Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Whatever his frustrations with the public stance of the Church on issues that affect Italy's national interests, matters upon which the faithful can legitimately argue since they largely involve areas of political prudence, it seems that Magdi Allam has traded in his Catholic heritage for a mess of Italian right-wing, nationalistic porridge. 

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Magdi Allam, conversion, Islam, Church, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Five years ago, in a highly-publicized event, Magdi Cristiano Allam, an Egyptian-born Muslim, naturalized Italian citizen, former contributor to Manifesto and Repubblica, and vice-director of the Corriere della Sera, left Islam and converted to Catholicism.  The event received significant press coverage because this notable convert was baptized by then-Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Basilica during the Easter Vigil on March 22, 2008. 

Allam was instructed in the Catholic doctrine by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, and was sponsored by Maurizio Lupi, a high-ranking member of the Forza Italia party, a political party that was founded by Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister.  You'd have thought with that behind him, the Faith would have stuck.

Unfortunately, after five years as a Catholic, Allam has announced in a very public way that he has left the Catholic Church.  "I believe in Jesus . . . . but I no longer believe in the Church," he wrote in an editorial in the Italian daily Il Giornale.

"My conversion to Catholicism, which came at the hands of Benedict XVI during the Easter Vigil on March 22, 2008," Allam explains in the Monday-edition of the right-wing Milan daily newspaper Il Giornale, "I now consider over, in line with the end of his pontificate."

While he describes his decision as "extremely painful," he attributes the decision to a variety of factors, all of which he addresses in his editorial.

A number of things apparently triggered Allam's decision.  The most important and overriding reason in Allam's view was the Church's accommodating policies regarding Islam, a position which is resulting he says in practical dhimmitude and impairing the proclamation of the Gospel. 

Other reasons include the Church's anti-national positions regarding immigration which hamper the Italian desire to preserve their culture from foreign elements caused by illegal immigration.  Also in play is what Allam calls the recent "papalotry" arising from out of the recent resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis.  Finally, Allam appears to have rejected some of the Church's teachings on moral theology and ecclesiastical disciplines.

As Allam explains it: "The thing that drove me away from the Church more than any other factor was religious relativism, in particular the legitimization of Islam as a true religion."  In Allam's view, Islam is an "intrinsically violent ideology," and does not deserve the respect that it is getting from those responsible for fashioning the Church's public stance regarding Islam including the papacy and the curia. 

It is an error of first proportion to legitimize even implicitly Islam as a true religion where "Allah is a true God, and Muhammad a true prophet, the Qur'an a sacred text, and mosques as places of worship."  This, he says, is nothing less than "genuine suicidal folly" and a practical relativism.

As examples of this excessive accommodation, Allam pointed to Blessed John Paul II's controversial kissing of the Qur'an, and Benedict XVI's placing his hand on the Qur'an while facing Mecca when praying in the Blue Mosque in Instanbul. 

It is clear to Allam that this sort of accommodation will increase under Pope Francis, who spoke early in his pontificate about the Muslims "who adore the one God, living and merciful," and who has announced that he looks forward to continuing dialogue especially with Islam.

While the Church speaks--in the words of Benedict XVI--of the "dictatorship of relativism," Allam observed, "the truth is that the Church is, from a practical [literally, physiological] perspective, relativist (fisiologicamente relativista)."

Moreover, in Allam's view, the Church's message against the dictatorship of relativism and in favor of a confident Christian message is encumbered by the fact that it recognizes and promotes modern secular society, with its tolerant acceptance of multiculturalism, itself a relativistic secular social creed. 

Additionally, he complains that the Church has taken a globalist and therefore anti-nationalistic, pro-immigration, and hence anti-Italian ideology.  As a result of these positions, the Church in Allam's view, has pitted herself against the common good of nation states, in particularly--as far as Allam is concerned--Italy.

"I am opposed to globalism," Allam stated, "which opens unconditional national borders based on the principle that humanity as a whole must be conceived as brothers and sisters, that the whole world should be viewed as a single land available to all mankind." 

Against such a view, Allam stated that he was "convinced that the indigenous people should be entitled to enjoy the right and the duty to preserve their culture and their heritage," a position the Church has not only not publicly aligned itself with, but has placed itself in practical opposition to.

"I am opposed to that sort of doing good that makes the Church stand as the highest protector of immigrants, including and especially illegal immigrants," Allam wrote.  "I am for the ordering society in accordance with rules, and the first rule is that in Italy we must first ensure the good of the Italians," thus "correctly applying the exhortation of Jesus to 'love your neighbor as you love yourself.'"  Charity for Allam begins at home and embraces Italians first and aliens second.

In Allam's view, Islam has to be rigorously opposed as "incompatible with our civilization and fundamental human rights," which are based upon Christian values.  It is of the highest imperative to have a more steeled resolve against Islam.  "I am more convinced than ever," Allam wrote, "that Europe will end up being subjugated to Islam just like what happened beginning in the seventh century on the other side of the Mediterranean." 

His reference, of course, is to the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and Northern African, including such Christian centers such as Damascus, Antioch, and Alexandria.  Magdi Allam is not the only one who has expressed such concern.

Magdi Allam also complained of what he characterized as "papalotry" arising from an undue and excessive attachment to the person of the Pope which places him above criticism for practical decisions which do not have anything to do with his teachings ex cathedra.

Finally, it appears that Allam has trouble with some of the Church's disciplines and moral teachings.  In his article, he accuses the Church as being "practically tempted" (fisiologicamente tentata) by evil, pointing to its public positions regarding morality which "requires behaviors that are in conflict with human nature, such as priestly celibacy, abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage, the indissolubility of marriage, in addition to the temptation of money."  This cryptic comment suggests that he rejects the Church's positions on the disciplinary or moral matters.

"I will continue to believe in Jesus, whom I have always loved and will continue to identify with Christianity as the civilization that more than any other brings man closer to God who chose to become man."  The Jesus Allam loves is not clearly the Jesus as the Church sees him, but Jesus as Allam sees him.

It appears that Allam has forgotten a basic tenet of Catholicism and traditional, at least traditional Western, Christianity: ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia; ubi ecclesia, ibi Christi est.  Where Peter is, there is the Church.  Where the Church is, there is Christ. 

There are hundreds of gates into the Church observed G. K. Chesterton.  Unfortunately, there are hundreds of gates out, as well.  We can always come up with some grievance to excuse our lack of fidelity, to rationalize our loss of Faith, to justify our disobedience to the Lord.

Whatever his frustrations with the public stance of the Church on issues that affect Italy's national interests, matters upon which the faithful can legitimately argue and even differ with the hierarchy since they largely involve areas of political prudence, it seems that Allam has traded in his Catholic heritage for a mess of Italian right-wing, nationalistic pottage. 

Bad move, Magdi.  Bad move.  It's not smart to join the ranks of Esau and go into the wilderness alone.  I'd rather wrestle with God like Jacob and even put up with the treason of the clerics, so long as I always keep the Faith and never break ranks from the Body of Christ.  I shall pray for you and for your return.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Living Faith

No one should be hungry during the Christmas season

Image of

By Tony Magliano

In early December, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) stopped feeding 1.7 million Syrian refugees. For two weeks these poor, battered fellow human beings who had fled the misery of civil war, and the barbarism of the "Islamic State," were told there is no ... continue reading


HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Beloved Pontiff turns 78 today Watch

Image of Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Today is Pope Francis' 78th birthday and well-wishers celebrated the day singing and dancing for the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Born on December 17, 1936, the man who would become Pope Francis has ... continue reading


Turned into the wild, Pope Francis offers hope to displaced faithful in Middle East Watch

Image of Patriarch Younan said a major focus of their synod was on priestly formation since their communities have faced so much upheaval.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Times are hard and arduous for those who practice their Catholic faith in the Middle East. In a special audience with Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, along with about 350 of his faithful from the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis offered words ... continue reading


Mary hailed as 'great missionary' who brought Gospel to Americas by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Francis and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis along with thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Vatican. The Pope celebrated Mass to the sounds and rhythms of many of South America's indigenous peoples. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Your Friday Feel Good Story: Watch what happens when the mic goes out during the American National Anthem at a hockey game in Canada! Watch

Image of Ina  heartwarming gesture of respect, Canadians sing the Star Spangled Banner when the microphone game out before a game featuring a team from the USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Here's your Friday Feel Good story! Enjoy your Friday and don't forget to share! During a hockey game in Canada between American and Canadian players, the microphone failed, silencing the singer. Without audio, the Americans would be without their national anthem, but ... continue reading


Irenaeus of Lyon on Eve and Mary

Image of An Icon of Ireneaus of Lyon

By Ireneaus of Lyon

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to ... continue reading


Taking the Kingdom by Force: Learning from John the Baptizer Watch

Image of The choice is ours. Just as it was with John the Baptizer. He shows us the way to give away our freedom in love - and then find it anew in the One who truly sets us free. (John 8:36). The kingdom of heaven is still being taken by force. The force of love. The Lord is seeking men and women in this hour who will take the kingdom by force like John the Baptizer.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

John the Baptizer was a man of Joy because he was a man of true humility! Humility is a powerful weapon when wielded by a soldier of love like John. He was a man who understood that life wasn't all about him. He emptied himself willingly and was thus able to ... continue reading


Faith restored in humanity! A random act of kindness changes a woman's life forever during the Christmas season Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While protests are wreaking havoc all around the world, wars are being fought, and people are being brutally killed, the warm sensation and fuzzy feeling of Christmas gets overshadowed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although good deeds and random acts of kindness ... continue reading


Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection of the Body and the Life of the World to Come? Watch

Image of Seated at the right hand of the Father, he works unceasingly in the world, to draw men into the Church and through it to join them more closely to himself.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. His salvation is offered extended to all men and women. That salvation is not only about our souls, but about the whole human person. It will only be complete when we are raised from the dead and dwell in the kingdom to come. He ... continue reading


A Christmas gift for suffering South Sudan

Image of The people of South Sudan have the same feeling and love for one another we do. Now is the time for us to extend our arms in compassion.

By Tony Magliano

The world's newest nation is in big trouble. After more than 20 years of civil war between the southern and northern areas of Sudan, the southern part of that country on July 9, 2011, became the independent nation of the Republic of South Sudan.But the situation on the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 7:10-14
10 Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said:11 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 20th, 2014 Image

St. Dominic of Silos
December 20: Benedictine abbot and defender of the faith. Born in Canas, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter