Pope Francis vs. St. Francis of Assisi
Contrast: Francis at the Blue Mosque, Francis of Assisi before the Sultan
By John Vennari
Pope Francis has “dared to do what none of his predecessors had ever done,” Le Figero’s Jean-Marie Guénois rejoiced, “to pray openly, side-by-side with a Muslim dignitary”.
The event took place at the Blue Mosque on November 29, the second day of Francis’ visit to Istanbul.
In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI – the ever-zealous advocate of Conciliar ecumenism – visited the Mosque but supposedly remained in contemplation. This gave rise to speculation as to whether or not the Pontiff actually prayed in the Mosque, and also gave rise to scandal.
Francis, according to Guénois, removed any hint of ambiguity. The Pontiff “bowed his head for long time while deeply closing his eyes from two to three minutes, in order to obviously pray – and to make clear he was praying. And this was in the direction of Mihrab, the niche in the wall framed by two pillars that indicates the qibla, that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.”
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi confirmed that the act was, in fact, a “silent adoration.” According to Lombardi, the Pope had also said to the Muslim Mufti, “we must adore God.”
This action defies Catholic Tradition, spurns the perennial Papal doctrine against religious indifferentism, and mocks true Catholics such as St. Francis of Assisi who visited Muslims for one purpose alone, to convert them to Christ’s one true Church.
Bergoglio: Contra Saint Francis
Present-day Catholics, starting with the majority of Church leaders, appear to be ruled by sentiment rather than objective truth. We’ve seen the alleged comparisons made between St. Francis of Assisi and the Papa Bergoglio: Both are named “Francis,” both are concerned for the poor, both preach a kind of poverty, both “dialogue” with Muslims. Therefore, they are alike: Pope Francis follows in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi.
The assessment could not be more false. Here we will only contrast Francis of Assisi with Papa Bergoglio concerning Islam.
Saint Francis sought to convert Muslims from the darkness of their false religion to Christ’s one true Church for salvation.
By contrast, Pope Francis visits Muslims to pursue more dialogue, to revel in artificial religious camaraderie, and to indirectly assure Muslims they are on their own legitimate path to “God” and need not convert to Christ’s Church.
Such a program would horrify St. Francis of Assisi, as it would horrify any right-thinking Catholic.
Saint Francis and the Sultan
Around the year 1220 Saint Francis of Assisi sailed to Egypt to join the Christian army that was besieging Damietta. He did not go to fight alongside Crusaders but to preach Christ to the Infidels.
Saint Francis approached the Papal Legate who was with the army and “requested leave to cross over to the Muslim lines to preach to the Muslims.”
This rattled the Papal Legate, who knew the Sultan had offered a golden ducat for the head of any Christian sent to him.
In response, the Papal Legate simply asked Francis not to bring shame on the Christian name.
That was all Francis needed. He and some companions struck out at once for the Sultan’s camp.
They saw two lambs on the road while on their way. Francis took this as a good sign, saying to his comrades, “Behold I send you forth as sheep among wolves.”
Muslim soldiers apprehended Francis, took him before the Sultan and Francis began to preach. He spoke with power and conviction, zeal and fire. The love of God flowed through him. He was like a blast furnace, infectious, captivating.
The Sultan found himself drawn in by the power of Francis’ words, and ordered him to be treated with courtesy while at camp.
It appears that Francis stayed for a few days, and the Sultan asked Francis to remain in his court.
“Willingly,” answered Francis, “if you and your people will convert to Christ.”
Francis continued, “If you hesitate as to the merits of the law of Muhammad and the faith of Christ, command that a great fire be lighted, and I together with your priests, will enter the fire that you may know which is the more worthy and true.”
The Sultan replied that none of their Muftis would accept the challenge.
“Then if you promise for yourself and your people, to come to the worship of Christ if I come out of the fire unhurt,” Francis responded, “I will enter the fire alone.”
He added, “If I am burnt up, impute it to my sins, but if the Divine Power protects me, acknowledge Christ to be true God and the Savior of all.”
The Sultan dared not accept the challenge from the holy mendicant, but was captivated by Francis nonetheless, and asked him to accept some precious gifts if not for himself, then at least for the poor.
Francis responded this was not the purpose of his visit, and returned to Europe.
What do you notice?
1) Saint Francis preached to the Sultan for no other purpose than the conversion of the Muslims;
2) The Sultan refused to convert, so Francis stopped the dialogue.
Saint Francis of Assisi: No Ecumenist
Saint Francis of Assisi was firmly committed to the truth that “outside the Catholic Church, there is no salvation.” He was an apostle of Christ who preached the Gospel,
1) for the salvation of those souls who were already Catholic, but had fallen away from the Gospel ideal;
2) for the salvation of infidels and non-believers, whom he knew would be lost if they did not embrace Christ and His one true Church.
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