Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Catholic Church and Islam & Muslims
[They don't make Popes like this anymore: Pope Urban II, calling for a crusade against the Mohammedans in 1095]
Both of the quotes I present below are from the Second Vatican Council (known more cinematically as "Vatican II"). I'm not sure yet if they are pronouncements ex cathedra -- which would mean they are considered infallible by the Catholic Church.
Whether they are or not, they are disturbing and, frankly, unacceptable statements for all who have taken the time and trouble to learn about the ghastly, grotesque evil which Islam embodies through and through. The alleged exceptions to this evil -- such as the miswak toothbrush, exemplifying a culture of quaintly pleasant dental hygiene; or various traditions of hospitable manners to strangers; etc. -- are not only superficial window dressing and hence irrelevant to the pernicious evil at the core and at the bloody peripheries of Islam, but become supreme insults to the intelligence and decency of all good men and women when adduced to defend the monstrously indefensible Islam. Got it? Okay, let's move on.
1) From the Papal pronouncement Lumen Gentium ("Light of the Nations"), promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1964:
...the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.
2) From the Papal pronouncement Nostra Aetate ("In Our Age"), promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965:
The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
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.
For more details, see my older essay Nostrum Erratum.
Understanding the Crusades (a good essay by Marian Horvat, Ph.D., setting the Crusades in a more general framework with which we are concerned here)
Saint Leonella (an old essay of mine occasioned by the massacre of the Catholic nun and nurse Sister Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian who had spent 40 years of her life helping Somalian children, including Muslims, and who in 2006 was shot in the back by two Muslims inspired by a Muslim cleric during Friday prayers who called on his congregation to go out and hunt down Christians, because of the "offensive" remarks made by the Pope about Mohammed).