VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met on Monday the grand imam of Egypt's highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, looking to heal Vatican relations with the influential center of Sunni Muslim learning after dialogue was frozen five years ago.
The 1,000-year-old mosque and university center cut contacts with the Vatican in 2011 over what it said were repeated insults toward Islam from Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict.
The decision came just days after Benedict denounced what he called "a strategy of violence that has Christians as a target" following a bomb attack outside a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria that killed 23 people. more >>
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is advising Christians not to talk about their faith unless they're asked to do so.
As head of the 88 million-member Anglican Communion, Welby was asked at an interfaith event where he draws the line between evangelism and proselytization.
"I draw the line in terms of respect for the other; in starting by listening before you speak; in terms of love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith," said Welby, according to the Telegraph. more >>
The Islamic University of Al Azhar, the highest academic center of Sunni Islam, has joined the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Egypt in the fight against the epidemic of female genital mutilation.
Fides News Agency reported that Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyeb, imam of al-Azhar, signed a joint statement on Monday committing their fight against the many abuses children in Egypt suffer.
Statistics show that more than 70 percent of all Egyptian children suffer some form of abuse or violence within their families and communities, Fides added. more >>
Actor Morgan Freeman says he's come to a final conclusion about religion following his worldwide journey to experience the diversity of faiths for National Geographic's docu-series "The Story of God."
"What we came away with at the end of the series is the fact that all religions and beliefs share remarkable similarities, these commonalities. There they are, so we should celebrate them rather than let them cause rifts between us," Freeman told Entertainment Weekly in an article on Sunday.
Lori McCreary, executive producer of "The Story of God," said he was enlightened about some beliefs that he did not know about. more >>
On National Geographic's last episode of "The Story of God" with Morgan Freeman, the Hollywood actor saves the best for last with his sentimental endeavor to discover the prospect of miracles.
Freeman kicks off the final installment of "The Story of God," titled "Miracles," just as he began every episode, by sharing from his own experience. The Mississippi native speaks of a time during his teenage years when he found himself in the hospital with pneumonia and suffered a hemorrhage because of overexertion. His recovery is his own personal experience with miracles, and he says many people told him that it was God who saved him.
"Believers say that miracles are proof of the divine," Freeman says, as his journey begins. more >>
In Sunday's fifth episode of National Geographic's "The Story of God," actor Morgan Freeman continues his quest to find out why evil exists in the world.
"To understand why evil exists, we have to know where it comes from," Freeman says. "For Christianity, it could be the devil himself, or is evil something that comes from inside us?"
Growing up as a child in Mississippi, Freeman encountered his first experience with evil in the form of racism at a Greyhound bus station where white and black people were segregated and he was forced to enter through a door designated for "colored" people. Freeman explains that as a young boy, he was confused by the ordeal. more >>