Benedict XVI Baptized Non-Practicing Muslim During Paschal Vigil

Source: FSSPX News

During the Pascal Vigil, on March 22, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Benedict XVI baptized seven catechumens coming from Italy, Cameroon, China, the United States, and Peru. Among them was Magdi Allam, a journalist of Egyptian origins, who for a long time called himself a moderate Muslim. Born in Cairo, in 1952, he attended Italian Catholic schools in Egypt. He continued his studies in Italy, where he has been living since 1972. Married to a Catholic Italian, father of three, and deputy director of the daily Corriere della Sera, he obtained the Italian nationality in 1986.

Considered as a specialist of Islam and known as a non-practicing Muslim, Magdi Allam made a name for himself because of his virulent criticisms of Islamist fanaticism and his defense of Benedict XVI’s address in Regensburg in September 2006. Threatened by Hamas, he has been living for five years under the protection of the police.

Less than two hours before the ceremony, in a press release, Fr. Federico Lombardi stated: “the Holy Father administers baptism during the course of the Easter liturgy to those catechumens who are presented to him, without making ‘a distinction between persons,’ that is, considering all of them equally important before the love of God and welcome in the community of the Church.” He then underlined that among the catechumens who would receive baptism was Magdi Allam, a journalist of Egyptian origin. “For the Catholic Church, every person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a completely free choice, and adequate preparation, has the right to receive it,” the director of the Holy See Press Office added.

In an article published on Easter Sunday, March 23, in the Corriere della Sera, Magdi Cristiano Allam explained his conversion to Catholicism in a letter addressed to the director of the newspaper. “Yesterday evening I converted to the Christian Catholic religion, renouncing my previous Islamic faith… And I took the simplest and most explicit Christian name: “Cristiano.” Since yesterday evening therefore my name is Magdi Crisitano Allam. As my mind was freed from the obscurantism of an ideology that legitimates lies and deception, violent death that leads to murder and suicide, the blind submission to tyranny, I was able to adhere to the authentic religion of truth, of life, and of freedom. (…) I was forced to see that, beyond the contingency of the phenomenon of Islamic extremism and terrorism that has appeared on a global level, the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive.”

He went on to show the importance of his providential meetings with practicing Catholics, from the age of 4 with the Italian Sisters in Cairo, up to “undoubtedly the most extraordinary and important encounter in my decision to convert was that with Pope Benedict XVI, whom I admired and defended as a Muslim for his mastery in setting down the indissoluble link between faith and reason as a basis for authentic religion and human civilization.”

Magdi Cristiano Allam paid  tribute to the “courageous and historical gesture of the Pope,” who accepted to baptize him personally. Thus “His Holiness has sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too prudent in the conversion of Muslims, abstaining from proselytizing in majority Muslim countries and keeping quiet about the reality of converts in Christian countries.” The Church was afraid “of not being able to protect converts in the face of their being condemned to death for apostasy.”

Lastly, the newly baptized convert stated that “In Italy, the cradle of Catholicism, there are thousands of converts to Islam who live their new faith in peace. But there are also thousands of Muslim converts to Christianity who are forced to hide their faith out of fear of being assassinated by Islamic extremists who lurk among us.” And he did not hesitate to proclaim: “I know what I am headed for but I face my destiny with my head held high, standing upright and with the interior solidity of one who has the certainty of his faith.” (Source: Apic/Imedia/VIS/Zenit/Corriere della Sera)