Pope urges Muslim leaders to condemn violence
Francis tells Turkish president attacks carried out in the name of Islam need condemnation from world’s Muslim leaders.
Pope Francis is the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics [Reuters]
Pope Francis has urged Muslim leaders to “clearly” condemn violent attacks carried out in the name of Islam after returning from a historic three-day visit to Turkey.
The Catholic pope made the remarks on Sunday during a press briefing on board a plane carrying him back to Rome after wrapping up a three-day visit to Turkey.
I told the president that it would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn this because this would help the majority of Muslim people.
– Pope Francis
Francis said he had made the suggestion of a global condemnation of terrorism by Muslim leaders in talks on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Francis several times condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group during his three-day trip.
“I told the president that it would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn this because this would help the majority of Muslim people,” he said.
Francis also said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and that he understood why Muslims were offended by many in the West who automatically equated their religion with terrorism.
The Argentine pope, who has been trying to foster cooperation with moderate Islam in order to work for peace and protect Christians in the Middle East, said it was wrong for anyone to react to terrorism by being “enraged” against Islam.
“You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them [fundamentalists]. All religions have these little groups,” he said.
“They [Muslims] say: ‘No, we are not this, the Quran is a book of peace, it is a prophetic book of peace.’”
On the final day of his first visit to Turkey, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics also called for an end to violence against Christians by ISIL.
In a joint statement with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the leaders said they could not allow Christianity to be driven out of the region.
“We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years.”
They said the “terrible situation” of Christians calls “for an appropriate response on the part of the international community”.
You don’t usually get to hear a Lutheran congregation holler an, “Amen” or “Preach it, Brother. ” Today was no different, but the minister seemed to want one. I was visiting with the Lutherans and the minister confessed that the one time he could remember that someone called out, “Amen, Brother”, it caught him so by surprise that it totally threw him into confusion. Now, however, Jesus was talking plain in the Gospel and the minister felt he could use a reminder from the pews to, “Make it plain; make it plain!” He was preaching John 3:16, “the Bible in a nutshell.”
The evening before, I heard a priest of the Roman Catholic Church preach it. He truly kept it simple. He said,
“Life is short. Hell is for Eternity. Think about it!” He sat down. That was it! Talk about nutshells.
My Lutheran friend said a bit more, before remembering his injunction to himself, “Make it plain!” The plain fact was that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” The minister said that the love He bore us was not the stuff of “warm fuzzies” but “agape”, that to die for love that willing died for all mankind; sparing not a drop of blood, or leaving a breathe unspent.
The sermon in my head reminded me, Jesus plainly and emphatically proclaimed that verse, now made famous by placards at football games and verse17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” However, not many people finish the message. Jesus’ “make it plain” message, was also recorded by John in chapter 3:18-19.
No “warm fuzzies” here, either, only the uncomfortable part of the Truth, John 3:18-19.
“Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.”
Jesus spoke the whole Truth and so should we because: “Life is short. Hell is for Eternity. Think about it!”