Pope FrancisRobert Spencer writes for Jihad Watch – The Pope’s tardy statement manifests a studied ambiguity. What exactly is he saddened about? He doesn’t say. Is he saddened because what was the foremost church in the Christian world for nearly a millennium, and the center of Eastern Christianity, has been made a mosque? Or is he saddened because this act harms the dialogue that he has so ardently pursued with the Islamic world — even at the price of silence over the Muslim persecution of Christians — and demonstrates that his dialogue partners are not remotely as interested in tolerance, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence as he likes to pretend that they are? Has he made this unclear statement because he doesn’t wish to say anything clearly in support of maintaining Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, for fear of offending those Muslim dialogue partners? The conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque should be the occasion of some introspection on the Pope’s part, leading him to reconsider the value of a Muslim-Christian dialogue that has not prevented this expression of Islamic triumphalism and supremacism. But it almost certainly will not be.

 

“Pope Francis: ‘I think of Hagia Sophia, and I am very saddened,’” Vatican News, July 12, 2020:

On the second Sunday in July the International Day of the Sea is observed. Recalling the celebration at the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis extended “an affectionate greeting to all those who work at sea, especially those who are far from their loved ones and their country.”…

Dwelling on the sea, the Pope said it made him think about what is happening in Istanbul.

This week President Tayyip Erdogan announced his decision to turn the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque.

“I think of Hagia Sophia”, said Pope Francis, “and I am very saddened.”…