Catholicism and Islam: Seeking Common Ground
The Catholic Church, its leadership if not its flock, seeks common ground with Islam. It has been said that the Church sees in Islam a ray of hope for the re-spiritualization of Europe. Priests see empty churches while mosques are bulging with true believers. They see the secular society addicted to pornography, abortion, and sexual promiscuity, while the Islamic society is tightly controlled. They see the French State divided by “laïcité”, while Muslim nations do not recognize separation of Church and State. And they admire Islam to the point where they overlook the dark side and delude themselves into believing that the two religions can not only co-exist, but become strengthened through mutual contacts and understanding.
Here are excerpts from the comments of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, published in the Vatican newpaper L’Osservatore Romano, on the reactions of the Muslims who heard the Pope’s speech at the Collège des Bernardins on September 12:
The Pope spoke of the Holy Scriptures, of the Christian book which certainly is not the Muslim book. I believe however that the representatives of the Muslim community followed it with much interest.
I noticed, for example, that they shared openly the urgings of the Pope to seek God. In that respect, their way of thinking does not differ from our own, and can even constitute a point of contact.
And I can say that, when the Pope finished his meeting, and conversed with them, exchanging a few words with each one as he greeted them, I could tell from their faces that they were in agreement.
They were very happy and congratulated the Pope. So I think they were satisfied.
Cardinal Bertone is one of the highest-ranking officials in the Catholic Church.
Another message from the Vatican goes even further than the preceding comments of Cardinal Bertone, in its conciliatory approach to Islam. Here are excerpts from of a message sent to Muslims by the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The message was sent on the occasion of the end of Ramadan.
Christians and Muslims: Together for the dignity of the family
Dear Muslim friends, […] Christians and Muslims can and must work together to safeguard the dignity of the family, today and in the future. Given the high esteem in which both Muslims and Christians hold the family, we have already had many occasions, from the local to the international level, to work together in this field. The family, that place where love and life, respect for the other and hospitality are encountered and transmitted, is truly the ‘fundamental cell of society.’
Muslims and Christians must never hesitate, not only to come to the aid of families in difficulty, but also to collaborate with all those who support the stability of the family as an institution and the exercise of parental responsibility, in particular in the field of education. I need only remind you that the family is the first school in which one learns respect for others, mindful of the identity and the difference of each one. Interreligious dialogue and the exercise of citizenship cannot but benefit from this.
Dear friends, now that your fast comes to an end, I hope that you, with your families and those close to you, purified and renewed by those practices dear to your religion, may know serenity and prosperity in your life! May Almighty God fill you with His Mercy and Peace!
I didn’t realize that polygamy, forced marriages, honor killings, using children as human shields, etc… were family values espoused by the Church.
In February 2006, I posted a long article by Anne-Marie Delcambre on Europe’s infatuation with Islam. Here is one excerpt from that essay:
First of all, these “ecclesiastics, alarmed by the loss of interest in faith and church attendance in Christian countries, particularly Europe, admire Muslim devotion. […] They feel it is better to believe in something than in nothing at all […]” They see the near-empty churches and in contrast, they note that the mosques are full, even if these mosques are cellars or run-down buildings. The churches three quarters empty, the triumphant secularism, the contempt for the religious life all have become unbearable to Catholic priests […] they feel sympathy for the community of Islam where everyone is close, where “the believers are brothers”! But they forget rather quickly, or they don’t realize that “the Muslim is the brother of the Muslim”, not the brother of the non-Muslim.
Meanwhile, in France, the number of converts to Islam is roughly 18X that of the converts to Christianity. Between 150 and 200 Muslims convert to Catholicism each year in France, compared to some 3,600 people who convert to Islam every year. However, Muslim converts to Christianity face a lot of difficulties.