Leaders of non-Christian faiths in Italy have been giving their reactions to Benedict’s departure and looking ahead to a new era.
Despite angering many Muslims during his reign, the last pope also made conciliatory gestures and some say inspired more intense dialogue between the two religions.
Euronews asked the Secretary General of the Islamic and Cultural Centre in Rome, Abdellah Redouane, what hopes he had for the new Pope.
“I think that our hope is to see communities of believers search together for solutions to the world’s problems, and particularly to avoid religious wars, and above all to find common ground on which to work, and in particular (find) universal values to which all believers can relate,” he said.
Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Ricardo Di Segni, had a similar message regarding future inter-faith relations.
Despite some well-publicised controversies which placed a strain on Catholic-Jewish relations, the Chief Rabbi praised Benedict and said he hoped his successor would continue in the same vein.
“Benedict, as did some previous popes, showed the path to follow. His guidance was about dialogue and respect for Judaism. Our wish now is not to go back from the point we’ve reached,” he said.