Just a reminder

I know this drives the Lidless Eye types crazy (which, of course, makes it all the more attractive to me to post), but it should be noted that the Church’s basic posture toward Islam is this:

Lumen Gentium, Chapter II,

16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.

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Nostra Aetate,

3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.”

Many Catholics don’t want to remember this, and prefer to indulge in American rah rah rhetoric disguised as theology, and make unwarranted declarations to the effect that Muslims “don’t worship the same God we do” (as though there is another God). Nope. Muslims worship the One God, the only one there is. They have a very truncated understanding of him. And, as I will freely admit, the distorted understanding of God has led to a very popular, very evil, and very dangerous radicalism which must be opposed. But it remains the case even so that Islam can and does preserve some elements of real revelation which the Church is bound to affirm. These documents from Vatican II do not teach “We’re all really saying the same thing.” They do, however, affirm that there are some common elements between Catholic Faith and Islam which the Church can and must affirm, since they are aspects of her own Tradition, present in the Islamic tradition as well.

The problem with the zeal to declare that somebody outside your group is a “devil” or “doesn’t worship the same God we do” is that you typically find yourself condemning everything about them, only to find that, in the process, you’ve condemned something about your own Tradition. This is unwise, particularly if your Tradition come from the mouth of the Incarnate God. You don’t want to throw out chunks of it, merely to satisfy your urge to despise Muslims.


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