The Church and Islam

Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the legendary Billy Graham, has characterized Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion. . .a religion of hatred, a religion of war.” In recent years, other prominent Protestant evangelists have made similar statements. It happens that quite a few popes have as well.

In the 14th century, Clement V bemoaned that in Christian lands one hears “the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet”; in the 15th century, Callixtus III denounced Islam as a “diabolical sect.” Pius II warned against Muhammad as a “false prophet,” and Pope Eugene condemned “the abominable sect of Mahomet”; in the 16th century Pope Leo X portrayed the Muslims as replacing the light of salvation with “totally unyielding blindness”; and in the 18th century, Pope Benedict XIV castigated Christians who indirectly promote “the errors of Mohammed” when they take Muslim names in order to avoid taxation and other penalties by Muslim authorities.

And there was harsh criticism of Islam in past centuries by saints such as Thomas Aquinas, or John of Damascus, who called Islam “diabolical.”

“Evil”? “Diabolical”? Overly harsh allegations? Many of us know good individual Muslims. But can the religion they belong to be evil? Can we make a fair distinction between the goodness of the individual members and their religion?

Pope Benedict XVI touched on alleged “evil” in Islam very lightly in his famous 2006 lecture at Regensburg on the necessity of uniting reason and religion. He cited the example of a 14th century emperor’s view of Islam as irrationally violent and thus evil. This touched off a world-wide uproar and mayhem, concerning which then-Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, commented: “These statements will serve to destroy in twenty seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years.” He added that such statements “don’t reflect my own opinions.”

But what does he make of past and current reports of Islamic atrocities? The 2015 World Watch List found 4,344 Christians killed for faith-related reasons and 1,062 churches attacked. The 2016 list documents 7,106 killed and 2,425 churches attacked. There are literally thousands of cases of violence against Christians and destruction of churches in Egypt, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Africa, and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

Louis Massignon
Louis Massignon: Overstating the case?

Pope Francis is presumably well-informed about such events, but he comments in his Apostolic Address, The Joy of the Gospel, “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”

In taking this position, Francis, a faithful “son of the Church,” is echoing Vatican II. At the Council, Pope John XXIII, as part of his goal of “opening the windows of the Church,” wished the participants to reconsider the relationship of the Church to Judaism, avoiding theological and liturgical positions which had a history of contributing to anti-Semitism. There was no agenda at the outset for pronouncements about the relationship to Islam; but, as I mentioned in a previous column, some Fathers and theologians at the council, were anxious to include Islam in official documents related to “non-Christian religions.”

A significant factor behind this movement was the work of Louis Massignon (1883-1962), a Catholic scholar of Islam and a pioneer of Catholic-Muslim mutual understanding. Massignon taught that we need a “Copernican revolution” in our approach to understanding Islam. We have to place ourselves in the center of the Islamic mindset, understanding Islamic spirituality, and conduct dialogues from that vantage point.

During the Council, one of Massignon’s disciples, the Egyptian Dominican theologian, Georges Anawati (1905-1994), actively “lobbied,” in conjunction with other council members, for positive statements about Islam in official documents. This group succeeded: Nostra aetate and Lumen gentium contain laudatory statements about Islam: “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems,” an Abrahamic monotheistic religion, submitting “without reserve to the hidden decrees of God,” and sharing much with Christianity in basic beliefs and moral teachings.

But in view of the hateful attitude toward other religions shown throughout Islamic scriptures, as well as the massive numbers of murders and church-burnings and persecutions we’ve seen for decades now, was such praise simply wishful thinking? Condemnations of obvious features of Islam are almost non-existent in today’s Church.

Pope Pius XI published Mit brennender Sorge, an open critique of the German Reich and Divini redemptoris against Communism. Pope Pius XII chose to work persistently, but undercover, during his papacy, to defeat Nazism and save Jews. What if he, too, had published a bold condemnation of Nazism?

During Vatican II, the Soviet Union was a global scourge, and Our Lady of Fatima in extraordinary appearances at the outset of the Communist revolution had even warned the Church about Russia “spreading her errors throughout the world.” But incredibly there was not a whiff of criticism of Communism from the Council. What would have happened if Paul VI had strongly condemned the USSR, Leninism, and Marxism? Is diplomatic caution essential in papal pronouncements? Or should we follow the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I’s motto, Fiat justitia, pereat mundus, “let justice be done, even if the world perishes”?

And with regard to Islam now, an outright papal condemnation of the religion, such as uttered by popes from past centuries, we can be sure, would result in massive disturbances throughout the world – perhaps World War III. And such a condemnation might unfairly tar the moderate Muslims along with the extremists. But short of condemnation, continuous eulogizing is out of place. And as to “the religion of peace,” it’s time to take into account the traditional Muslim interpretation of “peace.” The world is divided into two “houses” – the House of Peace (Dar Al-Salaam) and the House of War (Dar Al-Harb). Only Muslims are within that first “house.”

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz is emeritus professor of philosophy at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), Five Metaphysical Paradoxes (The 2006 Marquette Aquinas Lecture), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

  • Dave Fladlien

    What would have happened if Pius XII had chosen a bold rather than a secretive battle against the Third Reich? Well, what happened when a Bishop in The Netherlands well-intentionedly blasted Nazi anti-semitism? Heinrich Himmler ordered his Gestapo to round up 10,000 Catholics of even 1/8 Jewish background, and send them to the death camps. Among the victims were St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and sister, also a Carmelite. Each situation calls for its own proper course, and frankly I think Pius XII, with his rescue of escaping Jews, and (in my still unproven but well-founded conviction) his cooperation with the OSS, made the correct choice. Not the best choice to win acclaim for himself, but the right choice to win the war and save as many as possible.

    There is a right course now too. It may not be the same for each person in any religion, but to simply launch into generic condemnations is not likely to produce much good. I think St. John XXIII had the right idea there.

    We need peaceful results; not bombastic oratory.

    • Steven Barrett

      Calm down the ideological pedagogy on the idiot boxes and cyber forums and watch peace break out and we’ll (hopefully) start seeing results. I say “hopefully” because one should never underestimate Satan’s talents when it comes to taking progress and turn it into blood-soaked mush.
      Since we live in what some radical conservative religious extremists love to call a “Christian nation, by all means, let’s begin by calling out and openly talking about radical extremism of the kind that would really drive the likes of scowlers and finger pointers such as Trump & Cruz plus their followers, some more innocently mislead than others, nuts with the truth about what happens when religious bigotry is allowed to go unchallenged.
      Want peace, pray for it. Want war, listen to those guys, elect them and give them blank check nods and you might as well start buying more burial plots for your loved ones. Haven’t we learned anything from our invasion of Iraq and the costs of allowing the likes of General Boykin and his fellow radical Christian (mostly Protestant evangelicals like Franklin Graham and more than a few tough-talking Bible belters in huge megachurch “worship facilities” across the Sunbelt? I made the terrible mistake of supporting the second Iraq War and feel very HAD by the Kuwaitis and Saudis for all we did for them and by the way … how are religious freedoms for Christians honored in those two countries, save for oil company cantons?
      The next time we allow our own bullies, our own so-called walking selfies within the the “Christian right,” and this includes more than a few Catholics who seem more afraid of not being perceived as equally “tough on ‘Radical Islamic Extremists,’ we should ask ourselves how long would it take before we formed even more extra-legal self-styled local minutemen militias to engage in terrorist activities if foreign companies were able to get their home nation’s armed forces to invade our oil producing states and regions for their own purposes, notwithstanding all their protestations of wanting to make sure our rights being respected.
      Don’t we teach our kids about the lessons of the War of 1812 anymore? We weren’t colonists by then, though Westminster, the British Imperial Navy’s impressment gangs (and Napoleon’s as well) hadn’t gotten the message,
      Since I’m addressing mostly Catholics here, maybe it’s not too damn late to remind us that it wasn’t too long ago that the Good Friday Agreement signed only twenty years ago finally put an end to a near half-millennial tit-for-tat war between both Gaels and Brits exacerbated by one act of religiously and ethnically fed act of barbarity.

      • NX

        You should move to Saudi Arabia and then tell us how great that is.

    • Michael DeLorme

      Agreed that Pius XII made the more prudent choice. But Nazism ultimately needed to be defeated militarily.

      “We need peaceful results; not bombastic oratory.” Better bombastic oratory, though, than failure to name one’s enemy—in imitation of our president.

      Hilaire Belloc believed there would be an ultimate confrontation between Islam and Christianity.

      Of Ishmael and his descendants we read in Genesis 16:12: “And he will be a wild-ass of a man, his hand against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in opposition to all his brethren.”

      Muslims need not live in opposition to Christians and Jews, and most don’t. But Islam is destined to exist in opposition to Christianity and Judaism. And, in actual fact, as I’ve posed the matter before, name one country in the world where Islam lives in peace with her neighbors.

      I suggest an argument can be made that, historically, Islam’s peaceful periods have been strategic. Islam’s ultimate design is the submission of all men/women to itself. With Islam, quiet diplomacy—as in the case of Pius XII—is tactical at best. It, and its intent to achieve universal submission, will not go away.

      Of the coming barbarism of WWI, Leon Bloy wrote: “I tried to sound a warning. I was considered excessive, intemperate and profoundly unjust…I await the Cossacks and the Holy Ghost.”

  • Perhaps more than anything else, we need to be very, very careful.

  • Michael Dowd

    Agree. It makes no sense to beard or pet the lion; keep it at bay. But if it attacks kill it.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      And not all of them are lions…. That is the point!

  • ForChristAlone

    And, besides, martyrdom is out of vogue in the West.

  • Kevin O’Donnell

    This has points but is too slanted. The theologians who ‘lobbied’ Vatican II deserve more respect for they were realising from within their contacts with Islam the mindset, the genuine spirituality that some have and the common ground. Many ordinary Muslims are God seekers and fearers, whatever shortcomings their system as a whole might show. Look, in comparison, at some recent Evangelical Protestant views such as Brother Andrew in ‘Light Force’ which speaks of Muslims as ‘God fearers’ akin to Gentiles attending synagogue in the first century AD. Look at the Anglican Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, who works closely with peace loving Muslims and knows great respect among them, including having a very dedicated Muslim dentist PA.
    Aquinas, also, urged dialogue and discussion, showing a loving attitude and not hate and condemnation. That does not mean that we have to agree with Islam and can still say it has errors.
    Also, the Qur’an has varied interpretations in Islam and many see references to Jews and Christians in a very positive light. Later condemnations are from the Medina period when the Muslims were attacked. These can be seen in the context of self defence and do not abrogate the verses about respect for People of the Book, or verses such as there being no compulsion in religion.
    That there are disturbing and wrong versions of Islam which are a threat are not to be denied. This does not remove the more peaceful versions who can often live at grass roots level in peace and co-operation with Christians. Syrian and Iraqi Muslims have lamented the rupture of their communities and the destruction of churches, and there are examples of them helping to rebuild them even!
    Do not castigate, over simplify and tar everyone with the same brush. There is a disturbing trend to be anti-Islam among some traditional Catholics today that has been compared to preConciliar anti-Semitism.

    • gsk

      “That does not mean that we have to agree with Islam and can still say it has errors.”

      It is this sort of approach that baffles me. Islam has errors??

      “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9).

      I have no problem discussing how, prudently, to protect Christians in Muslim lands, but to say “Islam has errors” is to say that one doesn’t take the Christian faith seriously enough. Honestly, the best antidote to this is a thorough reading of the Quran and “Reliance of the Traveller.” Courses should be available in every diocese. Revelation ended with the death of Saint John, and the proposal that “Gabriel” recalibrated the true religion because of our confusion over the death of the Prophet Issa (Jesus) should show that we’re beyond “error” and in the realm of calumny, lies, and false prophecy.

      • Kevin O’Donnell

        You are being rather pedantic and not understanding what I am saying. The message of Islam gets things wrong, and it has some things right – drawn largely from the OT. I, and no theologian, is claiming it as revelation but as a movement based upon a God seeking pagan who was influenced by various monotheistic groups as he travelled. It is his ideas, a hotchpotch and not revelation. However, there is enough in there borrowed from Judaism and a little bit from Christianity to allow the honest God seeker/fearer to latch onto soemthing good if imperfect, incomplete and wrong at certain points.

        Why did you think I was allowing it to be revealed in any way? Never said that!

        • NX

          How much error is too much?

    • gaeliclass

      You sound to me like so many today in the west – who just cant accept what Islam and the Koran are and in fact what Mohammed taught (I suggest you read his writings.)
      For a muslim to be as peace loving as you write (and you hope they are but they’re not) they would in fact need to deny the Koran and what Mohammed wrote and lived – they will never do that. What they will do and are doing is moving into neighborhoods in the west and little by little dominating them.
      Just to give you a wake-up call .. in Toronto, Canada, socialist-communist PM Trudeau Jr (same ideology as his socialist communist father – Pierre who was best friends with the Castros) – is bringing in (right now) 29,000 muslims — only 1% are Christians.
      The muslims who have been ‘given’ money ($3,000 a month and our pensioners don’t even get that….for the most part) plus a home, plus free health care, plus free lessons in English, and plus and plus for the number of children– wanted a mosque close to where they ‘were accomodated’.–
      they got it- they got it all. Do you know what! They are now complaining that they want to be even closer to their mosque. Many are complaining that they want a bigger home.
      A short while ago one of them marched into a doctor’s office and demanded MRI’s for his 5 kids…another one said she refused a male doctor and wanted only females.. With the PM liberal socialist Trudeau acquiescesing at every turn – perhaps you can imagine what is happening here..– and you want us to ignore this. Don’t forget the muslims where the ones killing the Christians and that is why the Crusades began – blessed by the Pope.
      The stats on the number of we Christians being killed are absolutely accurate — along with Christian churches, artifacts and their homes – do you have any idea of how many Christians in the Middle East have no home, no goods – nothing but the cloth on their back…..and you want us all to play the western political game! What kind of people would even write such a thing.
      ———–
      The Christians on the other hand are getting no such treatment.

      However to get back to Trudeau and the muslims in Canada –
      why 1% Christians? -It is the same scenario in the US – Obama and Trudeau are both socialists working in sinc.
      A muslim taxicab driver with all the gaul in the world told me once ‘we will take over the west, we are just waiting’ – I asked how will you do that? and he said, ‘you crazy people in the west keep killing your children.— (abortion/contraception et al…) – we don’t, we are making our race grow and we will dominate, we don’t need to use our sword, you are using yours! This might clear your thinking..

      • Kevin O’Donnell

        See reply above. You do not understand or represent every version of Islamic belief. I have read the Qur’an and Hadith and studied Islam deeply some years ago and have known a number of very gracious Muslims. What about the ones who stood guard outside Cartholic Churches in France to prevent any terrorist attacks at Midnight mass last Christmas? What about the ones who operated a van sending food aid around flooded villages in northern England? What about the Muslims who have helped to rebuild destroyed churches in the Middle East after ISIS have been pushed back? What about their women folk singers who sing of the fact that they want to stand together with their Christian neighbours as they did of old, and thank God that Daesh cannot remove the sura Miriam from their Qur’an – a reference to the deep respect for the Virgin in Muslim circles?
        How many Muslims have you known? They are not theories or stats on a piece of paper but human beings.

        • Murray

          14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
          – Romans 2:14-16

          And your point? No-one is claiming that Mohammedans are irredeemably evil to a man; to the contrary, the law of God is written on their hearts, and they are just as capable of virtue and acts of heroism as anyone else.

          But to the extent that they actually obey their false religion, they are required to wage unending, bloody war against unbelievers until the entire world is brought under the domination of their false god. The Koran–which is, as you may recall, the inerrant dictated Word of God himself–commands them to do so.

          We should indeed be grateful that so many Mohammedans are bad Muslims, but that does nothing to mitigate the fact that they have no place living among us in Western nations.

          And I note with amusement that three of your four heartening examples above would not have been necessary if other Mohammedans were not intent on waging jihad against unbelievers.

        • Chris in Maryland

          Of course there are wonderful Muslim people. I think that the point is that these must ignore parts of The Koran when they choose to behave as caring and tolerant souls.

    • ROB

      The “wrong” versions of Islam are held by erudite and respected Islamic scholars. The circle of the words of the Koran which obligate every Muslim to subjugate and curse non believers simply cannot be squared to a religion of peace. If anything the author of the article pussyfoots, in deference to the hierarchy, around this truth. Lost in all talk of Vatican II and recent Popes is the great commandment to go and teach etc. Good luck with that in Saudi Arabia much less the Caliphate.

      • Howard Kainz

        Not “pussyfooting!” Just trying to make sense of the widespread acceptance and even adulation by the Church of an incredibly violent and irrational religion.

        • Chris in Maryland

          Yes…for example…there is a “rainbow” promoting “Catholic” Church…St. Paul the Apostle in mid-town NYC, which also promotes Islamic heresy by posting quotes from the Koran all around The Altar of the Annunciation.

    • Howard Kainz

      “Later condemnations are from the Medina period when the Muslims were
      attacked. These can be seen in the context of self defence.”
      Just the opposite was the case. Muhammad faced considerable opposition to his
      calls for conversion to Islam, and was told by Allah to kill or subdue
      Jews and Christians and all unbelievers (see especially Suras
      2,3,4,5,8,9,17,33,47,48, and 69). According to Daniel Pipes, Muhammad
      engaged personally in 78 battles, of which just one (the Battle of the
      Ditch) was defensive. He was a warlord. The Qur’an allowed him to have
      1/5 of the booty from the raids and battles.

      • Kevin O’Donnell

        It depends upon the interpretation of those Suras as you well know – probably – and many Muslims do not read them like this but as I outlined above. He was a warrior and he became distorted and pushed into a lifestyle that might not have been his intention at first when he seems to have been a God seeker like several other hanifs or pagan holy men of the time. I defend many modern, peaceful Muslims in their interpretations and attempts to live a spiritual life, and what the original import of some of those passages might have been. I do not defend everything about the man Muhammad or Islam for that matter. If we blacken it and read it only one way and ignore the views of many other Muslims we are guilty of distortion as are the extremists.

        • John II

          “If we blacken [Islam] and read it only one way and ignore the views of many other Muslims we are guilty of distortion as are the extremists.”

          You’re creating a straw man here, not to mention the cheap editorial “we” from which you obviously exclude your own enlightened self.

          In other words, you’re guilty of distortion.

          • Kevin O’Donnell

            By ‘we’ I mean the West, Christendom, Catholics… Not me personally!

          • John II

            Of course not. That’s what I said.

            And I’m taken by what C.S.Lewis said regarding the cliched rhetoric of the faux-we pronoun in such contexts. He called the usage a dishonest form of smug slander.

        • Chris in Maryland

          The difference btw the Gospel and the Koran is this: when a man from a so-called Christian country commits a violent atrocity in the name of Jesus, all People who know the Gospel know that man is disobeying the Gospel; and when a Muslim man commits an atrocity against an “infidel” in the name of Allah, all people who know what is in the Koran know that such man is obeying the Koran.

    • Michael DeLorme

      The bottom line is, unless He is schizoid, the Holy Spirit did not generate a religion which denies the divinity of Christ, as Islam does.

      That leaves only two other possibilities: either Islam is of purely human origin—as were Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism—or it is of demonic origin. Regardless, God can work with the good impulses of anyone.

      I’m willing to suppose that the vast majority of Muslims are good, decent and pious souls. But I take it for granted that they are good, decent and pious in spite of Islam, not because of it.

  • Anthony Cangemi

    Based on this article, I now see why the Church does not cry out at every Sunday Mass on behalf of the persecuted Christians (and other religious minorities). Apparently it is not “politically correct” or expedient. I decry this intentional “oversight”, regardless of its intention.
    If our Church leaders truly believed that prayer really works, there can be no reason to withhold it from these poor suffering brother and sisters. Virtually every epistle read at Mass starts with “Brothers and sister….. Is that how little we now think of them that we do not even pray for them?

    • Alicia

      The Knights of Columbus have a letter that is being sent to Secretary John Kerry to oficially proclaim Christin Genocide. They need thousands to sign it. You can sign with first and last name, email, and zip code. It will be sent to Sec. John Kerry.
      This proclamation will officilly open doors and help to the persecuted Christians.
      All letters must be sent before March 16.
      Everybody, please, sign it.

  • Thomas

    The author’s point is quite simple: Islam has its houses mixed up. WE are peace and THEY are war. Glad that is cleared up.

    Now I have to get back to real life, with Muslim neighbors and co-workers, one of whom drove his van to deliver supplies for our recent parish festival/dinner.

    • gaeliclass

      I think sadly you either missed the point or you are being very condescending- whatever the case, the author is absolutely correct and btw the muslims will deliver to your parish and will give you and your kids pizza..- but be careful they have a plan. Do you?

    • Chris in Maryland

      You missed the point.

  • Chris in Maryland

    Benedict had a grip on reality, and Francis is infected with wishful thinking…what Prof. Kainz calls “eulogizing Islam.”

    Benedict chooses to treat Islam’s people as adults and hold them accountable for how Islam behaves.

    The problem with Islam is not what Francis and Cdl. Dolan and others desparately cling to…that The Catholic Church just needs to pretend Islam is peaceful…And by pretending we can cause Islam to reject The Koran’s Call to War.

    Islam needs to be held to account, the way the new President of Egypt, and Pope Benedict have been willing to do…Catholics and Muslims and others need to tell Islam that 1 Billion Muslims cannot impose their will on 7 Billion non-Muslims. That is adult behavior.

    The Francis mindset is flaccid and impotent in engaging Islam…and it demands that we forget that Islam’s armies are murdering defenseless people precisely because they are not submitting to The Koran’s violence and darkness.

  • grump

    “Moderate Muslims”? Neatly alliterative but I have yet to meet one.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      I have, many times.

      • grump

        @Kevin. You mean they didn’t want to kill you? How nice of them…

    • Howard Kainz

      I would define “moderate Muslims” as those who do not support, even tacitly, the killing or subjugation of “unbelievers,” and who oppose the execution or persecution of any Muslims who convert to another religion or abandon their faith.

      • Murray

        In that case, I think you mean “bad Muslims”.

        • Kevin O’Donnell

          This is skewed. Muslims who interpret the Qur’an in moderate ways are believing what they believe and trying to be good Muslims in every way that means something for them. You are assuming that Islam is actually bad and militant and not open to any other interpretations. They would disagree with you.

          • Murray

            14 Do not be mismated with false believers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Be’lial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
            – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

            Of course Islam is bad. It’s a false religion which claims a direct mandate from God to subjugate unbelievers by any means necessary. It’s right there in the plain text. You can “interpret the [Ko]ran in moderate ways” till the cows come home, and Mohammedans who take their religion seriously will continue to ignore you.

            The rest of your comment is just sentimental fluff. It’s not exactly news that most people want a quiet life and have no particular desire to behead their neighbors, even if their religion commands them to do so. But we saw in Moscow this week the horrific consequences of just one Mohammedan nanny deciding to take seriously the commandments of her god. And now that they number in the millions, we know to expect countless such atrocities.

          • Beth

            So are they kinda like Protestants?

  • Leonard

    I read Benedict on reason and faith. He makes a point that the Catholic interpretation of Christianity is the fusion of Jewish revealed faith and Greek reason. My understanding is that Christians believe god entered history in the humanity of Jesus and that he may be understood and known as a person with a personality; omnipotent, yet constrained by logic, truth and love. Many Protestants may dismiss the importance of the Greek dues to Christianity, but I think the discussion might be had with Muslims and let us hear their rebuttal that god is absolutely transcendent and may not be constrained by any of man’s mere categories. Let us ask, of them, what need does God require soldiers or servants? What do we accomplish in a coercing conversion to our religion? I think we offer the Muslims a powerful meaning when we tell them we feel God’s love for us and that this constraint on his nature is the logic of our faith.

  • augury

    Franklin Graham, with whom you open your piece, has endorsed for President a man who nakedly channels Mussolini in his actions and even words, rallies his supporters by viciously demonizing underprivileged migrant workers, equivocates about the KKK, etc, etc, etc. A man our Holy Father calls unchristian is being embraced by Franklin Graham and company and swept into the most powerful office in the world by evangelical “Christians.” A race-hating demagogue with his finger on the nuclear button is a ten times bigger menace than Islam. The Pope should condemn the evangelicals before he does the Muslims.

    • grump

      @augury. The Pope’s too busy worrying about the thermostat and equivocating behind that big Vatican Wall.

    • hippecampre

      When, exactly, did a 1980’s moderate become Mussolini?
      Delusions.

      • augury

        Maybe when he tweeted Mussolini’s line about sheep and lion’s this weekend?

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      Amen!

    • NX

      Politics must be your god.

      • augury

        No NX, I’m sorry you got that impression. But Prof Kainz’ insightful article is interesting mainly because of politics, Were it not for Ismlamofascists blowing things up all over the place he’d be lucky to get 3 comments on an article about Catholic/ Islamic coexistence. Don’t see many blog pieces about Catholic / Hindu relations, do you? Given the terrorist subliminal subtext of Prof Kainz’ piece, it crossed my mind to share that I personally find Trump scarier than the Muslims, 90 + % of whom are peace loving. And that Trump’s support is coming to a disconcerting degree from Christians.

    • kathleen

      I wasn’t aware that Franklin Graham had endorsed anyone for President. When did he do that? I would think if the Reverend Graham were to endorse anyone it would be Ted Cruz.

    • Howard Kainz

      Franklin Graham did not endorse Trump for president. According to NBC news, “Graham insisted that he wouldn’t endorse a candidate even though he
      has backed Republican presidential candidates in the past and has
      written favorably about Republican front-runner Donald Trump in the
      past. On his Facebook page he said he admired Trump for shaking up the
      political process. “This is not about Donald Trump,” Graham said. “I’m here running a campaign for God.”

      • augury

        Looked it up and you’re correct Howard. He didn’t endorse Trump. I googled Graham and Trump, speed read the link titles and misunderstood. On closer inspection I would note that Graham has spoken sympathetically of Trump. In fact his remarks on “the lesser of two heathens” seem designed to green-light Trump without endorsing him explicitly. Having been brought up evangelical ( my father worked on Billy Graham’s crusades), I’m shocked to see evangelicals playing a central role in propelling a race baiting charlatan to President, and deeply saddened to see leaders like Falwell and especially Graham unmasked as false shepherds. Never happier that I converted.

        • Howard Kainz

          Many evangelicals may just be choosing “the lesser of two evils” — a typical fate in a democracy.

    • helensatmary

      Well, I would say at the same time!! It was disgraceful that the Evangelicals fell on their knees, so to speak, to a man who is obviously NOT of God !! Who brags that he has never repented. And with their great help we now stand to have this fraud as our next President. Just as we suffered under the last this will be a continuation.

      • Karen Pansegro

        Not just the Evangelicals, sadly. I have Catholic FB friends who are rather vile in their attacks on anyone who does not support Trump.

    • Murray

      That’s some nice well-poisoning, right there: Because Franklin Graham is wrong about my bugbear X, he must perforce be wrong about Y.

    • Cheryl Jefferies

      Franklin Graham has not endorsed anyone for president, sir. Perhaps, you’re confusing Franklin Graham with Jerry Falwell, Jr., head of Liberty University. Falwell endorsed Trump. I repeat, Franklin Graham has endorsed no one.

  • Murray

    Here’s a hard saying: Islam is a false religion, and likely demonically inspired.

    Contrast the appearance of “the Angel Gabriel” to Mohammed in Surah 96 with those in the Bible:

    Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him in it and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read.” (The Prophet added), “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, “I do not know how to read,” whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, “I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?).” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said, “Read: In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot. Read and Your Lord is Most Generous” … up to … “that which he knew not.”

    Does that bear any resemblance to, say, Gabriel’s Annunciation to Our Blessed Mother? Did he force himself upon her with unreasonable commands to coerce her obedience? No. His first words to her, after his salutation, were “Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Indeed, throughout the Old and New Testaments, angels routinely begin with this kind of reassurance, presumably because their appearance is terrifying to mortals. What kind of angel suffocates an illiterate man three times because he cannot read?

    Of course, this is not to say that we should not dialogue with Mahommedans. But our aim should always be their conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we can’t allow ourselves to be deluded about the nature of their religion.

    • Alexandra_kirschmitt

      “Of course, this is not to say that we should not dialogue with Mahommedans. But our aim should always be their conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we can’t allow ourselves to be deluded about the nature of their religion.”

      Thank you, Murray.

    • Michael DeLorme

      Amen.

  • Carol

    The people who were gunned down by Muslim terrorists in San Bernardino had given a baby shower six months prior to one of the murderers. You are fooling yourself if you think your “friends” wouldn’t turn on you in a heartbeat for their faith. Just “coexist” is not happening unless you want to be a slave, convert or be killed as stated in the Koran.

  • Stilbelieve

    Can anybody who believes in the God of the New Testament really think the “God” in the book that started the Muslim religion, seven hundred years later, be real?! What was the reason for a new religion? And what was the method of spreading it? To me, the Muslim Religion is the religion of Satan started to attack and conquer Christianity.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      It is not that simple. ‘Allah’ simply means ‘God’ in Arabic and is used by Arabic speaking Christians. There is only one God and the Qur’an seeks to speak of him. It might have some different (and erroneous) understandings but it still has much from Judaism and a slighter influence from Christianity. You do not have to see it as revealed, started by God, but by a man who was a seeker and a traveller who imbibed many influences from Jews, Christians and heretical groups. It contains some truth and begins to point many to the God of Abraham but it is not Scripture as such.

      • Michael DeLorme

        Saint John Paul II directed that if a Mormon wants to convert to Catholicism, he or she must be re-baptized; Mormon baptism is not recognized because Mormons do not mean the same thing by “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” as most Christians do.

        Allah may simply mean God, in Arabic, but Islam does not mean the same thing by God that either Christianity or Judaism means by that word.

        “The Koran” contains truth? So does “The Wind in the Willows.”

        • Kevin O’Donnell

          Some truth…and yes, baptism is needed. This is about seeking God not general insights like Wind in the Willows. Come on!

          • Michael DeLorme

            “There is only one God and the Qur’an seeks to speak of him.”

            That may be the claim. It is not the truth. It is not God who inspired a religion that denies the divinity of Christ.

            Judaism promised a Messiah who would be Emmanuel—God with us.

            Christianity proclaims: Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.

            Islam denies that He is divine; denies that He is God with us; denies that He is Emmanuel.

            When did Islam ever proclaim that Allah is Abba, Father? It doesn’t, because He would be a Father Who has no Son.

            What Muslim do you know who thinks of Allah as fatherly? Rather Allah is the absolute unapproachable One, to whom the only proper response is submissive obedience—not an obediently loving response., not affection nor any other intimacy.

            There is as much saving truth in “The Wind in the Willows” as there is in the Qur’an.

      • BXVI

        It contains some truth…
        So does Mein Kampf. That does not mean it is “good” or “laudable” or that we should do anything less than everything in our power to convince the devotees of that book that they are following a lie.

        Islam:
        1. Denies that God is a Trinity.
        2. Denies that God is a Father.
        3. Denies that man is made in God’s image and likeness.
        4. Denies that Jesus is the Son of God.

        But Islam does not just deny these things. It defines these propositions as incredibly blasphemous. In this sense, Islam is specifically and aggressively anti-Christian.

        Islam asserts that, first the Jews, then the Christians, were given God’s revelation (the Koran) but they bastardized it by changing God’s words and twisting them (though it is easily established that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures are authentic and it was Muhammad that did the twisting).

        Most Muslims are good people, and there is much that is good, true and beautiful in Muslim culture. Muslims have been deceived by the Father of Lies. Perhaps many of them are without personal fault because they were raised in a Muslim culture and have had no realistic opportunity to receive the Gospel.

        But make no mistake: Islam is a tool that the Devil uses to deceive untold millions of souls and to keep them from knowing and accepting the Truth: that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Savior of the world.

        As for Christians – particularly the well-educated who sit in ivory towers and those who wear clerical robes – how can we look at a religion that explicitly denies the Divinity and Son-ship of Jesus Christ and reach any conclusion other than that it is from the Devil? Or perhaps we, too, have been deceived?

    • kathleen

      Your comment is right on. Most people today, including faithful Catholics, seem to forget what St. Paul said when he warned us about someone coming preaching a Gospel other than that of Jesus Christ. Whenever I mention that Islam is a false religion, and that Mohammed was a false prophet, my dear friends who are very prayerful people and who love the Church and her teachings, and who read the Scriptures, I am met with silence. No one seems to have anything to say, or to want to discuss the subject. I do believe there are many very good people who follow and practice Islam and I pray that they will come to know Jesus Christ and His Church. Our Church leaders need to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior and invite people to join His Church. Too much confusion and ambiguity in our Church today. That needs to change, and change soon. May Jesus Christ have mercy on all of us.

    • BXVI

      We need to understand that Islam is a specifically anti-Jewish and anti-Christian religion. The story goes like this: God gave the Quran to the Jews, but they bastardized it. So he gave it to the Christians, but they bastardized it too. So he gave it to the Muslims through Muhammad. Third time’s a charm, so to speak.

      This is why the Muslim conquerors made the Jews wear a picture of an ape (sub-human) and the Christians wear a picture of a pig (unclean). The idea that we are all people of the “book” is a bit deceiving: from the Muslim perspective, Jews and Christians “changed” and “twisted” the word of God, which is an unforgivable apostasy deserving of the most severe punishment and condemnation.

      Perhaps we should consider that three of the central tenets of Islam – tenets which make Christianity particularly repugnant to them – are: 1. God is not a Father, and particularly not YOUR father; 2. God has no Son, and particularly not Jesus; and 3. to claim otherwise is blasphemy.

      Islam is, at it’s very core the ultimate “anti-Christian” religion. The only logical conclusion for a Christian is that Islam is of the Devil.

  • Alexandra_kirschmitt

    The greatest evil seems to be relativism in all levels of society.The Church needs to regain her credibility with Christians first of all, so that others will again respect her for what she is.
    Christians well educated in the truths of our Faith, with a right sense of duty towards family and country, would not be terrified at the islamic threat, and would know how to act, as our Catholics of the past have done.What is to fear most is a weak Church, one that seeks to please the world and be politically correct.

    Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing!

    The faithful have vanished from the earth!_ Psalm 12

    We continue to pray and hope for the love of God is eternal. Laus tibi Domine.

  • Cheryl Jefferies

    I think the key is in your last two sentences, Professor Kainz. Especially, that last sentence. Really, that last sentence says it all.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    I agree with Dave Fladlien and Howard Kainz. Also my opinion, suggested by Howard, is focus on moderates to change the radical face of Islam in his reference to the el-Sisi regime. Turkey [a non Arabic Turkoman nation] Christianity’s former long time nemesis became secular and more Western under Kemal Attaturk but since, has quite recently turned more toward radicalism. The other Islamic State Egypt is Arabic and is the only viable state fairly modernized with the largest Arabic population and an ancient Islamic center of studies. Al Azhar Univ and the Hedayet Instit for Islamic Studies are moving toward a change in the interpretation of Islam. Egypt’s President Khalil el-Sisi has called for Muslims to decline observance of intolerant, anti female, and so forth passages in the Koran because they are unacceptable. He says they should be considered particular to an historical period and not relevant today in religious worship. The Al Azhar and Hedayet faculties are and have earlier been following suit with this approach. The other option unless there is a miracle of conversion to Christianity is continued conflict and likely devastating conflict. The difficulty has been the Obama Administration’s Leftist policy of having backed the radical Muslim Brotherhood Govt and condemning el-Sisi for the military coup that was absolutely warranted and justified. We notice Obama has done zero to assist Christians or even mentioning their martyrdom.
    If Pope Francis is morally derelict on this Obama is infinitely more so. America needs regime change not a national turn toward neo Fascism. Hopefully we will have a Republican President with a moral background and tested moral values. Perhaps we need a miracle here also.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      Thank you. That is sane, balanced and good to hear.

    • helensatmary

      Especially if Trump ends up as our next President. I cannot believe a man who has not entered a church since childhood, married three times and who seems proud that he has never asked God forgiveness of his sins could have fooled so many Evangelicals to vote for him. Our Country is in serious danger if this is the level of so many supposedly Godly people!

    • Murray

      Egypt’s President Khalil el-Sisi has called for Muslims to decline observance of intolerant, anti female, and so forth passages in the Koran because they are unacceptable. He says they should be considered particular to an historical period and not relevant today in religious worship.

      How would you respond, Father, if a politician insisted that you “decline observance” of Ephesians 5:22 or 1 Peter 3:1, because they were “particular to an historical period”? Or of John 6, because we sophisticated moderns now understand that cannibalism is disgusting, unlike those dumb Galilean yokels in AD 30?

      It’s often said that the Koran holds the same position in Islam as Jesus Christ does in Christianity: it is the very unmediated Word of God itself, as dictated directly to Mohammed. By contrast, the Bible comprises multiple literary genres written over several centuries by dozens of men–each writing from within a particular historical and cultural context–under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We understand that we are not to expect detailed treatises on (say) astrophysics from the writer of Joshua.

      But if, per impossibile, the Koran is the actual Word of God itself, then it would be absolutely haram, under all conceivable circumstances, to remove one jot or tittle from it.

      A better strategy would be to expose the manifest absurdities and factual errors in the text, such as the claim that Christians worship a Trinity of God, Mary, and Jesus. The Koran claims itself to be incapable of error? Very well. How then can it be obviously, laughably wrong about a fundamental doctrine of Christianity?

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        You’ve given me reasons Murray both to weep or to laugh and I can’t decide which.

      • Sheila

        Fr I’d to see your reply to this.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Well Murray, Sheila, if there is a genuine movement in the largest most powerful Arab nation toward revising Islam, certainly that revision has to include what you have cited from the Koran Murray, and the Egyptian military the most respected institution in Egypt with president Gen Khalil el-Sisi promoting those changes to the Koran backed by Muslim scholars including changes in the practice of Islam, we support that we do not attack that movement and try to prevent it. We support it with arms, intelligence, diplomacy. We support el-Sisi and reverse the Leftist paying homage by Barak Hussein Obama to Islamic radicals in Egypt. We support Egypt’s continued destruction of the Muslim Brotherhood. The issue is not what I would do if I were asked to change my beliefs which is a non starter. The real, existential issue is that there is a movement to reform Islam in Egypt and it is working and may well succeed if we support it. Anwar Sadat after the last Egyptian Israeli war sought peace with Israel and succeeded, became our staunch ally in the Middle East, and sought to bring about the changes in Islam now envisioned and promoted by el-Sisi. I read the writings of Sadat and they are good and beautiful. Sadat was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood and we can’t let that happen to el-Sisi.

        • The point Fr is that President el-Sisi is dreaming. There is no way to alter the Koran since it is written down and supposed out of the ,mouth of Allah. What some moderate muslims claim is that the harsh passages are supposed to be taken as metaphor, not commands. I’m no expert but they seem like commands to me. And in rhetoric, declarative statements always trump metaphorical interpretations. You might be able to convince some Muslims it’s metaphor, but in time a general understanding of the declarative statements will win out. And the Koran is reinforced by the Hadith, Sharia law, and the life of Mohammed, which they are supposed to imitate.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            The chances are, my instincts tell me Manny that you are right. My position here lies in a tiny ray of hope, and that there seems no harm in support.

          • God bless you Father. The ray of hope for me is that the Muslims I’ve met are decent people. How they rationalize their religion is beyond me. Prayers to our Lady of Fatima for their conversion to Christianity.

    • Patsy Koenig

      That is a fantasy. Radical Muslims are the ones living Islam the way it is supposed to be lived, according to the Koran, the Haddith, the life of Mohammed whom they are supposed to imitate, the Imams, and the history of Islam. It is a good thing for us that so many Muslims are lax in their so-called religion. What makes you think that nonviolent Muslims have any desire to change Islam?

      • NX

        That is what Benedict said in a more cryptic way.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        It must have been my fairy godmother that told me.

        • Sheila

          I needed that today. Best line…ever. I hope I remember it so I can use it with my other elderly friends!!!

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            Thanks Sheila. I needed a bit of affirmation for something today.

          • Sheila

            You will be in my rosary prayers Father Morello. I affirm, appreciate and respect your priestly guidance on this site. We who are trying to grow and practice our catholic faith need that kind of guidance. I believe we (mostly all of us) feel that way. We who want to take our faith and share Christ’s love in the world.

    • augury

      Thank you Father for sharing your erudition on mid east history / politics. Regarding Obama, I’ve read that his terrorist sidekick William Ayers was in Cairo at an early phase of the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and that he helped foment the putsch. Wouldn’t shock me to learn Obama instigated it. But was support for the Brotherhood not a bi-partisan US policy? As I recall, McCain and several of his ilk were also outspoken in favor of the changeover. Was this not one of the (many, IMHO) instances where the whole US foreign policy establishment screwed up?

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        You are correct augury heroes like McCain have flaws, one which is, like Bush 43 with Iraq, the notion that somehow a democracy is proven by an election and afterward everything will be such swell. It is mindless idealism, the bane of the US foreign policy of regime change.

        • PGMGN

          …there is also the bane of the US thinking that others are as tepid in the Faith as we are.

    • Sheila

      Thank you for the excellent info. on what is occurring in the Islamic countries and in the US. We seemed to have created a slippery slope in our political arena. I agree with your comments about what has/is happening in our country. I am reminded that we have life and death before us, as always. But moreso right now because of the election processes. We have serious choices to make that could change our country’s foundation. Choices that could open up a giagantic can of worms before it is solved. Our country has been hiding and covering things up for many years. We need to allow the Light to shine throughout the darkness of it all, so evil can be exposed and then removed. Just like a cancer or other severe sickness that is found and treated with harsh remedies. And of course that process is very painful, but the right application of the medicine hopefully will bring healing to the whole body. Our Hope is always in Christ. Of course the devil will not like that at all. Many have been trying to cover America’s ills by dimming the Light of Truth on what’s wrong. America, please don’t cover it up. Open the wound up. Look, see and test for yourself who consistently has/is making America turn away from her initial freedoms and rights to follow and live for God. “You will know them by their fruits” Scripture implores us. God leads us to earnestly do that. In all sincerity, that aptly applies more than just a wee bit in this instance. It takes years of patience and practice to consistently act like a Christian. Though we are all still imperfect, it can be another clue when looking for an answer. And to add a pinch of reality to all this…we remember that we all fall short and still struggle as we move toward the Light. Key words here are “move toward”, not “away from”. NO NO NO NO we do NOT NEED: Pride; Greed; Lying; Sexual inuendos; Cheating; Cursing; Swearing; False accusations; Adulterers, etc. All a part of our past sandwiched in between remarkably good Presidents and others in Wash, DC. God bless and strengthen America to do His good works in holiness and Truth.

    • dbrown8

      Yes

  • Fred Costello

    Pope Benedict did not imply that Islam is evil. He called for the search for truth by all religions and philosophies, with the search including reasoning and revelation. Leading a life on the basis of a falsehood results in great harm to human beings. To start, Islam needs evidence that the Quran was revealed by a good angel and not a bad angel (disguised as good).

    • BXVI

      He said as much at Regensburg. When you are talking about Islam and you say that a religion without reason leads only to violence, you are essentially saying that Islam is evil. This was a challenge directed to the core of Islam, which absolutely rejects the application of reason. That’s why the Muslim world went wild and rioted after he said it.

  • Alicia

    It’s a mystery to me why all the ” nice, loving, peaceful, moderate ” Muslims remain in Islam. Haven’t they read the Kouran ? Don’t they disagree with many of its teachings ?
    One of the teachings that bothers me is that they are allowed, by Allah, to deceive infidels (us) to get what they want. Once they get it, they can show their true faces, brake all treaties, go back on promises and negotiations reached through compromises, do what pleases them, and stab us in the back.
    How can we trust their smiling faces when that is what they believe ? Sorry, but we can’t, I can’t.
    With Muslims, we can smile, but must always carry the ” or else ” long stick Teddy Roosevelt spoke about.

    • Patsy Koenig

      The answer to your question is NO. Many Muslims have never read the Koran. Just as there are many Christians who have never read the whole New Testament, which is short, many Muslims have never read the Koran. And if a non-violent Muslim leaves Islam, he will be murdered by his own family. That is another example of the so-called “religion of peace.”

  • Alicia

    I read that Pope Francis is going to visit a mosque soon. Let’s all start praying that he doesn’t kiss the Kouran ( a heresy) because, if he does, we’ll all have heart attacks and TCT won’t have enough space for all the comments.

    • Murray

      Well, no. Other popes have kissed the Koran. Knowing this Holy Father, he’ll have to go one better. Maybe we should start a pool.

  • Human Being

    “Allah is the best of deceivers.” Quran, S 3:54; cf. 8:30

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    Let us look at the ‘why’ for our travail over the current state of affairs. The world’s two most powerful men, one presiding over the most venerable, influential Christian Church [at least once was] the other presiding over the world’s first true democracy and political champion of human rights [at least once was] both march to the same drumbeat, dance to the same tune, and sing the same arias on a global stage. The only difference I see is their apparel.

    • the world’s first true democracy
      *
      the government the Founders claimed they set up was a Republic vs. Democracy.

  • ITBWTW

    The roots of our demise continue to lead to Vatican II. Anyone who reads those documents will clearly see the church turned from God, and towards man…it became the Church of ‘Be Nice to everybody’, not ‘the Church of Salvation’, which is the mission Christ gave it. Salvation requires Truth above all else, and it seems in the last 50 years we can get no Truth from our Prelates on any issue of substance. So, they sacrifice their flock to be nice.

    • dbrown8

      You’re absolutely right. Except for Dei Verbum the council was a disaster for the church.

      • Kevin O’Donnell

        This sounds like Schism. Vatican II, rightly understood , was a wonderful step forward.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      Joking SSPX are we? To refuse a Council of the Church is to be in schism.

      • ITBWTW

        Hi Kevin. I go to Catholc church. That includes the Parish I live, occasionally an Indepedant, and occasionally a SSPX Mass. All of them Catholic and none in schism. You misuse that word. In fact I think you do not know the faith very well, which may be attributable to the very poor catechisis that emerged after Vatican II. You certainly know nothing about Vatcan II except it’s taking points. There are Dogmatic councils that decree dogma, and then there are pastoral Councils that talk about pastoral approaches and are non-dogmatic. Both John XXIII and Pope Paul VI declared Vatcan II as pastoral and non- binding, very much like this most recent Synod, thank God! That is why the perpetrators of all the weird things and destruction of the Faith in the last 40 years refer to their authority coming from the ” Spirit of Vatcan II”, not the dogma of Vatican II, their is no dogma. Look it up.

  • Joe_NS

    The British general commanding in Iraq at the end of World War I used to say “An Arab is either at your feet or at your throat.”

    What decides which? The answer is straightforward and evident in the Arabic word muslim, meaning “he who submits [to God].” It cannot be pointed out too often that worldly success and failure play an inordinate role in determining the bellicosity of the world’s Muslims, of all categories, but especially when it comes to motivating so-called jihadists. if, his faith teaches, a particular approach to being a faithful Muslim is successful in a worldly sense, then the sectary advocating that approach must have the will of God on his side; and that is quite the end of the argument. For Muslims, even of the lukewarm variety, everything that happens in the world is directly willed by God, there being no such thing as a contingent circumstance to which one may respond voluntarily or rationally. The very notion that there could be an event not “willed” by God is heresy (shirk). So-called “moderate” Muslims believe that as much as the most murderous ISIS recruits do, and they will never interfere with latter even if they take no steps to actively wage holy war. Cultivating their support against Jihad is futile.

    The successful attack on the United States in 2001 was an enormously portentous event for Muslims of all persuasions. Allah, it suddenly appeared, had indeed willed success in fighting the infidels, even the most powerful. The current results of such an interpretation, we know only too well. Every since, the Muslim has been at the throat of the non-Muslim on an unprecedented scale for modern times. Only a series of sound beatings, meaning defeat in war, will reverse the Muslim instinct to attack the infidels until they submit to Islam, because defeat must mean that it is Allah who is beating them. I must repeat: defeat means defeat in the world, spiritual defeat being impossible: “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is His Prophet.” Mohammad was temporal ruler of Arabia, both Sheik and Emir as well as Caliph. The two realms cannot seriously be separated.

    From the Seventh through the Seventeenth centuries, Islamic aggression succeeded spectacularly. Then, starting with the failed Siege of Vienna of 1683 and accelerating for the next two centuries, the forces of aggressive Islam suffered defeat after defeat after humiliating defeat, a series of very sound beatings, you could say, primarily because of their technical and social backwardness relative to Christian Europe. Of course a faithful Muslim and would-be jihadist does not credit concepts like “technical backwardness” as being of much importance. To him, Allah had withdrawn his blessing from the Jihad. Especially from the time of Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, when the only thing that saved the Muslims from a Christian army was a Christian navy, Britain’s, Muslims everywhere fell into a decidedly defeatist mode at the feet of European colonialists. The nadir of aggressive Islamism arrived in 1924 with the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate by the Turks themselves.

    Since then, and who may doubt this, jihadists, at first gradually but with quickening ferocity, have returned to attempting to throttle anyone who either does not submit or convert to Islam. Every success unreasonably emboldens the warrior for Islam. Every defeat unreasonably demoralizes him. His reaction, whatever it is, can best be described as hysterical. There is no rational calculus of gain and loss occurring in his mind, only the need to discern Allah’s will and submit to it unreservedly. That is the weakness to be exploited.

    Depend on it, until he is beaten and knows it, he will never remove his hands from our throats.

    • veritasetgratia

      i agree with you. As Weaver said, ideas have consequences, and this islamic idea of God’s will being unpredictable and unknowable, not following the dictates of reason (as we understand it) means that what God “thinks” becomes in practicable terms irrelevant to how we act.

      • Joe_NS

        Correct. The true theological question concerning Christianity and Islam is not whether or not Christians and Muslims mean the same thing by the words God and Allah. The evidence is overwhelming that they do, which is why commenters like Sts. Aquinas and Bonaventure viewed Islam as a Christian heresy, amazing as that seems today. It is the relationship of man to God revealed, respectively, by the Incarnation and the utter unknowability of Allah that distinguishes the two faiths most profoundly.

        Modern-day Christians do have something invaluable to learn from Muslims. The Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahari, as many have pointed out in the past, bears on his forehead a prominent discoloration of the skin. Without exonerating al Zawahari of the many crimes he must answer for now or in the hereafter, one may usefully ponder the meaning of his disfigurement.

        A patch of purple on the skin is not uncommon among devout Muslims. It arises from their repeatedly (five time a day) pressing forehead to the ground vigorously, in prayer, as an outward sign of complete and abject submission to God. Such a posture is not only mostly unknown to Christians at prayer but, I suspect, is viewed by them with varying degrees of distaste and even considerable disdain.

        Is such a reaction a good or a bad thing? Certainly ostentatious devotion, as we read in the story of the Pharisee and the Widow’s Mite, is no guarantee of sincere devotion to God; it might very well indicate no more than shallow and hypocritical self-congratulation. Then again, it might not. As they say, it depends. In any case, I often wonder if frequently lying flat on the earth in unembarrassed public surrender to God Almighty is not something that would benefit a good many present-day Christians, not to mention the Church in general.

        Just saying.

  • Duzzie

    After reading all these comments my question is, why did so many Catholics vote for Obama twice in spite of his acceptance of abortion, same sex marriage, etc?? Maybe we need to question our own faith rather than those we have no control over, good or bad???

  • Dave

    One of the problems with understanding Islam, about which I am no expert, lies in understanding the Medina and the Mecca matters, and the nature of Islamic exegesis, especially the principle of abrogation, by means of which, I believe, the latter reading or interpretation is to be preferred to the earlier. On this thread, there are those who say the more moderate Islam is the authentic version and others who say the more violent version is the true Islam — which, be it noted, means “submission,” not “peace.” I think the answer is both are authentic — because there is no single authority in Islam that can make a definitive ruling. This gets us to the heart of the problem: some here — and they speak for many — know many Muslims who are peaceful, kind, cooperative: virtuous people and hope to co-exist with them. Others here know of other Muslims who are not, either directly or through history, and so we are left wondering how to proceed. And there is plenty of history that points to the fact that as Muslims increase in number within a given population, they agitate more and more for respect for their laws, regardless of whether those laws run counter to the laws of their host country. What is happening in Europe is not a joke, as neither is the execution, even in this country, of converts from Islam to Christianity.

    I think the umma-wide reaction to the Regensburg Lecture gives us important information. My read of that reaction is that Islam is resurgent and in no mood to hear the slightest criticisms of kafirs who live in the Dar Al-Harb. If there is to be any criticism of Islam, so its practitioners reason, it must come from within, and not from without. And there are plenty of radicals who will blow up, decapitate, knife or otherwise issue violence upon those whom they deem insufficiently submissive to Islam and its claims.

    The key to an answer lies, of course, in treating Muslims, as we treat everyone, according to the principles of our holy Faith, revealed to us by Jesus Christ. But it’s not simply the Golden Rule: it’s also the Great Commission. Of course we seem to have standing orders on proselytism that could be extended to include Muslims, but our duty is clear: we need to have an answer for the hope that is within us, and if we have neither hope nor answer, that is the place to begin.

    But not to end. We have a duty, as dominical precept, to evangelize, to live the Gospel and share its message; and we have a duty to assist our brothers and sisters in need, wherever they may be.
    My own take is to imitate St. Paul in Acts 17 — start by praising what is good and noteworthy, and then build from there. Here we might get hold of and study the Summa Contra Gentiles and St. Francis’ famous address to the Egyptians. But we also have a duty to insist that the human rights of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East be upheld by everyone; and that raises the question as to whether we should accept their dhimmitude. I’d say the best course to follow is the one by our brothers and sisters there, lest we inadvertently make things worse. Here, we have a duty to say “no” to demands for the rights of laws and observances that are counter to our own. We have no duty to accept the practice of shar’ia in our own country, and we do have, I suggest, the affirmative duty to oppose it.

    Let us not look to the bishops for guidance on this one; they appear to have little to give and I do believe they are trying to maintain as much peace and order as possible. It falls to us rather to exercise our own apostolates under our own responsibilities and in accord with our own expertise — which we have a positive duty to increase, insofar as we can.

  • Michael DeLorme

    Allah is not Abba-Father.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      No, but by God they mean God, only they do not have the same understanding.

  • Brenda Zolli

    I recently underwent some complicated eye tests. It came out in conversation that the young male technician was an Iraqi Muslim. He seemed to be a gentle quiet man, so I thought that I would attempt to have an ‘ interfaith dialogue’ about our respective religions. I asked him to tell me more about Islam as really, I have only a superficial knowledge. I am a committed Catholic and love the Lord. I did not hit him over the head with my opinions, but the conversations soon veered off into him bringing up the Crusades and talking about Christians worshipping three Gods! I could not dissuade him from his entrenched beliefs about Christianity. He was certainly a well educated person ( a doctor in his own country) with a wife and three small children. A ‘ good’ Muslim in our eyes.
    But he had no real answers to my questions about jihadists and sharia law.
    I left the clinic feeling that I had got nowhere. But perhaps I planted a seed, who knows?

    • Isn’t it amazing that they have no qualms about insulting Christianity, and yet we walk on eggshells to call Islam a religion of peace.

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      These responses are the usual script that people are fed. Some are more open to discussion than others but a fruit of dialogue is to correct misinterpretations – on both sides.

  • Tom Williams

    Howard looks like you really hit a nerve with some folks on this article. I appreciate the information on how some persons influenced the wording in the Vatican ll document. I am certain that other documents from the Council were similarly influenced. I would say that although we as Catholics are taught to believe that everything pronouced by The Church is without error, the ambiquity of some statements leaves much room for interpretation which the media and disident catholics certainly capitalized on.
    We live in a very confusing time and people become very upset when their perceived view of reality is questioned as it requires, on their part, to see things in a different light.
    The bottom line, for me, is we cannot effectively dioloque with Islams, who hold to what your last sentence stated, or others who reject The Catholic Church. It is not reasonable to think they will hear what we have to say.
    The amount of “dioloque” happening concerning world situations today, I do not see resulting in any positive solution. “The Truth will set you free” is not heard by many these days.

    • Howard Kainz

      “Catholics are taught to believe that everything pronounced by The Church is without error”??
      Not everything! Only the Pope is infallible under certain circumstances.

      • Kevin O’Donnell

        Not so…. Authority also in the general Magisterium ( ie what has always been believed) and in General Councils. That includes Vatican II folks!

        • Chris in Maryland

          Authority doesn’t mean infallibility in all statements. I believe we agree on that?

        • mrteachersir

          There are two types of Magesterium, Ordinary and Extraordinary. When the Magesterium teaches something that has been consistently taught throughout history (like the condemnation of contraception), we hold that to be authoritative and must be obeyed; it is assumed to be free of error. When the Magesterium, in the course of a General Counsel, defines a matter of Faith and Morals (like the First Council of the Vatican did concerning Papal Infallibility) that is consistent with what has always been believed, we accept that as definitively error-free.

          Thus, when the Second Council of the Vatican proclaims that Islam is part of God’s salvation plan, which is NOT part of the consistent teaching of the Church, and is, in fact, in direct contradiction to what has been believed since Islam was made up by a 7th Century pedophile warlord, we are not beholden to accept that as error free, nor are we beholden to accept it as authoritative….

          • Kevin O’Donnell

            It does not simplistically claim that. That is your skewed interpretation. It recognises the presence of God glimpsed, however faintly, in other faiths who seek the living God, perhaps with poor understanding. Islam has more links with us than Hindus for example.
            Look at Dominus Iesus for a clear exposition of what Vatican II did state and mean. Excellent! So, yes, it is a Council of the Church and we must accept it.
            Only Christ is salvific, other faiths are not, but they show something of the quest for God and a glimpse of his grace. God knows our hearts whatever poor understanding we have and Christ died for all.

      • Tom Williams

        Thanks for the correction. I think most people believe documents coming from The Vatican are a pronouncement to be believed. Could be wrong on this as more people are becoming better informed thanks in part to TCT.
        It has certainly helped me, but I have a long way to go yet.

  • I understand that the Vatican has to be politically savvy in what they say, but to put forth the gibberish that Islam is a religion of peace is going too far. And it does no one any service, especially Muslims. Vatican II should never have mentioned Islam. It’s one thing being ecumenical; it’s another being blind about the true nature of Islam.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    Just a statement that should be said. Muslims are not creatures from outer space. They are men and women created in God’s image with souls and actually loved by God. Not that God loves the evil many Muslims do, as similarly he loves us despite the evil we do. They have a belief system most of us agree with certitude is unacceptable. Some of us however seem implacable in their belief, that seems absolute, that Muslims cannot be rational, even religious in a good sense, and are incapable of change for the good. Certainly we agree they should change. Certainly God wants them to change. We should encourage that however it may take place, whether by conversion or by modification of their religion.

    • PGMGN

      …modification of their religion?

      How can that take place, in truth, when there is a complete denial of the context of what is taught in Islam, to include the imitation of Mohammed?

      Perhaps what needs modification is the approach of attempting to modifying error. That is not to say that individual Muslims are not seeking God. That would be wholly unfair.

      But similarly, one may be seeking to get an A in Math, and it is no help to modify a methodology that is, at its core, in error. The right approach is to gently acknowledge the desires of the student and then bring them to the correct method. That is how the desired end is reached.

      To strive for the modification of Islam is to ignore the reality that truth always outs. And Mohammed, being the example of Islam lived in its truest form, will always be at the core.

      • Joe_NS

        Modification is literally impossible as a matter of religious principle in Islam.

        From the earliest days of Christianity, Christian apologists have stressed that the testaments have multiple levels of meaning, four in fact.

        From the earliest days of Islam, Muslim apologists have stressed the fact that the Koran is literally true and that not a syllable of it needs interpretation of any kind. Ever. To interpret the Koran with the aim of modifying Islam is tantamount to apostasy.

        • PGMGN

          Well said. So to presume that we can ‘move forward’, a humanistic approach to solving problems, by modifying the teachings of Islam is intellectually dishonest. Much like rehabilitating the premise, that will remain fixed so as not to offend people, that 1+1 in some universes can equal 5. Just not possible.

    • BXVI

      What if we actually sought the conversion of Muslims instead of mere “modification” of their false religion. I know, I know, it is a radical idea.

      • Howard Kainz

        You certainly couldn’t seek the conversion of Muslims in a Muslim country, without being jailed or worse. If you evangelized clandestinely, the persons you converted would probably face a death sentence if discovered. In this country it might be possible, but rare, because of the cultist nature of Islam.

        • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

          Egypt. Under Pres Khalil el-Sisi and the Al Azhar U and Hedayet Institute of Arabic Studies there is a Muslim scholar [including the Muftis] movement toward modification of Islamic practice and reinterpretation of intolerance in the Koran. The chances may be slim but appears a possible major change particularly if it succeeds in the largest Arabic nation with the ancient center of Islamic scholarship in Cairo.

          • BXVI

            What you are proposing like saying you are hoping for a reform of Satanism. In the end, Satanists still serve Satan.

            Yes, we desperately need a more “moderate” and “tolerant” Islam to emerge. It will make the world safer for the rest of us. It will open the Koran to critical analysis (which will inevitably lead to its rejection).

            I get very frustrated, Father, with Church leaders who seem to suggest that reform of Islam is ALL we need – in other words, that Islam would be just fine if only it were reformed to make Muslims more tolerant of others. This is FALSE. Islam is not just fine and it never will be. Islam denies that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and Savior of the World. Islam is a tool that the Devil uses to keep people from knowing and following Jesus. Islam must be discredited, and its followers must be evangelized.

            Look, my Mom is a Protestant. She is an online missionary with a group that actively proclaims Christ to Muslims all over the world. They exist explicitly to proclaim the Good News to Muslims. This organization has provided a vehicle for literally hundreds of thousands of Muslims to accept Jesus Christ.

            Why do we, as a Church REFUSE to do this kind of thing? Why do we affirmatively discourage any attempt by Catholics to proclaim Jesus Christ to Muslims and thereby evangelize them? Why is it taboo to say to Muslims that they are following a false prophet in a false religion? Why to we continue to pretend that Islam is just fine for Muslims and that they have no need of Jesus Christ?

            Bad witness. Bad fruit. Untruth. That’s what I see coming from the Church on this issue.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            No I do not believe that reform of Islam is all that is needed. It is however one option that should not at all be excluded if there is already such movement in Egypt. Conversion I agree is the best option if it can be achieved perhaps by what you suggest.

          • Kevin O’Donnell

            This is extreme. We can hope for reform within Islam for the benefit of many Muslims and peace in the world, but that does not mean that we have to agree with everything in it and water down our faith. Islam is not Satan – that is the hub of this debate – but a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. There are many God fearers who humbly seek the God of Abraham, whatever their exact understanding.

          • BXVI

            Perhaps it is time for a little extremity. Jesus said he would spit the lukewarm out of his mouth.

            I want to make it clear that I believe the vast majority of Muslims are good and peaceful people. I also want to repeat that there are elements of the good, the true and the beautiful in Islam.

            However, I am extremely frustrated with the Church’s approach to Islam in the post-VII era. There is no strategy, there is no plan, there is no effort to evangelize Muslims. In fact, overt evangelization is considerered taboo. It is also verboten to criticize Islam. There is just endless diologue, praise and affirmation of a false religion.

          • BXVI

            Kevin –

            Perhaps we should consider that three of the central tenets of Islam – tenets which make Christianity particularly repugnant to them – are: 1. God is not our Father; 2. God has no Son; and 3. to claim otherwise is blasphemy. Islam is, at it’s very core the ultimate “anti-Christian” religion.

            It is of the Devil. There was a time when the great Saints of the Church and Popes were willing to say this explicitly.

        • BXVI

          This is true; you would be killed.

          But, there are ways to proclaim Christ even in Muslim countries. The internet is an amazing tool. Check out the Protestant organization “Global Media Outreach.” They are not ashamed to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims. They have provided a vehicle for hundreds of thousands of Muslims to accept Christ.

          But we don’t do this, and we are actively discouraged from doing so. It is labeled “proselytism”. The basic message coming from the Catholic Church is that we should NEVER share the Gospel with Muslims if we are seeking their conversion by doing so. And the Church conveys the message that Muslims don’t really need Jesus Christ – they are fine right where they are – and all they need is a reform of their own religion.

          • Howard Kainz

            My June 8 column in TCT last year considers the success Protestants have had in Islamic countries by distributing Bibles, etc.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Actually I fully agree conversion would be the best option. The virtually impossible barrier to direct evangelization and conversion evidenced historically is the hostile nature of Islamic culture to any perceived intrusion. What I suggest is not to desist to pray or give example for evangelization but another option to coincide.

  • BXVI

    Almost nothing challenges my faith in Catholicism more than the Church’s refusal to forcefully condemn Islam as a deception of the Devil. Seriously, it gets harder and harder to believe that this Church is in fact under the guidance or protection of the Holy Spirit with each additional act of appeasement and word of approval for a religion that is clearly diabolical. It seems to be under a spirit of cowardice instead.

    Muhammad was a profoundly evil man. He was a false prophet. His book is easily shown to be a complete fabrication – both historically and theologically. Yes, there are many good Muslim people. Yes, there are elements of goodness, truth and beauty in Islam. That’s exactly how the Devil works. But make no mistake: any religion that denies that Jesus is the Christ is of the Devil.

    We should be doing everything in our power to a) discredit Islam, and b) evangelize Muslims. The Church seems to have no interest in doing either. Just last week there was an article at NC Register where Gerhard Muller (who is otherwise pretty solid) admonished European Christians not to try to convert Muslim immigrants. It now seems that sharing the Gospel in the context of providing shelter and aid is verboten as “proselytism.” No wonder we are losing.

    So terribly sad.

  • BXVI

    We desperately need real leadership in the Church, like the Popes and Saints cited at the beginning of this article. “Dialogue” is fine but should always have as its goal the evangelization of Muslims and discrediting of their false religion. Most individual Muslims are good people. There are elements of goodness, truth and beauty in Islam. Nevertheless, we must be clear:

    + Muhammad was a false prophet and a profoundly evil man.

    + The Koran is a amateruish amalgam of Christian, Jewish and pagan doctrine that can be utterly demolished with serious critical and historical analysis.

    + Islam is a tool used by the Devil to keep millions upon millions of people separated from the Church and to keep them from recognizing that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the World.

    Islam denies that Jesus is the Christ. Its adherents are (often unwitting) followers of the Liar and the Antichrist. “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.” 1 JN 22-23

    • Kevin O’Donnell

      Dialogue is not simply about evangelisation. It is about listening and understanding first and foremost, being very honest about disagreement. Part of this current debate is about interpretations of Islam and the danger of projecting the views of some onto all. In the course of that dialogue we can explain the Faith and correct some of their misunderstandings, which they have, and be an influence, but there we must leave it and hand over to the patience and gentleness of the Holy Spirit.

      • Phil Steinacker

        This is not just a matter of simple disagreement. Islam has almost completely destroyed the cradle of original Christianity. We have 1400 years of documented history to observe the behavior if Islam. We also presume that those Muslims who appear not to subscribe to the actions of what we call radical Islam are the rough equivalent to what has been called “bad Catholics” or even “fallen away Catholics.

        A good Muslim who keeps the Koran and the Hadith is one who supports real jihad against the West, Israel, and Christianity in all forms. The views of so-called “peaceful” Muslims are a non-factor in determining the direction of Islam. Significantly large majorities if Muslims support the imposition of Sharia Law, the destruction of Israel in its historic homeland which seriously predates ANY claim by a so-called Palestinian “homeland” which never has existed as such, and the destruction of the United States to make way for the formation of an Islamic nation in its place.

        “Moderate Muslims” are weak to the point of insignificance, and the tiny numbers with the courage to stand up to criticize Islam are divided between those few who still claim to follow Islam and those who’ve converted to Christianity who insist there is NOTHING worth trusting in Islam. These ex-Muslims are the folks who consistently warn us that dialogue with Islam is an intentional sham to keep us tied up in eventually fruitless efforts to negotiate a mutual understanding which will prove to be ultimately pointless. They are familiar with these tactics intimately; they have witnessed and lived through the deceit in which they were once trained themselves.

        Open your eyes, man, and see what the many popes, saints, kings, and millions of Catholics over 1,400 years have lived first-hand. These sappy apologetics amount to nothing more than a pathetically sick fifth-column which complements quite well the deceitful double-talk in any “dialogue” with Islam in any form. Early and middle Christianity could not afford to lack clarity about the Islamic threat. If they could read what contemporary Catholics – clergy and laity – are contemplating today about Islam, they would be unimpressed with our stupidity.

    • eddie too

      maybe the hundreds of millions of faithful muslims are even more uneducated in their faith as are so many Roman Catholics? it is not an easy task to overcome the habits, culture and beliefs ingrained in us from birth. the Holy Spirit is always at work in this world; and, the Holy Spirit is not the spirit of condemnation. if the first words out of our mouths when we confront non-believers is condemnation, who is going to pay attention to our words?

  • HappyWarrior16

    Greetings – for the best and most concise reasons for Catholics to stand tall and insist the Church wake up and fast – is a one-month subscription to Jihad Watch. Robert Spencer is a Catholic whose daily emails capture what the civilized world can expect with continued invasion and colonization. You won’t believe it.

    A nightmare is being foisted on Europe. Gov’t run media in various countries suppress crime. We would never know about the New Year’s Eve rapes if there hadn’t been so many cities involved.

    Do you know about the Rotherham, UK gang rapes and trafficking of English girls? 1,400 of them victimized – over a decade – and local police did nothing – corruption and fear of being called a bigot. The trial is going on now – and parents, who of course are out of their minds – can’t talk to the local media. Police threaten parents over custody of their own children – because parents try to warn the world and talk to the media.

    Sweden? One the verge of riots/collapse. Germany? Almost over unless they’re moved back to Syria.

    Then there’s the Southern Border of the US. The USCCB, Southern Baptist Convention, a Lutheran denomination and other protestant churches have received tens of millions EACH – for humanitarian services on the border.

    And then we’re told to welcome everyone, while our culture is being erased?

    It’s up to sane Catholics to act and fast. The Catechism says a country is allowed to have borders! There’s nothing unchristian about it. It’s the Social Gospel – Socialists/Communists who brainwash us into self-destructive behavior – in the name of twisted compassion.

  • Alexandra_kirschmitt

    We cannot doubt that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, we have God’s promise that he would send the Holy Spirit to us and that the gates of hell would not prevail over his Church.We don’t know the ways of God, but we know that the victory is ours, that all that is happening is for God’s glory and the good of his people. Sometimes I also am on the verge of desperation with pope Francis, I don’t presume to know much, but I believe that this is a moment that more than ever I must watch myself and try harder to cooperate with the grace of God in my own ongoing conversion. By being the best Christians we can, we deliver a powerful testimony of Christian life and teach others of other faiths or of none that Jesus Christ is the Lord , our true God and Savior. Others must see in Christians the virtues and the signs of Jesus.

    We can’t change people, muslims or non-muslims, but perhaps we can influence them.

    ***********************

    From cardinal Ratzinger:

    “The Church always evangelizes and has never interrupted the path of evangelization. She celebrates the eucharistic mystery every day, administers the sacraments, proclaims the word of life—the Word of God, and commits herself to the causes of justice and charity. And this evangelization bears fruit: It gives light and joy, it gives the path of life to many people; many others live, often unknowingly, of the light and the warmth that radiate from this permanent evangelization. However, a large part of today’s humanity does not find the Gospel in the permanent evangelization of the Church: That is to say, the convincing response to the question: How to live?

    This is why we are searching for, along with permanent and uninterrupted and never to be interrupted evangelization, a new evangelization, capable of being heard by that world that does not find access to “classic” evangelization.

    Yet another temptation lies hidden beneath this—the temptation of impatience, the temptation of immediately finding the great success, in finding large numbers. But this is not God’s way. For the Kingdom of God as well as for evangelization, the instrument and vehicle of the Kingdom of God, the parable of the grain of mustard seed is always valid (see Mark 4:31-32).

    The Christological and pneumatological form of evangelization is also, at the same time, an ecclesiological form: The Lord and the Spirit build the Church, communicate through the Church. The proclamation of Christ, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God presupposes listening to his voice in the voice of the Church. “Not speak on his own authority” means: to speak in the mission of the Church ….

    Jesus had to acquire the disciples from God. The same is always true. We ourselves cannot gather men. We must acquire them by God for God. All methods are empty without the foundation of prayer. The word of the announcement must always be drenched in an intense life of prayer.

    We must add another step. Jesus preached by day, by night he prayed—this is not all. His entire life was—as demonstrated in a beautiful way by the Gospel according to St. Luke—a path toward the cross, ascension toward Jerusalem. Jesus did not redeem the world with beautiful words but with his suffering and his death. His Passion is the inexhaustible source of life for the world; the Passion gives power to his words.

    “But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah,” said the Lord. The sign of Jonah is the crucified Christ—they are the witnesses that complete “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24). Throughout all the periods of history, the words of Tertullian have always been verified: The blood of martyrs is a seed.

    St. Augustine comments [on] the text John 21:16 in the following way: “Tend my sheep,” this means suffer for my sheep…. A mother cannot give life to a child without suffering. Each birth requires suffering, is suffering, and becoming a Christian is a birth. Let us say this once again in the words of the Lord: The Kingdom of heaven has suffered violence (Matthew 11:12; Luke 16:16), but the violence of God is suffering, it is the cross. We cannot give life to others without giving up our own lives”.

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
    Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers
    Jubilee of Catechists, 12 December 2000

    • BXVI

      “Sometimes I also am on the verge of desperation with pope Francis”
      Yes. This would be an understatement.

      • Kevin O’Donnell

        I don’t get you lot on this. He is the Pope, the Holy Father, and his heart is very big. Does he sometimes speak too soon, such as on flights, yes, maybe, but his intentions are good. Is he learning on the job, being placed in a figurehead role bigger than he has ever known, yes. But he is the Pope and a sincere pastor. Some invective aimed at him is close to being schismatic. That is quite horrid.

        • Phil Steinacker

          That is a nonsensical argument on so many levels. I doubt you’ll read this 9 days later, but others may read your remarks which cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.

          All my young life as a cradle Catholic, in Catholic school and at home, I can remember being taught by good sisters and my family that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The meaning was always clear that one’s intentions can never justify one’s statements or actions. If that is true for the Catholic of lowest rank, it is true for that of the highest.

          Likewise, sincerity is grossly insufficient justification for ambiguous statements which cause confusion and potential error among Catholics on church teaching.

          Additionally, just in my lifetime we have not ever had a pope who speaks so off-the-cuff, or imprecisely, or ambiguously, or in such a way which all too often up-ends Catholic teaching. And no, I am not referring to bad reporting by the secular press but reporting by the Catholic press which is allowed to stand by those Vatican officials charged with clarifying the statements of any sitting pontiff.

          Of most recent memory, we simply did not encounter any such patterns of difficulties with statements by Benedict XVI, St. John Paul II, Paul VI, John XXIII, or Pius XII. One reason may be that these popes rarely if ever offered spontaneous comments, whether comments on a plane or in daily homilies. These popes and their predecessors communicated with Catholics, other Christians, and the secular world through statements prepared and vetted prior to publication or release.

          However, it’s not only a matter of the imprecision of his spontaneous statements which give pause to faithful Catholics knowledgeable about the Magisterium and Tradition of the Church. The public disproportionate stacking of the deck of the membership of both rounds of the Synod on the Family by progressive bishops, combined with the pope’s verbal tongue-lashing of those bishops who only partially managed to resist the obvious agenda to liberalize so-called pastoral “practices” of the Church while allegedly not changing underlying doctrine revealed the progressive credentials of this pope.

          So much for good intentions. These actions and statements, plus many more, have scandalized the faithful who recognize that significant problems persist in popping up in this pontificate.

          So, the topic of legitimate criticism of any papacy comes to mind upon reading your last line or so. I’ve seen plenty papalotry in the last couple years, which describes adequately your closing remark. Criticism of a pope is neither schismatic or horrid. It was widely reported a couple years ago that in a phone conversation Pope Francis told a conservative Italian journalist who was on his deathbed that criticizing the pope was a necessary thing. This was in response to that man’s reaction to that phone call by Pope Francis, “But Your Holiness, I have criticized your papacy publicly.”

          While there have been some fringe accusations that this pope is a heretic, those come from a corner so small that it is hardly representative to pretend that substantive criticism of Pope Francis can be accurately and fairly labeled so. You need to be far more careful in making such sweeping generalizations lest you create the impression you believe popes should never be criticized – or is that your precise intention?

          if so, I urge you to do a little research on various saints critical of sitting popes, beginning with Scriptural accounts of St. Paul calling out St. Peter as being dead wrong – and at the first Council, no less.

  • James Stagg

    Excellent! Thank you!

  • Michael Rivera

    Great points made here! Thanks for writing this article.

  • Ana

    I believe that Islam is the tool Lucifer is using to trick a huge number of God’s creations into acting against God’s will.

  • ken

    Our children and grandchildren, raised in a PC world, will be forever ignorant of real history, including the Crusades. With the internet, all the facts are available, but how many young people ever both to sift out the facts?

  • eddie too

    this is such a thorny subject. it appears that our Father in heaven has permitted islam to flourish for a reason although, i believe, none of us are privy to that reason. in an entirely speculative supposition, perhaps islam prepares a huge number of people to be open to Jesus Christ, somehow, in the future.

    at the same time, there is a moral dilemma involved in ignoring the evils being perpetuated in the name of islam. thus, the popes are faced with a delicate balancing act, to keep their flock informed about the fundamental differences between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and islam while simultaneously working to avoid unnecessarily alienating hundreds of millions of souls that they, the popes, know God desires to save. thus, the Holy Spirit led the council to write the documents it wrote concerning islam?

    the use of condemnation by popes should be very rare, i believe, mostly because we are imperfect humans and our judgments of the behaviors and beliefs of real people are likewise imperfect. we cannot even have metaphysical certainty of the state of our own souls, much less the souls of others. the intellectual aspects of moral theology are black and white because they are not addressing in their full context the real decisions of actual human beings. they address hypotheticals. i am not saying the study of moral theology is either unnecessary or fruitless. it just has limitations, especially in being applied to real human beings.



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