In its never-ending quest to build bridges between Islam and Christianity, the Vatican is organizing a series of webinars entitled “Mary, a model for faith and life for Christianity and Islam,” presenting the mother of Jesus as, in the words of the Italian weekly Famiglia Christiana, “a Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman.” The series is set to start on February 18 and run for ten weeks, and whatever may be its results, one outcome is certain: like all other examples of Muslim-Christian “dialogue,” it will not prevent one Christian in a Muslim country from being persecuted.
The webinars are designed to promote not only “dialogue,” but also “knowledge and cooperation,” with Muslim and Christian speakers holding forth on topics “Mary, a woman of faith” and “God who is love and faith,” along with explorations of “prayer, purity, hospitality and non-violence, fasting and penitence, fraternity and citizenship.”
This endeavor is being organized at the very highest levels: it is a mutual project of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Mary (Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, popularly known as PAMI); the Franciscan pontifical University of Rome, the “Antonianum”; the International Islamic-Christian Marian Commission; and the Grand Mosque of Rome and its Islamic Cultural Center of Italy.
According to Life Site News, “the Italian weekly Famiglia Christiana presented the event in the light of the Abu Dhabi declaration, illustrating its article on Saturday with a photo of Pope Francis signing the Human Fraternity Document together with Imam al-Tayyeb of the Al-Azhar University of Cairo.” The weekly’s Gian Matteo Roggio explained: “The course of these webinars is therefore aimed at active, free, conscious, solidary and popular participation in the opening of this space of intersection, interconnection, hospitable reception, thus meeting the explicit requests of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azahr, the noble Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb.”
Right. But every proper “intersection” has red lights, and Roggio set off a bright one when, amid a barrage of woke gobbledegook, it called Mary “a Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman” who belongs to “these three religious and multi-cultural worlds (Judaism, Christianity, Islam),” and who constitutes “a pressing and constant invitation to intersect and interconnect these same worlds, even making them a model of plural coexistence where the boundaries of each are made to allow communication, passage, exchange; and not to be closed, according to the many figures of exclusion that have, as their fruit, the culture, psychology, politics and economics of war, hatred and inhumanity.”
Roggio also noted that the webinars “will end during the month of Ramadan with ‘the dates of Mary’ in the Conference Hall of the Great Mosque of Rome (health situation permitting): in memory of what is stated in the Holy Quran (Sura 19,22-26), namely that after giving birth near the trunk of a palm tree, she was called by the newborn child who told her ‘Do not be sad […] shake the trunk of the palm tree towards you and it will drop fresh and ripe dates on you. So eat them,’ a meal of friendship and fraternity will be shared once the sun goes down, as a tangible pact of alliance for the service to the common good of all, no one excluded, in obedience to the ‘understanding of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers’ (Document on human brotherhood for world peace and common coexistence).”
Roggio was referring to the Document On Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together that Francis signed along with the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb. That document is as filled with falsehoods and wishful thinking as one would expect coming from a practiced deceiver such as al-Tayyeb and someone so eager to be deceived as the Pope. It claims, for example, that religious violence stems from economic and social factors, blithely ignoring the numerous passages in the Qur’an and Hadith calling for warfare against unbelievers, and specifically Christians.
Meanwhile, Muslims continue to persecute Christians in many countries, and the document mentions the word “persecution” only once, in a general way.
Does the Vatican really think that all this Islamopandering will increase harmony and mutual respect between Muslims and Christians? Vatican top dogs should consider a statement of the Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb: “The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.”
Dialogue, in other words, is all too often for the Islamic side a means of dawah, Islamic proselytizing, not a genuine discussion. In the Qur’an, the Virgin Mary gives birth to Jesus, but it is stated that he is not the Son of God (19:35), not divine (5:17), and was not crucified (4:157), and thus could not be and is not the savior and redeemer of the world.
Do these Vatican officials really think that their Muslim interlocutors will discard what the Qur’an tells them and move closer to the Christian view? Or are they discarding the Christian view of Mary (and hence of Jesus) themselves, so as not to offend their “dialogue” partners? Almost certainly.
This is what interfaith dialogue leads to, at least for the Christian side: total capitulation, the relativization of the faith, and the holding of contradictory ideas. The fruit of the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics has not been the protection of Christians in Muslim countries, but a silence from the Catholic Church on this persecution. Bishops in the U.S. and Europe have now have been teaching for years that any discussion of such matters is “Islamophobic,” and will harm this wonderful dialogue that has actually no accomplishments to its name.
“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.