Photo Credits: Study.com
A Roman Catholic priest in Minnesota, the Rev. Nick VanDenBroeke, gave the 15-minute homily January 5th in which he called Islam the “greatest threat in the world” to the United States and Christianity. He apologized for such homily in a January 29th statement posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
“My homily on immigration contained words that were hurtful to Muslims,” the statement read. “I’m sorry for this. I realize now that my comments were not fully reflective of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam.”
The civil rights group says that the silence about this issue sends a message that the church holds a negative view of Minnesota’s Muslim community. Besides characterizing Islam as the “greatest threat” worldwide to both the United States and Christianity, VanDenBroeke also claimed that Americans do “not need to pretend” that all immigrants seeking to enter the country should be treated equally, according to the civil rights group.
“I believe it is essential to consider the religion and worldview of the immigrants or refugees,” VanDenBroeke told parishioners, according to CAIR. “More specifically, we should not be allowing large numbers of Muslims asylum or immigration into our country.” "Islam is the greatest threat in the world both to Christianity and to America."
"He’s done a lot of damage and a disservice to his faith, his community and he's also added a continuous threat of Muslims which also threaten Muslim's lives," said executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jaylani Hussein.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he discussed the matter with VanDenBroeke in a separate statement posted on the archdiocese’s website. “He expressed sorrow for his words and an openness to seeing more clearly the Church’s position on our relationship with Islam,” the statement read. “The teaching of the Catholic Church is clear.” Hebda said the church “looks with esteem to Muslims,” who worship God via prayer, fasting and the giving of alms, adding that Pope Francis has emphasized the need for enhanced dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
“I am grateful for the many examples of friendship that has been offered by the Muslim community in our region and we are committed to strengthening the relationship between the two communities,” Hebda’s statement continued.