In another striking interview, Pope Francis reflects on Europe's Christian roots and relations with Islam

When I was a child, as I vaguely remember, there was some official Vatican publication known as “The Pope Speaks.” When I look back, I recall it to be entirely sober and cautious, written by speech-writers, vetted by the curia, printed in the pope’s name. Pope Francis is different, of course, and his interviews ever promise something new and unexpected. His latest, the interview with the French Catholic magazine, La Croix, with Guillaume Goubet and Sébastien Maillard, is no exception. It is extraordinary in many ways, and I recommend that you read the whole of it here.

Two points are particularly striking — Francis' rather novel view of “Europe” in relation to Christendom, and his analysis of fearful responses to Islam.

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When asked about the “roots” of Europe and why he did not talk simply of Europe’s roots in Christianity, Francis says, “We need to speak of roots in the plural because there are so many. In this sense, when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones. John Paul II, however, spoke about it in a tranquil manner. Yes, Europe has Christian roots and it is Christianity's responsibility to water those roots. But this must be done in a spirit of service as in the washing of the feet. Christianity's duty to Europe is one of service. As Erich Przywara, the great master of Romano Guardini and Hans Urs von Balthasar, teaches us, Christianity's contribution to a culture is that of Christ in the washing of the feet. In other words, service and the gift of life. It must not become a colonial enterprise.” As always, Francis points us to practice, works of charity, what we are to do. However “Europe” came to be, we Christians are here to serve.

Benedict, by contrast, had a very strong sense of the roots of Europe in Christianity. For example, in his 2006 Regensburg address, he evoked a nearly mystical sense of the interdependence of “Europe” and “Christianity:” “Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.” (His emphases.)

The interviewers also asked Francis about “fear of Islam:”The fear of accepting migrants is partly based on a fear of Islam. In your view, is the fear that this religion sparks in Europe justified?”

Francis replies to this question in at least three steps (which here I present out of order). First, a reflexive, self-scrutinizing turn is necessary: “In the face of Islamic terrorism, it would therefore be better to question ourselves about the way in which an overly Western model of democracy has been exported to countries such as Iraq, where a strong government previously existed. Or in Libya, where a tribal structure exists. We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account.” Perhaps we in the West are at fault, trying to make over other nations in our images and blaming them when our efforts fall short.

Second, Francis argues that good relations between Muslims and Christians are possible because they have already been happening: “I come from a country where they co-habit on good terms. Muslims come to venerate the Virgin Mary and St. George. Similarly, they tell me that for the Jubilee Year Muslims in one African country formed a long queue at the cathedral to enter through the holy door and pray to the Virgin Mary. In Central Africa, before the war, Christians and Muslims used to live together and must learn to do so again. Lebanon also shows that this is possible.” What has happened, can happen; harmony is the ordinary and most typical relation of Muslims and Christians.

Third, and most surprisingly, he balances a rather absolute claim about Islam next to a surprising but candid reading of Jesus’ mandate at the end of St Matthew: “I don't think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.” (My emphasis.)

Conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam? When I posted some entries on the Study Qur’an a few months ago, one post was devoted to violence in the Qur’an and, as some readers will recall, I (ever the academic) found the topic to be complicated, requiring textual interpretation—even before we get to realistic judgments that are to be made in any given social situation today. The complexity of the matter makes it very unlikely that one could assert that “conquest” is inherent in the “the soul of Islam,” however one might go about identifying that soul. Thus far, it is hard to understand what Francis means, and one wishes there had been follow-up questions that pushed him a bit.

We know that the great mandate in Matthew 28—“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Mt 28.19-20a)—was not literally calling for conquest of all the nations of the earth. Jesus was not sanctioning empire. But we also know that this text has been taken to support, perhaps even fuel, the European colonial expansion throughout the world in the sixteenth century and thereafter, in that unparalleled and largely unfortunate era when European Christians decided, rather disastrously, that they had the right to rule the world. At least some colonizers were inspired by the possibility of bringing the Gospel to all nations, supported by the colonial venture. We Christians cannot blithely blame others for conquest, when we have done a lot of it ourselves.

I have spoken with many Hindus over the years who point to passages such as Matthew 28, and read along with Dominus Iesus (2000) and with John Paul II’s Ecclesia in Asia (1999), which boldly states, “With the Church throughout the world, the Church in Asia will cross the threshold of the Third Christian Millennium marveling at all that God has worked from those beginnings until now, and strong in the knowledge that ‘just as in the first millennium the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent.’” My Hindu friends have wondered: are you not militarizing the Gospel? Is the pope not calling Christians to a new conquest of Asia?

Francis knows this, and shifts our attention, by admitting that the mandate can be reduced to the work of conquest, and at times has fueled colonialism. He highlights a difficulty lying deep “in the soul of Islam” only to pair it, humbly, with a difficulty lying deep “in the soul of Christianity.” The deep truths and values of the two traditions are not denied, but neither is the problem of the historical record covered over. The logic seems to be: if we admit the militaristic history of the Christian nations, linked even to the spread of the Gospel, we might be in a better position to talk candidly and humbly with Muslims, who have their own problems in this regard.

The pope speaks. He is definitely not infallible in such an interview, and has not given any definitive new turn to Christian-Muslims relations. But in his candor, he frees up the issues, pushing us to think anew about things we had thought we understood.

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J Cosgrove
1 year 5 months ago
The complexity of the matter makes it very unlikely that one could assert that “conquest” is inherent in the “the soul of Islam,” however one might go about identifying that soul. Thus far, it is hard to understand what Francis means, and one wishes there had been follow-up questions that pushed him a bit.
I am not sure this conclusion is correct. If one studies Islam and the Quran, there is definitely very specific themes of conquest and submission. Muhaammad is held up as the perfect human to be imitated. The Hadith has some specifics of his life that will let Christians better understand what Islam prescribes. I suggest everyone read
111 Questions on Islam: Samir Khalil Samir S.J. on Islam and the West
Father Samir is a Jesuit whose native language is Arabic and has studied the Quran in Arabic and knows it thoroughly. http://amzn.to/1TNUHwm
L J
1 year 5 months ago
And yet here we have an article on America website detailing the history of Georgetown Univ Jesuits conquering and benefiting from the submission of black slaves. Then they sold them to other plantations while tearing apart families http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/georgetown-and-slavery-what-owed-today A cursory look at the writings of St Paul the Apostle reveals a polemic that defies defense. St Paul's writings are an eye sore and causes us to whince or explain away how he influenced the treatment of women, slaves and a culture of submitting all in the name of Christ. Pretty breathless. St Paul was anything but irenic. Many Bishops and Catholic bloggers today follow in his footsteps to our detriment. Sadly scores of Catholic blogs and "expert commenters" do nothing to show the love of Christ but see it as their "right" to denigrate, conquer and force others into submission Vatican PR aide warns Catholic blogs create ‘cesspool of hatred’ – CRUX http://www.cruxnow.com/cns/2016/05/17/vatican-pr-aide-warns-catholic-blogs-create-cesspool-of-hatred/ Say what you want about your / our neighbor. Select quoting from sacred writs allows anyone to paint a picture of conquest and submission regardless of the religion. Judaism is legion for conquering and submitting of others. This isnt new information. It is in the history books for all to see. But you have to remove the plank in your eye first Insert Splinter...plank argument here
Rachael Stanley
1 year 5 months ago
while visiting the Alhambra Palace recently in Granada, Spain, I was reminded of the appalling treatment that the Moors were subjected to especially during the time of the Spanish Inquistion. Official Christianity is full of violence bloodshed and conquest in the name of the one who commanded Peter to put his sword away and who said very wisely "He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword". Long live Pope Francis, the first pope in a long time to acknowledge some of our shameful history. There is no way we should be pointing the finger at other religions without first acknowledging our own mistakes in the name of religion.
Robert Lewis
1 year 4 months ago
I think that there are a number of important things to remember, when speaking of the relations between the major world religions. Permit me to highlight these things that I think are so important that we should be cognizant of them: #1. Almost all of the founders seem to have what I would call "betrayers" from among their own ranks. Many years ago, when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Buddhist Sri Lanka, I read an analysis by the wife of the Founder of the Pali Society in Britain of the rather curious circumstances surrounding the death of the Buddha: she interprets the strangeness of those circumstances to signify a flight from his own followers in which he ends up in the wilderness eating hurriedly what he normally would have rejected as being against his own dietary prohibitions and accompanied by only one extraordinarily intimate devotee, whereas he had normally been accompanied by myriads of monks and laymen during the period of his later teachings. We know of the modern literary interpretations by such as Kazantzakis and Bulgakov that Saint Paul or Saint Matthew is, in a very real sense, a distorter of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While it is true that these are imaginative fictions, the discrepancies between not only the teachings of Jesus Christ and what Paul interpreted them to be, but also the temper and spirit of the two religious leaders' language had been many years before identified by Nietzsche, who said that Jesus was Himself "the only true Christian." The Prophet Muhammed's language regarding the way his followers were to regard those who followed other teachings reveals an entirely different attitude than what was proclaimed by his immediate successors: "To every race great teachers have been sent. I [Allah] have not left any community without a prophet, warner and true guide." (Quran Surah 24:34). "To people after people have we sent apostle after apostle; mostly the people have rejected or even killed them" (Quran Surah 23;24). #2. These contradictions seem to have arisen during the later periods of conquest by the followers of these religious teachers, when their doctrines were seized upon by political leaders as justification for conquest. The teachers had, in every case, been practitioners of an oral tradition, because it would seem that all of them, like Socrates, distrusted the written word, and so it became easy to interpolate into those teachings either doctrines that the great founders had never proclaimed or interpretations that SEEMED to align with those doctrines but were actually extrapolations. Muslims like to point out that Muhammed was forced to become a military and political leader because he and his followers were immediately and very violently assailed by pagans and Jews in Arabia, and, of course, many modern Christian exegetes will attest to the early marriage of interests between Roman authorities and Christian bishops that led to the formulation of the definition of the Jews as "deicides." #3. These weird distortions of the great Teachers' thoughts were facilitated by the way in which the Scriptures of the great religions were canonized. I won't even mention all of the apocryphal Gospels which were discarded by the early Doctors of the Christian Church, but will, instead, inform you that "moderate" or "liberal" Muslims are thoroughly knowledgeable of the fact that, when the various Surahs of the Quran were admitted into the final text, the reigning Caliph BURNT all of the competing records, so that there should never be such debates as have ensued in the Christian world. In any case, it is truly a grave calumny to wish upon the Prophet of Islam attitudes toward Christians and Jews such as what Westerners have blackened his reputation with; it is the equivalent of what is said about Jesus Christ in the Babylonian Talmud of the Jews, except that I can tell you, as a present-day inhabitant of a Muslim country, that it seems to cause to Muslims a level of grief that I have never beheld when any Christian is told the truth about what the Talmud says about Christ--that He was a "false prophet" who was properly and lawfully executed for His blasphemies. #4. The soteriology of ALL of the Semitic religions is an exclusive one, with Christianity seeming to be the most exclusive, in which these faiths seem to stake out exclusive ownership of the afterlife. This seems to have interjected into apologetics and "interfaith dialogue" an almost messianic frenzy to "convert," in which fear of "judgment" exerts an exaggerated influence. This is very different from the religious doctrines of the East which focus primarily on spiritual transformation during THIS life, and let the afterlife remain a zone of mystery which may or may not include either a unification with a "world spirit" or "Brahman" ("moksha" in Hinduism) or a transmigration of souls (the reincarnation effected by "karma" in Buddhism and Hinduism). Aldous Huxley liked to point out the tenuous character of the Biblical justifications of the Catholic doctrine of "Purgatory," and alleged that it constituted the Church Doctors' effort to inject the mercy of the Buddha and the Hindu gurus into Christian doctrine, pointing out the evidence of contacts between India and the newly Christianized Greek East.
Roberto Blum
1 year 4 months ago
Pope Francis has stated the obvious. Christianity as well as Islam are religions that intend to conquer spiritually the whole world. It would seem that all religions based on monotheism have that totalitarian character ingrained. And of course Francis' puts the finger on European colonialism as a natural growth of the mandate to convert all men to the christian faith. It cannot be denied that the European colonial project from the late XV century until fairly recently was a "happy marriage" of the sword and the cross. Even now, the advances of evangelical Christianity in Latin America seem to be the forefront of a new economic colonialism which is destroying the fabric of whole communities. Pope Francis idea that the mission of the Church is rather to serve the world and not conquer it seems to me much closer to what Jesus would have recommended.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 4 months ago
Fr. Clooney is of course right that nothing in the La Croix interview could reasonably be said to meet any level of infallibility, or even of any doctrinal authority, as Pope Francis is clearly giving his own opinions purely as an educated observer of events. Several things he said would surely warrant clarification: 1) that Africa needs investment to correct unemployment (the very idolatrous investors he bemoans in the same paragraph); 2) that states MUST be secular, as confessional ones end badly (don't secular states also frequently end badly); 3) that there should be no statute of limitations on pedophile crimes (what about centuries? if their removal is an obvious good, let's remove them for all crimes); 4) that the "strong government" of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was somehow preferable to democracy, 5) his jaundiced view of Europe's Christian roots, etc., etc. On Fr. Clooney's topic, as any person deeply read in history should attest, Pope Francis is surely right when he says: "It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam." It was a key teaching of the founder, was practiced viciously by the founder, and in nearly every generation since, was incredibly destructive and successful (in terms of enslavement of whole societies, but especially women and young boys) until it was met with organized resistance from the Franks and subsequent Christian kingdoms. The whole Middle East, North Africa, the Iberian peninsula, Northern India, Central Asia, Eastern Europe (as far west as Vienna) and further afield were methodically conquered and enslaved, and given the choice of conversion, dhimmitude or death. Sadly, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, Iran have many suras in their Quran and actions of their prophet to call upon for guidance. While there are also teachings in the Old Testament that advocate violence, the jihadi doctrine and the example of the founder are unique. It is just political correctness to equate the Islamic situation with other faiths. Pope Francis is engaging in the same political correctness of Barack Obama (recall the Christian "high horses" or comparisons with the 12th century Christians to modern day Muslims) to make this association, especially when whole societies live in fear of daily attacks and the best practice of Sharia law is still barbaric. How many times do our western leaders tip-toe around the obvious: when 8 men were beheaded in Saudi Arabia at about the same time that the 3 westerners were beheaded by ISIS, both relying on Sharia law as justification, but only the latter killings were decried in the West; the Muslim ghettos in Belgium were not created by the Government, but by the immigrants themselves; liberal women prefer to fight about women priests than women slaves in contemporary Islamic nations; companies threaten to leave US states if boys are excluded from girls bathrooms and showers, while they stay relatively mum about defenestrations of gay men in Muslim countries, etc., etc. It is also very unfortunate and careless to in any way impute Christ's evangelizing mandate in Matthew's Gospel with Islamic-like conquest. It is not conquest to bring life-saving medicine to those in need. We may as well as condemn the World Health Organization for trying to eradicate malaria and Ebola and other epidemics. Even if some western powers use education and medicine as part of their colonizing campaigns, it is altogether wrong to blame the medicine and the education, or a good water supply, or women's freedoms, or religious rights. Or evangelization! I think it comes down to how much we believe that the Gospel really saves, or is just a cultural nicety, or only for certain people and not for others, who are better left to their own devices.
Roberto Blum
1 year 4 months ago
Sorry, xenophobia is not a catholic (universalistic) stance at all. Unfortunately Euro-centrism has been a grievous mistake of the Church for many centuries. During Europe's "Dark Ages," the Muslim world and particularly Spain (Al-Andalus) were the most advanced and civilized regions of the Mediterranean. Nothing in Christian Europe at the time could be compared to the Islamic Caliphates of Cordoba and Baghdad. The following paragraph only shows prejudice and xenophobia. Many of the adjectives used in it are unsupported by facts. "It was a key teaching of the founder, was practiced viciously by the founder, and in nearly every generation since, was incredibly destructive and successful (in terms of enslavement of whole societies, but especially women and young boys) until it was met with organized resistance from the Franks and subsequent Christian kingdoms. The whole Middle East, North Africa, the Iberian peninsula, Northern India, Central Asia, Eastern Europe (as far west as Vienna) and further afield were methodically conquered and enslaved, and given the choice of conversion, dhimmitude or death."
Tim O'Leary
1 year 4 months ago
In response to the two Roberts below, to critique Islam and its founder is no more xenophobic than critiquing Genghis Khan or Oliver Cromwell or Martin Luther. Islam should be just as susceptible to critical evaluation as Marxist Communism (or Conquistador Catholicism, for that matter). I am happy to be proven wrong by counter arguments to the historical record. If there is clear evidence that Muhammad wasn’t a particularly vicious marauder, as described in the Hadith, I would like to see it. Maybe, I have it wrong that he didn’t order multiple raids and wars and personally participate (kill, behead) in many of them, that he didn’t have multiple wives and concubines, including at least one he acquired by forcing a divorce, others by killing husbands, and his last marriage to a nine year old. Maybe, he didn’t order and personally participate in the 627 AD massacre of Banu Quraiza, where over 600 adult Jewish men (determined by pubic-hair growth) were beheaded, and all the women and children of that Jewish tribe were enslaved and/or sold (he kept the most beautiful girl for himself). Here is a summary https://www.facebook.com/notes/knowledge-is-power/in-islams-own-writings-muhammads-massacres-and-sex-slaves/523705024374034. It is one thing to have people betray the founder, and quite another to have the founder be an active participant. As to Islamic Iberia, I fail to see how technological and societal sophistication excuses Sharia law, the jizya taxes, the harems, the large scale killings, anymore than it does mid-C20th Germany. The NYT’s cultural critic Edward Rothstein wrote a good article in 2003, noting that there has been a strong impulse to idealize Andalusia. (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/27/arts/was-the-islam-of-old-spain-truly-tolerant.html?pagewanted=all). Some quotes: “But as many scholars have argued, this image is distorted. Even the Umayyad dynasty, begun by Abd al-Rahman in 756, was far from enlightened. Issues of succession were often settled by force. One ruler murdered two sons and two brothers. Uprisings in 805 and 818 in Córdoba were answered with mass executions and the destruction of one of the city's suburbs. Wars were accompanied by plunder, kidnappings and ransom. Córdoba itself was finally sacked by Muslim Berbers in 1013, its epochal library destroyed. “Andalusian governance was also based on a religious tribal model. Christians and Jews, who shared Islam's Abrahamic past, had the status of dhimmis -- alien minorities. They rose high but remained second-class citizens; one 11th-century legal text called them members of ''the devil's party.'' They were subject to special taxes and, often, dress codes. Violence also erupted, including a massacre of thousands of Jews in Grenada in 1066 and the forced exile of many Christians in 1126. “Even in the Umayyad 10th century, Islamic philosophers were persecuted and books burned. And despite the Córdoba museum's message, Maimonides and his family fled Muslim fundamentalism in Córdoba in 1148 when he was barely in his teens. Averroës was banished from Córdoba about 50 years later.” I am pro-immigration, and welcome all to my country and Church, irrespective of background and race, class, language, etc. Unlike many secular liberals, I want society to give ample space for religious practice and expression (including dress, days off and public expression). People should also have the right to change their religion, as many refugees are now doing, now free of the grip of Sharia law (in the millions - see here http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/why-are-millions-of-muslims-becoming-christian#When%3A2016-05-17+20%3A56%3A01). But assimilation to Western norms of free expression, democratic process, free choice in religion, women’s freedoms, non-violence, etc. is also necessary for acceptance and admission to the US. It was the lack of insistence on assimilation in Belgium that produced the Muslim ghettos, that a generation later gave rise to the terrorists of Brussels and Paris. As to the current worldwide Islamic jihadi terrorism, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was hardly xenophobic when, to the religious imams of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, he called for an Islamic religious Renaissance, the effect of which would be to modify the “corpus of texts and ideas that we have (made sacred) over the years” to the point that “we have antagonized the entire world.” and “I repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world ………. is waiting for your next move …. because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost - and it is being lost by our own hands.”
Robert Lewis
1 year 4 months ago
Let me begin by saying that I agree with everything in Mr. O'Leary's penultimate paragraph. Mr. O'Leary should also better inform himself that, even in the Muslim world, it is common knowledge that at least half of the Hadith sayings are spurious and apocryphal and that no "reformations" away from Islamic fundamentalism should be based on them. Finally, allow me to inform Mr. O'Leary that I presently live in Egypt and know, better than he does, that al Sisi is a complete hypocrite when he says what he does about the need for "reform" in Islam because he, himself, is in a position to do this overnight, if he had a will to do it. HE is the appointer of the Grand Mufti of the Al Azhar Faculty, after Mubarak fired the last one who was independently appointed by the Faculty itself, and ALL of the sheiks and imams throughout Egypt have to have their Friday sermons vetted by his security police. No one can say anything in any mosque in Egypt right now without his permission. The "prophetic voice" of Islam in Egypt--its right to speak truth to power--has been stilled, and that is, as it always has been in Muslim history, the problem; like Christianity under the late Roman emperors, under the Byzantine emperors, under the Hapsburgs, and as it would be under right-wing Republican jurists and Presidents: it is MARRIED to the state.
Tim O'Leary
1 year 4 months ago
Robert - I'm sure you have to be careful what you say then, since you live in Egypt. Diplomacy is important, and especially so for Pope Francis, when we are trying to ally with the "moderates" like Al Sisi and the Grand Mufti vs. the radicals. But, as John Allen writes in today's Crux.com "Pope Francis and the risk of ‘interfaith correctness’ with Islam," there can be real lethal consequences to interfaith correctness. So, while it would not be prudent for Pope Francis to set up a commission to study the record of Muhammad's life at this time, or indeed recall the words on the matter of past Popes, it is also dangerous to foster a gullible acceptance of a hagiographic image of the prophet, or, worse, a pretense that his words and deeds do not matter today. All who want to consider Islam need to do the research themselves. Jesus Christ is utterly unique in history, in His perfection, His mission and His salvation. All are in need of this salvation. No one can have eternal life without it. A string of bad emperors and false Christian followers cannot shake this truth.
E.Patrick Mosman
1 year 2 months ago
"However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.” Apparently Pope Francis failed to consider the admonition that is found in several gospels Matthew 10:14 and Mark 6:11 "And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." There is absolutely nothing about conquest in Jesus's instructions to the Apostles and Disciples. Simply Pope Francis again,said to be a very nuanced thinker,where the actual meaning of his writings and/or "sound bites" of what he has to say are often not helpful and confusion reigns Nuanced thinking (Nuanced definition, a subtle difference or distinction in expression, meaning, response,) is the realm of politicians and those who seek to sow confusion not for the head of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. The more often Pope Francis speaks "off the cuff" before crowds or especially reporters, the more he reminds me of Peter Sellers's Chance the gardener, better known as Chauncey Gardiner, from the movie 'Being There' who spoke simple words, spoken often due to confusion or to a stating of the obvious, which are repeatedly misunderstood as profound and often, in the Pope's case when he speaks or writes on Islam, economic systems, capitalism, climate change, immigration and other worldly matters, several factually in error, or even matters of a possible/potential change in long held Catholic doctrine which are walked back or explained later by a Vatican spokesperson. Is it any wonder that different people hear different signals when the Pope writes or speaks?
E.Patrick Mosman
1 year 2 months ago
" The logic seems to be: if we admit the militaristic history of the Christian nations, linked even to the spread of the Gospel, we might be in a better position to talk candidly and humbly with Muslims, who have their own problems in this regard." The Pope chooses for his own reason to ignore the root cause of violence,Islam, against Catholics, members of other non-Muslim religious beliefs in the Middle East and other areas of the world. "The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter." "http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx The internecine warfare between Islamic sects only adds to the violence against all Catholics and non-Muslims in the Middle East today. There is not one Islamic imam, mullah or person who can speak for all Muslims. For over a thousand years the Catholic Popes and Catholic leaders led victorious battles against the Muslim efforts to conquer Europe. The mantra that "Islam is peaceful" defies the facts. "Mohammed is recorded as dying, on or about, 632 AD. And what followed was not an "under siege" mentality. Wars for enrichment followed. Islam had its own agenda long before the Crusades. If peaceful -- what were Muslim armies doing in Europe 300 years before the Crusades? And hundred of years thereafter? Seventy-seven years after Mohammed's death, in 711 AD -- some 300 years prior to the first Crusade -- it was Muslim military forces who crossed the Straits of Gibraltar from North Africa into Spain and in less than a decade crossed the Pyrenees. In 732 AD , the Muslim forces under the command of Abd-er- rahman, were decisively defeated by Charles Martel and the Franks at the Battle of Poitiers [Tours]. 800 years later in 1571 the fleet of the Ottoman Empire was defeated at the Battle of Lepanto by the fleet of the Holy League, a combined naval force of Catholic countries led by Don John of Austria and contained vessels from Venice, Spain, the Papal States, Genoa, Savoy, and Malta. Nine hundred years later, in September 1683 AD -- Ottoman Empire Muslim armies led by the Turkish commander Grand Vizier Kara Mustapha were at the gates of Vienna. They were defeated by a combination of Austrian, German, and Polish armies. If peace was Mohammed's message -- a subtle proposition at best -- his adherents missed the point then and miss it now."

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