Rorate Caeli

And the 2014 Dhimmi Award goes to...

...Monsignore Cesare Nosiglia, the Archbishop of Turin, Italy, for the most adulatory Ramadan or Eid-al-Fitr greeting card or letter ever published south of the Alps. Or north of them.

When sending greetings to members of another faith, there is courtesy and politeness, when circumstances absolutely demand the greeting. Then there is flattery. And then there is just plain sycophancy.

Islam is not a religion of "nice". Islam is a religion of Law and Power. Law, Polity, Faith are inseparable, and the faithful Muslim is (and in this he should be praised for acting upon what he wrongly believes) always seeking the accomplishment of the three realities in one, whenever circumstances allow them.

The following displaced Christian woman, interviewed by Assyrian-owned Ishtar TV this week shows this well. Remember that her family has been in what is now Northern Iraq forever, that there were Christians in her city of Mosul (Nineveh) certainly days or weeks after Pentecost, Jewish or Proselyte pilgrims who had been in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot and, probably by way of Damascus, returned to their land filled with the Spirit and the Good News of the Resurrected Messiah. Then, six centuries later came the invading Arab hordes and, with time and pressure, and new populations, a Christian population became a Muslim-majority population.

Now, one can only imagine how many millions of times the lady and her ancestors had greetings of Muslim feasts for their neighbors. But, with the most brutal regime for centuries in town, most Muslims (not all, of course, but almost all, other than one or other heroic Muslim), sensing the times, turned on their Christian neighbors -- that is how centuries of polite greetings from Christians were returned: "Ordinary Muslim citizens are treating us like this in Mosul." Please, take a look -- she knows the Koran well, but that was not enough to save her family from expulsion and expropriation:

The members of the religion of Mohammed can sense more than any other adherent of any faith the weakness in others. It is not due to any inherent evil in them as human beings (they are as noble and precious and as unworthy of the redemption bought by the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ as any human being); it is, as we said above, the way the structure Polity-Law-Creed that is their faith functions. When they sense they can advance, they will. Therefore, a polite greeting can be interpreted as mere courtesy. But bishops in particular, who are the leaders of the Catholic faithful and who are, for this reason, usually treated as the political leaders of Christian minorities in Muslim lands (because that is the way Muslims view matters), must be careful not to send messages of lavish adulation, which are rightly interpreted by most Muslims as submission  -- which is, after all, the very name of Islam.

So, yes, by all means, dear Lord Bishops, if you wish to be courteous, limit yourselves to greeting cards with a couple of words. More than that, and, even if you are not aware of it, you are calling for much, much more than you can handle.


Published in Archdiocesan weekly “La Voce del Popolo” (The Voice of the People), edition of the upcoming Sunday, July 27, 2014, the letter of greetings from the Archbishop addressed to the Muslims resident in the territory of the diocese of Turin, on the occasion of the celebrations for the conclusion of the Ramadan fast at the end of July. The entire text is attached, as consigned in original copy to the Islamic cultural centers of Turin (with mosques attached) by the parish priests of the respective territorial areas.

Dear Muslim faithful

Today the month of fasting, characterized by your intense personal effort of great dedication to God and renewal of the faith concludes with the feast of “id ad fitr”

We hope, above all, that your obedience to the will of God is strengthened and that you have been filled with every virtue, as your famous medieval theologian affirms, Adu Hamid al-Ghazli: “Clothe yourselves again with the conduct of God[…]. The maximum perfection, for the believer, consists in getting closer to his Lord, making his own those attributes that merit every praise: science, justice, piety, goodness, benignity, beneficence, mercy, good counsel, encouragement in the good and protection from evil.”

It is precisely these words that invite me to re-read together, in the light of God, the common concern of Christians, Muslims and men of good will regarding the two great questions of our time.

The first is the economic and work crisis that has gripped Italy and other European countries for some years and has disturbed the serenity of families and society itself. Unemployment, in particular, is a source of anxiety, in many cases, of impoverishing families and discouraging the young, who see the legitimate aspiration of fulfilling themselves in work and in the creation of their own family, getting further and further away. If the political institutions and social organisms are called on to given the best of themselves to resolve these great problems, at the same time, the crisis calls on, in a special way, the generosity of the believers in God, above all those who possess greater wealth and goods, to give witness to justice, beneficence, fraternity and solidarity to the poor and needy. [May]the just God who is full of mercy open our hearts to hear the call that rises from those that find themselves in need and lack the essentials for a dignified life for themselves and their families.

In second place, for a long time the insatiable and deep desire for peace among peoples has pervaded us – and seems to get frustrated. Pope Francis, man of great wisdom and hope, in June surprised us once again, by calling to Rome the Heads of the States of Israel and Palestine, not proposing the usual diplomatic mediation, but to pray together to the God of peace, so that hearts are disposed to peace. Like that, he wanted to stress that the path of violence and weapons cannot generate peace, which instead will be constructed only by dialogue, of “disarmed hearts” before God. Peace will come only if God converts hardened hearts, removing from them the seeds of violence, and planting the seed of the common good, of reciprocal respect and solidarity.

On Sunday June 8, the Pope at the meeting in the Vatican Gardens said: “ To make peace you need courage, much more than in making war. You need courage to say yes to encounter and no to clashing; yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostility; yes to respect for pacts and no to provocations; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. For all of this you need courage and great strength of soul. History teaches us that our strengths are not sufficient. More than once we found ourselves near peace, but the evil one, through different means, was able to obstruct it. For this we are here, because we know and believe that we need the help of God. We are not renouncing our responsibilities, but calling on God as an act of supreme responsibility, our consciences and our people as witnesses to it. We have heard a call and we must respond: the call is to break the spiral of hate and violence, and to break it with one single word: “brother.” [Note: not a single word on Syria or Iraq from the Archbishop, despite the dramatic situation of Christians in those Muslim lands.]

This invitation, is not only directed to the powerful of the world, however, but to each one of us. So, my wish is that all of your fasting be an authentic, growing, desire and effort for peace. Christians and Muslims, let’s make every effort to live day after day as brothers to all men, educating our families and our young, in respect for all, for the good of society and forgiveness, repudiating words and actions of hate and violence. And together let’s persevere, with trust, in pleas to God. It is only like this that we will give peace a true chance and render Glory to God, who is Peace.

To all of you, best wishes and happy “id al fitr.”
+ Cesare Nosiglia
Metropolitan Archbishop of Turin
[Source: Archdiocesan website. Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]