.

St. Francis crossed enemy lines unarmed to meet Sultan Malik al-Kamil and discuss war, peace and faith. He spent several days with the Muslim ruler, unsuccessfully trying to convert him, and was then returned safely to the Crusader side.

Muslim leaders in Italy, France and Germany, where St. Francis and his Franciscan order of brown-robed friars are well known, struck an upbeat tone.

"As Muslims of the West, we take as a particularly hopeful sign the reminder, in the name of the new pontiff, of the great example of sanctity and opening to the East and to Islam that St. Francis of Assisi gave," the Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS) said in a statement.


Related Content

Breaking news
February 23, 2018
Death toll in twin car bomb attack in Somalia rises to 18

By REUTERS

Israel Weather
  • 10 - 21
    Beer Sheva
    11 - 20
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 9 - 16
    Jerusalem
    10 - 18
    Haifa
  • 15 - 25
    Elat
    12 - 22
    Tiberias