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!

Seen on the web: Modern Judaism Bears Little Resemblance To Anything Today’s Christians (Think) They Know About It.

Posted by Barrabas, at CatholicHerald.UK:

Modern Judaism is not the Old Testament religion but is, instead, rabbinic Pharisaism — a religion which consists of: verbally honoring Torah, but seeing Moses’ Books through the lens of: the Talmud; Kabbalah and other magical practices and beliefs acquired before and during the Babylonian Captivity, and rabbinical authority (not priestly authority, as in the Old Testament). The rabbinical view of history is that the “Jews” were chosen, as a biological race and because of their genetic superiority, by God to bring about an earthly Jewish Kingdom in which Gentiles follow the Noahide laws and are subject to rabbinical authority.

So Nick, your pseudo-history template looks something like this: Jesus, (whom the Talmud and Toledoth Yeshu consider a blasphemous heretic sorcerer), came along, the Temple fell, many Jews were “led astray” by the followers of Jesus, and His Church has been persecuting the Jews ever since, without cease, for no reason, and never in response to Jewish behaviors and attitudes. Voila Hitler!

Ever hear how the Pharisees threw out the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, used by the Palestinian Jews for hundreds of years and cherished by the Apostles, because this version, which contains the Deuterocanonical Books (referred to as the “Apocrypha” by Protestants), was used by the Christians to proselytize Jews due to its more specific language used to convey the Messianic prophecies?

Ever hear of the Birkat ha-Minim — a part of the Amidah prayer which consists of a curse against Christians asking God to destroy us? This Amidah prayer with its curse against Christians has been prayed by religious Jews three times a day for almost two millennia.

Ever hear of the respected Rabbi Simeon Ben Johai (quoted over 700 times in Talmud), who formally declared that non-Jews are not even human?

Ever hear how Jews allied themselves with the Christian-born but later professing pagan Julian the Apostate, Emperor of Rome between A.D. 361 and 363 and fourth successor of Constantine, who oppressed Christians even as he tried to help Jews rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, a project that ended when mysterious balls of fires emanated from the ground (and sky, depending on the account) at the site, burning the workers to death, and an earthquake struck?

Ever hear of Jewish pogroms against Christians that took place not only in Palestine (note the famous Bar Kochba Rebellion of A.D. 135), in Caesarea, Scytpolis, Yemen, Antioch — a town through which Jews dragged the body of Patriarch Anastasius in A.D. 608, after they threw his genitals in his face and disembowelled him?

Ever hear how the Jews allied themselves with the Persians in attacking Palestine in A.D. 614 — and how they reveled in slaughtering the Christians there and razing their churches, including the one built over Christ’s Tomb. According to Monk Strategius of Mar Saba (Antiochus Strategos), Jews purchased Christian slaves from the Persians for the sole purpose of slaughtering them “just as one might buy cattle to slaughter” ?

Ever hear how Jews rose to high levels in medieval Spanish society by falsely claiming to have converted to the Holy Faith, how many became priests, rose to prominence in the Church, and then proceeded to Judaize that country’s Catholics? Ever hear how these false converts also cooperated with Muslims to overtake that country during the Muslim invasions (oh, so that’s why that nasty Catholic Queen Isabella kicked them out in 1492!) ?

Ever hear about Jewish usury — the other true source of “anti-semitism” in European history?

Of course not, because you and so many others have been fed a propaganda formula – Catholics=bad, Jews=good; Catholics=persecuters, Jews=persecuted – that inhibits you from reading about or engaging history in any mature way.

*****

Posted by LeFloch, at CatholicHerald.UK:

…St John Chrysostom, who stated in one of eight homilies against the Jews:

“The difference between the Jews and us in not a small one, is it? Is the dispute between us over ordinary, everyday matters, so that you think the two religions are really one and the same? Why are you mixing what cannot be mixed? They crucified the Christ whom you adore as God. Do you see how great the difference is? How is it, then, that you keep running to those who slew Christ when you say that you worship him whom they crucified? You do not think, do you, that I am the one who brings up the law on which these charges are based, nor that I make up the form which the accusation takes? Does not the Scripture treat the Jews in this way?”

I think a study of the works of the Saints, Church Fathers and Councils would be more supportive of my interpretation than Benedict’s. What is more likely to be true? Two thousand years of teaching based on Divine Revelation and plain common sense … or a ‘theological insight’ … gained in 2011?

More …

Galileo was wrong: The Bible does not teach how the Heavens go … but rather, how to go to Heaven.


Lima, Peru, Aug 25, 2010 / 10:06 pm (CNA).- In an interview this week with the Peruvian daily El Comercio, physics expert Fr. Manuel Carreira clarified numerous and often misunderstood details about the life of Galileo, also touching on the relationship between faith and science.

The priest confirmed to El Comercio that Galileo “was a believer” and that, despite assumptions to the contrary, “he did not spend one minute behind bars … nor was he excommunicated.” Fr. Carreira added that Galileo “died professing the faith under the care of a religious sister and with a papal blessing.”

Fr. Carreira, who was in Lima for the Second Congress on the Holy Shroud of Turin, said that during Galileo’s time, there was no proof  that the Earth moved around the sun. “His supposed evidence was invalid,” the physicist noted, as well as dismissed by other astronomers.

Galileo’s correct idea, he explained, was that “the Bible does not teach science.” However, the famed astronomer “also wanted theologians to change their interpretation of the text according to his theory.” Although the theologians of his day “were mistaken in thinking that the Bible teaches astronomy,” the priest added, “they were correct in saying that as long as there was no evidence, Galileo should have presented his ideas as a theory and not ask them to change their opinions.”

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Comprehensive article explains Catholic approach to healing homosexual disorders

At the present time most Catholics have little to no understanding of the emotional causes of homosexual attractions and behavior nor of the powerful role that Catholic spirituality can play in the healing of this disorder. The reasons for this state of ignorance are numerous and include the scant literature available on the value of the Catholic Faith and the sacraments in the resolution of homosexual attractions and acts; failure of traditional therapy to resolve homosexual behavior; views within the media and educational, social service, health and political fields. In addition, there are many factions within the Church herself that are opposed to and are attempting to undermine traditional Catholic moral doctrine on this issue.

The failure to understand the actual causes of homosexuality impacts those who counsel teenagers and adults with this disorder. Therapists regularly tell those seeking help that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is insensitive to homosexuals, unscientific, and erroneous. They are advised to accept themselves as being created homosexual by God. Unfortunately, those giving such counsel usually have little awareness of the emotional conflicts leading to homosexual attractions nor of the healing power available with forgiveness and the Catholic spirituality.

In my clinical experience over the past twenty years I have witnessed the resolution of the emotional pain which caused homosexual temptations and behavior in several hundred males and females. Their process of healing occurred, first, through insight-oriented psychotherapy to identify the origins of their conflicts and then through the use of forgiveness and Catholic spirituality. Such a treatment approach is similar in ways to the employment of spirituality in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. In fact, major breakthroughs were made in the management of addictive disorders only after a reliance on God was made the cornerstone of the treatment plan. Prior to that time, traditional psychotherapy alone resulted in minimal improvement. The use of Catholic spirituality in the treatment of homosexuality follows a similar pattern.

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