Peter Turkson, a possible candidate for Pope has tense relations with his colleague French Cardinal Andre’ Vingt-Trois. Their disagreement begin when Cardinal Turkson presented a video to the most recent synod which contended that proselytizing of Islam is growing in Europe. One example of this shift is evidenced by the construction of more mosques than churches in France. The video also discussed the effect of the growing influence of Islam in Africa. The Cardinal of Paris was offended by the video, mainly because he thought it over-pronounced the influence of Islam in the old world.
The Bishop of Lichfield has stepped into the debate about whether the Church should seek to convert Muslims by defending the church’s missionary approach to Islam. The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, in a pastoral letter in parish magazines throughout Staffordshire, the northern half of Shropshire and most of the Black Country, said the Church had nothing to fear by recognising that Islam too is a missionary faith. “Both Christianity and Islam are missionary faiths. That means that each understands that the other has a message to convey to the world,” he said. “Muslims do not respect Christians who compromise their faith or water down their belief in the uniqueness of Christ. “A fundamental plank of a free society is the freedom to argue for one’s beliefs and to seek to persuade others. “Just as important is the freedom to change one’s religion (‘be converted’) and to change it again.” He stressed, however, that the decision to change religion must be taken freely, saying: “Any coercion is to be avoided.” He added: “Part of that will be to learn about the Muslim religion and to show respect for Muslim communities. Part of neighbourliness will be to share our Good News with them.” Next month, bishops, clergy and laity from the Diocese of Lichfield will join with their partners from Malaysia, South Africa, Canada and Germany, to discuss “Mission and the challenge of Islam”.
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Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor 23, stated that it is time for friendly and clear dialogue with Muslims, and that Catholics need not be fearful in their interactions with members of the Muslim community. Monsegnor Michel Dubost highlights the 140 known conversions from Islam to Catholicism, many of whom receive death threats for crossing religious boundaries. He argues, it is necessary for the Catholic Church to present itself in a better light, while avoiding being accused of proselytizing.