The Vatican shifts on Islam

The Vatican shifts on Islam

Syndicated columnist Diana West comments on a story that ran in the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica that harshly criticized Islamic extremism. She rightly points out that this may constitute a sea change in the Vatican’s official dealings with Islam. (The magazine’s articles are all approved by the Vatican secretariat of state before publication and thus could be said to represent the Holy See’s position.) For the first time in a long time, the Vatican is acknowledging that Islam often imposes itself by conquest and then subjugates and oppresses other religions, including Christianity. This has happened throughout history, from Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia centuries ago to East Timor, the Moluccas, Sudan, and even Palestinian areas today.

We ran in Catholic World News a similar story about a Vatican cardinal who compared the anti-Semitism among Muslims with that of the Nazis. It’s not just comparable; they’re often telling the same lies about supposed Jewish atrocities. And yesterday, the Holy Father spoke about religious freedom for Palestinian Christians, a minority compared to Palestinian Muslims.

What accounts for the change? Michael Novak thinks it’s the lack of outrage by the “Arab street” against US-led action in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading the Vatican to understand that many Muslims are unhappy with the status quo. Others suggest that the increasingly bad situation for oppressed Christians in Africa or the increasingly large populations of Muslims in Europe prompted the change. Maybe it’s all of them. In any case, it certainly seems like the Vatican is recognizing the next great challenge for the Christian Western world following the fall of the atheist Soviet Communist empire has become the Islamic jihadist empire. May we have the same success in that battle.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli