Pope Benedict XVI has been meeting other religious leaders on the fifth day of his first visit to Australia. He told the group, which included rabbis and Muslim clerics, that religion was a “fundamental right” which could, he said “solve conflicts in a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate violence.”
The pontiff also praised Australia for promoting ethnic and religious diversity: “In this way, Christians cooperate, together with members of other religions, for the promotion of human dignity and for fellowship among all nations.”
The Pope’s remarks are being widely seen as part of the Vatican’s effort to improve relations with Islam and encourage China to relax its control of the church there.
Security remains tight in Sydney, as hundreds of police prepare for a large anti-Pope march in the city this weekend.
Protestors have already begun to gather to demonstrate against the issues they find controversial surrounding the church.