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Report: Italy: Catholic Priests to Knock on Muslims’ Door in Bologna

January 24, 2007

From AKI:

In an unprecedented initiative to improve tense relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Muslim community in Italy’s northern city of Bologna, Catholic priests are going to visit Muslims during Easter blessings of the home as a sign of detente. The initiative was promoted by the archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, after Islamists were enraged by statements of his deputy, auxiliary bishop and general vicar Ernesto Vecchi about an “Islamisation strategy” carried out by Muslims in mainly Catholic Italy through kebab restaurants, phone call centres and shops, Turin-daily La Stampa reported on Tuesday.

“Muslims call God with 99 names except the right one, father,” Vecchi had also said.

The Bologna diocese will thus try to improve relations with the Islamic community with this new initiative.

“The visit of the priest also means to be an offer of good wishes,” Caffarra, who was appointed archbishop of Bologna in 2003 and is slated as a potential successor of Camillo Ruini to head the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), was quoted as saying by La Stampa.

His predecessor, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, made headlines when he criticized Muslim immigrants and called on authorities to favour Christian immigration because “they integrate better in our society.”

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Theme: Islam and Catholic Italy

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