The world looked on as Pope Francis held a massive prayer gathering to stop military intervention in Syria. Privately, he helped re-establish diplomatic ties between the U.S and Cuba. Now one of his greatest challenges is stopping Islamic extremists and the violence they are waging.
CARD. ZENON GROCHOLEWSKI
Prefect, Congregation for Catholic Education
“It’s either war or dialogue. Right now the greatest priority for the Pope is for us to embrace dialogue. It’s the only solution. We have seen results, but not as many as we would like. So we need to see more results.”
The Pope has called on Muslim leaders to condemn jihadists who wage war and violence in the name of God. Often their targets are Christians.
MSGR. MICHAEL FITZGERALD
Former Nuncio in Egypt
“Muslims are reflecting, I think. For instance the formation of the Islamic State has been a shock to the Muslim world.”
YAHYA SERGIO YAHE PALLAVICINI
Vice President, Islamic Community in Italy
“There is a great crisis in the contemporary Islamic community and, so, theologians and persons of wisdom are needed to analyze it and to face and solve the internal crisis and the internal intellectual debate.”
With instability and violence in the Middle East, the Vatican has also increased the number of interfaith meetings, like this one organized by the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies.
MSGR. JUSTO LACUNZA BALDA
Rector Emeritus Pontifical Institute for Arabic Studies
“We have a different religion, faith, rituals and symbols. But we have life in common. We are here together, so we share culture, language and challenges. So for example, is the air is contaminated, it will affect a Catholic and also a Muslim.”
Christians in the Middle East are the ones who are paying the highest price of radical Islam. In 2003, there were roughly 1.6 million Christians in Irak. Now, there are less than 300,000.