The Catholic Church is currently going through a process of collective listening and reflection called a ‘synod’.
“By walking together, and together reflecting on the journey made, the Church will be able to learn from what it will experience which processes can help it to live communion, to achieve participation, to open itself to mission.”
~ Pope Francis
As a Muslim Chaplain who works in a Multi-Faith Chaplaincy at the University of Birmingham, I work with fellow chaplains of many different religious traditions, including two Catholic chaplains. As a result I was invited to take part in this process by my good friend, Father Kensy.
Intrigued by Pope Francis’ approach of “walking together”, encouraging engagement and listening to people of all different backgrounds to create a better church, more inclusive and responsive to everyone, I was more than happy to take part.
This lead to an interesting conversation that in turn caused me to reflect on the incredible connections and parallels between Islam and Christianity and my interactions with Catholics over the years.
This evening, it got me thinking about Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Shaykh Nazim himself said after the meeting that he prayed their paths would meet and they would go to paradise together.
I applaud Pope Francis’ approach to this synod and wish my Catholic brothers and sisters every success in this synodal process of listening and reflection. May it be blessed and lead to a more blessed and inclusive church.
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Muslim Chaplain, University of Birmingham