Catholic interfaith efforts toward Muslims: naive, self-defeating, suicidal?

IslamMoon

…New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan paid a visit last summer to the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Tompkinsville on Staten Island, where he met with a large group of Muslim leaders. As is often the case when Catholic prelates meet with Muslims, his theme was the common ground shared by the two faiths. Cardinal Dolan told his Islamic audience, “You love God, we love God, and he is the same God,” and he thanked them “for making me feel like a friend and a member of a family.” He went on to tell them how much they share in common with Catholics: “Your love of marriage and family, your love of children and babies, your love of freedom — religious freedom particularly — your defense of life, your desire for harmony and unity and your care for others, your care for God’s creation and your care for those who are in need.”

Perhaps this is true of the Muslims of Tompkinsville, but unfortunately the cardinal’s words will be taken as an endorsement of Islam in general. I say “unfortunately” because what he says about the common values and beliefs of Muslims and Catholics is highly misleading.

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What happened to religious vocations?

nuns-soft

Today’s ubiquitous assumption that marriage and religious life are equal paths to holiness is not merely bad doctrine.  It is also a deathblow for religious life.

Once you accept that religious life and lay married life are equally effective means to sanctity, you undercut the only compelling motivation for becoming a religious.

If lay married life provides an equally effective means to sanctity, plus the goods of pleasure, family, property, one’s own will, etc., then it is irrational to choose religious life.  Choosing religious life over marriage would mean punishing yourself for no good reason.  It would mean turning your back on—showing contempt for—the goods of God’s creation while gaining nothing from your sacrifice. If lay married life gets you to sanctity just as easily and reliably as religious life, then all that religious life amounts to is a kind of masochism.

In the words of University of Washington sociologist Rodney Stark, “what does a woman gain in return for her vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, if she… acquires no special holiness thereby, while spending her working hours side-by-side with married women who now are officially seen as her equal in terms of virtue, but who are free from her obligations?

Well, therein lies the problem.

Read more at Crisis Magazine

One of the recurring misconceptions that other Christian sects have about Catholicism is that the Catholic Mass is not biblical and Catholics do not read the Bible.

MASSsummit

Let’s take the Mass, for instance. Scott Hahn, a world-renowned Catholic theologian converted from evangelical Calvinism, surreptitiously attended a Catholic Mass in Wisconsin in the early 1980s before his conversion. Bible in hand, he began to follow this “strange” liturgy in an attempt to take notes and return to his students to show how the Catholic Mass was the ultimate sacrilege.

Long story short, Hahn states that “something hit me.” He realized that the words on the liturgy of the Mass were coming from the open Bible beside him. A line from Isaiah, another from Paul, another from a psalm.

Hahn learned later that during the Liturgy of the Word, Catholics, over a three-year period, hear the Scriptures proclaimed from the Old and New Testaments and the four Gospels. Furthermore, Hahn points out, during the Eucharistic Liturgy part of the Mass, the believer is drawn not only into the Last Supper but also into the glorious New Heavenly Jerusalem of the Book of Revelation with all its hymns and praises.

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Another exercise in the judicious parsing of church documents

Let’s take a look at a noteworthy excerpt from the Decree on Ecumenism of Vatican II, article 3:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

For clarity sake, let’s enhance what is being said by substituting nouns (in italics) for pronouns:

It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using the separated Churches and Communities as such as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

To enhance the clarity of this section just a bit more, let’s substitute specific ecclesial terms (in italics)for the general references:

It follows that the schismatic Churches and heretical Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using the schismatic Churches and heretical Communities as such as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

It gets better…

Pat Archbold on the papal resignation: Catholic comboxes all over the internet are overflowing with rubbish written by well-meaning but woefully misinformed Catholics.

In the discussion following the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI and in the lead up to the conclave, the amount of misinformation, hyperbole, and un-Catholic nonsense being spewed on the internet has been staggering.

No, I write not about the silly season currently underway with the mainstream media or even progressive ‘Catholic’ publications.

No, I refer to the misinformation, hyperbole, and un-Catholic nonsense being spouted by well-meaning Catholics who think they treasure orthodoxy.

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What Journalists Should Ask Liberals and “Enlightened” Conservatives About Marriage

In case no one has noticed, journalists never ask Democrats the hard questions regarding homosexuality—and I mean never.  Perhaps our news show hosts should ask their guests and panelists these questions:

1.  Many compare same-sex marriage to interracial marriage. In what specific ways is homosexuality like race?

2. If the institution of marriage has nothing inherently to do with sexual complementarity and procreative potential, then why should it be limited to two people or to people who are not close blood relatives?

3. If marriage is—as the Left claims it is–solely the institutional recognition of deeply felt, intense loving feelings between people, why should the government prohibit two brothers who are in love from marrying? If people should be allowed to marry whomever they love—as the Left claims they should be–then why shouldn’t two brothers and their mutual boyfriend be permitted to marry?

4. Does marriage have an inherent nature that government merely recognizes, or does society create it out of whole cloth?

5. Are rights granted to couples or to individuals?

6. Are rights accorded to people based on their objective characteristics or on their subjective feelings and volitional acts?

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Using the Bible to explode popular myths and misconceptions about salvation (and other things)

A leading, non-Catholic website has compiled several lists of biblical references dealing with the conditional aspects of the promises of God, regarding eternal salvation (and various other things).

I see no conflict with authentic Catholic beliefs and/or practices in these specific links/references … which constitute a Bible study that is both practical and informative. 

When God has gone to the trouble of putting important precepts in writing, it makes no sense for us “moderns” to assume that he has changed his “mind” about them, just because a number of years have passed, and we no longer find it convenient or politically correct to pay attention to the specifics of his written word!