The Pope’s historic visit to the UAE — the first ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula — comes at a time when we are all in need of good news. And here we have it. Pope Francis has shown himself to be a person who seeks to practice the basic teachings of Christ —love the neighbor, feed the hungry, welcome the stranger. The UAE leaders have welcomed him to, as the Pope said, “travel paths of peace together.” Such a high profile interreligious meeting as the one the Pope is attending in Abu Dhabi can only serve to spread further the messages of tolerance, respect, and understanding among religions that the UAE leaders have called for during this Year of Tolerance.
Yesterday Pope Francis spoke of the ‘prayer of the heart’, a practice central to the inner dimension of Christianity that has its direct correspondence in the Muslim invocation of the Divine Name. It is on these inmost levels that we easily find ourselves on common ground, where what unites us is clear and stronger than what divides us. Now, along with the Sheikh Al-Azhar, the Pope has signed The Document on Human Fraternity, and we are witnesses to great bold strides being taken on the path to peace that we all seek. What a blessing!