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Italian diocese urges Catholics to join Muslims for prayers and meals in Ramadan



An Italian diocese is instructing its priests to participate in Islamic rituals, citing Pope Francis’ directives on interreligious dialogue.

The Diocese of Bergamo issued a communiqué on Monday urging priests to seek out opportunities for interreligious dialogue during the “holy month” of Ramadan by invite the faithful to join in praying with Muslims and joining in the Iftar ritual meal.

The letter from the northern Italian diocese asks the faithful to pray for “a continuous realisation of all the dimensions that make up humanity desired by the Creator” and for “continuous growth in the dialogue between peoples and different faiths.”

Fr Massimo Rizzi, director of the diocese’s Office for Interreligious Dialogue who signed the directive, upset local Catholics for dating the letter according to the Islamic calendar (23 Sha’ban 1445).

Rizzi explained that Ramadan was “a strong time (for Muslims) to promote their religious practice” as well as a month of fasting and prayer and a time of feasting and sharing.

Fr Rizzi wrote that Pope Francis had emphasised “the importance of interreligious dialogue in order to give a future to a society like ours, increasingly characterised by cultural and religious pluralism.”

Citing Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti as well as noting the Holy Father’s gesture in signing a joint document with Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, Rizzi urged the priests to be “authentic mediators”.

“This interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world and is therefore a duty for Christians as well as for other religious communities,” Rizzi added, quoting Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

In comments to the Catholic Herald, Islamic scholar Robert Spencer explained that “the idea of Ramadan providing a possibility of outreach to Muslims is a tragicomic display of the failures and inherent limitations of the ‘dialogue’ imperative”.

Spencer, author of over 23 books on Islam and the Middle East, said: “Ramadan is a month in which Muslims are to redouble their efforts to please Allah.

“The highest form of service to Allah, according to Muhammad, is jihad, which principally involves warfare against unbelievers.

“Every Ramadan, therefore, we see an increase in jihad attacks. The idea that this is a time to seek friendship and cooperation with Muslims is laughably naive and demonstrates abject ignorance of Islam.”

Responding to the diocesan letter’s plea for dialogue in the hope of resolving the Middle East crisis, Spencer pointed out that the Vatican has failed to address the clause in Hamas’ charter that threatens genocide against Israel.

In its preamble, the Hamas charter states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”.

Italian commentator Aldo Maria Valli criticised the diocese for urging Catholics to pray for Ramadan on Lætáre Sunday during Holy Mass, when the Church “remembers the liberation of Israel from Egyptian slavery and the liberation of the Christian people from the slavery of Satan and sin”.

In 2020, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue began encouraging Christians to join in the Islamic iftar ritual meal during Ramadan.

While several Catholic leaders have claimed that they are participating in a communal meal that has no religious significance, Muslims insist that “Iftar is not simply a matter of having dinner but has “great significance” since it is “a combination of spiritual and physical food.”

Iftar is “a source of spiritual learning” and “a time of inspiration” as “it is the moment when physical food is converted into spiritual food,” the Spirit of Islam website clarifies. “It is a dinner combined with a spiritual experience. It is like a compulsory form of training.”

Italian Catholics have expressed concern over the diocese “not learning from mistakes” after a church in Bergamo was desecrated in November by an Aztec altar associated with the esoteric and pagan cult of Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte (Our Lady of the Holy Death).

Referring to the Bergamo desecration, eminent Italian novelist and historian Elisabetta Sala told the Catholic Herald that “interfaith dialogue and participation was always unidirectional” and “a losing strategy” as far as “Jesus’ Great Commission to preach the gospel to the whole world is concerned.”

“Water is being added to the wine each and every day,” Sala lamented. “Many clerics are de facto apostates who have done away with the uniqueness and definitiveness of Jesus, who claimed to be ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ and the only way to the Father.”

The pagan cult “openly accepts abortion, the use of condoms, admits transsexuals into its church and many LGBT Mexicans pray to it to protect them from homophobia and intolerance,” Italian blog Messa in Latino reported.

Witnesses reported pagans celebrating a ceremony in honor of two pagan demons of the Aztec cult, the god Mictlantecuhtli and the goddess Mictecacihuatl. Local Catholics later petitioned Bergamo’s bishop Francesco Beschi to perform an act of reparation in the church.

Bergamo’s Muslims are a fast-growing community estimated between 4,500 and 6,500, according to Giacomo Angeloni, councilor for demographic services of the local municipality. In February, the Aquiletta hotel in Bergamo was turned into a Muslim cultural centre.

Italy’s bishops have urged interreligious dialogue as a means of deescalating tensions between conservative Italians and immigrant Islamic communities, after a historic flashpoint in 2003 when a court ruled in favour of Muslim rights advocate Adel Smith ordering the removal of crucifixes from a state primary school where his children attend.

Smith described the crucifix as a “small body on two wooden sticks”.

The Scottish convert to Islam also lobbied to have the 15th century Giovanni di Modena fresco removed from Bologna cathedral and Dante’s Divine Comedy deleted from the school syllabus since both depicted Islam’s prophet Mohammed in hell.


Old Fart
I prefer the roman catholic church of old, when they would wage wars and not hesitate to lop the heads off those who questioned or opposed their dogma. Now they're just a bunch of toothless timid pacifists.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Pope Bergoglio is a Jesuit socialist degenerate, nobody should be surprised. See his opinions regarding abortion, homosexuality and the 'safe and effective' Covid shots. :cool:


Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
I prefer the roman catholic church of old, when they would wage wars and not hesitate to lop the heads off those who questioned or opposed their dogma. Now they're just a bunch of toothless timid pacifists.

Pope gives his blessings for the LGBTQIAPK community.