I am a Protestant, not a Catholic. Christianity, however, is Christianity.
In an interview yesterday with the French magazine La Croix, Francis minimized the difference between Islam and Christianity, arguing that the religions share a concept of subjugation.
Today, I don't think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.
Yes, I suppose it is possible to interpret the Great Commission in such a manner that mimics Islam's rule of subjugation, but it is a stretch so great as to make the comparison asinine.
Muslims are told to fight unbelievers until they are either dead, converted to Islam, or in a permanent state of subjugation under Muslim domination. Allowing people of other faiths to live and worship independently of Islamic rule is not an option.
The Quran is clear:
Quran (8:38-39) - “Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief) their past will be forgiven... And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world ]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.” Translation from the Noble Quran
Quran (9:29) - "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." Suras 9 and 5 are the last "revelations" that Muhammad narrated - hence abrogating what came before, including the oft-quoted verse 2:256 -"There is no compulsion in religion...".
Quran (9:5) "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them..." Prayer and charity are among the Five Pillars of Islam, as salat and zakat. (See below). The Quran thus sanctions violence as a means of coercing religion.
Quran (9:11) - (Continued from above) "But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion"In conjunction with the preceding passage, this confirms that Muhammad is speaking of conversion to Islam. Quran (9:56-57) - "And they swear by Allah that they are most surely of you, and they are not of you, but they are a people who are afraid (of you). If they could find a refuge or cave or a place to enter into, they would certainly have turned thereto, running away in all haste." This refers to people living with the Muslim tribe who may not be true believers, but must pretend to be in order to survive. They have no safe refuge to escape the Muslims. If Islam were a religion of peace, then why the fear?
Quran (2:193) - "And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion be only for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers." The key phrase here is to fight until "religion be only for Allah."
Qur'an (3:83) - "Are they seeking a religion other than Allah's, when every soul in the heavens and the earth has submitted to Him, willingly orby compulsion?" But didn't the earlier verse (2:256) state that there is "no compulsion in religion"? This contradiction is resolved by abrogation - where the later verse supersedes the earlier one.
I hardly believe that Christ admonished the Disciples to forcibly convert mankind to Christianity, forbidding belief in any other religion. The Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20 is clear to me:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus did not command the Disciples to create a political system. Jesus commanded the Disciples to spread the Gospel, to teach humanity the Word of God, not subjugate them to Christianity, or to create a governmental system.
Christians don't engage in "conquest." Christians engage in teaching, love and persuasion.
Seems to me, with all due respect to my Catholic friends, that Pope Francis is trying just a little too hard to be politically correct.
At least I haven't seen Christians post-New Testament beheading infidels.