He [St. Francis] … crossed the Crusader lines to visit and have an audience with the caliph. …Francis wasn't a 20th-century ecumenist -- he probably tried to convert the caliph.
Q: Did St. Francis view Muslims as Christian heretics or infidels? What was his understanding of Islam in the scheme of Providence?
Cunningham: …My educated guess is that Francis thought Muslims, like the Jews, needed to be converted to Christianity. Also, any theologian in Francis' time that knew anything about Muslims would know the Koran explicitly denies the doctrine of the Trinity; "ipso facto," that makes them heretical.
At age 70 [Franciscan Friar St. Giovanni (Juan) Capistrano] led an army against 'Mohammed II the conquerer' (who inspired the same dread that Osama bin Laden inspires today). The defensive battle pitted 24,000 Christians against 80,000 Muslim Turks and their 300 cannons. He won, and saved Europe from the conquering Muslims.
Gives a whole new meaning to “Preach always. If necessary, use words”, doesn’t it?
(*Religious priests are those who have been ordained by religious orders (i.e. monks), and they differ from secular or diocesan priests who receive ordination directly through a diocese. Unlike religious priests, diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty and assume primary responsibility for their own finances, housing and care.)