Throughout his visit to Bahrain, Francis said, he heard several times the desire to increase encounters and strengthen the relationship between Christians and Muslims in the country.
He recalled a custom in that part of the world to place one’s hand on the heart when greeting another person. “I did this too,” he said, “to make room inside me for the person I was meeting.”
“For without this welcome, dialogue remains empty, illusory, it remains on the level of an idea rather than reality,” he said.
Francis encouraged Catholics to have “open hearts,” not closed, hard hearts, and said he