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Pope Francis Urges Closer Islam Ties

Pope Francis poses with young people during a meeting at the Vatican earlier this year.
Pope Francis has called for reforms within the papacy and urged Catholics to do more to fight poverty.

In a document released on November 26, Francis said "excessive centralization" by the Vatican "complicates the [Catholic] church's life." He said the Orthodox Christian system of "synodality," which decentralizes leadership, holds some lessons for Catholicism.

On Islam, Francis said closer ties to Muslims are of "great importance" to the Catholic Church. He added that Christians should embrace Muslim immigrants "with affection and respect" as Christians would expect to receive in predominantly Muslim countries.

But he said allowing women priests in the Catholic Church was not an issue up for discussion and that Catholics "could not" change their position on abortion.

Francis, 76, has made headlines with his liberal views since becoming pope in March.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP