I have been a supporter of Catholics to fellow Protestants for some time. At times, I have actually considered conversion. What stops me are various things I feel unsettled about within the church. One is recent things involving Popes. From what I understand, one or more have prayed in a mosque before or apologized for comments Muslims don’t like. Frankly, I can’t see evangelicals or fundamentalists doing this. Islam is obviously false. Why can’t you take a stand and call it what it is? To do otherwise recognizes it in a way it shouldn’t.
Your first objection is not problematic. Christians may pray anywhere they wish. I could see your point if, on his recent trip to Turkey, for example, the Pope was reciting Muslim prayers or plainly and pointedly praying to Allah. But he was not. If I visit a Buddhist temple and I feel the need to pray, my prayer is going to Jesus, no matter where I’m phsically located.
As for the second point, could you give an example? A direct quote or link to a first hand report where the Pope is quoted fully in context would be helpful.
While in Turkey last week, Pope Benedict was invited by the Grand Mufti of the Blue Mosque to take a tour around the place. It was a spontaneous moment when the Grand Mufti announced he was going to pray and during that time, Pope Benedict closed his eyes and said his own prayers. I don’t agree that that was the time or place for the Pope to talk about the errors of Islam.
Also, the Pope never apologized for his quote linking violence to Islam. He said he was sorry that Muslims were upset by the quote. Sometimes you have to risk upsetting people for their own good. It’s like telling someone who is thinking about terminating their pregnancy, that abortion is murder. If someone were to be upset by that, what would you say? You would say, “I am sorry that that upsets you (but it’s still true)”. It is right to acknowledge when you have upset someone but that does not mean you take back what you said, just that you are sorry that they reacted in the way they did. This is the same thing with Pope Benedict. He was sorry that Muslims reacted violently to his quote that linked violence and Islam.
So in fact, he has taken a stand. And because of this, his life has been threatened by extremist Muslims, including a man who was shooting outside the Italian embassy several weeks before the Pope’s visit saying he wished he could shoot the Pope for God.
And take a look at this, there is even a best-selling book in Turkey called “Who Will Kill Pope Benedict XVI in Istanbul?” (which, praise God, did not happen):
A potboiler novel currently on bestseller lists in Turkey titled Papa’ya suikast (”Attack on the Pope”) predicts that Benedict will be assassinated.
Written by novelist Yücel Kaya, the book is subtitled, “Who will kill Benedict XVI in Istanbul?”
In a little more than 300 pages, Kaya manages to weave the Turkish Secret Service, the infamous Masonic lodge P2, and (of course) Opus Dei into his plot line. Inevitably, Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, also makes an appearance.
All this might seem comical were it not for the fact that in the last seven months, three Catholic priests have been attacked in Turkey, beginning with the murder of Italian missionary Fr. Andrea Santoro on February 5.
(Take a look at the cover of the book on this website:
The “fictional” Pope sure seems to bear a striking resemblance to the real one.
His life has also been threatened by Al-Qaida for taking a stand. Yet, he still went to Turkey.
He treads a fine line between addressing the errors of Islam and endangering the lives of Christians living in Islamic countries. Remember the nun who was murdered as a direct result of Pope Benedict’s Regensburg quote about Islam? Apparently, extremist Muslims believe Pope Benedict has taken a stand or they wouldn’t be threatening his life.
I agree with the headline of this article calling him “Benedict the Brave”:
I agree that Islam is false, what little I know about it. However, I believe that the vast majority of muslims in the world are just ordinary, everyday, good people trying to live their lives out as best they can. Heck, there are LOTS of false religions in the world, many of them related to Christianity. Take the Mormons, for instance. Anyone with at least one eye open can see the farce of it at a glance. Yet, most Mormons are wonderful people who haven’t got a clue what their false religion actually teaches. So then, we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The Pope at times walks on the world stage in a way that no other religious leader is able. You want religious war? That’s easy to obtain. But dialog, understanding, peace: those take work, creativity, thought, prayer, and witness. The Pope witnesses the Prince of Peace, not the God of War.
I would suggest to you that Islam is lacking, but not completely false. Salvation is still possible for Muslims and other faiths who out of ignorance do not profess Jeus.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841: The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”
Regarding the exhortation, ""Outside the Church there is no salvation:"
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 847:
This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
*]Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.[/LIST]
Yikes. The Church doesn’t take a stand?
What about the evils of abortion, birth control, the same sex marriage issue, communism, just war doctrine, the importance of the family, the impossibility of female priests, the fact that Benedict 16 said that God and sensless killing do not belong in the same sentence?
I thought what Benedict did was just smart. They prayed at hte same time, so what? St. Paul tells us to be able to defend our faith with what? CHARITY. You cannot start by telling people that they are completely wrong (in this case Muslims are not in some areas) and expect them to accept you with out malice.
But if we start with the fact that we both belive in the same God, that we both want peace thats good no?
Catholics take more of a stand on all religious issues than any other IMHO.
I dont understand how anyone could argue it has not. I cant understand anyone thinking Benedict is not a hard liner. He’s the most brilliant theologian in our midst! He has been a fighter for preserving and defending orthodox catholic beliefs and traditions and I could go on and on.
I think one has to understand he is never going to give in to pressure from anyone, and no one has a basis to think that he would. Have you read his books? Do you know his backround? Its mind numbing. This Pope is not giving the store away to anyone let alone Islam.
He does not suffer fools easily. Dont worry.
Yes, though it was maybe not entirely spontaneous…the Grand Mufti came to a certain place in the tour and said something like “and this is the place where people stop and say a prayer”…or so I heard on Catholic Answers a few days ago. So they both prayed in their own way, the Pope in silence. I think it’s great! I pray side-by-side with my Methodist friends and it’s powerful.
It sends a strong message to voice what you see as the differences between groups (the Holy Father’s quote “controversy”) but still be willing to face your God side by side with each other. That’s a hard line to walk and I’m glad we have the Pope to walk it for us.
Sorry for any confusion. When I referred to the Pope’s spontaneous prayer, I was referring to his later statement that the meditation at the Blue Mosque was an “unplanned gesture”.