Pietro De Marco responds to Aref Ali Nayed's criticism of the baptism of Magdi Cristiano Allam, and to some Catholics who, in their haste to recoil from any hint of triumphalism, show a kind of embarrassment instead of joy at the entry of another soul into the Christian fold.
In effect, conversion is always the crossing of a threshold. It marks this threshold, it shows it where it had not appeared before, making it visible to those who out of habit or through cloudiness of vision no longer recognized it, or to those who, although knowing it, deny it out of ideology, nihilistically....
The fact that the arrival point is not guaranteed, that it must always be desired as if it were not possessed, as a gift that remains under the sovereignty of the Giver, all of this does not negate, but rather confirms the reality of the threshold. The precariousness of the gift, in fact, is such only for man. But with the crossing of the threshold, we know that He, the divine Lover (as the true mystics know him, beyond his ineffability) "takes us as it were by the hand, and introduces us to lasting life, to the true and correct life." And therefore: "Let us hold on tightly to his hand!". These are the tender, perfect words dedicated to baptism by Benedict XVI at the homily for the Easter vigil, at which Allam was baptized.
Chiesa is proving invaluable to me as a source of sober commentary on the West's relations with Islam in its diverse forms, neither marching to the drumbeat of American neoconservatism nor embracing a woolly-minded Eurorelativism.