The Muddled Catholic-Muslim “Dialogue”

In 2013, the Faith and Reason Institute (parent institution of The Catholic Thing), along with the Westminster Institute, published a monograph that I wrote on The Prospects and Perils of Catholic-Muslim Dialogue. In it, I examined a decade and a half of efforts by the three regional bishops’ conferences to engage in such dialogue. The results were not encouraging.

Undeterred, undismayed, and unaware, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has upped the ante by establishing a national Catholic-Muslim dialogue. What can we expect from this? I’m sorry to predict: further confusion.

The problems are several: like most Americans, the bishops know almost nothing about Islam. Therefore, they don’t understand the context in which their Muslim interlocutors are speaking. As a result, they engage in mirror imaging, i.e., understanding the Muslims as the good bishops understand themselves. A big mistake.

San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy recently provided an example at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. The Catholic News Service headlined the event: “Bishop challenges Catholics to combat ‘ugly tide of anti-Islamic bigotry.’” The bishop said Catholics must speak out against “distortions of Muslim theology and teaching on society and the state.”

What might these distortions be? Apparently, that we should view with repugnance the “repeated falsehoods” that Islam is inherently violent, that Muslims seek to supplant the U.S. Constitution with sharia law, and that Muslim immigration threatens “the cultural identity of the American people.”

Bishop McElroy’s dialogue partner for the evening was Sayyid Syeed, a leader of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), whose name was familiar to me because he has been a fixture in the Midwest Catholic-Muslim dialogues. Perhaps the bishop was unacquainted with the pedigree of ISNA, which was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood, the premier world organization for the reestablishment of the caliphate – whose purpose is the establishment of sharia.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, also a frequent dialogue partner with the bishops and past president of ISNA, had this to say in the newspaper Pakistan Link: “We must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.” In 2001, he wrote, “Once more people accept Islam, insha’allah, this will lead to the implementation of Sharia in all areas.”

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, reports that, at the 1995 annual convention, the keynote speaker at the ISNA conference, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, called for the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with the Quran. It is no wonder that Dr. Jasser laments what he calls the “unfortunate relationship between Catholic leadership and ISNA.” (Obviously, Dr. Jasser would not make a good dialogue partner.)

Bishop McElroy and Sayyid Syeed (with moderator Ami Carpenter)
Bishop McElroy and Sayyid Syeed (with moderator Ami Carpenter)

While acknowledging the terrible situation of Christians in the Middle East, Bishop McElroy apparently praised Islam’s respect for “the peoples of the Book.” In this, he was eagerly seconded by his dialogue partner, Mr. Syeed, who, according to CNS, said that the first millennium was marked by positive relations between Christianity and Islam, but that all changed in the millennium that followed, which included the Crusades.

This is an interesting perspective on history.

By A.D. 650, Muslims ruled Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt – all of which had been Christian lands whose inhabitants were demoted to the subject status of dhimmis. Less than a century later, Islam had spread to North Africa and Spain – all within the first millennium of “positive relations.” In none of these places did Muslims arrive peacefully.

I suggest that the bishops put Bat Ye’or’s book, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, on their reading list so they can speak accurately about Islam’s respect for “the peoples of the Book” in the first millennium and afterwards. From this history, is it unreasonable to consider that there is something “inherently violent” in Islam?

Mr. Syeed went on to say that, in the second millennium, “the two faiths divided the world into a ‘house of Islam’ and a ‘house of Christianity.’” Actually, the division was made well before that by Islam, which created the distinction between between the dar al-islam and dar al-harb, with the Christian world being described as the “house of war.”

But perhaps this distinction is superannuated? Somewhat around the time of Bishop McElroy’s speech, in a Friday sermon in Edmonton, Alberta, Imam Shaban Sherif Mady declared, “Look forward to it, because the Prophet Muhammad said that Rome would be conquered! It will be conquered. Constantinople was conquered. Rome is the Vatican, the very heart of the Christian state.”

Now who is misunderstanding Islam here, the imam or the bishop? (I leave out Mr. Syeed because he could hardly deny that Mohammed said this.)

In other words, the San Diego Peace Institute event provides a microcosm for what generally goes wrong in Catholic-Muslim dialogue as conducted by the bishops’ conferences. None of the many Muslim intellectual reformers with whom I have worked over the years has ever been invited to such a dialogue. For the most part, only Islamist organizations need apply.

This helps legitimate the Muslim Brotherhood clones and sidelines the real voices of Muslim reform. Also, because they usually get the substance wrong, these “dialogues” end up spreading misunderstandings rather than overcoming them.

Since Muslims couldn’t care less what Catholics say about Islam, the only ones who get confused by these “dialogues” are Catholics themselves. I suggest, as a motto for the USCCB’s new national dialogue, the saying of Benedict XVI that “truth makes consensus possible,” and, concomitantly, nonsense makes it impossible.

According to a CNS report from last week, Bishop McElroy said that the anger dominating the current political climate is a sign of disenfranchisement and the feeling of not being listened to by the elites. Bishop McElroy is one of the elites. Is he listening?


Purchase "The Prospects and Perils of Catholic-Muslim Dialogue" at The Catholic Thing store
Purchase “The Prospects and Perils of Catholic-Muslim Dialogue” at The Catholic Thing store

Robert Reilly

Robert Reilly

Robert Reilly is Director of the Westminster Institute and a former director of the Voice of America. He has taught at the National Defense University and served in the White House and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist. His most recent book is Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything.

  • Silenced - Wednesday, October 31, 2012
  • Chris in Maryland

    Bishop McElroy is indeed one of the “deaf” elites, with a pedigree of “formation” that makes one marvel that as a result of great time and expense in a man’s education, the result is a man that is so easy for propagandists to manipulate.

    It is beyond irony that Bishop M would attribute “the anger dominating the current political climate” as “a sign of disenfranchisement and the feeling of not being listened to by the elites.”
    Pathetic…not a man that has “the smell of the sheep.”

  • grump

    Although the Bible exhorts us to not be “yoked with unbelievers,” I’d rather sit down with an agnostic like me or an atheist than a Muslim who is out to kill us “infidels.” Religious fanaticism seems to be Islam’s specialty and Catholics should avoid association with these dangerous kooks and you could lose your head.

  • Hear, hear! Absolutely spot on. I’ve been castigated around the Catholic blogoshpere, ewven here on Catholic Thing, to have the temerity to say that Islamic immigration into western countries is a terrible idea. Until the nature of Islam changes – and I don’t see how it ever will – we are eroding our own cultures while promoting the culture of those who wish to destroy Christianity. Any other reading of Islam is naive.

    • TruthWFree

      I’m with you. Accepting these potential Jihad Killers is madness…and Catholic Church leadership seems to believe we all pray to the same God. If so, then Christianity is false since this allah god of the Quran denies Jesus divinity and death on the cross plus the violent Quran teachings are 180 degrees opposite Christ’s teachings in the Gospels. No Muslim will come to Christ if Christian leaders are agreeing we all pray to the same God. The allah god is Satan as far as I am concerned based on Christ’s words in the Gospel of John…”Satan is the father of all lies”.

      • I agree. Not only that, in Christianity God is love, not power. He may have power, but first and foremost He is our Father who loves His children. In Islam Allah is all power. Tell a Muslim that God is our father and he will be insulted. In Islam Allah is not love.

  • Romulus

    Christians are not a”people of the book”.

    • johnnysc

      In context it means not a religion of only the book. The Catholic Church certainly holds that Scripture is Sacred. God’s Word comes to us through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

  • Dave

    This is a very important article. Apparently the good bishop knows nothing about taqiyya (saying something that isn’t true as it relates to the Muslim identity); kitman (lying by omission); tawriya (intentionally creating a false impression); and muruna (‘blending in’ by setting aside some practices of Islam or Sharia in order to advance others); which is astounding in itself because it takes a couple of seconds to find the terms with the texts that explain them; nor does he know much about al-hijra, or jihad by immigration (legal or “undocumented”). And the number of texts — Islamic and anti-Islamic — that explain these terms and tactics are both copious and easily available.

    I’ve got to read Bat Ye’or’s book: I can only imagine bishops and Christian communities of the ancient Near East and Northern Africa, hearing of this new religion and its militance, listening to people like Syeed and thinking, “Jee, these guys are not so bad, maybe in time we can win them over to the Faith.” What we have in the kinds of Islam making the claims with which the Church is “dialoguing” is the kind of placid contempt for Christianity shared by the West’s secular elite, which is why it turns a blind eye to the fact that once the Islamists finish Christianity by reducing Christians to dhimmitude, they will come after the secularists either demanding their conversion or offing them for atheism — and that the majority of the secularists will convert, because they share the will to power that is at the heart of both Islamism and secular “democracy.”

    We need a religious revival. We need an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a new St. Francis to preach. We need to study the Summa Contra Gentiles assiduously. And we need to get to work, remembering that Christ loves all and calls each to salvation, and that we will give an account for we did and failed to do in winning our neighbors, and our enemies, to the love of Christ. And let us not be shy in calling them our enemies: they say we live in the dar al-harb, and thus are fair game. Perhaps during this Holy Week and Easter season we can reflect deeply on the power of the Cross to help us overcome our fears and reluctances and to become joyful ambassadors and heralds of good tidings.

    And let us remember our brothers and sisters on the Plains of Nineveh, and remind our bishops of them, when we choose to think that maybe it’s not so bad.

  • chriscas

    Excellent! We’ve got to be able to stand up for our faith in all of these so-called “dialogues” in a firm but loving and non-confrontational way. Just give people the facts, and they are facts. 2+2=4 not 5.7! P.S.: If the Angel Gabriel gave Mohammed his message, what about the message he gave the Blessed Mother six centuries earlier as recorded in Luke’s Gospel? As Mr. Rogers once said “One of these things is not like the other” Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison

  • Bishop McElroy is my bishop. Without this title, no one would listen to him on these matters or anything else that he promotes such as homosexuality without conversion and a divorced and remarried couple’s right to make their own decision in the internal forum to receive Holy Communion. He appears to think about many things in the abstract without connection to the church tradition, scripture, and the reality of the world. We have lots of victims of abuse by Muslims in San Diego because they are Chaldean immigrants from Iraq. I’d prefer to hear the truth of salvation and redemption in Jesus Christ and encouragement of our priests to teach this.

    • Theresa

      Agree!! I really am discouraged by the ambiguity that comes from the pulpit in Sunday sermons instead of the “real meat of the gospel”!

    • Chris in Maryland

      No surprise that McElroy also openly promotes homosexual ideology.

      At the “Catholic” parish of St. Paul the Apostle in NYC, the parish promotes homosexual ideology, and simultaneously adorns the Altar of the Annunciation with quotes from The Koran. How appalling and darkened of mind that McElroy et al identify with those who believe it is punishable by death to do as Mary did, and proclaim the Incarnation.

  • Rick

    “the bishops know almost nothing about Islam.” Hence, we never hear sermons about the evils of Islam and our duty to defend Christianity.

    I can guarantee everyone here, that in the libraries of the Vatican, there is a wealth of information about Islam the likes of which have never been seen. The UCCBs want to see no evil, hear no evil, and most importantly, not speak about evil. Trump is right, “political correction is killing us.”

  • Rev. Mark A. Pilon

    In January this year the Austrian Bishops Conference was urging a proportional but generous migrants policy, but with some important cautions, including that “legitimate concerns” about mass admissions should also taken seriously.
    “It is up to political leaders to conduct this process with a sense of proportion,… But migrants should also accept, as a prerequisite, the unconditional validity of human rights, as well as our democratic constitution and the equal status of men and women.”
    Now I quite agree with that statement, but that last sentence would effectively exclude all believing Muslims. Islam simply does not profess an “unconditional validity of human rights.” The Koran may be interpreted by some as supporting more validity for such rights than say ISIS, but it absolutely does not support the unconditional validity of human rights. To think otherwise is either the result of blatant ignorance or fantasy.
    Likewise, unreformed Islam is theologically a totalitarian marriage of the civil and religious orders, and thus it can hardly profess respect for any “democratic constitution.”
    Finally, Islam absolutely denies the equal status of men and women both in civil society and its religious institutions. To ignore this fact is to permanently condemn women in Islamic societies to a degrading servitude, since this inequality will be perpetuated in any western country that allows Sharia law in any form and at any level of society.
    Rev. Mark A. Pilon

    • Bernie

      When Immigrants become Americans they take an oath to our Country. For native born Citizens it is implicit, but repeated in a certain form in the Pledge to the Flag. The President takes a form of that Oath upon taking office. For Military Service persons it is repeated and they are held to a extremely high standard that involves death. Publicly elected officials are all required to take it. For Civil Service persons it is likewise repeated and demanding. Prison can be the penalty for breaking the trust fellow citizens place in that Oath. How, I must ask can a Muslim take that Oath without making a bald face lie? Perhaps all Americans should re-examine themselves and Muslims should be duly regarded with implicit dismay. Without prejudging in any way, I wonder what a Muslim member of the Armed Forces can honestly aver regarding, for one example, the Constitution vs Sharia Law. We need to take this whole issue very seriously and demand answers even of Presidents who seem to have disregarded that obligation.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    Your insight Robert Reilly that bishops like McElroy and Catholic Conferences of Bishops in general are projecting their own views of justice rather than addressing reality, i.e. a hostile, anti Christian, inhuman doctrine when conferring with Muslims is telling. I may be among those who project my convictions of peace and justice. I nonetheless cannot surrender the hope that more Muslim persons like Dr Zudhi Jasser will prevail with our support. I look to the possible reform of Islam in Cairo under pres el Sisi and the scholars at Al Azhar U. Otherwise your interpretation leaves little option except to resist militarily and follow Donald Trump’s policy of preventing Muslims entry in the US, abrogating rights, condemning Muslim Am veterans to a life of suspicion. I agree there is a real issue and preventative measures are necessary. Unfortunately many including Catholics are hovering around and supporting the immoral demagogue Trump. Today he is addressing The Am Isr Pub Aff Comm. Unfortunately if anyone is unfit to represent Christianity it is this charlatan and inciter of violence. Unfortunately an extremely hard line, no hope position will continue to draw Catholics et Al to Trump and inevitable disaster for Israel as well as America, and dissolution of the ideals of the Founding Fathers for a democratic republic. We don’t need a second immoral emperor.

    • Fr. Kloster

      Two important dates: September 11, 1683 and September 11, 1697. Muslims have no qualms about wiping out Christianity. They once failed militarily. They will now succeed by the force of out populating us. I’m very surprised by your comment. It is comments like this (from many of our bishops as well) that give me very little hope in the near future. We cannot resist what we think is not a threat! There is a reason the Muslims were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula and then from Eastern Europe. Christ will win in the end, but in the meantime we must not underestimate the very real and present danger.

      • Theresa

        As an example, God once raised up St. Joan of Arc to fight for the Church & Christendom. There is nothing wrong with defending one’s self & church & nation from evil!!!

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        I certainly respect your views Fr Kloster and your position may well turn out to be the reality. As long as there is hope my position is let’s not refuse that possibility with reasonable Muslims like el Sisi and Dr Jasser. What of the many Muslims already in our country? Should we have quotas? I personally would not rule that out if domestic attacks continue, or stronger surveillance including ‘profiling.’ My cousin was badly wounded in N Afr captured and sent to Germany. They amputated his shot up leg and imprisoned him. He told me that Nazi guards were ruthless, and tortured, murdered especially Russians. But it was a Nazi SS guard, a sergeant that saved him by secretly bringing him something to eat. Can people change despite murderous ideology? They can in some instances and where it seems possible we shouldn’t prevent that but encourage it.

        • Marie Eleanor

          You say “if domestic attacks continue “–they have continued! Where have you been? Should we wait for more innocents to be killed?
          Moreover, the (temporary) ban should have begun the day after 9/11.

        • Fr. Kloster

          The respect is mutual, Fr. Morello. Your erudite comments on this site are well worth the read every time.

          The Swiss have already banned minarets. They have a very strict immigration policy against everyone who wants to move there.

          The USA is under no obligation to accept anyone’s immigration application. We have seen what letting in Muslims in great numbers has done to other countries in Europe (Russia, France, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, and Sweden). In France, the police almost never enter Muslim neighborhoods. Particular Muslims are not necessarily the problem, but groups of Muslims are very prone to undermine any law not named sharia. Personally, I have had very friendly relations on several occasions and over time with particular Muslims. But, history tells us that the Koran encourages Muslims to subjugate or eradicate non-Muslims. All they need to do is bide their time until they are the majority (Turkey, the Middle East, and large swaths of Africa are the proofs). Once a majority is achieved, everyone else is largely forced out one way or another.

          I would agree that conversions are to be sought. I spent 8 years in three hospitals and assisted at many deaths when people are the most spiritually vulnerable. Perhaps it was my own lack of holiness and good example, but not many people are really interested in changing their long held theological beliefs. The USA letting Muslims into her borders in any large numbers, does so at her own peril.

          • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

            How strongly I agree with banning minarets Fr Kloster. First the’re obtrusive. In the Holy Land they have been permitted to be placed [by Israel] adjacent to virtually every Catholic holy site. When I suffered from severe malaria as a lay volunteer teaching phi at a Catholic Seminary I was in Lilongwe on route for care in then Rhodesia. Spent an overnight with the White Fathers and woke up in the dark of night sweating, shivering to the daemonic moans as I perceived it at the time of the recording of an Imam from a nearby minaret. I’ll never forget it. I was reminded of it years later at the similar start of the film The Exorcist. I do agree with the need to hold back indefinitely on the influx of Muslims especially with today’s atrocities in Brussels.

      • Tom Brennan

        Fr Kloster: I knew about Vienna (the *first* time a prince of Poland overcame the forces of darkness to rescue Europe) but had never heard of the Battle of Zenta. Thanks for pointing this out; even more historical weight for that date.

    • kathleen

      We have to continue our prayers that Donald Trump will not be the presidential nominee, and that God will have mercy on us and give us another chance – a good and holy president of the United States. We can all join the good Cardinal Burke and join with him with our prayers on the 1st of every month when he offers Mass and prays the Rosary after Mass for special intentions – one of them for our country. Google Catholic Action to get more information of the Storm Heaven initiative. As the late great St. John Paul II said the holy Rosary is a great weapon. Let us use it now like never before. God Bless.

      • Rick

        Also, add to OUR prayers that Duke doesn’t win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

    • Rick

      All Catholics want peace and justice. In this post-Fall-of-man world, we are taught that there is evil and that a Utopian view can not exist here, only in heaven. I’m glad the level of discourse has evolved from calling a candidate a Nazi to calling him an emperor. We need to work on that “immoral” adjective though, but I call this progress.

      Probably the best possible “dictator analogy” one could make of Mr. Trump from history is from Rome ~81 B.C. There was a man named Lucius Cornelius Sulla who defeated the oligarchs controlling the Roman Senate by marching on Rome and seizing power. After cleaning up senatorial corruption (brutal by today’s standard) and restoring a more pure form of republicanism, he relinquished his dictatorial powers and walked away (Unlike Augustus who came later). Think about that! He was emperor of the known world, and he walked away. He wanted to make Rome great again.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        In my estimate Rick it would take a miracle for a similar outcome with Trump. If he’s elected we can only hope for the best and pray for a miracle.

    • GG

      Hoping is not a strategy, nor is that a moral way to defend innocent life.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Hope is a theological virtue. Don’t mix strategy with virtue.

    • Quo Vadis

      Whoever said Mr. Trump is “representing Christianity” ? And actually he said that Muslims should be band until, “we figure out what was going on”. Now, obscure as that statement may be, it is a fact that hiding within Muslim entrants to the US very well could be terrorists. A better vetting process needs to be established to protect our country as evidenced by the deaths in California.

      Where have the Muslim Imams been when condemnation is required on these worldwide murders and terrorist attacks ? Where are they across the US world to root out the radicals in their own houses ? Answer : Nowhere.

      For all Mr. Trumps faults and imperfect life, at least he has the courage to take a forceful stand against the political correct environment that is quickly turning this country into fascist state where only one opinion is tolerated. And that is the one on the left.

      One need only look at the actions on college campuses by students and administrations to see examples.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        He said many times he’s Christian, a Presbyterian. Read what I wrote in reply to Theresa above. Trump’s boasts are no more than empty words.

        • america111

          It would be no different then, to the other lying Politians… we’ll see.

      • BroEdward

        I’m no Trump fan either, but he seems to be the only candidate to understand these points. One of his remarks to the effect that there’s “something different about Islam” suggests his awareness of the truth.

        Now, it’s no surprise that our hierarchy talks without understanding the issues from outside the manse – but – TCT has published at least two anti-Trump essays lately yet hasn’t suggested any candidate positively. I say: No more just throwing rocks, TCT: Let’s hear an approach if not a plan.

        • RobertRoyal

          Let me remind BroEdward and all TCT readers going forward this election season that we are a non-profit, and therefore cannot endorse candidates. TCT can discuss ideas, values, persons, their characters and positions, by way of stimulating discussion.

          • BroEdward

            Fair enough – but if you can publish essays with a “negative spin” against a candidate like Trump, how about an essay with a “positive spin” toward someone you think is better qualified? Just an objective evaluation, perhaps?

    • Theresa

      We already have an immoral emperor in Barack Obama, who sides with abortion, gay marriage, persecutes Christians, forces his mandates on Catholic schools & hospitals re contraception & abortion…need I say more!! Also he refuses to allow our military to directly attack ISIS, & releases enemy combatants from Guantanamo to fight again. As a result, more innocents are slaughtered in Iraq & Syria, particularly Christians!!! The Bishops have their heads in the sand!

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        That is who I refer to Theresa as regards an emperor now in the White House. What Trump says now and what he claims he ill do doesn’t coincide. It is not only the Muslim issue but illegal immigration. He promises he will deport 12 million illegals. That means police round ups, splitting up families, and endless litigation and delays costing us hundreds of millions. Adolf Hitler had difficulty ridding Germany of 4 million Jews and had to resort to the Final Solution. If Trump fails in deporting 3 times that amount of people what will he do? Furthermore, its economics. The fruits and vegetables we eat are picked by illegal migrants, about 40% in Imperial Valley and elsewhere. No others wish to bend over in the hot sun doing that. Or the wine industry, hotel and restaurant services roughly 30% illegals. Industries out west and elsewhere would collapse without that cheap labor that few others are willing to do. Trump is a fraud.

        • Quo Vadis

          Mr. Trump has also talked about a guest worker program, cracking down on employers who hire illegals, having people come back legally, etc.

          If you stop the ability for illegals to earn a living. Stop benefits they receive, stop the support network that encourages their illegal entry, etc. you remove their ability to subsist in this country.

          This also includes the support of the church beyond basic charity but the support system that allows their continued illegal and unlawful residence in the country.

          Lastly, bring up Hitler is a cheap and unworthy analogy and typical of Trump critics.

    • Dave

      We have to know more about Dr. Jasser and others like the good doctor. And while we try to encourage them, we have to recall what Mr. Reilly has written above: “…Muslims couldn’t care less what Catholics have to say about Islam.” We have a very difficult needle to thread and it’s always wise to recall that in time of war, the one suing for peace is the one who is losing. Be sure that this is how Muslims see it: not because they’re Muslim, but because everyone does.

  • astrojohn

    We see the pro-Islam BS in our church bulletin EVERY weekend…makes me want to leave the church…

    • biilyjoe

      I can top that. Our parish is in the suburb of a highly populated metropolitan area. Built up in the early 1960’s ,many of the original homeowners were snooty upper class from almost anywhere in the U S– but especially from inner ring suburbs which were the cat’s meow of the 1930’s and 1940’s — common denominator was that none of them had the inner city/urban experience that those of us in the White Flight” “experienced.
      When we arrived there in the 1980’s from the inner city (as white flighters)– we could not believe the white guilt/white privilege complex of what we saw as phony ‘I want to give” “Christians”.
      One of the major “cheerleaders” for the blacks (our closest ghetto is about 15 miles away) was from Minnesota — but with his non-local accent I realized he was a phony from afar (Minnesota is at least 700 miles from here); if you saw where his house is (where he’s been living since 1965)– it’s an isolated/segregated area within what was in 1965 a most isolated township– where the city lights were seen FROM AFAR !! (and then you get to figure out the why of his privilege and guilt– PHONY ).
      At about 87 years old now he just retired from his “robin hood ” job– he has spent the past 35 years or so running tuition money to non-Catholic blacks down in what he lyingly calls “our roots”. Meantime, at same time, young people in our parish, white of course, were slowly pulling their children out of our Parish School because THEY could not afford to pay both Catholic Tuitions which were rising yearly as well as pay high Public School Township TAX. Of course, he ignored them.
      Not only was he knocking on the last of the wealthy old widows’ doors to extract money (I watched him count it — like Simon Legree) so that non-Catholic blacks could attend urban Catholic schools (as of 2 years ago , those schools all had to close because they were built and supported by those who built them til those people had to flee for their lives) , but he also has a whole system of running furniture, food,and old, retired clueless, never – mugged tutors in their 70’s and 80’s down to this ghetto; the latter in their 70’s and 80’s freely mentioned to me that their own grandchildren can not afford to go to Catholic Schools. At one point, about 20 years ago, he bussed in black kids on Saturdays to the local golf courses so that his snooty retired self-deprecating “mentors” could TEACH THEM HOW TO PLAY GOLF ??!!!!! Talk about phony white privilege/guilt.
      To make matters worse , this man is one of the unfriendliest(snobby) “human beings” that you could ever meet.

  • Steven P Glynn

    I remember years ago, the French being referred to as “cheese eating surrender monkeys”. Who knew that they were just ahead of their time and that all of western civilization would soon follow? We have become afraid, but oddly not so much of physical or mental or even financial harm, but of offending someone or thing. It doesn’t even matter if what that particular person or thing is engaged in requires offending. The Gospel runs counter to the pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth so prevalent and so celebrated in our culture today, to the point where any criticism of any of the above “qualities” is the only offense seen as un-Christian. How could a society be expected to match the courage of the Crusades, when they cower before Caitlyn Jenner?

    • biilyjoe

      You have pointed out the essence of what will cause the destruction of all of Western Civilization, including all of Christendom, if what we are witnessing vis-a-vis these muslims continues any further.

  • Patrick

    I belive in the Catholic Religion devoutely— and we have not heard anything about this in our church. on this subject, I however do not belive THAT conversation on thIs subject will ever

  • mrteachersir

    The biggest issue I see with Catholic understanding of Islam (and Protestantism as well) is the radical break with the traditional understanding of heresy. Protestantism is a heresy, and the Church viewed Mohammedism as a heresy as well until the ’60s. Instead of focusing, then on the Truth in an effort to bring the heretics back to God, we’ve climbed down to their level.

    The Syllabus of Errors warned against the dual heresies of Modernism and Ecumenism, in which traditional concepts were rejected simply because they were not new, and contemporary, because contemporaries are much more “enlightened”, all while viewing all religious traditions as essentially equal. Popes following the First Council of the Vatican were concerned about re-convening or calling another Council because they were afraid the errors of Ecumenism and Modernism were running rampant. Perhaps their fears were justified: the Church leaders seem afraid to approach the issue of inter-Christian dialogue or Catholic-Muslim dialogue from a position of Truth, but rather as equals, which is a far cry from the Truth. Pope Benedict was wise when he approached the topic and set the terms of the dialogue: the equal treatment of women and religious freedom, hallmarks of the Christian West, and all but absent within Islamic understandings of the world…

  • Alicia

    On Saturday, the Vatican turned off the lights of St. Peters Basilica for ‘Earth Hour ‘ to protest climate change. They are back on.
    It seems the light has been turned off the intellect of many cardenals and bishops regarding Islam.
    Please, Dr. Royal, make sure you forward a copy of today’s essay to all the cardenals and bishops in the US, and to the Pope in Rome. Dr. Reilly’s essay just might turn on some lights.
    Lets pray it does.

  • Margaret Hobble

    Does anyone remember the reaction of the Muslim world to Pope Benedict XVI request to them at Regansburg? There were many public displays against what the Pope said. All he was asking was for Islam to become more tolerant of other religions, for instance, providing the same consideration in Muslim countries to Christians and other religions they demand for themselves in non-Muslim countries.

  • Cheryl Jefferies

    A fine essay that describes part of what worries me about the USCCB and the American Church. You point out what I term “the susceptibility to lies” that many of them exhibit, frankly. And, that susceptibility probably stems from just what you describe…they view the world through the prism of their own mind-set. But, many of us tend to do that…we refuse to believe that anyone could look us in the face and lie. This was clearly evident when bishops met with Obama prior to ObamaCare being voted on. They wanted reassurance that abortion would not be part of ObamaCare. He flat-out lied and said it would not ever be a part of his health care “scheme.” And, they walked out believing him and gave public support to that bill. And, if we don’t know the “rest of the story”…well, we should know it. They got scammed. They also bought into “social justice” as preached by the Left many decades ago. “Social Justice” and true Chrisitan charity are not the same thing at all. Now, this. I pray they don’t get scammed again. However, many people have been, thus far. Jihad, as horrible as it is, is not what we really should be worried about. Caliphate is much more destructive and that is what is happening today. Jihad is but a part of Caliphate. Caliphate is their end goal. Always has been since the beginning of this spiritual war, a thousand years or so ago. History has already repeated itself in Europe for Europe has already succumbed to Caliphate just as happened before. Back then, they fought their way out of it. This time? It may be too late for them. Time will tell. But, Caliphate is happening here and it is increasing. And, if you don’t know the difference between jihad and Caliphate…well, that’s one reason we’re in such danger. Thank you for an excellent essay.

  • Robert A Rowland

    There can be no dialogue between good and evil. Islam’s intent from the Seventh Century has been to destroy Christianity. There is only one God and his name is not Allah. The First Amendment was not intended to include Islam they allow no freedom for other religions. Hilaire Belloc has clearly described Islam as a Heresy. Why do American Bishops ask for dialogue with heresy?

    • Michael DeLorme

      Question: “Why do American Bishops ask for dialogue with heresy?”

      Answer: “…like most Americans, the bishops know almost nothing about Islam.”

      Whether it’s nuclear arms, the economy—-global warming—Islam; the answer is always the same.

    • Phil Horaia

      Indeed, Mohammed set himself up as a Messiah.

  • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

    To set the record straight regarding my position I personally agree ISIS and other radical Islamic groups should be attacked and destroyed. Also I have always agreed that liberal European policy regarding Muslim emigration was and is a serious mistake. There is a difference betw necessary policy and a moral posture. For example what most of us know including what Fr Pilon says below is not exactly a newsflash. Islam as a religion is unacceptable. The people who are members of that religion is another matter. What I’m gathering from some persons with credentials is that there is absolutely no hope, no possibility, that persons attached to that religion can change. It is as if they are not created by God in his image, that they do not have intellects, and do not have souls. One important response is prayer for conversion. The other by apparent need especially in Iraq and Syria is full scale military confrontation. Our best military Petraeus and Odierno say that will be difficult and very costly in terms of lives. And the risk of life will not be that of the respondents on this site. It will be the lives of young men and women. The remaining option is encouraging change among those Muslims who live here and elsewhere who express a willingness toward modification. Why should that option be rejected out of hand by Catholic clergy and laymen?

    • ZuzanaM

      My degree is in Art and Religious Studies. While at the University of Denver in 1971, I took a course titled, The Conquest of Islam. The first day of class the professor spoke directly to the four Arabic students who sat together in the front row. He explained that he was a professor of history, and what he would say in his lectures most likely would not coincide with what they had been taught in their youth. He would, however, not enter into a debate over that in the future. What a difference 40+ years has brought, not only to academia, but to the Public Square. In turn, the Catholic Bishops in the US, those many who have no understanding of history in general and Islam in particular, are treading into stormy, unfamiliar waters if they think that they can have dialogue with true Muslims. Personally, I try to help my friends understand the dilemma of the politically correct doctrine concerning the moderate ‘westernized’ Muslims living in the US. In Truth, there are two types of Muslims in the US, just as there are two types of Catholics in the US Church. There are the orthodox (radical) Muslims (who for the time being are happy to be incognito among the westernized Muslims) and there are the moderates (whom the bishops see as willing to dialogue). These moderate Muslims, in reality are like fallen away Catholics who no longer practice the true Faith. They may or may not be willing to dialogue with the bishops. Furthermore, such a dialoguie will not produce good fruit for either side. Remember when St Francis dialogued with the Sultan in Egypt. The Sultan liked what he heard about the Christian Faith and really liked St Francis. But he explained to Francis that if he was to convert to Christianity, both he and Francis would be killed. Those who understand True Islam, know that ultimately one cannot be anything but a radical, orthodox Muslim and live. In truth, it will be better for all if the bishops gave up on the idea of dialogue with Muslims. Instead, their efforts should be to prepare their laypeople for the possibility that, without the defeat of radical Islam in the Middle East, they may someday have to deny their faith in Jesus Christ or face martydom.

      • James Stagg

        Agreed. Moslem “apostasy” results in an automatic death sentence, which is why so few are open to conversion….or perhaps even moderation of the Koran’s dictates. It is a very effective deterrent to conversion.

    • Michael DeLorme

      Because of taqqiya—strategic deception—“those who express a willingness toward modification” may have stealthy motives at heart.

      If it were just a matter of “Am I wasting my time trying to bring this or than particular Muslim to Christian faith,” one could answer that it only requires the same trust in God that evangelizing any non-believer requires.

      With Islam, though, one also has to be exceptionally wary as to what subversive motives might animate a possibly pretended interest in Christianity.

      If we’re serious about it, maybe a new religious order needs to be founded, whose adherents are thoroughly grounded in an understanding of both the tenants and tactics of Islam and its hegemonic trajectory.

      Unfortunately, this doesn’t answer the practical social question as to how Christians ought to regard their Muslim neighbors. They needn’t be “rejected out of hand,” of course; but one needs a clear-eyed wariness of Islam’s perennial intents.

    • Tom Brennan

      “The other by apparent need especially in Iraq and Syria is full scale military confrontation.”
      Fr. Morello:
      You might want to add Andrew Bacevich to your reading. Very Catholic, very conservative, very opposed to our current wars in the Middle East. West Point, Vietnam, retired Army Colonel, taught at BU. Lost a son in Iraq. Very sober – and – very sensible.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        Thanks Tom. A few weeks ago I proffered the same view of Bacevich. What I said “by apparent need” meant if that remains the only viable option. My opinion is containment and degradation by every means possible, militarily, economically, diplomatically. Let the Sunnis and Shiites who wish to die for Allah turn against themselves, as in the OT Israel’s enemies often turned against themselves and resolved the threat. Today with the attacks by ISIS operatives in Brussels, Europe particularly France and Belgium must now take draconian measures to preserve Europe. They not only have the right but the obligation to save a Christian Europe, now that ISIS is known to seek strategic influence if not dominance in Europe, to stop all emigration, and deport, extradite those who have traveled to ISIS territory, and or have made statements in support. At this point the tragic mistake of Europe permitting so many Muslims to enter is now come to a climax. Both Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI were concerned about this and warned Europeans.

      • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

        I should add Tom I was convinced the Iraq War engineered by Cheney, M Wolfowitz and mindlessly carried out by George W was a tragic mistake. The purging of the secular Bath Party, disbanding of the Iraq Army instead of utilizing it, the tolerance and help in installing a just as intolerant Shiite corrupt despot Al Maliki under the guidance of Bremer, a man void of any knowledge of the Middle East or the dynamics of government adding to monumental disaster. Peraeus and Odierno retrieved victory with the surge only to be jettisoned by Obama. The idea of Bush 43, Obama, and Hillary of regime change and expectation that democracy would somehow magically appear in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and particularly in Libya was delusional. In Libya we had a compliant despot who destroyed Libya’s nuclear capacity and aligned himself with Western policy, and he was rewarded by our political, military complicity in his overthrow. The result. Another ISIS stronghold. In Egypt more of the same with Obama backing Morsi head of the murderous Muslim Brotherhood and following the justified coup by el Sisi and the military Obama treats el Sisi as a renegade President. We have had two presidents in a row who are mindless regarding foreign affairs and have helped create the morass we face today.

  • Bernie

    An historical perspective is incumbent
    on anyone who would comment on our current situation re Islam. Dr.
    Riley’s view is totally valid, I think. Despite intermittent pauses
    to get its breath, Islam has never ceased to be on the march and
    never will, so long as it exists. An individual Muslim, on a stage
    or in one-on- one conversation, may seem perfectly compatible
    with Western and even Oriental culture but, when two or more are
    gathered together Mohamed is present and even a Muslim risks his
    life if he wishes to be “reasonable” or live peacefully
    with Christians or Western forms of government. Surely, I will be
    condemned by many Christians for just making this observation. Even
    Bishops act as if a so-called God that transcends good and evil (i.e., can
    be evil), is the same one Christians claim to worship and adore

    On the one hand, Islam will surely
    dominate Europe, baring an extraordinary change that seems most
    unlikely. Europe is no longer Christian in practice though it lives
    on the air of its holy roots. As a result, Italy has the lowest
    birth rate in the entire world (UN stats). France, Spain, Germany are
    virtually the same. I recall that a Italian Cardinal has stated to the
    effect that ‘Italian culture is no longer his estimation’.
    It is moribund. What will stop the Muslims from simply marching up
    the peninsula, just as they marched across N. Africa. Will it be
    tomorrow? No, not likely, but in 50 years? Baring a prodigious miracle you should consider it
    a good bet. Rome and the Vatican are only half way to the underbelly
    of Europe. In the context of history, even the old barrier of the
    Mediterranean Sea or the Ocean is no longer a consideration in the
    face of the impending European/Western population collapse.

    On the other hand, maybe atheist and
    CINO Europeans will decide to fight and to re-populate themselves
    without Muslim help. Of course, they would have to figure out what
    to fight for. Wouldn’t that be an interesting period in history!

    • Michael DeLorme

      ” Despite intermittent pauses to get its breath, Islam has never ceased to be on the march and never will, so long as it exists.”

      Exactly. After hearing just last week the statistic that a good 50% of Muslims would love to see Sharia law established in this country, I’m afraid my deepest suspicion is that “peaceful” Muslims are actually Islam’s catechumans–its incomplete adherents.

    • Fr. Peter Morello, Ph.D.

      When I last studied in Rome Bernie Italians loved their fine Armani suits, lovely dressed women [perhaps spouse who knows] and evening dinners at the many great Roman restaurant’s. Children obviously would curtail their secular, religion cynical life style. That has become a macrocosm of the faith today throughout the world.

    • Ashley Dickenson

      It was Sir Winston Churchill, himself half-American, who declared ‘The
      trouble with history is that no-one learns from it’.

      History teaches us that thousands of years ago an earlier Islamic jihad
      threatened the then Western civilisations and this was only repulsed by the
      Crusades, – though I acknowledge the Crusaders were far from perfect – of which the Church, though regretting the Crusades, has failed to give the whole context.

      Not only in America but across the whole of Europe there needs to be a
      Christian revival and the church retracing its roots back from an increasingly
      comfortable approach to the Gospel to the reality of Yahweh God’s truth (though
      that might be uncomfortable for some) and its enduring message of repentance-based
      salvation. So that the future growth of Islam will be met with not weapons of
      war but with the good news of Yeshua.

  • givelifeachance2

    What the bishops should be doing is fortifying catholics against the onslaught of deception and taqqiya and dhimmitude that sharia will impose. And offering the apologetics tools that will enable catholics to help Muslims to see the truth enough to break free of the ideology.

  • BXVI

    McElroy is a Francis appointee, no? Pope Francis is taking the Church in this direction, and it is dangerous. No doubt, you’ve heard of his angry dismissal of Pope Benedict’s Regensburg Address when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires?

    Francis is clearly the anti-Benedict in just about every way. He’s got another consistory coming up. At what point does the balance tip decisively in favor of the progressive / socialist / modernist / relativist Cardinals?

  • The irony is where the bishop challenges Catholics to stem the “ugly tide.” Yet, his intentional ignorance that pervades his agenda; a type of purposeful intelligent depravity, denying truth and moral thought, and embracing modernism with all the breath to be mustered.

  • Jhawk77

    Mr. Reilly’s book about the “Closing of the Muslim Mind” is a must-read for anyone interested in the topic.

    In a related matter, Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College, has just published an article, “Islam – Facts or Dreams?,” by Andrew C. McCarthy, who concludes in his article, “…[W]e must deal with the facts of Islamic supremacism, because its jihadist legions have every intention of dealing with us.” Nothing has changed, it seems, with Islam since the Holy League’s victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Islam is still attempting to conquer.

    • Beth

      Everyone should be interested in this topic. It is the elephant in the political living room.

  • Syntec

    I’m convinced the Catholic hierarchy overall know fine well what the designs of Islam are and have always been. Even the ‘Pope’ is enamoured with the idea of closer ties with the Islamic world.

    We are looking at a time of profound schism within the Catholic Church and even Christianity in general when there is more distance between Christian sects than between Catholicism and the age-old enemy Islam whose ancient historical intentions towards the Christian world haven’t altered one iota.

    The Catholic hierarchy appears to be hellbent on self-destruction probably because increasingly over the past century, Marxian Liberal secularism has gradually been replacing it and as a final act of revenge it seems, is wantonly enabling the takeover of the world’s Catholic domain with Islam.

    • TruthWFree

      Well said!! I do not want a Pope reaching out to what I consider a Satanic religion. I have come to believe the allah god of the Quran is Satan after much, much study.

      • Phil Horaia

        Some will say that Allah means God; ILLAH means God, and God has as much in common with the Allah of the Quran as he had with the Canaanite El.

        • TruthWFree

          Sura 9-29 of the Quran says to fight the followers of Jesus until we are subdued and pay the tax, so if you want to say the allah god of the Quran is the same as the Old Testament God, you have to throw out Jesus as the Son of God…the allah god says Jesus is only a prophet…which goes against Jesus’ words in the Gospels. Your choice…choose wisely…your eternal soul depends on it.

  • Gerald Murray

    From Robert Cardinal Sarah’s book God or Nothing (p. 137): “With Islam, there can be no theological dialogue, because the essential foundations of the Christian faith are very different from those of the Muslims: the Trinity, the Incarnation, namely, the fact that “Jesus Christ has come [among us] in the flesh” (1 Jn 4:1-10), the Cross, the death and Resurrection of Jesus, and consequently the Eucharist are rejected by the Muslims. But we can promote a dialogue that might lead to an effective collaboration at the national and international level, particularly in there context of defending human life, from conception to natural death. For example, like the Church, the various authorities of Islam vehemently reject the new gender ideology.”

    • ThirstforTruth

      Common ground is a very precarious place to try and find lasting peace, for even common ground is undermined by a false foundation of assumed goals which are
      disparate for the lack of a united truth. In the end, such a union crumbles under
      the weight of distrust and incredulity. Thus, as Cardinal Sarah stated, ” with Islam, there can be no theological dialogue because the essential foundations of the Christian faith are so different from those of the Muslims.” One does not build
      on the sandy soil of shifting human social mores where the life issues are so often
      ignored and disrespected within both religions.

      • MSDOTT

        This is off topic – but to me your comment applies to marriage as well. “Common ground is a very precarious place to try and find lasting peace, for even common ground is undermined by a false foundation of assumed goals which are
        disparate for the lack of a united truth. In the end, such a union crumbles under
        the weight of distrust and incredulity.”…

    • James Stagg

      It seems to be an insurmountable barrier that Islam rejects basic gender equality. i.e., women’s rights as equal to men’s..

    • TruthWFree

      Islam is a false demonic religion and they may be against abortion, but the abortion practices of unbelievers is NO problem for them…just fewer people to kill or subjugate for the allah god…AKA Satan. The life of an unbeliever means nothing to true devout Muslims.

  • Michael Rivera

    I agree with your article 100%. Thanks for being at the leading edge of Muslim intentions! Remain vigilant America!

  • rick

    Baffling that the USCCB tries to talk exclusively w/ the Muslim Brotherhood, universal Sharia Muslims. Is it just me, or does that USCCB policy signal a USCCB view that the Muslim Brotherhood represents “real” Islam, while the moderates are traitors to their faith? I’ve wondered the same thing about the US government, based on its (bi-partisan) hostility to Egypt’s el-Sisi and its preference for his Muslim Brotherhood predecessors. Given the unique success of Ataturk’s reforms in Turkey (which included the abolition of Sharia), and the apparent strength of a moderate faction in Egypt, I’m mystified why the US govt isn’t reaching out to moderates. And why the USCCB follows Foggy Bottom’s lead. This seems like a blunder of historic proportions.

    • Theresa

      Obama is the Muslim Brotherhood agent in the WH! That’s why! He was raised Muslim in Indonesia!

    • america111

      It is not a blunder… it is in purpose. The purpose is anything to destroy Christianity… and unfortunately there is infiltration even in our church.

  • Micha_Elyi

    A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.
    –John 10:12, NAB Revised Edition

    A wolf named Islam approaches.

    • Thomas Sharpe

      Mathew 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

      If Islam were true, the Catholic faith would be false.
      But that is not the case.
      – the greatest false prophet is Mohammad.

  • Rick

    Speaking of Catholic-Muslim dialogue, I think the Muhammadans said something this morning in Brussels. In upwards of 180 people heard what was said, what about the rest of us?

    • Fr. Kloster

      I’m no prophet, but my comment from yesterday listed a few countries in danger because of Muslim immigration. I specifically looked up the Muslim adherent numbers for Belgium before I made my post since I was prompted to pray for that country in particular yesterday. I’m not surprised in the least by God and His inspirations.

      • Rick

        Nor am I especially when we use the eyes, ears, and intellect that He gave us.

  • Thomas J. Hennigan

    The utter naivité and silliness of the Bishops, and one woudl have to add Pope Francis also, would be laughable if it were not such an extremely serious matter. It seems to me that anyone who is in the public forum like a Bishop has the duty to study the matter at hand and avoid ridiculing himself and with him the Church itself, not to mention misleading the faithful, albeit unintentionally. If he were asked to speak about aclocholism, drug addiction or abortion he would surely study up the matter and try not to say something which is baltantly false. Why should Pope and bishops get uo and mouth out falsieties about Islam, where there is no secret about what Islam teaches. Is is plain for anyone to see in the Qur’an, the Sira and the Haidths. Islam is what is in these three sources and nothing else. Its that simple and these books are easily avialable, plus there are plenty of very knowledgeable Catholic experts on Islam such as Robert Spencer. What do they do with him? Some of them have persecuted him and accused him of promoting hate, when all he does is explain what the above sources contain.

  • TruthWFree

    Islam’s allah god is not the same God as Christians worship. The allah god is Satan based on lies against the Gospels; Christ’s divinity and death on the cross and the hate filled teachings are 180 degrees opposite Christ’s teachings; plus Muslim are allowed to lie to further Islam. Jesus said in the Gospels that Satan is the father of all lies. I use Jesus’ words to get to the truth about the allah god of Islam. These Bishops are trying to make an alliance with Satan.

  • Dr ExCathedra

    It was a saying of the Desert Fathers, “Flee women and bishops.”

  • Robert A Rowland

    Can you explain to a very traditional Catholic why three Muslims are representing three apostles in the traditional Holy Thursday washing of feet? The next question is: Will weak Catholics who know nothing about the Heresy of Islam be more acceptable of their historic enemy?

  • olhg1

    From what I’ve been reading, I’ve come to understand that the Muslim deity “Allah” is not the Judaeo-Christian “Yahweh,” but rather much more similar to the divinities of the Greeks, e.g., Zeus and Apollo.

  • Don

    I can only believe the Holy Spirit guided such documents/words and I don’t doubt the profound wisdom of our Pope’s. I also find it so hard to hold back my passion and emotion but….;
    “Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom. ” DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS