CASTELGANDOLFO, Italy (Reuters) – Pope Benedict told Muslim envoys on Monday that Christian and Muslim believers must reject violence, in an audience meant to defuse anger at his use of quotes saying Islam was spread by the sword.
The Pope expressed his “esteem and profound respect” for members of the Islamic faith in a meeting with diplomatic envoys from some 20 Muslim countries plus the leaders of Italy’s own Muslim community at his summer residence, Castelgandolfo.
“Christians and Muslims must learn to work together … in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence,” said the 79-year-old Pope.
It was the fourth time he had tried to make amends to Muslims, without actually apologising directly, for a speech at a university in his native Germany on September 12.
Full article here. Meanwhile, with regard to Sister Leonella, who was murdered with her bodyguard in Somalia five days after the Pope’s remarks and after a call to violence by a Somalian Muslim cleric, the Pope said:
“Some are asked to give the supreme testimony of blood, as it happened a few days ago to the Italian nun, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who fell victim to violence,” the pontiff said. “This nun, who for many years served the poor and the children in Somalia, died pronouncing the word ‘pardon,'” the pope told pilgrims during his traditional Sunday noon appearance. “This is the most authentic Christian testimony, a peaceful sign of contradiction which shows the victory of love over hate and evil.”
Full article here.