Skip to comments.Pope baptizes famous Muslim convert
Posted on 03/22/2008 4:04:50 PM PDT by BenLurkin
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict led the world's Catholics into Easter on Saturday at a Vatican service where he baptized a Muslim-born convert who is one of Italy's most famous and controversial journalists.
The German-born pontiff, marking the third Easter season of his pontificate, began the service in the atrium of a darkened St Peter's Basilica where he carved the Greek letters Alpha and Omega on a large candle.
The basilica became a sea of flickering flames as thousands of faithful inside lit candles before the lights were turned on in a ritual symbolizing the darkness in the world after Christ's death and the light of the resurrection.
Easter, the most important day in the Church's liturgical calendar, commemorates Christ rising from the dead three days after he was crucified.
In his sermon, Benedict wove a connection between the resurrection of Christ and the sacrament of baptism, the initiation rite of Christianity.
"...from the abyss of death he was able to rise to life. Now he raises us from death to true life. This is exactly what happens in baptism," the pope said.
The pope traditionally baptizes newborns on January 1 and adult converts to Catholicism on Easter eve.
One of the seven adults he baptized on Saturday night was Magdi Allam, 55, an Egyptian-born journalist who, as deputy director of the leading newspaper Corriere della Sera, is one of Italy's best-known intellectuals.
Allam, a fierce critic of Islamic extremism and a strong supporter of Israel, is protected by a police escort because of threats he has received.
His conversion to Christianity was a well-kept secret, disclosed by the Vatican in a statement less than an hour before the Easter eve service started.
"For the Catholic Church, each person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a fully free choice and adequate preparation, has a right to receive it," it said.
Allam defended the pope in 2006 when the pontiff made a speech in Regensburg, Germany, that many Muslims perceived as depicting Islam as a violent faith.
The Vatican statement announcing Allam was joining Catholicism said all newcomers were "equally important before God's love and welcome in the community of the Church."
Allam, who has been living in Italy for 35 years, has said he was never a very devout Muslim. Still, his conversion to Christianity came as a surprise.
"What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion," Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, vice-president of the Italian Islamic Religious Community, told Reuters.
The Easter eve service was the first of three at which the pope presides. On Sunday he will celebrate a mass and then deliver his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing and message.
Good luck getting life insurance buddy.
Pope Benedict just farted in Sammy’s general direction.
wow. Hundred of years after the crusades and thousands of years after Jesus Christ, and the sprinkling of water on a muslim in the name of Jesus is still major news. And the penalties for freedom of conscience are the same - losing your head.
Sad isn’t it?
I really need to visit Rome before it blows up. That said, welcome to the Church Allam!
Already posted here:
“There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death though killings are rare.”
Talk about just falling off the turnip truck.
On a separate note...
I really hve a bad feeling regarding the Pope’s upcoming visit to New York and Washington DC.
I really believe Al Queda is going to try to kill him here...
Sounds like Benedict has taken up the flag from John Paul II. Viva Papa!! God Bless You.
In its broadest and most enduring sense, that matter is settled.
I thought the whole article seemed rather low-key. It is the media, of which this man is apparently quite an influential member, that is carrying the story.
But you're supposed to blame the Pope and the Church.
I second your welcoming of this man to the faith. And I honor both the Pope and him for doing it “in front of God and everybody” instead of some semi-secret way.
I applaud his courage to take a public stance on what I'm sure he understands could be a very volatile situation. It would have been just as easy to have some local priest baptize him in a private ceremony.
If he was killed, do you think the billion plus Catholics may grab a bucket and help us drain that swamp?
I thought the whole article seemed rather low-key. It is the media, of which this man is apparently quite an influencial member, that is carrying the story.
But you're supposed to blame the Pope and the Church.
Thank you sir.
Viva il Papa Benedict! Bravo!! Bravissimo!!
(Too bad he didn’t become Pope in his late fifties, like his predecessor, so he could cast a long and giant shadow.)
Guess the Saudi head muzzie will soon be screaming
“Give us that sword back!!””
A huge can of Whoop A$$ would be opened.....
This would make the Crusades look like a walk in the park....
I wondered why Bin Laden singled out the Pope in his recent message. Now it seems obvious some in the Muslim world knew this conversion was coming.
Prayers for more conversions to the True and Living Way.
Different title, different article, different source, different author.
Interesting thought — knowing what it is they know can help the authorities investigate how they know it.
Although I’m not Catholic, I think this is an amazing event.
True. But the premiums on his "soul" insurance, have been paid in full.
it certainly is, thanks for the ping.
Come on, when the Pope himself does a public televised baptism....on the eve of Easter......to a converting muslim, it's going to be news. It was calculated and the Pope is definitely making a statement. And I love him for it (and I'm not even Catholic.)
Christ is risen.
Yiddish - Der Meschiache undzer iz geshtanen! Avade er iz ufgeshtanen!
He is risen indeed.
Hey Osama! Take that you effin b*tch!!
He has signed his death warrant, and Christ has assured his place in Heaven.
But, other than that, it's already been posted. :-)
No more than I would cheer in Polish for John Paul II.
Russian - Khristos voskres! Voistinu voskrese!
To all the world: He is risen! He is truly risen!
The Crusades were self-defense. How did they start? In the 7th and 8th centuries, Muslim hordes conquered the Christian lands of Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Transjordan, North Africa — places that housed some of the earliest Churchs, the earliest Church fathers (including Augustine who is from what is now Libya/Algeria/Tunisia). Christians were taxed specific taxes for not being Muslims and were treated as third-class citizens, their Children and wives forfeit. After 300 years, the caliphs started destroying the Holy Churches in Israel and killing pilgrims, only THEN did we Christians retaliate. We did not go into the crusades to forcibly converts
“us”? Remember that 25% of Americans are Catholic
As I said on another post — I rejoice whenever a Muslim joins ANY branch of Christianity. As a Catholic, thank you for your statements — Magdi Allam has joined the CHRISTIAN brotherhood in Christ: with ALL of us believers in Christ, Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, etc. etc.