John Paul II kissed the Quran?

My cousins family has fallen into schism. They call themselves Catholic but do not follow the Pope. They say the Church and the Popes lost their authority at Vatican II. In our discussions over these matters, I often find myself having no idea how to defend the Church. Here are some of their points that I would like some help with:

  1. “John Paul II kissed the Quaran!” Really this does strike me as odd. I can’t reason why he would do that. Did he really do that?

  2. They also pointed out instances when post VII popes had said something apparently heretical, so that proves they aren’t the Pope. My argument was that the imperfection of men doesn’t diminish the perfection of the Church itself. I know it’s a weak point, so help me out.

I’ll just keep it to those two for now. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

to answer your point on number 2. I suggest I would read the Vatican II documents starting with Lumen Gentium. This will give you an idea what Vatican II was all about

Yes, he did.

Pope John Paul - Kissed the Koran

Many non-Catholic Christians objected when Pope John Paul II kissed the Koran during a visit to a mosque several years ago. However, in showing respect for Islam’s scriptures, the Holy Father was following the advice of one of the greatest evangelists of all time, the Apostle Paul, who described his own approach to inter-faith dialogue in these words:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23
19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Thank you for the quick responses. Excellent bible verse to share! Excellent!

There are a couple of possibilities that could answer why he did what he did.

He could have been given the book as a gift and not been aware that it was the Koran. He may have just thought it a beautiful, ancient book.

He could have thought this was an appropriate cultural response to the receipt of a gift. He would have kissed a toaster.

At worst, all he is guilty of is bad taste. There is not endorsement of the Koran in the way he received it. I do not know how often you all deal with others of different faiths and cultures, but apologetics and dialougue begin with good manners.

Randy’s respone to your first question was great. The question one should ask is what was the Pope’s intent in kissing their holy book. I doubt any of Pope JPIIs critics would have the faintest idea.

In general the following site is very detailed and was a great help to me in understanding the issues.

Wow, what a resource!! Thanks for the link!

he should have drop kicked that sucker.


He also kissed the ground every time he disembarked from a plane–that doesn’t mean he was worshipping some earth goddess. Even when he wasn’t able to kneel down, someone would bring him some of the local earth and lift it up for him.

What did he actually mean by kissing the Koran (if he did; and I’m not denying it, just saying I don’t remember seeing it)? How many other things did he kiss? We can’t read too much into what he did, and certainly cannot say that a simple gesture like kissing a book would invalidate his Petrine ministry.

Great point, Father! I was unaware he did that. That’s something I can reiterate in a conversational way next time they bring that up. I’m really getting some heavy artillery today!

Actually, one slight correction. I think he did it only the first time he visited any particular land (or maybe as he got older, he didn’t necessarily do it if he already had on a previous trip). The point still stands though.

A very good point and another thing to remember is that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI were both part of Vatican II and have spent most of their lives clarifying those teachings. You can actually draw a direct line from the VII documents to almost every one of the last 2 pontiff’s writings.

[FONT=Palatino Linotype][size=4]CCF actually has just opened a special forum for discussions of the V2 documents and started with a couple of the texts. Check it out.[/size][/FONT]

I was thinking the same thing…He seemed to kiss things a lot.
And fairly recently, I remember reading an article by the wife of an Eastern Orthodox priest who said, that one of the things that always surprises people at an Orthodox church for the first time is that “we tend to kiss things a lot”. I suddenly realized: He was Polish, after all. Is that an eastern thing, more than we are used to in the west? Kissing things as a sign of respect, or gratitude, or whatever?

:shrug:Idunno*.* Hey**,:stuck_out_tongue: I** kiss my :Dcat. I am not worshipping her. (Despite what** ;)she** would, no doubt, like to believe…).

i’d be very careful using anything from that link. Many of his quotations are out of context and nonverifiable.

It does not say to win the blasphemers i became a blasphemer or to win the idolators i became an idolater or to win the satan worshippers i worshipped satan…

This is not a good comparison, at all. Quran states…“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them,” Quran 5:73, Yusuf Ali

They say that about our LORD and here you have the face of Christianity in the world kissing their holy book it is a sign that he recognised their faith as a true faith, yet they boldly deny Jesus is the Christ.
Ridiculous is anyone who tries to rationalise this action.

On the contrary, I found his quotations to be in context and verifiable. Many detailed footnotes too.

Can you back up your claim with demonstrable examples?

Well, it is a good thing that is not what happened, isn’t it. I say the comparison is apt because the things you mentioned did not happen and are a strawman.

If Pope John Paul II tried to rationalize it, would you call him ridiculous?

Your argument, I believe, is a valid one. Whatever his intent was, it was scandalous. People were lead to believe that he was accepting Islam. Now if that’s all the deeper this matter goes, then I can just argue that scandal from within the Church does not detract from its validity as The Church.

But still… I would like to know what his intent WAS, because I’m sure this matter is more than skin deep.

They weren’t led so much as they jumped to conclusions.

– Mark L. Chance.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit