INTERVIEW – Church abuse scandal can hurt other faiths – Mufti

April 15, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI greets Muslim delegation head Mustafa Ceric (R), the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, at the Vatican on November 6, 2008/Osservatore Romano

A scandal over the sexual abuse of children by priests could harm the credibility of other religions as well as Roman Catholicism, a senior European Muslim leader says.

Mustafa Ceric, the spiritual leader of Bosnia’s Muslim majority and a key figure in Christian-Muslim dialogue, told Reuters he hoped Pope Benedict would act decisively to tackle the paedophilia problem and prevent further harm.

“The Church is going through a very difficult time and I wish the current pope will be capable and up to the challenge that he is put in,” the grand mufti of Bosnia said in an interview on Wednesday. He stressed his reluctance to comment on what he called an internal matter for the Church.

“It is unfortunate not only for the Catholic Church but for any religious association, and the damage to the moral credibility of the Catholic Church is going to have consequences on the credibility of other religious communities as well.”

Ceric, who has met the pope and championed Muslim interfaith dialogue with Christians and Jews, also warned against exaggerating the extent of the child abuse issue.

“I hope that the current pope will be able to grasp this problem with courage, with moral clearness, but at the same time I hope that exaggerations that are now against the Catholic Church and the pope will not go too far to make double damage,” he said, adding: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Read the full interview here.

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At least now the Pope can finally say he’s on familiar terms with a mufti.

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