A Minnesota Catholic priest apologized yesterday for his anti-Islam sermon in which he described Islam as the “greatest threat in the world” to the United States and Christianity, reports USA Today.
“My homily on immigration contained words that were hurtful to Muslims,” the Rev. Nick VanDenBroeke said in the statement. “I’m sorry for this. I realize now that my comments were not fully reflective of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam.”
The sermon was posted online but has been removed from the website of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the district that includes the church where VanDenBroeke is a pastor.
“More specifically, we should not be allowing large numbers of Muslims [seeking] asylum or immigration into our country,” he was heard saying in the Jan. 5 sermon. “Islam is the greatest threat in the world both to Christianity and to America.”
The sermon drew criticism after City Pages published an article on it yesterday, prompting the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Minnesota) to publicly condemn his words, according to the Star Tribune.
“We urge leaders of the Catholic Church in Minnesota to repudiate these hate-filled and un-Christian remarks as unrepresentative of the faith they hold dear,” said CAIR-Minnesota executive director Jaylani Hussein.
Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda released a statement in response to the whole incident.
“As Pope Benedict XVI noted, ‘The Catholic Church, in fidelity to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, looks with esteem to Muslims, who worship God above all by prayer, almsgiving and fasting, revere Jesus as a prophet while not acknowledging his divinity, and honour Mary, his Virgin Mother,'” Hebda said in the statement. “If all of us who believe in God desire to promote reconciliation, justice and peace, we must work together to banish every form of discrimination, intolerance and religious fundamentalism.”
In the sermon, VanDenBroeke also discussed other immigration topics, including support for Dreamers to have a path to citizenship.
He is in favor of the border wall to “close the border to be able to … curb the question of illegal immigration in the future and at the same time provide a path to legal citizenship for those who have been living here, who can prove they’re not criminals, they’re living good and peaceful lives, they’re willing to work and pay taxes and be responsible.”
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