Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/27/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

No school days for working children

Image of

By Tony Magliano

It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or ... continue reading


Catholic lawmakers asked by Pope to rally for pro-life, immigrants and persecuted Christians Watch

Image of The Holy Father was presented with a document by lawmakers outlining their commitment to promoting life in their respective nations, especially in areas of abortion, Christian persecution, and migration.

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Sunday, Pope Francis urged Catholic legislators to be protectors of human life, calling them to "be strong" against a throwaway culture marked by Christian persecution, and the rejection of the unborn and migrants. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The pontiff ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis' visit end in disaster? Residents say organizers don't have their act together Watch

Image of Mayor Nutter unveils the 'I'll Be There' campaign to encourage shop owners to stay open during the papal visit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Philadelphia residents are stressing over the upcoming Papal visit, and for good reason. Preparations for the visit appear ad hoc and are being poorly communicated to the community, according to locals. LOA ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Pope Francis' visit to ... continue reading


Bishop Melki, executed after he refused to convert to Islam in 1915 has been beatified Watch

Image of Pope Francis earlier this month confirmed Bishop Melki's beatification saying he was killed in hatred.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Martyred during the Assyrian Genocide in 1915, Bishop Melki is on the road towards sainthood with his beatification this past weekend. Killed in Gazarta during the sayfo, or "putting to the sword" of Syrians in 1915, he was killed after he refused to convert to ... continue reading


For the first time we can see how BEAUTIFUL the 'real' Saint Rose was. Scientists have reconstruct her likeness Watch

Image of According to the news site Peru Catolico, the researchers said the reconstruction shows she was

By CNA/EWTN News

The face of the first saint of the New World may be better known than ever; thanks to a team of scientists, that has analyzed the skull of Saint Rose of Lima. Lima, Peru (CNA/EWTN News) - Scientists from the University of Saint Martin de Porres in Peru and the ... continue reading


Quest for God is modern world's biggest challenge, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says Watch

Image of The Ratzinger Schuelerkreis will gather Sept. 28-30 to discuss the theme set them by their former professor.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

Benedict XVI considers the quest for God to be contemporary society's foremost challenge, according to one of the emeritus Pope's former students, who has organized the annual meeting of Ratzinger's students to discuss that very topic. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Changing your HEART, not just behavior is a vital part of conversion process, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis said that merely obeying the rules isn't enough to make us holy, but that if we truly want to serve God our conversion has to be deeper, changing the heart. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not exterior things which ... continue reading


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - THIRD STATION - St. Joachim, patron of fathers

Image of St. Joachim, pray for us!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the third station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. JoachimBy tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. After ... continue reading


Priest to lead pilgrims on 104 mile walk to see Pope Francis in Philly - Here's how you too can make a pilgrimage Watch

Image of Pilgrims in Scotland make a Good Friday trek burdened with crosses. Many Catholics around the world still make pilgrimages, even if they are the work of just a day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An intrepid group of about 20 pilgrims will be making the 104 mile walk from Baltimore to Philadelphia to attend Mass with Pope Francis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Remember, our Lord walked to all of his appointments," Fr. John J. Lombardi told Catholic ... continue reading


Atheists force portrait of Jesus out of Kansas public school Watch

Image of The portrait of Jesus that has been on display at the school since the 1950s.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Local residents in Chanute, Kansas expressed anger after the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully filed a petition for the removal of a portrait of Jesus Christ, which had been hanging for over 60 years in a Kansas public school.   ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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