Ayatollah Arafi meets with Pope Francis, discusses religious interaction, condemns persecution of the innocent

Hawzah News Agency

Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, head of Iran’s Islamic Seminary recently met with Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, at the Vatican City to expand and deepen interaction with the Vatican.

Iran and the Vatican established full diplomatic ties in 1954, and the bond has remained uninterrupted ever since. Not many reflect on the fact that the Vatican and Iran both represent spiritual traditions that have much more in common than might initially come to mind.

The meeting stressed the importance of interaction and synergy between religions as well as the condemnation of oppression and crime against the persecuted people of the world.

The head of Iran’s Seminary, who was warmly welcomed by the Pope, emphasized the intellectual and epistemological capacities of Islam, Shi’ism as well as seminaries to promote interaction between divine (Abrahamic) religions in order to solve the intellectual, cultural and social challenges of contemporary mankind.

As a member of the Supreme Council of Islamic Seminaries, Ayatollah Arafi elaborated on some of the most serious challenges of the contemporary world and went on to list oppression against nations, poverty and hunger, warmongering rhetoric, illegal occupation of sovereign states and internationally-organized oppression, environmental crises and the increase of extremism as some of the greatest challenges and crises of our era.

“Such crises cannot be overcome without the effective role of the divine religions, and seminaries are ready to cooperate with international scientific-religious institutions, including the Catholic Church to solve these issues,” Ayatollah Arafi confirmed.

Ayatollah Arafi considered Islamic teachings and the teachings of Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) as deep treasures of jurisprudential, legal, intellectual, philosophical and theological knowledge that serves as a historical heritage of seminaries, which can meet the needs of the present world. Such teachings are meant to serve beyond the Shia audience since Islam should have an audience on a global scale and be the basis of religious and international understandings, interactions and synergies.

(This article and photo were made available to O Clarim by Hasan Sadraei, Aref, Chief Editor of Hawzah News Agency)