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December 12, 2006

Comments

BillyHW

I thought B16's visit to the Blue Mosque was all class.

Tim

Is that picture of Hagia Sophia, not the Blue Mosque?

BillyHW

I think the Blue Mosque design was lifted from the Hagia Sophia's design.

From Wikipedia:
The [Blue] mosque was deliberately sited to face Hagia Sophia, to demonstrate that Ottoman and Islamic architects and builders could rival anything their Christian predecessors had created. However, the architect was unable to construct a bigger dome than Hagia Sophia's, so he instead made the mosque splendid by the perfect proportion of domes, semidomes, and minarets. Still, the building failed to surpass Hagia Sophia in size, which greatly angered Sultan Ahmet.

'nuff said.

Curious

I've read comments that the Pope was holding his pectoral cross with one hand (discreetly) during the prayer. It's hard to tell from the stills I've seen. I would have been happier if he'd started his personal prayer with a big fat sign of the cross. As it is, his gesture is easily interpreted in the Muslim world as a dhimmi submitting to Allah's true religion.

My Cat's Name Is Lily

Since Scripture tells us to "pray always", it seemes to me a stretch for anyone to criticise the pope for praying, in a mosque, or anywhere else.
Especially since he is, after all....the pope. Kinda part of the job description,praying......

AnonnyMouse

Curious,
Here is the video of the visit:
http://www.domusdei.org/2006/12/02/p...e-blue-mosque/
I am under the impression that he was touching his cross too. The "prayer at the mosque" is toward the end of the video and if I remember correctly, the whole video is about 6 or 7 minutes.
God Bless

Damascus Boy

One of the great things about faith in Emmanuel (God with us) is that we can pray anywhere. God is in all things but sin. And even when we are in sin He still reaches out to us.

My Muslim friends tell me they would consider it improper to pray when ritually unclean eg while menstruating or in a toilet. By 'pray' I think they mean the ritual prayers as well as any private extemporary prayers.

Josiah

Mr. Allen's defense of Pope Benedict (that it was okay for him to pray at a mosque without explaining what he was doing because his objections to inter-religious prayer are so well known) is rather weak. Only a small percentage of Westerners (let alone Muslims) is familiar with the Pope's prior statements on the matter, which is why Allen has to spend the better part of his column explaining what those views are. So it isn't the case that an explanation wasn't needed because everyone already knew about the Pope's objections to inter-religious prayer. Everyone didn't know. In fact, virtually no one did.

Esau

From Wikipedia:
The [Blue] mosque was deliberately sited to face Hagia Sophia, to demonstrate that Ottoman and Islamic architects and builders could rival anything their Christian predecessors had created. However, the architect was unable to construct a bigger dome than Hagia Sophia's, so he instead made the mosque splendid by the perfect proportion of domes, semidomes, and minarets. Still, the building failed to surpass Hagia Sophia in size, which greatly angered Sultan Ahmet.


Nice tid-bit, considering:

Hagia Sophia, (the Church of) Holy Wisdom, now known as the Ayasofya Museum, is a former Eastern Orthodox church converted to a mosque in 1453 by the Turks, and converted into a museum in 1935. It is located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest buildings of the world. Its conquest by the Ottomans at the fall of Constantinople is considered one of the great tragedies of Christianity by the Greek Orthodox faithful.


I wonder if there'll ever come a time when Catholicism (East & West) will win back all those things wrongfully seized from it in its dark past, whether it is from the Muslims in the Middle East or the Protestants (like in England, for example, when all its churches and several church properties were confiscated at the time of the Reformation).

Ryan C

"As it is, his gesture is easily interpreted in the Muslim world as a dhimmi submitting to Allah's true religion."

Given the firestorm that ensured after the Pope's earlier comments and the protests of his visit to Turkey, I'm sure no one is under any such delusions concerning the Pope's non-dhimmi status.

Dave Mueller

Praying in a mosque is not necessarily inter-religious prayer. If I am ever in a mosque, I guarantee you I will be praying, but not to Allah.

Eileen R

Still, the building failed to surpass Hagia Sophia in size, which greatly angered Sultan Ahmet.

Man, I hope the architect survived.

Esau

Man, I hope the architect survived.

Considering he couldn't outdo a Christian, an Infidel of all things -- If I were a betting man, I'd say his goose was cooked!

Josiah

Dave,

If you read the Allen piece linked to, Pope Benedict's position is that multi-religious prayer needs to be accompanied by explanatory statements so that it isn't mistaken for inter-religious prayer. Why Benedict didn't follow his own prescription in this case is unclear.

Ryan,

To my way of thinking, the firestorm over the Pope's Regensburg lecture makes it *more* likely that his actions in the Blue Mosque will be seen as a capitulation by the Muslim world. This is particularly true when combined with the Pope's apparent semi-reversal on Turkey and the EU, and some of the other statements Benedict made about Islam during the trip. There may be a perfectly good explanation for the Pope's actions, but it certainly doesn't *look* good.

Ann Margaret Lewis

The pope's travel diary can be found here.

Let me highlight the specific portion:

Further on Benedict XVI explains the meaning of his prayer at the Blue Mosque in this way:

“Pausing for a few moments of recollection in that place of prayer, I turned to the one Lord of heaven and earth, the merciful Father of all humanity. May all believers recognize his creatures and bear witness to true brotherhood!”

Here the pope takes up the formula that Vatican Council II used in regard to the “Muslims who worship the one God.” But he calls God “Father,” a name that is not used for the God of Islam. In the Regensburg lecture, Joseph Ratzinger dedicated an important passage to the different concepts of God in Islam and in Christianity.

In other words, he prayed to God the Father--not the God of Islam, for they do not call him such.

Good for him.

Esau

Josiah:

Isn't it appropriate for the Vicar of Christ to promote peace especially given the tensions in the Middle East among Muslims and their already heated aggresion against Christians in the region or in the world for that matter?

If a simple act of humility (and, mind you, his act did not actually mean an acquiescence to the Islamic religion or a surrender to Muslim customs as he very well prayed to the Father of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ) can help to promote peace, why not? Wouldn't you think that this was appropriate as the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock, that he ensures their safety?

Think universally, will you? He is, after all, entrusted by Christ to care and look after His flock.

If only you were familiar with the hostilities that are frequently directed at the Catholics, the Christians, in that region, you would come to a better understanding of this; those whose very lives are at stake!

Not to mention, the deaths of those Catholics (e.g., the innocent priest killed due to the cartoon furore, the nun killed by gunmen) that clearly demonstrate the ever mounting tensions against Christianity that is ever building up in the region.

It is right for the Pope as the Good Shepherd who looks after and cares for his sheep, to take steps to promote peace and try to ensure the safety of his flock amidst the wolves! He is, in fact, doing the very thing Christ had entrusted Peter to do in the New Testament and that is to look after His sheep!

Brian John Schuettler

By his actions His Holiness did not desire to make of statement of power to Islam. Wouldn't that actually contradict the very point he is making that it is faith and reason, not power and irrationality, that are the foundation for our actions with each other? As the saying goes, there is a time and place for everything. By showing respect for Islam the pope practiced what he preached and thereby set the example for those who would be his enemies. He offered the olive branch, not the sword, and in so doing opened the door for the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts and the minds of the followers of the Prophet. There will certainly be those on both sides who will view B16's actions as being weak and not strong but it is not strength that the Vicar of Christ is charged to bring to the world...it is the love and the mercy of Our Saviour.

Esau

Excerpts from HOW DOES THE POPE PRAY?
Threshold of Hope by His Holiness John Paul II

Because the Pope is a witness of Christ and a minister of the Good News, he is a man of joy and a man of hope, a man of the fundamental affirmation of the value of existence, the value of creation and of hope in the future life. Naturally, this is neither a naive joy, nor a vain hope. The joy of the victory over evil does not obfuscate-it actually intensifies-the realistic awareness of the existence of evil in the world and in every man. The Gospel teaches us to call good and evil by name, but it also teaches: "Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good" (cf. Rom 12:21).

...

The Pope, like every Christian, must be keenly aware of the dangers to which man is subject in the world, in his temporal future, and in his final, eternal, eschatological future. The awareness of these dangers does not generate pessimism, but rather encourages the struggle for the victory of good in every realm. And it is precisely from this struggle for the victory of good in man and in the world that the need for prayer arises.

The Pope's prayer, however, has an added dimension.

In his concern for all the churches every day the Pontiff must open his prayer, his thought, his heart to the entire world. Thus a kind of geography of the Pope's prayer is sketched out. It is a geography of communities, churches, societies, and also of the problems that trouble the world today. In this sense the Pope is called to a universal prayer in which the sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum (concern for all the churches; 2 Cor 11:28) permits him to set forth before God all the joys and hopes as well as the griefs and anxieties that the Church shares with humanity today.

...

The Church prays that everywhere the work of salvation will be accomplished through Christ.

The Church prays that it can live in constant dedication to God's mission.

Josiah

Esau,

If I thought that the Pope's actions in Turkey would actually promote peace, I might take a different view. I fear, however, that they will have an opposite effect. You do not get peace by giving in to a bully, only temporary respite, and you make it more likely that you will be bullied again in the future.

The Pope made some critical remarks about Islam. Nothing that isn't said about Christianity every day of the week. For doing so, he was threatened with death. Nuns and priests were murdered, buildings were burned, and slanderous lies were said about him both at home and abroad. So far as I know the people who have done these things have never expressed the slightest remorse for having done so. If Benedict's response to all this is to call Islam a religion of peace, and abandon his position on multi-religious prayer and opposition to Turkey joining the EU, I don't see how these Muslims are to conclude anything other than that their moral blackmail has worked, and that they can, by threats of violence, silence even the Pope. That is a recipe for more violence, not peace.

Just someone

What's the big deal?!

A mosque is just a big empty building; surely the Pope can 'raise his mind & heart to God' no matter where he is.

Brian John Schuettler

A mosque is just a big empty building; surely the Pope can 'raise his mind & heart to God' no matter where he is.


absolutely!...that is why He is called the Lord of the Universe...it's all His!!! It is the attitude of the pray-er, not the place of the prayer.

CINS

STOP JUDGING BY EXTERNAL STANDARDS, AND JUDGE BY TRUE STANDARDS-John 7:24(TEV) - www.vaticans.org(CINS)

A remarkable day in the history of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. Benedict XVI thus became the second Pope to visit a mosque after his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

At the Blue Mosque, the Pope removed his shoes and put on white slippers. Then he walked beside Mustafa Cagrici, the head cleric of Istanbul. Facing the holy city of Mecca — in the tradition of Islamic worship — Cagrici said: “Now I’m going to pray.” The Holy Father, too, bowed his head and his lips moved as if reciting words.”

Pope’s moving lips were captured by television cameras and transmitted by satellite instantaneously around the world, to the ends of the earth. For this moment, Pope Benedict XVI was not teaching, or explicating, or lecturing. He was not debating historical events and their meaning. He was not the “German professor,” the “professor pope.”

He was “THE POPE OF PRAYER”

But he was praying in a very unusual place, for a pope: in a Muslim mosque. One of the famous Muslim mosques in the world. And mosques are places dedicated to Allah, not to the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Was this right?

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the mosque visit was added as a “sign of respect” to Muslims. “A (Christian) believer can pray in any place, even a mosque,” Lombardi said, calling it an “intimate, personal prayer.”

This shows that, in such matters, external, visible signs may be of less importance than the moment’s inner meaning. For the inner meaning of a thing is something that cannot be seen or heard, but only understood with heart.

Esau

The Pope made some critical remarks about Islam. Nothing that isn't said about Christianity every day of the week. For doing so, he was threatened with death. Nuns and priests were murdered, buildings were burned, and slanderous lies were said about him both at home and abroad.

So, Josiah, your solution to this was to have Benedict XVI infuriate the Muslims even more by telling them just what kind of religion they have and putting it down in front of the rest of the world?

You've got to learn that the best thing for him to have done was to diffuse the situation as he did.

You don't quiet the hostile flames of hatred by adding more fuel to the fire!!!

You do so by the olive branch of peace as Christ had taught us!

Esau

If Benedict's response to all this is to call Islam a religion of peace, and abandon his position on multi-religious prayer and opposition to Turkey joining the EU, I don't see how these Muslims are to conclude anything other than that their moral blackmail has worked, and that they can, by threats of violence, silence even the Pope. That is a recipe for more violence, not peace.


Josiah:

And you actually think that yours is a recipe for peace?

If your solution to quell the flames of aggression and hate is to fight it with even more hate and aggression, and actually have the Pope denounce Islam in front of all nations, insult all Muslims by acts of clear defiance against the Islamic religion, I just don't know what Scripture you actually adhere or even submit to!

Clearly, it is not Christ's!

Christ's message was one of peace and not that of the sword!

The Pope is attempting to win the hearts of Muslims by a message of peace and not by the sword!

Esau

Josiah:

READ THE HEADLINES:

NBC: Pope's Turkey trip a surprise success
By Keith Miller
Senior foreign correspondent
NBC News
Updated: 1:14 p.m. PT Nov 30, 2006

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The newspaper headlines here have been astonishing. "So Far So Good," read one banner headline; "Alliance of Faiths," read another. And splashed across the front page of most papers Thursday was a picture of a smiling Pope Benedict XVI waving a Turkish flag.

With gentle gestures and well-timed words, Benedict managed to charm the Turkish people and transformed his image from a crusty old anti-Turkish Islamaphobe to a politically savvy statesman in a matter of days. (He is set to return to Rome at midday Friday.)


Dire warnings

This is not how things were expected to turn out for Benedict's visit to Turkey. Rather, there were dire warnings of mass demonstrations and fears that there might even be an assassination attempt because tensions were still so raw among many Turkish people over past perceived transgressions by the pope.

In particular, before being elected as pope the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke out against Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. And in September of this year, Benedict inspired the ire of Muslims the world over when he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor who said Islam was violent and irrational during a speech at Regensburg University in Germany.

The mood the day before the pope arrived was ugly. Twenty-five thousand protesters gathered in Istanbul to demanding that he never set foot in their country. Most of the people at the demonstration were members of a conservative Islamic organization.

The papal tour had even seemed to fail to gain much support from the government, with so many ministers saying they had to be out of the country on business that one wondered who was going to run things during the visit.


Sea change
It all turned out much sunnier. After a building-bridges-inspired reshuffling of schedules, there to greet Benedict when he arrived in Ankara on Tuesday was Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who had originally said that he would miss the pope’s visit because of a previous engagement at the NATO meeting in Latvia.

And upon meeting Erdogan, Benedict immediately scored a home run by announcing that the Vatican was not opposed to Turkey's entrance into the European Union and that he considered Islam a religion of peace.

With those words, Benedict instantly gained points on two hot-button issues and seemed to turn down the temperature a bit. At outdoor coffee shops the mood was relaxed, with most saying they were happy the pope was visiting, though others were still demanding an apology for the pope's remarks linking Islam to violence.

On the same day, Benedict sat as still as a member of the choir as he listened to a lecture by Ali Bardakoglu, Turkey’s president of religious affairs, who, in a direct allusion to the pope's remarks at a German university last September, said that references to Islam being spread by the sword encourage Islamophibia.

When the pope did speak he concentrated on what united Christian and Islam, not what divided it. Nothing he said amounted to an apology, but by both listening to the the implied criticism without contradicting it and by his unity-inspiring words, he seemed to calm a good deal of Turkish anger over his earlier speech.

“He was still Cardinal Ratzinger before he came to Turkey, but now he has become Pope Benedict,” said Cemal Usak, secretary general of the Istanbul-based Intercultural Dialogue Platform.

Blue Mosque
But the most dramatic gesture of respect and reconciliation came when Benedict bowed his head in prayer with Mustafa Cagrici, the head cleric of Istanbul, inside Turkey’s most famous mosque — the Blue Mosque — on Thursday.

With his visit, Benedict became only the second pope in the Roman Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history to step inside a Muslim place of worship. The other was Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who visited a mosque in Syria in 2001.

The event was carried live on Turkish television. And there was the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics deep in prayer inside the mosque. "This visit will help us find together the way of peace for the good of all humanity," said the pope during the visit. Another home run.


Not world peace yet, but….
To be clear, no sweeping reconciliations have been achieved on this papal tour. For instance, the pope did not achieve an end to the divisions between Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics. (A major goal of his papacy — and this trip to Turkey — is to gain unity between the two ancient branches of Christianity which split in the so-called Great Schism nearly 1,000 years ago. In the Schism, two major branches of Christianity — the Catholic Church, based in Rome, and the Orthodox Church, based in Constantinope [now Istanbul, Turkey] — emerged. [The protestant branch of the church came in the 16th century after the reforms inspired by German cleric Martin Luther.])

But Benedict did have a symbolic display of unity with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians. The pope called for greater freedom for religious minorities and lamented the long-standing rift between Christians, saying, “the divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world."

The hurdles to achieve inter-faith trust are formidable, but as this trip winds up, BOTH THE POPE AND THE TURKISH PEOPLE CAN BE CONSIDERED WINNERS.

The LOSERS were easy to spot: al-Qaida in Iraq and the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, both of which protested the Pope's visit — al-Qaida calling it a "crusader campaign" against Islam — and expressed hope that the Turkish people would extensively protest the pope's visit.

Let's go to the scoreboard: Turkey has a population of 70 million people, 99 percent of whom are Muslim, yet they hosted the leader of the Catholic faith with dignity, respect and, on occasion, charm.

It was not an easy visit for both sides, but the world got a valuable lesson in tolerance.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15971974/

Mark Brown

The video is no longer available.

Curious

Esau,
I think I'm more with Josiah on this. Given the current temperature of the world's religious climate, it would have been better for the pope not to have done this gesture at all. It is too ambiguous. Also, I don't consider NBC news to be particularly good at understanding the nuances of this trip.
Tolerance in the west is interpreted as weakness by radical Muslims. They saw the Pope capitulating on his Regensburg statements and Turkey/EU stand and almost reciting the shahadah.

Robert

My problem with the Pope praying at a mosque is the appearance of a double standard, in which the Holy Father can go to a mosque, or kiss the koran (as John Paul II did), but we cannot attend the marriage of a Catholic relative who gets married in a Protestant church! How is that for confusing logic??!!

Esau

we cannot attend the marriage of a Catholic relative who gets married in a Protestant church! How is that for confusing logic??!!

Robert,
Do you even know why this is?
Also, this is a separate issue altogether!

Esau

Please, Curious.
If the actions of the Pope was that of capitulation, then, al-Qaida and other radical Muslim groups out there would not be so hostile towards the Pope even now!

They would actually be so well pleased with themselves and grinning over the events with what the Pope did at Turkey!

Instead, they remain ever against Pope Benedict!

It seems that the only ones to interpret the actions of Pope Benedict in this negative light (i.e., capitulation) are Catholics themselves whereas the radical Muslims out there continue to regard Pope Benedict XVI as a hostile enemy!

It's so nice of such Catholics to abandon their very leader for what seems like personal prejudice against him all because he doesn't fit into their narrow-minded sense of what a Catholic Pope should be and how he should act, at least, according to their flawed standards!

Esau

...almost reciting the shahadah.

Please provide me with actual proof of this?

If you're going to accuse the Pope of doing this, you very well must have evidence demonstrating that he actually did this!

Curious

Esau,
So touchy. As to the shahadah, I was characterizing how it appears to radical Muslims.

MSNBC has no clue what Al Quaida thinks about this. Their report is nothing but a bunch of wishful thinking. Most reporters are religiously tone-deaf, so their reporting on Islam is hopelessly ignorant.

The Pope's actions in Turkey were based on prudential political judgements. The Pope's infallibility does not extend to prudential political judgments. In this case, I think the Pope made a mistake. Not as bad as kissing the Koran, tho.

The real problem is that it is impossible to even discuss Islam without a bunch of nutcases shooting nuns or burning down Churches. This may call for a more muscular resolution to the problem.

Esau

Western Civ 101
Pope Benedict's seminar on fundamentals.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Friday, December 1, 2006 12:01 a.m.

It is somehow appropriate that amid the confusions of the U.S. involvement with the sectarians of Iraq, Pope Benedict XVI, fresh from his own "engagement" with contemporary Islam at Regensburg, should come to Turkey, which has sought membership in the European Union for 20 years. The theologian Michael Novak said recently of Benedict, "His role is to represent Western civilization." I'd say Benedict is more than up to the task. What remains to discover is whether Western civilization is still up to it.
We have been in this spot before, and won.

When Stalin famously asked how many divisions the pope had, he assumed that the brute force of military power would be everywhere decisive. That belief led to a four-decade standoff between the Soviets' tank armies and NATO. Finally in the 1980s, John Paul II, the Polish pope, gave intellectual hope and heft to anticommunist dissidents. Ronald Reagan and his allies prevailed over Europe's marching pacifists and installed Pershing missile batteries in Europe. By decade's end, the long Cold War with communism was dissipating. The pope's engagement mattered.

One may assume that in some Himalayan redoubt, history's latest homicidal utopians, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, believe that coupling their ideology to Islamic suicide bombers--in New York, London or Baghdad--is more than a match for the will of a morally diminished West. Are they wrong?

Benedict XVI has written with force about a morally diminished Europe. So like his predecessor, this pope decided to engage in the greatest military and intellectual battle of our age.

We all know how a few months ago at the University of Regensburg, Benedict made himself a central player in the post-9/11 era by quoting the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus. Not much noted at the time was Benedict's second quotation from Manuel II: "God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably [emphasis added] is contrary to God's nature." Benedict's lecture at Regensburg mentioned "reason" and "rationality" repeatedly. He went so far as to claim that the "rapprochement" between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry (reason) was "of decisive importance" for world history. "This convergence," said Benedict, "created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe."

Very simply, he is talking about and defending what we call "the West"--both the place and the classically liberal idea, which radical Islam wants to blow up. Just as John Paul championed the jailed or hiding dissidents behind the Iron Curtain, Benedict is seeking similar protections for persecuted Christian minorities--indeed all minorities--across the Islamic world. Starting in Turkey.

Arriving in Ankara, the pope immediately raised two ideas from the wellsprings of the West. He said on his first day that a just society requires freedom of religion and on behalf of Turkey's tiny Catholic community, he raised the issue of property rights.

One might say the pope's counteroffensive--in the Islamic world and in the West--is overdue. One might also say his chances of winning are a long shot. Benedict's appeals to Europe to rediscover strength inside its religious tradition comes at a difficult moment. He admitted as much in a book-length interview 10 years ago ("Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium"). It is Islamic belief, Cardinal Ratzinger said, that "the Western countries are no longer capable of preaching a message of morality, but have only know-how to offer the world. The Christian religion has abdicated."

Militant Islam is on the march, literally, with enormous moral self-confidence. By contrast the West, as Wilfred M. McClay, an historian at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, aptly described it recently, is in "an era of post-modern moral insouciance." With others, Benedict argues that this moral insouciance is the West's greatest vulnerability. This, too, ought to be part of "homeland security."

Every nation in Europe has a birth rate below replacement, opting for material well-being over the (relative) sacrifice of raising two or more children. (Of all industrialized nations, only the U.S. birth rate exceeds replacement.) Against this trend, Benedict has thrown what he's got: the traditional Western notion of finding strength in the union of reason and religious faith.

It has become a hard sell. If the Vatican opposes abortion or stem-cell research, the West's intellectual elites deem it unfit to participate in any imaginable public forum. In the U.S., Christian evangelicals are feared by many as a threat equal to Islamic extremists, and unfit to participate in our politics. The hottest "religion" subject in the West now is atheism in the person of Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," who, Time magazine wrote this month, is "riding the crest of an atheist literary wave." Our obsessions seem to be off-subject.

I think the pope is right that the West is engaged in a decisive intellectual competition with the ideas of radical Islam. This won't end with the battle for Baghdad. Will scientific agnosticism defend the West against militant Islam? With what? In Europe, its intellectuals can barely mount an argued defense against internal threats. Externally, as in Afghanistan, they won't even fight.

Benedict XVI's evident intention is to engage the Islamic world, particularly its religious and political leaders, in an intense and long discussion of the religious, political and legal rights of their resident minorities, in other words, the Western tradition. The implications of this effort are obvious for achieving an acceptable modus vivendi with global Islam.

How many divisions does this pope have? Good question. At the moment, I'd say, not as many as the last time.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110009323

JV

The Pope is attempting to win the hearts of Muslims by a message of peace and not by the sword!

And of course it's worked wonders! 50% of the American Church literally got up and walked out the church door from 1965 to 2000 (vis-a-vis Mass attendance), universalism Ut-Unum-Sint style is alive and well (see #84), and everyone goes to Heaven! After all, at a general audience 7/28/99, the Holy Father said:

Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it

Evidently, although Our Lady of Fatima showed the three children the damned burning in Hell, although Our Lord said the path to destruction was wide and there were many who would follow it, although there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth," although it would have better if Judas Iscariot had had a millstone hung about his neck and he were cast into the sea, Hell has now been downgraded to the status of "possibility."

Then there's the matter of St. Alphonsus Liguori having declared the Islamic "paradise" fit for beasts, St. Francis of Assisi's repudiation of Islam and attempted conversion of the sultan by offering to cast himself into a roaring fire, St. Thomas Aquinas's lengthy rebuke of Islam in the Summa Contra Gentiles.

Let's not forget the people we are working with, either. As you said, the pope is trying to win them by peace, and with the Muslim "holy" book demanding that Muslims "slay the pagans" wherever they find them (Sura 9:5), "fight" those who don't accept the "religion of truth" (Sura 9:29), denounce Christians who confess that "The Messiah is the son of Allah," wishing that "Allah's curse be upon them" or that "may Allah destroy them" (Sura 9:30). Then there's the fact that those who confess that "Allah is Christ the son of Mary" are "in blasphemy" (Sura 5:17), that Muslims should "take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other" (Sura 5:51) and that "they do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity" (Sura 5:73) for the "Fire will be his abode" (Sura 5:72).

No, it looks like you've got a good starting point there to work with people who say you're a blasphemous infidel who should be killed, who has Allah's curse upon you, and who is doomed for everlasting fire.

I imagine praying in a mosque will do a bang-up job of bringing those folks around.

And we can't forget about that mass exodus of Muslim conversions, what with Islam growing much faster than Catholicism and the total world Muslim population threatening to overtake the Catholic population.

No, Esau, you're right; all this ecumenism is great, even though Pope Benedict XIV condemned praying with heretics in 1748 (De Synodo Diocesana) as a "shameful crime."

[sarcasm off; those who set themselves up as apologists for actions which are objectively wrong and which were condemned by past pontiffs need to re-examine their motivation for doing so. I respect Pope Benedict, but at some point, the emperor no longer has his clothes, and you can bet that someone will point it out]

Esau

Given the above, will B16 be as successful as JP II was against Communism? Especially, considering, that the adversary is an age-old enemy of the Church?

In those days, it was brute force that was applied solely against the enemy, and after one crusade after another, these all failed in the end. Will a war based on intellect actually prevail in this case where all other efforts failed?

bill912

"Will a war based on intellect actually prevail in this case where all other efforts failed?"

With enough prayer, it just might; without prayer, fuhgeddaboutit!

Ryan C

Josiah,

My comment was directed towards the idea that somehow Benedict is somehow seen as a "dhimmi submitting to the true Muslim faith" after his trip. That's far more than capitulation on a political issue like the EU (in fact, I think Bendict's stance on Turkey is actually a challenge BY Benedict TO the Muslim world). If you or Curious can provide an actual Muslim who interprets the prayer in the manner Curious suggests I'll begin to entertain the point - until then we'll have to agree to disagree.

That being said, I agree with your critique of Allen.

"My Muslim friends tell me they would consider it improper to pray when ritually unclean eg while menstruating or in a toilet. By 'pray' I think they mean the ritual prayers as well as any private extemporary prayers."

Not to mention the fact that we as Christians pray to a God who dwelled for 9 months inside of the body of a woman who menstruated, who went to the toilet and had to have his diapers changed by said mommy, and who later died a humilitating death on the Cross.

Esau

[sarcasm off; those who set themselves up as apologists for actions which are objectively wrong and which were condemned by past pontiffs need to re-examine their motivation for doing so. I respect Pope Benedict, but at some point, the emperor no longer has his clothes, and you can bet that someone will point it out]

Yes, JV, did you actually know that Satan has already grabbed hold of the Church and that Pope John Paul II was actually the devil incarnate, who actually ushered in such EVILS into the Catholic Church which now stands today?

Oh yeah, I forgot, did you know the very fact that the PEDOPHILE scandal goes as far back as the 1930s, that was much, much before Vatican II! And I thought your precious Tridentine Mass was such a Holy Rite, that it would've prevented such atrocities (as you so claim as a cureall for all the present-day evils happening in the Church!), when, in fact, the actions of the very individuals who practiced it, those HOLY PRIESTS of the time of the Tridentine Rite actually took advantage of the very persons under their care, such as altar boys and the like, at a time when clergy were so well respected and looked up to by all in America, when the climate towards Catholics was ever so benevolent!

Of course, you and your self-proclaimed Magesterium of Rad Trads, have somehow been given Petrine authority solely meant for Peter and those of his successors as willed by Our Lord Himself!

The devil can work in more ways than just the one! He can make fools such as yourselves believe that they now have the power to diminish the very Church Christ had established and do away with the very authority as granted by Christ to Peter and to his Successors!

Who do I stand for?

I stand not for myself or for my personal beliefs but for the very thing that Our Lord and Saviour suffered and died for, and that is HIS CHURCH, not YOUR Church, BUT HIS!

And it shall be by his precepts, by the very words spoken by Him, Our Saviour Himself, and not by your newly-found authority from god-knows-who and god-knows-where, which you and your cohorts believe you have the just right to seize from Our Lord Himself in the very Church HE FOUNDED!

Joseph D'Hippolito

I'm no "RadTrad" or sedevacantist but it seems to me, Esau, that for all your bluster, you have failed even to address JV's points, let alone refute them.

Esau

And of course it's worked wonders! 50% of the American Church literally got up and walked out the church door from 1965 to 2000 (vis-a-vis Mass attendance)

Oh yeah, that's right!

How could I forget????

Had the Mass continued in its Tridentine format, in a dead language that no average person in the world actually still speaks today, in a world where the attention span of the youth cannot even tolerate events where the language spoken is English, in a format where the priest is facing ad orientem (wow, I wonder how many modern-day folks would actually enjoy that as even greater encouragement for sleeping in the Mass!), how many more folks you would find actually exiting the Catholic Church than what you have today????

In another post, you had presented statistics in the past for a Church that actually flourished in the black-and-white days of yester-years when Catholicism was at its height and certain conditions were very favorable to its growth, such as in television when you actually had Fulton Sheen's Life is Worth Living as being a popular TV show (can that even be possible today?), and the movies carried heavy religious undertones.

You don't even care to admit the fact that these statistics only applied to those days.

Given the conditions in today's world, things are very different today as compared with the days of the past. Your statistics would not apply today because of all the variables that exist now which did not exist way back when!

In short, those statistics you previously presented back then only have relevance to days in the past, not today!

JV

Yes, JV, did you actually know that Satan has already grabbed hold of the Church and that Pope John Paul II was actually the devil incarnate, who actually ushered in such EVILS into the Catholic Church which now stands today?

I think this outburst shows, Esau, that not only are you set on misconstruing my words at every turn (did you miss my profession of respect for the Holy Father?), but that your inability and unwillingness to engage the substance of the points is indicative of the same kneejerk neo-con reaction one expects to be directed at anyone who manifests so much as a whisper of protest at the unmitigated disaster foisted upon the Faith in the last 40 years.

But I know that that disaster, which has clearly and undeniable manifested itself in plummeting numbers of priests, seminarians, and religious, plummeting Mass attendance, plummeting belief in the Real Presence, plummeting belief in the Church's infallible teachings on contraception and other doctrines, and various other catastrophic declines in leading Catholic indicators is solely a matter of societal flux.

Never mind that the Church has always been subject to societal flux in the past and has never taken such a hit.

That major ecumenical council that took place 40 years ago? Nah. That can in no way be used to explain our situation today.

To refer to that even as a potential problem would be sedevacantism, heresy, schismatic thinking, or whatever other moniker you'd like to throw out there.

I'll await my sentence of excommunication.

JV

Had the Mass continued in its Tridentine format, in a dead language that no average person in the world actually still speaks today, in a world where the attention span of the youth cannot even tolerate events where the language spoken is English, in a format where the priest is facing ad orientem (wow, I wonder how many modern-day folks would actually enjoy that as even greater encouragement for sleeping in the Mass!), how many more folks you would find actually exiting the Catholic Church than what you have today????

Oh, dear.

I'm afraid you've just exposed your ignorance in a rather frightening fashion.

I say the following with the utmost compassion; get thee to a library, fast.

You might begin with Dietrich von Hildebrand, who Ven. Pope Pius XII called the "20th century doctor of the Church" and whose equally brilliant wife Alice was partially responsible for pressuring Pope John Paul for the indult:

http://www.catholic-pages.com/Mass/hildebrand.asp

Esau

I'm no "RadTrad" or sedevacantist but it seems to me, Esau, that for all your bluster, you have failed even to address JV's points, let alone refute them.

Hippo:
The elements in my posts are wrestling not only with elements in JV's current posts, but also those of his in the past, as they all deal with a recurring theme.

Now, if you would like to actually engage in the discussion just as a means at getting back at me simply because I called what you were doing to Mark Shea as "bullying", then, by all means, please read up on what's been said in the past to find out what really is being discussed here.

Esau

Never mind that the Church has always been subject to societal flux in the past and has never taken such a hit.

Oh yeah, I forgot, the great advances that we have today in Science and other such unique events in our day should not also be taken into account.

That, really, nothing's changed in the world when considering those days in the past to the point in time we're in today! All the same variables that existed then in the past (and only those variables) are what we can find existing today, and, therefore, your statistics have validity even today since the variables have been all but consistent and unchanged from back then to now, and, furthermore, no other new variables actually have been introduced since the time of black-and-white television!


I'm afraid you've just exposed your ignorance in a rather frightening fashion.

I say the following with the utmost compassion; get thee to a library, fast.

Wow! Thanks for your crocodile tears!
Too bad you didn't even catch a clue as to just exactly it was that I was placing attention on.

MissJean

I didn't realize that Curious was a radical Muslim. ;)

Sorry, that quote "that's how it appears to radical Muslims" made me laugh.

Joseph D'Hippolito

First, Esau, I was responding to your reaction to JV's post of Dec 12, 2006 5:03:07 PM.,

Second, Mark Shea has nothing to do with this. My comments stand on their own merit.

JV

Esau--

While it seems you are prone to the same sort of astounding leaps in logic you've chosen to enact throughout the thread, please let me know when you wish to get around to discussing any of the substantive criticism. I will be most willing to engage the topic, given a non-combative, less juvenile opponent.

Ryan C

JV,

The Pope said:

"Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it."

You then said, dissaprovingly: "Hell has now been downgraded to the status of "possibility."

But how are the Pope's word's substantially different from what many of the Fathers taught based on the same deposit of faith?

I'll just use Augustine as an example, since he's often cited for his bleak view of the massa damnata:

"According to Augustine, God, in his creative decree, has expressly excluded every order of things in which grace would deprive man of his liberty, every situation in which man would not have the power to resist sin, and thus Augustine brushes aside that predestinationism which has been attributed to him. Listen to him speaking to the Manichæans: "All can be saved if they wish"; and in his "Retractations" (I, x), far from correcting this assertion, he confirms it emphatically: "It is true, entirely true, that all men can, if they wish." - CE

Augustine again: "For, in that unspeakable foreknowledge of God, many who seem to be without are in reality within, and many who seem to be within yet really are without."

How is Augustine's agnosticism on the question of who is saved different from the Pope's? It seems rather to me that the Pope, in emphasizing the possiblities of salavation for all, is simply offering the same call as Augustine: it depends on you to be elect" (In Ps. cxx, n. 11, etc.); "Who are the elect? You, if you wish it" (In Ps. Lxxiii, n. 5)"

As regarding your examples: 1) The fact is that Fatima is a private revelation that does not limit further theological speculation 2) besides the verses you quote there are more which stress the universal salvific will and 3) As for Judas, the old CE ends its article on him with these words: "And though the circumstances of the death of the traitor give too much reason to fear the worst, the Sacred Text does not distinctly reject the possibility of real repentance. And Origen strangely supposed that Judas hanged himself in order to seek Christ in the other world and ask His pardon (In Matt., tract. xxxv)." I thus suggest that distinctions need to be made about such things as hyperbole, the personal nature of mystical experiences, etc...

I thus fail to see why the Pope's comments should be singled out for the kind of rebuke you set forth.

Esau

Esau--

While it seems you are prone to the same sort of astounding leaps in logic you've chosen to enact throughout the thread, please let me know when you wish to get around to discussing any of the substantive criticism. I will be most willing to engage the topic, given a non-combative, less juvenile opponent.

I, on my part, would be willing to engage the topic if the person actually presenting statistics as part of his evidence for his viewpoint actually understood the subject of statistics in the first place.

It doesn't take expertise in Bayesian Statistics to actually understand the rudimentary principles involved in the subject matter presented.

For one thing, it is often said that one's conclusions are only as good as the data used to reach those conclusions!


To prove my point:

Present me with actual data (or, if you cannot, at least, the statistical parameters) for your hypothesis "50% of the American Church literally got up and walked out the church door from 1965 to 2000"?

Ryan C

"Present me with actual data (or, if you cannot, at least, the statistical parameters) for your hypothesis "50% of the American Church literally got up and walked out the church door from 1965 to 2000"?"

What I'd really like to see are attendance figures (and polls on belief in the Real Presence as well) throughout the Church's 2000 year history, just so I can be sure that the Church "has never taken such a hit" - not in the days of Arianism (following a Council even!), not in the days of Donatism and Manicheism, the schisms and philosophical crises of the late Middle Ages, not in the days of Albigensism and Lolladry, not in the days of the Reformation and Jansenism, nor in the days of Humanism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, or any other -isms.

Esau

What I'd really like to see are attendance figures (and polls on belief in the Real Presence as well) throughout the Church's 2000 year history, just so I can be sure that the Church "has never taken such a hit" - not in the days of Arianism (following a Council even!), not in the days of Donatism and Manicheism, the schisms and philosophical crises of the late Middle Ages, not in the days of Albigensism and Lolladry, not in the days of the Reformation and Jansenism, nor in the days of Humanism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, or any other -isms.

Good going, Ryan!

I would've tried to go for the same point since, really, there is no actual baseline that we can go on if we are actually to aim at any such objective meaning in "increase" and/or "decrease".

But, at this point, I just want to see what statistical model was being applied in actually obtaining these "statistics" that these folks keep touting.

There are usually 3 Basic Components in all these things:
1. The Investigator's aims
2. The Method of Sample Selection, the Method of treatment allocation and the nature of the variables which provide the data and
3. The Design Layout employed

Ryan C

Hi Esau,

Not to mention what Augustine and the other Fathers suggest - that one cannot tell who is really of the Church and who is not, which makes any statistical analysis ultimately superficial. We should leave, as much as possible, the gauging of the human heart, and the state of the Church at large (for also, the state of the American Church is one thing, the state of the Church all over the world [of which I doubt the statistics are as precise] another), to Her Bride, and not lean too much on our own understanding on such things.

Ryan C

By "in the Church" btw, I mean those who God only knows to be among his elect, of course, or in the "secret garden" Augustine talks about. We can not see with His clarity this final horizon while we are currently in this land of "alternating light and shadow": "Whosoever is given over thereunto (a dark mind), is shut out from the interior light of God: but not wholly as yet, whilst he is in this life." There is always the possibility open for repentance, and we can not know who will eventually accept this possiblity. Thus again why statistics, when compared to the horizon of the New Jerusalem, are insufficient to guage the health of the Bride of Christ. Out hope must always be in the Holy Spirit.

brigid

Wow. It only took 54 comments for people to start flaming about the Tridentine mass. Anybody want to bet on how soon chapel veils come up?

Esau

Ryan C.,

Brutha, you've got some reasoning skills!

Actually, concerning your statement:

...for also, the state of the American Church is one thing, the state of the Church all over the world [of which I doubt the statistics are as precise] another...

I had brought that up in the past before in another thread, stating that these statistics that they may be applying to the entire Catholic Church, which would mean the Catholic Church being that all over the world as its wings spread far beyond than merely the continent of America (thus, the "Universal" Church), may, at the very least, be representative of only the Catholic Church in America, if at all.

Still, regardless, there remains the question as to the integrity of such statistics.

But, given clear frame of thought, as you have logically put it, such statistics would remain meaningless unless there is true measure of the heart in terms of an actual determination of just who they are that really are of the Church.

As you have eloquently put it:

"Thus again why statistics, when compared to the horizon of the New Jerusalem, are insufficient to guage the health of the Bride of Christ. Out hope must always be in the Holy Spirit."

God Bless Ya, R.C.!

You've done great work yet again!

Ryan C

As a sober rejoinder to brigid's post, Catholics around the world who are persecuted for their faith, including in Muslim countries, are persecuted regardless of which rite of the mass they attend. We should really take some of the time we spend fighting about such matters and use it for prayer instead.

Inocencio

JV,

Are you willing to do what you expect the pope to do and repudiate Islam as St. Francis did? Please let us know when you purchase your plane ticket.

Popes today have to live with having nearly every word and action of theirs not only publicly displayed but critiqued and criticized daily. Can you imagine what it would be like to have your life under a microscope non-stop? If nearly every word and action of yours were available to the public would we consider you a saint?

Do you really blame all the evils of the day on an ecumenical council that has been approved by a pope? Isn't that a little presumptuous to think you know better than the Church?

The pope is both the Vicar of Christ and a fallen creature just like the rest of us. We are subject to his authority whether we want to be or think he deserves it.

As St. Thomas Aquinas said:

"It is also shown that to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation." Contra Errores Graecorum

And Pope Boniface VIII quoted St. Thomas Aquinas in Unam sanctam:

But we declare, state and define that to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is altogether necessary for salvation.

Correct me if I have misread your comments but do you think the Holy Spirit has abandoned the Mystical Body of Christ?

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Inocencio

Brigid,

Since you brought it up, I am in fact going to buy my 3 daughters chapel veils for Christmas.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Josiah

Esau,

I would ask you to stop putting words into my mouth. I never said that the Pope should denounce Islam while in Turkey. I didn’t even say that he was wrong to pray in the Blue Mosque. What I said was that it appeared to be contrary to his previously stated views, and that the defenses offered here for his actions (e.g. that it would promote peace) were flawed.

Of course, if Benedict did condemn Islam, I wouldn’t call that an act of “hate and aggression” contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. If you really believe that criticizing and denouncing another religion is contrary to the Christianity, then you’re going to have to anathematize pretty much the entire Christian tradition, including the Gospels themselves. It was Christ himself, after all, who said “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”

Suppose that you and I are at a restaurant, and before beginning our dinner we make the sign of the cross. Incensed at our public display of religion, the folks at the next table take us outside and beat us. If we respond to this by forgiving those who have beaten us, if we pray for them, if we turn the other cheek and so forth, then we have responded in a way proper for Christians. If on the other hand, we respond by promising never to make the sign of the cross again, and make all sorts of statements about how friendly and non-violent our attackers have been, then we have not responded as Christians, we have responded as cowards.

Please note: I am not saying that Benedict was a coward. I’ve said before and I’ll say again that there is for all I know a perfectly good explanation for his actions. What I object to are those who would defend Benedict by turning cowardice into a Christian virtue. There’s something unseemly about people defending Benedict by saying it doesn’t matter how your actions are perceived so long as you are secretly praying to Christ. It’s a little too close to the idea, repeatedly condemned throughout Christian history, that it’s okay to sacrifice to idols, or participate in non-Christian religious rites, so long as you were directing your thoughts to Christ.

Inocencio

Another interesting article.

Benedict XVI, a Pope Armed with “Purity”

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Esau

Of course, if Benedict did condemn Islam, I wouldn’t call that an act of “hate and aggression” contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.


Josiah:

Again, you keep missing the poing. You conveniently neglect the fact that Pope Benedict XVI, as I have reiterated again and again, is the Vicar of Christ responsible for taking care of his flock.

You neglect, yet again, the lives of fellow Catholic brothers and sisters who live in that region who would undergo tremendous persecution, in a hostile place where their very lives are at stake. You do know that Catholics do not only reside in America, but they even exist in such remote places as in the Middle East? In fact, the original Christians originated from this very region, lest we forget!

Not all Catholics are fortunate to live in such places where they're afforded certain rights. They, instead, live in areas where merely living out their Catholic Faith puts their very lives at stake, in places where tremendous adversity and downright religious oppression is a daily cross to bear.

Can you stop being narrow-minded for just one moment and think of your fellow Catholic brothers and sisters whose very lives are at the mercy of the Muslim majority in those parts of the world? How much they already suffer at the hands of Muslims who persecute them at a daily basis even before Pope Benedict XVI? Could you even imagine how it would further exacerbate their already dire circumstances if the Pope committed further acts of defiance against the Islamic religion? You already saw what one mere quote uttered by B16 at Regensburg could be taken out of context and, consequently, led to the death of a nun and various other atrocities that ensued as a result. How much more if he had done that which you're actually proposing?

How much more the violence that would ensue had Pope Benedict XVI denounced the Islam religion and put down the faith of Muslims in front of all nations, as his very actions are often in front of the camara for the most part and have consequences!?!

He behaved, as Christ would have him, in a manner that would ensure the safety of his flock. As Christ entrusted Peter the safe keeping of His flock, so it was to that end (in addition to other subtle particulars that seem to escape both you and those Catholics who are against the Pope's actions in Turkey -- thus, I'd suggest you read the article I posted above from the Wall Street Journal), that it was rather fitting that the Pope hold out the Olive Branch of Peace rather than wield the Sword of a Crusader!

Esau

CORRIGENDUM:

Josiah:

Again, you keep missing the point!

Esau

Josiah:

In other words, it would have been irresponsible and, not to mention, arrogant of Pope Benedict XVI had he committed acts that could be misconstrued by Muslims in the region as insulting to the faith of Islam.

Why? Because, as I had mentioned, all his actions are in front of the camara and they, thus, carry with them sweeping repercussions.

For him to purposefully behave in any manner that could be found detestable by the Muslims there, he knows all to well that this would in fact be endangering not only the lives of Catholics (and even other fellow Christians) in that region, but would also be furthering the agenda of al-Qaida (please read the al-Qaida news story for further info if you haven't already done so) and the Muslim Brotherhood who are just dying for him to take such action in order to further provoke Muslims to even greater hostility against the Crusader nations!

I believe that B16 clearly knows this -- that his very actions would have such consequences attached to them and this is the reason he behaved as he did.

Josiah

Esau,

Why do you insist on putting words into my mouth? I haven't proposed that the Pope should denounce Islam. I have, in fact, offered no proposals whatsoever as to what the Pope should do. If you cannot acknowledge this fact, then I'm afraid I don't see much point in continuing this discussion.

Esau

Josiah,

I had to post the remarks above in order to point out all the important particulars that make the Pope's actions in Turkey appropriate given the very circumstances he faced then (and even now) and the responsibility he has to the ENTIRE Catholic Church.

Josiah

Esau,

You didn't simply "point out all the important particulars that make the Pope's actions in Turkey appropriate." You attributed to me positions which I never espoused and do not hold, and continued to do so even after I asked you to stop. If you're willing to acknowledge that I did not, in fact, call for the Pope to denounce Islam, then we can move forward. If you are unwilling to do that, for whatever reason, then I'm afraid there's no point in going on any further.

Esau

Josiah,

I need to point all these elements out not only for your sake but for the sake of those who may hold such views.

You, on your end, may, in all actuality, have a more proper perspective on things, yet, you cannot dismiss the notion that there are essentially those graver aspects that linger below the surface in these discussions that need to be addressed out in the open.

Among these are those I had previously mentioned which revolve around the actual responsibilities that the Vicar of Christ is held accountable for to both Christ as well as to His flock such that he must not only care for them spiritually but also temporally, and this responsibility of his extends to the ENTIRE Church Universal and not merely to the few and fortunate, such as ourselves.

Again, it is not simply a matter of actions by the Pope which clearly demonstrates him denouncing Islam, but, as mentioned, it is to the extent that the Pope cannot behave in any manner that may be percevied to be hateful to the Muslims.

As mentioned:

For him to purposefully behave in any manner that could be found detestable by the Muslims there, he knows all to well that this would in fact be endangering not only the lives of Catholics (and even other fellow Christians) in that region, but would also be furthering the agenda of al-Qaida (please read the al-Qaida news story for further info if you haven't already done so) and the Muslim Brotherhood who are just dying for him to take such action in order to further provoke Muslims to even greater hostility against the Crusader nations!

God Bless, Josiah, and I hope you understand why I had taken the opportunity in my posts to you to address all these factors that actually come into play given the delicate circumstances we now currently face as it regards Islam.

Josiah

Esau,

Will you acknowledge that I didn't call for the Pope to denounce Islam, or not?

Esau

Of course, if Benedict did condemn Islam, I wouldn’t call that an act of “hate and aggression” contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. If you really believe that criticizing and denouncing another religion is contrary to the Christianity, then you’re going to have to anathematize pretty much the entire Christian tradition, including the Gospels themselves. It was Christ himself, after all, who said “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”

Josiah

Esau,

I said that *if* the Pope did condemn Islam I wouldn't consider it an act of hate and aggression. That's hardly the same as saying that he should issue such a condemnation. In the very same post from which you quote, I also say: "I never said that the Pope should denounce Islam while in Turkey. I didn’t even say that he was wrong to pray in the Blue Mosque."

Esau

Josiah:

I remember this figure of authority having once said, "I never called for the murder of John Doe."

Yet, earlier, when those under his charge had asked him if they were permitted to murder John Doe, he had actually responded in the following manner, "Put it this way, I wouldn't actually call the killing of John Doe murder."

Even you can very well appreciate what was actually being implied in that scenario by the authority figure.

Josiah

Esau,

I can appreciate what was being implied in the scenario you mention. In this case, by contrast, I was not actually implying that the Pope should condemn Islam, nor do I think, given the entirity of my remarks, that it would be reasonable to infer that's what I was implying. And given that I've disavowed the idea several times now, I'm not sure why you can't just say 'okay, you're not calling for the Pope to condemn Islam' and be done with it.

Since, for whatever reason, you don't appear willing to do that, I'm going to call it a day before things get really tedious.

Esau

Shalom, Josiah, and God bless!

AnonnyMouse

OK...just tried out my link and the video is no longer available.
Sorry.

Jeb Protestant

I think the Pope over did it at the Regensberg address and he felt that he should compensate for it in his visit to Turkey.

No one needs to "denounce" Islam. There just needs to be a clear message of the need for conversion in Jesus Christ. Like it or lump it, it is only us benighted Evangelicals and fundamentalists who preach such a message.

Esau

I think the Pope over did it at the Regensberg address...

Overdid what? It was a quote.

By the way, did you even read the entire lecture by him? Or did your eyes only fall on that isolated quote, never mind the overall context of it?

Here it is, if you really would like to know what he said:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html


No one needs to "denounce" Islam. There just needs to be a clear message of the need for conversion in Jesus Christ. Like it or lump it, it is only us benighted Evangelicals and fundamentalists who preach such a message.

Clearly, you haven't read anything the Pope has said or written.

At Regensburg:

At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the λόγος". This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Logos means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (cf. Acts 16:6-10) - this vision can be interpreted as a "distillation" of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

Do you actually know what he's saying here?


From Pope Benedict's encyclical, Deus est Caritas:

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of
the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Saint John's Gospel describes that event in these words: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should ... have eternal life” (3:16). In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel's faith, while at the same time giving it new depth and breadth. In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant. For this reason, I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others. God's love for us is fundamental for our lives, and it raises important questions about who God is and who we are.

Today, the term “love” has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words, a word to which we attach quite different meanings. Let us first of all bring to mind the vast semantic range of the word “love”: we speak of love of country, love of one's profession, love between friends, love of work, love between parents and children, love between family members, love of neighbour and love of God. So we need to ask: are all these forms of love basically one, so that love, in its many and varied manifestations, is ultimately a single reality, or are we merely using the same word to designate totally different realities?

The epicure Gassendi used to offer Descartes the humorous greeting: “O Soul!” And Descartes would reply: “O Flesh!”.[3] Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves. Only when both dimensions are truly united, does man attain his full stature.

Love embraces the whole of existence in each of its dimensions, including the dimension of time. It could hardly be otherwise, since its promise looks towards its definitive goal: love looks to the eternal. Love is indeed “ecstasy”, not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through selfgiving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17:33), as Jesus says throughout the Gospels (cf. Mt 10:39; 16:25; Mk 8:35; Lk 9:24; Jn 12:25).

In these words, Jesus portrays his own path, which leads through the Cross to the Resurrection: the path of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, and in this way
bears much fruit. Starting from the depths of his own sacrifice and of the love that reaches fulfilment therein, he also portrays in these words the essence of love and indeed of human
life itself. Fundamentally, “love” is a single reality, but with different dimensions; at different times, one or other dimension may emerge more clearly. Yet when the two dimensions are totally cut off from one another, the result is a caricature or at least an impoverished form of love. And we have also seen, synthetically, that biblical faith does not set up a parallel universe, or one opposed to that primordial human phenomenon which is love, but rather accepts the whole man; it intervenes in his search for love in order to purify it and to reveal new dimensions of it. This newness of biblical faith is shown chiefly in two elements which deserve to be highlighted: the image of God and the image of man.

The parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37) offers two particularly important clarifications. Until that time, the concept of “neighbour” was understood as referring essentially to one's countrymen and to foreigners who had settled in the land of Israel; in other words, to the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished.
Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbour have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God.

Can we love God without seeing him? And can love be commanded?
No one has ever seen God, so how could we love him? Moreover, love cannot be commanded;

Scripture seems to reinforce the first objection when it states: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). But this text hardly excludes the love of God as something impossible.

The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbour is emphasized. One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are
closed to our neighbour or hate him altogether. Saint John's words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbour is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and
that closing our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us to God.

God has made himself visible: in Jesus we are able to see the Father (cf. Jn 14:9).

The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide: God's will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself.[10] Then self-abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy (cf. Ps 73 [72]:23-28). Love of neighbour is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a “we” which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).

Esau

There just needs to be a clear message of the need for conversion in Jesus Christ. Like it or lump it, it is only us benighted Evangelicals and fundamentalists who preach such a message

Gee, from the looks of it, it seems Pope Benedict XVI actually preaches such a message!

Oh, yeah, didn't Pope John Paul II actually also state, among other things during his pontificate:

The Church's universal mission is born of faith in Jesus Christ, as is stated in our Trinitarian profession of faith: "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father.... For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man."5 The redemption event brings salvation to all, "for each one is included in the mystery of the redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery."6 It is only in faith that the Church's mission can be understood and only in faith that it finds its basis.

Esau

Further, from our JP II:

"No one comes to the Father, but by me" (Jn 14:6)

5. If we go back to the beginnings of the Church, we find a clear affirmation that Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. In reply to the Jewish religious authorities who question the apostles about the healing of the lame man, Peter says: "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well.... And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10, 12). This statement, which was made to the Sanhedrin, has a universal value, since for all people-Jews and Gentiles alike - salvation can only come from Jesus Christ.

Jeb Protestant

Esau,

But if you read Redemptor Hominis, you will see that JP II redifined salvation as existential self-awareness.

Can you give me an example of when JP II or Benedict told Jews or Moslems in person that they need to convert?

Esau

Jews need to convert?

That's a new one especially coming from someone who promotes the Evangelical and Fundamentalist agenda.

Aren't Jews still the "Chosen People"?

Also, isn't this the reason why most Evangelicals are Pro-Israel?

Esau

Can you give me an example of when JP II or Benedict told Jews or Moslems in person that they need to convert?

Gee, I thought someone who advocates benighted Evangelicals and fundamentalists would be familiar with the subtleties in 'conversion' techniques.

Jeb Protestant

I do not believe that Jews are God's chosen people. Only those who are elected & predestined from the foundation of the world are God's people. Some of these are Jews, some aren't Read Galatians -- the church is the "Israel of God."

Esau

Jeb:

Curious, just what denomination are you from?

Jeb Protestant

I am a Reformed Baptist.

Tim J.

" ...if you read Redemptor Hominis, you will see that JP II redifined salvation as existential self-awareness."

Yeah, well, I doubt that. Maybe if you mis-read Redemptor Himinis.

Brother Cadfael

Jeb Protestant,

if you read Redemptor Hominis, you will see that JP II redifined salvation as existential self-awareness.

Perhaps you could provide a cite to the passage that you have misconstrued.

Tim J.

Sorry, that's "Redemptor Hominis", not "Himinis".

Brother Cadfael

Jeb Protestant,

The Holy Father did have this to say about salvation in Redemptor Hominis (RH):

"We wish to look towards him-because there is salvation in no one else but him, the Son of God- repeating what Peter said: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life'" (RH, 7).

"Jesus Christ is the stable principle and fixed centre of the mission that God himself has entrusted to man. We must all share in this mission and concentrate all our forces on it, since it is more necessary than ever for modern mankind. If this mission seems to encounter greater opposition nowadays than ever before, this shows that today it is more necessary than ever and, in spite of the opposition, more awaited than ever. Here we touch indirectly on the mystery of the divine 'economy' which linked salvation and grace with the Cross" (RH, 11).

Perhaps your objection is to the Cross?

JV

RyanC, I did not see your post until today, so now I try to reply:

1) The fact is that Fatima is a private revelation that does not limit further theological speculation

It is clear based on the two attempted (and, speaking from a purely rational look at the texts incorporated) and failed attempts to perform the consecration that His Holiness regarded Fatima as a personal ecclesial imperative.

In fact, he stated so explicitly, but with the late hour I cannot know go hunting for the document.

2) besides the verses you quote there are more which stress the universal salvific will

This is true ("It is the will of your Father Who is in Heaven that none of these little ones perish" comes to mind).

It is also true that God's will is made perfect in permitting the free will of human beings which permits a choice to be made with respect to loving God and accepting His grace. As St. Thomas put it (I paraphrase from Dr. Kreeft's paraphrasing): "God is so powerful that He not only gets what He wants, but He also gets it in the way that He wants it."

In other words, while God does not desire people to reject His salvific grace, He wills that men's free will be honored.

As to the verses I cited, the passage is clear: "broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat"

I know many attendees of the Novus Ordo are brilliant at playing with the word "many" and twisting it about with all sorts of tortured logic to make it mean "none" or "all" as it suits them, but let's be frank: If Our Lord says that many enter the way that leads to destruction, we can understand it as meaning that people do, indeed, damn themselves of their own free rejection of salvific grace.

I think to deny the above after having read the passage is to evince a desire to canonize and "infallibize" everything Pope John Paul says to the rejection of simple logic.

3) As for Judas, the old CE ends its article on him with these words: "And though the circumstances of the death of the traitor give too much reason to fear the worst, the Sacred Text does not distinctly reject the possibility of real repentance. And Origen strangely supposed that Judas hanged himself in order to seek Christ in the other world and ask His pardon (In Matt., tract. xxxv)."

Origen was, if I recall, a heretic in that he was a universalist.

Hence, appealing to a universalist about the possibility of Judas's repentance (when Our Lord said that it would be better that a millstone be cast about his neck and that he be cast into a sea) is, while not utterly impossible, the logical equivalent of requesting Jerry Falwell's scientific opinion on evolutionary theory and then elevating it to high authority (in other words, seeking a dubious authority on a highly improbable subject).

I thus suggest that distinctions need to be made about such things as hyperbole, the personal nature of mystical experiences, etc...

I do not believe you have ill intent, RyanC, but come now. The text is clear, and we have enough confusing encyclicals from this pontificate to conclude that something isn't quite as it should be vis-a-vis the conciliar theology on damnation.

JV

Esau:

Present me with actual data (or, if you cannot, at least, the statistical parameters) for your hypothesis "50% of the American Church literally got up and walked out the church door from 1965 to 2000"?

As you requested:

A 1958 Gallup poll reported that 74 percent of Catholics went to Sunday Mass in 1958. A 1994 University of Notre Dame study found that the attendance rate was 26.6 percent. A more recent study by Fordham University professor James Lothian concluded that 65 percent of Catholics went to Sunday Mass in 1965, while the rate dropped to 25 percent in 2000.

In addition to the polls mentioned, you can find more in Kenneth Jones' "Index of Leading Catholic Indicators". A snapshot is available here: http://www.unavoce.org/articles/2003/interview_with_ken_jones.htm

I don't, alas, expect that concrete factual evidence will deter you from denouncing anyone with a smidge of preference for traditional Catholicism as a sub-human schismatic, nor that said evidence will prompt you to reconsider the dogmatic fierceness with which you cling to the "new springtime" the hierarchy has tried to sell you and others for 40 years of depleted Catholic life.

Nevertheless, the traditionalists of today are the conservatives of 50 years ago.

JV

As an addendum for those slow on the uptake, by my math, 74%-26.6%= 47.4%.

You may attribute the embellished 2.4% to the zealous, calumnious efforts of a radtrad heretic.

JV

Finally, a reply to Inocencio:

Are you willing to do what you expect the pope to do and repudiate Islam as St. Francis did? Please let us know when you purchase your plane ticket.

Your sarcastic and mean-spirited reply notwithstanding, I am not, Deo Gratias, the pope, and hence do not bear the responsibility for publicly rebuking the errors of the Islamic heresy.

Nonetheless, I have done so vocally in less public settings. Whether the same would occur in a situation whereby the result would mean being subjected to torture by Muslim zealots...only God will choose to provide or withold the grace.

Nonetheless, your comment sails past the point insofar as St. Francis, St. Alphonsus, St. Thomas, and countless other saints vigorously denounced Islam for the pernicious error that it is. They did not enter mosques to remove their shoes, they did not pray with heretics, and they did not claim that "The salvific plan also includes the Muslims, who together with us worship the one true God."

There are many more examples and ecumenical abuses I can and will list if you desire, but I can see simply by the tone of your reply and the nature of your trying to one-up someone in an argument ("Would you buy a plane ticket, JV?") rather than arrive at the truth of a very serious matter speaks to the fact that little use could be predicated of such lists.

Popes today have to live with having nearly every word and action of theirs not only publicly displayed but critiqued and criticized daily. Can you imagine what it would be like to have your life under a microscope non-stop? If nearly every word and action of yours were available to the public would we consider you a saint?

Once more, you have shifted from substantive analysis to personally referencing (and perhaps attacking) me. This is not about having one's actions under a microscope. It is about not offering a public witness with those actions in apparent contrast with the supremacy of the God-given Catholic Faith which the Muslims denounce in their holy books as blasphemy.

I consider kissing those same books to constitute a departure from the norms of avoiding the possibility of scandalizing the faithful, but doubtless that's the cowardly, heretic, schismatic, "wouldn't buy a plane ticket to go fry in a Muslim fire" side of me speaking out.

Do you really blame all the evils of the day on an ecumenical council that has been approved by a pope?

If you wish to read into my words what simply isn't there, by all means, proceed with statements like the above.

You'll win no points for charity, however (charity as defined in logic, i.e., presenting an opponent's arguments in the most favorable light).

Isn't that a little presumptuous to think you know better than the Church?

I don't think you realize how much your arguments very quickly devolve into the ad hominem fallacy.

The pope is both the Vicar of Christ and a fallen creature just like the rest of us. We are subject to his authority whether we want to be or think he deserves it.

I understand this.

We may also hold to a reasonable expectation that the pope is familiar with such sayings as "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (St. Mark 16:16), "If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema" (Galatians 1:9), "If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you" (2 St. John 1:10) and "And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist" (1 St. John 4:3).

To the last, we may consider that at Assisi, the meeting Pope John Paul oversaw and which Cardinal Ratzinger reportedly despised, crucifixes were removed from the "prayer rooms" in order to not offend the Jews, who also did not wish to pray in rooms that had been blessed.

May I say that that's a fine showing forth of the supreme kingship of Christ--remove the Holy Cross from the rooms in order to satiate the heretical whims of man.

It says quite a bit that in order to have all this "interreligious dialogue," we must remove Christ from the midst.

To quote Fr. Fessio, S.J., a good friend of Pope Benedict:

Fr. Fessio, how do you think this applies particularly with ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, and religious liberty?

A. To tell you the truth, I really don't even try to keep up with it and I think there has been and continues to be an enormous amount of nonsense in that regard. Of course we should foster dialogue. However, as a Church, we need to categorically restate that there will be no reunion with the Orthodox and other Christians unless there is a mutual acceptance of the primary beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church such as those on Mary, the primacy and authority of the papacy, etc.

How can there be unity with anybody except with those who accept those beliefs?

We can talk about lots of things — justification — for instance with the Lutherans. But what else? Where has it gotten us? Of course, when dialogue promotes mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration on causes that all Christians should accept — such as the defense of the unborn, the integrity of marriage and the family — that is valuable.

But there can't be a "reunion of Christians" on anything else than a shared faith; and the fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith are not negotiable. Congregationalists will have to accept priests, Presbyterians bishops, Episcopalians the Pope.

I think the whole thing is a big smokescreen if the intent is the reunion of Christians. We've made absolutely no progress on that front except for maybe the Armenian Christians. Are we closer to the Anglicans now that they've ordained women and practicing homosexuals?

With the Muslims, we need to say what we believe. If it's really going to be religious dialogue, then we have to point out that both religions make truth claims and some are incompatible. Jesus can't be the Son of God and Mohammed His prophet, since Mohammed denies what Jesus claimed to be.


http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/mershon/061206


Correct me if I have misread your comments but do you think the Holy Spirit has abandoned the Mystical Body of Christ?

I think this might need to finish the discussion.

If you have misread my comments in such a way as to be able even remotely to read them as "The Holy Ghost has abandoned the Mystical Body of Christ" (which, needless to say, is to impugn someone as a manifest heretic), I cannot hold out any sort of hope that further discussion would be fruitful.

Inocencio

JV,

Since I have, at least in your humble opinion, misread everything you have written.

I will ask a simple question.

In your oh so humble opinion is Vatican II responsible for the "unmitigated disaster foisted upon the Faith in the last 40 years" or not?

Second simple question.

Can you provide Mass attendance statistics in the United States for the last 4 centuries so we can make an accurate comparison?

Third simple question and I am repeating myself but you didn't answer it.

If nearly every word and action of yours were available to the public would we consider you a saint?

Lastly, if you have children or if you did what would you teach them is Catholic obedience to the Pope?

And please show me how to win points for charity in your response. I can only hope you think responding would be fruitful.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Esau

In addition to the polls mentioned, you can find more in Kenneth Jones' "Index of Leading Catholic Indicators". A snapshot is available here: http://www.unavoce.org/articles/2003/interview_with_ken_jones.htm

I don't, alas, expect that concrete factual evidence will deter you from denouncing anyone with a smidge of preference for traditional Catholicism as a sub-human schismatic, nor that said evidence will prompt you to reconsider the dogmatic fierceness with which you cling to the "new springtime" the hierarchy has tried to sell you and others for 40 years of depleted Catholic life.

Nevertheless, the traditionalists of today are the conservatives of 50 years ago.

JV:

You make me laugh!

You think that just because someone presented something in the guise of Statistics, it can actually be regarded as concrete evidence to corroborate your ludicrous assertions?

Please, I can email you hundreds of research papers that utilize so-called statistics to further its agenda, yet, in the midst of it all, their statistics, in its core, are but manipulated fabrications intended to advance the aims of the principle investigator - and they do so with much more finesse and mathematical proficiency!

Furthermore, upon visiting your link, just to take an elaborate look at your sham statistics, I would need to actually pay $16.95????

I can make these up, too, and they'd be for free!

JV

You make me laugh!

You think that just because someone presented something in the guise of Statistics, it can actually be regarded as concrete evidence to corroborate your ludicrous assertions?

Please, I can email you hundreds of research papers that utilize so-called statistics to further its agenda, yet, in the midst of it all, their statistics, in its core, are but manipulated fabrications intended to advance the aims of the principle investigator - and they do so with much more finesse and mathematical proficiency!

Furthermore, upon visiting your link, just to take an elaborate look at your sham statistics, I would need to actually pay $16.95????

I can make these up, too, and they'd be for free!

Esau--

Neither the University of Notre Dame nor Gallup are in the habit of inventing "sham statistical studies."

Your slander would therefore be directed at each of those entities, the latter of which is of course rather famous for their polling prowess.

Nor is the assertion that Mass attendance has declined dramatically from 1965 to today "ludicrous"; it's empirically verifiable. The Holy See keeps statistics, you see. That Mass attendance note is part of a much larger trend. Ireland, for instance, a once great Catholic country, today has 10,000 religious brothers. There were, in 2000, 4 notiviates. Four. To replace 10,000 brothers. But doubtless that has nothing whatsoever to do with the major ecumenical council convened just 44 years ago.

You are not interested, clearly, in being dissuaded from desperately upholding all things post-Conciliar, and insofar as you've set yourself up as a contrarian who thumbs your nose at that which departs from the preconceptions you cling to with dogmatic tenacity, I will terminate the discussion now.

JV

Inocencio--

If you wish to speak further about the Council and traditional Catholicism, please leave an e-mail address and we can take it up there.

I'm not really interested in wading through the juvenile side-swipes of some of the posters who need to make their presence felt on every thread which levels the barest critique against recent papal actions.

As for a few short answers to your questions; I think the interpretation of the Council has indeed contributed very prominently to the collapse in the Faith in the last 40 years (and Cardinal Ratzinger agreed), your harping on my personal conduct has absolutely nothing to do with the shepherd of 1.2 billion souls entering a mosque and praying with unbelievers whose "holy" book trashes Our Savior, obedience to the pope includes obedience to past popes, many of whom explicitly vociferously condemned such actions (see Singulari Quidem, Quanto Moerore Conficiamur, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Mirari Vos, Mortalium Animos, and De Diocesana Synodo for instance), and does not include defending each and every papal action which objectively departs from past papal behavior vis-a-vis the Muslims, and lastly, the question about Mass attendance for the last 4 centuries is a non-sequitur, and you know it; a 37 year sample from 1965 to 2002 showing dramatic declines in relevant categories offers a much clearer snapshot of a crisis over a shorter period of time, permitting us to draw a closer connection between certain key events.

As I said, if you are indeed interested in continuing, I am happy to do so by e-mail. Otherwise, I have no interest in seeing traditionalists lambasted.

Esau

But doubtless that has nothing whatsoever to do with the major ecumenical council convened just 44 years ago.

Nor does it have anything to do with the advances in Science and Technology that ever give folks more reason to ever doubt the traditional religions of old that are now dismissed as merely myths.

Clearly, you are so infatuated with your anti-Vatican II suppositions that your very aversion to it blinds you to the distinct elements of the modern-day world that ever give rise to many arguments both to the youth and to their adults more and more reasons of why such ancient "myths" like Christianity but, even more so, Catholicism, with all its antiquated rituals and trappings, should be dispensed with!

Engage in the deep workings of the scientific community, I dare you, and I should like to see whether or not your perspective would actually change, to say the least!

Dabney

Jimmy
I have to strongly disagree. True, I'm a protestant and so I don't recognize the authority of the pope. But, I've spent alot of time in the Middle East and whether I agree or not, Muslims associate Christianity with him. I was actually elated when I heard what he had said (actually quoted) about Islam when it first came out. Finally, someone who is not going to back down from Muslim rage and will call a spade a spade! But I was very disappointed when he all but fell over himself trying to take it back. He was right the first time! World history and modern events worldwide prove it, as does the Q'uran and the Hadith.

Before you get too excited, friends, consider this. Muslims understand and respect strength, not obeisance. What the pope has done is seen by the Islamic world as cowardly, pathetic and a big score for them in their war on Christianity, the Jews and the West. Had he simply stood his ground, would there have been more violence? Yes, both Catholics and Protestants would be murdered (my fellow Presbyterians in Iraq are currently under attack for the pope's statements, and some have been killed). But I think it would have been much more effective to simply repeatedly point out to the Imams, the mullahs, the other Islamic religious leaders and the entire world, "I made statements equating Islam with violence, and so Muslims protest my statement with...violence?" By standing his ground, it is possible that he could have forced these leaders to do some internal reflection/critique and house cleaning, not because they would want to, but because they would be forced to. But by retraction and obeisance, he has given up his ground, conceded victory, and betrayed the followers of Christ who are being robbed of the most basic human rights and murdered in Muslim countries worldwide.

Jimmy, if the pope actually was thinking what you posted above, he did nothing to settle the situation down. In fact, he has enabled the Islamic religious leadership of the world to continue to pretend that widespread violence is not being currently being perpetrated in the name of their religion. And so now they can maintain the status quo of deafening silence and allow the jihadists to reap havoc with impunity and without restraint from their leaders.

Lastly, Muslims do not worship God, because they refuse to come to Him through Christ..."No one comes to the Father but by me." It has ever been the position of Christians the world over (read the thread above for examples) that those who refuse to honor Christ, who refuse to receive Him by faith, who outrightly deny His deity, who in fact target His Church with oppression and violence, who blaspheme His Word, and who will not bow the knee before Him as Lord and Savior do not honor the Father and therefore, do not really worship him at all. Muslims, in their denial of Christ and His work on the cross, bring the curse of St. Paul upon their heads (1 Cor 16:22; Gal 1:6-9). How could someone deny Christ and still be said to truly worship God? "The true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him (John 4:23)." Can one who outrightly denies the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life be said to be a true worshipper of God? I don't believe so. In fact, I believe that such are to be seen as 'anti-christ', not in the apocalyptic sense, but in the sense that they are 'against Christ'.

So how could the pope's prayer in a Muslim mosque, thereby giving some visible token of approval to their false teaching, be seen as a good thing? Because it promotes peace? But at what cost? For you Catholics reading this, I'm not attempting to establish Protestantism over Catholicism by this stream of consciousness. I am saying that what the pope has done has, in the long run, done more harm to the cause of world peace than good (by strengthening the hand of those who would do us harm), and has contradicted the claim of the historic Christian Church on the necessity and uniqueness of Christ. I know he wasn't speaking ex cathedra, but it still upsets me...yes, even as a Protestant. Because like it or not, what he does and says affects us all when it comes to Islam.

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