Spain: Bishop of Cordoba faces up to Muslims

Source: FSSPX News


On December 28, the refusal by Mgr. Juan José Asenjo Pelegrina, bishop of Cordoba, to open his cathedral to the Muslims, was made public by the diocese. The Andalusian bishop replied to a long-standing request made by the Islamic Junta (the Spanish Muslim Association), and recently addressed to Benedict XVI, to make the cathedral a place of prayer common to the faithful of the two religions.

Manuel Gonzales, the diocesan delegate for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, then declared, that the cathedral “is a Catholic church and may not be shared, as Christians and Muslims have very little common patrimony.” In fact, he added, it is not possible to create a place of communal worship, since Muslims “do not share the same conception of the Christian God who is one and triune”: the Islamic concept of monotheism rejects the fact that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “If I enter a mosque, I would not dare make the sign of the cross.”

Mansur Escudero, president of the Islamic Junta, stated in his letter to the pope that his intention was not “to appropriate this blessed place, but to promote there, with you and other denominations, an ecumenical space, remarkable and unique in the world.”

On the day following the refusal, the president of the Islamic Junta and the Imam of Cordoba, went to pray in front of the cathedral, near the “puerta de San Sebastian”, to “protest peacefully and to attempt, if possible, to soften the heart of the bishop of Cordoba.”

Such a situation “would cause confusion amongst the faithful”, the bishop told the daily ABC, and “not contribute to peaceful co-existence between believers.” “We, Christians of Cordoba, wish to live in peace with believers of other religions, but we do not want to be subjected to constant pressure which is not conducive to harmony.” Mgr. Asenjo Pelegrina added, in El Pais, that this Omeyyade (785-987) building had been constructed on the ruins of the Visigothic basilica San Vicente and converted to a cathedral in 1236 during the Christian Reconquista. A number of its columns date from the original Christian construction.