Africa

Pope Francis hails Morocco on religious tolerance

Pope Francis makes a Sunday morning visit to a social center in Temara, on the outskirts of Rabat, and encourages the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in their efforts to help the poor of the area.

Pope Francis has commended Moroccans for allowing people to practice their different religions, “especially Christians in peace without fear, intimidation or harassment”.

The Pope made the commendation on Saturday in Rabat, when he visited the Northern African country for the first time.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the Pope was received at the Rabat Sale Airport by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco and was immediately driven to the Esplanade Mauaoleum where a grand reception had been organised for him.

Addressing the mammoth crowd, the Pope said, “Christians are deeply appreciative of the place accorded them in Morocco society.

“They wish to do their part in building a fraternal and prosperous nation out of concern for the common good of its people.

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“I assure you that the Catholic Church in Morocco will continue to provide social services in the field of education through its schools which are opened to every confession, religion and background.

“In thanking God for all that have been accomplished, I encourage Catholics and Christians to be servants, promoters and defenders of human fraternity in Morocco,”

Welcoming the Pope earlier, King Mohammed said “our faith teaches us to love our fellow human beings and to help them.

“Because God is love, I have tried to make sure my reign is characterised by closeness to citizens as well as resisting the poorest and most vulnerable people, ” the King said.

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NAN reports that there are more than 120,000 Christians in Morocco with about 37 million population.

Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State was born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires.

He chose the name Francis as his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.

He was ordained a priest in 1969 and became Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.

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