Pope Francis declares hundreds who refused to convert to Islam Catholic saints: Political ramifications?


The normally ecumenical new Pope Francis made a move that would possibly seem to be in another direction today:

May 12, 2013

Pope Francis has proclaimed his first Roman Catholic saints, including hundreds of Italians who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam in the 15th century.

In his first Sunday canonization ceremony since beginning his reign in March, Francis also named a Colombian nun as the first saint of the South American nation and granted sainthood to another nun from Mexico.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict, had approved the sainthoods in February while announcing his retirement.

The newly-canonized Italian saints known as Antonio Primaldo and his Companions were massacred in 1480, when Ottoman Turks invaded the southern Italian town of Otranto in 1480 and demanded that its Christian inhabitants convert to Islam. When the inhabitants refused, the invaders beheaded a group of about 800 men and boys, who became revered by Catholics as the Otranto Martyrs.

Benedict had offended some Muslims during his eight-year papacy with remarks seen by them as equating Islam with violence. The former pontiff said he was misunderstood. But, relations between the Vatican and Muslims have remained sensitive and it is not clear how they will respond to the canonization of the Italians killed by the Ottomans.

In an address to more than 60,000 pilgrims who attended the ceremony, Pope Francis said many Christians around the world still suffer violence due to their faith and he prayed for them to have “the courage to respond to evil with good.” He did not single out any countries.  http://www.voanews.com/content/pope-bestows-sainthood-on-italians-massacred-by-ottomans/1659560.html

Pope Francis on Sunday gave the Catholic church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony Sunday before tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

The `’Martyrs of Otranto” are 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity.

The pope also gave Colombia its first saint: a nun, Laura of St. Catherine of Siena Montoya y Upegui…The first pontiff from South America also canonized another Latin American woman. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, a Mexican who dedicated herself to nursing the sick, helped Catholics avoid persecution during a government crackdown of the faith in the 1920s…The new saints were all approved for canonization in a decree read by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11…http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57584082/pope-francis-gives-the-catholic-church-hundreds-of-new-saints/

I believe that part of the reason that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name “Francis” upon becoming pope was to get closer to the Muslims (see my book The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis?).

Furthermore, Pope Francis seems to have taken more early steps towards Marianism than any recent pontiff. Many Catholics believe that it will be through a form of “Mary” that Muslims will be reached and will support the Church of Rome.

So why would Pope Francis do something that would potentially drive the Muslims away?

There are several possible reasons.

One is that he hopes to send a message to various ones in the Islamic world that killing people who will not convert to Islam is not acceptable.  The declaration of Catholic sainthood for those who refused to convert to Islam in the past is consistent with that.

Another may be that Pope Francis’ declaration will help Italians be more accepting of him.  Since Pope Francis was born in Argentina, if he had not done this, he could have estranged the Italians, and a lot of other Europeans, from him.  Since I believe he wants a unified Europe (and also with some Latin American ties), today’s move would assist that.

And one other would seem to be that since this Catholic canonization was already in the works and had approval from then Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis can privately tell Islamic leaders that the process was already approved, he did not do it to inflame or insult Islam, and then try to use this as a way to build a bridge between his faith and Islam.

So there may be various political ramifications of the move today by Pope Francis.

I, for one, would like to see him renounce violence, carnal warfare, and religious persecution, including that which the Church of Rome has been involved in over the centuries, but am not really expecting that (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

Many professors of Christ may be surprised to learn that early Christians would not participate in carnal warfare, voluntarily be soldiers, or even watch actual violent entertainment (for details, please see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).

That being said, I do believe that Pope Francis still has an ecumenical agenda, that agenda includes Europe, it includes Latin America, it includes the Eastern & Russian Orthodox, it includes Africa & Asia, and it includes Islam.

Some items of related interest may include:

The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of a new 186 page book (in the print version). And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roma”? This 186 page book provides information and answers. This book is available for USD$9.98 in printed form The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would seem to be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians?
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.

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