By John Feffer
Pope Benedict caused a stir in 2006 when he quoted a Byzantine emperor’s unflattering description of Mohammed’s legacy as “evil and inhuman.” He subsequently apologized, but his views of Islam remained rather medieval. Pope Francis, by contrast, has immediately sought to repair ties with the world of Islam. As Akbar Ahmed and Craig Considine have written in The Washington Post, “Before an audience of ambassadors from 180 countries, he explained how he wanted to work for peace and bridge-building between peoples. Muslims and Catholics, he claimed, needed to intensify their dialogue. Positive shockwaves were sent into Muslim-Catholic circles, and Muslim scholars and religious institutions around the world welcomed Pope Francis’s election.”
Pope Francis has sent letters to major Muslim figures, such as the top imam of the University of Al-Azhar, as well as a message to all Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan. In 1076, Pope Gregory VII sent a similar message to the emir of Mauretania that emphasized the common roots of Islam and Christianity. Twenty years later, that same pope provided the ideological underpinning of the First Crusade.
- On Faith – Salam and salutation to Pope Francis (drcraigconsidine.wordpress.com)
- Pope Francis marks Lampedusa as center of ‘globalization of indifference’ (drcraigconsidine.wordpress.com)