Pope Cautions Catholics Against ‘Bombarding People With Religious Messages’

January 23, 2014 1:24 p.m.

Pope Francis on Thursday said that Catholics should start a conversation about their beliefs in order to promote their message, not simply tout their perspective.

“Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages,” he said in a statement.

He said that members of the Catholic Church should be open to hearing others’ points of view and accepting that their beliefs are not the only “valid” ones.

“To (have a) dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective,” Francis said in a statement. “Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretense that they alone are valid and absolute.”

The Pope called the Internet a “gift form God” and urged the media to create an atmosphere tolerant to a wide range of beliefs.

“We need to be patient if we want to understand people who are different from us,” Francis said in his statement. “People only express themselves when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted.”

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