December 2nd, 2006

Pope Prays to Mecca

Seeking to heal wounds he apparently caused a few months ago, the Pope prayed to Mecca on his knees during a recent trip to Istanbul.

His first visit to a mostly Muslim country, held under tight security for fear of protests by nationalists and Islamists, was highlighted by a series of conciliatory gestures culminating in a stop on Thursday afternoon in Istanbul’s famed Blue Mosque.

“The Pope’s dreaded visit was concluded with a wonderful surprise,” wrote daily Aksam on its front page.

“In Sultan Ahmet Mosque, he turned toward Mecca and prayed like Muslims,” popular daily Hurriyet said, using the building’s official name.

I wonder how much the Pope didn’t want to do this. You gotta know that his PR people (or Kissinger?) were prodding him to perform such an act in hopes of putting the bad press behind them.

Is such an act beneficial? Must a person entertain aspects of the “victim”‘s lifestyle or tradition in order to make a full and sincere apology (which the Pope has yet to verbally do, despite constant calls to do so by his critics)? If I offend an alcoholic, must I down a beer in order to show I am sorry? Perhaps this wasn’t the intent of the Pope, but it seems to me that the only reason he would do such a thing is to “build a bridge” and illustrate that he respects the Muslim faith. I think it’s ineffective.

One Response to “Pope Prays to Mecca”

  1. Naiah Earhart
    December 2, 2006 at 9:24 am #

    I am somewhat floored that he would consider such an act. It’s not like he’s about to announce that the Catholics are giving up and everyone should become a Muslim. I, myself, find hollow obersvance of sacred ritual/rite/etc to be more offensive than polite and respectful refusal.

    On the other hand, I can see the justification at work in his/his advisors’ minds: The Allah of the Muslims is the same as the God of Abraham. The split takes place at Isaac and Ishmael.

    I do not like it when human politics clouds spiritual aspects–for any church.

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