Skip to comments.Pope offers 'working meeting' with Muslims
Posted on 12/11/2007 8:20:46 PM PST by Alex Murphy
In response to a letter from Muslim leaders seeking better relations with the Christian world, Pope Benedict XVI Nov. 29 invited those leaders to the Vatican for a working meeting on interreligious dialogue.
Writing on behalf of the pope, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, expressed Benedicts gratitude and deep appreciation for an open letter that 138 Muslim scholars and clerics sent to the pope on Oct. 13.
That letter invoked the common principles of love of the One God, and love of the neighbor as the ultimate basis for peace between Muslims and Christians. Bertones reply acknowledged and reaffirmed those points.
Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the cardinal wrote.
Bertone noted that Benedict was particularly impressed by the attention given [by the Muslim letter writers] to the twofold commandment to love God and ones neighbor.
Dated Nov. 19 but published only Nov. 29, Bertones letter was addressed to Jordans Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, a signatory of the Oct. 13 letter.
The cardinal invited Ghazi and a restricted group of signatories of the princes choosing to visit the Vatican, for both an audience with Benedict and a working meeting with Vatican experts on interreligious dialogue.
It is significant that the pope does not simply engage with the letter of the 138 in an impersonal way at the level of ideas, but invites the parties to meet and proposes the beginnings of a process, said Jesuit Fr. Daniel A. Madigan, a visiting fellow at Georgetown Universitys Woodstock Theological Center.
According to John L. Esposito, director of Georgetowns Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Benedicts proposal is important but only a starting point.
The Vaticans response to the Muslim initiative had been long awaited. Several Protestant leaders immediately welcomed the Oct. 13 letter but Benedicts silence drew a complaint from a group of Muslim leaders in a late-October open communiqué.
Commenting on the popes letter the day after it was issued, the Vatican newspaper, LOsservatore Romano, said that by inviting a varied group of Muslim scholars to meet with him, Pope Benedict XVI has opened the possibility for a higher-level dialogue between Catholic and Muslim leaders.
The newspaper quoted German Jesuit Fr. Christian Troll, a scholar of Islam, who said that the 138 scholars represent a wide and diverse portion of the worlds Muslim community, and the fact that they were able to write to the pope together is important.
The letter, Troll said, is an initiative that the church can only look favorably upon because it needs a skilled dialogue with the non-Christian world.
The former president of the Gregorian institute promoting interreligious dialogue and the study of Islam, Madigan, said, It is very important that there has now been a clear acknowledgment of the approaches made by these Muslim scholars.
Madigan said the affirmation in the papal response that we can and, therefore, should look to what unites us counters an all-too-common attitude claiming we should look first at what divides us.
While the pope said the purpose of Catholic-Muslim dialogue is to promote justice and peace in society and throughout the world, said Madigan, the theological aspect of this is essential because our visions of justice, peace and society are all formed by our belief -- we cannot avoid talking about it.
Mayhap he should be preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead of attempting to appease the ROP.
The sword of the Word is greater than any appeasement, if you are a believer and have put your trust in God.
What the pope is talking about is the confrontation of the Koran by the Gospel. During the Middle Ages, there was debate. St. Thomas “
Summa Contra Gentiles” was an apologetic words directed to the Muslims. But on the common ground of Philosophy. It is my understanding that almost at that moment Muslim scholars abandoned philosophy and embraced the fundamentalism that characterizes it today.
Doesnt negate my previous statement.
Nowhere in the Bible do I find even one incident wherein Jesus is found mincing words to appease anyone. And from what I understand, the Pope is the representative of Jesus on earth. If the Pope is the true representative of Jesus on earth, he should be using the Sword of the Lord (His Word) to convert these heathen.
Strong words based on the Word of God will convert the heathen faster than anything else. The swift Sword of the Lord (His word) is stronger than the words of man.
You will find it hard to make a pious Muslim even open a Bible. He thinks of it as you and I do the Gospel of Judas.
Our only commission is to preach the Gospel to the heathen. Conversion is left in the hands of Jesus. If the Word has been given, the rest is up the heathen and God, our job is done.
The question is HOW you preach it. Paul preached Christ one way to the Jews and to the Greek believers, another way to the pagans, and let us not forget S. Paul’s address to the philosophers in Athens. In Acts 17:32-33, we read that some mocked, others said, we must hear more about this[later] But there were men who attached themselves to him and learned to believe. among them Dionysius the Areopagite; and so did a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
But this pope never engages in dialogue without dealing with differences. In this case, the difference must be Christ, whom the Muslims reject.
You don't 'reason' with a rabid dog, you kill it!
A very tenuous statement, considering the fallen angels and the elect angels also acknowledge one God. The difference is having faith in what He provides, rather than in what we or any other provides.
The Catholic leadership is strolling down the wide path to destruction.
...Or treat Jesus as a minor prophet, thus lowering the Savior.
...Or rather belief in the God of the Holy Bible only.
Big disclaimer here! The National Catholic Reporter should remove the second word from their name as they publish lies and half-truths on most things Catholic. I would seek a second source before I believe anything that’s written in that thing.
The National Catholic Register, on the other hand, can be trusted.
Here is an eye-opener writen by a legendary RC bishop, and may he be declared a saint in time, as well a writer of many books and famous for his tv program, “Life Is Worth Living”, Fulton J. Sheen. It is about Mary and the Muslims. God Bless all on this feast day of her who said “yes” to becoming the mother of the Savior.
Hope that post number 14 can be both a truly spiritual learning experience.
He’s not attempting to appease the Muslims. What he keeps trying to do is give them a chance to be rational and honestly analyze the differences in their religion. Like Mormons, they are very defensive about it and refuse to submit it to reasonable analysis; Christianity, on the other hand, has nothing to fear from reason.
St. Francis and many others have spoken to the Muslims, trying to get them to abandon their syncretist heresy and seek the truth. But it will be slow, if it happens at all, if only because Muslims who are inclined to examine their religion have the rest of the Muslim world waving a sword over their heads. By the way, legend has it that the Muslim ruler that St. Francis visited did convert, but secretly.
Don't lecture the Pope (or any other Christian leader, Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox) in such a fashion unless you're willing to walk the walk yourself. There is such a thing as using your head about these things, ya know. Even the earliest Christians did not generally leap to their feet and lecture the Roman Emperor about the follies of paganism at every theoretical opportunity. They exercised a certain amount of circumspection and common sense. They stayed in the shadows, mostly, in an effort to preserve their lives. When they were caught and accused of the "crime" of being a Christian, an amazing percentage stood their ground and held on to and defended their faith in the face of torture and death. But they still had to be caught first! Very few threw themselves into certain death situations by - say - standing up in the crowd in the arena and giving a catechetical lesson for the benefit of those present to see the deaths of still more Christians.
Also, the Pope presumably is thinking of the danger in which he would be putting the small Christian minorities in many Muslim countries should he be too direct in his criticisms. A lot more options might be open for him if the Christian populations of the Middle East were able to immigrate to the last man, but that is highly impractical and exposes, for at least a time, all of the Christian holy sites to the desecrations of the Muslims. Since, realistically, there will always be some Christian presence in the Middle East, what do you propose to do to minimize the likely genocide following a real "tell it like it is" session on the Pope's part? Remember, a large percentage of the Muslims worldwide went berserk just because of a few anti-Muslim cartoons in a far-away Danish newspaper!!
Benedict clearly has a long-term plan to deal with these people. It won't be quite as quick and flashy as you seem to want, but at least he is taking steps. I like what he's already doing in preferrence to your plan for him of instant self-immolation, but perhaps he can be persuaded to come around to your thinking. If he says "Hey, that's a great idea! You go first!" will I be seeing you on the 11 o'clock news getting stoned to death on the aforementioned Riyadh tarmac?
A Pope is a terrible thing to waste.
My emphasis was on the discernment of faith and belief. The Greek usage of PISTIS tends to be translated as one or the other in English or also as doctrine, but the same Greek word is used when referencing the mechanism of our thinking with respect to God.
We believe in God through faith in Christ. Same word is actually used for both faith and believe in the Greek. When arguments are made from a rationalistic perspective, addressing different faiths (doctrines) or different beliefs (objects of thinking) they tend to promote a perspective which actually is not through faith in Christ, but rather attempt to be a third party observing the thinking of all persons. That perspective, in and of itself isn’t through faith in Christ.
Ecumenical attempts to normalize religions into a common religion also fail to place simple faith in Him by His standards, which is through faith in Christ.
God doesn’t have to provide more than one mechanism by which man is able to have a relationship with Him. The Perfect relationship is already available and again only by Him.
By the Pope’s witness, God helps him to plant seeds.