Pope Francis today prayed the Angelus in the Cathedral of Rabat, in an ecumenical act with the churches of Morocco in which he praised especially the work of religious men and women who work "with the Muslim brothers."
To the act today, which began with welcome "yuyus" typical in Morocco, had been invited members of the numerous religious orders present in Morocco, -hubo Spanish, French, Congolese and Mexicans, among other nationalities-, and next to them were the representatives of the Evangelical, Anglican and Orthodox cults in Morocco.
Before delivering his speech, Francisco elicited applause when he wanted to pay tribute to two of those present: Father Jean Pierre Schumacher, one of the survivors of the slaughter in the Trappist monastery of Tibhirine, in Algeria, and the Italian religious Sister Ercilia, who At 97 she is the nun dean in Morocco.
The speech of Francisco, who was flanked by the Archbishops of Rabat, Cristóbal López, and Tangier, Santiago Agrelo, was focused above all on praising the work of the religious, whom he encouraged to continue "being close to those who are often left behind, of the small and the poor, of the prisoners and the migrants ".
On four occasions Francisco spoke against the idea of religious proselytism – an action that, incidentally, is punishable by jail in Morocco – by insisting that it does not matter that Catholics are few, but in the example of life they should give. "together with the Muslim brothers and sisters".
The work of religious and their welfare and charity services with the sick, imprisoned, elderly or migrants serves to "unmask and expose all attempts to use differences and ignorance to sow fear, hatred and conflict."
And it is that Francisco returned to the idea of universal brotherhood "hit by the policies of fundamentalism and division and by the systems of insatiable profit and hateful ideological tendencies, which manipulate the actions and destinies of men".
At the end of his speech, the Pope prayed the Angelus with all those present, and upon leaving the Cathedral received three gifts prepared by the Moroccan people: a small argan tree, from which the precious oil of the same name is extracted, and two artistic works
One of them is a sculpture of Jesus carrying the cross, by the Tunisian artist Sahbi Chtoui, settled in Morocco decades ago, and a picture painted by students of the Jeanne d'Arc school, one of the establishments that the Catholic Church runs in Morocco, although almost all of its students are Muslims.
In Morocco there are about 25,000 Catholics, there are two bishops in Rabat and Tanger, 35 parishes, 15 diocesan priests, 31 religious, 10 religious non-priests and 175 religious from different congregations.
Education centers owned or run by ecclesiastics or religious are a total of 34, while there are 10 orphanages, two houses for the elderly, disabled and disabled, 7 outpatient and a hospital.