Skip to comments.The Pope and the Koran Muslims Praying in Catholic Churches
Posted on 05/05/2004 7:55:59 AM PDT by McClave
By Stephen Hand
Back in 1999, on the 14th of May, according to the Patriarch of the Chaldeans, at the end of an audience between the Pope and some delegates of the Islamic Shiite and Sunni factions, the Pope bowed as a sign of respect toward a copy of the Koran which was presented to him as a gift. When the book was officially presented to him, the Pope, perhaps a bit perplexed concerning the appropriate protocol for such an official gesture, kissed it; again, as a sign of respect toward the 34 million followers of Islam. The event was reported by the Fides news service. It turned out to be more controversial a sign than the Pope and Vatican ever expected, since both Neomodernist and Integrist reactionaries pounced on it. The former to suggest that all religions were essentially one, and the latter to suggest that the Pope had, well, er, left the Faith.
Both, of course, were utterly wrong, and both---who are temperamentally and psychologically joined at the hip in not a few ways---refused to look long at the Churchs actual teachings, the texts which clearly explain what the Churchs attitude toward other religions is-----and is not.
It is the reaction of the latter which concerns us here.
Every religion, sadly, has its Pharisees, the ones who are more royal than the king, the (only) true believers. It is an attitude, a psychological type, which comes in degrees of severity and is tied up with legalism, a preference for the letter as opposed to the spirit of the law. What the Taliban is to Islam, Integrism approximately is to Catholicism.
Pharisees, thinking themselves the only true observers of the law, love to debate, to bait and trap the unwary victim, as they tried to do with our Lord on many an occasion. This attitude finds its logical completion in the Essenes who broke off entirely from the Temple (unlike Jesus, His Mother and St. Joseph) and fled to the desert proclaiming themselves the true temple, the remnant of Israel. They are, it is obvious, seldom aware of the pride which feeds such behavior or the logs in their own eyes.
In Catholicism, if the Neo-modernists are the Saducees, i.e., the rationalists who tend to doubt articles of Faith, then the Integrists are very clearly our modern Pharisees, the ones who fancy themselves the true interpreters of the fathers and of the letter of the law.
The Pharisee wants an easy, hyper-logical world, a world of airtight Yes-No compartments, where people are either in or out. In Our Lords day they considered Jesus lax with sinners and heathen, dubious in doctrine, fickle regarding the inviolable law. They viewed him with suspicion and ultimately felt he had to be removed altogether. They preferred a religion where the question of the "spirit," or the heart of the law----the ultimate telos / goal to which the law tends----was not welcome, despite the warnings of the major and minor prophets. For the Pharisee it is easy: The woman sinned against her husband? Stone her. The Pope kissed the Koran? Throw him out, follow the law. Such is the spirit of the Pharisee, then and now.
The Pharisee is more comfortable with executing judgment than mercy which is considered a complicating factor. He prefers a simple world where one always knows what to do. That makes debating easier; and our modern Pharisee loves to debate. He wakes up in the morning and aims straightway for the computer to either engage the debate or aid his fellows in it. His religion often exists in chat rooms or on email lists where he seeks to draw the first blood. Mercy is like an X in the equation of justice and makes the Pharisee uncomfortable. Just the same with love and the kind of religion as described in Isaiah 58 or Matt 5-7. Such concepts complicate their neat rule book (though most of these guys have never been trained in Catholic theology and hermeneutics).
The Pope Kissed the Koran
The Pope kissed the Koran. Our new version Pharisee immediately salivates. He is ready to pounce and add such an indictable emblem to his files. And what does it prove? That the Pope is a secret Muslim maybe? That the Pope doesnt believe in Jesus Christ maybe? That the Pope is a relativist, perhaps? A syncretist for sure? That all religions are one in the Popes mind? The Pope also kisses the ground upon landing in various countries on pastoral visits. A secret pantheist?
The Pope, of course, teaches the very opposite everywhere. The facts are well known, if one would take the time to learn. Yet the Pharisee has a penchant for turning ones eyes from anything that will reveal his opinion to be an absurdity. Even authoritative texts matter little if they can be simply brushed under the rug of bigotry.
Yet facts are stubborn. The gesture of the Pope by no means indicates syncretism, relativism, or anything of the sort. Cynical Integrists simply seek to make hay of it, as they do of everything else. It is the way of the Pharisee. That way they sell their papers to the gullible. They would rather not believe that the kiss was merely a gesture, as one would bow before a king, or a President, or even kiss the Popes ring. They would rather put the worst and most absurd construction on it, like with everything else. Had they been there they would have sent the Three Wise Men---heathens---packing; the Roman Centurion whom our Lord helped too (pagan). And the good Samaritan would have been viewed very simply as a dismal heretic. I know rigroist Feeneyites who must first baptise (in their minds) the good thief on the Cross before they will concur with our Lord's pronouncement concerning him. Legalism...
I adduce the following texts, from innumerable others, not for debate, but to show those confused by them that the Popes teaching is nothing like the accusations and framing of the Integrists.
For the Holy Father, dialogue does not substitute for evangelism/mission, but is a part of that mission of evangelism, divorced from neither love nor truth.
The emphasis is mine throughout below.
2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense. Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)
From Redmptoris Missio:
55. Inter-religious dialogue is a part of the Church's evangelizing mission. Understood as a method and means of mutual knowledge and enrichment, dialogue is not in opposition to the mission ad gentes; indeed, it has special links with that mission and is one of its expressions . This mission, in fact, is addressed to those who do not know Christ and his Gospel, and who belong for the most part to other religions. In Christ, God calls all peoples to himself and he wishes to share with them the fullness of his revelation and love. He does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression, even when they contain "gaps, insufficiencies and errors."(98) All of this has been given ample emphasis by the Council and the subsequent Magisterium, without detracting in any way from the fact that salvation comes from Christ and that dialogue does not dispense from evangelization.(99)
In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue. Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad gentes . These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and their distinctiveness ; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated or regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable
CDFs Dominus Iesus: See CDF document here
4. The Church's constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been superseded; for example, the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions, the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture, the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth, the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability while recognizing the distinction of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church.
6. Therefore, the theory of the limited, incomplete, or imperfect character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, which would be complementary to that found in other religions, is contrary to the Church's faith. Such a position would claim to be based on the notion that the truth about God cannot be grasped and manifested in its globality and completeness by any historical religion, neither by Christianity nor by Jesus Christ.
7. ...Thus, theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance.
Most critical to our concern:
8. The hypothesis of the inspired value of the sacred writings of other religions is also put forward. Certainly, it must be recognized that there are some elements in these texts which may be de facto instruments by which countless people throughout the centuries have been and still are able today to nourish and maintain their life-relationship with God. Thus, as noted above, the Second Vatican Council, in considering the customs, precepts, and teachings of the other religions, teaches that although differing in many ways from her own teaching, these nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.23
The Church's tradition, however, reserves the designation of inspired texts to the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, since these are inspired by the Holy Spirit.24 Taking up this tradition, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council states: For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:19-21; 3:15-16), they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.25 These books firmly, faithfully, and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.26
Nevertheless, God, who desires to call all peoples to himself in Christ and to communicate to them the fullness of his revelation and love, does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression even when they contain gaps, insufficiencies and errors'.27 Therefore, the sacred books of other religions, which in actual fact direct and nourish the existence of their followers, receive from the mystery of Christ the elements of goodness and grace which they contain.
It is very clear, then, that neither the Pope nor Vatican II promotes doctrinal relativism, much less syncretism. This is why the neo-modernists consider the Pope a veritable inquisition. They can read. Yet the joyless Integrist can be counted on to always put the worst possible construction on any event or text (even if they usually prefer to simply ignore than compare texts). Thus they alleviate some of their anxiety for airtight security, even if it means fleeing from the vulnerability and suffering of the cross in our time. The Integrist is never so gleeful as when in [the diversion of] debate. Those of us who have known them intimately consider this one of their most striking and constant characteristics. To debate them is to feed their pride. Better to sincerely pray for them often. It is tragic beyond words when truth itself is inconsequential to the act of debating.
The Church, then, rejects nothing which is good, true or holy in other religions, but condemns all syncretistic theology as it did with Frs. Anthony de Mello's and Tissa Balasuriya's writings; see also the CDF's warnings to the bishops of India regarding syncretism and erroneous christologies; also its warnings about eastern meditation, etc.
Holy See Says That a Church Shouldn't Be Used by Muslims
Addresses Question Posed by Muslims in Spain
VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Is it permissible to allow Muslims to worship in a Catholic church?
The answer is no, according to Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
The question, asked by a Spanish Muslim, had sparked a national debate in that country, as followers of Islam in Spain wish to be able to worship in the cathedral of Cordoba, a former mosque.
In statements to AsiaNews, Archbishop Fitzgerald clarified that no official request has been made to the Holy See. It was simply communicated in a personal capacity in March by a Spanish Muslim during a dialogue meeting of the pontifical council, he said.
"A general reflection is needed here," Archbishop Fitzgerald said. "As there are monumental buildings in Cordoba, there are also others around the world which currently have a use different from that of the original -- like the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, now an Islamic museum, despite pressure put on by some Muslims to use it again as a mosque."
"The Holy Father visited the Umayad Mosque in Damascus, praying in front of the tomb of St. John the Baptist," the archbishop recalled. However, the Pope "did not ask to celebrate Mass in the mosque."
"It is difficult to have Christians and Muslims mixing and sharing a common life," Archbishop Fitzgerald said. "The shared use of a building by various churches is problematic. There are spaces dedicated to this purpose, for example, in airports. But they are not churches or mosques. They are interfaith spaces, capable of being used by Jews, Christians, Muslims and persons of other faiths alike."
He continued: "But this is based on a type of agreement to allow for their shared use. Yet this is not the reality in Cordoba, where the building belongs to a specific community."
"We want to live in peace with persons of other religions," Archbishop Fitzgerald said. "However, we don't want to be pushed, manipulated and go against the very rules of our faith."
"If it is a Catholic chapel with the Blessed Sacrament inside," he said, "it should not be used for prayer services of another religious tradition."
Stay on point, if possible.
009.029 SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day,
nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited,
nor follow the religion of truth,
out of those who have been given the Book,
until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of
superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
009.030 SHAKIR: And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths;
they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them;
The humble are often misunderstood by the proud.
......AND, I might add, the Anti-Catholic bigots here at FreeRepublic.
It's probably also not necessary for the Pope to have to speak negatively of Islam. Catholics should already know that it is wrong. The Pope could, of course, condemn, for instance, blowing people up with bombs or chopping loose women's heads off. But, in general, Ratzinger or Cardinal Arinze, or even Father Kolvenbach, Father Groeschel, or Mother Angelica could assume this duty.
Notice that he does not quote those he paints a caricature of as "Pharisees", but explains what they are probably thinking - i.e. the Pope is a secret Muslim and anti-Catholic heretic. I'm sure there can be found those who call themselves traditionalists who make such a logical leap, but I have yet to hear the argument, and it is hardly representative of the views of most traditionalists. Most of what I read in "integrist publications" echoes what I believe - that the Pope's Kissing the Koran was a bad move, that gave a seriously (and perhaps scandalously) bad impression - as did the Assisi meetings, promotion of Cardinal Kasper, participation in pagan "purification" rituals, apologizing to the Jews for past sins and so on. None of this demonstrates that he no longer believes in the Catholic Faith, but is indicative of his drive toward ecumenical unity and what he sees as the appropriate way to get there - utilizing "dialogue" while performing gestures that don't explicitly contradict or are forbidden by Catholic teaching. Kissing the Koran was an unwise action, especially in retrospect given the photo and controversy which has ensued. I do not think this was a calculated move to sell out Catholicism, or a inadvertent slip which reveals the deceptive evil in the Pontiff's heart. It is not something I would do, and I would like to think that faced with a similar situation, the Pope would not repeat such an action.
Stephen Hand obviously is emotionally invested in this topic being a former Feeneyite and radical schismatic, and his emotion seems to cloud his rational abilities, as he paints everyone with whom he disagrees as either a modernist liberal (like Amy Welborn, Mark Shea, Patrick Madrid, etc.) or a pharisaical integrist (Tom Woods, Michael Rose, Rod Dreher, etc.).
He's hard to take seriously, which is too bad since I consider temperance to some of the more extreme traditionalists positions to be something beneficial and needed - as is currently offered by Michael Davies in his defense of the Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger, and Brian Harrison in his defense of Vatican II from charges of explicit heresy.
Wow, Hand really doesn't have any friends. All the people that you list here are actually in the moderate conservative camp, except perhaps Tom Woods, and he is certainly not on the extreme of the traditional movement. If Stephen Hand cannot get along with these people, then I can't imagine anyone in the Church that he would be able to agree with. Of course his behavior here on FR may have been symptomatic of his behavior in the wider world.
What I see in the article is a pathetic and dated attempt to psycho-analyze one's opponents. That went out with Freud. All of this psycho-babble about the mentality of those who disagree with Stephen Hand sounds awfully shallow, self-serving and egomaniacal. After all, anyone can say, "My opponents disagree with me because of their mental and emotional problems." But rather than being convincing, it usually only makes one doubt the mental and emotional stability of the author, especially when it turns out that the author hates virtually everyone. Is Stephen Hand the only sane man left in the world? (Well, him and JPII, I guess.)
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