Pope Benedict, Roman Catholicism, and the Middle East
Pope Benedict XVI is convoking a Synod of Bishops for the Middle East October 10-24. The topic is The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. The Vatican Synod is concerned about the conditions Christians face in Muslim nations pointing to a dramatic decrease of Christianity in the region of the Middle East:
- Not too long ago, Christians made up about 20% of the Middle East’s population. Now it is 5% and falling.
- About 100 years ago Christians made up 20% of the population in Turkey. Now they account for about .2%.
What Pope Benedict and the Vatican Synod must do about the Decline of Christianity in the Middle East
Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican Synod need to understand that the decline of Christianity in the Middle East is largely due to the decline of Christianity in Roman Catholicism (cf. Revelation 2:5). Imagine for a moment if the Apostle Paul or Peter were to ask the question, “What can we do about the persecution of Christians by Nero?” They would not give the kinds of answers some are suggesting: social changes, democratic secular states, interfaith cooperation, etc. And they most certainly would give answers that probably won’t be discussed at the Vatican Synod.
Here are three biblical things Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican Synod must address:
1. Preach the Gospel of God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 1:16-17; Galatians 1:8-9).
2. Repent for teaching that Muslims adore the same God as Christians (Catechism of the Catholic Church 841).
- Muslims reject the doctrine of the Trinity as blasphemous (Qur’an 5:73).
- Muslims do not adore the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (James 2:19; 1 John 2:22-23).
3. Repent for kissing the Qur’an which contains the doctrine of antichrist (1 John 2:22-23).
- The Qur’an denies both the Father and the Son (cf. Matthew 16:16; 26:63-64).
- The Qur’an says belief that Jesus is the Son of God is perverse and accursed (Qur’an 5:17; 9:30; 10:68; 19:88-92).
Update on the Vatican Synod
Regretably, the Vatican Synod approved the following statement in its conclusion:
9. We [Muslims and Christians] are united by the faith in one God and by the commandment that says: do good and avoid evil. The words of the Second Vatican Council on the relations with other religions offer the basis for the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Muslims: “The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men” (Nostra aetate 3).
We say to our Muslim fellow-citizens: we are brothers and sisters; God wishes us to be together, united by one faith in God and by the dual commandment of love of God and neighbour. Together we will construct our civil societies on the basis of citizenship, religious freedom and freedom of conscience. Together we will work for the promotion of justice, peace, the rights of persons and the values of life and of the family. The construction of our countries is our common responsibility. We wish to offer to the East and to the West a model of coexistence between different religions and of positive collaboration between different civilisations for the good of our countries and that of all humanity.