interreligious dialogue

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

What Not to Say in Theological Debate

It’s all just so darn clear. Every day, pundits, politicians, and plebeians the world over make arguments about what is “clearly” the case. Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw declares that Ilhan Omar's 9/11 comments were “clearly ... not taken out of context.” California Senator Kamala Harris asserts that Attorney General William Barr “clearly” intended to mislead [...]

More Sugarcoating of Islam from Pope Francis

It’s often been said of Pope Francis’s bridge-building initiatives with Islam that the traffic over the bridge goes only in one direction—away from Rome and toward Mecca. This also seems to be the case with the pope’s “historic” trip to the United Arab Emirates last week. Although the resulting document requires concessions on the part [...]

Christianity’s Masculinity Crisis

It might seem odd to classify gender theory as a national security threat. After all, if a woman feels she was meant to be a man, there seems to be no reason why her personal desires should have any impact on national policy. But, as you’re no doubt aware, gender theorists want to make it [...]

On Islam Is on Target

One of the interesting aspects of Fr. James Schall’s refreshing collection of essays, On Islam, is that it provides a chronological record. The first essay appeared in 2003, the last in 2018. This allows the reader to see how our understanding of Islam has changed over those years. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much at all. [...]

The Burqa, the Baker, and the Bishops

Denmark has become the latest European country to ban the Islamic full face veil in public. Wearing the niqab, which shows only the eyes, or the burqa, which covers the entire face, will result in a fine of 1,000 kroner ($156) for the first offense. In addition, anyone who coerces a person to wear a [...]

Do Muslims Need the Gospel?

Should Catholics evangelize Muslims? Currently there doesn’t seem to be much effort in that direction. For example, a recent Pew survey shows that 23 percent of Muslims in America no longer identify with that faith, and, of those, only 9 percent convert to a different faith. The other 91 percent effectively become secular. By the [...]

German Bishops Debate Who Can Receive the Eucharist

Protestantism comes from Germany, its original spark with Martin Luther, and its earliest excesses with the Anabaptist rule over Münster; the latter crushed finally by the prince-bishop’s army, the former however enjoyed enduring success. From Germany, Reformation ideas spread to other European countries, and from there into the whole world, creating new epicenters of Protestant [...]

Put Not Your Trust in Trusting Souls

Considering how much emphasis modern churchmen put on trust, it’s worth noting that the Bible does not have much to say about trusting others. Of course, the Bible tells us to trust in God, but there is no corresponding command to trust our fellow men. Of the six references to “trust” in the RSV Reader’s [...]

A “Common Word” Versus Common Sense

If you’ve seen the movie version of Porgy and Bess, you might recall Sammy Davis Jr.’s rendition of “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” At a church picnic, Sportin’ Life, a somewhat disreputable character, tries to convince the others that “the things that you’re liable to read in the Bible, It ain’t necessarily so.” He then proceeds [...]

Why Doesn’t Liberation Theology Apply to the People of Iran?

Liberation theology, which was out of favor under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, seems to have made a comeback under Pope Francis. Francis has rehabilitated several liberation theologians and even appointed some to advisory positions. Meanwhile, high ranking prelates in the Middle East support Palestinian efforts to liberate themselves from the supposedly oppressive rule [...]

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 [...]

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