Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that he has "deep respect" for Islam and expressed hope that remarks he made in Germany last week, which sparked angry reactions in much of the Muslim world, can lead to dialogue among religions.
"I hope that ... my deep respect for great religions, in particular for Muslims ... has emerged clearly," the pope said during his weekly audience at the Vatican.
"I trust that after the initial reaction, my words ... can constitute an impulse and encouragement toward positive, even self-critical dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith," the pope told thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square.
Benedict said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the reaction to his remarks and that they did not reflect his own opinions.
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