Priest cancels planned reading of Quran during mass

It made headlines and sparked a firestorm of controversy when the news broke last week.  Now, the event has been scrapped:

A plan to allow for the reading of the Quran from the pulpit during a Mass at St. Peter Church in Charlotte June 26 has been canceled, with an interfaith dialogue planned for October instead. St. Peter Parish had agreed to take part in an event called Faith Shared, in which priests, rabbis and Muslim scholars are scheduled to read sacred texts in each other’s houses of worship. The event is a project of two groups, the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First.

In announcing the cancellation June 7, Jesuit Father Patrick Earl, pastor of St. Peter, noted that a 2004 Vatican document, “Redemptionis Sacramentum” (“The Sacrament of Redemption”) expressly forbids the reading of texts from other religions during the celebration of Mass. Father Earl was not aware of the Vatican prohibition when he agreed to host the event.

In a May 27 telephone interview, he told Catholic News Service he was prompted to sign on to the Faith Shared initiative after recalling things he had heard during meetings of Mecklenburg Ministries, an interfaith clergy group in the Charlotte area. “I’ve heard from Muslim imams about what they and their congregations have suffered just from the fear, the fear of what they call Islamophobia,” Father Earl said. One recent instance was related to an Islamophobia conference held in Charlotte earlier in May. “Some of the clergy coming here had trouble flying here because of the fear of some of the pilots, and so they were late getting here,” said the priest.

  • http://www.ramblingfollower.blogspot.com Allison S

    I used to be a member of that church. It is a wonderful parish. It sounds like the pastor was really misinformed/misguided about what is allowed during celebration of a Mass. Puzzles me.

    That said, I do believe in interfaith dialogue and applaud the impulse to reach out to others.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Gee–the Moslem clergy’s plane was late. How about comparing the number of imams murdered in the United States and the number of Moslems murdered in the United States with the number of Christian clergy and the number of Christian believers murdered across the Moslem world.
    Fear of Islamophobia???? How about what Christians suffer from virulent Islamic Christophobia?
    How many dead Chaldean Catholics in Iraq and dead Coptic Christians in Egypt are needed to get Christians to care about the constant terror Middle Eastern Christians live under in Islamic countries and speak out and organize on their behalf????

  • http://tendingthefield.blogspot.com Anthony

    a Jesuit being obedient to a decree by the Vatican? THAT’s news.

  • http://tendingthefield.blogspot.com Anthony

    Sorry – i don’t mean to stereotype, but I’ve known lots of Jesuits these last ten years, and not ONE has been as concerned about the intellectual, spiritual, and theological heritage that was bequeathed to our Church by St. Ignatius and his companions as they were with advancing socialism, feminism, and relativism.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    Islam is a heresy. It begins with the denial of Jesus as the Son of God. He’s merely a prophet in this religion. So, during our masses we should hear as much from Islamic literature as we should from the Manichaens , Gnostics, Aryians, Calvin, Luther, etc.

  • Magy Stelling

    Yes Anthony, you did mean to stereotype. Could it be that it is you who does not understand the intellectual, spiritual and theological heritage given to us by St Ignatius? And how well have you known these ‘lots of Jesuits” and how many do you mean by “lots”? Five, Ten twenty? What you call socialism is nothing more than empowering the poor, what you call feminism is giving equality to the female gender and what you call relativism is nothing more than preaching and living the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world today not in the 16th century. Just what are you afraid of??? Are you jealous that they became priest and you didn’t? Sure sounds like it.

    All the good Father was trying to accomplish is a better understanding of all religions by showing what we do have in common. That understanding is but the first step in a non violent way of obtaining peace. Or are you against peace?

    I should offer this disclaimer; I am living below the poverty line, a 77 year old female and doing my darnest to live this life following the teachings of Jesus Christ in this mixed up world today under the spiritual direction of the Jesuit SEEL program.

  • Joe

    Could a comparative religions lecture be given in the parish hall?

  • Mr Flapatap

    Joe (#7),

    I don’t see why not. So long as it does not become proselytizing by the imams/rabbis/ministers or try to present all religions as simply different ways to get to God. There is only one Faith where the Truth subsists.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00442985285647041700 Melody

    Why couldn’t an event like this take place in an auditorium or something; and not in the context of a Mass? Interfaith dialogue is something which is needed; the alternative is what is happening now; which is that Muslims who are Americans are stereotyped and marginalized. Any hope of encouraging the moderates among them is then lost The hard-core ones wouldn’t be attending an event like this anyway.

  • http://aol.com JoAnn

    Magy,

    Socialism is NOT empowering the poor; it’s about redistributing income from the people who work for a living and are self-supporting, to people who don’t work, for whatever reason. Empowering the poor would require them to get jobs and learn how to earn for themselves, not sitting back and taking money from people who are productive members of society and work for a living.

    If by “feminism” you mean allowing women to be ordained as priests, St. Ignatius didn’t have that in mind, because the Church doesn’t allow it. Treating women with respect and dignity is one thing; protesting that they are “entitled” to special graces is another. (And no one is entitled to Holy Orders.)

    Moral relativism — let’s just say that there is such a thing as objective right and wrong, and NOT what Jesus was preaching.

  • Ray

    JoAnn,

    That was an excellent discription on the errors and misconceptions of Socialism. I’ve never thought that handouts did anything for anyone’s dignity.

    Thank you.

  • pagansister

    Am sorry the priest found it necessary to cancel the reading during mass. However some of the above folks suggested perhaps an interfaith dialogue could be conducted in what I would call a “neutral ” setting-an auditorium or something simular. Dialogue is very necessary IMO among all religions to perhaps help peace in this world. No reason for NOT talking, with the purpose of trying to understand, with those of other religions.

  • Ray

    The Catholic Church has been supporting interfaith dialogue since Vatican II. When I was in High School we had a Priest, a Reverend and Rabbai come in to speak with our Humanities class. It was very refreshing. They had a great time. Later when the Synagogue burned down, and they had no insurance. EVERY CHURCH in our town took up a collection for them.

    So I encourage interfaith dialogue in every facet and form. But you DO NOT read from another religions holy book during Mass. NEVER. A small quote during the homily, may be ok, if it fits in with the Gospel. Depends on the context.

  • Dinosaur

    In due respect to Islam, Father should realize that reading the Qur’an in the church dedicates the people and the church to Islam. In other words, he would have been converting to Islam. No matter that he was too shallow to know that!

    When Sultan Mehmet II, “The Conqueror,” invaded and destroyed Christian Constantinople, he refused to enter the church of the Patriarch. He left one church in all the city to be Christian. However, the moment he entered Sancta Sophia and prayed, it became a mosque.

    Respect Islam.

  • jcd

    This is a good letter to Bishop Lori about an interfaith prayer service:
    http://clementia-militia.blogspot.com

  • Taylor

    Dinosaur – no one and no thing can be converted to Islam without the intent of the object or those responsible for the object. We can only say that we can respect what is good in other religions. Humility is good.

  • John

    I have attended daily Mass at St. Peter for several years and there seems to be a real problem with the proper order of the Mass there. Homilies are often horrendous and have nothing to do with the readings. One priest constantly attempts to share the liturgy from memory and he repeatedly misses parts of it. Another has altered the dismissal to suit their social justice agenda. I was stunned when at one Mass the priest sat down during the Eucharist and let Extraordinary Ministers handle all of the distribution of both Eucharistic species.

    In 2008, St. Peter’s invited the NETWORK Lobby to present Catholic Social Teaching. These sisters are the ones that opposed the U.S. Bishops on health care reform. The brochure on social justice they provided on their visit did exactly what the bishops advised not to do in the Faithful Citizenship document.

    Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis just doesn’t seem to be present at that parish.

  • Ann

    Anyone who thinks a “dialogue” with Muslims would be fruitful, please read “A God Who Hates” by a woman who was raised in Syria in a Muslim family. She emigrated to the USA with her family after becoming a doctor. If what she says is true. (and she has spoken many times in many places) there must be little hope of living peacefully with Muslims. I am beginning to see them everywhere I go now, to the pricey malls (a pleasant walk only, not to spend money) the doctor’s office (receptionist), on the streets of our small city. Individually they are very nice polite people, but I wonder if their husbands, if married, treat them as the Koran directs: as property, not worth more than a cow or another animal, and only to serve the family, even to be a servant to the 2nd and 3rd wife. Even to be dispatched at will, for Allah wills what the man wills. To expand her view, one might read “The Closing of the Muslim Mind,” by Robert R. Reilly. a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

  • jojo

    The Mass is not the place for reading the Quran. Does this priest not understand the Mass??? The Mass, the highest form of prayer, connecting heaven and earth, worshipping God,… is NOT the time to read from a man-made religion that does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, doesn’t recognize God as Father, doesn’t believe in the Trinity?

    Jesus didn’t put up with people selling things in the temple because the temple was not the appropriate place (“my Father’s house”), our Catholic Church is our Father’s house. What next?? Read from a Wiccan book? The Mass is not about some feel good, can’t we all just become relativist pep rally.

    JoAnn and Anthony, you are correct. Those who are criticizing you are the same crowd that wants to tear down the Church to rebuild it in their image. We really have more to fear from those (such as Magy and Ray) within the Church who seek to “change” her than those from without.

  • momor

    Jo Ann,

    Yes, St. Paul says people should work if they want to eat. But at it’s core there is another element to the Christian social justice message that IS about distributing wealth. We are supposed to share our wealth with those in need (and there are working people in need and those who want to work and can’t find a job), keeping only for ourselves what we really need to live day to day and not storing up for the future.

    Not a current world view by any means but a true Christian teaching nonetheless. Few of us in the West measure up.

  • sam

    Well let’s thank God that this Catholic priest recognized that he was in error and relented in his position. Better late than never.

  • momor

    Dinosaur.
    Islam loves to take what doesn’t belong to Islam, e.g., the Temple Mount and the Agia Sophia. I’m sure if Islam thought it could take St. Peter’s in Rome that would be quite desirable too.

  • http://www.ladybard.wordpress.com ladybard

    Islam has murdered 120million Christians; recent murders include the slaughter of Copt friars chanting outside their monastery. Islam is not a religion, repeat, NOT a religion. It is an ideology, a cult, into which the infidel must be coerced or lose his life or obliged to pay a Jizya (tax) and live in a state of dhimmitude or subservience.

    There is no escape from islam. Every moslem has a duty to hunt down and murder any apostate, and shirk, ie, lukewarm moslem. There is even a dish called “shirka beef” highly spiced to disguise poisons for the shirker.

    The book that was to be read is a manual of crimes and abominations that is diametrically opposed and contrary to anything and everything Christ and His Church stand for. While violators of Church law regarding the protection of children are screamed in the headlines, for the moslem paedophilia is the norm. I refrain from being too precise here. If you have the stomach for it, read the “holy” book. And next time you talk to one remember that taqquiya, or lying to the khuffar or infidel is their duty.

    They are allowed to live only in islamic countries, therefore their presence in the West is a de facto declaration of war. Put that in your touchy feely (liberals) pipes and smoke it before you enable them to destroy the world for our children and grandchildren.

  • Robert Sledz

    How insane is this? That we are even having this as a subject matter when Catholics are leaving their Churches because of lack of knowledge and Faith? What irony? What sin of pride by this priest. Surreal..

  • Deacon Eric Stoltz

    Lots otf hate and bigotry on parade here. Not surprising; the minute anyone mentions Muslims the trolls come out from under their rocks.

  • Melanie

    Mohammedans want to annihilate all of Christendom. I think that the priests should be reading out of the Quran in an effort to warn the flock. We should be more informed about all the heresies that we as Catholics may be confronted with. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

  • Jacques

    The purported “Prophet” Muhammad (truly the false prophet of the Revelation book), coming 6 centuries after our Savior, after so called revelations denied that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died on a cross to redeem our sins. Truly, Islam isn’t even an heresy, it is a false religion invented by Satan to mislead the men.
    Islam must be rejected and firmly fought, not accepted in our churches to be read under the form of inept Quran’s surates.
    If truly Islam wanted a “dialogue” it would accept the Gospel to be read in the mosques everywhere in the world. It would accept that every muslim may convert freely to our Faith.
    Instead, the christians are persecuted more than other religions.
    Here is a what Fr Boulad, a canadian priest in Cairo thinks about Islam:
    http://www.postedeveille.ca/2010/05/ou-bien-lislam-se-r%C3%A9forme-ou-bien-nous-allons-vers-une-conflagration.html
    “Either Islam is able to reform itself of we are going straight to a conflagration”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00442985285647041700 Melody

    Do those who think that all Muslims are actual or closet jihadists know that there are American Muslims who have died in the service of their country?

  • Howard

    Once we talk about “interfaith dialogue” we’re on the road to nonsense. Christians and Muslims can talk to each other, but Christianity and Islam cannot. There are certain Muslims I have great respect for, and of course I certainly hope that they — and I — eventually make it to Heaven, but I have no respect for Islam in the abstract, nor any hope whatsoever of Islam making it to Heaven.

  • alan

    @gerald nadal, so why did the last pope kiss the koran?

  • Ray

    Jojo, I think you misunderstood me. I said that we shouldn’t read from the Quran during mass. When I speak of interfaith dialogue, I am speaking of issues of Freedom of Religion, the safety of Christians in Muslim lands, as well as the safety of Muslims in Western Nations. We may believe different things but we can and should live in peace, even if we disagree. Our communities can work together on human rights issues and peace initiative that benefit us all. That’s all I was saying.

  • Michael

    Deacon Eric,

    Way to go! Hurl rocks at Catholics struggling to keep their faith in a church where so many priests and bishops are either too lazy or too scared to speak the truth.

  • Efrayim

    Most interfaith movements are well-intentioned but misguided from the start. It is possible to respect another person of another religion without having to “engage” in her/his scripture.
    More to the point, try – just try to read the Bible in a mosque. While the Koran praises the Torah (Tawrat), Psalms (Zabur) and Gospels (Injil) as divine in origin, they have been distorted on purpose. Reading these “holy books” in a mosque simply ain’t allowed! If that is the case, what is the point of reading the Koran during a Mass?

  • Joseph

    You try this in a Mosque in my country India, or for that matter any Islamic country, you will be simply LYNCHED.


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