Muslims are already praying in the Cordoba Cathedral, so we haven’t heard the last of this controversy. Muslim groups will continue to portray it as an issue of human rights and religious pluralism, with blithe disregard for what would happen if Christians tried to pray in any of the large number of churches that are now mosques in the Middle East.
From the Spanish El Mundo, with thanks to Silvia. My translation:
VATICAN – The Vatican is against the Cathedral of CÃ³rdoba, the famous mosque, being used also by Muslims, and advises them to “accept history” without pretending to “take revenge,” in the same way that Catholics don’t reclaim buildings that have passed to Islam. Muslims have submitted a petition to the Vatican with this request.
This is the statement of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who has recalled that in 2001 John Paul II visited the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, which previously had been a Byzantine basilica, “and he did not ask to celebrate Mass there.”
“Some reflection is necessary. In the same way as in CÃ³rdoba, other buildings in the course of the centuries changed from their original use, like Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, converted into an Islamic museum,” said the Archbishop.
Fitzgerald said that “the Pope visited the mosque of the Omayyads in Damascus and prayed before the tomb of St. John the Baptist, but he did not ask to celebrate Mass in the mosque. The coexistence between Christians and Muslims is difficult if one pretends to go back in history or makes pretensions of reclamation. It is necessary to accept history and look toward the future.”
“The past is not dead. It is not even past.” “” William Faulkner.
Fitzgerald agreed that the Spanish authorities are trying to satisfy everyone, “but perhaps they don’t have the necessary theological sensibility” to understand the position of the Church.
“We also want to live in peace with people of other religions, but we don’t want to be pushed, manipulated, and to go against the rules of our own Faith,” he declared firmly. …
To the question of whether the petition of the Muslims concerning the mosque of CÃ³rdoba could be considered an attempt to “Islamize Europe,” the Archbishop indicated that there are some Muslims who consider Europe decadent and want to Islamize it.
“For some,” he said, “Islam is the answer “” a religious renewal. They are not in the majority, but they exist. Although there are also many Muslims who only want to coexist with other religions in a manner compatible with the law and the tradition of the country in which they live”.