A look at how a new pope impacts other faiths

6:23 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The task: Appointing one pope for one billion Roman Catholic followers. But ask other faith leaders and they'll tell you the pope impacts more than just one religion.

WZZM 13 talked with leaders of other faiths Tuesday to get their thoughts on the papal conclave and we found Catholics aren't the only ones anxiously awaiting the election of the new pope.

"Anytime the Christian church has this high of a profile, it's a time of examination for everyone," said Peter Borgdorff, Deputy Executive Director of Christian Reformed Church of North America, based in Grand Rapids.

Dr. Sahibzada, who directs the Islamic Center and Mosque of Grand Rapids says the election of a new pope affects non Christians too.

"Anyone who carries the flag of peace and harmony, and relationship between the human being, after all we are children of Adam," said Dr. Sharif Sahibzada.

Dr. Sahibzada and Borgdorff are watching the papal election closely.

"It's not so much about what will the election of the pope do for our facility here, or our ministry facilities around the world-- it's not so much that kind of question as it is for our mutual address to global issues in which we all have a stake and we all live with its outcomes," says Dr. Sahibzada.

Borgdorff and Dr. Sahibzada say Pope Benedict didn't work hard enough at reaching out to other faiths.

"We would very much like it be a person who can develop a relationship beyond the Roman Catholic hierarchy," said Borgdorff.

"He realizes the situation of the world today and we don't have to create the gaps between the two faiths, we have to bridge the gaps," said Dr. Sahibzada.

Borgdorff says the new pope could help all of Christianity. "The Roman Catholic faith has a significant voice with race, with compassion," he said.

Dr. Sahibzada says that message reaches beyond Christianity. "So we have to work together, live together, and understand each other," he said.

WZZM 13 also reached out to a local rabbi. He says he finds the process of finding the pope interesting, but says it has no impact on his religion.

No one was available at the Linh Son Buddhist Temple in Belmont.

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