As you perhaps heard, Muslims across France are attending Sunday Mass today to express solidarity with the Catholic priest who was recently slain.

I don’t claim to know much about the range of positions within Islam about their attendance at Christian worship. A quick google search shows that there are Muslim voices which strongly object to it. But there also are Muslim leaders and faithful who approve of the possibility and are doing so at this time.

This reminds me not to stereotype all Muslims based on their most narrow representatives.

It also reminds me that some Muslims are more open to interreligious encounter with Catholics than some Catholics are with Muslims. Whenever a pope visits a mosque, the internet lights up with Catholic voices objecting to it – and this is a matter simply of being in a mosque, not of attending or participating in Muslim prayer.

Imagine if there were an organized movement for Catholics to attend Muslim prayer, and that some Catholic priests and bishops supported it. I’m sure many Catholics would approve, but there would also be strong objections.

This is not a question of interreligious prayer (which is a delicate question), but of interreligious encounter. (We do not know whether some choose to participate inwardly in the worship of the other religious tradition.) It is simply being present as a sign of solidarity.

I’m very moved by the example of these Muslims, and grateful for their witness.

 

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