Tag Archives: interreligious dialogue

Muslim man dances on altar

On October 11, a Muslim managed to get up and dance on
the altar of the Florence’s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the famed cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Florence.

Apparently, the man brought his ghetto blaster to the cathedral and played Michael Jackson’s song, “Bad.”

Here are the  pictures
of this unbelievable event. The perpetrator does not speak Italian, but it’s reported that he prayed several time in Arabic.

Interesting…I am not sure what to make of this act of disrespect. Surely this man was out of his mind, right? Is this the result of the multiculturalism that the liberal West promotes and condones as a matter of religious freedom? What would Whoopi Goldberg say about this event? Could she bring herself to re-think her objections to Bill O’Reilly’s ideas the day when she stormed off the stage on live TV?

Where is the Christian protest? Why are the Catholics of Florence so quiet about this act of insensitivity??? Please tell me!

Has the Catholic Church in Turkey been too neglected by us?

Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini, OFM Cap. of Izmir,
Turkey, and Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia and President
of the Turkish Episcopal Conference, gave the following intervention today. The
point of noting the Archbishop’s intervention here is that I believe we have to be concerned with
the reality of the Catholic faithful in places outside our neighborhood. Catholics can’t simply concerned with matters that are near. The June murder of Capuchin Bishop Luigi Padovese‘s death has remained a key point in my prayer, interest
in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, the missionary aspect of the Church’s
preaching program and the extent to which one would lay down his life for the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is Luigi Padovese a martyr? Franceschini has been clear that Padovese’s death was premeditated by Islamic radicals with a hatred toward Christianity while the Turkish authorities insist the murder was personal and not politically or religiously motivated. I am not sure as I didn’t know the state of his soul or his true relationship with Christ. The designation of a person as a martyr is a matter for Mother Church to make, but I might be persuaded to think in that direction. Christians comprise less than one percent of the Turkish nation.

Bp Padovese.jpg

“The little Church of Turkey, at times ignored,
had her sad moment of fame with the brutal murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese
O.F.M. Cap., president of the Turkish Episcopal Conference. In a few words I
would like to close this unpleasant episode by erasing the intolerable slander
circulated by the very organisers of the crime. It was premeditated murder, by
those same obscure powers that poor Luigi had just a few months earlier
identified as being responsible for the killing of Fr. Andrea Santoro, the
Armenian journalist Dink and four Protestants of Malatya. It is a murky story
of complicity between ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics, experts in the
‘strategia della tensione’. The pastoral and administrative situation in the
vicariate of Anatolia is serious. … What do we ask of the Church? We simply
ask what we are lacking: a pastor, someone to help him, the means to do so, and
all of this with reasonable urgency. … The survival of the Church of Anatolia
is at risk. … Nonetheless, I wish to reassure neighbouring Churches –
especially those that are suffering persecution and seeing their faithful
become refugees – that the Turkish Episcopal Conference will continue to
welcome them and offer fraternal assistance, even beyond our abilities. In the
same way, we are open to pastoral co-operation with our sister Churches and
with positive lay Muslims, for the good of Christians living in Turkey, and for
the good of the poor and of the many refugees who live in Turkey”.

No Islamic worship in former mosque, bishop says

Córdoba cathedral.jpgEuronews reported today that the bishop of Córdoba, Bishop Demetrio Fernández González made a decision not allow Muslim worship in a former mosque in what is today a Roman Catholic Cathedral. I believe that Bishop Demetrio made a correct and prudent decision here.

But his reasoning seems to lack some precision: it is not the length of time (or how the building came to be Catholic), it’s legal title is held by the Church much like Hagia Sophia’s title is not held by the Church but by a museum. Christians accept this latter fact and are not arguing for its return. The Cathedral is a Catholic Church and no longer a mosque even though the two religions worship the transcendent God.

In Nostra Aetate and in other statements of the Holy See teach that Muslims worship the God of Abraham. They believe in only one and their intention is to worship that one, transcendent God and is the same God that Jews and Christians worship.

Without getting into theological specifics here, it has be noted that with the Muslim religion there is doubt among theologians and experts about nature of the divine inspiration of the Koran and the place of Muhammad as a true prophet; but the Muslims can’t be accused of not worshipping one God and the elements that are true in Islam come from Judaism and Christianity which were present in Muhammad’s time. Some would make the claim that the tenets of Islam are similar to a Christian heresy much like Arianism. Orthodox Christians accept that Arians believed in the God who revealed Himself in the Bible however Arianism is rejected because of its denial of the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.

A friend raised a question about Jews and Christians viz. as what might be said of Muslims. The difference with Islam that can’t be applied to Judaism is that we believe Judaism to be true but incomplete without Jesus; the Torah and the books of the Old Testament is the inspired word of God.

So for these reasons Christians and Muslims cannot worship together or share places of worship because Islam does not have an orthodox faith.

Secular and pluralistic society won’t agree on what makes a religion true: talk about truth and heresy makes no sense to people who question the possibility of there being truth, claims of objective truth and revelation. Therefore, I think the matter needs to be addressed in terms of reason.

Catholic worship of God in a consecrated space has a special and essential distinction because the Church is a place of sacrifice and salvation with its focus on the person of Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life; no confusion should happen. The same line of thinking would apply to other religions and for Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. Additionally, it’s not merely “opening the door” for the possible expulsion of Catholics again from their mother church but it is improper to allow a religion who does not accept even the basics of Christian faith to worship in a “Catholic space” –and so frequently at odds with Christianity as seen in the murder of Catholic clerics– and against reason.

Historically, Córdoba is a Roman city but was forcibly converted to Islam in 711 and recaptured by the Spanish King Ferdinand III in 1236. For much of the 525 years that Córdoba was Muslim it was also caliphate, the seat of authority. What is intellectually interesting is that The Great Mosque of Córdoba was the protector of the world’s largest library at that time estimated to have between 400,000 and 1 million volumes (I can’t account for a discrepancy but the numbers are impressive).

Having visited Córdoba a few years ago I can say that the Islamic influence of former times is still very recognizable and much of the artwork beautiful, even though I can’t read Arabic.

Córdoba ceiling.jpg
The article:

“Bishop Demetrio Fernández González of the southern
Spanish city of Córdoba, once the seat of Muslim power in Spain, said that he
will not permit Islamic worship at the city’s cathedral. The cathedral was
formerly a mosque, which in turn had been built on the site of a Catholic

“Sharing the cathedral with Muslims, Bishop Fernández González said in
an interview, “is a euphemism which means: get Catholics out of here … The
answer to the question about sharing the Cathedral is that no, we’re not,
because this place has been a Catholic church 16 centuries, while Muslims have
been four and half centuries.”

“If I let in the Muslims pray in the
cathedral of Cordoba, it is equivalent to Catholics saying goodbye and good
night; it would be irresponsible,” he added. “There are things that are
shared and others that are not, and the cathedral of Cordoba is not shared with
Muslims (…)”

Nigeria and her human misery

These pictures are extremely hard to look at, they are extremely graphic!!!

Let’s pray for the miracle of peace between Muslims &
Christians in northern Nigeria. 

Unbelievable the depths to which human misery and animalistic passions can sink.

The pictures of the horrific murders of the Nigerians posted by the Anglican Diocese of Jos.

What are we doing about it?????

Documents between 1939-45 on Pius XII papacy

The Vatican Publishing House is making available, free of charge on the internet, more than 8,000 pages of the Actes et Documents du Sainte-Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale (1965-1981) edited by Jesuit Fathers Pierre Blet, Angelo Martini, Robert A. Graham and Burkhart Schneider.


vatican secret archive.jpgThe release of these documents are the result of a request of the Pave the Way  Foundation (PTWF) made to the Holy See to digitalize and publish 5,125 documents of the Vatican Secret Archives dated from March 1939 to May 1945. PTWF president Gary Krupp said his Foundation aims to remove the barriers between Catholic and Judaism. He told Jesús Colina of Zenit, “In the futherance of our mission we have recognized the papacy of the war time Pope Pius XII as a source of friction impacting over one billion people.”


More information on the Vatican Secret Archives may be found here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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