Christophe Bilek responds to Magdi Cristiano Allam leaving the Catholic Church

Magdi Cristiano Allam, an Egyptian in Rome, was famoulsy baptized by Pope Benedict XVI some years ago in St Peter's Basilica on Easter Eve. Such a public and clear affirmation of religious conversion from Islam to Catholic Christianity at the time was celebrated by some, and criticized by others (including by some Christians, who felt it was provocative and disrespectful). I saw it as positive and said so on this blog.

Brother Allam, however, recently announced he is leaving the Catholic Church, seeing quite rightly that most of the time, even in Europe, Catholic clergy have no interest in welcoming or baptizing seekers from a Muslim background. This is a shame to the Catholic Church, and caused me to write an open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI on Catholic Witness to Muslims, which I'm guessing has been read by all of ten people.

Recently, however, another important Catholic ex-Muslim, Mohammed-Christophe Bilek, native of Algeria an founder of the Fellowship of our Lady of Kabyle, has written a letter to Magdi begging him to reconsider his position, while acknowledging that his complaints about the Catholic Church are largely accurate.

The entire letter is in French, but you can read a Google translation (which is not too bad) if you don't read French. There is a lot of detail in the letter but here are some parts that I found of special interest:

The complaint of Magdi is here:
But I understand the meaning of the message: you need to create an institution that encourages Muslims to overcome fear, to be baptized publicly and to openly live out their new faith. We are both aware that the real problem is the native [European, Catholic] Christians, because they are the first to be afraid. There are many complaints from Muslims who wished to be baptized, but are faced with the refusal of Catholic priests because they do not want to violate the laws of Islamic countries that prohibit and punish by imprisonment, sometimes death, the work of evangelism or the one who commits the "crime" of apostasy [2] .
And part of Bilek's response is here:
Yes, it is now time to ask the question: do we [converts from Islam] have our place in the Church, as well as Europeans, or are we [ex-Muslim] Christians second class citizens to be concealed? [...] 
Does our baptism, freeing us from the darkness of sin, not also granted us the freedom of the children of God and quality of being brothers of Christ? Would we still amenable to Sharia? 
These questions need clear answers, and must be given, so that there is no ambiguity, the pontiff himself. 
Of all religions it is Christianity that is the most attacked, of all Christian denominations it is the Catholic Church that is most mistreated. 
Dear Magdi Cristiano Allam, you are aware that within the same [Church] there rise opponents who seek to undermine it. Do we not have a responsibility to alert and avoid fatal excesses in the area we know? 
Who can argue that he loves Muslims brothers more than we do? First because we have the same origin, but also because we want them to become like us, children of God through Jesus Christ? 
I think it is our duty to speak publicly with and to see the Holy Father, that we conversing on these critical issues for the salvation of men. [...] Our demand to meet publicly with the Holy Father is legitimate.
In other words, he wants a public and clear statement from the Roman Bishop on the reception of Muslims into the Catholic Church. God bless these brave men! And may Magdi Cristiano Allam return to Rome and not give up on her. When she does awake to the glory of the mission to Islam, she will become a great and positive force in this important ministry.


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