The Pope in the Blue Mosque

The Pope in the Blue Mosque

With the Pope’s visit to Turkey over and with him now safely on his way home (thanks be to God), there are some rumblings about his visit to Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and more specifically his praying there. News reports say that the Holy Father faced Mecca during the Islamic time for prayer.

So is this a big deal? I don’t think so. It’s not like the Holy Father joined in the prayers, nor did he make the perfunctory bows or any other of the ritualistic gestures. He simply stood in his place respectfully and prayed to himself. Was he facing Mecca? Okay, but why should that have significance? I’m sure at one time or another we’ve all faced in the direction of Mecca while praying. What matters is his intent and this is not a Pope who would intend a syncretistic view of religion.

I’ve seen charges of religious indifferentism and charges that for the leader to show deference to “infidels” is scandalous. Please. Such outrage is no different than that of the Islamists who burn in effigy anyone who dares to say a word that isn’t in obeisance to Islam and who get enraged beyond reason at the slightest offense. Extremism is extremism no matter who is doing it.

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