The sheer irony of this statement is impossible to miss. This is from the same man who re-affirmed the Council of Trent's heresy that salvation is not obtained by grace through faith alone. Spitting in the face of Protestant and Evangelical Christians worldwide, in July 2007 he declared that Gospel-preaching churches "cannot properly be called 'churches'" and categorically affirmed that we are outside the "one true faith" by our refusal to embrace Romanist apostasy.
The article leads:
Pope Benedict XVI began his first trip to the Middle East on Friday, expressing his "deep respect" for Islam and hopes that the Catholic Church would be a force for peace in the region as he treaded (sic) carefully following past missteps with Muslims and Jews.
"My visit to Jordan gives me a welcome opportunity to speak of my deep respect for the Muslim community, and to pay tribute to the leadership shown by his majesty the king in promoting a better understanding of the virtues proclaimed by Islam," Benedict said shortly after landing in Jordan, a mostly desert country where Moses is said to have viewed the Promised Land.
He said Jordan was in the forefront of efforts to promote peace, inter-religious dialogue and to "curb extremism."Jordan's king praised the pope and said the world must reject "ambitious ideologies of division."
"We welcome your commitment to dispel the misconceptions and divisions that have harmed relations between Christians and Muslims," said Abdullah.
Wow...so the head of one of the "one true church" is committed to "dispelling divisions" between Christianity and a sickeningly violent, demonically-inspired false religion? Good luck with that. Seems Christ Himself had a little something to say about unity with those who would destroy the Church:
"But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. (Matthew 10:33-37)"
The Cross is, by definition, divisive. It is an offense and a stumbling block to those who don't believe. If the Vatican's head honcho isn't man enough to admit that publicly, I truly pity and fear for his soul.
Don't believe that Islam condones murder of members of one's own family who turn to Christ? Voice of the Martyrs is a good place to start (also see Islam's "holy" books, the Haddith 9'57 and Sura 3'85).
The article also states:
Benedict's three-day stay in Jordan is his first visit to an Arab country as pope. He is scheduled to meet with Muslim religious leaders at Amman's largest mosque — his second visit to a Muslim place of worship since becoming pope in 2005. He prayed in Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque, a gesture that helped calm the outcry over his remarks.(emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? The self-proclaimed "Vicar of Christ" - His very "representative" on earth - is now praying in pagan houses of worship. Somehow, I can't imagine Jesus Christ, during His sojourn to Caesarea Philippi, praying in the nearby temple of Pan to placate the region's Canaanites. (With all this political correctness, it makes me wonder whose god the pope is praying to). This is not exactly a new precedent - his predecessor said mass with a statue of Buddha and other pagan symbols on the altar. Don't believe me? I'll post a photograph if challenged. It was an "interfaith mass" - one in which only Evangelical leaders, to their credit, refused to participate.
One shouldn't expect highly principled behavior from a politician, and that is precisely what the pope is. I suppose this spiritual dualism is all in the name of "respect" - which presumably makes it more palatable. The Muslim world is a formidable force to be reckoned with, and no politician with interests to protect wants to alienate jihadists.
Would that the pope had so much "respect" for Bible-believing Christians. May God open his eyes to the Truth in Christ.