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Respect for others’ beliefs in effort to reach out

01:07 AM January 28, 2015

This is just a feedback on Peter Wallace’s Jan. 22 column (“A non-Catholic’s viewpoint,” Opinion, 1/22/15). As a whole, the piece is a very good presentation of how different religions can live in peace, echoing the mind and spirit of Pope Francis who took not just the name of St. Francis of Assisi but also his spirit and mindset—his acceptance of people without discrimination especially the poor, his simplicity, his defense of the environment, and his reaching-out to other faiths, among other things.

St. Francis was a founder of a Catholic religious group that was said to have included Muslims who were referred to as Saracens in those times. He himself visited the Muslim camp of Sultan Malek el-Kamel in 1219 in Egypt, precisely to show that Christians can be “brothers” to Muslims. According to sources, the sultan was impressed with St. Francis.

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In his column, Wallace mentioned that “…there’s no fundamental difference between the world’s two major religions (Christianity and Islam). Both believe in the same god, and just give him a different name.” This has been claimed also by others in relation to other religions, including Judaism which, like Christianity and Islam, is monotheistic.

What Pope Francis and the Church propose is respect for the beliefs of others without compromising or accommodating the essentials of the Catholic beliefs with those of other faiths in the effort to reach out to them. The Christian God is a Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How can other religions be the same when they do not accept Jesus Christ as God? This is not just a play on words of some kind, or just a question of names. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are as important as the Father in the faith of Catholics and some Christian churches. The bottom line is what Pope Francis stressed: that we are all children of God, accepting, respecting and even loving one another because of that.

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I thank Mr. Wallace for his always insightful topics. May the Lord give us peace.

—ANTONIO-MA. ROSALES, OFM, [email protected]

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TAGS: Papal visit, Peter Wallace, Pope Francis, St. Francis of Assisi, Sultan Malek el-Kamel, Trinity
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