Catholic Mosque |

TBC Staff

A Catholic Church Turns Into A Mosque [Excerpts]

Believe it or not! A parish Church turns into a mosque every Friday, for the Muslims brothers and to offer their customary prayers. This isn't a sequence from any Bollywood film, but a reality in the parish of Our Lady of Assumption of Ponzano near Venice, the romantic city of Italy. The pastor of the parish, Don Aldo Danieli, 69, affirms, "It's useless to speak of religious dialogue and then bang the door on their face. Pope John Paul II addressed them as, 'dear Muslim brothers'. How can we close our church doors to them?"

At Ponzano, in the province of Treviso, live some 11,500 people of whom 232 families are immigrants, making their number roughly 650. These are mainly immigrants from North African countries and Eastern Europe. Two years ago, Don Aldo decided to open the doors of the church to these Muslim immigrants and keep a portion of his own parochial house including a kitchen . . . at their disposal. On Fridays an average of 200 Muslim believers gather in the church and offer prayers. But in the month of Ramadan, the number swells to 1000-1200. "They requested me and I said yes, moreover, the kitchen and hall were a home for spiders."

The decision of Don Aldo has disturbed the peace of mind of more than a few parishioners. The protests of even the local bishop and priests have reached his ears. "I haven't asked the express permission of the bishop, because it's an act of charity. No permission is needed to do charity. For the rest, I am older than the bishop and been his professor in the seminary too. Even if had prohibited me, I wouldn't be obliged to obey him," Don Aldo is firm in his resolve. He does not hesitate to proclaim, "Better praying Muslims than non praying Christians. If you brand me a racist, you are wrong". In the last two years Don Aldo has received a number of emails and letters advising him to "remain with his own flock." The letters cautioned him, "These people come as immigrants and then claim the place for themselves and throw us out." Don Aldo has taken into confidence the Parish Pastoral Council and is unrelenting. "The pope has exhorted to open wide the doors to Christ: Christ lives in Muslims too."

[TBC: One naturally wonders how "Christ lives in Muslims too," as they deny his very nature.]