Expert says rise of Islamic fundamentalism ‘major concern’ for Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has become increasingly troubled by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, a Catholic news editor said.

Father James Mulford, publisher of Zenit News Agency, told NewsMax that the violence in the Middle East has become “a major concern” for the Church.

“It’s a major concern and Pope Francis and the Catholic Church always has been in favor of religious freedom,” said Mulford.

He made a point of highlighting recent comments by Catholic Coptic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, who said there were no real divisions between Christians and Muslims in Egypt, and summarized the position that the violence and destruction of churches is being carried out by “fanatical groups” based on a perception that they represent the West.

At the same time, he said, the Church does not seek to support any particular political regime or crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the group widely seen as instigating the violence against Egyptian Christians.

Mulford also reflected on the style of Pope Francis’ leadership so far, and his approach to a number of social issues.

“The people in the Vatican that I know, my friends that work there, they’re saying that he has an open ear…. That’s one of the reasons he doesn’t live in the Apostolic Palace like many of the popes before him,” he said.

He added that Francis had also been quite clear during his speeches at World Youth Day about encouraging young people to “shake things up” in the Church.




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