Vatican media foregoes the traditional papal insignia in promotion of this trip. Apropos of our age of slogans and Instagram politicking, it has chosen instead a logo created specifically for the event. Vatican News explained the choice: “A cross and a crescent . . . are symbols of Christianity and Islam which highlight the interreligious relation between Christians and Muslims.”
Interreligious relation is an airy trope drawn from the optimism of Pope John Paul II. During a memorable 1986 inter-faith convention in Assisi, John Paul hailed “the seeds of truth found in all religions.” He sealed the words with a respectful kiss on a Koran. A balmy ménage of many-colored pieties and alternative practitioners, the event buoyed enthusiasm for religious relativism. Its pan-religious sentimentality survives in the current pope’s apparent embrace of Islam as morally equivalent to Judeo-Christian ethos and culture.
Since 1986, Islam’s character and purposes have become clearer. Evidence of the scale of its distance from Assisi’s cross-cultural smorgasbord of religious impulses has sharpened. If this Vatican logo tells us anything, it is that Pope Francis is comfortable with Islam’s ascendency. The “relation” made visual here is one of domination. Take a look.
This crescent does not appear alongside the cross, as if a companion to it. Rather, the Islamic symbol encircles the Christian one. What passes for a cross is feeble, barely recognizable. A watery post and cross beam curve like the blade of a scimitar, more evocative of the sword of Allah than the rood on which Christ hung. It is a logo for dhimmis.
Emphasizing Pope Francis’ personal comity with Islam, the design reflects the amour propre of a 21st-century ecumenist who mistakenly sees himself in the footprint of his namesake. Our self-styled “Servant of Hope” acts and speaks in disregard of Islam’s lethal rejection of Christianity and its doctrinal premises—a fatal blunder that the friar of Assisi did not make.
Nothing could be further from the sensibility of the historic St. Francis than concession of his faith’s truth claims in order to coexist with Islam. His aim was conversion, not reciprocal understanding. However pacific his proselytizing manner, he held fast to the stern substance of St. Paul’s words: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers… What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6)