Friday, January 05, 2007

Spanish bishops fear resurgent Islam

"Spain's bishops are alarmed by ambitious plans to recreate the city of Cordoba - once the heart of the ancient Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus - as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe," reports The Independent in an article by Elizabeth Nash entitled, "Spanish bishops fear rebirth of Islamic kingdom" (January 5, 2007). Similar projects -- funded by the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Muslim organizations in Morocco and Egypt -- are planned for Medina Azahara near Cordoba, Seville and Granada. Nash writes:
"The bishops of those cities are alarmed at the construction of ostentatious mosques, fearing that the church's waning influence may be further eclipsed by resurgent Islam financed from abroad. Up to one million Muslims are estimated to live in Spain. Many are drawn by a romantic nostalgia for the lost paradise of Al-Andalus, the caliphate that ruled Spain for more than five centuries."
Maybe the bishops have a point; but there's only so much that can be done by lodging protests and hoping, perhaps, for some sort of state intervention in behalf of the Church. Those days are surely about over. Trends of this sort strike me as quite inevitable and not unrelated to the malaise of modernity afflicting the Church. It's well past time to retrieve the mission of the Church, to preach the Gospel and to evangelize, if we have any living memory of what that means and the compassion to undertake it.

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