Papal effort at reconciling Catholics and Muslims in Amman
A two day conference on the challenges facing the Middle East’s Christians wraps up today in Amman, Jordan. The conference, called by Jordan’s King Abdullah and organized by his chief advisor for religious and cultural affairs, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, brought together representatives at the highest levels of the Christian churches in the Middle East.
The conference was organized amid a rise in attacks against churches, kidnappings and killings of Christians in countries across the region. The uprisings in Egypt and the conflict in Syria in particular have led more and more Christians to leave.
King Abdullah, who spoke to Pope Francis of the initiative in a private audience last Thursday, told conference participants that the current climate of “intra-religious, sectarian and ideological” violence in the Middle East “requires all of us to focus on education, and the way we bring up our children to protect the generations to come. This is the responsibility of families and other educational institutions, as well as mosques and churches.”
Pope Francis recently offered a similar reflection on the importance of education in building mutual respect between Christians and Muslims in his personal message to the world’s Muslims for the end of Ramadan.
King Abdullah said “We support every effort to preserve the historical Arab Christian identity, and safeguard the right to worship freely, based on a rule in both the Christian and Islamic faiths that underlines love of God and love of neighbor, as embodied in the “A Common Word” initiative.”
The Amman conference opened Tuesday with a welcome speech by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad who said Arab Christians in parts of the region have become targets for intolerance:
According to the Jordan Times, the Prince said “Arab Christians are suffering not only because of the blind and deaf sedition that everyone has suffered from in certain Arab countries since the beginning of what is incorrectly called the Arab Spring, but also merely because they are Christians.”
Prince Ghazi rejected “categorically and completely” all forms of intolerance, recalling how Arab Muslims and Christians have lived side by side and together forged one society over the last 1,300 years. Arab Christians from all spheres of society, he noted, have played a vital role in the building of Arab and Muslim countries.
On Tuesday, participants heard from Patriarchs from Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian churches in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon while the Patriarchs and bishops of the churches in Jordan and Jerusalem spoke of issues of concern in their respective communities on Wednesday.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue represented the Vatican at that session while the Apostolic Nuncio in Amman, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua addressed participants as the Holy See’s diplomatic representative to Jordan and Iraq.
Vatican diplomat shares insights into conference
Speaking to Vatican Radio’s Tracey McClure, Archbishop Lingua praised King Abdullah’s initiative: “As you know the situation for Christians in the Middle East is very tense in this moment and I think the King is good willed and wanted to try everything he can to help them to stay in this region and to live with their Muslim brothers as best as they can. And I think this conference, in this sense shows that he is aware that Christians are a little scared and they are thinking to leave. And so he realizes that something must be done and so this is the first time that such a conference was organized in a Muslim country with the leaders of a country, in this case King Abdullah who has called a conference for Christian leaders of the region.”
Archbishop Lingua said Christian leaders at the conference “were worried of course about military intervention in Syria and so this is why many of them were asking to the foreign countries not to interfere in the political affairs of the countries of this region. They are calling for a dialogue and if the international community can do something, it is to promote dialogue and reconciliation instead of military intervention.”
Archbishop Lingua notes that Muslim participants at the Amman conference and many others he has encountered “are insisting that Muslims and Christians are Arabs. This is the concept that is becoming more (stressed) – that Christians are not guests or second class citizens. The concept of citizenship is a concept which is stressed because all of them are citizens of this country so they are not guests or foreigners. And so, more than tolerance, we must stress citizenship.”
The idea that Arab Muslims and Christians are citizens of their respective countries but are not always respected as partners in and contributors to society was a repeated grievance expressed at the 2010 Synod of Bishops for the Church of the Middle East. During his 2012 pastoral visit to Lebanon to deliver the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation to the region’s bishops, Benedict XVI said the Mideast’s 6 million strong Christian community must enjoy “full citizenship” and not be treated as “second-class citizens or believers.”
And full citizenship according to Benedict XVI meant the right to full religious freedom. Saying it was time to move beyond the concept of “tolerance” to true “religious freedom,” Benedict demanded that all people be permitted to freely choose their own religion, and to practice it publicly, “without endangering one’s life.”
Archbishop Lingua says he hopes initiatives such as the Amman conference will lead to peace and security in the near future: “this is the priority because with the violence, there are too many weapons circulating in this region. So if security is restored, everything can be done and promoted. And also, the resolution of the Palestinian Israeli conflict which many say is the root of all the Middle East’s problems.”
The G20 has come out with a strong call for a new international reserve currency to replace the dollar. This imminent war and its attendant economic crisis will expedite that change to the international economic system.
Putin quotes pope in making case against attack on Syria at his G20 news conference.
These events are fulfilling prophecy as the US and her puppets and proxies are being seen as warmongers by the rest of the world. At the same time a major confrontation is building between the US and Russia which will help expedite the formation of the New Europe, as a balance of powers, to sit between the US and Russia as a means of balancing them off and keeping a peace between them.
Pope Francis renewed his appeal for peace in Syria and throughout the world on Wednesday, once again inviting Christians of every denomination, believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will to take part in the worldwide fast and vigil of prayer and penance for peace, which he has called for September 7th, the vigil of the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, whom we venerate as Queen of Peace.
First announced at the Sunday Angelus at the start of the week, many local Churches have already organized their own initiatives to mark the day. The Holy Father especially urged the faithful of Rome and pilgrims to the city to participate in the prayer vigil to be held in St. Peter’s Square starting at 7 PM Rome Time and continuing until midnight. The Holy Father concluded, “May a powerful cry for peace go up from every land!”
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of the full text of Pope Francis’ appeal.
This coming Saturday we will live together a special day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world. I renew the invitation to the whole Church to live this day intensely, and even now I express gratitude to the other Christian brethren, to the brethren of other religions and to the men and women of good will who desire to join in this initiative, in places and ways of their own. I especially urge the Roman faithful and pilgrims to participate in the prayer vigil here in St. Peter’s Square at 19.00, in order to ask the Lord for the great gift of peace. May a powerful cry for peace go up from every land!
At the same time, the Vatican is taking the moral high ground as a powerful peace advocate, backed by a billion Catholics and vast numbers of others who desire peace in the world.
When the world and particularly Europe are afflicted by the economic crisis brought on by this war; the Vatican will be increasingly seen as the supreme moral authority in Europe that is trusted by Catholic Europe to find a way forward.
The Vatican is on the rise as the ultimate moral authority of mankind; exulting itself over all religions in moral authority, and setting the stage for the setting up of that final miracle working false prophet. People always turn and look to religion during times of crisis.
If 2014 is the year, which is very possible; it is possible that this present pope may be empowered late in 2014. Be careful on thinking that, as it is just as possible that he will suddenly die and a new pope could be set up next September.
Here is the most recent papal positions as the Vatican works to deceive the nations into exulting itself as the world’s final moral authority. He claims to be of God as he uses [twists] God’s word, to make the word of God of no effect and to attract followers to his own ways [as the COG Groups do].
Do NOT be deceived into thinking that asceticism is humility before God. Humility before god is to exult the whole 2woed of God to learn it and to keep it. Asceticism is a carnal attempt to look humble while remaining in rebellion against the word of God.
“Where Jesus is, there is always humility, meekness, and love.” That was the message of Pope Francis in his Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope emphasized the distinction between the “tranquil light” of Jesus that speaks to our hearts, and the light of the world, an “artificial light” that makes us arrogant and proud.
Christian identity, the [pope] said, is “an identity of light, not of darkness.” Pope Francis began his homily from the words of Saint Paul to the first disciples of Jesus: “You, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness . . . you are children of the light.”
This Light, he observed, is not well-liked by the world. But Jesus came precisely to save us from sin: “His light saves us from the darkness.” On the other hand, he continued, today “one might think that there is the possibility” of having the light “with so many scientific things, and so many of the things of humanity”: “You can know everything, you can have knowledge of all things and this light on things. But the light of Jesus is something else. It is not a light of ignorance, no! It’s a light of wisdom and sagacity, but it is something other than the light of the world.
The light that the world offers us is an artificial light, strong, perhaps – but that of Jesus is stronger, eh! – strong like a firework, like a flash of photography. Instead, the light of Jesus is a mild light, it is a quiet light, it is a light of peace, it’s like the light on Christmas night: without pretence.”
It is, the Pope said, a light that “offers and gives peace.” The light of Jesus, he continued, “doesn’t put on a show. It’s a light that comes into the heart.” However, he warned, “it’s true that many times the devil comes dressed as an angel of light: he likes to imitate Jesus and do good, he speaks to us quietly, as he spoke to Jesus after the fast in the desert.” That’s why we should ask the Lord for “the wisdom discernment to understand when it is Jesus who gives us the light, and when it is the devil, disguised as an angel of light.”
“How many believe they are living in the light and they are in darkness, but they don’t realise it? What is the light like that Jesus offers us? The light of Jesus can be known because it is a humble light, it is not a light that imposes itself: it is humble. It’s a meek light, with the strength of meekness. It’s a light that speaks to the heart, and also a light that offers you the Cross. If we, in our inner light are meek, if we hear the voice of Jesus in the heart and look on the Cross without fear: that is the light of Jesus.” But if, on the other hand, a light comes that “makes you arrogant,” he warned, a light that “brings you to look on others from on high” to despise others, “that leads you to pride” – that is not the light of Jesus: it’s the light of the devil, disguised as Jesus, as an angel of light.”
The Pope pointed out the way to distinguish the true light from the false: “Wherever Jesus is, there is always humility, meekness, love, and the Cross.” But, he added, sometimes “we find a Jesus that is not humble, that is not meek, that is without love, and without the Cross.” So we must follow the true Jesus “without fear,” following His light because the light of Jesus “is beautiful and does so much good.”
In today’s Gospel, he concluded, Jesus cast out the devil and the people are lost from fear in the face of a word that casts out unclean spirits: “Jesus doesn’t need an army to cast out the demons, He has no need of pride, no need of force, of arrogance. ‘What is there about His word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’ This is a humble word, meek, with so much love; it is a word that accompanies us in the moments of the Cross. Let us ask the Lord to give us today the grace of His Light, and to teach us to distinguish when the light is from Him, and when it is an artificial light, made by the enemy to deceive us.”
This is some truth mixed with error to deceive people into an emotional feeling in following the pope in rebellion against the law whole word of God; fulfilling Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Brethren this warning from Jesus was directed to the disciples; and indeed we understand this in reference to the pope and pagan religions; yet in this latter day many false teachers have infiltrated into, and taken over leadership positions in many of the scattered Church of God groups and have deceived the vast majority into following men away from the whole word of God.
Whether we are deceived by a pope or by the false teachers that are among us; we are still deceived.
How can we tell the difference? Read Mat 7:13-29; the godly will prove themselves as zealous for the whole word of God, they will be willing to correct them selves and to continually grow in the knowledge and grace [repentance] of the whole word of God. They will say “Follow God and his Word” and will set an example of practicing what they preach.