Pope Benedict XVI today called on Christians and Muslims to serve mankind with the "light of God s truth" while warning that extremists in nations such as Iraq were exploiting religious differences for political and violent agendas.
Speaking at the Hussein bin Talal Mosque the pontiff whose three-day pilgrimage to Jordan is an attempt to mend relations with the Muslim world said the "tensions and divisions between the followers of different religious traditions sadly cannot be denied. However is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion sometimes for political ends that is the real catalyst for tension and division and at times even violence in society ".
The speech before Catholic priests Muslim clerics and Orthodox bishops was brief but the copper-domed mosque offered a symbolic setting for the 82-year-old pope to damp criticism of his comments in 2006 that characterized Islam as a violent religion. Benedict has said he regretted the outrage he caused and made an effort at reconciliation two months later when he prayed silently with imams in the Blue Mosque in Turkey.
Many Muslim leaders in the Arab world feel the pope's contrition has not been genuine. They also say he has not spoken forcefully enough in behalf of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and has apologized to Jews for the Roman Catholic Church's past mistakes but has not done the same for historical injustices against Muslims.
Wow. The line I made bold above is the most powerful genuine thing I've ever heard this pope say. I'm impressed and a little shocked. This is what people who are turning away from religions of all kinds all around the world believe too.
Ps. It is not really his fault that he looks like Darth Vader's boss.