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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Before Bangladesh trip, pope calls for interreligious dialogue

Pope Francis said he would travel to Bangladesh to proclaim the Gospel message of “reconciliation, forgiveness and peace,” and he said he was especially looking forward to a meeting with the nation’s religious leaders.

“We are living at a time when religious believers and people of goodwill everywhere are called to foster mutual understanding and respect and to support each other as members of our one human family,” the pope said in a video message to the people of Bangladesh.

“I especially look forward to meeting religious leaders,” he said in the video, which was released at the Vatican today, on Tuesday 21st November.

Pope Francis is scheduled to leave Rome on Sunday 26th November for a visit to Myanmar from Monday 27th to Thursday 30th November and Bangladesh from Thursday 30th November to Saturday 2nd December. What the Vatican described as an “interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peace” is scheduled for Friday 1st December in the garden of the archbishop’s residence in Dhaka’s Ramna neighbourhood.

The vast majority – some 90 per cent – of Bangladesh’s people are Muslim. The largest minority group is made up of Hindus. Christians are about one per cent of the population. The ecumenical National Council of Churches in Bangladesh includes 13 Christian denominations; although the Catholic Church is not a member, it has a strong working relationship with the council.

Picture: Pope Francis delivers a video message to the people of Bangladesh from the Vatican on Tuesday 21st November. The pope is scheduled to visit Bangladesh from Thursday 30th November to Saturday 2nd December during a six-day trip that also includes a visit to Myanmar. (CNS photo/Vatican television).