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Papal Message

All Christians are called to become

Papal Message

In the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. Dec. 2, Pope Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of Vespers on the first Sunday of Advent.

Late pope raised alarm about Islam

Although Pope Benedict XVI is often described as taking a tough line with Islam, a close look shows that Pope John Paul II raised similar issues about Islam

Timeline of dates in history of Islam

Timeline of important dates in history of Islam

570 — Mohammed is born in Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia.

610 — Mohammed begins receiving the revelation of the Quran; the revelation continues until his death.

622 — Mohammed and his companions flee from Mecca to Medina. The move, known as "hijra," marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

629 — Mohammed and his companions conquer Mecca. The city and the ancient Arabic shrine, the Kaaba, are cleansed of idol worship.

632 — Mohammed dies at Medina. Almost immediately, his companions begin compiling the Koranic verses they had memorized or written down as the revelations progressed.

632-56 — Under the guidance of the first caliphs or successors, Islam spreads east to India and southwest to Morocco.

638 — Muslims conquer Jerusalem.

656-61 — Ali, Mohammed’s son-in-law, becomes caliph, and the community becomes divided between Sunni and Shiite over the question of how the community’s leader should be chosen.

750-800 — The "hadith," stories and sayings concerning the practices or "sunna" of the Prophet, are collected and organized; schools of Islamic law or Shariah are begun.

920 — "Closing the gates of Ijtihad" ends the acceptance of the personal interpretation of Islamic law. The precedents of legal interpretation are set.

969 — Al-Azhar in Cairo is founded as a seminary for Muslim preachers. Originally Shiite, today it is the pre-eminent Sunni theological academy.

1009 — The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is destroyed; the predominantly Christian population is massacred.

1031-1256 — Christians reconquer Spain; this had been halted after the capture of Cordoba.

1095-1270 — Eight Crusades are organized from Europe to liberate the cities of the Holy Land and assist the Christians.

1200 — Muslim conquests begin in India.

1203 — Constantinople is captured by Crusaders, who are never paid for their efforts and later sack the city.

1258 — Mongols destroy Baghdad, ending the classical period of Islam.

1301-1922 — The Ottoman (Turkish) dynasty has sovereignty over almost the entire Muslim world.

1453 — Mehmet II captures Constantinople, beginning Muslim control of the former Byzantine Empire.

1586-1830 — Arab merchants spread Islam in Indonesia, which becomes predominantly Muslim.

1923-1924 — Mustafa Kamal Ataturk abolishes the Ottoman caliphate and Turkey becomes a secular state.

1947 — The Islamic state of Pakistan is established. Other Islamic states become independent in succeeding years.

1948 — The State of Israel is established.

1979 — The Islamic revolution occurs in Iran, bringing the fall of the shah and the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Compiled by Catholic News Service

Pope encourages Christian-Muslim harmony

Closing out a four-day pilgrimage to Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass Dec. 1 with the tiny Christian community in Istanbul and encouraged it to live in harmony with the Muslim majority.

Pope Benedict XVI’s approach to media, speeches evolving

Offering his thanks to journalists who help him get his message to the world, Pope Benedict XVI also highlighted the responsibility that goes with summarizing someone else

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