Speaking at the Al-Hussein bin Talal mosque in Amman, Pope Benedict discussed the true nature of religion and the necessary grounds on which to build a peaceful and healthy social order. Video and Podcast.

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Al-Hussein bin Talal mosque

Amman, Jordan
9th May 2009

On the second day of his stay in Jordan, Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of the Muslim Community, along with the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of Jordanian Universities.

The meeting took place at the Al-Hussein bin Talal mosque, named after Jordan’s late king. Jordan’s Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammed Bin Talal greeted the Holy Father at the beginning of the encounter…

I bid Your Holiness Pope Benedict XVI welcome in four ways. First, as a Muslim. I bid Your Holiness welcome today as we understand this visit to be a deliberate gesture of goodwill and mutual respect from the supreme spiritual leader and pontiff of the largest denomination of the world’s largest religion to the world’s second-largest religion.

Pope Benedict discussed the true nature of religion and the necessary grounds on which to build a peaceful and healthy social order.

He said while there are undeniable tensions and divisions among the followers of different religious traditions, it is often the case that the ideological manipulation of religion is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society…

Muslims and Christians, precisely because of the burden of our common history so often marked by misunderstanding, must today strive to be known and recognized as worshippers of God faithful to prayer, eager to uphold and live by the Almighty’s decrees, merciful and compassionate, consistent in bearing witness to all that is true and good, and ever mindful of the common origin and dignity of all human persons, who remain at the apex of God’s creative design for the world and for history.

The Pope praised the resolve of Jordanian educators and religious and civic leaders to ensure that the public face of religion reflects its true nature, and went on to say Christians and Muslims can face one of the modern world’s greatest challenges together…

The challenge to cultivate for the good, in the context of faith and truth, the vast potential of human reason. Christians in fact describe God, among other ways, as creative Reason, which orders and guides the world. And God endows us with the capacity to participate in his reason and thus to act in accordance with what is good. Muslims worship God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who has spoken to humanity. And as believers in the one God we know that human reason is itself God’s gift and that it soars to its highest plane when suffused with the light of God’s truth.

Pope Benedict went on to say genuine adherence to religion widens the horizon of human understanding, and ensures that freedom is exercised hand in hand with truth, and it adorns culture with insights concerning all that is true, good and beautiful.

Pope Benedict XVI, accompanied by Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal visits the King Hussein Bin Talal mosque in Amman May 9, 2009. (Reuters)