…or won’t he? The Pope, I mean…
There are officially no churches in Saudi Arabia. There are churches though…
I have friends from the Philippines, who worked there as laborers. They tell stories about having to stagger arrival times to a house church in Riyadh, so they didn’t draw undo attention to themselves. They would put Styrofoam on the windows to dampen the sound of their singing and hide their Bibles as they left. To get caught meant a beating and expulsion from the country. Pray for the Christians in Saudi Arabia.
Now, here is the thing… The Roman Church just opened a church in Qatar, which has a slightly more open society than Saudi Arabia, and now they are in talks with the Saudi officials about opening a church there. The Saudis appear willing if the Roman Pope would be willing to make one ‘small’ concession:
No churches should be permitted in Saudi Arabia, unless Pope Benedict XVI recognised (sic) the prophet Mohammed, according to a Middle East expert. While Saudi mediators are working with the Vatican on negotiations to allow places of religious worship, some experts believe it will not occur without this recognition.
Rome has cooled a bit in their dialogue with Mecca, but this could really break down some barriers. Rome could keep their “version” of Jesus and simply recognize Mohammed as a prophet of God. There is much to be gained by putting Mohammed above Jesus Christ, much indeed.
First of all you would gain a hearing in the Islamic world. They would love some Christian fellowship under the minarets.
Second, you would literally diffuse many a tough situation you face. That whole Bin Laden wanting to kill the Pope thing? Gone with one sentence…
Third, it would make the anathemas against God-fearing Protestants look less offensive. Kinda like Vatican II, but with real teeth.
Lastly, if you coupled this with a statement declaring Mary co-redemptrix- well, we could finally put to bed the debate about whether or not you are a true church.
Give it some thought Rome! Seriously, think about it before you do it.