Last Thursday, Pope Francis and former Israeli President Shimon Peres met for an extended 45 minute private conversation. The focus of this discussion was a proposal by Peres to establish a "United Nations of Religions." It was the third meeting between the two men in a little more than four months. As you will see below, Pope Francis showed "his interest, attention, and encouragement" as Peres explained his proposal. Of course, Pope Francis didn't commit to anything, and we probably will not see a "United Nations of Religions" any time soon, but every idea has to start somewhere. If Pope Francis does ultimately decide to actively push for such a thing, could we eventually see a single global body that claims to represent all of the religions of the world?
It is very unusual for a Pope to meet with any world leader three times in just over four months. But it is this latest meeting between Pope Francis and Shimon Peres that was the most noteworthy by far. The following is how Fox News reported on it…
Retired Israeli President Shimon Peres has proposed a new global peace initiative to Pope Francis: A "United Nations of Religions," given that most wars today have religious, not nationalistic, undercurrents.
The Vatican said Peres pitched the initiative during a 45-minute audience Thursday in the Apostolic Palace. The two men last met when Francis invited the then-Israeli president and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace together in the Vatican gardens on June 8.
So exactly why does Peres want a "United Nations of Religions?"
Well, according to the Jerusalem Post it is because he believes that such a body would have the best chance of preventing war and violence in the world…
In an interview with the Catholic Magazine Famiglia Cristiana, Peres called on Francis to leverage his respect to create an interfaith organization to curb religious violence.
"What we need is an organization of United Religions… as the best way to combat terrorists who kill in the name of faith," Peres said. "What we need is an unquestionable moral authority who says out loud, 'No, God does not want this and does not allow it.'"
After his private meeting with Peres, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said that the Pope "listened, showing his interest, attention, and encouragement" while Peres shared his ideas. The Pope did not commit to anything, but he also did not dismiss the idea of a United Nations of Religions.
And the truth is that such an organization would fit in very well with what the Pope has been trying to do his entire tenure. He has been doing just about all that he can to "build bridges" to other religions.
For example, earlier this year the Pope authorized "Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran" at the Vatican for the first time ever…
For the first time in history, Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran will be heard at the Vatican on Sunday, in a move by Pope Francis to usher in peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Francis issued the invitation to Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit last week to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.
Abbas, Peres, and Francis will be joined by Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders, a statement released by Peres's spokesperson said, according to the Times of Israel.
And the Pope has been relentlessly reaching out to Protestant organizations.
Here is one example of him reaching out to American charismatics from earlier this summer…
Two controversial TV preachers recently met Pope Francis in an effort to work toward tearing down the 'walls of division' between Catholics and Protestants.
Kenneth Copeland and James Robison are two religious leaders in northeast Texas known for drawing huge crowds to their services and events, and who were a part of leading the group identifying as a "delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders" in its meeting with the Roman Catholic pontiff late last month.
In addition, earlier this year the Pope even met with television minister Joel Osteen…
Megachurch speaker and author Joel Osteen was among a group of political and religious leaders who met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday.
According to reports, Osteen was part of a delegation organized by the International Foundation in an effort to encourage interfaith relations and ecumenicism. Utah Senator Mike Lee (R), a Mormon, Gayle Beebe, the president of the interdenominational Westmont College in California, and Pastor Tim Timmons, founder of South Coast Community Church also in California, were among those who greeted the pope, along with Osteen.
"I just felt very honored and very humbled," Osteen told local television station Click 2 Houston. "It was amazing. And even to go back into that part of the Vatican—there's so much history there, the place that they took us through. You feel that deep respect and reverence for God."
And this is not something that just started recently. Pope Francis has been pushing an ecumenical agenda very hard from the very first moments of his papacy. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled "Pope Francis And The Emerging One World Religion."
But there is one type of Christian that Pope Francis does not have anything positive to say about.
Pope Francis says that there is not any room for "fundamentalism" in Christianity…
Following his first visit to the Middle East as pope last month, the pontiff criticized fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as a form of violence.
"A fundamentalist group, even if it kills no one, even if it strikes no one, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalism is violence in the name of God."
But exactly what is "fundamentalism?"
The following is the definition that Google gives when you do a search…
"A form of a religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture."
So is Pope Francis rejecting those Christians that believe in a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible?
And precisely what is his overall agenda?
Why has he been working so hard to reach out to other major religions all over the planet?
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