PopeWatch: Islamic Prayers




Yesterday Pope Francis held a so-called “prayer summit” with the presidents of Israel and the Palestinians.  For the reasons stated here, PopeWatch views this as an exercise in futility.  One aspect which has some Catholics excited is the fact that there will be Islamic prayers at the Vatican:


For the first time in history, Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran will be heard at the Vatican on Sunday, in a move by Pope Francis to usher in peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Francis issued the invitation to Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit last week to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas, Peres, and Francis will be joined by Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders, a statement released by Peres’s spokesperson said, according to the Times of Israel.

Holy See officials on Friday said the evening prayers would be a “pause in politics” and had no political aim other than to rekindle the desire for Israeli-Palestinian peace at the political and popular level, according to the Associated Press.

Go here to read the rest at Creative Minority Report, especially the comments.  PopeWatch doubts if this is the first time that Islamic prayers have been said at the Vatican, considering the numerous ambassadors from Islamic states credentialed to the Vatican.  If one is going to have diplomatic relations with Islamic countries, and the popes have been engaging in such diplomacy virtually since the inception of Islam, one is bound to hear an Islamic prayer or two.  However, diplomacy is one thing and a prayer meeting is another.  Pope Francis seems to be conflating the two which makes for bad diplomacy and a bad prayer meeting.



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  1. It’s all right for the Pope to pray for the Muslims, but to pray with those are unrepentant rejecters and haters of our Lord is an act of sacrilege. Their god Allah isn’t the god of Christian revelation, he’s a pagan idol. Praying with them, without telling them their god is a worthless idol, and their need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ and his shed blood for the forgiveness of their sins, is going to confirm them in their unbelief.

  2. Stephen E Dalton: “Praying with them, without telling them their god is a worthless idol, and their need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ and his shed blood for the forgiveness of their sins, is going to confirm them in their unbelief.”

    This is true.

  3. Stephen E Dalton

    Concerning God, we should imitate St Cyril of Jerusalem in the Catechetical Homilies, “For we explain not what God is but candidly confess that we have not exact knowledge concerning Him. For in what concerns God to confess our ignorance is the best knowledge.” This is what St John Damascene meant, when he said, “statements about God reveal “not the nature, but the things around the nature.”

  4. As I try to make sense of all of this, where do we, as Catholics, draw the line? Is the pope praying with them or for them? The initial impressions that it is with them in the name of “peace.” Seems harmless enough right? I get some negative feedback from folks who say you cannot criticize the pope. So, is it OK to speak up and say that the pope is, at a minimum, giving the impression that he is praying with religions who deny the divinity of Christ? Is this media highlight doing more damage to the Church than good? Is the pope promoting a protestant version of God’s charity? I read the comments from the actual article and I was also wondering what other popes invited muslims to the Vatican to pray? Any comments welcome to help clarify.

  5. “Meet people where they are” on their journey has merit if we do remember that the great commission is to bring people to Christ. Which is More than peaceful coexistence. It could be a start on conversion and baptism but it also confuses the world when we speak of and treat Islam as one of the world’s great religions.

  6. Here is a link to the prayers that were recited at the Vatican:


    While I found nothing overtly wrong with the prayers as they are rendered in this English translation, it is highly likely that Allah was used for the word God in the Muslim prayers, and as Stephen Dalton correctly points out, Allah is a worthless idol. Indeed, at best Allah is a fiction and at worst a demonic entity.

    Now that said, it most likely was not the intention of the Pope that the recitation of such prayers would be an invocation to a fictitious or demonic entity. But as usual, this Pope lacks the exactitude and precision which so characterized his immediate predecessor. He does things off the cuff for a feel-good, happy-go-lucky effect and that ends up in resulting in theological snarls, and the sowing of confusion among the faithful.

    Unfortunately, he is not the only pontiff to have ingratiated himself with the Muslims. While I certainly respect and honor Pope Saint John Paul II, he did kiss the Quran and that was wrong regardless that in most other aspects he was very careful:

    (I neither endorse nor oppose this web site; it simply had a good photo of the Pope kissing the Quran)

    Islam is a religion of violence against women and children and non-Islamic believers. It has never been moderated, nor will it ever by virtue of what its Quran preaches – dhimmitude of non-Muslims. The Battle of Tours, the Battle of LePanto and numerous others over the centuries are proof enough that the only thing which moderates Islam is its defeat. That does not mean that I like that, or that I encourage war against Islam. But ever since the 7th century AD this is the way things have been.


    Now the Pope’s motive – peace in the Middle East – is entirely laudable. But there won’t be peace there until the Parousia. That doesn’t mean that the Pope should not do those things which can help diffuse violence and aggression. But a meeting between two impotent Presidents is a mere symbol without any substance. It serves to bolster the reputation in the left wing news that this Pope has of being a pious peacemaker media oh so unlike that meanie Pope Benedict who said bad things about Islam at that University in Germany.

    It is all about the appearance of peace making and tolerance and kindness and non-divisiveness and niceness. The hard words – keep fighting and God will rightly give you up to what you have sown – are entirely lacking because hard words are intolerant, unkind, divisive, and not nice.

  7. Actually, this section in the Muslim prayers–a quote from the Koran–is a bit of elbow-throwing at trinitarian Christians:

    “Oh God, to you all praise, O Lord, to you all praise, O Creator of the heavens and the earth, O You who know the unknown and the manifest, O Lord of everything and its sovereign, we testify that there is no god but You alone and You have no partner, we seek refuge in You from the evil in ourselves and the evil of Satan, his partners, his godlessness and his whispering, and we seek refuge in You from godlessness and want, and we seek refuge in You so that we do not bring evil upon ourselves or bring it upon anyone else.”

    “Partnering” anything with God is shirk, the crime of unbelief. This includes those who associate Christ with God, against whom the Koran offers stern rebukes.


    In other words, there was a bit of rudeness in the Muslim offering. Whether that was because they were afraid of not looking “tough” in the garden of the Nazrani, or it’s simply because rudeness becomes them, it was uncalled for.

    I also think both the Jews and Muslims were praying “at” each other a bit, firing scriptural rebukes at the others’ injustices. But the Muslims appear to be the only ones who took a shot at the host.

  8. DJ Hesselius on Monday, June 9, A.D. 2014 at 11:20am

    Actually, they weren’t praying together, as Father Longenecker says the Vatican was careful to explain. I gather that means all is well.

    I would exercise caution when reading Fr. Longenecker.

    Fr. Longenecker states,”Catholics also recognize and affirm the goodness, truth, and beauty in other world religions, while also recognizing what we see as defects and partial understandings of the fullness of God’s revelation in Christ Jesus. We recognize in the followers of other religions sincere searching for God.”

    What is Fr. Longenecker talking about? Truth in other religions? What we see as defects of the fullness of God’s revelations in Christ? There is one truth and there cannot be beauty in that which is directly opposed to Catholicism. To be in heresy is to lose supernatural grace, correct? Therefore it cannot be beautiful to God, right?

    Christ specifically said, “No one can come to the Father except through Me.” So what does Fr. Longenecker mean when he suggests that we find beauty in religions that adamantly deny Christ?

    Lastly, Fr. Longenecker says that, “Christ came not to condemn the world, but to seek and to save that which was lost.” That is correct. However, Christ is not going to be so pleasant when He shows up the next time. The Blessed Virgin has stated that she grows tired from holding back the chastisement that her Son has planned for us. Not to criticize a priest, but it seems that Fr. Longenecker is providing us with a false sense of security about the “whatever it was” that happened at the Vatican Garden.

  9. “One aspect which has some Catholics excited is the fact that there will be Islamic prayers at the Vatican”

    They (Muslims) worship the devil.

    Their god is a god of bondage and death. Our God is a God of freedom and life.

  10. Kevin: From the little bit of Father Longenecker’s writings I’ve seen, I’m inclined to like him, but I was being a bit sarcastic. It seems to me that a good number of otherwise solid priests (and lay people) are doing the Pretzel Dance trying to explain this thing and that thing about JPII, Benedict, Francis, or whatever the Vatican says.
    I wasn’t there, so obviously I don’t know for a fact, but it seems they were all gathered together in the same place, at the same time, and were praying for a common cause-in this case, peace in the Middle East. They were praying together; that’s my impression.

  11. “They . . . worship the devil.”
    The Church insists that they worship the same God as do we: CCC 841 “The plan of salvation includes…the Muslims….together with us they adore the one, merciful God…”
    My thought is that if the Muslims insists that Allah is not in fact the same person as Father/Son/Holy Spirit, then maybe we ought to take them at their word for that. This is an area that has me concerned about the infallibility of Church teaching. It is pretty obvious to me that no, Allah and God are not the same person.

  12. My first gut reaction this morning was a bit over the top because I had not looked at ALL the information. I was reacting to the Pope inviting a Muslim leader to pray with him in the Church in Rome . That is not what happened. However, even though Islamic prayer was not offered together with the Pope in a Catholic Sanctuary, much of the world does not put that fine a point on things; and does not in fact see the Holiness of a Catholic altar as distinct from the holiness of a garden. The prevailing relativism already has many Christians thinking Islam is “just as good” as Christianity.
    The pope’s action here elevates the perception of Islam to a par with Catholicism.
    “Fuzzy” thinking about Catholic beliefs and Muslim teaching is a endemic. So while this parallel prayer out in the garden is not an abomination; and while it may be evangelical, it still contains seeds of confusion.

  13. Whether this is or is not an abomination, I do not know.

    My feeling is that we are headed that way hence these posts on my blog:

    Why the Catholic Church is true: the Books of Maccabees | THE WAR | https://shyanguya.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/why-the-catholic-church-is-true-the-books-of-maccabees/

    Faith is never a private matter, […] | THE WAR | https://shyanguya.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/faith-is-never-a-private-matter-thursday-28-november-2013-pope-francis-morning-meditation-in-the-chapel-of-the-domus-sanctae-marthae/

  14. Allah a demonic deity? David, a man after God’s own heart says, “For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils” (Ps. 95:5) Read the entire Psalm and ask yourselves, “Has glory and honor been brought to the Lord by what happened this last weekend?”

  15. Stephen E Dalton
    Yet Nostra Ætate teaches “From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father.”
    Of the Muslims, it says, “They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.”
    In all that their sages say of God, it is clear they are referring to the supreme and uncaused act, the pure and endless being that we call the Absolute, by definition unique and beyond number. Thus, they deny the existence of attributes distinct from the Divine essence to avoid the multiplicity of co-eternals, just as Jews and Christians do.

  16. I fear that many people regard our present Holy Father much as Prince Metternich regarded Talleyrand. When the news of Talleyrand’s death was brought to him, the Prince pondered, “Now, I wonder what he means by that!”

  17. Botolph, David was a “fundamentalist”? The last time I looked, he was a man after God’s own heart. BTW, I find the word “fundamentalist” is usually used by people who wish to ridicule those who are trying to keep the historic faith and are resisting the foolish innovations of today.

  18. MP-S, NA has to be interpreted through the lens of tradition. Tradition says the Muslims worship a false god. History shows Allah was a pagan deity of the Pre-Islamic Arabs. Praying with the followers of a false god, unless it’s for the purpose of encouraging them to believe and worship the real God, the Holy Trinity, is useless at least, sacrilege at worst.

  19. Stephen E Dalton wrote, “Tradition says the Muslims worship a false god”

    But truth is not to be sought in the records of the past, but something to be heard and accepted in the present from the living voice of the Magisterium and the Second Vatican Council thought otherwise.

    As for the name, derivation is not meaning and Θεος or deus (the same word, by the by) is used quite differently by us than by the Italo-Hellenic invaders of Europe who gave us the word.

  20. “‘truth is not to be sought in the records of the past”. This is a completely ahistorical statement. Tradition is what is literally handed down. Either what is handed down is true or false. The Church has always taught Islam was a false religion. If it was true 1400 hundred years ago, it’s true today.

  21. “from the living voice of the Magisterium”

    The voice of the Magisterium is always living, even when enunciated by Popes and Councils dead for almost 20 centuries. The Magisterium does not come with a “use by date”. One of the greatest follies of our time is the ludicrous attempt to limit the Magisterium to statements since 1965 and to transform Vatican II into a super Council that trumps all that came before in the history of the Church. When Magisterial statements seem to be in contradiction they need to be reconciled and not, as has been commonly done since 1965, the older statements simply tossed down a very convenient memory hole.

  22. We find more depth of meaning in words when we understand their etymology, just as we understand ourselves more clearly in the light of our history.

  23. All the learned, erudite quotes flung back and forth so far are very edifying (as also is the “Stars and Stripes” video–perhaps the best!). Keeping things simple, Islam was founded by a man, a man with a rather cloudy history; Islam is a synthesis of Judaism, Christianity (and bad versions of it), and various tribal cultic beliefs; Islam makes Christ a midget even among prophets, and certainly denies Him divinity; Islam offers nothing but violence to those who are “infidels” (it is conversion, “off with their heads”, or dhimma); and Allah (even if this is a “generic” nomen for “God”) is a emphatic denial of our Trinitarian God. While it can be magnanimously glossed that a bow to Islam may be an effort to mitigate the dominance of Muslims against “infidels” (which maneuver has so far produced exactly zero benefits), it is hard to swallow why the Popes (and sundry Catholics) are pandering to Islam (even the Catechism). Islam nearly conquered the world by war in days gone by; in the 21st century it promises, as some Iman boasted, to conquer it “by the wombs of our women”. St. Michael, Pray for us!

  24. God is both Logos and Agape, Word and Love. This is the full revelation of God the Father in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, and the Holy Spirit, the Communion-Love of the Father and the Son.

    The Catholic Tradition has always held that the only proper response to the revelation of God is in nd through Faith (hope and love) and reason.

    Fundamentalism is when one holds to faith alone [Sola Fide] (espoused in the Reformation beginning with Luther) while Rationalism holds to faith alone [Sola Ratio] espoused in the Enlightenment beginning with Descartes.

    Another split took place at the time of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) which took the Scriptures out of their living context of Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church [pope and bishops teaching on matters of faith and morals]
    This split has been raising havoc for five hundred years. Even now in certain circles Scripture quotes are taken out of their Scriptural and historical context, taken out of the context of the Living Tradition as taught by the Magisterium and hurled at the Church and Catholics to prove the falsity of the Catholic Faith.

    Yet there is another problem arising: Sola Traditio, Tradition alone which takes certain teachings and statements of earlier Church Father, Popes, Bishops etc and hurling them against the present Catholic Church. This works no more than Sola Scriptura.

    The Word of God, God’s Self Revelation and the revelation of His saving will is fully revealed in and through the Person of Jesus Christ. The whole Old Testament points to and finds its fulfillment in Him. The Tradition of the Church is the Paraclete-Spirit’s ‘reminding’ the Church of all that Jesus Christ said and did and wanted to hand on to us [traditio]. The Magisterium [Pope and bishops in union with him], founded on and rooted in Apostolic Succession is the interpreter of the Word of God in Scripture and Tradition.

  25. Nota Bene: I made a mistake lol It should read, “Rationalism holds to reason alone (Sola Ratio)….”

    A very different discussion, obviously, is the one that leads us to the
    synagogues and mosques, where those who worship the One God
    Yes, certainly it is a different case when we come to these great
    monotheistic religions, beginning with Islam. In the Declaration Nostra
    Aetate we read: “The Church also has a high regard for the Muslims,
    who worship one God, living and subsistent, merciful and omnipotent,
    the Creator of heaven and earth” (Nostra Aetate 3). As a result of their
    monotheism, believers in Allah are particularly close to us.
    (Crossing The Threshold of Hope | Pope St. John Paul II)
    Jn 4:22: ‘You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.’
    1 Jn 2:22-23: ‘Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.’
    The Muslims worship ‘what they do not know’ even if they worship the One True God, they do not worship him ‘in Spirit and in Truth’.
    Since their revelation denies the Son, it is the ‘antichrist’, the revelation is not from God but from the evil one as the antichrist is associated with the evil one.

  27. I don’t know of anything more blasphemous than having prayers to a false god said in the Vatican. :-/

  28. Barbara Gordon

    To say that the Creator God of the OT is not the God of the NT is the Marcionite heresy. Now, both Jews and Muslims worship God, not only as the Creator, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    When Pascal invoked «Dieu d’Abraham, Dieu d’Isaac, Dieu de Jacob non des philosophes et des savants » [God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars], he rightly distinguished between “the God of the philosophers,” a mere notion, of the Deists, derived from the contingency of the world, a “God of the gaps” – and the true God, Who reveals Himself in active relationship with us. This is why Nosrra Ætate says Jews and Muslims worship the true God.

  29. MPS:

    My God, who is the God of the Old Testament & the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the God of the Trinity ( Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.) The Muslim god, Allah, is no such god as mine.

    In the OT there were both male & female creator gods who were worshipped as part of Baalim (Baal.)
    Being a creator God may be the only single characteristic that Allah has with my God apart from the common biological connection of Abraham being the father of some of the practitioners of Judaism & Islam.

    Speak for yourself, sir.

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