The office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf Ashraf today (Saturday) issued a statement regarding the meeting of the Supreme Religious Authority of the Shia Muslims of the world with Pope Francis, the world’s Catholic leader.
The statement said that the great challenges facing humanity in this era and the role of faith in God Almighty and adherence to high moral values to overcome them were discussed and exchanged views.
The text of the statement reads:
The Grand Ayatollah Sistani met this morning (Saturday) with Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the head of the Vatican Government.
In this meeting, the great challenges that humanity faces in this period and the role of faith in God Almighty and adherence to high moral values to overcome them were discussed.
Ayatollah Sistani talked about injustice, oppression, poverty, religious and intellectual persecution, the suppression of fundamental freedoms and the lack of social justice that different countries suffer from, especially wars and acts of violence, the economic siege, the displacement and other issues that the nations of our region, especially the Palestinian people, are suffering from in the occupied territories.
His Holiness went on to point out the role that great religious and spiritual leaders must play in preventing catastrophes, and noted that they are expected to persuade the relevant parties, especially the great powers, to prefer reason and wisdom and to abandon the language of war, and to refrain from spreading self-interest to the detriment of the rights of nations to live in dignity and freedom, and he also stressed the importance of redoubled efforts to strengthen the values of solidarity, peaceful coexistence and human solidarity in all societies based on respect for the rights and mutual revere between followers of different religions and intellectual tendencies.
He also referred to the position of Iraq, its glorious history and its well conditioned people, and expressed the hope that they would soon overcome the current suffering, emphasizing his efforts to ensure that Christian citizens, like other Iraqis, live in security and peace and enjoy their full constitutional rights, and noted the role that Religious Authorities have played in supporting them and others involved in the events in recent years, especially during the time when terrorists occupied large areas of several Iraqi provinces and committed shameful criminal acts.
In the end, His Holiness prayed for the Pope and the followers of the Catholic Church and all humanity, and thanked the Pope for enduring the sufferings of the trip to Najaf Ashraf.