Pope refuses bulletproof vehicle for upcoming visit to Egypt

Pope Francis wants to interact with people on the street during his upcoming visit to Egypt and therefore opposes riding in a bulletproof vehicle. 

Despite several recent terror attacks against Christians in Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, Pope Francis will not use a bulletproof vehicle during his trip to Egypt this weekend, according to Reuters.

“The Pope will use a closed car to move around, but not an armoured one,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said. “That’s how he wanted it.”

The Catholic News Agency explained the Pope’s decision as a result of his preference to interact with people on the street.

Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt this April 28-29, his first international trip this year, is largely centered around promoting interfaith dialogue with Muslims. The theme of interfaith solidarity had already been noted in the decision of Grand Imam of al Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayyeb, to join Egypt’s Catholic Coptic bishops in extending an invitation to Pope Francis.

In a video addressed to the Egyptian people, Pope Francis said his visit will be “a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place,” Vatican Radio reported.

“I would also hope that my visit will make a fruitful contribution to interreligious dialogue with the followers of Islam and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church,” he added.

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“Dear Egyptian brothers and sisters, young and old, women and men, Muslims and Christians, rich and poor…  I embrace you warmly and I ask Almighty God to bless you and protect your country from every evil,” the pontiff stated.

He also wants the trip to be a sign of solidarity for Christians in the Middle East, who are facing persecution from Islamist terror groups. “I would like this visit to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East,” he said.

By: World Israel News Staff