Seven years of pontificate to change relations between Catholicism and other religious confessions. Pope francesco, in this first seven years, has also affected this aspect. Islam is no longer an opponent. On closer inspection, for contemporary Christianity it never was. At least the moderate one. But now it seems we are moving towards a sort of “alliance” between the ecclesiastical hierarchies of the Vatican and the Muslim ones since Jorge Mario Bergoglio is for interreligious dialogue.
The traditionalist fringe is against any flattening. In the beginning, it seemed that the center of the grievances was the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church, with the alleged commission set up to arrive at an ecumenical Mass (a rite that would suit all Christians), with the rest of the doctrinal diatribes. Then, over time, the development of relations between the Muslim and Catholic religions has also become an object of discontent on the part of the conservative environments.
The highest point in the dialectic between Christianity and the Muslim religion was reached with the Abu Dhabi declaration. The “Document on Human Brotherhood for World Peace and Common Coexistence” has been criticized, as often happens in relation to the Argentine pontiff, by the most conservative Catholics. It was February 2019. The main problem raised concerned the hierarchical equalization between Catholicism and islam: Traditionalists claim that there can be no parity. And that the “diversity of religions” cannot have taken place because of the divine will. A Carthusian reading was provided at the time by Bishop Ahtanasius Schneider.
The problem of the “future of the West”
There are two themes of the ministry of Francis that intersect and offer the side to the criticisms of the more conservative part of the Church of Romeimmigration as a tool for a profound modification of the roots of society. And Islam as a new perspective to look at for the West. A future that traditionalist Catholics – it is not a mystery – would like to avoid, not to say avert at any cost. One of the most investigated situations is the French one, where the humus of civilization seems to have been changed by the times: the statistics only tell the growth of Islam. An inverse phenomenon, on the other hand, concerns the fate of Catholicism beyond the Alps, with fewer and fewer baptized. What will the Europe of the future be? Everyone is asking this, including the pontiff’s critics. The numbers, at the moment, are dancing there. But being scandalized by secularization, and perhaps by the consequent search for other religious identities by Europeans, often means being politically incorrect. Represents a taboo, perhaps, to argue that the Old Continent could become Muslim-majority over the next few centuries.
But the figures are also there to be interpretable. Schneider himself, in an interview with IlGiornale.it, had also expressed this position on the issue of the management of migratory phenomena: “The phenomenon of so-called ‘immigration’ represents a long-time orchestrated and prepared plan by international powers to radically change the Christian and national identity of the European peoples. These powers use the enormous moral potential of the Church and their structures to more effectively achieve their anti-Christian and anti-European goal. To this end, the true concept of humanism and even the Christian commandment of charity are abused“. And identity, in this case religious, is also the stone guest of the vicissitudes around the forms of dialogue to be adopted with the Muslim religion. There is a link between the two phenomena, a connection. The” traditional front “does not have doubts.
The historic turning point of Abu Dhabi
Why are all these scaremongering about the Abu Dhabi joint declaration circulating among traditionalists? In the text, which Francis signed with the soul of Al-Azhar, it also says the following: “Pluralism and diversity of religion, color, sex, race and language are a wise divine will, with which God created human beings. This divine Wisdom is the origin from which the right to freedom derives of belief and the freedom to be different. This is why we condemn forcing people to adhere to a certain religion or culture, as well as to impose a style of civilization that others do not accept “. Here, that “pluralism of religions” represents the expression that traditionalist Catholics just do not digest. Beyond the common appeal against terrorism, in that document it is written, in black and white, that the difference between Christianity and Islam depends on God. And certain Catholic hemispheres object to what has been established in the doctrine, namely that Christianity is the only religious denomination strictly dependent on the will of the High.
Is there a change of course compared to the previous pontificate? We asked Professor Renato Cristin, who is full professor of philosophical hermeneutics at the University of Trieste: “Ratzinger – the professor began – he is the Pope of the Regensburg speech, of a confrontation with Islam based on the affirmation of Christian and Western identity; while Bergoglio is the Pope of the Lampedusa speech, of an unlimited openness to otherness and an abandonment of identity. In the symbolic distance between Regensburg and Lampedusa – continued Cristin – the difference in attitude towards Islam is measured: on the one hand, self-awareness and distance, even in dialogue, from the Islamic world; on the other hand, abdication of one’s own identity and renouncing attitude towards Islam, which in its essence is a totalitarian religion “.
The role of multiculturalism in the approach process
By multiculturalism we mean the tendency to search for another pluralism, that of cultures. A “open society” it should incorporate them, until they are compatible. Here too: traditionalists think that the identity of peoples, in this way, is destined to be debased, only to be erased. Cristin always has rather clear ideas about it.
And the pontiff of the Catholic church, supporting the goodness of multiculturalism, would favor a certain type of process: “The political theology of Pope Bergoglio expresses a spiritual and cultural syncretism substantially foreign to the Catholic tradition, as can be seen, for example, in the apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, which ends up diluting the Christian identity into indigenist and pantheistic conceptions, foreign and in many ways hostile to the Christian tradition “, said the professor, because of the questions we asked him.
And with the macro-theme of multiculturalism, which would be synonymous with welcome and pacification, how do we put it? “In the same perspective, Bergoglio has adopted the multiculturalist ideology, as a logical consequence on the socio-cultural level of that sociopolitical intertwining between Christianity and Marxism practiced by liberation theologians and more generally by all those we define as cat-communists. It is a fatal mistaking multiculturalism for interculturality, as it is to distort the identity of Christianity for the mirage of a dialogue with Islam “, the professor commented.
But a bad habit like this will also have a philosophical-cultural origin, or not? “Bergoglio – Cristin thundered – has no interest, neither spiritual nor political, in Europe and its identity, and has transformed the just universalism of the Church into a globalist cosmopolitanism in which identity is a burden that must be shed, in order to concretize the Third World vision and anti-Western. This is the cultural premise of his approach to Islam, based on a fallacy and simplification “. An “approach” that also involves common initiatives.
The common commitment of Francis and the Imam of Al-Azhar
The question of where this “fallacy” lies comes naturally. And Cristin replies: “The fallacy: that Western civilization must dissolve into the indistinct multicultural and multireligious religion, and that the Christian and Muslim religions can be placed on the same level, while in reality they have few points of contact which need to be sought rationally rather than spiritually. Simplification: Bergoglio – continues the professor – rightly calls for reciprocity with regard to Christian worship in Muslim countries, but this is no longer sufficient, because reciprocity must today go beyond freedom of worship, and demand full integration, total observance of social rules and respect from Muslims in Europe formal of our traditions. This is what Bergoglio does not do and does not want to do “.
Cristin’s point of view is clear. But the Pope does not seem to have any intention of changing course. Indeed, the hugs on public occasions between Bergoglio and the imam of Al-Azhar seem to be the prelude to a series of proposals that have already been forwarded to the competent bodies. The first, the most important, was addressed toHim-her-it and aims to ensure that “Human Brotherhood Day” occurs every 4th February, in the wake of the Abu Dhabi declaration. And the UN, according to what has been learned so far, should be willing to go ahead.