Time Magazine has just published an interesting article on Father Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit who has greatly influenced Pope Benedict XVI’s views on Islam.
One of the most interesting things pointed out by Fr. Samir is that there is no such thing as a higher authority that can interpret the Koran like the Magisterium in the Church. While there are many different schools of thought, some of these schools are engaged in bitter conflicts with each other over what certain things mean.
Fr. Samir also notes that there is a pressing need in the Muslim world to re-interpret the Koran in light of contemporary culture. This make perfect sense to me in theory, but I am not sure how it would go down in practice. Due to the diversity of thought on what the Koran says, such a new interpretation would necessitate a re-examination of certain ambiguous. I also wonder if a hornet’s nest will be stirred by such a re-assessment.
Finally, I think that it is very important for us to realize at this time that the Holy Father does not act alone. The work of Fr. Samir profoundly influenced the address His Holiness gave at Regensburg. It has also influenced his work on ecumenical dialogue with Muslims and others.
Our Lady of Zeitoun, pray for us!