Pope Francis meets Iran’s President to boost nuke deal, Mideast peace

Pope Francis meets Iran’s President to boost nuke deal, Mideast peace

JANUARY 26, 2016 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER @ JihadWatch.org/2016/01/pope-francis-meets-irans-president-to-boost-nuke-deal-mideast-peace

“If we want peace in the Middle East, Iran and Iranian Islam have a vital role to play,” said the Rev. Bernardo Cervellera. Good to see the Pope giving his blessing to a rogue regime with genocidal aspirations. It is a wise move and perfectly in line with the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch’s robust defense of Islam in the face of Muslim persecution of Christians [see comment below]. Cowardice, appeasement and fear are the hallmarks of the contemporary Catholic Church, and apparently requirements for the clergy. Jump on board and cower.

“Pope Francis meets Iran’s president to boost nuke deal, Mideast peace,” by Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service, January 26, 2016:

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met for talks on Tuesday (Jan. 26) — the first such encounter since 1999 — in a private meeting in which the pontiff pressed Rouhani on fostering Middle East peace and countering terrorism and arms trafficking.

The 39-minute meeting in the apostolic palace also touched on the landmark deal on Iran’s nuclear capacity that has been praised by the pontiff, and the two leaders discussed the situation of the church in Iran and interreligious dialogue.

“I ask you to pray for me. It’s been a pleasure and I wish you well in your work,” Rouhani said at the end of their talks, addressing the pope in Farsi through a female translator.

“I thank you for this visit and I hope for peace,” Francis said in Italian, aided throughout the appointment by a Farsi-speaking translator.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Vatican described the talks as “cordial” and said “common spiritual values emerged” in the discussions.

The Vatican said Francis and Rouhani discussed religious freedom and “the important role that Iran is called upon to fulfill, along with other countries in the region, to promote suitable political solutions to the problems afflicting the Middle East, (and) to counter the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking.”

The Vatican visit was a key stop on a four-day visit to Italy and France by Rouhani that had been postponed after the November terror attack in Paris. The tour is seen as part of the effort by Rouhani and Iranian moderates to revive relations with the West and open Iran to business opportunities.

Francis can help promote the “thaw in diplomatic relations between Iran and other countries,” much as he did with Cuba and the U.S., the Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor of the Rome-based Asia News, told The Wall Street Journal. “If we want peace in the Middle East, Iran and Iranian Islam have a vital role to play.”

Estimates on the number of Christians in Iran vary between 100,000 and 300,000, and the number of Catholics is pegged at about 20,000.

Christians are a recognized religious minority and have certain rights, but they face strict limitations as well.

The release this month of an Iranian-American evangelical Christian pastor, Saeed Abedini, after more than three years in jail in Iran, allegedly for trying to set up house churches, underscored the religious freedom and human rights problems that have been flagged by the U.S. State Department.

Rouhani was joined at the Vatican on Tuesday by his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with two representatives from the Iranian Embassy to the Holy See. The Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher were also present.

In an exchange of gifts, Francis presented his guest with a medallion of St. Martin of Tours, a fourth-century French bishop depicted giving his cloak to a beggar. The pope told Rouhani it was a symbol of brotherhood.

Francis also gave him an English-language copy of his landmark 2015 encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’.” Noting that the papal letter had not been translated into Farsi, the pontiff also offered Rouhani a copy in Arabic.

The president in turn gave his host a rug hand-woven in Qom, a Shiite holy city in Iran, and a large book by artist Mahmoud Farshchian.

Rouhani arrived at the Vatican late in the morning for the one-on-one with the pope, a day after arriving in the Italian capital for high-level diplomatic and business talks.

The impetus for the European tour was the historic agreement signed last year by Tehran and six world powers, including the U.S., that requires it to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Francis cited the deal as one of the key achievements of 2015 “which give solid hope for the future,” along with the Paris climate change deal.

“I think first of the so-called Iran nuclear deal, which I hope will contribute to creating a climate of dÃ5/8tente [sic] in the region,” the pope told the Holy See diplomatic corps earlier this month….

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4 comments on “Pope Francis meets Iran’s President to boost nuke deal, Mideast peace

  1. Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch: “No one defends Islam like Arab Christians”

    JANUARY 25, 2016 DEACON BY ROBERT SPENCER @ JihadWatch.org/2016/01/melkite-greek-catholic-patriarch-no-one-defends-islam-like-arab-christians

    “We, the Arab Christians, always defend Islam and our Muslim brothers – no one defends Islam like the Arab Christians do.” And Lord knows they need defending: our Muslim brothers seized the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation, removed all the icons and crosses and every trace of Christianity, and made it into their headquarters. Certainly Islam needs a terrific defense after that, and after our Muslim brothers terrorized Melkite Greek Catholics all over Syria, destroyed their churches, and drove them from their homes.

    It’s a good thing that our Muslim brothers have a personage as illustrious as Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East, to defend them after all that, because otherwise someone might get the crazy idea that Islam teaches something that might have led our Muslim brothers to behave in this odd way toward their biggest defenders, Melkite Greek Catholics. If any Melkite Greek Catholics get out of line and start telling the truth about Islam’s doctrines of warfare and subjugation of Infidels, including their good friends the Melkite Greek Catholics, our Muslim brothers can rest assured that they have the Patriarch Gregory III Laham and his faithful bishops in their corner, ready to silence all such effrontery, which everyone knows is a continuing danger to the Church.

    It’s marvelous, it’s magical, it’s ecumenical. The only problem is that Gregory III Laham’s people are being slaughtered by our Muslim brothers, and instead of defending his people, and calling attention to why they are being slaughtered, the Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East is sticking up for the belief system that incited their slaughterers. It’s barbaric, it’s a betrayal, it’s a travesty. Melkite Greek Catholics and all the victims and the present and future and potential victims of Islamic jihad deserve better than these clerics who do nothing but betray them into the hands of those who hate them.

    Does the Patriarch think his shameless groveling will keep our Muslim brothers from slitting his throat (in accord with Qur’an 47:4) if they have the inclination and get the opportunity? It will not. Nor will it save any of his people. All it does is impede efforts to spread understanding about why what is happening to Middle Eastern Christians is happening, and thus also impedes attempts to formulate effective means to counter the persecution and genocide. Siding with killers against their victims isn’t Christian charity by any rational standard, however much Gregory III and his minions try to dress up their betrayal in clerical robes.

    “Greek Catholic Patriarch: No One Defends Islam Like Arab Christians,” by Deborah Danan, Breitbart, January 21, 2016:

    TEL AVIV – The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church declared that Christians love Muslims and no one defends Islam more than Arab Christians, MEMRI reported.

    In an interview earlier this month with the official Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, Gregory III Laham, the spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, expressed concern over the fate of Christian communities in the Arab world.

    Gregory III, who is also the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Alexandria and Jerusalem, is a strong advocate of Christian-Muslim dialogue, but said that these days Christians lack faith that Muslims are willing to accept them. Asserting that there is a “great wound” in Muslim-Christian relations, the Patriarch called upon leaders of both faiths to build mutual trust.

    “These days I am in the midst of writing a letter to the presidents, kings, and emirs of the Arab and Muslim [countries] in order to say to them, in a letter from an Arab [Church] patriarch to the Muslims, that we love you,” the Patriarch said.

    The Patriarch lamented the fact that Muslim tolerance of the other has not become more widespread in the Arab street and in schools and curricula. He also berated Muslims who receive aid from the Red Cross and then scratch out the cross because it offends them.

    He added, “And when they are asked from whom they received [the aid], they say: We got it from some kuffar [infidel].”

    On the other hand, he said, Christians in the Middle East have always stood up for Muslims. “We, the Arab Christians, always defend Islam and our Muslim brothers – no one defends Islam like the Arab Christians do.”

    The Patriarch praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for being a “great president” and said he met with Sisi to ask him to lead the Arab world, a mantle befitting the leader of the Middle East’s biggest Muslim country with the highest number of Christians.

    Finally, Gregory III called upon the Arab League to present a map for peace in Syria and a plan for defeating the Islamic State, and said the Arab world must not wait for Europe and the U.S. to present a solution.

    Not a bad idea, since if they wait for Europe and the U.S. to come up with a plan to defeat the Islamic State, they’ll be waiting for a long, long time.

    The Patriarch was one of the dignitaries who walked out on a speech by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in which the latter asserted that Christians have no better ally than Israel, resulting in the senator being booed off stage.

    Disgraceful.

  2. Italy covers up naked statues, bans wine for visit of Iranian President Rouhani

    JANUARY 26, 2016 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER @ JihadWatch.org/2016/01/italy-covers-up-naked-statues-bans-wine-for-visit-of-iranian-president-rouhani

    When in Muslim countries, non-Muslims should conform their behavior to Muslim sensibilities. When in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims should conform their behavior to Islamic sensibilities. That is the dictum that Western authorities increasingly follow.

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    “Italy covers up naked statues and bans wine for visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani,” by Umberto Bacchi, International Business Times, January 25, 2016:

    Italian authorities covered up naked statues exhibited at a world-famous museum in Rome for an official visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a decision that has caused a stir in the country.

    Rouhani toured the Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums) – which hosts a huge collection of artefacts from the ancient, medieval and renaissance periods – accompanied by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on 25 January.

    However, the Iranian leader could not admire some of the museum’s masterpieces, as all marbles depicting naked scenes had been carefully hid behind large white panels.

    The vast censorship effort was reportedly implemented as a show of respect to the reformist president, out of fears that the exposed private parts of ancient Roman gods could offend Iranian sensitivity. Wine was also banned from official receptions.

    The move angered many Italians, who have accused authorities of betraying the country’s cultural heritage in the name of political correctness and business interests. Hundreds of people voiced their displeasure online, with some posting photos of unclothed icons online under the hashtag ‘statuenude’ (naked statues) in protest.

    The Capitoline Museums, located on the iconic Capitoline hill, are managed by the local council. However, a spokesperson said all aspects of Rouhani’s visit were attended to by the government. IBTimes UK asked Renzi’s office for comment but had received no reply at the time of publishing….

    • Similar to Jesuit Georgetown covering religious symbols when Obama visited there:

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    • “The move angered many Italians, who have accused authorities of betraying the country’s cultural heritage in the name of political correctness and business interests. ”

      That’s what happens when PC lefty elites like Matteo Renzi and his socialist party run the country.
      Yet, to be honest, this relativist and PC garbage in Italy goes back decades.
      Long before Renzi came into power.

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