Pope Francis’s Compassion
In troubled times, with increasing global warming and ongoing wars in different parts of this world, there is one religious leader who continues to reach out to the troubled, the downtrodden, the wretched and the bewildered immigrant, regardless of their faith. Like his namesake St Francis, Pope Francis has, despite criticism, shown empathy for the poor and “the Other”. Empathizing with those in need in a materialistic world is a lesson for all of us. As a Muslim, I see God as “Rab al Alamin”, Lord of all creation and God is “The Most Merciful”. Therefore, the qualities of inclusion, mercy, compassion, and empathy are essentially divine values which help us humans to reach out, with kindness, to people and creatures different from us. I will argue, in this chapter on Pope Francis, that leaders who embody compassion and mercy will be criticized and challenged by some in their own community for their shortfalls, but overall they can teach us crucial lessons for overcoming divisions and building bridges in our faltering world.