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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
8: The Vatican demonstrating intolerance for the Muslims in Europe. Possibility
of the Pope speaking negatively toward the Muslim faith, its beliefs and the
Qur’an. He could conceivably call for a new "crusade" against Islam.
Pope believes Islam incapable of
Pope Benedict XVI believes that unlike other religions, Islam cannot be
reformed and, therefore, is incompatible with democracy, according to a
Catholic leader who participated with the pontiff in a secretive meeting
on the subject.
Fr. Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., and
founder of the publishing house Ignatius Press, spoke with talk-radio
host Hugh Hewitt Jan. 5 about the gathering with the pope's former
theology students, which took place last September at Castelgondolfo in
Italy, the papal summer residence.
|Pope Benedict XVI believes
that unlike other religions, Islam cannot be reformed
The pope, according to Fessio, believes Islam cannot become compatible
with democracy because a radical reinterpretation of the religion would
be required, which is "impossible, because it's against the very nature
of the Quran, as it's understood by Muslims."
In July, when asked by reporters, Benedict refused to declare Islam "a
religion of peace", a phrase often invoked by President Bush.
"I would not like to use big words to apply generic labels," the pope
replied at the time. "It certainly contains elements that can favor
peace, it also has other elements: We must always seek the best
Fessio said that at the Castelgondolfo meeting, Benedict was replying to
Fr. Christian Troll, an expert on Islam in Europe, who asserted that
Islam can enter into the modern world if the Quran is reinterpreted.
This can be done, the priest said, by going back to Islam's original
principles and "then adapting it to our times, especially with the
dignity that we ascribe to women, which has come through Christianity,
Describing Benedict's response, Fessio said: "And immediately, the Holy
Father, in his beautiful calm but clear way, said well, there's a
fundamental problem with that, because, he said, in the Islamic
tradition God has given his word to Muhammad, but it's an eternal word.
It's not Muhammad's word."
In contrast, the pope said, according to Fessio, there's "an inner logic
to the Christian Bible, which permits it and requires it to be adapted
and applied to new situations."
Another priest in attendance at the meeting – Jesuit scholar of Islamic
studies Samir Khalil Samir – contended the pope was less pessimistic
about Islam, reported the Italian Catholic website www.chiesa.
Samir said the pope sees a meeting between Islam and democracy as
possible, but "on the condition of a radical reinterpretation of the
Quran and of the very conception of divine revelation."
The author of the www.chiesa article, Sandro Magister, noted the
discussion is not merely theoretical, but "has significant geopolitical
"America's overall strategy in Iraq and the greater Middle East is
founded precisely upon the possibility of democracy's birth and growth
in those Muslim regions," Magister said.
"It also involves the future of Muslim immigrants in Europe. An Islam
reconciled with democracy would allow their integration. An Islam
incapable of distinguishing between God and Caesar would trap them in a
state of "alienation."