03 Apr 2019
Pope Francis in Morocco
Pope Francis animates the Moroccan people, Promoting Dialogue, Brotherhood, and Service to the Needy
(ANS – Rabat, Morocco – April 1) – During Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to Morocco over the March 30-31 weekend, one of many significant moments was his meeting in the cathedral of Rabat with the priests, men and women religious, the lay faithful, and the Ecumenical Council of Churches of the overwhelmingly Muslim country. Pope Francis told them: “The ways of the mission do not pass through proselytism, which always leads to a blind alley, but through our way of being with Jesus and with others.” Therefore, “the problem is not when we are few in number, but when we are insignificant.”
The papal visit may have been just two days, but they were full of gestures and speeches.
Visiting the mausoleum dedicated to King Mohammed V, the Holy Father wrote: “I invoke Almighty God for the prosperity of the Kingdom of Morocco, asking Him to increase fraternity and solidarity between Christians and Muslims!”
In the same spirit, subsequently, Pope Francis re-launched, together with King Mohammed VI, his appeal for the recognition of the specific multi-religious character of Jerusalem.
Then, making another unprecedented gesture for a Pontiff, he visited a formation institute for imams, which the king wanted to foster the spread of a tolerant and moderate Islam.
Certainly among the most touching meetings of the trip was one with migrants housed by the diocesan Caritas of Rabat. Caritas deals with the migrants who come up from sub-Saharan Africa with hopes of crossing to Europe and finding there better life opportunities. Pope Francis explained: “What is at stake is the face we want to give ourselves as a society and the value of every life…. We cannot forget that the progress of our peoples cannot be measured only by technological or economic development. It depends, above all, on the capacity to let oneself be moved by those who knock on the door and through their outlook discredit and deprive all the false idols that mortgage and enslave life.”
On Sunday, presiding over the most crowded Mass ever celebrated in the country, at Prince Moulay Abdellah sports complex, he once again recalled the value of brotherhood, starting from the parable of the Prodigal Son. “Instead of classifying ourselves on the basis of a moral, social, ethnic, or religious condition, we can recognize that there is another condition that no one can erase or annihilate, since it is a pure gift: the free and inalienable gift of children being loved, awaited, and celebrated by the Father.”
Commenting on the apostolic journey, the archbishop of Rabat, the Salesian Cristobal Lopez Romero, underlined the depth and quality of the speeches given during the visit: “They are valid messages not only for Morocco, but for the whole world and for the universal Church.”
At the end of the papal visit, Vatican News reported: “With the papal visit to Morocco concluded, Archbishop Cristobal Lopez Romero of Rabat spoke to Vatican News about the impact of Pope Francis’s visit and his hopes for the future of the small Moroccan Church.
“Archbishop Lopez Romero said he is grateful to God for all of the graces which the Pope’s trip brought to the Church in Morocco. He thanked all of the State and Church authorities who worked to ensure the success of the visit and highlighted three topics addressed by the Pope as being of particular interest to Moroccans.”