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August 31, 2006

Comments

kevin

A great book that goes into this on a very presonal level (since he was facing martyrdom himself!)is "The Sadness of Christ" by St. Thomas More (we have it at scepterpublishers.org) St Thomas More meditates deeply on the sufferings of Our Lord in the garden and reflects on persecution etc. (Also A diologue of Comfort against Tribuation) Also there are great novels about early martyrdom "Junia" and "Marcus" --favorites of mine. I read Junia in Rome --where the story takes place--it really gives you an idea of early Christian life and martyrdom.

Akira

The stories of the Japanese Martyrs are amazing.

Jason in SA

Kevin, That's the first man I thought of. The wonderful scene in _A Man for All Seasons_ comes to mind, where St. Thomas is hopeful that the Oath of Supremacy which he so dreads will contain some 'wiggle room' so that he can take it and not be forced to deny Christian truth. (It didn't.)

I had always wondered if some equivocation in this situation is allowed. You make a mean case, Jimmy. Thanks.

Matt McDonald

It seems that we should be careful not to look too hard for "wiggle room". Christians ought to be eager for the opportunity to take up our cross, not necessarily to the extent of martyrdom, but certainly in the little persecutions we face day to day. If, without seeking it, an opportunity for martyrdom appears, why would we seek to avoid it? Are we more concerned with worldly things, rather than our salvation?

Brother Cadfael

St. Thomas More's A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation is well worth anyone's read.

Here is a link to the Center for Thomas More Studies, where you can find links to an online version of Sadness of Christ and a study guide for A Dialogue of Comfort, among other things.

francis 03

Sometimes, yes. We must be willing to die, but only when God wills it-- that is, at the right time and for the right reasons. Recall that even Christ Himself miraculously avoided death by "passing through" the crowd that wanted to toss Him off a cliff. It wasn't time yet, and He obviously knew that. I think that we are called to the same kind of discernment. Of course, if you don't have wiggle room any more that's a pretty good sign that it is, in fact, time!

Joy Schoenberger

This reminds me of the story of St. Maximilian Kolbe. When he was a boy, Mary appeared to him and offered hime two heavenly crowns, one white, symbolizing purity, and one red, symbolizing martyrdom. When asked which one he wanted, he chose them both. St. Theresa the Little Flower also yearned for martyrdom, and rejoiced on the Good Friday morning she discovered blood in her hankerchief, a sign of her impending death from tuberculosis.

I think it is far less difficult, however, to offer oneself than to freely offer one's own child. Aside from needing a perfect vessel for Jesus to enter the world, God creating Mary "Full of Grace" was no doubt a mercy for enduring the "sword that would pierce [her] heart." And any parent must be doubly impressed by the sacrifice of our loving God, who "so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son."

Brent Robbins

I'd never deny Christ, but I'd also never just stand there and say "I am a Christian...okay, you can kill me now." I'd probably be like "Heck yeah I'm a Christian" and then start handing out a platter of knuckle sandwiches and drop kicks. I'd rather die fighting...they wouldn't take me alive!!!!!

NewTrollObserver

Having never been myself in a 'live-or-die/deny-or-assert' situation, I would find it difficult to summarily say if I would not have made a similar decision as made by the reporters in Iraq.

SteveL

Great post!

Ed Peters

Great post Jimmy.

In law, the greater the duress, the less one is held accountable one's utterances. In matters of Faith, however, that "out" might not be applicable. Now, I wonder why.

Patricia

Thanks for this post, Jimmy. I've been thinking about this and praying that if myself or any of my family is put in a situation similar to the correspondents in Gaza that we would have the grace to not deny our faith. It really helps to hear you say don't worry about this now, just have faith in Christ!

Tim M.

I think that the key here is the word "martyr" itself. In Greek, marturios (sp) means "a supreme witness.. one willing to witness to something to the point of dying for the truth of it"

Isn't this just what we are as believers? Once we are baptized, we become witnesses to the love and goodness of God. We are called to die daily to ourselves, to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus.

It seems very incongruent to me that we would do this each day until the day that we "really" might die, then just take the out and deny Christ instead of denying ourselves.

A martyr is only a believer that happens to be put into a situation where he can prove what he / she has always intended to be... Christ's supreme witness.

having been in situations where future torture and possible martyrdom was ahead, I resolved a long time ago what I would do in that situation. I came to the same conclusion as Polycarp... that for all of my years my King has taken care of me, I will not deny Him now.

"Jesus, I trust in You"... please help me to trust in You even more.

patrick

I also say this is a great post.
'If Heaven's inhabitants are wearing crowns, then the Crowns of Martyrs are the grandest.' just my thought.

Eileen R

I think it's important to also remember that for the person who does crack under pressure and deny Christ there is always Christ's forgiveness and a welcome back into the Church. After all, St. Peter was the first to deny Christ, and he later died a glorious martyr's death.

In law, the greater the duress, the less one is held accountable one's utterances. In matters of Faith, however, that "out" might not be applicable. Now, I wonder why.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Gal.5:4)

Some Day

Absoulutly.
Martyrdom is a grace. To rashly risk ones life is stupid, not a heroic thing. Now martyrdom is grace I even prayed for once in a while. Don't just assume I'm crazy. I don't want to wait to see God in Heaven. Death and right away to Heaven.
If even the great saints have gone to Purgatory, then what of this wrectched creature.
That is the only thing you can't deny, your Faith.
And why would you? It is the best "deal"there is.
I love it when the Te Deum sings the part on marytrs.
"Te Mártyrum candidátus laudáte
exércitus"
I think its phenomenal. And it is a grace asked for by very little people. Maybe God will grant me it. And the best maytrdom I think is one like that of the Crusades. Dying, but with a pile of enemies of the Cross under you. That is one of the only glories one can ask for except for that of Heaven. Society has shown disdain for this true Heroism. I can think of no other licit glory to ask for, except to be a Saint, and then, you should pray for others to be saints and oneself when possible, to be the lowest of the saints, but still a saint.
In the end, it is what God called you for.
But we are all called to be saints, and who gives up on that goal is damned. There is a story of two Spanish men who were attacked by Protestants when in a whorehouse ( is this a decent word, I don't know of any other in English) and had just sinned, but when the Protestants told them to renounce the Faith, they said no, and were killed, but died maytrs and are know wearing a crown that not even some Saints can wear.
It is never to late.
Death is the only limit.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

Anne Louise

Jimmy: Grace is frequently delivered in a just-in-time manner, and God will be sure to give us graces when we are being travely tested that we do not currently possess.

I know that the subject of the post is a weighty one, and I am thankful that you wrote on it, Jimmy. But I am especially delighted with the 'just-in-time' bit! Totally appeals to the economist in me :)

Wild Woman of Borneo

truefaith

I'm so glad that the topic of Christian martyrdom is being discussed, since I've been thinking about this topic alot myself lately. I love our Lord very much, yet I'm so aware of my own weaknesses, shortcomings, and sin--that I've decided to start praying every day for the grace to be faithful to Him even to death(martyrdom), and for final perseverance. With Christian persecution spreading in many parts of the world, it would be very spiritually sobering to meditate on this reality. This also points to the need to practice self-detachment to the things of this world, since they are all passing.

Jason

Very interesting. Thanks for posting this Jimmy.

Jason

"having been in situations where future torture and possible martyrdom was ahead, I resolved a long time ago what I would do in that situation. I came to the same conclusion as Polycarp... that for all of my years my King has taken care of me, I will not deny Him now."

If it was a quick death, like getting shot in the head, I think I would be able to accept it without much trial. But if it was torture, that really scares me. I know God's grace is sufficient for everything, but yikes, the early martyrs went through such tortures! Can you imagine having your skin cut off like St. Bartholomew or being roasted on a grill like St. Lawrence? St. John was boiled in oil, although he survived.

the early martyrs went through such tortures!

They say they travel by jets these days.

John L

I don' think you are right in saying that the usual conditions under which one can remain silent about what one believes apply to faith. If asked by a terrorist whether one is a Christian, one has a duty to answer affirmatively - one can't try to evade the issue in any way. St. Thomas says in 1a2ae 12, a.1, ad 2; 'It belongs to faith not only that the heart should believe, but also that external words and deeds should bear witness to the inward faith, for confession is an act of faith.' In 1a2ae q.3 a.2 resp., he says 'it is not necessary for salvation to confess one's faith at all times and in all places, but in certain places and at certain times, when, namely, by omitting to do so, we would deprive God of due honor, or our neighbor of a service that we ought to render him: for instance, if a man, on being asked about his faith, were to remain silent, so as to make people believe either that he is without faith, or that the faith is false, or so as to turn others away from the faith; for in such cases as these, confession of faith is necessary for salvation.' This is the common teaching of Catholic tradition.

Jared Weber

Oh no, you're gonna whack me unless I bow to Allah? Why don't you just strap a rocket to my back and shoot me straight to Heaven (do not pass Hell, do not collect 200 years in Purgatory)? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that's exactly what'll happen anyway.

Omar

What's wrong with bowing to Allah? Catholic Catechism says Muslims and Catholics alike adore the one, merciful God. Muslims call Him Allah. You call Him God. Big deal.

Love God/Allah with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do this and you'll inherit eternal life.

Jared Weber

Omar: The problem is that Allah was one of about 600 pagan gods being worshipped at that time by the Arabians. To call God Allah in the context of the Muslim understanding of that Person fails to acknowledge His Trinitarian Nature, denying both Christ's Divinity AND even the existence of the Holy Spirit. Which is bad. Really, really bad.

Omar

If you don't believe Muslims and Catholics worship the same God, then you disagree with Catholicism.

Catechism 841: The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

Jared Weber

You misunderstand, Omar. By bowing to their concept of God, I would be, by definition, denying Christ.

"They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them," (Quran 5:73, Yusufali).

"They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no Allah save the One Allah. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve," (Quran 5:73, Pickthal).

"They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? Allah's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things," (Quran 5:17, Pickthal).

"And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!" (Quran 5:30, Pickthal)

Mr. Flapatap

Thanks for the post on this as I was wondering the same thing. I know how I would like to act and pray that if put in a similar situation that God will give His graces.

One question, though: Now that they have officially "converted", will they (according to some) be game to be killed because they have recanted, i.e. converted away from Islam? Just wondering...

Sarah

If I were single without a family and with nothing to lose, I might be willing to be a martyr for my faith. But I have a husband and a two-year-old daughter. If I were in a situation where someone said "deny Christ or I'll kill you," wouldn't it be a far greater sin for me to leave my husband without a wife and my daughter without a mother, if there were something I could have done to prevent my death? If my husband, mother, father, or anyone else I care about were in that situation, you’d better believe I would want them to do whatever it takes to not get killed. I have a very hard time believing denying Christ in this situation is a mortal sin, because it’s not really denying Christ when someone has a gun pointed at your head. Denying Christ simply because you’re afraid of rejection or ridicule is a different story, but a conversion at gunpoint is not a true conversion! Don’t you think God understands? He knows what’s really in our hearts.

I long for heaven as much as anyone, but in a way it seems sort of selfish to want to go straight to heaven without any regard for the effect your death will have on the people you leave behind. Am I off-base here?

bill912

Sarah, I'm as scared of torture and death as anyone, and I don't know how I'd act under threat of same for refusing to deny Christ. I pray that I'd act as did the early Christian martyrs, who would have disagreed with your belief as to what would be the greater sin.

Brother Cadfael

Sarah,

wouldn't it be a far greater sin for me to leave my husband without a wife and my daughter without a mother, if there were something I could have done to prevent my death?

It depends, of course, on what that "something" is.

I would want them to do whatever it takes to not get killed.

The point is, we cannot do "whatever it takes."

Whoever would save his life will lose it. Those words mean something. The question for us is what?

Jimmy has done an excellent job of providing examples of "something" that can be done, but that "something" is less than "whatever it takes."

St. Thomas More is one of the greatest witnesses that we have to this principle. He was willing to do anything short of denying an article of his Catholic faith to save his life. He wanted to be there for his wife and his children, and they made the same arguments to him that you're making now. They're not silly arguments, and he did not regard them as such. But in his Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation he gave an impassioned, rational defense (in the context of an engaging story with humorous anecdoctes) of why our Catholic faith demands in certain circumstances that we give up our life rather than give up an article of our faith, even at gunpoint (or in his case, the blade of a guillotine).

Matt McDonald

Those who would renounce Christ to save their life, might find themselves in a hot place. Based on the behaviour of islamic fascist terrorists. Even if you renounce Christ they may kill you anyway. Perhaps without time to repent for the denial...

As far as Allah being the one True God, in a sense that may be true (yet not an element of the faith calling for a high degree of assent), in the context of an islamic fascist terrorist calling on you to revere Allah, it is a clear denunciation of His trinitarian nature, and the divinity of Christ.

Jared Weber

Matt McDonald: Thank you for saying what I was trying to say. I shouldn't post at 2 a.m. anymore.

Sarah

Thanks for your response, Brother Cadfael. You've made me think. But I have another question - What if someone told you you either had to deny Christ or have your child be tortured or killed? I can accept that as Catholics we must be ready to give up our lives for the faith, but what about giving up the life of another?

Brother Cadfael

Sarah,

I agree that what you have proposed raises a more difficult question, in that it is easier to give up your own life than to give up the life of one you love. Rather than answer it directly, I would suggest a prayerful reading of 2 Maccabees 7, where a mother is placed in that very position with seven sons.

Omar

As far as Allah being the one True God, in a sense that may be true (yet not an element of the faith calling for a high degree of assent), in the context of an islamic fascist terrorist calling on you to revere Allah, it is a clear denunciation of His trinitarian nature, and the divinity of Christ.

Under the rules and mindset of Catholicism, Allah and God are one and the same. The reporters were required to say "I testify there is no God but Allah." When spoken by a Catholic in the context of Catholic Catechism, that statement is not a denunciation of trinitarian nature or divinity but an affirmation of Catholic belief. There is no requirement that you must hold the same mindset as a terrorist, which if they were forcing persons to convert to Islam would itself be a violation of Islam.

Jared Weber

Omar: You sure that's a violation of Islam? Read this: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." --Surah Number: 9, Ayah Number: 29

Omar

Omar: You sure that's a violation of Islam?

Yes, even the "conversion" video reminded in black and white that "There is no compulsion in religion."

Read this: "Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the price with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." --Surah Number: 9, Ayah Number: 29

Sounds like the talk of many Christian soldiers.

The subduction, the submission is submission to God.

MissJean

Even if I accepted the premise that Allah was the same as the God of Abraham, the part about accepting that "Mohammed is His prophet" would earn me a decapitation. I think Mohammed was crazy at best, possessed at worst.

Tim M.

Our Holy Father has expressed this way for us to follow:

"Those who meet Jesus," he said, "those who let themselves be attracted by Him and are ready to follow Him even unto the sacrifice of their lives, personally experience, as He did on the cross, how only the 'grain of wheat' that falls to earth and dies brings 'much fruit'."

"This is the way of Christ, the way of total love that triumphs over death," said Pope Benedict, adding: "This is the experience enjoyed by those true friends of God, the saints, who have recognized and loved in their brethren, especially in the poorest and most needy, the face of God long contemplated with love and prayer. They are encouraging examples for us to follow."

"In order to enter into communion with Christ and contemplate His face," the Pope went on, our lives must be "illuminated by the truth of love which overcomes indifference, doubt, lies and egoism."

- from this morning (01 Sept. 2006) during Pop Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Face at Manoppello.

Susan Peterson

My horrible fear was always that someone would torture my child and I would do the right thing and not deny ....and then I would not be able to stand my own pain and would deny, after letting my child suffer.

But as Jimmy said, and I think C S Lewis also, we are not supposed to be agitating ourselves about these hypotheticals. We should be asking God for the grace to be patient with our spouses when they irritate us, or to deal patiently with that supervisor at work who treats us dismissively or humiliates us and even to pray for that person- or whatever the actual situations we find ourselves in now are, that cause us to sin.

I don't think you can say there is no God but Allah, because of what that means to the person you are saying it to. Maybe it does fall under the mental reservation bit and you could. You couldn't say, "Mohammed is His Prophet."

In a class on the catechism I was in a Chinese woman was saying that in China, even Catholic women could not resist having abortions if ordered to, or they couldn't work and support their families, might lose their house or place to live, etc. When I said that that was something one could not do willingly,without resisting, no matter what the consequences, she gave me a "you coddled American it is easy enough for you to say" look. And of course, I am, and it is...but still it is true, isnt' it? And a student doctor must refuse to participate in an abortion, and if asked, must tell admissions committees they would do so, even if it means not getting into medical school. And a nurse must refuse to participate in one even if it means losing her job and she is the sole support of her family and has young children. There are issues here in American in which we are called to be, not martyrs, but "confessors" who suffer for the faith. People who refuse illicit fertility treatments when they are their only hope of having a child are "confessors" for instance. I am sure others can think of more examples. It is worth while to think these through and rehearse what one would do and say if pressured in such a situation, if one is likely to be in it. But resisting torture...not profitable to worry over unless and until the time comes.
Susan Peterson

Jared Weber

Ah, but there have been American martyrs, and recent ones at that. Remember Cassie Bernall of Columbine High School? Though not Catholic, she certainly qualifies as a martyr for standing up and professing belief in God when those mass murderers asked.

Brother Cadfael

Ah, but there have been American martyrs, and recent ones at that. Remember Cassie Bernall of Columbine High School? Though not Catholic, she certainly qualifies as a martyr for standing up and professing belief in God when those mass murderers asked.

The Cassie Bernall story is a good one, but from what I recall of it, it would not qualify as martyrdom (regardless of whether she's Catholic or not). There was no evidence, as I recall, that the Columbine shooters killed her (or any of the others) because of her profession of faith. In other words, she was not put to the test: renounce your faith and live, or profess your faith and die. All evidence is that she was going to die regardless of what she said.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to diminish what she did -- I certainly hope to be professing my faith in Jesus Christ at the time of my death. But not every profession of faith at the time of death qualifies as martyrdom.


Jared Weber

Bro. C.: Hmm, I was under the impression that the killers did NOT kill everyone else in that class, but that they'd singled her out because of her profession. Guess I've got some research to do.

Brother Cadfael

Jared,

Let me know -- I'm not that familiar with the story either.

Incidentally, the definition of a martyr at the Catholic Encyclopedia is "a martyr, or witness of Christ, is a person who, though he has never seen nor heard the Divine Founder of the Church, is yet so firmly convinced of the truths of the Christian religion, that he gladly suffers death rather than deny it."

Truefaith

As much as we all love our families, we are called to love God above all--even our families. Part of loving God is trusting in Him--Jesus I trust in you! Therefore, if faced with denying Jesus and torture of family, etc., we must always choose to remain faithful to Jesus--because He is God, and trust that he will take care of our families. Many years ago, I read an account of the horrible persecution of the Armenian people (during the early part of the 20th century), many chose to die--entire families, rather than renounce their Christian faith.

J.R. Stoodley

About Cassie Bernall, from what I have heard (including from a talk by the girl's father), she knew the attackers personally, tried to help them earlier including talking with them about God. She got the impression that they were going to do something that day and told a teacher but the teacher did not believe her. When they attacked they singled her out, shooting her and then coming up to her as she lay bleeding. The guy asked her if she still believed in God. She said "you know I do." He responded with something like "then go meet him" and shot her in the head.

That sounds like the girl was an admirable person but I'm not sure the situation quite calls for her being called a martyr. While it probebly was her Christian faith that caused her to develop a relationship with these boys, she did not know it would lead to her death, and it does not seem to me that she was given or would likely have been under the impression that she was being given a chance to survive if she denied her faith.

Furthermore I would not want to call any non-Catholic a martyr since they are witnessing to something other than the full Christian faith. This girl, heroic as she may have been and hopfully inculpable for her heresy (likely enough for a high-schooler raised in such a family and region), was nontheless an objective heretic, and her death gives a degree of support to Protestantism. Placing her alongside the Catholic martyrs therefore seems inappropriate, even were she a better person generally than any living Catholic.

Some Day

In Spain, some evil people would capture Catholics and make them renounce the Faith.
Then they killed them telling them to have fun in Hell for denying the Faith.
So why deny it?

that he gladly suffers death rather than deny it

As "glad" as Jesus was about what came to him, overwhelmed with sorrow, deeply distressed and troubled.

J.R. Stoodley

About Islam, remember that Allah is the Arabic word for God, and Arab speaking Christians call God Allah, and apparently were calling Him that before Islam existed. Assuming it is correct that the Arabs had a god whom they called Allah, that does not necessarily mean that there is any perticular relation between him and the Allah of Islam. The name Jupiter comes from "Dis Pater"- essentially meaning God the Father (actually there is disagreement amoung sources about whether the line of names leading to Dis Pater->Jupiter, Zeus, Dagda, Tyr, Dyeus Pitar, etc. are equivalent to Deus, Theos, etc. or only related but let's ignore that for this discussion) and one of the titles of Odin is All-Father, which especially through J.R.R. Tolkien's "Iluvatar" the anti-Chirstian could trace to the Christian God and say they are the same. I trust you would not appreciate them doing this or think it is at all legitimate.

These cases are not exactly like the case in Arabic but basic principle I think applies. I am under the impression that the Quran states that this Allah is the one God who is the God of Abraham. I would say that quite clearly establishes that the Muslim idea of Allah corresponds to the real One True God, albeit they have very heretical ideas about Him.

Therefore "There is no God but Allah" is a perfectly accurate statement to make. If that was all that was required of the reporters I think they did the right thing, unless they were told that by saying this they accepted all the principles of Islam.

If they were to say "Mohammed is his prophet" that would at least be a venial sin, but not mortal since especially if the Quran was not really written by Mohammed (as is apparently the case) accepting his being a prophet is not tantamount to saying the Quran is true. If they demanded you accept that the teachings of the Quran were true or even the word of God, or if they insisted you deny the divinity of Christ or the existance of the Trinity or something like that, then it would be morally impossible to submit to that.

J.R. Stoodley

Some Day, I imagin the people were tortured into renouncing their faith. Under torture you do not think in terms of whether you will die or not, but whether the pain will stop or not. The pain you feel now will generally seem much more real than the pain of hell.

Still, presumably God gave such people the grace to persevere, and after all it should be primarily love of Christ not fear of hell that motivates you to refuse to deny the Catholic faith.

Brother Cadfael

J.R.,

For what it's worth, I think the term martyr could, and probably should, apply to non-Catholics in certain circumstances.

Mary

If I were in a situation where someone said "deny Christ or I'll kill you," wouldn't it be a far greater sin for me to leave my husband without a wife and my daughter without a mother, if there were something I could have done to prevent my death?

Unfortunately, Jesus has spoke directly to the issue:

"He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn't worthy of me."

Some Day

The pain you feel now will generally seem much more real than the pain of hell.

Definetely. I know we are very comfortable siting in a chair discussing this. But I still think that is one of the most phenomenal graces God has given. I would not mind being a martyr. In fact I have asked for that grace on occasions. But also, before the marytrdom, I ask for the following of my vocation, and also that if I am to die at the hands of enemies of the Church, then to let me make some "martyrs"as Brother Cafadel pointed out, on the other side. Then after fighting the good fight...
In hora mortis méae vóca me.
Et júbe me veníre ad Te,
Ut cum Sánctis túis láudem Te, in saécula saeculórum. Amen

Cin

I have a few imperfect thoughts on this. I recently faced the possibility of martyrdom for Christ and my unborn baby.

I was very, very sick -- lost 15 lbs in about a week, could not keep down any food or water, was severely dehydrated -- with a pregnancy complication.

A doctor offered me an abortion, and told me it might come down to the baby or me.

I declined the murder after much soul-searching. In that denial, I had to face the thought of possibly dying of dehydration or starvation.

Then another doctor took my case and gave me proper medical care -- drugs that stopped the vomiting, fed and hydrated by IVs, etc.

Jimmy is right -- the Lord gives us the grace when we need it. I was terrified of dying the same way Terri Schiavo did. I had no strength. I was listening to the Tempter. I wanted this pg to end.

But when the question was asked, God gave me the strength to say no. My reward is the month-old baby sleeping on my shoulder right now.

It's not a classic case of "deny Him or die", but I offer it for what it's worth.

Jared Weber

J.R.: Mohammed is quite plainly NOT His prophet. Given the history and theology of Islam, I'd actually tend to think that a profession that he was by a Catholic has at least the potential to be mortal.

Jared Weber

Br. C.: It turns out that the bulk of the stories out there are saying that Cassie didn't have that conversation with the murderers at all. However, one witness is still standing by the story initially told (and retold in the book She Said Yes by Cassie's mom. It's all very confused (as expected with this kind of situation). I guess we'll never know exactly what happened and why, this side of Heaven.

J.R. Stoodley

Jared Weber,

Since it might be the mortal sin of herecy to say that there has been public revelation since the time of the apostles, saying Mohammed was the prophet of God might be a mortal sin for that reason. I had not thought of that possiblilty. I had only been thinking of the sin of denying Christ. Then again since you would not really believe that Mohammed is a prophet probably it would not be herecy and you are back to the only sin being that of lying and perhaps scandal.

I do not think calling Mohammed is tantamount to denying Christ because, since it seems (from what little I know on the subject) likely that no actual writtings of Mohammed exist, one could speculate that his teachings could have been orthodox and his followers twisted them around when they wrote the Quran. Highly unlikely of course, but because of the possiblilty I don't think calling him a prophet means rejecting Christ.

Brother Cadfael

It is difficult for me to conceive of a scenario where calling Mohammed a prophet would not be a denial of Christ.

J.R. Stoodley

Perhaps you are right based on the implicit message you would be giving, not the actual act. The actual act is not a rejection of Christ except inasmuch as accepting a claim of public revelation after the Aplostles is heresy. However, those listening your acceptance of Mohammed would likely assume you are accepting the teachings attributed to him. Jimmy did say you could use mental reservations, but could you use them to give the impression of a denial of Christ?

Brother Cadfael

I believe that Mohammed prophesied that Christ was not the Son of God, did he not? It seems to me that acknowledging he was a prophet means acknowledging that he was correct in what he prophesied, no?

Mark

I believe that Mohammed prophesied that Christ was not the Son of God, did he not?

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/quran-jesus.html provides these quotes from the Q'uran:

When the angels said, 'O Mary, ALLAH gives thee glad tidings of a son through a word from HIM; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God;

'And he shall speak to the people in the cradle, and when of middle age, and he shall be of the righteous.

She said, 'My Lord, how shall I have a son, when no man has touched me? He said, 'Such is the way of ALLAH. HE creates what HE pleases. When HE decrees a thing HE says to it 'Be,' and it is;" -- Qur'an, Surah 3:46-48

Muhammad also speaks of the resurrection of Jesus:

"Thereupon she pointed to him. They said, 'How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?' Jesus said, 'I am a servant of ALLAH. HE has given me the Book, and has made me a Prophet; 'And HE has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me Prayer and almsgiving so long as I live; 'And HE has made me dutiful towards my mother, and has not made me arrogant and graceless; 'And peace was on me the day I was born, and peace will be on me the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised up to life again.' That was Jesus, son of Mary. This is a statement of the truth concerning which they entertain doubt." -- Qur'an, Surah 19:30-35

Jared Weber

Stoodley: I had assumed that Mohammed WROTE the Koran. The Koran, as Mark points out, is filled with blasphemies and heresies. Mohammed even writes that God sets up a straw man (or misunderstands?!) the Christian concept of Trinity. In the Koran, "Allah" seems to think that the Trinity = Father, Son, and ... you ready? ... Virgin Mary!

Mark

I had assumed that Mohammed WROTE the Koran.

Hadith tells us that Mohammad was illiterate, unable to read or write. So of course Mohammad did not write the Quran. Muslims claim that Mohammad dictated the whole Quran to his followers and many of them memorized the Quranic verses word by word and later they wrote it down. The bottom line is that no one knows for sure who wrote the Quran. And consequently, no one knows for sure, aside from his/her personal faith, what prophecies, if any, Mohammad made.

In the Koran, "Allah" seems to think that the Trinity = Father, Son, and ... you ready? ... Virgin Mary!

I think it must be like one of those ink blot tests.

Brother Cadfael

I know that Mohammed believed in the virgin birth, taught that Jesus was a great prophet, and revered Mary. But he also taught that Jesus was not God and that the notion of God as a Trinity was false, no?

In the Koran, "Allah" seems to think that the Trinity = Father, Son, and ... you ready? ... Virgin Mary!

I'd be shocked if this were true. Jared, can you back it up with some cites?

Jared Weber

Ink blot: "And behold! Allah will say: 'O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?' He will say: 'Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right(to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For thou knowest in full all that is hidden.'"(Surah 5:116)

Mark

That verse talks of Jesus saying "Never could I say" to worship Mary or himself in derogation of God. For that matter, Jesus wouldn't tell you to worship Daffy Duck in derogation of God. That wouldn't mean Daffy Duck is part of a trinity. Statements like these are written in the negative. Never could Jesus tell you to do something wrong, and it would be wrong to worship anything or anyone, even Jesus himself, in derogation of God. Would it not?

Jared Weber

Mark: In this verse, "Allah" is asking Jesus if He taught Christians to worship a "trinity" of Allah, Messiah, and Virgin Mary ... thus revealing the ignorance of the author of the Koran with regard to actual Christian doctrine. In other words, Christians NEVER taught this, but somehow, "Allah" thinks we do.

Straw man or misunderstanding ... either way, this "Allah" clearly ain't God.

Mark

Mark: In this verse, "Allah" is asking Jesus if He taught Christians to worship a "trinity" of Allah, Messiah, and Virgin Mary

And the response from Jesus in that verse is NO, "Never could I say what I had no right(to say)."

this "Allah" clearly ain't God.

Catechism 841 says Catholics and Muslims worship the same God. Do you disagree with Church teaching?

Jared Weber

Mark: Muhammed makes "Jesus" say that in the same way that Muhammed makes "Jesus" deny that He was God's Son, that He wasn't crucified, etc.

Are YOU saying that Jesus is not God? That the Trinity is heresy? Et cetera? 'Cause that's what this verse of the Koran says "Allah" is saying. Therefore, any person who makes the statement attributed to Allah in this verse, isn't God.

Mark

Christians NEVER taught this, but somehow, "Allah" thinks we do.

Perhaps at the time when it was written, there were people with whom Mohammad had contact who had talked or asked about such things and this dialog was offered to clarify questions. I don't know. I don't see it as much anything beyond a dialog offered to make the point that no worship should be of a form that detracts from God.

Muhammed makes "Jesus" deny that He was God's Son, that He wasn't crucified, etc.

I don't find any verse in the Quran where *Jesus* denies Sonship or crucifixion, but there are verses which which seem to say Allah did not "beget" Jesus and that some unspecified persons who were claiming to have killed or crucified Jesus did not. However, the Quran is a book of words, copied, rewritten, translated by humans. It does not, as mere words, reveal with crystal clarity what Mohammed was thinking when he said whatever he said. The same can be said of the Bible.

Are YOU saying that Jesus is not God? That the Trinity is heresy?... 'Cause that's what this verse of the Koran says "Allah" is saying.

No, that's not what this verse is saying to me. To me, it's saying it's wrong to worship Jesus and Mary IN DEROGATION of God. "In derogation" means to detract from, take away, desparage, belittle. I suppose some people might read more into the verse than that, but I don't. I just don't find sufficient evidence in those few words to hold to more.

Therefore, any person who makes the statement attributed to Allah in this verse, isn't God.

The Quran supposedly records statements made by Mohammed. Muslims don't believe Mohammed was God.

Jared Weber

Mark: Firstly, you need to read more thoroughly.

Secondly, you can try all you will but the above quoted Koran passage betrays a lack of knowledge about the Trinity.

Thirdly, the Koran does claim to be the exact revelation that God wanted Mohammed to bring to mankind.

Fourthly, (and actually, this is the first point I made) please review the below passages from the koran and then tell me how the koran doesn't deny the Crucifixion, the Sonship of Christ, etc. Seriously, you're splitting hairs here. It doesn't matter what "character" in the Koran says these things, the facts are that (a) the writer of the koran asserts them to be facts and (b) the characters are just that: characters. And bad characters at that. Much like fan-fiction, the writer of the koran puts words in the mouths of actual individuals and tries to change FACTS about those characters.

Sura 4:157
Sura 4:171
Sura 5:17
Sura 5:73
Sura 6:101
Sura 72:3

Mark

Mark: Like I said from the beginning, I see Surah 5:116 like an ink blot. I've shared with you what I see when I read the verse alone on its face. If I wanted to play the game of reading between the lines, to perhaps go so far as to claim to know the writer's intentions, perhaps I'd see more as you want to see in just those few words. Might it have been the writer's intent? Is it conceivable? Yes, like I said before.

As to the Quran being presented as God's revelation to Mohammed, I haven't said otherwise. But to literally agree with your statement that "any person who makes the statement attributed to Allah in this verse, isn't God," I said the Quran supposedly records statements made by Mohammed (which it does!) and that Muslims don't believe Mohammed was God (even if they do believe the Quran is God's revelation to Mohammad).

Now, as to your list of other verses, yes, someone could get the distinct idea that they contradict Catholic teaching. But with Quran and Bible verses like ink blots, I don't rule out the possibility they could be construed in some way as non-conflicting. After all, with God/Allah, anything is possible.

Jared Weber

Mark (not sure why you directed your last comment to yourself, but maybe there's something in that): Rrright.

I think I'm done debating now. If almost a millenia-and-a-half of religio-contradiction isn't enough to convince you that Mohammedanism is--without extreme and fundamental alteration--irreconcilably opposed to Catholicism, I certainly won't be able to make any headway.

Deus lo vult.

J.R. Stoodley

Even if there is a way to rationally reconcile the Quran with true Revelation (and I doubt this is the case but I have never read the Quran except for some excerpts including the ones given here) it is plain that the interpretation of Muslims is quite contrary to revelation, especially the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Redemption by Christ's death and ressurection.

Because they deny Christ come in the flesh it is clear that they are anti-Christ.

As to whether they can be said to worship God, I find that a difficult subject.

First of all the Magisterium at least these days has been saying that they do, but if this is not a matter of faith or morals (and I don't see how it could be) then this matters little.

Therefore let's look at what Jesus had to say on the matter: "He who hears you [the aplostles and implicitly their successors] hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

At least in some sence then, anyone who rejects Christ or the Magisterium of His Church rejects God generally. The role invincible ignorance can play in preventing this succession of rejections from following one another is debatible. Does one have to know that rejecting the authority Bishops of the Catholic Church means a rejection of God for this verse to apply? If that were the case it would presumably never or almost never happen, so why would Jesus bother saying it?

Muslims go farther by not only rejecting the Magisterium but the entire Church flat out and deny Christ by making him out to be something so widely divergent from who He is that there is really no relevant resemblance. By doing so do they automatically reject God? A plain reading of Scripture would seem to suggest that, though again invincible ignorance may come into play.

Does the rejection of God constitute not believing in God? Clearly no, since Satan and some Satanists believe in God yet reject Him.

However, Muslims do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, who is fully God in and of Himself. Therefore they reject the divinity of God in His entirety.

However, while it is less clear, it would seem that they accept the divinity of God the Father, and therefore of God in His entirety.

We therefore have a self-contradiction here on the part of the Muslims.

It is definitely an unclear picture, but since they undeniably reject the divinity of one Person of the Trinity, seem to reject even the existence of another (each of which is fully the One True God in their own right), and accept the divinity of an "Allah" who they apparently never call the Father, I would hold that the evidence leans toward their rejection of the divinity of God generally, worshiping rather a single oppressive partiarchal warrior god of their own imagining whom they wrongly identify as the God of Abraham.

Just throwing my ideas out there for the heck of it. Ignore it if you want, but comments on it might help me (and hopfully others) make up their minds on the subject.

Jared Weber

JRS: Just a comment on the fact that Mohammedans "undeniably reject the divinity of one Person of the Trinity, seem to reject even the existence of another ...."

The koran asserts that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit, and, since Gabriel isn't God but a created being, then the koran undeniably denies the Third Person of the Trinity as well.

Other than that, I see no flaws in your reasoning.

Mark

If almost a millenia-and-a-half of religio-contradiction isn't enough to convince you that Mohammedanism is--without extreme and fundamental alteration--irreconcilably opposed to Catholicism, I certainly won't be able to make any headway.

Sorry, but I don't subscribe to theories of irreconcilability. If you don't believe the "Allah" or "Jesus" of the Quran is God or Jesus, then why should you have a problem with attesting, as (you interpret) the Quran does, that the "Jesus" of the Quran is not the Son of God? You suffer from your own contradictions.

Even if there is a way to rationally reconcile the Quran with true Revelation (and I doubt this is the case but I have never read the Quran except for some excerpts including the ones given here)

See above.

it is plain that the interpretation of Muslims is quite contrary to revelation

It is likewise plain that the day-to-day interpretations of millions of would-be Catholics of their own Church's teachings is also imperfect. Perhaps that's why Paul said so simply, "Let God be true and every man a liar. As it is written: 'So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.'"

J.R. Stoodley

Mark,

The Jesus of the Quran clearly refers to the historical man, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, the promised Messiah. The denial of his divinity by Muslims is the primary thing that makes their view of him so inaccurate, but the connection to the historical Jesus eliminates (in my opinion) the possiblity of making him a fictional character in your mind with whom you may not have a problem.

See above

I was basing my opinion mainly on what is written above. I do not think your attepted reconciliation works. For instance, it is impossible to worship Jesus in a way that detracts from God because Jesus is God. If the Quran is reconcilable with Christianity then it seems to me you have to be able to say "do not worship God as a god in derrogation of God."

Besides, what about issue of no public revelation after Christ (you seem to believe the Quran is equal to the Bible, if not please clarify that) and the consistantly bad fruits the Quran has produced throughout Muslim history.

If I have misrepresented the teachings of the Church, for instance in saying that the statement in the Catechism on Islam is not a matter of faith or morals, then that was my honest mistake which I will retract if you can produce a quote from Magisterial teaching showing that or even a convincing arguement that I am wrong. Also as you no doubt acknowledge, your quote applies as much to you (and to the Quran I say) as to me, or any human words.

Brother Cadfael

J.R.,

As to whether they can be said to worship God, I find that a difficult subject.

First of all the Magisterium at least these days has been saying that they do, but if this is not a matter of faith or morals (and I don't see how it could be) then this matters little.

I don't see how worshiping God could not be a matter of faith and morals!

With all due respect, I think your analysis is a little confused on this topic. The worship of God obviously is matter of faith, so there is no question about whether the Magisterium is trying to address something outside of its area of competence (which is all the "faith and morals" question addresses).

Jared Weber

Brother Cadfael: I'm not so sure I agree with your assessment.

Firstly, whether Allah is God is certainly no question of morals for Catholics. In other words, it doesn't affect how we are to treat them, which is basically morality in action. So that's out.

Secondly, it doesn't affect my faith either. I know what the Catholic Church teaches about God (to my limited capacity). In a certain sense, that is what is important to my faith, to know who God is. In this sense, it matters not what others teach about him.

So, strictly speaking, I don't see how this statement (CCC 841) relates to either faith or morals.

Maybe I'm wrong. If so, can you supply me with some specifics?

Brother Cadfael

Jared,

Everything in the Catechism relates to faith and morals. It wouldn't be in there if it didn't.

But even putting aside the question of whether "faith" is limited to the faith of Catholics (is not the Church made visible for the salvation of all?), the question of whether Allah is God and whether a Catholic can appropriately worship Allah are certainly matters of faith and morals.

I'm not sure how that could be much clearer.

Jared Weber

Br. C: I'm hedging on this because what Muslims teach about God doesn't apply to Catholics. I'm not saying that Islam is a complete lie. Just partially (mostly?) a lie. To that extent, the only reason Islam's teachings matter is so that we can correct their errors and bring them into the True Church.

In other words, I don't see this as a matter of faith, since Islam is the belief (faith) of Mohammedans. Does that make sense to you?

Brother Cadfael

Jared,

No, it really doesn't. The Magisterium is concerned with teaching the truth about God. It has acknowledged that other religions have some truth (and therefore some truth about God) contained within them. It is well within the Magisterium's competence (indeed, one might even say it is a magisterial duty) to communicate to the faithful (and to the world) what is true and what is false about the Muslim concept of God.

This is more than simply correcting the errors of Muslims so that they can be brought into the fold (although there is that). But even if that's all there was to it, it is still a matter of faith and morals. The Church is absolutely concerned with the evangelization (and therefore the faith) of the entire world, and is competent to address any matter relating to the worship of God and the natural law.

Again, if it is in the Catechism, it relates to a matter of faith and morals. (This shouldn't be confused with the magisterial authority that any particular teaching within the Catechism has; the individual teachings within it may be more or less authoritative.)

Brother Cadfael

J.R.,

...accept the divinity of an "Allah" who they apparently never call the Father, I would hold that the evidence leans toward their rejection of the divinity of God generally...

I'm not following you here. They clearly reject the divinity of the second two persons of the Trinity, and the concept of God as a Father is anathema to Muslims, but how do you get from there to rejection of the divinity of God generally?

And keep in mind, Jews also reject the divinity of the second two persons of the Trinity.

Jared Weber

Br. C.: I'm having trouble saying exactly what I mean. Basically, the reason I don't see this statement (and, frankly, CCC 841 is, itself, not devoid of a certain ambiguity) is that I don't see it as essential to faith, and certainly not to leading a Christian life or attaining salvation.

Put it this way: to someone who never came into contact with Mohammedans (or Christians who lived before Mohammed), this statement is completely inconsequential.

[As an aside, some might say the same of any Christian statement prior to 1 AD (or 4 BC depending upon whom you believe) but the fact is, that the Messiah was always important to all people, whether they knew (know) it or not.]

You write: "This is more than simply correcting the errors of Muslims so that they can be brought into the fold (although there is that)." So, forgive me for being dense, but, what is the "more" of which you write? I fail to see any other purpose.

Jared Weber

Sorry. Typos. My sentence should read, "Basically, the reason I don't see this statement (and, frankly, CCC 841 is, itself, not devoid of a certain ambiguity) as pertanent to faith or morals is that I don't see it as essential to faith, and certainly not to leading a Christian life or attaining salvation."

Brother Cadfael

Jared,

Magisterial competence is not limited to matters "essential" to the faith. The Magisterium is competent to teach authoritatively on all matters "of faith and morals."

There is much in the Catechism that would not pass your definition of essential, but it all pertains to matters "of faith and morals."

As for the "more," pointing out what is true and what is false in the Muslim concept of God is enlightening for all peoples, not just Muslims.

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

First of all, hopefully we can agree that this is not a matter of morals.

So is it a matter of faith?

The way I understand it, the "faith" tought by the Magisterium is the Catholic Faith, exclusively. The very begining of the [section?] in question would be included in this, namely "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator". The Magisterium also can certainly teach whether a certain belief of another religion is compatible with the Catholic Faith or not, for instance is the Talmudic belief that God created the Hebrew alphabet before even creating light compatible with the Christian faith or would holding it constitute heresy? However, it has no particular compitency deciding what exactly constitutes another religion. For instance, it has no authority (behond that of any other human institution) when it comes to deciding whether under Shiite tradition a certain food is ok to eat, or whether Hindu gods and goddesses literally have sex or is this just a metaphor for some spiritual generative process, or under what conditions divorce is permissible under Rabbinical tradition.

Do we agree up to this point? I hope so and suspect so.

The question now is, under what catagory does the issue of whether the Allah of Islam is the true God. It seems to me that while it is certainly within the scope of Magisterial authority to say if this or that aspect of the Muslim Allah applies to God (and you can find aspects in any divinity that in truth apply to God, like great power and worhip-ablity, and often creation) but whether he actually is the true God seems to me a matter of anthropology and psycology, not the Catholic Faith.

About every sentence of the Catechism being teaching on faith or morals, where does it say this? It is a "sure norm" for teaching the faith certainly, but where does it say that it contains nothing but teachings on faith and morals? If it does not say this anywhere, then I think it is safe to suggest that something seeming not to address the Catholic faith or morals in fact does not. This would I admit be a bit of a fuzzy case. In any event, just because you assume that the bishops would not put anything into the Catechism that is not teaching on faith and morals doesn't mean they did not. If I were them I might also put in some eccumentical stuff and some historical and scientific data (science indicating antiquity of the Earth anyone?), assuming that most people will be able to tell that this stuff does not pertain to faith and morals but was considered worthwhile to put in there for other reasons. I think this is exactly what they did, whether or not this one statement is a teaching on faith or not.

Again, if you have any information contradicting this I will gladly receave it.

Some Day

If Allah is the exact translation for God in Arabic, and there is no other word then fine. But since from what I understand, it is not, then you can't use it. Know if some of you want to defend muslims who would chop you and your childrens heads off with out blinking, then fine go ahead.
Islam may say they believe in one god, but it is not The God. Muslims are pagans no matter how you look at it. Zorasters (is that how you spell it) would be as "good"as muslims if believeing in one God is the key to being a good person.
Now regardless of how "nice-guy"a muslim can be, he is a muslim and that is serious stuff.
If you loved the Church completely and as we should, we would have a holy repugnance to Islam, because they do to us. A pacific muslim is like a cafeteria catholic.

Some Day

If muslims believed in the One, True God, they would be heretics. But since they a believe in a god, they are pagan.
Are they heretics or pagans?
Pick one.

who cares they both deserve to die

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

They clearly reject the divinity of the second two persons of the Trinity, and the concept of God as a Father is anathema to Muslims, but how do you get from there to rejection of the divinity of God generally?

Again, from the fact that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are fully God, not thirds of God. To reject the divinity of one of them is to reject the divinity of God generally. Then again what is the situation when someone says they accept the divinity of one or two of these persons (as the one true God, not finite gods like believed by the Mormons) but rejects the divinity of at least one person?

From Jesus' "he who rejects me rejects the one who sent me" it would seem to me that the most logical answer is that such a person rejects the divinity of God generally and believes in a single false, distinctly non-Trinitarian god. I do not claim that it is clear that this is the case though.

Since the Muslims, besides rejecting the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit profess not to believe God is Father in any sence, and apparently often (though not always) even reject that he loves anyone, it seems to me that the idea of God the Father is so widely divergant from the truth that they can not be said to accept him either, thus without question their Allah (as opposed to the Arabic Christian use of the same word) is not God.

To look at it from another angle, while the Catechism does speak of those who believe in the Creator, I do not believe that any god believed to be the creator of the world automatically is that same Creator. The "Great Spirit" (I wonder how accurate the translation to the word "Spirit" could be) of some American Indians leaves footprints on the earth and kills and eats bison. Is it necessary to say he is the One True God just because they believe he is the creator. What about the mortal creator of all good creatures of Yuma mythology who was killed by a frog? What about the Brahman (sp.?) of the basically polytheistic/pantheistic Hindus? The list could go on and on.

And keep in mind, Jews also reject the divinity of the second two persons of the Trinity.

A tragic fact, though they do sometimes call God father (though not in all the same sences of course) and accept almost all the Old Testament, so I would say there is a better chance of them being the confusing case of rejecting the divinity of two Persons of God but accepting one. I'm not sure what to do in this case. I would like to think my Jewish friends and family truely worship the true God, but my wanting something does not make it so. Perhaps it can come down to "I beleive in God but not in God or God" in which case the person is contradicting himself, but since they put their trust in God perhaps that tiny bit of faith will be enough to count. I hope so.

Note that this is not the same as the situation of the pre-Christian Jews who (with the possible acception of of some Prophets who I think may have had this revealed to them but were only permitted to hint at it) had not had revealed to them the Trinity, just the fact that there was one God, so they certainly worshiped that one God. Once they learn about and reject a person of the Trinity they are then rejecting that one God, so you have a whole different situation.

J.R. Stoodley

Some Day,

To be fair, most Muslims I am sure would not kill children without flinching. I think you would at least get a flinch, they are human after all. Seriously I doubt most would want to directly kill "infidel" children, though it would seem that those who think killing heretics is wrong or violently invading other lands and forcing the population to convert to Islam is wrong are the Muslim equivalent of Cafeteria Catholics.

Then again, I recall hearing some Catholics saying the killing of heretics was good. Oh yeah, that was you, Inquisitor Generalis, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Zealous Catholic teenager, closest thing to a Catholic Satanist you can get (if his ideas are realy what he presents; I still hope he and his friends are an enormous prank), and canonized Saint/most exalted Doctor of the Church though known more for intellect than heart during the part of his life when he wrote. Strange combination.

Most all other Catholics I have encountered including myself are repulsed by the idea of killing heretics, except maybe for plotting to overthrow the Catholic Government (I believe that was St. Thomas More's position) but the crime there is conspiracy to overthrow the Government not heresy.

Brother Cadfael you're our scholar any definitive authoritative Magisterial quotes to settle that matter for all faithful Catholics? Or anyone else of course. I think I'll look it up myself too.

J.R. Stoodley

Shoot, turns out everything within < >'s gets hidden. I was making an intentional reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail with my comment to Brother Cadfael ("Brother _____ you're our scholar") that I thought was funny even if no one else would have.

The point is that this seems to me such a clear-cut thing that despite the Medieval confusion it is almost silly to need even to look up stuff to prove you shouldn't kill someone just because they aren't Catholic.

Brother Cadfael

J.R.,

The way I understand it, the "faith" tought by the Magisterium is the Catholic Faith, exclusively.

No. For example, Pope John Paul II made quite clear in his catechesis on marriage that what he had to say was meant for all, not simply Catholics. When the Magisterium expounds on the natural law, it is not expounding on the Cathlic Faith, but on truths that are binding for all.

Do we agree up to this point? I hope so and suspect so.

Not exactly. And while the Magisterium does not have the competence to tell a Muslim what he or she should or should not believe, it does have the competence to tell the world in what respect any particular tenet of the Muslim faith is compatible with the truth.

whether he actually is the true God seems to me a matter of anthropology and psycology, not the Catholic Faith.

Doesn't matter what you call it. If it pertains to the true God and what we are to know about Him, the Magisterium is competent. That's their job.

where does it say that it contains nothing but teachings on faith and morals?

I do not know of anywhere where it says what it does not teach. (I don't know why there would be any such statement.) I would suggest that you begin by reading Fidei Depositum, which is the apostolic constitution presenting the Catechism (it is only about 5 pages). You will find nothing in there suggesting that parts of the Catechism deal with faith and morals and parts deal with other things. Everything in part I relates to what the Church professes.

This would I admit be a bit of a fuzzy case.

I'm sorry. I may not be articulating it all that well, but it is not fuzzy at all.

In any event, just because you assume that the bishops would not put anything into the Catechism that is not teaching on faith and morals doesn't mean they did not.

Again, read Fidei Depositum. You seem to be missing the point of what the Catechism is.

If I were them I might also put in some eccumentical stuff...

Are you suggesting that "ecumenical stuff" does not pertain to faith and morals? If so, I'd say you missed a turn back there.

Jeannette

I think it's pretty clear that the intent of the Moslems would be to get us to renounce our Catholicism. Hairsplitting is covered in 2 Maccabees 6:18-31, the story of Eleazar.

I'll go first, while the blade is still sharp, because I could really use a stunt like this to help get my butt into Heaven...

Brother Cadfael

J.R.,

Again, from the fact that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are fully God, not thirds of God. To reject the divinity of one of them is to reject the divinity of God generally. Then again what is the situation when someone says they accept the divinity of one or two of these persons (as the one true God, not finite gods like believed by the Mormons) but rejects the divinity of at least one person?

One can accept the divinity of God and not understand that One God is Three Persons. (See Judaism.)

Since the Muslims, besides rejecting the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit profess not to believe God is Father in any sence, and apparently often (though not always) even reject that he loves anyone, it seems to me that the idea of God the Father is so widely divergant from the truth that they can not be said to accept him either, thus without question their Allah (as opposed to the Arabic Christian use of the same word) is not God.

They understand that the God of Abraham is divine, omniscient, omnipotent, merciful and, generally speaking the Creator and sole Ruler of the universe. They do not understand a lot of his other traits, and essential ones at that, but I think the Magisterium is dead on when they say that we worship the same God. (And is the Magisterium so wrong on this point that you could arrogantly say "without question" Allah is not God?)

Again, if it relates to the worship of God, it relates to faith, and it is within the competence of Magisterium to teach the truth. I will spend some time with this to see if there is anything I can find to make this point clear.


Brother Cadfael

J.R.,

You are correct, it is not a good idea to go around killing someone just because they aren't Catholic. (And you can quote me on that!)

J.R. Stoodley

Brother Cadfael,

I think your charity is wearing a little thin in some of your posts, but mine even more for which I apologize. The internet is a temptation-ridden medium in this way. I’ll try to do better.

The way I understand it, the "faith" tought by the Magisterium is the Catholic Faith, exclusively.
No. For example, Pope John Paul II made quite clear in his catechesis on marriage that what he had to say was meant for all, not simply Catholics. When the Magisterium expounds on the natural law, it is not expounding on the Cathlic Faith, but on truths that are binding for all.

I agree with all this, but he is there teachings the tenets of the Catholic Faith, and when it comes to individual action, morality. What the Magisterium teaches is revealed truth, which is more or less equivalent to the Catholic Faith. It applies to everyone. Catholic teaching on Marriage applies to everyone just like Catholic teaching on the Trinity or the inerrancy of the Bible or anything else.

What the Church does not have the authority to teach is matters of science or history or the tenets of other religions, except for the matter of whether any one of these things is compatible with revealed truth or morality or not.

And while the Magisterium does not have the competence to tell a Muslim what he or she should or should not believe, it does have the competence to tell the world in what respect any particular tenet of the Muslim faith is compatible with the truth.

The Magisterium does have the competence to tell a Muslim what he or she should not believe (the truth), just not the competence to say what the tenets of Islam are. Perhaps this is what you meant.

The second part of your sentence is what I have been trying to say.

If it pertains to the true God and what we are to know about Him, the Magisterium is competent. That's their job.

Right. The question is just, does stating whether the Allah of the Muslims is the true God constitute getting into Muslim tenets or psychology or is it saying whether the Muslim concept of Allah as commonly presented is close enough to the truth to be called God. I am not sure of the answer, but again it seems to me that it is the former. If they specifically said “this idea of Islam is compatible this far with the Faith” that would be authoritative, though it would not be an authoritative statement that the Muslims really think of God that way. The Magistarium can say whether an idea is heretical, but not necessarily whether an actual people believes in that idea. For instance I have read that the "Nestorians" may never have believed what in the Catholic Church was classically presented as Nestorianism. The condemnation of that mistaken idea of Nestorianism was right, but it is a matter for historians to decide if any people actually held that heresy.

In a similar vein, I don’t think the Magisterium has the competency to say who believes in God and who does not, just what ideas of God are heretical or not.

Perhaps then the Magisterium could say "this idea of God is close enough to be identified as truly God" without commenting (or assuming the comment is authoritative) that the idea is an accurate representation of what Muslims really believe.

Sorry if all this is confused and self-contradicting. Realize that I am not sure of any of this (despite what some sloppy writing might suggest) and am just giving my thoughts as they come to me. Before today (or it is already yesterday where I am) I had assumed without much thought that the Allah of the Muslims was just an imperfect idea of God.

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