Skip to comments.Pope to Baptize Prominent Muslim
Posted on 03/22/2008 2:17:09 PM PDT by kellynla
Italy's most prominent Muslim commentator is converting to Catholicism by being baptized by the pope at an Easter vigil, the Vatican announced Saturday.
Magdi Allam is the deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera newspaper and writes often on Muslim and Arab affairs. Born in Egypt, he has described himself as a non-practicing Muslim. He has long spoken out against extremism and in favor of tolerance.
Pope Benedict XVI was baptizing seven adults during the service, which marks the period between Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, which marks his resurrection.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said of Allam before the service that anyone who chooses to become a Catholic of his or her own free will has the right to receive the sacrament.
Lombardi said the pope administers the sacrament "without making any 'difference of people,' that is, considering all equally important before the love of God and welcoming all in the community of the Church."
Benedict opened the lengthy nighttime service by blessing a white candle, which he then carried down the main aisle of the darkened St. Peter's Basilica. Slowly, the pews began to light up as his flame was shared with candles carried by the faithful, until the whole basilica twinkled and the main lights came on.
The baptism rite during the vigil service is part of the joyful renewal Christians associate with Easter.
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.
Egypt's highest Islamic cleric, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, wrote last year against the killing of apostates, saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion and that punishment would come in the afterlife.
Osama bin Laden accused the pope in a new audio message posted Wednesday of playing a "large and lengthy role" in a "new Crusade" against Islam that included the publication of drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims found insulting.
Lombardi said Thursday that bin Laden's accusation was baseless. He said Benedict repeatedly criticized the Muhammad cartoons, first published in some European newspapers in 2006 and republished by Danish papers in February.
Osama is going to throw another fit...LOL. This is great!
Wait until Obamabi’s Spiritual Mentor hears about this one!
Welcome Magdi Allam. Arm yourself.
This is very gutsy in light of the planned Christian-Muslim dialogues later this year. The Sacraments trump diplomacy.
The Pope's baptizing of a Muslim only days after bin Laden's threat is important news, I think.
Highly symbolic and sure to enrage the terrorists even more, if that's possible. The Pope is clearly showing that the Gospel of Jesus is his one and only point of reference.
Kind of a silly title.
I don’t think the Catholic church is interested in baptizing adults that are not Christians, are they?
How about “former Muslim?”
“Repentant former Muslim?”
Regardless, it is always good for visible Muslims to convert - it will (hopefully) give others of that faith pause. A good thing, IMHO.
“I dont think the Catholic church is interested in baptizing adults that are not Christians, are they?”
Oh, yes we are. It will be happening all over the world tonight!
I hope folks got to watch this on EWTN tonight. It was wonderful, especially the expression on the Pope’s face when he confirmed this new convert.
Interestingly, the former Muslim was not announced before the service and apparently had not told anyone; in fact, when his turn came, he was identified first as someone from Peru and then it was only mentioned that he was from Italy (he is an Italian resident and citizen) and editor of La Corriere della Sera. I’m sure every attempt was made to keep it fairly quiet.
At the same time, I am very impressed that the Pope and the new Catholic himself had the courage to go ahead and do this. Prayers for both!
God Bless and congratuations to this new Christian Roman Catholic beliver. A Blessed Happy Easter to him and welcome into the Church.
A bit of advice: Get protection for yourself!
...And praise God, in my parish church, one was baptized tonight!
A Blessed Easter to all the baptized and recieved!
This is one of the great miracles of Easter, when people come to faith in Christ in the most visable ways.
Sure they are...Babies are not Christians...
You get wetted with the 'holy' water by a 'holy' man and your are a Christian...
I work with a fella that had to become a Catholic to marry a woman he fell in love with...He got the 'holy water treatment' and now he's a Catholic Crhistian...What an insult to Jesus Christ...He's no more a Christian than Osama Bin Laden...
There are thousands of former Arab muzlims who have accepted the free gift of Salvation offered by Jesus Christ (for real)...
In the Bible, you will find the two words "believe" and "baptize" or "baptized" in that order and for a reason. ;-)
Praise God for this brave man whose courage resembles that of the early Christians.
Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this is going to be a popcorn thread...once the vultures gather. It’s a darned shame that there are some who are that way, but it is what it is.
What do you mean by the term “popcorn thread” ? Consider what happened last night to be a true miracle of God this Easter with the hope of the futher spread of the Gospel of Jesus.