Letter from the A Common Word Initiative to H.H. Pope Francis
To His Holiness Pope Francis,
Peace be upon you,
Please accept our congratulations on becoming the 266th Bishop of Rome and
head of the Roman Catholic Church.
As you take up the burden of responsibility, we signal to you that we hope to
develop the friendly relations and constructive dialogue that were established under
your predecessor, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI.
These relations started off in an unfortunate way with the remarks made at the
University of Regensburg in 2006. However, H.H. Pope Benedict’s subsequent apology
and the ensuing dialogue that came from the ‘A Common Word’ Initiative led to the
establishment of the Catholic-Muslim Forum. Two summits have been held so far, the
first one at the Vatican in 2008, where H.H. Pope Benedict XVI met all the participants,
and the second one in Jordan in 2011, which again involved over fifty senior scholars
and religious figures from both sides. Relations were also strengthened through the
pilgrimage H.H. Pope Benedict XVI made to the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ (peace be
upon him) in Jordan, and his visit to the King Hussein Mosque during the same trip in
We hope these relations will continue to improve and lead to increased
and sincere friendship and harmony between Muslim and Christian communities
throughout the world, which constitute the two largest religions on earth comprising
together some 55% of the world’s population.
On behalf of the A Common Word Initiative and ourselves, we again extend our
congratulations and best wishes for success in your mission as the successor of St. Peter.
H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad,
Chief Advisor to H.M. King Abdullah II for Religious and Cultural Affairs,
and Personal Envoy of H.M. the King,
Chairman of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.