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Pope Benedict XVI: May Al-Rab (not Allah) Bless You

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.
October 12th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In his latest audience, the Pope blessed Arabic speakers in Arabic.  It is notable that he did not use the word "Allah" for God, but the word "al-Rab," or Lord. 

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - On the Commonweal magazine blog, Michael Peppard posted an article entitled "Pope Benedict: 'May Allah bless you all!"

While it is unquestionably true that the Holy Father gave a blessing Arabic, he did not say "May Allah bless you all!" as Peppard states.

Peppard says in his article that there is only one word that could have been used by the Pope, and that word was "Allah."

But in fact, the whole article is built on a faulty premise.  There are other words that may be used to refer to God other than Allah, although Allah is certainly one.

The text in Arabic, which can be found on the Vatican website is:

Translated, the meaning is "The pope prays for all Arabic speakers. May God bless you all."

The word used for "God," however, was not Allah, but rather al-Rab or Lord.

Unquestionably, Pope Benedict XVI, influenced by his recent pilgrimage to Lebanon, the publication of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Middle East, and touched by the suffering of the Christians in the Middle East, has decided to add Arabic to the Wednesday General Audiences.
 
The move should not be seen as some sort of capitulation to Islam.  Rather, it should be seen as an outreach to those Christians who suffer in the Middle East. 

We hope further that some of the Pope's teachings, translated and made available in Arabic, may reach the hearts of the hundreds of millions of Muslims who read and write Arabic.

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Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

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