November 19, 2011. (Romereports.com)
During his second day in Benin, the pope met with local government and religious leaders at Cotonou's presidential palace. There, he made a special appeal to all African leaders. Benedict XVI“From this site, I launch an appeal to all political and economic leaders of African countries and the rest of the world. Do not deprive your people of hope!”
The pope went on to explain that having hope doesn't equate to being naïve. Instead, that hope should be used to build a better future. Benedict XVI“God is in our present, but He is also in the future, a place of hope. The expansion of our hearts is not only hope in God but also an opening to and care for physical and temporal realities in order to glorify God.”
The pope also talked about the danger of blind power. He said even amid the pressures of public opinion, special interests and religious or ethnic differences, one, as a leader, must stay strong and act ethically.
He then made it a point to say that manipulating religion for personal interests is a “grave fault.”
On the issue of inter-religious dialogue, the pope said actually having a dialogue shouldn't be seen as a sign of weakness. Benedict XVI
“There are many forms of inter-religious dialogue. Cooperation in social or cultural areas can help people to understand each other better and to live together serenely. It's also useful to know that dialogue does not take place through weakness, but because of a belief in God. Dialogue is another way of loving God and our neighbor without abdicating who we are.”
After the meeting, Benedict XVI met privately with the country's president Thomas Yayi Boni, to thank him for the invitation.