“Manila, Philippines – Based on the itinerary, 10 leaders of various religions will only have 45 minutes to dialogue with Pope Francis on Sunday, January 18th, before he meets the youth.
“But, for some of the leaders, the interfaith dialogue in the Philippines is an ongoing one, and its running theme is peace.
“Obispo Maximo of the Philippine Independent Church, Ephraim Fajutagana, said: “different organizations and churches have come together with the Roman Catholic to discuss issues that could really provide the general majority of the Filipino people in terms of what they aspire to have: peace, justice, mercy, love.”
“He also said that the Pope’s presence will inspire Filipinos further, as if Pope Francis is saying: “okay, continue the work. You are doing it right.”
“Fajutagana, one of the invited leaders in the dialogue, is also the chairperson of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
“Cardinal Orlando Quevedo said it is an established practice for the Pope to invite religious leaders from different denominations in his overseas visits. “After all, when he was still archbishop of Buenos Aires, he would also invite Muslims and talk to them,” Quevedo added.
However, it would seem that not all Christian leaders are as oriented towards peace and reconciliation as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The American Christian Center seems to be on a path far less forgiving that the Pope’s.
In an exclusive interview with Newslo, Chris Pattinson, spokesman of the American Christian Center, said that “it’s a shame that the Pope is letting Muslims around the world get away with referring to Islam as a ‘religion of love and peace.’”
“It literally hurts my ears every time I hear about it, as I believe it does every God-fearing Christian out there. I mean, it’s our thing, our slogan. The religion of love and peace? Does that actually sound like it was created by anyone else but Christians? We practically patented the words, and now they’re being stolen right in front of our eyes, and the worst part is – the one [Pope] who should be doing something about it is actually doing nothing. It’s a real shame, and definitely a sin,” Pattinson concluded.