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Fri Jul 1, 2016, 07:55 AM

 

Interfaith blowback means Francis has hardliners’ attention

Pope Francis aspires to be the "chairman of the board" for religious moderates around the world, and two recent bits of blowback from hardliners within both Hinduism and Islam could be taken to suggest that he's getting through.



Pope Francis shakes hands with Hindu Kurukkal SivaSri T. Mahadeva after receiving a robe from him during a meeting with religious leaders at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan. 13, 2015. (Credit: CNS photo/Paul Haring.)

John L. Allen Jr.
June 30, 2016
EDITOR

In general, Pope Francis gets high marks for his inter-religious outreach, which has been a core feature of his papacy from the beginning. Shortly after his election in March 2013, for instance, he went to a juvenile detention center in Rome and included two Muslims among the inmates whose feet he washed.

Since then, he’s traveled to Israel and impressed Jews with his commitment to the Jewish/Christian relationship, he’s become only the second pope to enter a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, and, while in the country, he also donned a saffron robe given to him by a Hindu holy man during an interfaith meeting.

Francis’s palpable respect for other religious traditions, coupled with his determination that the various faiths must work together to advance shared values such as peace and the care of creation, have made him a global role model for interfaith cooperation.

Of course, there have been discordant notes. In Sri Lanka, for instance, hardline Buddhist leader Galagoda Atte Gnanasara largely dismissed the pope’s gestures as meaningless until he apologized for “atrocities committed by Christian colonial governments in South Asia.”
(It was a somewhat curious dem

https://cruxnow.com/analysis/2016/06/30/interfaith-blowback-suggests-francis-hardliners-attention/

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