Monday, March 24, 2008

Lucia Easter Vigil Conversions [Updated]

The Easter Vigil is celebrated on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. On that night many people who have been studying over the previous year to become Catholics are Baptised and/or Confirmed and given their first Eucharist. In our parish on Saturday four adults entered the Church in this way.

Over in Rome this Easter Vigil the Pope baptised an Italian/Muslim journalist who has been very critical of Islam in his writing.
In a surprise move at the Easter vigil at St Peter's on Saturday night, the Pope baptised Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken Egyptian-born critic of Islamic extremism and supporter of Israel, who has been under police protection for five years following death threats against him over his criticism of suicide bombings.
He said that by baptising him publicly the Pope had "sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too cautious in the conversion of Muslims because of the fear of being unable to protect the converted, who are condemned to death for apostasy".

He added: "Thousands of people in Italy have converted to Islam and practise their faith serenely. But there are also thousands of Muslims who have converted to Christianity but are forced to hide their new faith out of fear of being killed by Islamist terrorists."

Muslim groups in Italy said Mr Allam would have done better to have undergone a low key conversion at a local parish. "What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion," said Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, deputy head of the Italian Islamic Religious Community.
Given that the Pope has been calling for reciprocation in religious freedom for some time now, this may be a public signal to Islam. A throwing down of the gauntlet so to speak.

Related Link: Pope risks Muslim anger by baptising controversial journalist

UPDATE: Magdi Allam Recounts His Path to Conversion

9 comment(s):

JC said...

I think Benedict is playing the Islamists at their own game.

There was the Regensberg address, followed by an apology but no backdown, something else he did that he backed away from slightly, and now this. He might soon say he wasn't trying to offend...

Advance two steps, retreat one.. he's going to drive the Mullahs batty.

JC

Lucyna Maria said...

I also wonder if the Archbishop's death in Iraq (after being captured by Islamists) was the last straw for the Pope.

JC said...

That's a point. Whatever the truth, he's clearly taking an active hand in opposing the Radicals.

I wonder if Bin Laden will mention this in his next video or message.

JC

Sean said...

Hmmm, yes I read about this on CNN.com the other day. Not so sure it it is such a wise move in todays climate. Forging closer ties is not helped by 'frustrating' the other side in such a way. Some nutters will take anger at it and I hope they don't resort to any violence but most Muslims will just raise their eyebrows at such a public conversion. It also doesn't help that this guy has written pro-Israel books and articles. If anything this move may only add a semblance of credibility to Osama bin Laden's ridiculous comments the other day.

KG said...

In military parlance, the Pope may have moved to a position where he can dictate the tempo of the battle.
Certainly,first considering whether every move made will offend the islamists is disastrous, since they'll choose to be offended whenever it suits them anyway.

Sean said...

That could well be the case KG. However I don't think the Church would be even entertaining the notion of heading towards battle with Islam. Without a doubt it's a battle with no winners, only losers.

There is a vociferous minority within Islam that tends to get easily offended, and it may be bigger than a mere fringe minority, but lets not paint the whole faith with that brush.

I'm not by any means suggesting the Church panders to Islams every sensibility, but good leadership will always consider potential risks and effects of actions, especially those that are public.

JC said...

I see from the news tonight that Bin Laden has already accused the Pope of starting a Crusade (before this conversion).

I think that confirms that the Pope is up to something, and that's likely to be confronting Radical Islam with it's intolerance and lack of freedoms.

JC

JC said...

Actually, the more I think about, the more I think Benedict has thrust a long bony finger into Islam and said "Here, this is what I have done to remind you that Muslims are converting in their millions each year to Christianity because of your intolerance and their disgust at your behaviour.. change your ways". Like Regensberg, he is challenging the legitimacy of Islam.

JC

KG said...

"....but lets not paint the whole faith with that brush."
Which is why I used the term "islamists" instead of muslims in my comment.
Although myself, I certainly do paint the whole faith with that brush--it's a murderous ideology masquerading as a religion.

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