Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"The pontiff will call for terrorists to convert to Christianity"!

Apostolic Journey to the US 2008
(Image from Christ Our Hope)

Or so The Telegraph has recently reported.

Calling for Bin Laden to repent, turn to Christ, and enter the Church would constitute a rather provocative act for even this Pope . . . but what does Pope Benedict actually plan to say?

When we read further and find the actual words that the Pope intends to utter in his prayer at Ground Zero, the spot where the World Trade Towers once stood, nothing quite so provocative is planned:
"Turn to Your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred."
What I explicitly read is the Pope praying for God to turn the hearts of terrorists away from hatred and toward love, but for Malcolm Moore, "Pope will pray for terrorists at Ground Zero," (The Telegraph, April 14, 2008), apparently, this amounts to an obvious, provocative call for the conversion of Islamist terrorists to Christianity, a call that will inflame the Muslim world:
The prayer is likely to further incense the Muslim world, which has already attacked the Pope for publicly converting Magdi Allam, a journalist and one of Italy's most high-profile Muslims, at Easter.
Likely? I find this unlikely. If the Pope's innocuous prayer will "incense the Muslim world," then what wouldn't enrage 'Muslims'? I don't expect the Muslim world to take much notice of the Pope's prayer, and I suspect that Mr. Moore was simply trying to drum up interest in his own journalism. But don't take my word for this. Read the prayer in its entirety:
"Pope will also pray terrorists 'turn to the way of love'," Catholic News Agency (April 12, 2008)
Nothing there that explicitly calls for terrorists to convert to Christianity. What about implicitly? On that, Mr. Moore has a point, and if one reads between the lines, then -- speaking theologically -- the Pope will be doing precisely what the reporter claims, namely, calling for Islamist terrorists to convert to the true faith.


Because that's the operative distinction between these two world religions: Islam demands the way of submission; Christianity offers the way of love. That's surely how the Pope sees things. I can't precisely quote this pontiff on that, but I have no doubt that he holds these views.

The reporter for The Telegraph therefore understood the Pope too well, but I don't expect Muslims to do so.

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At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no comment except to say that I enjoyed reading and thinking about the ideas in this post.

If Christianity is the religion of love and Islam the religion of submission, how would you categorize Hinduism and Buddhism? I would call Buddhism the religion of selflessness. I do not know enough about Hinduism to categorize it.


At 7:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Hinduism is the religion of being Hindu.

Just joking. Actually, it's the religion of knowing your place.

Still kidding. That's the 'religion' of Confucianism.

But it's not far off, for Hindusism is the religion of 'confusionism': "Now, how many million gods did you say that we believe in..."

Sorry, I can't be serious. Okay, I can: Hinduism is the religion of bad good news. The good news is . . . you get another chance at life. The bad part is that your second chance is as sacred cow . . . on a McDonald's farm.

Hey, that's karma.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:26 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I would agree with you. If we were all insects, Christians would be the black ants that you find in the citrus trees down here (harmless and hardworking) and Muslim Terrorists would be the erratic fireants. They have a tendancy to overreact, injure, attack, and behave in other histrionic ways. So if they CAN find fault in the Pope's innocuous call to peace, they assuredly will.

At 4:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

As the Spartans replied to Philip II:


But we'll see. Perhaps 'if' they've been reading Mr. Moore...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:12 AM, Blogger Malcolm Pollack said...

Hi Jeffery,

There's little doubt, I think, that when the Pope says to God about hate-filled Muslim terrorists that God should "turn them" to his "way of love" he is talking about Christianity. After all, that's what he's selling.

Unless he wants them to start going after altar boys, of course.

At 5:26 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

So, Malcolm, you're suggesting that the Pope really did mean the love that dare not speak its name . . . namely, "Christianity"?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:31 AM, Blogger Malcolm Pollack said...

Well, of course! I mean, he's the Pope, after all. He wants everybody to be Christian, no? So when, talking about terrorists, he asks God to "turn them", what else could he mean?

At 5:47 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Whew, that's a relief. For a moment there, I worried that you meant that other love that dare not speak its name.

Speaking of which, rumor has it that a lot of the jihadi Islamists prefer that other love...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:54 AM, Blogger Malcolm Pollack said...

I'm afraid I'll have to defer to the experts on that one.

But maybe that will make it easier for "thy rod and staff" to comfort them.

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I was thinking more of "Suffer little children" -- according to some of the reports that I've read about the jihadis in Afghanistan.

But I suppose that such reports could be disinformation from our side.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:05 AM, Blogger Malcolm Pollack said...

All kidding aside, that's awful, if true.

But it should ease their conversion: they can go right into the priesthood! [rimshot]

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

All "kidding" aside? "Rimshot"? When the puns are coming so thick and fast, we'd better hold off for a while...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:14 AM, Blogger Malcolm Pollack said...

That can be mighty hard, when the insights are so penetrating.

Readers will just have to forgive us for being so cheeky.

At 6:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, stick to what one does best, I always say.

And with that final point, I'm off...

Jeffery Hodges

At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're one of the boys after all, Jeffery.


At 7:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, S., after years, of pretense, I must admit that I really am just a sheep in wolf's clothing.

And I'm now at Kyung Hee University and ought to get to work...

Jeffery Hodges

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