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Pope Reinstates Islam Department

According to Catholic belief, the Pope, the head of the Catholic church, is infallible. When he downgraded the Council for Interreligious dialogue, and merged it with another office last year, many people thought he had made a big mistake.

So the re-instating of this department can be seen as an admission of the mistake.

I think this is a brave move. For the head of a religion larger than most nations to make a mistake, and then acknowledge the mistake, and even better – to correct a mistake – that takes a lot of moral courage. Bravo, Pope!

Here is the story, from BBC News:

Pope reinstates Islam department

The Pope has been repairing damaged relations with Muslims
Pope Benedict XVI has reversed a controversial decision he took a year ago to downgrade the Vatican department which deals with the Islamic world.

The Council for Interreligious Dialogue will be restored to its former position as a department in its own right.

It is not clear if the department’s former head, British archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, will also be reinstated.

His removal was seen as a sign the Pope was more interested in improving ties with other Christian denominations.

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says that by reversing his decision, which was interpreted negatively in the Muslim world, the Pope has tacitly admitted that this was a mistake.

Relations between the Vatican and Muslims have deteriorated over the past year, particularly over remarks made by the pontiff during a visit to Germany last September, in which, some thought, he appeared to equate Islam with violence.

The Pope insisted his words had been taken out of context and that he meant no offence to the Muslim religion.

Merger reversal

In a rare about face, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, that the Council for Interreligious Dialogue would again become “a dicastery in its own right”.

You can read the rest of the article here.

May 29, 2007 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Middle East, Political Issues, Relationships, Spiritual


  1. So Popes make mistakes after all ! i guess its only because they are Human …

    So? is he going to revise the statement of absolving Jews from the blood of Jesus ?? Although it was the main belief of christains over the past 2 millenia ?

    Comment by Abdulaziz | May 29, 2007 | Reply

  2. Mmmm the doctrine of papal infallibility is quite recent – 18th/19th century. It does not apply to everything the pope does – it applies only to statements explicitly defined as such, issued when he is seated on the papal throne.

    Its only been invoked twice, and both times for relatively uncontroversial (for Catholics) matters of doctrine: the immaculate conception, and … something else, which I’ve forgotten.

    So this reinstatement is merely rectifying human error :-).

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | May 29, 2007 | Reply

  3. Thanks for helping me out there, Little Diamond. There are things I don’t really understand about when he is human and when he is infallible.

    So the pope has not always been infallible?

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 29, 2007 | Reply

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