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Pope Francis's Senior Aid Says Christians Have 'Mission' to Convert Even Most Violent of Muslims

( [email protected] ) May 25, 2016 05:36 PM EDT
Christians around the world have a mission to convert Muslims - even the most violent of jihadis - to Christianity, one of Pope Francis's most senior aides has argued.
Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

Christians around the world have a mission to convert Muslims - even the most violent of jihadis - to Christianity, one of Pope Francis's most senior aides has argued.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, who leads ecumenical relations for the Vatican, made the comments at an interfaith meeting held by Cambridge University's Woolf Institute, according to the Catholic Herald.

He said: "We must above all convert these Muslims that use violence from the abuse of religion because the sister of all religion is freedom and peace and not violence  and when a religion uses violence to convert other this is an abuse of religion."

He added, "And what is very important for us is that we can make mission only with a credible witness and without any proselytism."

Cardinal Koch also said that Christians should not try and convert Jews, and should view Judaism as a "mother," the Telegraph reports.

"We have a mission to convert all non-Christian religions' people [except] Judaism," he said. "It is very clear that we can speak about three Abrahamic religions but we cannot deny that the view of Abraham in Jewish and the Christian tradition and the Islamic tradition is not the same."

He added, "In this sense we have only with Jewish people this unique relationship that we do not have with Islam."

Cardinal Koch, from Switzerland, is the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican, notes CNS News.

Meanwhile, at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square on May 25, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of recent terrorist attacks in Syria, and that those who sow death and destruction would someday turn to Jesus, according to the Catholic Herald.

At least 150 people were killed in separate explosions in the cities of Jableh and Tartus earlier this week. Islamic State militants have since claimed responsibility for the attacks on the civilian targets, which included a hospital.

Francis asked that everyone pray for the "eternal repose of the victims, solace for the relatives" and that God would "convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction."

He also urged civil and religious leaders to raise people's awareness and inspire action in protecting vulnerable children.

"It is the duty of everyone to protect children, most of all those exposed to a high risk of exploitation, trafficking and deviant behaviors," he said.

The Pope expressed hope that  both civil and religious leaders could "rattle" people's consciences and raise awareness so that the world would be aware of children who are "alone, exploited and removed from their families and social context, children who cannot grow up in peace and look to the future with hope."