January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Muslims who have converted to Catholicism have penned an open letter to Pope Francis challenging him on his attitude towards and preaching on Islam.
“If Islam is a good religion in itself, as you seem to teach, why did we become Catholic?” the converts ask Francis in the letter. “Do not your words question the soundness of the choice we made at the risk of our lives?”
The letter continued to gain signatures over the weekend, approaching 3,700 by Monday afternoon.
The letter asks the Pope frank questions on the hot-button issues of Islam and immigration, questions that posed at great risk to those doing the asking. Sharia law forbids conversion by Muslims to other faiths and it is considered by many Muslim countries to be a crime punishable by death.
The letter came after years of attempts by the letter’s promoters to communicate with Pope Francis on the subject, organizers say. It was originally composed in French and posted Christmas Day, first with just 10 signatures at the outset. Those behind the letter aim to present it to Pope Francis when it reaches a significant number of signatures.
The signatories consist of former Muslims and their friends who have connected via social networks for associations that support ex-Muslims or evangelization of Muslims.
Organizers are not commenting on how many Muslim converts to Catholicism have signed the letter, though they say the names of the ex-Muslim signatories and the associations to which they belong would be revealed to the Pope only, in the event he should ask.
“As we said in the presentation of our letter,” they said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, “the ex-Muslims, in general, knowing themselves condemned to death by Islam, avoid making themselves known.”
The letter’s organizers told LifeSiteNews it is “a deep mystery” to them why Pope Francis is so accommodating to Islam.
They are not ready to leave the Catholic Church over Francis’ approach to Islam, they say.
Instead, “We will continue to suffer and ask God's forgiveness for him, hoping again for a pope according to His heart.”
Everyone has a stake in this
The open letter is available online for “former Muslims who became Catholics and their friends” to sign. It differs in this respect from the “Correctio filialis” published last fall, which is signed by some 250 Catholic clergy and scholars charging the pope with propagating heresies about “marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments.”
“We believe that it is not necessary to be a recognized theologian to recognize the demonic nature of Islam,” a representative of the group of former Muslims told LifeSiteNews, “but that anyone of a sense, without even having faith, can understand that [one] cannot serve both the Church and Islam.”
The letter asks the Pope specifically about his teaching on Islam in Evangelii Gaudium (paragraphs 252 and 253), in which Francis writes in part, that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
“You do not like to beat around the bush,” the letter writers say, “and neither do we, so allow us to say frankly that we do not understand your teaching about Islam.”
“Because it does not account for the fact that Islam came after Christ, and so is, and can only be, an Antichrist,” they continue (see 1 John 2:22), “and one of the most dangerous because it presents itself as the fulfillment of Revelation (of which Jesus would have been only a prophet).”
The letter also takes issue with Francis’s controversial comments comparing Islamic violence with individual violent acts committed by some Catholics.
The Pope made the statements on the papal plane in August 2016 in answer to a journalist’s inquiry as to why he never speaks of Islamic violence. The journalist’s question came in the wake of the brutal murder of French priest Father Jacques Hamel – who was beheaded in the name of Islam as he celebrated Mass.
The Pope had said in reply, “I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.”
“Islam prescribes death for apostates (Quran 4.89, 8.7-11), do you know?” the former Muslims ask in their letter to Pope Francis. “How is it possible to compare Islamic violence with so-called Christian violence?”
They know of what they speak
“In accordance with His teaching (Luke 14:26), we preferred Him, the Christ, to our own life,” they add. “Are we not in a good position to talk to you about Islam?”
Citing the Qur’an, they illustrate that Islam seeks to make an enemy of all and declares that Christians “are only impurity” and that Allah must exterminate them.
The Catholic converts also entreat Francis to not be deceived by the Quranic verses that are considered tolerant, because they say the verses are annulled by the Verse of the Sword (Qur’an 9.5).
“Where the Gospel proclaims the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the salvation of all, and the fulfillment of the Covenant initiated with the Hebrews,” they tell Francis, “Allah has nothing to offer but war and murder of the 'infidels' in exchange for his paradise.”
“In fact,” they state, “as long as Islam wants us to be its enemy, we are, and all our protestations of friendship cannot change anything.”
They clarify that they do not confuse Islam with Muslims, but they also stress that, “naiveté in the face of Islam is suicidal and very dangerous.”
The letter signatories ask Pope Francis about his January 20, 2014, remarks for World Migrants and Refugees Day, in which he encouraged a primarily Muslim audience to find hope in the Qur’an.
“That the Pope seems to propose the Quran as a way of salvation, is that not cause for worry?” they ask. “Should we return to Islam?”
Partnering with those who deny Christ is king
The Catholic converts also beg Francis in the letter not to seek an ally in Islam for fighting totalitarian forces in the world, because of the shared rejection of the kingship of Christ (Luke 4:7) with those forces.
They acknowledge the temptation to speak in a conciliatory tone in hopes of averting suffering for Christians in countries that have become more Muslim. But, they said, such a temptation must be avoided: “Jesus has never indicated any other way than that of the Cross, and “that only the proclamation of the truth brings with it not only salvation, but freedom as well.”
The letter signatories take on Francis’ strident call for migrants to be welcomed, when other leaders will qualify their immigration stances with some limits.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip and others have asked their countrymen not to integrate into their host countries, and Saudi Arabia and other oil monarchies do not take refugees, they point out in the letter to him.
And these occur, they tell Francis, as various Islamic organizations have proclaimed the conquest and Islamization of Europe for decades, “While you, Most Holy Father, preach the welcoming of migrants regardless of the fact that they are Muslims.”
This is forbidden by apostolic command, the Catholic converts say, citing 2 John 1:10-11: “If anyone comes to you but refuses this Gospel, do not receive him among you nor greet him. Whoever greets him participates in his evil works.”
“Just as 'For I was hungry, and you gave me no food.” (Mt 25:42) cannot mean that Jesus would have liked to be a parasite,' they continue, “so 'I was a stranger and you welcomed Me' cannot mean 'I was an invader and you welcomed Me,' but rather 'I needed your hospitality for a while, and you granted it to me.'”
The Bible is without mention of welcoming a foreigner who would keep his religion and its customs, the letter signers point out.
“Also, we do not understand that you are pleading for Muslims to practice their religion in Europe,” the tell Francis. “The meaning of Scripture should not be supplied by the proponents of globalism, but in fidelity to Tradition. The Good Shepherd hunts the wolf, He does not let it enter the sheepfold.”
A shared concern
The group of converts to Catholicism behind the letter is not alone in expressing concerns about Francis’ commendation for Islam.
After the Pope’s comments equating individual instances of violence committed by specific Catholics with “Islamic violence,” Catholic author William Kilpatrick queried in a Crisis magazine column, “Is the Pope doing more harm than good by continuing to deny—in the face of a mountain of evidence—that Islam has anything to do with violence?”
Christendom College co-founder Jeffrey Mirus said Francis had reflexively adopted popular secular language to smear those who take Christianity seriously.
“It is exactly the sort of speech that undermines the Petrine ministry,” Mirrus said. “Our Lord prayed for Peter so that he could confirm his brothers in their faith (Luke 22:32), not so that he could throw them under the bus.”
Writing about Francis having been lauded by various Muslim leaders as a defender of Islam, Catholic Islam expert Robert Spencer referenced him as “The Pope of Islam.”
“Pope Francis is not only disastrously wrongheaded about an obvious fact that is reinforced by every day’s headlines,” Spencer said, “he is also deceiving and misleading his people about a matter of utmost importance, and keeping them ignorant and complacent about a growing and advancing threat.”
Complacency towards Islam is treasonous
The open letter from the Catholic converts to Pope Francis warns in detail of impending danger from Islamization, stating, “This is a matter of life and death, and any complacency towards Islam is treasonous. We do not wish the West to continue with Islamization, nor that your actions contribute to it. Where then would we go to seek refuge?”
The former Muslims ask the Holy Father to convene a synod on the dangers of Islam, addressing the state of the Church in areas where Islam has gained prominence.
“In the interest of justice and truth, the Church must bring to light why the arguments put forward by Islam to blaspheme the Christian faith are false,” the letter’s signatories say. “If the Church had the courage to do that, we do not doubt that millions, Muslims as well as other men and women seeking the true God, would convert.”
See the full text of the letter here.