"Strengthening Relations" with the Muslims?
by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 27, 2017
Let us face reality: Incredibly enough, the world’s foremost defender of Islam is not the Grand Mufti of wherever, but the current occupant of the Chair of Peter. George Neumayr summarizes this epochal embarrassment for the Church with his usual pungency: “As the prototypical progressive Jesuit, Pope Francis prides himself on his ‘ecumenism.’ He oozes enthusiasm for every religion except his own. At the top of his list of favorite religions is the Church’s fiercest adversary — Islam. He often sounds more like a spokesman for CAIR than a Catholic pope.”
Now we are informed that the Pope will travel to Egypt, as Reuters reports, “to try to strengthen relations with the 1,000-year-old Azhar center that were cut by the Muslim side in 2011 over what it said were repeated insults of Islam by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict.”
What insults? Nothing more than Benedict’s entirely justified condemnation of Islamic terrorism after Muslim fanatics massacred 21 people in an Egyptian church in 2011, after which, as Robert Spencer notes, the Al-Azhar center, “the world’s most prestigious Sunni Muslim institution, reacted angrily, breaking off dialogue with the Vatican and accusing the pope of interference in internal Egyptian affairs. In a statement, Al-Azhar denounced the pope’s ‘repeated negative references to Islam and his claims that Muslims persecute those living among them in the Middle East.’”
Wherever did Pope Benedict get the idea that Muslims persecute Christians living among them in the Middle East? Perhaps it was through the use of his reason, aided by the senses, otherwise known as the encounter with reality. But the encounter with reality has been suspended in the case of Pope Bergoglio, who refuses to see or hear any evil in Islam or in the semi-barbaric social orders of Islamic countries.
Consider the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic wife and mother imprisoned since 2009 under a death sentence for the alleged crime of “blasphemy” against “the Prophet.” Pope Benedict publicly called for her release — another of his “insults” of Islam — whereas Pope Bergoglio has refused to do so, evidently wishing to avoid giving offense to Pakistan’s “moderate” Islamic government.
And in what did Asia Bibi’s supposed “blasphemy” consist? As she testified, one day, eight years ago, while picking fruit in the hot sun to earn a few rupees for her struggling family, she dared to drink water from the same cup she then offered to a Muslim co-worker. A nearby Muslim harridan screeched that Bibi, being a Christian, had “dirtied” the water by drinking it and that it had thus become haram, meaning forbidden by God.
Bibi replied: “I think Jesus would see it differently from Mohammed.” And so her nightmare began: she had “insulted the Prophet.” Before the day was over she was in jail, and ultimately was sentenced to death. The case has since wended its way to Pakistan’s highest court, which, while suspending the ludicrous death sentence pending its decision, has just refused to accelerate her hearing. From Francis, however, not a word of public protest, even though world leaders as well as his own predecessor have called for her release.
Strengthening relations with Islam? What relations? Pope Bergoglio refuses to see that there can be, and always has been, only one relation between Christianity and the religion Muhammad invented: that of opposition — the opposition of truth to error, of the light of the Gospel to what Pope Pius XI called “the darkness of Islam,” of Christ the King to the false prophet in whose name countless Christians have been slaughtered.
Yet Pope Bergoglio refuses to attribute the Muslim persecution of Christians to their false religion, whose very tenets dictated the death sentence for Asia Bibi. She languishes in prison while Pope Bergoglio goes to Egypt — where the penalty for apostasy from Islam is death — to “strengthen relations” with representatives of a religion whose entire history is one of hostility to Christ and His Church. This unbelievable situation exemplifies what Cardinal Ciappi meant when he revealed that “In the Third Secret, it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”