In the Name of the Compassionate and Infinitely Merciful Precious Beloved
I join the rest of the world – Catholic and non-Catholic – Christian and non-Christian – in congratulating the Catholic Church on electing their new Pontiff, Pope Francis I. May the Lord our God guide him to all that is right and good in all of his actions. I congratulate my fellow Americans who are Catholic on the election of their new Pope, and I pray for them the very best.
It is quite interesting that the new Pope is a Jesuit, and that this new Pope took on the name of the head of another Catholic Order, the Franciscans. I pray that this sense of unity and tolerance permeates all communities of faith in the days, weeks, and years to come. I was honored to witness his announcement, and I was happy that a Jesuit became Pope. I attended Marquette University, a Jesuit institution, and I was amazed by how wonderful of teachers they are. I always have a soft spot in my heart for the men who take on the tremendous challenge of being members of the Society of Jesus.
As a Muslim, who worships the very same Lord our God, who venerates and honors our Master Jesus Christ, and who loves and honors his mother, I pray that this same sense of tolerance that the new Pope has shown spreads between our two faith communities. We may differ in our theologies, but we are still brothers and sisters in Adam, upon whom be peace. We may differ in how we worship, but we still – nevertheless – call upon the very same Deity as our Lord and Sustainer. We may look at Christ in very different ways, but we still both love and honor him nonetheless.
Indeed, I am not a Catholic or even a Christian, but I still would be blessed to be a member of the “Society of Jesus,” by which I mean a world society in which the principles of Jesus Christ – and all of God’s Prophets – are followed and implemented. Indeed, Christ’s principles are the very same of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the Sermon on the Mount could have just as easily been given by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as it was by Christ (pbuh).
I pray that – with the election of a new Pope, Francis I – our two faith communities come together and work for the common good; to champion the rights of the less fortunate, as Cardinal Bergoglio was known to do; to work together to bring peace, prosperity, health, and wealth – both material and spiritual – to all of the world’s people. I echo the words of God, as revealed in the Qur’an, to the new Pope on this day of his election:
Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community; but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto you. Compete, then, with one another in doing good works. Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ (5:48).
Congratulations to all of the world’s Catholics on the election of their new Pope. God be with him, and you, and with us all. Amen.