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Why converting Muslims is taboo in the Catholic Church

Christianity does not contradict Middle Eastern culture

By on Monday, 22 October 2012


What are they talking about at the Synod for Evangelisation? This article by Sandro Magister tells us that the Bishops have broached the taboo subject of conversions from Islam to Christianity. It makes interesting reading, despite the rather ponderous translation, (read the original here ) and I was particularly struck by this section of it, which I beg readers to consider carefully:

Particularly well developed was the reflection of Archbishop Joseph Absi, auxiliary and protosyncellus in Damascus of the Greek-Melkites in Syria, who noted that the “openness of some Muslims to Christianity, undoubtedly helped by today’s means of communication” and the fact that “some of them have even reached the point of discovering in Christ the loving face of God the Father.”

But since, he added, “The Muslims do not see the difference between Christians and Westerners, because they do not distinguish, themselves, between what is religious and what is political and social. What precedes the Westerners is perceived by the Muslims as preceding the Christians. Now, Western behaviour, especially on the cultural and political level and in a general way, harms the religious and national sensitivity of the Muslims, their values, their ethics and their culture. Consequentially, this forms an obstacle to their openness to Christianity and to their possible evangelisation.”

In fact, he explained, “The majority of Muslims are convinced that the relaxing of mores, the exploitation of weak and poor peoples, the disdain of the Muslim religion that they feel from Westerners, comes from Christians. What can be done to stop the Muslims from confusing Christianity and the West, Christians and Westerners, and to not feel ridiculed and frustrated? The Synod, in its configuration of new evangelisation, should lean towards this question, to learn how to avoid, as much as possible, tensions and misunderstandings and what to do so that the Muslims may be more receptive with regards to the Church and to the Gospel.”

What the Archbishop pinpoints is the problem of inculturation, which is a major point of interest for all missionaries. If Christianity is perceived as a Western phenomenon then it will not be welcomed by people in the Muslim world. But of course Christianity is not a Western phenomenon, but a universal one, and can be joined to any culture without destroying what is good in that culture. Being Christian and being, for example, Syrian or Egyptian, can and do go together. It is simply not true that the Christians of the Middle East are somehow Western plants or the agents of the Great Satan, the United States. In fact, the Christians of the Middle East predate the rise of Islam by many centuries.

History proves this point about inculturation. The Church’s most successful mission was that to the lands of the former Aztec Empire, which were converted to Christianity within a generation, because the missionaries presented the faith as something that would complement and complete the Aztec culture, rather than replace it. The Church’s least successful mission, which made scant progress despite huge efforts in the nineteenth century, was the mission to Japan, which won over few Japanese, who perceived Christianity as a foreign faith, and as alien to their culture.

There has in fact been, I have read, a very successful mission in certain parts of the Muslim world, where many have been won over by Evangelical Protestant missionaries who have presented Christ and Christianity as the fulfilment of Islamic culture, rather than its contradiction. As Catholic missionary theologians always say, Christ comes to fulfil culture, not replace it. Nor do we, in inviting people to become Christian, impose any one culture on them. But this successful mission is not trumpeted abroad, because converting Muslims is, as Sandro Magister observes, a taboo subject.

It is worth pointing out that the Catholic Church has an absolute and God-given right, indeed a duty, to proclaim Jesus Christ everywhere, in season and out of season. So, there should be no taboos. This I think was the reason the Holy Father baptised Magdi Cristiano Allam  at the Easter Vigil in 2008, to show us all that this was a perfectly legitimate act. And where the Holy Father leads, we should all follow. We should certainly all of us pray that he word of God be proclaimed ever more insistently among all peoples, Muslims included.

  • Sophiety

    Heartless and arrogant I see.
    I suggest you re read Peter’s comment “Life is difficult for many Muslim families, particularly those fleeing military conflict and having to live in camps in other countries, surrounded by uncertainty, poverty and danger” 
    and your reply was? Oh deary me!

  • Howard

    By “how many”, I want a number.  Or to get straight to the point, I am wondering if you are a sedevacantist who does not acknowledge the two recently proclaimed Doctors.  If I read you correctly, you do reject an ecumenical council convened by a Pope. 

    So you proclaim yourself a “copper-plated Catholic”, huh?  Are you speaking ex cathedra when you pronounce this judgment?

  • Moi

     I think the reason for success in bringing Muslims to Christ, where there is success, is the same reason there is success in bringing anyone to Christ: preaching a clear message without hemming and hawing about it–to be saved, repent and believe in Christ, who loves you and died for you

  • scary goat

     Interesting little “aside” fact to go with that….rather nice co-incidence (or not as the case may be) …..Fatima is originally an arabic name which translates loosely as         ” Motherly”

  • scary goat

     My mind runs no-where.  What people wear at the beach is their own business.  What people wear to Church is expected to be modest out of respect.  It was just totally embarassing.  Cringe worthy.  I guess you must be more holy than me never to get distracted during Mass.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Arrogant? What are you on about?

    Yes, of course I read Peter’s comment. I don’t usually reply to posts I haven’t read, which I cannot say for you, it seems.

    I’ve seen the ignorance and material needs of these places with my own eyes, I suspect unlike you. And I repeat (wearily): “self-inflicted wounds”.

  • JabbaPapa

    The individualistic position is at the heart of Modernism.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    The origin of the village name of “Fatima” is from a story of the wars between the Portuguese and the Moors of Portugal. A Moslem girl, Fatima, fell in love with a catholic knight and was beheaded by her father as a result. Don’t know if that’s historically accurate, but I lived 40 kms from Fatima for three years, and that’s the story you hear locally. 

    I like the “motherly” story though. :-)

  • JabbaPapa

    Well, you yourself certainly are !!

  • JabbaPapa

    The idea that he was a “village idiot” and couldn’t possibly have been capable of making it up is false

    It’s also directly contradictory of islamic theology — which claims that the divine only manifests in those with purity and perfection.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    No, it wasn’t clear, so thank you for clarifying.

    You’re another one who cannot read other’s posts accurately. 

    Did I not say above that Vatican II was the culmination of a process?

    Whether it’s roots lie in the “Enlightenment” or further back is a different question.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Dear Howard, look up the number on wikipedia for yourself, but remember to include all up to St. Hildegard, pronounced a Doctor of the Church only a week or two ago.

    No, I am not a sede-vacantist.

    By suggesting I am, you show (early on, which is good, so we won’t have to continue this discussion) that you don’t really understand the points being made or the reasons why. That being the case, there is little point in continuing.

  • JabbaPapa

    This is a dubious correction


    You’re correct that a majority were Polish, but from the article I linked to earlier :

    Between 1939 and 1945 over 3,000 members of the Polish clergy were killed; 1,992 of them died in concentration camps, 787 of them at Dachau (see “The Priests of Dachau,” page 22).

    300 priests died at Sachsenhausen, 780 at Mauthausen, and 5,000 at Buchenwald. These numbers do not include the priests who were murdered en route to the camps or who died from diseases and exhaustion in the inhuman cattle cars used to transport victims. Several thousand nuns were also sent to camps or killed on the way.

    As for your notion that it’s because they were Polish, not because they were priests :

    The priests were housed in a special “priest block” and were targeted for especially brutal treatment by the SS guards.

  • JabbaPapa

    You created this focus on Catholics, so it’s hypocritical to now suggest that other members of the forum are paying undue attention to the sufferings of those Catholics.

  • scary goat

     If you go back and read a few of the other recent threads you will find we have gone through all these arguments already. There’s some quite interesting stuff there.  Try the thread on cafeteria Catholics.

    I actually went to see a priest yesterday about these questions because it was all boggling my mind and I felt I needed a “professional opinion”.  I went to a traditional but mainstream priest.

    We had quite a long discussion and he is going to get more info for me but the main gist of it was:

    1. How right are SSPX?

    2. If they are right, what happenned at V II? What went wrong?

    3. How naughty is it to be interested in the SSPX position?

    His answers to 1 and 3 were easy:

    1.  SSPX are right on a lot of things.

    3. It’s not naughty at all.

    2. Is more complicated.

    Roughly it is something like….The Holy Spirit was guiding the Council (in the bigger picture of things) but bishops are also men and can get carried away with their own ideas/agendas/even possibly sin. While the Holy Spirit is guiding, one also has to be open to that guidance. It is quite possible for some elements of a Council to have diverged somewhat. Which is why Pope Benedict is now working his guts out to put things right.

    The NO Mass for example, in the vote there were large numbers who voted against, some abstentions and a small majority voted in favour with reservations.  That sounds a bit strange to me.  If the guidance of the Holy Spirit was so clear why was there such disagreement? Who was “listening straight” when some said yes and some said no? They were all bishops and all guided by the Holy Spirit? Yet no real majority consensus?

    I don’t pretend to understand it all….but there is more to all this than meets the eye.  You may not agree with mr. Carter’s views, but please don’t start all this sedevacantist/protestant stuff again.  No need.

  • Howard

    No, I understand the objections to the Novus Ordo.  It is ridiculous to think I would not simply because I acknowledge the *authority* of the Pope and the bishops in union with him to make decisions, whether wise or not.

    I now see that I made an error, though; you are not the one who referred to the Holy Father as “Ratzinger”, it was Parasum.  I would say that is obviously and deliberately disrespectful when used by any Catholic of him AFTER his election as Pope.  When you responded to my comment, I thought you were responding as the person who had shown disrespect to the Pope.  Sorry for that misunderstanding.

    By the way, I may also have lined up my response under the wrong comment.

  • Howard

    I was interrupted and did not finish a sentence.  What I meant to say was,
     “It is ridiculous to think I would not simply because I acknowledge the *authority* of the Pope and the bishops in union with him to make decisions, whether wise or not, that I do not really understand.”  I understand better than you think, but I’m not impressed by the attitude, shown by so many traditionalists, that they are the ultimate judge over what is and is not a legitimate development in either doctrine or the liturgy, and that they need not either obey or show respect for the Pope as long as they include a reference to him in the Mass.  Sorry, that *is* the road to Protestantism, no matter how loudly it may be denied.

  • Annie


    Aztecs in Mexico 

    Incas in Peru

  • scary goat

     Yes.  In a post above I mentioned the Islam being “man made” rather than “supernatural” because the previous poster thought “something” might have posed as the Angel “revealing” the “revelations” to mohammad.  I doubt if this were the case, but while I believe it to be a man-made fabrication, this of course does not exclude Satan having a bit of an agenda here.  It was a pretty good plan really.

    This is the basics of how the Islam works.  Jesus WAS the Messiah (which scuppers Jewish views) BUT He wasn’t crucified nor did He die. (which scuppers Christian beliefs).  All prophets had “books”.  The Jews were the chosen people (to bring God’s message), but they were evil and disobeyed God, killed prophets and altered their books to suit themselves. The Christians lost “the book of Jesus” and all they have now are some stories about him which have been corrupted and things have been ascribed to Him which are blasphemous (ie that He was the Son of God).  God was angry with the line of Isaac so switched to plan B….the line of Ishmael (which are the Arabs) Ishmael actually being Abraham’s older son so it is right that the inheritance should be his.  Mohammad then had the final revelation which puts everything back to rights.

    Add in the “national pride” that I mentioned in a previous post……now try demolishing that!  Of course it can be demolished.  But you need a good knowledge of Scripture, a very logical mind, and an open-mind that can squeeze out of indoctrination, and if you get that far, then there are the practical difficulties….death penalty for apostasy for a start. 

    Of course there are the fundamentalists…and the wacko suicide bombers (which is actually forbidden in the Islam proper) but there are large numbers of “cafeteria muslims” who have a faith in God and try their best to live moral lives, but not too much beyond that.  Islam Lite.  Still…not an easy target for conversion for all the reasons mentioned above.  Some do…..but in general we are dealing with very closed minds.

  • scary goat

     Ouch!  I’m not at all sure that is justified.

  • scary goat

     ps.  I forgot to mention, “another belief system or none,”…….be careful what you wish for.  Arabs are pretty “tough cookies”.  At least with the Islam, they have some faith/moral system which offers restraint.  Arabs and Atheism?  Not a good mix.

  • scary goat

     I don’t know the facts of your story, but it sounds logical.  And yes, a muslim girl named Fatima.  (meaning motherly) having the town named after her.  But it’s nice that Our Lady should appear in a place named “motherly”.  Fits in nicely.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Thanks Annie. Never could sort me Aztecs from me Incas.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Which Traditionalist said they are the ultimate judge? Not one of them. Certainly not me.

    But we do have minds and we do have opinions. Strong opinions. And we are right, as time will surely tell. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Fair enough!! :-) That was gracious of you. 

    Easy for it to happen on this ridiculous system used by the CH. Parasum is no sede-vacantist either. The trouble is that the Hierarchy have made such a pig’s ear of things that the poor bloody laity has to sort it out. Same happened in the time of the Arians. I know we can get a bit acerbic at times, but that’s what strongly-held views do to one sometimes. 

    I know the Pope is striving might & main to do what he thinks is right, but you see – he has form. There’s not a lot of trust there. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Sure, they would say that. Did they make that up after he beheaded the 800 Jews, or before?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    The priest shouldn’t have allowed whoever in if they were genuinely immodestly dressed.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Scary, your priest is wise. That assessment is not far off.

  • scary goat

     Aha…..jihadwatch again!  I should be a bit careful of that site if I were you.  I have strong doubts about their factuality.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    For Scary:

    I’ve just read this for the first time. It really shocked me.


  • scary goat

     Hey, where did my post go?  It should be here and it was a really good one too!  I hope it comes back later.  I really don’t want to have to re-write it.  :-(

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    I think so too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ty.beiron Thomas Tyrone Beiron Tay

    The article headline is somewhat misleading, saying converting Muslims is “taboo” in the Catholic Church. Conversion for Muslims is apostasy and very serious under Islamic Law. For Catholics who err or teach heresy, it is equally serious and once upon a time, a lapsed heretic can be condemned to death. So, apostasy for any of the monotheistic faiths is pretty serious stuff. No need to get into the historical details here. However, Muslims who do find the Catholic faith a real call to witness should be well cared for pastorally and socially. In Singapore, we have a few – some as a result of mixed marriages where the parents allow the children to decide when they come of age. Some adult converts suffer being ostracised by their families and ehtnic communities as a result of their conversion. The race riots in Singapore in 1965 involved a Dutch Catholic girl who was raised Muslim by her caretaker, and the repercussion of the Maria Hertogh case still haunts religious harmony and inter-faith dialogue in our country. Several Catholic priests were mobbed and beated very seriously during those events. As part of our evangelical mission, to offer the fullness of Christian Truth, Muslims are also an important outreach, but not to proselytze, but witness the Gospel values. You pointed out how miserably the Catholic mission in Japan failed, despite the martyrs of Nagasaki  and so forth. Likewise, the failure of Rome in the early part of the Jesuit Mission to China to understand Chinese culture of “ancestor veneration” (mis-named “worship”, but bear in mind the old English for worship means “worthiness”), which virtually cost the loss of the conversion of China, despite members of the imperial family actually having been converted Catholics by the Jesuits. (Please read details elsewhere, easily on Google.) Our mission schools, hospitals and charities were successful in the 1800s-2000s in establishing the seed of Catholic faith and life in the new lands as trade routes opened up. Abuses aside (another story), what does the Catholic faith now offer incontrast to the distractions of materialism, modernism and relativism? In the midst of liberal trends, the bulwark of JPII stern and constant faith became a beacon to many youths who sought out a certitude in the chaos. Ultimately, simply being true to the Gospel is the best form of evangelism – no smearing, nothing negative, just love, faith, hope and charity… very much the classic virtues. Merton relates this story about the Japanese missionary priest being asked about his success over the decades, of how many converts he achieved? The priest replied that he lived among the locals harmoniously was his success. Yes, living as witness to the Gospel first, in full fideltiy, is a great part of being “Light” to the world. To most of my Muslim friends whom I sometimes get to share my faith with in this part of the world, they find us Catholics very accessible and non-judgmental (surprising to Westerners?). The reason is because in Asia, we Catholics have to integrate and there is so much to serve our community at large with. There is little time to care for proselytzing. God it seems is pretty busy at work in his vineyard. We thank all missionaries for their enduring effort.

  • JabbaPapa

    There’s a kind of IT gap between pages 1 and 2 of the comments section, where posts can vanish into for a couple of hours. I can now see your post BTW …

  • JabbaPapa

    Arabs and Atheism?  Not a good mix.

    Most of my immediate neighbours are “Arabs” — I can certainly attest to the truth of this last statement of yours !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Sensible answers from your priest.

  • JabbaPapa

    The idea that the divine only manifests in those with purity and perfection is contradicted by Genesis 3, and every single book of Sacred Scripture thereafter.

    The notion is based on a poor understanding by the Islamic philosophers of early mediaeval neo-Platonist inductionism.

    Oh, and according to these grievous Errors, Muhammed could behead whomever he liked — because Islam teaches that God feels hatred.

  • JabbaPapa

    Some of his claims are outrageous, and unacceptable.

    Generally speaking, the statements of Monseigneur Fellay demonstrate his tendency towards theological approximation — whereas theologians must always be very precise in their statements.

    Oftentimes we hear the
    solution to the crisis is to increase our fidelity to the pope and bishops. Yet,
    in his letter Msgr. Perl admits bishops don’t obey and anarchy is the result.
    The answer is to be faithful to the bishops?! Illogical!

    Wrong — there are certain matters where Bishops are free to exercise their own personal Authority without interference from the Pope, as is established by the constant teaching of the Church, of both Councils and Popes.The fact that this means that some individual Bishops might abuse that Authority is far preferable to the alternative.After the meeting, Cardinal
    Ottaviani took the Archbishop by the arm and said, “It’s the Boss who
    wants it,” that is to say, Pope John XXIII. He made the rule that condemned
    theologians not be on the list and also ordered that they be
    on the list!
    Pastor aeternus : “the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church”

    Lumen gentium : “the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power”

    Sovereign decisions by the Pope cannot be legitimately questioned by other Catholics, unless they can be demonstrated to be objectively heretical.

    To find out for himself, Archbishop Lefebvre
    was granted an audience with Pope John XXIII who demolished in an hour what he
    had written in his encyclical ten days before!

    Specifics ? I’ll take this with a good pinch of salt.The big intellectuals of the
    Council- de Lubac, Congar, Rahner, Murray- were
    all condemned because of their errors in the ten years preceding Vatican II!
    Today, what they taught is now considered the doctrine of the Church!

    I very much doubt that this is true.Lubac’s teaching that the natural and the supernatural are one and the same is NOT Catholic doctrine — nature has a supernatural cause, not the other way round.Congar was never formally condemned — he was instead considered as persona non grata for a while.Rahner’s plainly heretical concepts of the Trinity and of the relationship between God and Creation are NOT Catholic doctrine.John Courtney Murray’s Americanist understanding of religious liberty (“liberty” being essentially understood here in its American political understanding) is NOT Catholic doctrine — the doctrine of Religious Freedom is instead founded on the dogma of Free Will.In the aftermath of Vatican II, Yves Congar was quoted:
    “I had been given a very hard job
    during the Council. It was to prepare this part of the document in which I was
    to prove that religious liberty is found in Holy Scripture, which it is not!”
    I disagree with Congar’s opinion — ALL of the earliest books of the Old Testament plainly illustrate that the early Hebrews exercised their religious freedom quite extensively — this does not mean that bad choices deriving from an improper use of one’s freedom have magically become good ones.Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter to prepare for the Jubilee Year
    2000 titled, Tertio Millennio Adveniente [On the Coming of the Third
    Millenium]. The word “adveniente” refers to Advent, a literal
    concept of the Holy Father referring to the period of the Church from Vatican II
    to the Year 2000. This “Advent” is the time of preparation for a new
    era. Those who pretend the famous three zeroes of millenial years will usher in
    new eras have been condemned in former times. Practically speaking, the pope is
    a milleniarist, but at the same time Rome says it’s not milleniarism.
    The logic of Monseigneur Fellay is shoddy, and unacceptable — he’s adding 2 and 2, and coming up with 5.In his encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II explained and
    defended the primacy of the pope. Immediately after the correct teaching in the
    encyclical, he asks that new ways to exercise the primacy be researched.
    ?????And ???
    Pastor aeternus : “the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church”

    Lumen gentium : “the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power”

    decisions by the Pope cannot be legitimately questioned by other
    Catholics, unless they can be demonstrated to be objectively heretical.A few years ago Cardinal Ratzinger issued a text condemning the theology of
    liberation. The first text was a clear condemnation. The second text was
    announced and it was said that the second and the first had to be read in the
    light of the first and second respectively. But, in the second version you find
    phrases which justify the theology of liberation. So, liberation theology is
    simultaneously condemned and justified!
    The position of the Church towards liberation theology is unambiguous — the position of the Church towards the liberation theologians is far more complex. Some actions by those theologians are rightfully praised for their deep Charity ; their theology OTOH is unambiguously condemned.Last year, a Sri Lankan priest, Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, O.M.I., was
    excommunicated because of the heresies he taught about the Blessed Virgin Mary
    and the Church. Less than one year later, his religious order had his
    excommunication lifted even though Fr. Tissa Balasuriya preferred to sign his
    own text of abjuration rather than the one given him by Rome. After his
    excommunication had been lifted, Fr. Balasuriya said he had absolutely no
    regrets, that he had not taken anything back. So he continues to be the same
    heretic, but now is no longer excommunicated!
    This account is untrue — “his
    own text of abjuration” was rejected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Fr. Balasuriya accepted that there errors could be inferred from his book, although he would not himself agree with such inferences, and therefore rejected the accusation of personal doctrinal error. He wrote : “I realize that serious ambiguities and doctrinal errors were perceived in my
    writings and therefore provoked negative reactions from other parties, affected
    relationships and led to an unfortunate polarization in the ecclesial community. I truly
    regret the harm this has caused
    . “. All of his writings are now subjected to a condition of imprimatur from his bishops.It’s a simple case of the “theologian’s sin”, which is that it is possible for an overly hasty theologian to unwittingly teach doctrine in a manner that could lead others into error — ironically, this very same accusation could be made against Monseigneur Fellay in these comments of his own. It does NOT constitute a heresy in either case, just a sin.The pope wrote again this year [1998] to the German bishops about abortion.
    For a woman to have an abortion in Germany, she must first appear before a board
    of consulters for counseling and receive a certificate of proof she has done so
    before she can submit to the murder of her baby. By law, one third of the board
    of consulters are Catholic bishops. The pope wrote to forbid the German bishops
    to grant this certificate under pain of direct cooperation in the abortion. In
    response, the German bishops held an extraordinary meeting and agreed that in
    a year’s time they would obey the pope’s order!
    This account is partial and one-sided. The German bishops were engaged in a fundamentally flawed but well-intentioned attempt to prevent these abortions — it’s estimated that they were saving 5000 lives a year through their actions — but it is true that these were incompatible with Catholic doctrine. They therefore complied to the request from the Pope and the CDF in 2000.In one of the important ecclesiastical magazines of Holland
    [July 1998], a
    bishop wrote such scandalous things I had to check with the chancery who
    verified the words as his. In his article, this bishop began: “When I die,
    I will not go to heaven, neither will I go to hell, because these words are
    words which the Church has taken from the Middle Ages. They have nothing to do
    with the reality. Science has now seen the heavens with powerful telescopes, so
    these concepts are totally wrong and we can no longer speak of heaven and
    hell.” He continues by approving euthanasia, relations outside of marriage,
    and contraception. Finally, he argues that 80% of Catholics are committing
    excommunicable offenses, but that since it would be impossible to excommunicate
    four out of five Catholics we are safe to believe whatever we want! Nothing
    happens to him!
    Well, finally something I can agree with 100% — statements like that deserve excommunication.A friend of ours in the Curia came to visit me recently. He told me a story
    that shows a little bit what the pope does or can do. The pope, he told me,
    wanted to go to Fatima on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the first
    apparition, but didn’t attend because he was not invited! I didn’t know the
    pope needed to be invited to go somewhere!
    … etc …This story is ludicrous — it is blatantly obvious that for purely practical reasons, a papal visit is only going to be feasible with the agreement of those being visited, simply because of the requirements and preparations that such a visit would necessarily occasion. If anything, this is a diplomatic faux-pas on the part of the Portuguese, if it is true that no response to the request was ever provided.Also — WHERE exactly does Catholic doctrine teach that the Pope cannot make a request, but must always only issue commands ??? +Fellay is just being willfully disingenuous.—(from about there onwards, the quality of Monseigneur Fellay’s talk undergoes a vast improvement)I personally estimate that about half of the priests worldwide have lost
    faith in the Real Presence.
    I’d tend to agree, and who knows what the % is among the Laity !!!But modern thinkers say truth is the agreement between our
    intellect and life.
    I have NEVER heard anyone suggest such a definition of truth — it is patently absurd.Modern philosophies also deny
    that our intelligence can understand the essence of things- the deepest part of
    things – which can’t change.
    This is a gross over-simplification of one of the most virulently debated questions in philosophy, Ancient, Mediaeval, and Modern. Some modern philosophers teach what +Fellay describes…Another disaster is perpetrated in
    theology by the
    refusal of bad theologians to distinguish between nature and grace. This leads
    to a failure to distinguish between body and soul. To refuse to distinguish
    between created nature and the grace of the Creator concludes to no distinction
    between creatures and the Creator, between man and God! What does Pope John Paul
    II himself say?
    “Every man and every people, by the fact that Our Lord died on the cross and
    by the action of the Holy Ghost, every man is a child of God. He is a
    participant of divine life and is called to eternal happiness. [Tertio
    Millennio Adveniente]”

    Every man! St. Paul says
    [Rom. 8:14] that those who are led by the Spirit of
    God, are the sons of God. The Spirit of God must be in them. He says very
    clearly that the Holy Ghost is not in everybody [Rom. 8:13]. But the present
    pope maintains that the Holy Ghost is dwelling mysteriously in everybody because
    of the failure to distinguish between nature and grace.
    This is some very bad theology on +Fellay’s part — certain Graces, including for example the Grace of Free Will, are bestowed on every one of us in our nature as created souls in the image of God. It would be a heresy to claim that the Holy Spirit does not participate in the bestowal of these Graces to all of mankind. This does not make the universally received Graces identical to the Graces provided by Conversion, Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and so on — nor does it make those universal Graces a part of created nature.

  • karlf

     I think Sophiety’s point was that for the families mentioned in Peter’s comment, their hardships are not self inflicted.

  • karlf

     What do you mean by “May God rest all their souls”? Surely they are having a lively time in heaven aren’t they??

  • scary goat

     Very good post.  Thankyou. :-)

  • scary goat

     Ah ok, it’s there now.  But for some reason it looks like a separate new comment.  It was a reply to one of Ben’s which said something about hatred of the Cross being demonic.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    A very long post Jabba. In terms of a summary of the Crisis, I’ll go with the man who has been formed expertly in the Catholic Faith that has existed for 2,000 years, not the version that’s been around for 48.

  • Mr Grumpy

    I did not say that it was not because they were priests. The point is that priests and religious were rounded up en masse in Poland, as opposed to being sent to the camps as a result of specific acts of resistance as was generally the case in Germany. The difference in numbers speaks for itself.

  • Cjkeeffe

    There is a deeper question here.
    Christians should present the truth of Jesus Christ to the whole world including Jews and Muslims.
    The Jews are awaiting the messiah He came, what are they waiting for, yes they are faithful to the convent between God and Israel but what effect does it continue to have given the messiah has come. Indeed are they being faithful to God in continuing to abide by a completed covenant?
    Islam claims to be an Abrahmic faith – but is it? Its only claim to validity is through the illegitimate child of Abraham. Is this really a valid claim of succession?
    Further if Islam is accepted as a revealed religion, pray tell in what way was the Incarnation of Christ intrinsically defective to require a successive revelation through not God The Father Himself, but through a mere human?
    Yes Allah may mean God, but what God does it mean? Christians believe God is a Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Islam believes God is a single unity. To Muslim Christians are at best polytheistic because our God is three. So when Christians pray to God, is it the same Allah that Muslims pray too? I would not rush to say yes.
    The good news of the Gospel sets us free, minimising Christ for political correctness denies Him.

  • scary goat

     Thank you moderators.  Now it’s there and in the right place :-)

  • Cjkeeffe

    Of note is that the JWs where the only prisoner population that the Nazis allowed out of concentration camps if they repudiated being a JW. This is bourne out in Laurence rees book on the nazis.

  • Cjkeeffe

    Your wrong, so wrong Bernard Lichesten (spelling) was deported to death camp for standing up for the jews.
    French Carthusians where targetted for providing shelter to Jews. Bl Titus Brandsma was deported to death for defedning press freedom and writing on defence of jews and others.
    Your absolute statement has been falsified by the facts of history.

  • JabbaPapa

    As will I dear Benedict — but that’s how long the Anti-Vatican II crowd have been around, isn’t it ?

  • cephas2

    “History proves this point about inculturation. The Church’s most successful mission was that to the lands of the former Aztec Empire, which were converted to Christianity within a generation, because the missionaries presented the faith as something that would complement and complete the Aztec culture, rather than replace it.” You neglect to mention the major role played by Our Lady of Guadeloupe – a serious omission!