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Craig Pereira wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a devout Catholic and have been all my life. Lately, I was a little confused about the Pope's visit to Turkey where he prayed at the Blue Mosque.

  • Is it right for the Pope (the leader of the Catholic Church) to pray at a Mosque?
  • Doesn't this go against the commandments that say do not worship other Gods?
  • A Muslim would not do this at any cost, so why is it just us Catholics who need to go to extremes to show our love and compassion?

Craig

  { Is it right for the Pope (the leader of the Catholic Church) to pray at a Mosque? }

Mike replied:

Dear Craig,

First, I empathize with your questions based on controversial issues and actions that have arisen during Francis' papacy.

That said, I am not familiar with this visit. Nevertheless for any pope to go to another place of worship to worship would be wrong but to go to another place of worship to pray for a unity and understanding of our faiths would be very acceptable.

As I said, I am not familiar with this visit and cannot get inside Pope Francis' head, but I would guess that he may be showing an openness to visit other non-believer's places of worship with the hope that those non-believers would consider reciprocating by visiting the Vatican or a corresponding Catholic parish in the Italian area.

For them not to do this on a world stage, would show a close-minded attitude on one side's part, versus an open-minded attitude on the Church's part.

No matter what the reason is for this, as Catholics, we always have to separate the sins of the clergy, including the pope, from the Teachings of the Church, which will always be bound between Heaven and Earth as Eternal Truths.

My colleagues may have a different angle on this or know more about this visit than I do, so they may have something to add.

That's the best I can do.

Mike

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