An ambiguous series of statements. From AP, with thanks to all who sent this in:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI urged Islamic countries to ensure religious rights for Christian migrants Monday while also saying Christians should continue welcoming Muslim immigrants with open arms.
It’s good to see the first part, although it will fall on deaf ears; but what about Muslims who do not respect Christians in their home countries and then immigrate to Western countries? Should they really be welcomed wholeheartedly by Christians in the West?
Benedict stressed the need for “reciprocity” in Christian-Muslim relations during a speech to members of the pontifical council for migrants. The Vatican office is studying the issue of migration to and from Muslim countries during its annual meeting this week.
Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the migrant office, has complained recently that while Muslim immigrants are often welcomed into largely Christian countries in Europe and allowed to practice their faith freely, Christian immigrants in the Islamic world are denied those same rights.
Benedict said Christians were called to “open their arms and their hearts to everyone,” regardless of their countries of origin.
“Obviously, it is also to be hoped that Christians who emigrate to countries with an Islamic majority find welcome and respect of their religious identities there,” he said.
“More and more the importance of reciprocity in dialogue is felt.”
Well, certainly reciprocity would be a step in the right direction. Shouldn’t Muslim countries therefore welcome Christian immigrants, including missionaries?