Fr. De Cacqueray is pretty upset. Papa Ben is ‘the Pope who took off his shoes in a mosque’.
Hey Fr. de Cacqueray, I lived right outside Istanbul for a year…I saw many of the historic sites of the entire country of Turkey, both religious (Christian and Islam) and secular. I visited both Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. When I entered the outer porch of the Blue Mosque, there are placards there for all to see, in English and Turkish (and with pictures also) directing EVERYONE to remove their shoes, for women to cover their heads, shoulders and knees, and to not engage in loud conversation in case there is anyone praying.
It’s a rule. The Holy Father was just following the rules.
I wonder if Fr. de Cacqueray was this upset by JPII praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem? After all, that’s not a Christian holy site either, by the strict definition of the term. It’s a Jewish site, and while we as Catholics are ‘completed Jews’ as I like to call myself to my Jewish friends, the vast majority of Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Incarnate Word of God.
Yes, yes, yes, I know that there are MUCH BIGGER differences between Islam and Christianity than between Judaism and Christianity, but here’s what the Holy Father said himself about his visit to the Blue Mosque:
“In the ambit of interreligious dialogue, Divine Providence allowed me to carry out, almost at the end of my trip, a gesture that initially was not foreseen and which revealed itself extremely significant: the visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Remaining recollected for a few minutes in that place of prayer, I turned to the only Lord of Heaven and earth, merciful Father of the whole of humanity, and implored that all believers might recognize themselves as creatures and give witness of authentic fraternity!” (tr. by ZENIT, printed in the Wanderer of December 14, 2006 – the address Benedict XVI gave at the general audience 12/6/06 – emphases mine).
Show some authentic fraternity, Fr. de Cacqueray. My son has attended services in his friend’s synagogue, and while there wears a kippah out of respect for Jewish custom. It doesn’t in any way mean he is denying the truth of the Catholic faith, any more than my occasional wearing of a saree is denying the fact that I am Irish as shamrocks!
And besides which, the Pope didn’t tell us we must all go to a mosque to pray. If this makes for more open dialogue between the Holy See and Islam, well fine. Give him the benefit of the doubt.