interreligious dialogue

Eastern European Resistance to Islamization

If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you won’t have forgotten the scene in Rick’s Cafe where the German officers who are singing “Die Wacht am Rhein” are drowned out by the French patrons who burst into a rousing rendition of the “Marseillaise.” Something similar happened last week at the National Opera in Cluj Napoca, Romania. A [...]

Nostra Aetate and the Catholic Response to Islam

I have encountered serious Catholics who have invoked the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions) as seemingly discouraging or even reproving any kind of searching public examination and criticism of Islam. What exactly does this short statement of the Vatican II Fathers have to say about [...]

Islam—The View from Disney Country

The Diocese of Orlando recently reprimanded a sixth grade teacher at a Catholic school for an “unfortunate exhibit of disrespect.” What did he do? He provided printouts to students of St. John Bosco’s negative assessment of Islam. St. John Bosco called Islam a “monstrous mixture of Judaism, Paganism, and Christianity,” and explained that Muhammad “propagated [...]

Catholic Enablers of Islam

I recently wrote a piece about the civilizational struggle with Islam. In response, a reader asked for some specific practical ways that Catholics could resist Islam. I replied with a short list of steps Church leaders could take: Break off dialogue with Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups such as ISNA and ICNA. Stop lending them legitimacy. Stop [...]

Is Anyone Catholic Anymore?

God is the Most Real Being, so our religion is about what we accept as most real. It’s our basic understanding of the world, to which all our other views must accommodate themselves. That’s a problem. To all appearances, Catholics have pretty much the same basic understandings as other people. Otherwise, our thoughts and actions [...]

Bishops Ignore Laws of Probability, Chase after Red Herring

“Only a blind man can deny that there is great confusion in the Church.” ∼ Carlo Cardinal Caffarra Cardinal Caffarra was speaking about the confusion surrounding Amoris Laetitia and the Church’s teaching about marriage and divorce. But much the same could be said about the Church’s position on Islam. The discrepancy between what Church leaders say [...]

Sacrificing for the Faith vs. Sacrificing the Faith

The Church rightly honors martyrs for their sacrifice. Nowadays, however, there seems to be some confusion about the subject. It’s one thing to lay down your life for your faith. It’s another thing to lay down your faith for the sake of some secondary good such as interreligious harmony. I don’t know of any Church [...]

When Dialogue is a Distraction

Pope Francis has announced a commission to study the female diaconate, following through on a suggestion he made to a group of women religious a few months ago. The announcement has been met with all manner of speculation and punditry, and not a little confusion. The confusion flows from the fact that the topic was [...]

Catholicism and Christian Pluralism

Have you ever overheard people discussing how world religions are basically the same, and only superficially different? “We have different opinions about the small stuff,” someone says, “but when it comes down to the essential beliefs, every religion is the same.” This has been described as the “God on the Mountain” perspective. God (or whatever [...]

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Believe it or not, there really is a religious movement called “Chrislam.” It began in Nigeria in the 1980s as an attempt to foster peace between Muslims and Christians by blending elements of Islam and Christianity. Its followers stress the commonalities between the two faiths and they recognize both the Koran and the Bible as [...]

Retrieving Apologetics

A number of Catholics, including theologians, think that the Church should not engage in apologetics. These critics claim that Vatican II made apologetics obsolete by calling for the Church to embrace, and no longer turn its back on, the modern world. They say theology is supposed to engage pressing contemporary issues that affect everyone, but [...]

How the Sensitivity Movement Desensitized Catholics to Evil

Remember bell-bottoms, beads, and tie-dyed shirts? Remember encounter groups, Esalen, and trust falls? Remember “self-esteem,” “risk-taking,” “self-awareness” and the other clichés that were born with the human potential movement? Both bell-bottoms and human potential psychology became popular in the mid-sixties. Bell-bottoms, however, eventually went out of style. Human potential psychology never did. If you don’t [...]

The Downside of Dialogue

Dialoguers say the darndest things. The conclusion to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document, Revelation: Catholic and Muslim Perspectives, contains the following: “Both Jesus and Muhammad loved and cared for all whom they met, especially the poor and oppressed.” Would that include the seven hundred men of the Qurayza tribe who were beheaded [...]

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Slams Islamists

In reaction to the depredations of the Islamic State in Iraq, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a statement last week strongly condemning the militants. The statement also called on religious leaders, “especially Muslims,” to condemn the crimes and denounce “the use of religion to justify them.” “If not,” it asks, “what credibility will [...]

Christianity and Islam: A Common Heritage?

Recently two prominent American bishops joined two leading Shiite Muslim scholars in Iran in issuing a statement on weapons of mass destruction. According to the statement, “Christianity and Islam cherish a common heritage that emphasizes, above all, love and respect for the life dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community.” It went [...]

Should Christian Leaders Defend Islam?

Is there such a thing as bad religion? Or is religion by its very nature a good thing? Throughout most of history, most people wouldn’t have hesitated to label some religions as bad. The Romans condemned the child-sacrificing religion of the Carthaginians, Christians condemned the Aztec religion for its human sacrifice, and Catholics condemned Arians [...]

Pope Francis and the Catholic Way of Dialogue

“Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” That, according to Pope Francis, is the response he gives when leaders ask him for advice about how to resolve their societies’ internal differences. It is, he recently told a gathering of prominent Brazilians, the only way for societies to avoid the dead-ends of what Francis called “selfish indifference” and “violent protest.” [...]

But Whom May We Evangelize?

People are curious. They like to know “what’s new.” Most people, whatever their background, do not, however, like to be proselytized, to be made unsettled in their normal beliefs and practices by some sharp stranger wanting to convert them to something or other. We tolerate many diverging views provided that their advocates do not seek [...]

Benedict Defends Traditional Family in Christmas Address to Roman Curia

It is with great joy that I meet you today, dear Members of the College of Cardinals, Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governorate, for this traditional event in the days leading up to the feast of Christmas. I greet each one of you cordially, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for [...]

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