Despite the morning rain, the Pope's weekly general audience was held outdoors. As usual, the Pope started things off by making his way along St. Peter's Square, blessing pilgrims along the way.
In his catechesis, the Pope talked about inter-religious dialogue, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate declaration. The Second Vatican Council document lays out the relationship between the Catholic Church and non Christian religions. As a symbol, people of various faiths, attended the audience.
"The world calls on us believers, to give effective answers on so many issues. Peace, hunger, the misery that affects millions of people. Environmental crisis, violence...particularly violence that's used in the name of religion.”
It's easy to stereotype those of others faiths, said the Pope, but one must look beyond that-embrace diversity and focus on the positive. He added that this factor is appealing even to those who don't profess a religion.
"In this area, what matters most is compassion. So many people can join us, even those who don't profess a faith or who are still searching for God and truth. People who focus on others, particularly their brothers and sisters in need.”
Towards the end of his general audience, the Pope called on everyone to pray in silence, honoring their own religion.
"I call on everyone, every person, to pray in silence depending on their own religious tradition. Let us pray to the Lord, so that He may strengthen our fraternity and help us serve our brothers and sisters in need. Let's pray in silence.”
With the Year of Mercy starting off in December, the Pope also said he hopes it will give rise to inter-religious collaboration, through charity.