Nevermind: Catholic school won't host Ramadan dinner

But it will take place at another location, according to reports out of Cincinnati:

Mother of Mercy, a Catholic girls high school, complied with a request from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and backed out of hosting an interfaith Ramadan dinner at the school Friday night.

Instead, the dinner will be held in the Catholic Center at St. Monica-St. George Parish in University Heights, which is not a school.

Schnurr on Monday asked Mother of Mercy to cancel its plans to host an Iftar, an evening meal, with a local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

During the holy month of Ramadan, observant Muslims fast during the daylight hours and break their fast with a large meal at night. For some groups, the Iftar is a chance to share some aspects of their faith with non-Muslims and others in the community.

Mother of Mercy had planned to co-host an Iftar with CAIR’s local chapter since spring, when groups of Mercy students and students linked with CAIR performed community service together.

But recent emails and other contacts with school and Archdiocese officials changed their plans.

Mother of Mercy President Kirsten MacDougal said Schnurr has received complaints from people – she didn’t know how many. Most of the complaints were emails from people who do not live in this region but who follow the news and activities of CAIR’s national office, she said.

The emails “were not hostile, they were not threatening, but they were emotionally charged,” she said.

Schnurr could not be reached for comment. Archdiocesan spokesman Dan Andriacco said that Schnurr received complaints – not threats – about CAIR’s involvement.

MacDougal said her school and the Archdiocese still support interfaith dialogue, especially with Muslim groups, but the closeness to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 plays a factor.

“The fact that Mercy was co-hosting this Ramadan meal with the Council on American-Islamic Relations specifically had become too great a distraction from the positive intent of building relationships and understanding with our Muslim neighbors,” MacDougal wrote in her letter to staff.

Read more.


  1. I note that the parish this moved to is the most liberal in the city of Cincinnati. It is rated by the John Newman Society as the most dissenting of Church teaching in the dioceses. Every part of the mass is in dissent from the two women eucharistic minsters that come up as if they are co presiders with the priest during the consecretion to the glass chalices and the feminine terms for God rather than Father. Lining themselves up with CAIR and their support of terrorist groups seems to make perfect sense. Now lets see if the new bishop takes on this mess as well…

  2. One can debate the appropriateness of having this type of interfaith event on Catholic premises. However the part that bothers me is that people from outside the community were the ones who interfered and got it cancelled. That’s one of the drawbacks of this world of instant communication; outsiders think they know what’s going on and raise Cain about something; but do they really understand the situation? I don’t think Hammas and Al-Khaida members would be showing up for a gig like this, it was probably local Muslim people who are Americans. So now instead of trying to make things better as far as understanding and friendship, it’s actually worse. I wouldn’t appreciate others from outside stirring the pot in my own community like this.

  3. I agree with Melody. Frankly, what did Jesus do with pretty much every person he met?

    He shared a meal with them.

    As for my own experience, I will simply recall that in my time in the Middle East, the hospitality that I was shown by those in Jordan, far outstripped that what I experienced in my beloved Israel.

    It was unconditional and so filled with grace. I am always sorry that so much of our contemporary view of Islam is formed by a combination of the media and the most extreme voices.

  4. Why is a Catholic school having a dinner for a pagan god?

  5. “When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

    John 2: 13-16

    I guess the merchants did not share a meal with Jesus that day.

  6. “Why is a Catholic school having a dinner for a pagan god?”

    Church teaching: Nostra Aetate 3.

    “I guess the merchants did not share a meal with Jesus that day.”

    Matthew pretty much dined with Jesus every day for three years.

    Yes, this cancellation, from a distance, seems pretty silly. While the anchoress worries about a persecuted Church without Sunday Communion, I think we’re far more damaged by our Temple Police. Archbishop Schnurr comes off as being easily manipulated in this. A bad moment for him.

  7. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    An interesting read, from some years back, is “The Pillars of Islamic Faith,” reprinted on the USCCB website. With Muslims becoming more and more a part of our lives, it can only benefit us to be in dialogue with them and strive to understand what they believe, and why.

    The author concludes:

    The challenge of the new century to all religious groups is not only to learn to live together, as we so cavalierly put it, but to learn from each other how to do so in the face of a corrosive ethos that bears little respect for human life and destiny while ostensibly celebrating the individual. That may be one of the critical insights we can take home from Islam.

    We will do so if we set ourselves to learn from Muslims how to live our lives as gifts from the free Creator of all, and so regard our freedom as a challenge to return to that Creator all that we have received–which is “nothing short of everything.” As more people find Muslims moving in as neighbors, this task will become easier. Meeting them will also spur us to identify the inevitable bias in reporting things Muslim, and urge us to work against prejudice toward this group as we have been schooled to fight anti-Semitism. Indeed, Arabs will remind us that they too are Semites, as American Jews will remark that the prejudice against them seems to have been readily transferred to Arabs in our time and, by extension, to all Muslims. This essay has tried to explain why such biases persist, on both sides of the Muslim-Christian divide, and how much is at stake in dispersing them. The fringe benefit, as many have discovered, will be to meet people well-schooled in receiving others with a generosity intended to match Allah’s to them , to open to them a “straight path” to God in the Qur’an. Encounters like that can only press us to understand the Gospels afresh; “mutual illumination” seems the most accurate watchword for interreligious dialogue.

    Dcn. G.

  8. #4 Daisy
    Re: Why is a Catholic school having a dinner for a pagan god?

    Are you thinking of Rama, one of the representations (avatars) of the Hindu god, Vishnu?

  9. As to the outside influence, yes it was there and in our instant communication world, it will always play a part. However, there was a huge local protest as well with many parents of the high school asking why this was being done. The Archbishop responsed after looking at the issue and deciding what was the right thing to do in this case. That is his role as bishop. In an age when too many kids graduate from Catholic schools not knowing the true teaching of the Catholic Church, I think it would be best to take care of that obligation first. The bishop has brought in a new leader for all the schools in the dioceses who is dedicated to improving the overall Catholic teaching provided in the schools as well as the overall education. They will strive to have standards for all the Catholic schools in this dioceses and he is doing a great job in gathering info before making key decisions and changes. I would suspect the Archbishop had his input on this as well.

    If there is to be discussions with the muslim faith, it would be wise to start with a local muslim faith community not CAIR who is tied to some pretty radical groups, especially true with young minds in high school and below. I would suggest a group that does not condemn a muslim who converts to Christianity as a starting point.

    It is funny to see people protesting outside involvement on a blog post from NY about the local issue.

  10. The blogosphere has brought a democratization of information and has provided a bridge that allows this information to reach wider outside of local and enclosed communities. For many years parishes and dioceses could get away with saying yes to Rome and the pope while disobeying and blocking obedience in practice. There were some parishioners that sent pesky letters to Rome but most people would not go that far in confronting the local hierarchy. Now it is a lot harder to hide what you are doing and the line of communication is much faster. Before it would take days, weeks, months before something would air, now it is seconds. Good or bad? It all depends on what it is.

  11. sadly , some” professing ” christians around the country believe in keeping with the christian faith to celebrate ramadan. this is just one of the efforts to harmonize the false religion of islam with christianity ( chrislam ).
    the apostle paul warned against such sinful , ecumenical efforts in 2 COR 6 : 14-18. paul makes it clear that for a christian to join hands or link arms with followers of false gods, such as the god of islam, is to engage in worthless , destuctive and treacherous activity that furthers a satanic agenda. we should not search for streams of commonality with practitioners of anti-christ religions. we are blaspheming the one true GOD by perverting prayer and worship thru ecumenism.
    obtw , an in your face billboard was seen in AUSTRALIA :
    JESUS : A PROPHET OF ISLAM how about those apples ?

  12. “Now it is a lot harder to hide what you are doing and the line of communication is much faster.”

    I agree with the latter.

    The Temple Police command the bishops.

    The bishops govern the priests.

    And so on.

    The Culture of Complaint triumphant. In the old days, it was just basement gossips manipulating pastors as much as they could–and sometimes they ran the parishes. In the internet age, the complainers rule. They say “Jump!” The prelates ask, “How high?”

  13. Todd, what you say has some truth, but it has less to do with the internet than you believe. For a couple generations those who have witness the abuse of the liturgy have been shut out even when they banded together and went to visit the bishop in person with clear proof of the abuse. What really has changed is that the sexual abuse scandal has made the bishops a lot more responsive to what is brought to their attention. In a way, it has had a positive impact of making the bishop far less remote and far less willing to not listen to serious complaints. I got that directly from a bishop friend from his conversation with other bishops around the country. some of the arrogance and pride have been stripped away as they have seen the error of their ways in shutting out the people. However, the complaint has to tie directly back to something they can stand on within Church teaching. Thus, when a complaint comes in to change church teaching on issues like gay marriage or women priests, it is certain to be denied. The same is true of the response to liturgical abuse that is clear and documented.

  14. There is one aspect of this that has not been mentioned. The Muslims have a dinner each night of their holy month. Why have they not invited the students of the Catholic school to their mosque to break the fast with them? Why is it always the Christians who are doing the reaching out? There was a lot of this right after 9-11. The Christians decided that we had to all “understand the Muslim faith” so they were inviting Muslims to all the churches to speak. But Christians were never invited to the mosques. Apparently, the Muslims are not interested in understanding Christians, only in having Christians understand them.

    My other point is this. The Catholic School would probably have served a meat dish. The Muslims would require that the meat be halal (Muslim version of kosher). Have you read about the cruelty to the animals when they are killed in the halal way? It is so horrible that the Dutch have now passed a law banning this practice. It would be horrible if our Catholic school children be required to participate in this practice.

  15. Richard Johnson says:

    Barbara: “The Catholic School would probably have served a meat dish. The Muslims would require that the meat be halal (Muslim version of kosher).”

    Barbara, are you using runes, tarot cards, or palmistry to divine the future in this way? Surely another possibility exists…that the Muslims would simply not eat the meat and instead focus on foods that were within their dietary limitations?

    As for how animals are slaughtered under halal…

    Compare that to shechita, the Jewish rules for kosher meat.

    Save for the prayer they seem to be identical. Do you also condemn the kosher manner of slaughter along with the halal manner, Barbara?

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