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Italian bishops offer high praise for Islam

02 June, 2017 17:23
Italian bishops offer high praise for Islam

A number of Italian bishops are offering praise for Islam and defending it as a religion with a role in salvation. Pope Francis' new appointment as president for the Italian bishops' conference, Cdl. Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia, immediately made his ecumenical priorities clear.

At his first public appearance, just a few days after the Manchester terror attack, Cdl. Bassetti officiated at an "interreligious prayer" in a school of his diocese. He said there:

"Religions are not the cause of violence and terrorism. ... It's been like that for us as well, because in the past the Red terrorists would also come from our Catholic universities. ... Muslims, Jews and Christians believe in the same Creator, and the mixing of the races is inevitable. Whoever denies that denies man, and therefore, any principle of humanism."

Another prelate is offering his blessing to Muslims during "the holy month of Ramadan." Bishop Ambrogio Sperafico, president of the Bishops' Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, wrote a message to Muslims on behalf of the Italian bishops conference: "To the only God, clement and merciful, we entrust the holy month of Ramadan, your and our communities, the journey we have done and the one we can and would like to do together. Ramadan mubarak, a blessed Ramadan, everybody."

In an interview with AgenSIR, Bp. Sperafico went on to defend Islam. "It's evident that anyone who identifies Islam with terrorism, doesn't know Islam," he insisted. "And this is the problem: The ignorance around us is such that it's too easy to take advantage of it." He went on to blame "ignorance" as the source of violence: "Ignorance is a herald of great violence in words and actions."

The bishop also mentioned the Islamic explanatory documents prepared by the Italian bishops conference, published in 2015 with the intent "to create a dialogue mentality." One document declares that Islam plays a role "in the history of salvation":

"The settling of Muslims in our country, the rise of new generations of Muslims (Italians in all aspects), the increase of mixed marriages ... These factors have posed the problem of cohabitation with those of a different religion. ... It's possible to recognize a role for Islam in the history of salvation. ... This hypothesis presents arguments on which the current formulations of the magisterium may find significant convergences: the unity of the human family ... along with the common origin and destiny of all men — God."


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