St. Francis and the Sultan: What really happened in 1219 in Catholic Muslim dialogue?

wdtprs.com | 2/6/2019 | View all posts by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf →
chrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3


The Islamic/Catholic Fraternity document has caused a stir. I wrote about a neuralgic point in it, yesterday, and some people had a spittle-flecked nutty.

There is more to say about that document. I’ll get to it again, soon. I suspect more spittle-flecked nutties will result.

Francis - Wednesday - General - Audience - Today

Meanwhile, Francis held a Wednesday General Audience today. Text HERE. During that audience he offered a couple points that deserve attention.

Francis said that, during his time in the UAE, he often thought about the “visit of St Francis Assisi to Sultan al-Malik al’Kamil”.

Francis - Assisi - Visit - Sultan

Let’s review Francis of Assisi and his visit to the Sultan.

Many think that Francis was a bunny-hugging bird kisser. When they think of him, they start to croon the tune from Brother Sun, Sister Moon or the ditty falsely attributed to him, “Make me a channel of your peace”. But Francis of Assisi was not a medieval peacenik. There was only one accord Francis wanted: the accord of one Faith… by their conversion.

Francis - Egypt - Sultan - Nephew - Saladin

Francis went to the Egypt to convert Sultan al-Kamil, a nephew of Saladin.

Here is the account of Francis’ words from Verba fratris Illuminati socii b. Francisci ad partes Orientis et in conspectu Soldani Aegypti (Codex Vaticanus Ott.lat.n.552):

Sultan - Problem - Francis - Lord - Taught

The same sultan submitted this problem to [Francis]: “Your Lord taught in his gospels that evil must not be repaid with evil, that you should not refuse your cloak to anyone who wants to take your tunic, etc. (Mt 5,40): All the more Christians should not invade our land!”. And Blessed Francis answered: “It seems to me that you have not read the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in its entirety. In fact it says elsewhere: “if your eye causes you sin, tear it out and throw it away” (Mt 5 , 29). With this, Jesus wanted to teach us that if any person, even a...
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