Editorials

Journey of Peace

Pope Francis has just completed his Apostolic Journey to Egypt. By all standards, it was widlly successful. The very fact that it even occurred immediately makes it a success.

His visit was quick, but meaningful and it showed the solidarity that he has with those suffering throughout the world, most especially Christians who are suffering and indeed being martyred for hatred of the Christian faith.

While in Egypt, the Holy Father warned against the dangers of radicalization of religion, calling it a distortion of faith to assign God’s name to any violence. Faith and its practice, which is religion, should never lead to extremism, and especially, it should never lead to violence and hatred.

This rejection of extremism in the name of religion is urgently needed not only in the Muslim world, but in our Christian world as well. The Holy Father pulled no punches. He laid it all on the line in asking the Islamic world to join with Christians in the rejection of violence.

Our faith is rooted in Jesus and His timeless teachings, as lived in time in the Church. No level of extremism, whether it be extremely progressive or overly conservative, is healthy for the Church. This is not to say that we need to never make a stand. As Christians, we are called to be in the world, yet not of the world, and that stand must always be rooted in natural law and in the consistent teachings of the Church.

But we are called to be leaven not destructive forces. We do what we do in love – “Do the truth in love,” St. Paul tells us in his Epistle to the Ephesians 4:15. This will give us the courage to be a Catholic, faithful and true to Christ and the Church, and to avoid any angry radicalization.

And so, the Pope spoke about unity with the Coptic Orthodox Church and he told his own Catholic flock there – as tiny as it is – that the only type of radical action to be tolerated is radical love.

The Holy Father surely embarked on a dangerous journey when he went to Egypt. Some had advised him not to go because of the recent Palm Sunday bombings of Christian churches in that land. But he was determined to bring the Church’s message of peace to this “cradle of civilization” that is so rich in religious history. His message was clearly heard. We hope it will be heeded.

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