Exactly what is true love anyway?

Captain’s excellent post earlier this week, about love, got me thinking about what true love is really all about.

It’s fair to say that “love” is a much maligned and abused word in our modern culture.

Often the word “love” is wrongly substituted for the word “lust” or “sex”.

At other times love is wrongly presented as nothing more than feeling good about something or someone.

But most often of all, love is wrongly used as a substitute for the words “blind tolerance”.

Such misconceptions, even though they are usually subconscious and not even thought about by the person doing the substituting, often lead to serious errors in thought, word and deed.

As St Thomas Aquinas once said “a small error in the beginning is a great error in the end”.

If we don’t have a proper understanding of love then the chances are high that we will get one heck of a lot of things wrong in our lives.

Why?

Because love is the greatest of all the virtues, it is the very reason that we were created and exist, and it should underpin and guide everything that we do in life.

But if we don’t understand what true love really is then we end up leading ourselves down some rather strange paths indeed.

Let me explain how little misconceptions can lead to very large misconceptions.

Captain talked about St Francis, so I’ll mention him here as well becasue he is an excellent example of an often misunderstood and misrepresented Saint.

People often have this image of St Francis as this placid, animal loving guy with brown robes and a perfect beard, who was always playing the guitar and singing “brother sister, let me serve you” – a kind of very early predecessor to the 1960’s hippy (thanks largely to Franco Zeffirelli’s film; “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”) but in actual fact, the real St Francis couldn’t be further from this picture

In fact I believe that he would challenge, frighten and offend the living daylights out of most of us on this blog if he was still alive on earth today.

Let me give you an example from the writings of St Francis himself:

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin

Happy those She finds doing your will!
The second death can do no harm to them.

Now imagine if that appeared on this blog as a comment!

St Francis wrote his very own Office Office of the Passion and he promoted art, prayer and meditation on Christ’s suffering.

St Francis was the second man in the history of the church to experience the stigmata (the physical wounds of Jesus’ crucifixion) and he regularly practised acts of corporal mortification.

St Francis even went to the Holy Land to preach the Gospel and convert the Muslims (shock horror, he tried to convert Muslims!) During this period of the Crusades, he fully expected to become a martyr in his quest to bring the word of God to an Islamic sultan.

He left with a small group of brothers, and was captured and beaten. Eventually he found himself in Cairo, there he entered into vigorous theological debates with Islamic scholars (even more shock horror – he engaged in theological debates!) The Islamic sultan was so impressed with St Francis’ example and words that he even rewarded him with a gift.

And St Francis wrote the following about the fate of those who die in a state of mortal sin:

“The devil tears his soul from his body with so much anguish and tribulation”

“Worms eat the body; and so perishes body and soul in that brief life span and he shall go to hell.”

How would you feel if that statement appeared on this blog?

My point is that just like we can have misconceptions about St Francis, we can also have misconceptions about true love that lead us to believe that it means that we must ignore sin and tolerate every idea as if all ideas are all equally valid and equally true.

But this is not true love and it is definitely not the example of St Francis, or the example of Jesus.

St Francis shows us that true love is about BOTH words and actions – but both must be motivated by love of Christ which leads to love of our neighbour.

Often people misquote the Gospel passage where Christ calls us to “love your neighbour as yourself” – but they forget the first part of that passage where Jesus states that the greatest commandment of all is to “love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul” and that the commandment to love your neighbour is second on the list.

Often we allow our misconceptions to turn our love of neighbour into blind tolerance, and then we mistakenly put love of man before love of God.

This usually turns into a desire to please and appease, rather then to tell the truth no matter what it might cost us or how unpopular that might make us.

Jesus lived and breathed true love, and because of this he wasn’t a people pleasing jellyfish.

How would we feel if we saw someone smashing the sales table at the back of our Church with a whip?

Or if someone on this post began claiming that they “hadn’t come to bring peace, but a sword”, or they told another blog-poster to “get behind me Satan”?

If these things make us feel uncomfortable then we need to have another, more careful read of the Gospels, because Christ did all of these things during his time here on earth.

We also need to take another look at the lives of the saints, because their love for Christ wasn’t just about looking holy and giving out Jesus flavoured hugs.

Their love was deep, it was heroic and it was truly challenging, because it was the love of Christ.

It placed God, His Church and his commands above anything else in their lives, and that love was guided totally by all of these things.

That love was challenging because it loved others in a manner that put their eternal happiness and salvation ahead of their feelings, or feeling good in this life.

Love is a virtue, not just a mere value.

A value is subjective and can change on a whim, but a virtue is objective, clearly defined and unchanging.

True love for our fellow man is always motivated by placing love of God first, and the needs of our fellow man well ahead of the wants and desires of our fellow man.

True love is beautiful like a rose, but just like a rose, true love is sometimes thorny and uncomfortable because it proclaims the truth no matter what – and often people find the truth a very thorny and uncomfortable thing to handle.

When we read this blog are we made uncomfortable by the words being written, or by the the truths those words are talking about? (the truths that make us just a little uncomfortable about our own ideas, actions and ways of living.)

True love is not about external actions without words, just as much as it is not about discussion without external actions.

True love is about words and actions TOGETHER, that are motivated by love and framed in prayer.

If we look to our ultimate example; Christ, we see him engaging in regular theological debates, charitable acts and most importantly of all; prayer.

We aren’t called to be mere social workers who go to Mass.

We are called to BE Christ, and to BE Christ requires us to imitate all the aspects of his earthly life and ministry – not just the acts of justice he did, or the theological debates and discussions, or the bits we like best.

Christ engaged in theological discussions, he prayed and he did practical works.

True love doesn’t seek to separate these three for a more palatable/marketable Christianity; true love seeks to do ALL three, no matter what the cost may be.

Let me finish by leaving you with St Francis’ “Prayer before the Crucifix”, which I believe nicely sums up our call to action that is guided by moral truth and motivated by prayer:

Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out Your holy and true command.

Amen

Ps – I would also like to take this opportunity to say sorry to all concerned for the moments over the past week or so when I let my emotions get the better of me, and then manifest themselves in acts of uncharitable speech on this blog.

Be Sociable, Share!

    Comments: 193

    1. poorclear November 25, 2006 at 8:25 pm

      Hey great post dumb ox.
      It is amazing how all the saints are strong, ‘heroic’, as you have said, and that they show us different aspects of the mystery of love. St Francis is said to have gone blind from crying in the end – from lamenting that “Love is not loved” – that the incarnate Love, Jesus, the crucified one, has not been loved as he should be, by him or by anyone else (except the virgin Mary). For that he howled in the hills alone, for that he fasted for months on end, for that he kept vigils, for that he embraced lepers though they repulsed him, for that he wrote songs, for that he built the first crib scene so he could better marvel at the mystery of the incarnation, for that he loved every part of creation as it reflected the creator. Zefferelli did him a terrible disservice by that crappy soppy film. Even though it is visually quite a beautiful little piece of work.
      As for true love – I would just say that you are describing perfect love in a way – but lesser loves are also true. Passional love is true, romantic love is true, even instinctive love is true. But personal love, the love that you are describing is the perfection of human love, especially when it is graced. And it is never divorced from truth as you so perceptively point out. It is not about action rather than word. Our religion comes from the One who is the WORD MADE FLESH – which implies both. Through the flesh the word is manifest and reaches its fulfilment by love. Any attempt to have love without the word, without truth is doomed to degrade itself into sentimentalism and fideism – as Pope John Paul II warns in fides et ratio.

      Liked your apology too – it is an act of love with words.

    2. poorclear November 25, 2006 at 8:27 pm

      PS I thought that St Francis was the first guy in history to get the stigmata. Who was first if not him?

    3. The Dumb Ox November 26, 2006 at 11:28 am

      Hi Poorclare,

      Thanks for that comment – I 100% agree.

      I apologise if my post gave the intention that I was saying that the lesser loves are not valid or true, because I don’t believe that for a second.

      My intention was to merely examine the erroneous practise of turning “love” into blind tolerance.

    4. The Dumb Ox November 26, 2006 at 11:38 am

      Also,

      According to my understanding of the tradition of Stigmata, St Paul is generally held up as the first to bear the Stigmata.

      In Galatians 6:17 he writes:

      “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

      In the original Greek translation of that passage, the word “marks” was written “stigmata.”

      As I understand it; this passage is generally interpreted as referring to the sufferings that branded him Jesus’ soldier and slave and that it was highly likely that they may also refer to Stigmata.

      St Francis is definitely the first undisputed case of Stigmata, but there is a strong tradition that St Paul was first.

      I stand to be corrected though, especially since this is a disputed matter.

    5. TTM November 26, 2006 at 7:49 pm

      Speaking of “true love” and what it’s all about, don’t forget our Pope’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. :)

    6. poorclear November 26, 2006 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks Dumb Ox. Yeah, I certainly agree that blind tolerance has little connection to true love. By definition, you tolerate what is not good. And love is the attraction to the good. You never love what you tolerate!

    7. The Captain November 27, 2006 at 11:12 am

      Hi Ox,

      I am intrigued by the comment: “When we read this blog are we made uncomfortable by the words being written, or by the the truths those words are talking about?”

      I’m not sure how pointed that comment was, but I will answer it as if it was directed at me personally. I am uncomfortable with the words being written, and the analogies being drawn. I am not uncomfortable with the truths: the packaging of the message is, in this day in age, almost more important than the message itself. If what you are saying is obfuscated by the way in which you say it, something’s amiss.

      That’s just my piece on the matter. Peace now.

    8. The Dumb Ox November 27, 2006 at 12:08 pm

      Captain,

      Just to clarify; that comment you refer to in #7 was in no way directed at you.

      It was just a general question to stir an honest examination of the heart of all readers about two things…

      1. Are we looking beyond the communicative weaknesses of the messenger to examine what they are trying to say, or are we writing off the message simply because we don’t like the way it has been presented?

      2. What makes us annoyed – the way the message has been written, or what the message actually proclaims?

      Peace.

    9. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 8:05 am

      The thing is, that when St Francis said what he said it was said by St Francis, a humble and holy man who firmly opposed war and killing, sought reconciliation with Islam, and burned with love and charity.

      If the same words are said by someone with an axe to grind against his own bishops, who supports war and killing by advocating so called “just wars”, who places the sanctity of human life lower than a rigid and stringent opposition to contraception, who accuses his opponents of all sorts of things they never said nor meant, and who doesn’t appear to burn with love and charity, then they come across completely differently.

      Words are always said in a context and their meaning changes when torn out of that context.

      Let’s examine St Francis’ words in the context of a man who left his wealth and power, deserted the army, embraced poverty and non-violence and humbly tried to follow what the Church actually teaches without trying to put his own spin on it.

      God Bless

    10. JP III November 28, 2006 at 8:38 am

      Chris, you said:
      “an axe to grind against his own bishops, who supports war, and killing by advocating so called “just wars”, who places the sanctity of human life lower than a rigid and stringent opposition to contraception, who accuses his opponents of all sorts of things they never said nor meant, and who doesn’t appear to burn with love and charity, then they come across completely differently.”

      I believe your comments above are inaccurate and untruthful. When I had read through some of the discussions on this board, I have found that it is you Chris, who has ‘an axe to grind’ in support of several very un-Christian philosophies and moral stances; and won’t let go of them, even when presented with very sound arguments from authoratative voices in the Church.

      The worst being your stance on un-repentant co-habitating couples habitually fornicating – thinking that God gives them the Sacrament of Marriage in their sin.

      Love can never be separated from Truth. Hard core conservatives often only want Truth with no Love; liberals and trendies want Love with no Truth. We should look for Love informed by Truth, which is what I believe Ox is striving for.

      Love doesn’t give way to eveything. Love rejoices in the Truth (1 Cor 13).

      Let me quote Cardinal Ratzinger:

      “Love, in the true sense, is not always a matter of giving way, being soft, and just acting nice. In that sense, a sugar-coated Jesus or a God who agrees to everything and is never anything but nice and friendly is no more than a caricature of real love. Because God loves us, because he wants us to grow into truth, he must necessarily make demands on us and must also correct us.”

      [God and the World – Cardinal Ratzinger]

      I applaud Ox for having the courage to hold to the truth; and defend it with passion and vigour.

      We need more people who stand up for these things in the Church, even in the face of being labelled and criticized by those who no longer hold the Church’s Truthful position on important matters.

    11. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 8:48 am

      The worst being your stance on un-repentant co-habitating couples habitually fornicating – thinking that God gives them the Sacrament of Marriage in their sin.

      You are again twisting what I said.

      I make a distinction between those who are cohabiting with no lifelong comittment merely until someone better comes along and those who are in defacto marriages. Defacto means “in fact”.

      The facts are that 70% of Catholics attending pre-marriage courses in this country are already living together at the time of marriage.

      God Bless

    12. JP III November 28, 2006 at 9:02 am

      Chris,

      Just putting the words “de facto” doesn’t make it ok. “De facto” means nothing. It’s an effort to legitimize something that it wrong morally.

      It’s the same error as thinking, that by putting the word “civil union” on a gay relationship, that somehow that makes that ‘ok’.

      Yes, I agree, many Catholic couples are living together….and then getting married from that damaging state….but that doesn’t make their situation better, but worse.

      What we need in this case: are priests and pre-marriage people with the courage and backbone to give them the truth and tell them to stop living together, and to go to confession, before getting married. Truth is this case is not determined by majority vote, i.e., “most couples are in that state, so it must be ok”, or “let’s modify what’s required because everybody is doing it”…

      Certainly by getting married they are improving their state, but often, because they have lived together for so long, they have actually damaged their relationship: sin divides Chris. When 2 people fornicate together, it intrinsically damages them and their relationship. Sin divides and corrupts. So by living together before marriage they do great harm to the possible future success of their marriage. The marriage stats prove this.
      I’m sure Ox has those stats around some where.

      It is never acceptable, from a Catholic point of view, to approve of sexual relationships outside of marriage, including those that you mention.

    13. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 9:03 am

      Great post Ox. So many people think love is just a feeling and that their actions have no bearing on that love. So wrong!
      I like what poorclear said “you never love what you tolerate”. How can someone tolerate something sinful, even if it for the perceived benefit of life on this earth? Isn’t it much better to stand up and tell someone they are committing sin in an attempt to save their eternal life rather than this earthly life? Surely that is more loving?
      I’m sure I’d be living in mortal sin had my parents not been loving and told me how wrong certain things were. More credit needs to be given to those who tell it like it is and to the people they are telling it to. Not everyone wants to live in sin and sometimes they just need someone who loves them enough to remind them what the boundaries are and that one day God will judge their life on earth.

    14. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 9:11 am

      Absolutely JP III. Just because it’s popular doesn’t it right. More Catholics need the backbone to tell other Catholics what they’re doing is wrong. If they don’t listen you’re able to wash your hands of it and when you face God you can say “I tried (or kept trying).” Rather than “they weren’t going to change so I didn’t bother”.

    15. The Dumb Ox November 28, 2006 at 9:48 am

      Dear blog readers,

      Just felt that I had to clarify a couple of important points.

      1. I do not have any “axe to grind” against my bishop, or any of the other bishops in New Zealand.

      I love and respect our bishops as Christ, through His Church, calls all of us to.

      If a member of the clergy acts or speaks in a manner that is contrary to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church then lay people are well within their canonical rights to challenge, question and oppose such things.

      2. I do not support “war and killing”.

      I hold firmly to the Catholic teaching that war and killing are immoral acts of murder.

      I also fully adhere to the Catholic teaching of “Just War”.

      A full explanation of this doctrine, and the qualifications that must be met for a military action to be considered a moral and legitimate act of self defence, can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 2309, and in other Catholic teaching documents.

      3. I am 150% committed to upholding and defending the sanctity of all human life, from the moment of natural conception to the moment of natural death.

      I hold firmly to the Catholic teaching that abortion is the murder of an innocent human being and that it can never be justified.

      I hold firmly to the Catholic teaching that all forms of direct abortion are gravely immoral acts of homicide, and that abortion must NEVER be legal.

      I also hold firmly to all other Catholics teaching about the sanctity of human life (such as those found in Donum Vitae, Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae) and about the sacredness and proper context of human sexuality.

      My respect for the sacrednessof all human life begins with a great love and respect for the very act that brings about the conception of a new human being (the act of sexual relations).

      I firmly hold to the Catholic teaching that all sexual acts MUST be confined to heterosexual marriage, involve only the husband and the wife, and be free from directly intended contraceptive acts.

      If you actually read the research you will find that couples using contraption are far more likely to have abortions than those who do not use contraception.

      Contraception does not, and never will, lessen the number of abortions – in fact research shows us that abortions increase along with the incidence of contraception.

      Thanks for listening.

    16. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 10:18 am

      St Francis “sought reconciliation with Islam”

      St Francis never sought reconciliation with Islam, he actively evangelised Muslims in the hope that whey would reject the false religion of Islam and convert to the one true faith – Christianity.

      In fact, a group of St Francis’ disciples went to Spain to pray for the conversion of the Muslims there – they were captured and killed after they refused to kiss the Qur’an.

      St Francis even went on a mission to convert the King of Morocco. Once there, he challenged one of their Imams to debate, he even stood in a fire at the end of the debate and challenged the Imam to do likewise, which he would not.

      “Words are always said in a context and their meaning changes when torn out of that context.”

      Yes, the meaning of words CAN change when taken out of context, but the quotes above from St Francis are clear in what they state and in what they intend.

      They are the words of St Francis and they are teachings that he proclaimed, in the words that he used.

      In fact many of the great Saints used very harsh and seemingly uncharitable words to proclaim the truth – they did this because concern for the salvation of souls is too important not to get passionate about.

    17. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 10:34 am

      St Francis never sought reconciliation with Islam, he actively evangelised Muslims

      What make’s you think it’s an EITHER/OR situation? That one has to do ONE or the OTHER but not both ?

      Can’t we reconcile and evangelise at the same time ?

      When the Holy Father goes to Turkey, is he trying to evangelise or reconcile ? Or both ? If he doesn’t exhort all the Muslims to convert to Catholicism or else, will he be selling short the faith? Of course not.

      OK, St Fancis’ mission to the Sultan was an evangelisation but it was also a peace mission, to try to stop the killing in the Crusade.

      In fact many of the great Saints used very harsh and seemingly uncharitable words

      Yes, but Holy Mother Church, the last Council, and today’s Popes don’t use such language. And there’s a reason for that. It’s counterproductive.

      God Bless

    18. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 11:01 am

      Chris,

      There was nothing to reconcile with Islam – they were never part of the Church, they are a separate religion that started outside the Church and holds to false doctrines.

      Yes, St Francis acted peacefully in Morocco, but he didn’t go there for an inter-faith dialogue; he went there to convert Muslims.

      In fact, he even expected to be martyred for trying to do so, and he went away saddened that the king of Morocco didn’t abandon Islam and convert to Christ.

      We must always evangelise in peace and through all means possible, but reconciliation is not the same thing as evangelism.

      Dialogue can be part of evangelism, which is what the pope engages in (and will be engaging in when he visits Turkey).

      And if there was some split in a relationship then we should seek reconciliation – but there never was a communion between Islam and Christianity – one is the one true Church founded by Christ, and the other is a false religion.

      Of course we enter peaceful dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters – but this dialogue must always have the ultimate hope of wining their conversion to Christ.

      But there is nothing to reconcile – only dialogue that must be engaged in.

      The whole point of the Church is to bring as many people as possible to heaven, not to act as a Christian version of the UN.

      The Anglican’s and Protestants on the other hand do need to find reconciliation, because they engaged in a rebellion against Christ and then broke away from His Church.

      This means that we have to reach out and seek reconciliation with them, because they really do need to be reconciled back into the Church Christ founded.

    19. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 11:10 am

      There was nothing to reconcile with Islam

      Yes there was. Christiandom was at war with Islamic countries.

      Some of Christiandom still is.

      If we still think there isn’t anything to reconcile with Islam then we haven’t understood the damage done by the Pope’s gaff at Regensburgh.

      God Bless

    20. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 11:23 am

      “Yes, but Holy Mother Church, the last Council, and today’s Popes don’t use such language. And there’s a reason for that. It’s counterproductive.”

      Chris, have you read the Cannons from the Council of Trent?

      Let me quote from the Sixth Session of that Council:

      Canon I – “If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.”

      In fact, the rest o the canons in that session all end with either:

      “let him be anathema”

      or

      “let him be accursed”

      I am pretty confident that such language from Holy Mother Church qualifies as seemingly uncharitable and harsh.

    21. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 11:36 am

      Chris, have you read the Cannons from the Council of Trent?

      Yes.

      But Trent was 450 years ago and language that might have worked then doesn’t work now. The last Council didn’t use such language, for very good reasons.

      Some argue that the kind of harsh language Trent used actually exacerbated the split with protestants and Anglicans whereas what was called for was a reconciliation.

      The Anglicans have long since dropped the requirement to subscribe to their founding document, the 39 articles, which puts them in the interesting position of a denomination which has abandoned their own founding articles of faith.

      God Bless

    22. Perpetua November 28, 2006 at 11:38 am

      Chris,

      I have to say that I find your style of attacking people quite hypocritical. You have a go at people because they speak out at misleading teachings from two Bishops but have no problem referring to a quote used by our Holy Father as a “gaff.”

      I think that your first comment on this post highlights exactly what Ox was talking about – we have to take the teachings of the Saints in context and that means all of the teachings, not just the fluffy ones about love that make us feel good! Many of the great saints of our Church have spoken out quite forcefully on issues in language that may seem uncharitable, but it is always more charitable to illustrate the truth that a soul may come closer to Our Lord, than to let them going on believing something that is untrue and allowing that to inform their actions.

      I’m sorry if this offends – I have no intention of doing so, but cannot in good conscience allow you to get away with the same lack of charity that you accuse others of!

    23. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 12:11 pm

      Perpetua,

      It was a gaff for the Holy Father to use what Emperor Paleologus quote without clearly stating that Paleologus was quite wrong.

      The Holy Father made an innocent mistake here, but, nonetheless, it was a mistake.

      John Paul II had Vatican experts on Islam check all his speeches to see if anything might inadvertantly offend Muslims. On occassion, JPII would rewrite phrases accordingly.

      Benedict VVI didn’t do this at Regensberg and he sent away the Vatican experts which advised JPII on his speeches. I expect he’s now following JPII’s practice.

      it is always more charitable to illustrate the truth that a soul may come closer to Our Lord, than to let them going on believing something that is untrue and allowing that to inform their actions.

      No, it isn’t always more charitable to always do this.

      If it was more charitible to always do this then our Pope and Bishops would be always doing this.

      It isn’t which is why they don’t always do this.

      Jesus didn’t always do this either – he taught when it was more charitable to teach, he healed when it was more charitable to heal, and he fed when it was more charitable to feed.

      What’s always more charitable is to love your neighbour as you love yourself and to see Christ in them – as Mother Teresa of Calcutta did. No “illustrating the truth” for her – just getting on humbly loving them in all their human filfth and teaching Muslims to be good Muslims, Hindus to be good Hindus rather than seeking to convert them.

      Sometimes loving our neighbour requires us to “speak the truth”. Most of the time it doesn’t -it just requires us to humbly love them and serve Christ who is present in them.

      God Bless

    24. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 12:14 pm

      Chris,

      The pope’s address at Regensburg was an excellent and scholarly presentation about why faith and reason can never be divorced from one another.

      He used one small segment of that address to insert a quote about Islam and all of a sudden the Islamic world responds with violence, rage and threats of harm.

      Once again proving that Islam has a definite problem with divorcing faith from reason and rational behaviour.

      I can’t see how you can consider that a “gaff” on the Pope’s part.

    25. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 12:19 pm

      Chris,

      “John Paul II had Vatican experts on Islam check all his speeches to see if anything might inadvertantly offend Muslims. On occassion, JPII would rewrite phrases accordingly.”

      You are completely wrong about this.

      Let me quote you from a speech given by the late Pope John Paul II…

      “Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which is completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside.

      Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity.”

      It is a complete urban myth to think that JP II never criticized Islam.

    26. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 12:28 pm

      “The Holy Father made an innocent mistake here, but, nonetheless, it was a mistake.”

      As Perpetua has already pointed out Chris, you are acting in a completely hypocritical manner on this blog.

      On one post you chide people for questioning the statements of bishops, yet on this post you refer to a papal address as a “gaff” and then you happily (and rather condescendingly) refer to it as a “mistake”.

      On other posts you use papal teaching as the final word on issues, yet here you call part of a papal teaching a “gaff” and a “mistake”.

    27. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 12:40 pm

      Hoff,

      The Regensburg speech contained factual errors about Islam which indicate clearly that Benedict XVI does not have an accurate understanding of Islam.

      See the response “Open Letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI by 38 Leading Muslim Scholars and Leaders”

      http://www.islamicamagazine.com/online-analysis/open-letter-to-his-holiness-pope-benedict-xvi.html

      The Qu’ran isn’t supposed to replace the Torah, the Prophets, or the Gospels. It depends on them and refers the reader back to them. For this reason, one doesn’t expect the Qu’ran to repeat everything that has already been revealed in the Bible.

      God Bless

    28. Scribe November 28, 2006 at 12:47 pm

      Chris, Hoff, JPIII, Perpetua:

      Please excuse my ignorance in blog protocol, but I would have thought it would have been fair to expect comments on a particular subject be made without regard for comments made on previous threads.

      I’m sure that’s easier said than done, but I reckon what someone said three weeks ago needn’t be brought up in today’s discussion. And it’s not something unique to this post or this group of people; many others have been “guilty”.

      Just an observation.

      Peace

    29. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 12:49 pm

      yet here you call part of a papal teaching

      A few remarks in a speech to his old University fellow professors are most definitely not “a papal teaching”.

      The Holy Father himself recognises the gaff he made. Hence his subsequent statements which clarified what he actually meant, something which was not made clear in the original speech.

      On the other hand, the NZ bishops who were attacked here for teaching what the Church actually teaches about condoms (eg in the NZ Catholic guest editorial by Bishop Peter Cullinane), have not moved from their orginal statements and have not needed to issue any public statements of clarification, because what they said is what the Church actually teaches.

      One expects Popes and Bishops to be well versed in what the Church teaches. One doesn’t necessarily expect a Pope or Bishop to be an expert on Islam.

      God Bless

    30. Perpetua November 28, 2006 at 12:50 pm

      “What’s always more charitable is to love your neighbour as you love yourself and to see Christ in them – as Mother Teresa of Calcutta did. No “illustrating the truth” for her – just getting on humbly loving them in all their human filfth and teaching Muslims to be good Muslims, Hindus to be good Hindus rather than seeking to convert them.”

      I agree that it is charity to love your neighbour as you love yourself – this is the second greatest commandment. But we must also remember that the first is to love the Lord our God with our our hearts and souls and minds – it is from our love for Him that true love for our neighbour will stem. And true love, as Ox has pointed out, often means highlighting what might seem like harsh truths. What is more an act of service than to help someone come closer to Christ by showing them His love and making them aware of His Truth? It is part of our baptismal calling to preach the faith. It’t not always easy to do so without compromise, but that is how Christ taught it, and He is our model. I agree that He taught when necessary, fed when necessary and healed when necessary and that He calls us to do the same, but we certainly don’t have to compromise our faith at the same time! Out of love for Christ and for souls I would give someone food who needed it, absolutely, but if I also have an opportunity to call them closer to the “living water” then I would do that. We don’t help them by condoning sin!

      I think you’ll find if you read any good source on Mother Teresa that she certainly aided the poor and sick in an extraordinary manner – but she did it for Jesus, not for Allah or any of the Hindu gods. She wasn’t out there “teaching” them about their own religion, she was illustrating the love of Christ in a very real and tangible way!

      As far as the Pope’s speech goes, there has been a lot of misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions and it has already been discussed on this blog I believe. I tend to think that the Holy Father, with his years of study and great intellect and love for the true faith, knows slightly more about the topic and the true state of things than you or I.

    31. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 12:52 pm

      I disagree completely Scribe.

      If a person contradicts themselves in the current post, based on what they’ve said in a previous post, then they can still be challenged on their current contradiction.

      It goes to motive your honour!

    32. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 1:34 pm

      “The Holy Father himself recognises the gaff he made.”

      The Holy father has NEVER said any such thing.

      Let me quote you from his actual response to the unjust Islamic response to Regensburg:

      “I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.”

      “These in fact were a quotation from a Medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought,”

      Notice how he didn’t actually apologise for making the statements – just about how sorry he is that the Islamic world took his comments the wrong way.

      “I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect,”

      Not once does he state that he made a mistake.

      Why?

      Because he didn’t.

      His Regensburg moment (which you refer to as a “gaff”) has actually advanced the cause of dialogue between Muslims and Catholics.

      The Pope has since met with many Muslim scholars to dialogue about true faith as a direct result of his comments.

      I would suggest to you that his so called “gaff” looks more like a calculated move to kick-start dialogue.

    33. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 1:34 pm

      Re: #29

      Chris,

      The point still stands.

      You have attacked people on this blog for challenging the words spoken/written by a bishop, yet you yourself have done the very same thing to the words of the Holy Father.

      You have also attacked cannon law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

      Your actions are totally contradictory.

      When it suits you, you embrace the hierarchy of the Church or Catholic teaching documents and cannon law, etc

      But when it doesn’t suit you to do this, you attack these very same things.

    34. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 1:41 pm

      totally agree Ox.

    35. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 2:11 pm

      “These in fact were a quotation from a Medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought”

      This clarifies what the Pope thinks about Paleologus’ outrageous statement. Exactly what Benedict thought of what Paleologus said wasn’t clear in the original speech. Muslims took it as an insult.

      If he hadn’t made a gaff, he wouldn’t have needed to clarify this !

      I agree that the Holy Father ought to have made a full and proper apology.

      As to attacking people, I’ve never attacked anyone. I’ve simply pointed out where they were wrong and not in accord with what the Church actually teaches, something which people here keep insisting we are obliged to do !

      I have not attacked Cannon Law or the Catechism. I have pointed out that neither define infallible dogmas and, in fact, both are often revised and updated as doctine and law develop.

      When it suits you, you embrace the hierarchy of the Church or Catholic teaching documents and cannon law, etc But when it doesn’t suit you to do this, you attack these very same things.

      I try to follow Christ. In the history of the Church, not every teaching document or cannon law has followed Christ. When the Fourth Latern council “taught” that Jews should be denied public office (canon 69) and must wear special distinguishing clothes (canon 68), and wrote that into it’s cannon law, was that following Christ ? And when it launched a war (canon 71) was that following Christ ?

      http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum12.htm#Jews%20not%20to%20hold%20public%20offices

      We are always called to follow Christ first and fallible human documents and canon law second.

      God Bless

    36. The Captain November 28, 2006 at 2:18 pm

      Scribe is right regarding referring to other posts and comments – it’s ridiculous to keep bringing them into a current thread because very few people have the time to look back over them. It’s unfair to people who are trying to follow the one theme/idea.

      And discrediting the person by selectively referring to things they’ve said somewhere else goes against the credibility of your argument. Let it stand on its own, in its own thread.

      Plus, it’s just plain mean to the person whose character you’re assassinating. And yes, I am putting on a child’s whiny voice when I say that.

    37. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 2:41 pm

      Captain,

      You misrepresent me.

      I am not assassinating anyone’s character.

      A person is not the same as the ideas they proclaim.

      My debate, or “beef”; if you want to call it that, is with the idea. Not the person.

      If I am assassinating anything; it is the character of the ideas being put forward by Chris (in this case) – but never Chris himself.

      Let’s be clear here…

      Chris has made statements on this blog in previous posts.

      These statements are contradictory to the current post he is commenting on.

      Referring back to the old statements as evidence of logical fallacy is perfectly legitimate.

      Unless Chris has changed his mind and publicly stated so, then his former comments become invalid in the current discussion.

      But while he still publicly holds contradictory ideas, it is perfectly legitimate to challenge the obvious contradictions.

      After all, they are at the very heart of the issue being discussed.

      If we can’t challenge the legitimacy of a person’s current postings based on their still held historical ones, then this blog has stopped being about seeking truth.

      We aren’t talking about having cross-post debates (where one topic is debated in multiple posts).

      We are talking about a person in one post who uses a source to back up their arguments, when they have previously tried to discredit that source to back up a different argument in another post.

      And we are also talking about people engaging in the very behaviour that they have criticised others for in very recent previous posts.

      It’s all about consistency.

    38. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 2:51 pm

      “I agree that the Holy Father ought to have made a full and proper apology.”

      Why?

      The Pope gave a well reasoned, historically accurate speech to a group of academics.

      The Islamic world proved just how intolerant of free thought they are by threatening harm and carrying out acts of violence in retaliation to one little portion of a much bigger speech.

      They actually proved the very point that Emperor Manuel Paleologus was trying to make when he said that Islam lives by the sword.

      It just shows that Islam is not actually open to honest debate about their beliefs or their history.

    39. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 2:58 pm

      “I have not attacked Cannon Law or the Catechism. I have pointed out that neither define infallible dogmas and, in fact, both are often revised and updated as doctine and law develop.”

      Chris, do you not see that you use these documents as evidence in some places, but in other places you refute them by saying they are not binding.

      In other words, it isn’t actually the documents you are listening to, but yourself.

      Anytime a document agrees with YOUR position you quote it.

      But, anytime someone quotes those very same documents to disagree with your position, you claim that those very same documents don’t have any binding authority.

      Well, if that’s the case then you should stop quoting them to support your arguments, because if they are non-binding for us, then they are also non-binding for you.

    40. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 3:05 pm

      Hoff,

      Why? [ought the Pope apologize]

      Because the speech was neither well reasoned nor historically accurate.

      But it’s main error was that Benedict quoted Paleologus’ erroneous and outrageous and incendary views without clearly stating he didn’t agree with them.

      God supplied Benedict plenty of qualified Vatican experts on Islam which he could have used to check his speech. He didn’t.

      One ought to apologise when one gives offense, even inadvertently. It’s a poor example when the Pope won’t apologise when he gives offense.

      The Islamic world proved just how intolerant of free thought they are

      What Islamic world ? You mean every 1 billion of them ? Only an tiny extreme fringe acted in the way you rightly condemn.

      It just shows that Islam is not actually open to honest debate about their beliefs or their history.

      That’d be why the Muslim scholars and leaders replied in the open letter to his holiness B16.

      They actually proved the very point that Emperor Manuel Paleologus was trying to make when he said that Islam lives by the sword.

      You are clearly prejudiced against Islam and against Muslims.

      God Bless

    41. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 3:10 pm

      Chris, do you not see that you use these documents as evidence in some places, but in other places you refute them by saying they are not binding.

      The Catechism and Canon Law are important documents which ought to be adhered to. There is nothing better than the Catechism for summarising Church doctrine. But we need to be careful of the limitations of the Catechism. It is subject to change and correction (the current one has about 50 minor and 2 major changes since it was first issued). It isn’t infallible.

      What’s binding isn’t every word of Catechisms or Cannon Law, but what’s dogmatically defined by Popes as binding.

      God Bless

    42. Perpetua November 28, 2006 at 3:20 pm

      Chris,

      You have offended me several times on this blog both directly and indirectly, but I am not asking for any apologies as I understand that you have not intended any offence and that you were simply trying to make an argument.

      The quotation the Pope used may have offended, but he did not intend it to do so. He does not need to apologise for using that quote.

      Captain, I’m still laughing about the child’s whiny voice (I love how you can insert humour anywhere!) but I have to say I agree that it is pertinent to the discussions on this blog to point out where people are contradicting themselves. Chris has said that he points out where people are wrong and not in accord with the teachings of the Church, but somehow when other people are doing the same to his arguments (such as defacto relationships being valid sacramental marriages) they are suddenly attacking him! It is important to highlight errors, whether they are evident on multiple threads or not, but we must strive to do so in charity – it isn’t always easy, that’s why we have to strive. :-)

    43. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 3:22 pm

      and you find it appropriate to pick and choose which parts are binding and which parts aren’t.

      I hardly see prejudice against muslims when saying they proved the point (of the Popes comment). Just because the whole 1 billion of them didn’t kill people and burn an effigy of the pope doesn’t mean they aren’t violent. You saw the protests, you heard of the nun that was killed etc etc. You must have also heard about the enourmous protest following the cartoon of muhammad in a danish? newspapaper (i can’t quite remember which country started it). The protest and violence scared alot of the media in to not reprinting those pictures although some stood up for themselves. That was protested internationally not just by one radical group of muslims.There’s no prejudice, it is clearly documented. And no i’m not anti-muslim either that would be rather un-Catholic wouldn’t it.

    44. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 3:24 pm

      #43 is in reference to #41

    45. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 3:31 pm

      Chris,

      Let’s revisit what happened a few months ago.

      The Pope gave a speech about faith and reason and he quoted an historical quote in one section of that speech.

      As a result of that quote, the Islamic world went into Jihad frenzy.

      There were even Fatwas put out on the pope.

      How can you claim that such violent and brutal reaction is justified in response to an academic speech?

      The large percentage of the Islamic world (including many scholars) that called for violence against the Pope just managed to prove that there is still a large percentage of the Islamic world that doesn’t believe in free speech and reasoned faith when it comes to Islam.

      What else can it mean?

    46. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 3:33 pm

      Also Chris, in regard to the Pope apologising:
      The Muslims are essentially throwing their toys. They didn’t get their way so are having a tantrum. If I was to throw my toys and abuse you because I find your ideas less than accurate I hardly think you’re going to apologise for voicing your opinion and tell me that you were wrong.
      I know this is very simlple but the comparison works.

    47. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 3:36 pm

      “The Catechism and Canon Law are important documents which ought to be adhered to.”

      Chris, you say this here, but then you completely refute this statement by saying things like the Catechism shouldn’t be adhered to when it comes to certain doctrines you disagree with, that the Catechism proclaims as being true.

      By doing this you have simply set yourself up as the infallible judge of when the Catechism is teaching truth and when it is not.

      Your actions in previous posts show that what you actually believe is that the Catechism and Cannon Law are important documents but that they should only be adhered to in some situations and not others.

    48. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 3:54 pm

      There’s no evidence the Pope’s speech had anything to do with the nun’s murder. She served in a very violent failed state, had received death threats well before Regesburgh and had an armed bodyguardecause of them.

      How can you claim that such violent and brutal reaction is justified in response to an academic speech?

      I don’t claim that.

      You must have also heard about the enourmous protest following the cartoon of muhammad in a danish?

      The Vatican agreed that those cartoons were defamatory.

      What Paleologus said about the prophet Muhammed is an insult to Islam. OK, some Muslims overreacted but most were very insulted and hurt.

      I think one does have a responsibility to apologize for inadvertant offense caused. I agree the Pope’s gaff was inadvertant and not intended but I think he still needs to apologize.

      I apologize to those I have inadvertently offended.

      God Bless

    49. Chris Sullivan November 28, 2006 at 3:58 pm

      Hoff,

      you completely refute this statement by saying things like the Catechism shouldn’t be adhered to when it comes to certain doctrines you disagree with, that the Catechism proclaims as being true.

      Exactly what did I say which gave you this impression ?

      By doing this you have simply set yourself up as the infallible judge of when the Catechism is teaching truth and when it is not.

      Not at all. It is the infallible dogmas proclaimed by the Popes which are the infallible judge of when the Catechism is teaching certain truth and when it is teaching less certain teachings. Most of what’s in the Catechism is not infallible and it doesn’t claim to be infallible.

      God Bless

    50. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 5:03 pm

      Chris,

      Two examples:

      In an earlier post you have said that the Catechism doesn’t have to be adhered to when it comes to the Catholic teaching about Just War.

      “The Just War theory is just a theory”

      - Chris Sullivan, #9, “All’s fair in love and war” by eyeWitness

      You also stated in a post last week that Cannon Law doesn’t have to be adhered to with regards to what makes a Sacramental marriage.

      “We need to put aside the legalisms of Church canon law”

      – Chris Sullivan, #23, “Old, new, borrowed, blue” by James the Least.

      You have also stated the following…

      “No. Catechisms do not define teaching”

      - Chris Sullivan, #26, “All’s fair in love and war” by eyewitness

      “Catechisms do not establish teaching.”

      - Chris Sullivan, #28, “All’s fair in love and war” by eyewitness

      “Stop wasting our time trying to pretend that Catechisms establish and define doctrine. They do not and the Church has never taught that they do.”

      - Chris Sullivan, #39, “All’s fair in love and war” by eyewitness

      These statements clearly show that you don’t really believe that the Catechism should always be adhered to.

      It’s like saying that only certain parts of the road code have to be adhered to, but others don’t.

      If the Catechism doesn’t always have to be adhered to, then it is a non-binding document, and this means that every time you quote from it, we can simply reply by telling you that “the Catechism doesn’t always have to be adhered to, so therefore we choose not to adhere to it, just like you do Chris”.

    51. The Hoff November 28, 2006 at 5:18 pm

      “Most of what’s in the Catechism is not infallible and it doesn’t claim to be infallible.”

      Chris, that’s not really what we are discussing here.

      What we are discussing is whether the teaching in the Catechism has to be adhered to by all Catholics.

      Let’s look to the Catechism itself to see what it says about itself, more precisely; what Pope John Paul II says about the Catechism in his letter at the beginning of the Catechism…

      “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.”

      And then this:

      “This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine…”

      And then this:

      “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.”

      With these statements in mind, I struggle to see how the Catechism DOESN’T contain only Catholic doctrine.

      Surely, if it is a “sure norm” then it contains only Catholic teachings – that Catholics must adhere to if they want to call themselves Catholic.

    52. MacGyver November 28, 2006 at 5:29 pm

      “No. Catechisms do not define teaching”
      - Chris Sullivan, #26, “All’s fair in love and war” by eyewitness

      “Catechisms do not establish teaching.”
      - Chris Sullivan, #28, “All’s fair in love and war” by eyewitness

      I agree with Chris these two statements, just to butt in on this argument.

      Catechisms describe and explain doctrine and teachings that have already been defined. You would never find a Catechism that defines something new.

      But they should do nothing else other than that.

      So it still holds that we should follow what is in the Catechism; not simply because the Catechism states it, but because the Catechism passes on the infallible teachings of the Church…which we must follow in order to call ourselves Catholic.

      Sorry to butt in.

      Carry on.

    53. kaymae November 28, 2006 at 5:47 pm

      So what if the cartoons were defamatory? Putting a condom over the Virgin Mary and calling it art is beyond defamatory and so is putting a crucifix in urine. The whole South Park and Mary episode was defamatory and repulsive yet Catholics prayed for those involved with it they didn’t go and kill the artists/tv execs or burn effigies of CEOs. Catholics were peaceful in the face of massive insult and offense yet the muslims protested violently and threatened the life of the Pope for a quote said by someone else. See the difference? how are muslims not living by the sword?

    54. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 7:44 am

      Speaking of the peaceful religion begining with “I”…

      http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2679691&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312

    55. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 7:47 am

      Hi all,

      Sorry to interrupt this post, but I thought that everyone would be happy to pray the following prayer over the coming days while Pope Benedict XVI is on his trip around Turkey.

      Prayer of Protection for Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Turkey

      Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey — a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son; a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt; a land where faith in your Son’s true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam.

      May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence

      We also ask, O Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

      (Prayer composed by Bishop William E. Lori)

    56. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 8:05 am

      Hoff,

      The Catechism does not define a “Just War Theory”. It defines a “Legitimate use of military force in defence” subject to some very strict conditions (CCC2309).

      Therefore, to say that “The Just War theory is just a theory” is entirely in accord with the Catechism.

      You also stated in a post last week that Cannon Law doesn’t have to be adhered to with regards to what makes a Sacramental marriage.

      “We need to put aside the legalisms of Church canon law”

      Well, I meant that Cannon Law is binding in a legal sense on Catholics but to look at the reality of defacto marriages by non-Catholics and non-practicing Catholics we need to look at the actual nature of the relationship, not Cannon Law. Cannon Law cannot make a marriage a sacrament. Only Christ can do that.

      Law has its rightful place but it is transcended by grace, as St Paul taught.

      Catechisms do not define doctrine. They present in a summarised and popularised and simplified form doctrines which are defined by Popes in documents like Papal Encyclicals.

      These statements clearly show that you don’t really believe that the Catechism should always be adhered to.

      Well, the Church doesn’t either. Which is why Catechisms are continually being revised, rewritten and reissued as doctrine develops.

      Case in point: the original Catechism of the Catholic Church had to be changed on the Death Penalty after JPII’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae defined a stronger opposition to the Death Penalty.

      Case in point: the original wording of the Catechism of the Catholic Church had to be changed on homosexual relationships becuase the original was not precise enough.

      Catechisms don’t have to be adhered to, what has to be adhered to is the doctrines and dogmas defined by Popes.

      This is why most things in the Catechism are footnoted back to the original document where a Pope defined the matter. If there is no footnote (like on CCC2309) then there is no Papal document defining the matter and what the Catechism says on the matter is not binding.

      Hope this helps
      God Bless

    57. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:01 am

      Chris,

      1. Just War doctrine does exist, it is real and it is very Catholic.

      You will also find the words “Just” and “War” together in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

      It has been taught about by popes, saints and doctors of the Church.

      So it is a real Catholic doctrine.

      Based on what I’ve seen in previous posts it would be fruitless to entertain further discussion with you about Just War doctrine because it is clear that you don’t accept the Catholic teaching on Just War, so arguing would be counter-productive.

    58. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 9:06 am

      Hoff,

      Please quote the exact Papal encyclical where a Pope defined the Just War Theory.

      God Bless

    59. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:10 am

      “Cannon Law cannot make a marriage a sacrament. Only Christ can do that.”

      Statements like this one Chris, merely provide further evidence that you don’t really believe that Cannon Law has to be adhered to at all.

      If you did believe that Cannon Law had to be adhered to then why would you make such a statement as this about marriage and Cannon Law?

      Yes, Christ makes a Sacrament a Sacrament – but he does that through His Church.

      The Church has been given the Sacramental economy, it is her job to administer those Sacraments and it is only Holy Mother Church who makes the laws (under guidance of the Holy Spirit) about when something is a Sacrament and when it is not.

      So when it comes to marriage, if you don’t follow the formula laid down by the Church, in Cannon Law, etc then you don’t have a Sacramental marriage.

      End of story.

      I’m not too bothered if you can’t reconcile yourself with that fact, it is still the absolute truth of the matter whether Chris Sullivan accepts it or not.

      But let’s not digress, because last week’s post was about this issue and you clearly showed there that you don’t accept the Catholic teaching on Sacraments and marriage then.

      So, once again, discussing this matter further would be fruitless.

      It’s the old story of the lighthouse and the ship – we are the ship and God and His Church are the lighthouse.

      If we find ourselves on a collision course with the lighthouse, it is us who have to change course – not the lighthouse.

    60. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:18 am

      Chris,

      Re: #58.

      As I stated in #57, discussion about the Catholic doctrine of Just War would be fruitless as you have already stated in previous posts that you don’t accept this Catholic teaching.

      I saw a lot of excellent references to the Catholicity of Just War teaching in a previous post – by eyewitness I think.

      If you want to do some research then I recommend a browse of the comment section of that post.

      But to review this issue again in this post would be a boring turnoff for other blog participants.

    61. Scribe November 29, 2006 at 9:18 am

      Hoff, Chris et al,

      We’re back on just war again?!?!?!?!?!? Didn’t that discussion set a Being Frank record in number of comments?

      And you wonder why I thought it would be good to not rehash past posts.

      The prosecution rests.

    62. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:38 am

      “Well, the Church doesn’t either. Which is why Catechisms are continually being revised, rewritten and reissued as doctrine develops.”

      Once again, I refer you back to the actual words of Pope John Paul II in his promulgation letter that can be found at the beginning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church….

      “The Catechism of the Catholic Church… is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.”

      And then this:

      “This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine…”

      And then this:

      “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual …who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.”

      A Catechism can’t be a “sure norm” for “teaching Catholic doctrine” and for telling people “what the Catholic Church believes” if it contains erroneous or dubious theories.

    63. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:42 am

      “Case in point: the original Catechism of the Catholic Church had to be changed on the Death Penalty after JPII’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae defined a stronger opposition to the Death Penalty.”

      Actually, the changes in the Catechism on the issue of the death penalty have simply further clarified the Catholic doctrine about the use of the death penalty, in light of modern cultural advances in regards to the death penalty and the issues surrounding it.

      But the Catholic Church’s teaching about the death penalty has not changed.

      It has been merely further clarified in the Catechism.

    64. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:42 am

      “Case in point: the original wording of the Catechism of the Catholic Church had to be changed on homosexual relationships becuase the original was not precise enough.”

      Once again Chris, all that was done in this section was to further clarify exactly what the Church teaches on this issue.

      The Church’s teaching on homosexuality has not changed.

    65. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 9:45 am

      I 100% concur Scribe.

      The defence enters #60 as exhibit A your honour.

    66. James the Least November 29, 2006 at 10:03 am

      All,

      I have to agree with Scribe. You will have visitors to this blog switching off and not reading if the comments turn into a big convoluted mess about what he said/she said before. I take the point about people contradicting themselves, but we don’t need to labour it, do we? Your argument should stand on its own two feet.

      Aside from that, there was an interesting comment exchange made in between all the legal stuff that I would like some help with”

      Chris: “Most of what’s in the Catechism is not infallible and it doesn’t claim to be infallible.”
      Hoff: “Chris, that’s not really what we are discussing here.”
      See this is something that I am interested in discussing. Chris’ examples (“When the Fourth Latern council “taught” that Jews should be denied public office (canon 69) and must wear special distinguishing clothes (canon 68), and wrote that into it’s cannon law, was that following Christ ?“) trouble me. Are they accurate? Also, the fact that there have been multiple Catechisms over time, and that there are changes between them, is also of interest. What are we to believe? Were they all infallible? Are the changes really just “clarifications”? What about the harm caused in between those clarifications? If all the Catechisms (including diocesan ones) list infallible teaching, then what happens when that teaching fundamentally changes?

      e.g. Baltimore Catechism explicitly teaches about limbo for unbaptised babies – something that the Church has now said was only a theory, not doctrine.

      Colour me confused.

      Hoff, I have heard the point that teaching doesn’t change, it just gets clarified. But what of Limbo? Where has our scientific understanding moved to a point that extinguishes that? You can only “clarify” things so far before you change the core meaning.

      Help!

    67. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 10:42 am

      From the Catechism of the Council of Trent :-

      To this class also belong usurers, the most cruel and relentless of extortioners, who by their exorbitant rates of interest, plunder and destroy the poor. Whatever is received above the capital and principal, be it money, or anything else that may be purchased or estimated by money, is usury; for it is written in Ezechiel: He hath not lent upon usury, nor taken an increase; and in Luke our Lord says: Lend, hoping for nothing thereby. Even among the pagans usury was always considered a most grievous and odious crime. Hence the question, “What is usury ?” was answered: “What is murder?” And, indeed, he who lends at usury sells the same thing twice, or sells that which has no real existence.

      If this is still Catholic doctrine then the Vatican itself is guilty of usury because it lends out money and collects interest on it. The fact is that doctrine on usury has developed since this Catechism was published.

      The Catechism of Trent continues
      Execution Of Criminals

      Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment- is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.

      The emphasis of the Trent Catechism is on the legitimacy of executing criminals. The emphasis of the current catechism is on the sanctity of the criminal’s life. Doctrine has developed here.

      The Catechism of Trent continues on suicide where it simply states :-

      It also forbids suicide. No man possesses such power over his own life as to be at liberty to put himself to death. Hence we find that the Commandment does not say: Thou shalt not kill another, but simply: Thou shalt not kill.

      But the current catechism qualifies this by saying “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.”

      Catechisms are subject to change as doctrine develops and understanding improves.

      I rest my case.

      God Bless

    68. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 11:42 am

      Chris, James…

      Red herring one: The cannons from the Fourth Latern Council regarding Jews…

      Point 1: We need to understand the history of the time to see why such cannons were being proposed.

      a) The Jews and the Muslims had collaborated in places like Spain to try and bring down governments and the Church

      b) There were multiple incidents of what would be called “high treason” today by Jews in public offices in that period of history

      c) Christian couldn’t hold offices in Muslim or Jewish countries – the same rulings were being applied to them as well

      d) The Jews even had similar prohibitions against the Gentiles right back before the time of Christ

      e) It wasn’t a racially motivated thing, it was nationalistic, countries trying to protect their sovereignty from their enemies at the time

      Point 2: Not every article from a Council is an infallible or binding teaching

      a) For an article to be infallible and binding it has to meet the criteria and it has to be proclaimed as being such, but the cannons about Jews were never, ever proclaimed or presented as infallible teachings.

      b) The Pope has the final say on when something is infallible and binding and when it is not, not a council.

      c) The cannons relating to Jews at Latern 4 were disciplinary cannons, which means they can be changed at anytime and have no infallible status

      It is arrogant and dangerous to go back in time and apply the corrective of today to the historical periods of the past.

      If you don’t actually fully understand the history of that period you will completely misunderstand the motives and reasons that things were done the way they were.

    69. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 11:52 am

      Red herring number two: The Catholic teaching on Usury

      The Church has NEVER changed her teaching on usury.

      She always has, and still does, teach that usury is an immoral act.

      But here’s where most people get confused…

      They think that usury is merely lending money with interest, but that is NOT what usury is at all!

      Our monetary and financial systems have completely changed over the last two thousand years.

      Today, we pay interest to borrow money to buy houses, boats and other goods.

      In other words, we are able to build up capital and assets through the money we borrow – we are able to make a profit or a gain on the money we borrow.

      But it wasn’t always this way.

      Once upon a time, you paid interest to borrow money to buy food or other fungible goods.

      These goods were consumed and then the lender was left with no capital, no assets, no borrowed money and only an interest debt to pay back.

      That’s what usury is.

      Back then there was no monetary system that enabled people to make money on money.

      But today there is, and so we are quite legitimately able to lend money with interest.

      Basically, it’s an issue of justice.

      Why should I be able to borrow money from you and then make a financial gain off your money and not have to share any of that gain with you?

      Usury is still condemned by the Church, it’s only our monetary system that has changed – which now means that interest bearing loans are no longer usury.

      If you want a more precise article, check this one out:
      http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=646

    70. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 11:57 am

      Hoff,

      Instead of trying to justify Lateran IV’s anti-Jewish Cannons, why not apply to Jews what God himself has already said :-

      “Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18

      Its an outrageous scandal when Catholics try to justify the attrocities committed by Church leaders in the name of “understanding the history of that period”.

      These cannons were simply wrong and against the gospel and they were against Christ at the time they were written, not only retrospectively through modern eyes.

      Catholics will only discredit the Church by trying to defend the sins of her misleaders.

      You write: The cannons relating to Jews at Latern 4 were disciplinary cannons, which means they can be changed at anytime and have no infallible status

      I see we’re now on the same page about cannons (including cannon law) – they are disciplinary and not infallible.

      You are right that these cannons are only disciplinary and were never infallible.

      God Bless

    71. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 12:02 pm

      Hoff,

      On 69 we’re pretty much on the same page and in agreement.

      But you’ve completely missed my point.

      The Catechism of the Council of Trent clearly stated :-

      Whatever is received above the capital and principal, be it money, or anything else that may be purchased or estimated by money, is usury.

      But this is not now considered by the Church as usury at all. What was stated in this catechism about usury is no longer Catholic Doctrine.

      Catechisms change and do not define doctrine.

      One must go back to the original papal definitions. I’m very pleased to see that in your latest posts you are doing this as it is essential to do this to correctly understand what the Church actually teaches as distinct from what many claim she teaches.

      God Bless

    72. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 12:04 pm

      Red herring number three: the death penalty

      The Catholic Church has NOT changed her teaching about the death penalty.

      She has clarified the teaching more precisely based on modern developments, but she hasn’t changed her teaching on the death penalty.

      This is what the Catholic Church teaches about the death penalty…

      “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”

      “If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”

      “Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

      CCC 2267

      In other words, the Catholic Church still teaches, just as it did back then, that the death penalty is a legitimate act, AS LONG as it is the ONLY way of protecting innocent people from an unjust aggressor.

      Basically today we have no recourse to the death penalty, because we have highly developed justice systems and prisons, etc, etc and a dangerous criminal could be incarcerated for life to protect society from him/her.

      But it wasn’t always this way, and in future it may not always be this way either, so therefore the teaching still stands that the death penalty is morally acceptable if it is the only way of protecting innocent people from an unjust aggressor.

      The Catholic Church has never changed this teaching.

    73. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 12:22 pm

      Chris,

      You’re a complex creature.

      I never tried to justify the cannons regarding the Jews from Latern 4, and I never said that I thought of them as being right either.

      I simply pointed out that it is egregious and ignorant to quote an historical document without actually contextualising that document in the actual history of the time.

      It is very easy for us to take the social knowledge and development that we enjoy the benefit of today, and then try to use that as a rod of correction against previous periods in history.

      While we do this, we tend to forget that back in the eleven hundreds the Christians of the day weren’t proclaiming that abortion and euthanasia are morally acceptable acts (something that a lot of Christians of today actually believe and preach).

      Every era has its weaknesses and sins, and these weaknesses and sins permeate the Church as well – it’s how things work.

      But to try and suggest that just because there were sinners in the Church, and that immoral ideas were even floated at a Church Council (shock horror!!!), therefore this undermines the Catechism or Cannon Law is completely wrong.

      If you study the history of Vatican II, which I have seen you quote a lot on other posts, you will realise that there were issues there as well.

      Like I said earlier, a Church Council is not automatically binding – the things proclaimed must meet the appropriate criteria and they must be proclaimed as being binding by the Council in conjunction with the Pope.

    74. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 12:24 pm

      In other words, the Catholic Church still teaches, just as it did back then, that the death penalty is a legitimate act, AS LONG as it is the ONLY way of protecting innocent people from an unjust aggressor.

      Yes, but the Catechism of Trent did not contain the very important proviso “AS LONG as it is the ONLY way of protecting innocent people from an unjust aggressor”.

      Therefore, what the Catechism of Trent stated is actually very different doctrine to what’s in the current catechism.

      The Catechism of Trent frames the death penalty as a punishment for crime. The current catechism only allows it to stop furthur killing and states that such cases are “practically nonexistant”.

      Let’s just be honest – what the Church teaches about the death penalty is not the same now as it was in Trent. The doctrine has developed very considerably and the emphasis is now completely different.

      God Bless

    75. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 12:32 pm

      …it is egregious and ignorant to quote an historical document without actually contextualising that document in the actual history of the time. It is very easy for us to take the social knowledge and development that we enjoy the benefit of today, and then try to use that as a rod of correction against previous periods in history.

      I’m sorry Hoff but this is quite wrong.

      The cannons against the Jews are in clear violation of gospel principles of Love.

      They don’t become consistent with the gospel by virtue of being made in the special conditions of medieval Europe.

      The command to Love stands in all periods of time.

      What Lateran IV did to the Jews is quite simply a sin and Catholics need to say that clearly, not make excuses for the sins of Bishops and Popes.

      God Bless

    76. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 12:45 pm

      “I see we’re now on the same page about cannons (including cannon law) – they are disciplinary and not infallible.”

      Not only are we not on the same page about this issue, but I suspect that we are not even reading from the same book on this one.

      You are confusing “infallible” and “binding”.

      An infallible teaching refers to a teaching that has been infallibly defined by an ex-Cathedra decree from the Pope.

      But just because a teaching has not been given an ex-Cathedra decree, it doesn’t mean that it is open to debate or that it will change.

      There are levels o Catholic teaching, but just because a teaching doesn’t belong to the ex-Cathedra level it doesn’t mean that Catholics can ignore it, debate its legitimacy or work in opposition to it!

      Cannon Law is not the same thing as a cannon from a Church Council.

      Cannon simply means “rule”.

      Cannon Law is binding for all Catholics, unlike various cannons from Councils that may not be.

      Cannon Law is the practical disciplinary law that is given by the Pope and informed and shaped by Catholic theology and teaching.

    77. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 12:50 pm

      Hoff,

      I’m in agreement on #76.

      Except I think we are on the same page.

      God Bless

    78. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 1:29 pm

      Chris,

      Re: # 71 – please read the article I linked to, it contains a more concise definition regarding this issue.

      The Catholic teaching on usury has not changed – the principal of the teaching is still the same principal that was being applied back then.

      The wording may have changed, but this had to be changed because the monetary system has changed since when that initial wording was drafted.

      The teaching HAS NOT changed!

      The financial system has changed and so therefore the wording of that teaching needed to be amended so that the original teaching can be easily understood in modern times.

      But the teaching has not changed – it is only the words used to express that moral principal that have been changed.

      The principal still stands.

    79. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 1:33 pm

      “Let’s just be honest – what the Church teaches about the death penalty is not the same now as it was in Trent. The doctrine has developed very considerably and the emphasis is now completely different.”

      Not true at all Chris.

      What the Church teaches now is still the same as what was taught at Trent.

      The world has changed since then, and therefore further clarifications needed to be made to accommodate those changes.

      But the moral principal has not changed.

      The principal being applied at Trent actually came long before Trent, through St Thomas, Augustine, etc.

      But the principal has never ever been changed, it’s only its application that has been adapted to make legitimate adjustments for social advances.

    80. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 1:35 pm

      Hoff,

      We’re on the same page about usury and on #78.

      I think you see my point now about doctrine developing and wording of Catechisms changing.

      To be sure one needs to go back to the actual papal teaching and how it has developed.

      God Bless

    81. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 1:36 pm

      Chris,

      If I read #77 right; you are now saying that you accept Cannon Law is actually binding on all Catholics??

    82. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 1:48 pm

      “I think you see my point now about doctrine developing and wording of Catechisms changing.”

      Chris,

      Not once did I ever state that the wording in Catechisms hasn’t changed, or that the teachings they contain haven’t been more precisely developed.

      My point is this, that the teachings in the current Catechism (and it’s recently released compendium) are Catholic doctrines that Catholics must adhere to.

      You are right, these teachings are not made binding by the fact that they are in the Catechism, but none the less, the teachings in the current Catechism are all still binding on us as Catholics.

      This means that you cannot state that teachings in the Catechism are only theories that we don’t have to follow if we don’t want to.

      In regards to wording changes and doctrinal developments; there are changes and there are changes!

      Yes, there have been changes in the wording of Catechisms to accommodate language changes, social changes and new moral issues that arise due to technological changes.

      But the moral principal, the actual teaching itself, has not changed.

      Trent doesn’t say “the death penalty is morally acceptable” while the current Catechism says “the death penalty is morally unacceptable”.

      They both say the same thing – that the death penalty is morally permissible, only the current Catechism has been more precisely refined to accommodate the social and technological changes that have occurred since Trent in regards to crime and punishment.

    83. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 2:00 pm

      “What Lateran IV did to the Jews is quite simply a sin and Catholics need to say that clearly, not make excuses for the sins of Bishops and Popes.”

      Chris, I’m not making excuses for those canons, and never once have I said that I think they are morally excusable.

      But you must ALWAYS historically contextualise a document before you go launching into it with high and mighty judgement calls about it, using the correctives of today.

      We re talking about an event that happened almost 1000 years ago, not yesterday, or last decade.

      The Jewish, Islamic and Christendom worlds were at war with each other.

      And the Church was very different to the Church you know today, there were Catholic leaders who were also secular leaders and this impacted upon the way things were done during those times.

      We also mustn’t forget that all of Europe actually held the same prohibitions regarding Jews, not just the church, and the Jews and Muslims were doing exactly the same thing in the states they controlled.

      Just like in WWII where Allied soldiers wouldn’t be forthcoming about any German heritage just in case it resulted in their loss of position in the army.

      They did this because the US and English knew it would be risky to employ people in important positions if they were actually shared the same heritage as their enemies.

      We don’t really understand this because we’re too young to have experienced a world war where it’s nation against nation.

      The main point to remember is that those cannons were never ever infallibly proclaimed as being true and unchanging, or as part of the deposit of faith, EVER.

    84. Chris Sullivan November 29, 2006 at 2:17 pm

      Hoff,

      The Jewish, Islamic and Christendom worlds were at war with each other.

      Oh, I see.

      The fact that “we” were at war justifies it ?

      I knew Christendom was at war with Islamica but I didn’t know she was also at war with Judaica. But it does kinda put into perspective all those progroms against the Jews during the Crusades and the burning of the Jews in the Synagogue when the crusaders stormed Jerusalem. “We” were at war with the Jews. Anything goes then.

      Why don’t you just come right out and say that these cannons against the Jews were wrong ?

      And it’s interesting to note that the next cannon of Lateran IV, once they’d finished dealing to the Jews, was the one to launch the Crusade.

      God Bless

    85. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 3:29 pm

      Chris,

      Don’t make the mistake that so many others do, of sitting in ivory towers and casting stones on those who are historically far below us.

      The Council of Latern 4 isn’t a complete write off just because they made some mistakes in regards to a couple of cannons.

      I have no problem with the Crusades.

      I don’t support the moments during the Crusades when immoral acts were committed, but we don’t judge the whole by the sum of its parts.

      The Crusades were a necessary defence against a very brutal and unjust aggressor (the peaceful religion beginning with “I” that shall remain nameless).

      Unless of course you would have preferred to live in a Muslim West.

    86. James the Least November 29, 2006 at 4:10 pm

      But Hoff, I’m still left confused. How do we know when cannons are binding and when they’re not? How do we know that in 1,000 years time, the Church won’t be looking back at what is in the Catechism now and “re-clarifying” teaching on the basis that we didn’t know what they know?

      Hoff, you’ve made the point before that it can be arrogant to look back at history through modern eyes. Well, I’m trying to leave all arrogance out of this and not so much judging the past (although, it has to be said that some things are immoral no matter what the period in history…), but I’m back to my original question – what defines a Catechism as being binding and/or infallible?

      Take my other example of the Baltimore Catechism clearly defining Limbo as a destination for unbaptised babies. Was that infallible teaching? Well, it wasn’t defined as being ex cathedra, but only two statements in the history of the Church ever have been. We’ve blogged before about universal and ordinary magisterium, but I’m still left more confused than ever. Here is something that the Church herself is saying was never infallible, but was in the same document as infallible and binding teachings. What’s more, the people at the time (1920′s) weren’t allowed to pick and choose by what you say – they would have had to believe that that’s where their stillborn babies went! Add in the implications of that (i.e. no Christian burial – like for those who committed suicide etc.) and you’re left with quite a mess.

      So please help! :) How do I know that what is in the Catechism today is not going to be disproved in 50/100/1,000 years as part of a clarification?

    87. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 4:50 pm

      James,

      Can you provide me a reference from the Baltimore Catechism which states that unbaptised babies go to Limbo?

      Thanks.

    88. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 5:15 pm

      James,

      As far as I am aware the only changes in the Baltimore Catechism relate to matters of Church discipline, not actual doctrine.

      I actually have a Baltimore Catechism and I have been unable to find any reference to Limbo in it.

      The issue of Limbo is an interesting one.

      Firstly, there are actually three types of “limbo” if you like.

      a) The Limbo of the Fathers (the place where the good people went before the Crucifixion of Christ, and then waited for the Resurrection of Jesus, which opened the gates of Heaven for them.)

      b) The Limbo of Children (which refers to the place where some theologians think unbaptized babies go)

      c) Theological Limbo (which refers to theological uncertainty about an issue)

      I presume that you are referring to option B when you talk of limbo?

      While Limbo has been discussed and speculated on by a lot of Catholic theologians (including the likes of St Thomas Aquinas) The Church has never be officially defined it as a Catholic doctrine.

      In fact, in the Ratzinger Report; Pope Benedict (when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger) stated that as a private theologian he rejected the idea that unbaptized babies cannot attain salvation.

      Throughout history there have been various theological discussions and developments in regards to the issue of what happens to unbaptized babies (which is the real issue here).

      Saint Thomas Aquinas thought that limbo was an eternal state of natural joy, that was unaffected by any sadness, etc at how much greater their joy might have been if they had of actually been baptized.

      He also argued that it was a reward of natural happiness for natural virtue; and that a reward of supernatural happiness for mere natural virtue would be inappropriate since, because of original sin, unbaptized children lack the necessary supernatural grace.

      Then the Council of Constance taught that a person could also be saved by virtue of baptism of desire (a desire to be baptised even though they might never be able to be baptised because they might die before they can have their Baptism, etc).

      This lead to theological speculation by the theologian Cajetan that an unborn baby could still attain the baptism of desire if the baby’s mother desired to baptise him or her, but was unable to because the child died first.

      At the Council of Trent it was suggested by some that Cajetan’s theory should be condemned as heretical, but the Council rejected this and never condemned Cajetan’s theory.

      Another theory was that unbaptized children are allowed to grow to an age of reason in a state that is neither Heaven nor Hell and then they are given a choice (much like the Angels in regards to the rebellion of Lucifer).

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church actually states the following about the issue of unbaptized babies…

      “As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God, who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children, which caused him to say, ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them’ [Mark 10:14, cf. 1 Tim. 2:4], allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism.”

      - CCC 1261

      There is currently a Theological Commission looking into this very issue and their results are expected any day now actually.

      It has been suggested that they will recommend in their report that the Church formally adopts the doctrine that all children who die, die “in the hope of eternal salvation”.

      If this is their recommendation then the theory of hypothesis of limbo would be rejected.

      But who knows what their report will say!

      It is due out before the end of this year.

      I suppose the main point is that the fate of unbaptized babies has never formally been ratified by Catholic doctrine.

    89. James the Least November 29, 2006 at 7:53 pm

      Hoff,

      Baltimore Catechism No. 3 has multiple references to limbo – both that of unbaptised infants (Q 632) and also that of the fathers (where, according to Qs 402 and 403, Christ went in the three days he was dead).

      I agree that that it is a theory, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated, but that is my whole point. If we are to say that the Catechisms contain binding, infallible teaching, what about the other Catechisms? Where is the key to say “teaching X = infallible and must be followed” vs. “teaching Y = FYI, sort of theory, not really binding, our current thinking”?

    90. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 11:43 pm

      Hi James,

      I had another look and found those references – thanks for that!

      Firstly, let me say that the Limbo of the Fathers is actual Catholic teaching – based on Philippians (from memory) where Paul talks about Christ preaching to the souls in prison before His resurrection.

      The issue in the realm of debate and theory is the question of what happens to unbaptized infants who die.

      In regards to the Baltimore Catechism, it is important to understand the authority of that Catechism.

      It is a teaching document that was prepared and promulgated by the third of three gatherings of the US Bishops, known as the Baltimore Councils.

      These councils were held in Baltimore Maryland from 1852 to 1884.

      They weren’t actually Ecumenical Church Councils, they were merely plenary councils.

      A plenary council is a gathering of all the bishops from a particular territory.

      Plenary councils can’t be held without permission from the Holy See, but their decrees do not carry papal authority.

      These gatherings must submit their decrees to the Holy See for confirmation, but this does not mean that the Holy See approves all of the content contained in the decrees.

      This submission to Rome is mainly focussed on correcting serious errors or things that are too extreme.

      Even local bishops can relax decrees promulgated at a plenary council, in regards to specific cases in their own diocese.

      Plenary councils can only address issues relating to discipline, the correcting abuses, the repression of crimes, and the advancement of the Catholic cause.

      Early plenary councils did address heresies, etc but modern councils were not and are not allowed such authority, and even the early ones had to have solemn approval by the Holy See before their constitutions became dogmatic.

      In fact; plenary councils are not actually allowed to control or place restrictions on opinions that are allowed by the Catholic Church.

      Anyway, the point of all this is that the Baltimore Catechism is actually a local catechism that was prepared and promulgated by the third Baltimore Council – which was only a plenary council.

      This means that this catechism is not universal.

      And it is not authorised or endorsed in any dogmatic way by the Holy See.

      Its passage about the fate of unbaptised infants was a theological hypothesis that was (and currently is still) allowed by the Catholic Church at the time it was written.

      There were other theological hypothesis about this matter around at the time of that council, but the US bishops chose to endorse that one in their local catechism.

      But if the Theological Commission on the issue of unbaptised infants comes to a different conclusion (which is endorsed by the Holy See) then the Baltimore Catechism’s statement on this issue would need to be revised.

      The important thing here is that the Baltimore catechism, while it is an excellent teaching tool, is not actually universally binding or officially endorsed by the Holy See.

      Compare this to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which was prepared following Vatican II, on the request from an extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops, it was given by Pope John Paul II as part of the “Deposit of Faith” and as a “point of reference” for all other regional catechisms.

      And the new Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is a concise summary of the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church) which has the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI – who states in the promulgation letter that it “contains in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church’s faith”.

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church carries an authority that definitely usurps that of the Baltimore Catechism, and the Baltimore Catechism must be subservient to the content found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    91. The Hoff November 29, 2006 at 11:51 pm

      Sorry, that reference to Jesus preaching to the souls in prison, that I referred to in #90, is found in 1 Pet 3:19.

      The other Scriptural basis for Limbo of the Fathers is found in the story about Lazarus who died and went to the bosom of Abraham (which is neither Heaven nor Hell).

      There are also numerous references in the Old Testament to “Sheol” or “Hades” which is the world of the dead, and is neither Heaven nor Hell.

    92. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 7:37 am

      Unless of course you would have preferred to live in a Muslim West

      Bishops and Patriarchs of the Eastern Church have often stated that they would prefer to live under Islamic rule than Latin Catholic rule.

      Having experienced both (including the Latin Catholic crusaders sack of both Constantinople and Jerusalem), I guess they know what they are talking about.

      God Bless

    93. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 8:36 am

      Chris,

      I’m sorry, but I find your comments in #92 completely ridiculous.

      Living under Muslim rule would certainly have benefits compared to living under our current secular rulers, but it would also have some seriously immoral problems.

      For starters, there would be anti-conversion laws enacted against every other religion except Islam, and there would be serious penalties for anyone who converted to Christianity.

      There would be serious restrictions on speech and academic work.

      The death penalty would most likely come back into law.

      Women would be denied basic rights, and would be expected to follow Muslim dress standards if they live in our country.

      There would be no separation of Church and state, because such a practise is completely foreign and abhorrent to Islam.

      And that’s just to name a few.

      We would not be better off under Islamic rule, especially not if you compared Islamic rule to Catholic rule (which would allow freedom of religion, etc)

    94. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 8:39 am

      Hoff,

      There are two elephants in the room on your position about Catechisms :-

      1. The Catechism of Trent, which contains statements which are no longer Catholic doctrine, was issued by the reigning Pope.

      2. The current Catechism of the Catholic Church, also issued by the Pope, contains statements which have been rewritten.

      The fact of the matter is that Catechisms are only presentations, simplifications and public explanations of doctrine. They are not the actual doctrine itself.

      James,

      To get to the actual doctrine one needs to study what the Popes and Ecumenical Councils actually proclaimed and consider carefully exactly what they meant and whether they intended it to be infallible or not and whether what they taught has been developed and improved by a later Pope or Ecumenical Council.

      A good place to start is Denzinger’s “The sources of Catholic Dogma” and Ludwig Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”. These books present at least their authors non-binding opinions on what constitutes dogma and what doesn’t.

      Hope this helps
      God Bless

    95. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 8:44 am

      Hoff,

      You have a prejudice against Islam.

      All of your compaints in 93 are about political regimes in majority Muslim countries. They are not about Islam itself.

      And all of your compaints are also complaints about how people were once treated in Latin Catholic Europe.

      It’s only 60 years since German Christians slaughtered 6 million Jews – a crime no Muslim Nation has ever approached in scale of attrocity. Hitler was a baptised Catholic – not a Muslim.

      God Bless

    96. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 9:20 am

      Chris,

      Can you please provide references as to what doctrines in the Catechism of Trent are no longer Catholic doctrines?

      Can you also please provide references as to what statements in the current Catechism have undergone doctrinal change in their essence?

      Remember Chris that clarification or rewording is not the same thing as doctrinal change.

      Doctrinal change is when the Church once said A = B, and then changes that to state that A now = C.

      Revision and clarification are NOT doctrinal changes.

      It’s a trap that young players often fall into when talking about Catholic doctrine.

    97. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 9:28 am

      Chris,

      The Islamic faith does NOT believe in the separation of Church and state – that’s why Islamic countries live under Islamic law.

      This means that we would all have to be subservient to Islamic Law if our country was under Muslim rule.

    98. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 9:35 am

      Chris,

      The slaughter of 6 million Jews was conducted the Nazi regime – not the Church.

      Being baptised a Catholic doesn’t make all your actions Catholic and it certainly doesn’t mean that everything you do is on behalf of the Catholic Church.

      Sleeping in my garage doesn’t make me a Toyota Corolla.

      And the Catholic Church, under Pope Pius is credited with saving approximately 750, 000 Jewish lives during that slaughter.

      What’s interesting is that in the Islamic scholarly community there is a growing support of Holocaust denial theories which claim that there never was a Nazi slaughter of Jews.

      In fact, the most horrific slaughters in human history were carried out by secular regimes (not Christian or Muslim ones).

      Stalin is responsible for 60 million deaths alone.

    99. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 9:38 am

      Oh, and that 750, 000 Jewish lives saved by the Church was more than any other government or organisation savd during that war.

    100. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 9:46 am

      Hoff,

      What I quoted about Usury from the Catechism of Trent is no longer Catholic doctrine.

      The current Catechism change to say that the licit applications of the death penalty are “practically nonexistant” is a significant development of doctrine and a radical change from the Catechism of Trent whose emphasis was on the death penalty as a punishment for crime whereas the current doctrine is completely different in its emphasis on the protection of human life.

      I’m not saying doctrine changes. I’m saying it develops. And sometimes it develops so much (eg Death Penalty, Usury, No Salvation Outside the Church) that today’s doctrine is almost 100% opposite to yesterdays doctrine, at least in the common understanding of it.

      This is nothing new in the Church and nothing to be afraid of. Christ himself radically developed Jewish doctrines. Of the requirements of the first Ecumenical Council at Jerusalem “that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood” only that of fornication is still binding and St Paul was already allowing the eating of meat scarificed to idols.

      The Catechism is an excellent place to start, but its no substitute for the actual papal teaching statements.

      God Bless

    101. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 9:52 am

      The Islamic faith does NOT believe in the separation of Church and state

      Explain then majority Muslim nations which are secular eg Turkey.

      There was a time when the Catholic faith did NOT believe in the separation of Church and state either.

      But, doctrine develops over time and Islamic doctrine will develop too.

      This means that we would all have to be subservient to Islamic Law

      Well, St Paul insisted Christians had to be subject to Caesar’s pagan law.

      Stalin is responsible for 60 million deaths alone.

      Stalin was also a baptised Christian and attended seminary to train for the priesthood.

      The facts are that it’s Christian leaders, not Muslim leaders, who have been responsible for the worst modern attrocities.

      God Bless

    102. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:18 am

      Chris,

      The Church taught at Trent that usury is gravely immoral.

      The Church today teaches that Usury is gravely immoral.

      The Church at Trent taught that the death penalty is morally permissible to protect innocent lives from harm

      The Church today teaches that the death penalty is morally permissible to protect innocent human lives

      These teachings ARE STILL THE SAME TEACHINGS, they have just been refined to accommodate technological and social developments!

      The two doctrines haven’t been renounced or done away with, they have simply been updated in language and definition.

      So, there is NO CHANGE of doctrine between Trent and today’s Catechism on these two issues.

    103. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:22 am

      “The Catechism is an excellent place to start, but its no substitute for the actual papal teaching statements.”

      Chris, the Catechism is THE place to start if you want to know what the Church teaches!

      The Catechism is a compendium of Catholic teaching and doctrine.

      This means that if you want to know what the Church teaches you need to consult the Catechism.

      If I was to consult the Council documents from Trent, as you suggest I should, then I would be completely oblivious to the fact that there has been a more precise proclamation regarding the death penalty, etc!

      The Catechism doesn’t contain tips for gardening, or motivational writings for a warm fuzzy feeling – it contains the doctrine taught by the Catholic Church.

    104. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 10:33 am

      Hoff,

      The Catechism of Trent taught that it is morally permissible to use execution to punish criminals. Today’s Catechism doesn’t teach this.

      OK, the underlying doctrine hasn’t changed but the way it is taught and presented in Catechisms has changed radically.

      God Bless

    105. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:51 am

      “Explain then majority Muslim nations which are secular eg Turkey.”

      Chris, those countries still have things like the death penalty and the cutting of of your hands for theft, etc.

      I also dare you to go to Turkey, Egypt, etc and do something that is contrary to Islamic Sharia law and see how you get on with the authorities.

    106. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:51 am

      “There was a time when the Catholic faith did NOT believe in the separation of Church and state either.”

      Chris, it was the Catholic Church that gave us the separation of Church and State!

      The Anglican and Protestant revolts undid all that!

      And even when the Church did have Bishops, etc who were secular leaders as well, those countries were afforded religious freedoms, etc under law.

      Unlike the Islamic states where you were, and still are not, afforded religious freedoms.

    107. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:52 am

      “But, doctrine develops over time and Islamic doctrine will develop too.”

      Chris, you don’t seem to understand how Islam actually works.

      There is NO doctrinal development in Islam.

      Allah’s word is final and unchanging according to Islamic belief.

      Westernised Muslims may have thrown off this belief, but Islam still proclaims it to be absolute and binding.

    108. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:52 am

      “Well, St Paul insisted Christians had to be subject to Caesar’s pagan law.”

      But St Paul also taught that God’s law is higher than man made laws and that when the two collide we must ALWAYS follow God’s law.

      His references relate to civil matters, not to worshiping Roman Gods.

      It is well established Catholic doctrine that we do not have to obey immoral or unjust laws.

    109. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:52 am

      “Stalin was also a baptised Christian and attended seminary to train for the priesthood.”

      Once again I point out the vital importance of actually reading history.

      Stalin threw off all religion and passionately embraced atheism as the only truth.

      I repreat my earlier statement:

      Sleeping in my garage doesn’t make me a Toyota Corolla.

      Being baptised a Catholic doesn’t make all your actions Catholic and it certainly doesn’t mean that everything you do is endorsed by the Catholic Church.

    110. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:53 am

      “The facts are that it’s Christian leaders, not Muslim leaders, who have been responsible for the worst modern attrocities.”

      Chris, again I remind you that a proper reading of history is vitally important.

      This statement is completely false, and I have to presume that you are making it out of ignorance of history, rather than an anti-Christian hatred which is leading you to make untruthful statements.

      The most horrific atrocities have been carried out by secular regimes, and atheists.

      Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Abortion, etc, etc

      After the Muslims sacked Constantinople (around 1453 from memory) they went on to put an entire city to death by the sword.

      There are many other incidents where Muslim armies put entire cities to the sword.

      It is nonsense to suggest that Islam has never engaged in brutal atrocities.

    111. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 11:00 am

      Chris,

      Re: # 104

      The Catechism today teaches that the death penalty is morally permissible in the execution of criminals.

      The Catechism of Trent also teaches that the death penalty is morally permissible in the execution of criminals.

      The only difference between the two is that the current Catechism includes considerations and refinements about the death penalty that weren’t relevant or applicable during the period of history when Trent was held.

    112. JP III November 30, 2006 at 11:45 am

      Chris, this is just an impression that I am getting from your posts and words,,,but it seems to me that you really like Islam and don’t see much wrong with it….and you seem to see alot wrong with the Catholic Church….in fact, it seems to me that there is much about the Catholic Church and it’s history that you find intolerable…so much so that you want to change Church doctrines and moral teachings….

      So, I ask the question in all sincereity

      Why don’t you go and join the Muslims if they are so loving and tolerant, and good.

      And if the Catholic Church is so wrong and unloving, and cruel, and inconsistent, then why do you stay in Her…

      Through many of your comments, I detect a latent hatred for the Catholic Church…and a warm openness to Islam…

      Go and join them if you like them so much.

    113. kaymae November 30, 2006 at 1:12 pm

      I was thinking the same thing JP III but couldn’t quite put it as eloquently.

    114. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 2:17 pm

      JPIII & kaymae,

      there is much about the Catholic Church and it’s history that you find intolerable

      Sin is always intolerable.

      Go and join them if you like them so much.

      Thank you. That is so loving. We disagree with someone so we invite them to leave.

      I thought you were against schism ?

      Now you’re openly encouraging schism !

      Exactly what is true love anyway ?

      God Bless

    115. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 2:40 pm

      JPIII and kaymae,

      That’s uncalled for guys. Saying there is a latent hatred because someone is putting across a different opinion is not constructive, and draws away from the point of this blog – which is to be frank about our faith.

      If Chris wishes to express his opinions and interpretations of scripture and dogma, he is totally entitled to do so. Just as The Hoff and yourselves are entirely entitled to correct him. So long as you all are within the guidelines for posting, you are entitled to your opinions.

      But we cannot have people taking others down because we don’t like their ideas. Please keep charity in all things, even when what is being said is something you disagree with.

    116. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 2:42 pm

      P.S. Also please keep in mind that on the internet, people cannot hear your tone of voice, nor do they know whether you are a naturally sarcastic person. If you’re making a joke or being light-hearted, please use emoticons ( :) ) so that people know not to take offense.

    117. The Captain November 30, 2006 at 2:44 pm

      I’m appalled by your suggestion JPIII and kaymae. And I’m embarrassed that you call yourselves Catholics.

      Chris, while I don’t agree with everything you say, I appreciate that you have the courage and fortitude to say it. The world needs more people like you.

      God bless you and your family.

      “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you… for a great reward is kept for you in heaven.” Matthew 5, 11-13

    118. Scribe November 30, 2006 at 3:00 pm

      JPIII and Kaymae,

      A couple of months ago someone came in and said something that didn’t mesh with what some people on this blog believe. That person was shot down and has never been back.

      Now Chris has come in and presented views that you — and me, on many occasions — disagree with and not only do you want him (presumably) to get his opinions off this blog, you want him to turn away from the Church.

      Chris raises many interesting points, some of which are not exactly in line with the magisterium, and he doesn’t deserve the kind of treatment he’s getting from some people on this blog. As James said, it’s totally uncharitable.

      In the words of some gangsta rapper: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”.

    119. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 3:11 pm

      Captain,

      That Scripture you quoted actually says “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you ON ACCOUNT OF ME”

      The “Me” being Jesus.

      I think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Kaymae and JP III have persecuted Chris, let alone on account of his devotion to Christ.

      I’m not sure what the intention/tone of JP III’s comment was, because the internet is very deceptive in that regard, but I sense that he is merely pointing out the fact that Chris seems to have a rather negative view of the Church.

      Certain posts do read as if Chris thinks…

      Catholic Church = evil sinful warmongering bunch of sinners

      Islam = happy peaceful people unfairly and brutally attacked by the evil Catholic Church

      Also, I don’t know I it helps to spread charity by including comments like “I’m embarrassed that you call yourselves Catholics”

      That’s just spiteful.

      James, can you give us a lesson in how to actually make the smileys work?

      I’m still not sure how to make any little yellow facial expression, let alone a smiley one!

      And can you make Darth Vader smileys?

    120. Scribe November 30, 2006 at 3:14 pm

      All,

      Here’s a question to ponder:

      If a non-Catholic, or someone considering becoming a Catholic, stumbled across this site, what impression would they get of Catholics?

      (He shakes head)

    121. The Captain November 30, 2006 at 3:17 pm

      A pretty damming one Scribe, and one I don’t want to be associated with. That’s not spite Hoff, that’s a deep sadness talking.

    122. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 3:21 pm

      Team,

      I think we need to turn down the heat a little bit.

      James has already said what needed to be said.

      JP III and Kaymae haven’t even had the chance to respond to James yet.

      For all we know they were both being light hearted in their comments.

      Yet they’ve already been given the verbal bash by three people.

      Before we get too righteously outspoken, let’s check our facts, and not lose sight of the fact that almost all of us have let our passions get the better of us, at some time or other, when we have responded to posts on this blog.

      We also need to be careful to make sure that our responses to uncharitable incidents don’t further inflame the situation with their tone or language.

    123. Chris Sullivan November 30, 2006 at 3:24 pm

      I think we need to look to Ephesus, where the Holy Father today celebrated mass in the house where Mary is believed to have lived (according to the visions of German mystic Anna Katherine Emmerick).

      According to John Allen “it’s perhaps the only Marian shrine on earth which draws as many Muslim pilgrims as Christians. Inside are votive reliefs with quotations from seven passages of the Qu’ran praising Mary.”

      http://ncrcafe.org/node/719

      See also http://zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=99095

      Let’s go spiritually to that house in Ephesus where Mary unites Christians and Muslims.

      If one studies what Holy Father said in his homily at Ephesus and what Turkey’s president of religious affairs said, they are basically in agreement :-

      Peace for all of humanity! May Isaiah’s prophecy soon be fulfilled: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Is 2:4). We all need this universal peace; and the Church is called to be not only the prophetic herald, but even more, the “sign and instrument” of this peace.

      Against the backdrop of universal peace, the yearning for full communion and concord between all Christians becomes even more profound and intense. Present at today’s celebration are Catholic faithful of various rites, and this is a reason for joyful praise of God. These rites, when they converge in unity and common witness, are an expression of that marvelous variety which adorns the Bride of Christ.

      http://zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=99099

      The Muslim leader then condemned “in an absolute manner all violence against humanity regardless of where it comes from. We belong to a religion that considers the execution of an innocent man as the killing of the whole of humanity.”

      At the same time, “we are against Islamophobia which seeks to show Islam as the source of all this violence and terrible acts. All Muslims suffer profoundly because of these accusations,” Bardakoglu continued.

      http://zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=99094

      Can’t we join Mary in that house at Ephesus, in unity and peace, united in common love and service of the same one God ?

      Or do we have to keep tearing each other apart, as Catholics and Orthodox have done for a thousand years in petty doctrinal disputes, and are still so tragically and scandalously disunited ?

      God Bless

    124. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 3:24 pm

      Whoa there everyone! Let’s just all take a deep breath now shall we?

      Hoff, that’s not the interpretation I have of Chris’ post. I see him putting forward (quite forceably sometimes) his understanding of things. He has brought up some interesting points (I think) and I personally have enjoyed hearing both sides, including your explanation of the case. It has enriched my faith.

      For example, the view that the Crusades are a dark part of Catholic history where many atrocities occurred is a common one. I’m not saying it’s a correct one, but it’s a common one. If Chris thinks that this is the case, but you can show him that it’s not, then I think for a non-Catholic coming along with a similar point of view to Chris, the experience should be educational.

      Scribe, I think that if someone was considering becoming Catholic and they stumbled across this site, they would see that the faith we have is a rich and complex one, and one that people get very passionate about. They would also hopefully see some people expressing similar questions/queries/doubts that they have and hopefully see them answered by others.

      Provided we can keep the spite and harshness out of the equation.

      So, let’s just remember that this blog is part of our collective witness too.

    125. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 3:25 pm

      Good man Hoff – got in there as I was typing. :)

    126. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 3:39 pm

      P.S. I’ll post some guidelines around smilies soon.

    127. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 3:42 pm

      James,

      The reality is that what you and I interpret from Chris’ posts is possibly not going to be the same as what JP III and Kaymae have interpreted from his posts.

      They have responded to what they think they’ve seen in statements from Chris like:

      “Stalin was also a baptised Christian and attended seminary to train for the priesthood.”

      The facts are that it’s Christian leaders, not Muslim leaders, who have been responsible for the worst modern attrocities.”

      “It’s only 60 years since German Christians slaughtered 6 million Jews – a crime no Muslim Nation has ever approached in scale of attrocity. Hitler was a baptised Catholic – not a Muslim.”

      Now I don’t want to debate those statements again, because Chris and I have been discussing them earlier in this post.

      I totally agree with your call about Chris’ right to raise questions and be provided answers (that’s what having a faith built n reason is all about – if it can’t be explained or justified then how can it be reasonable or true?)

      I also agree with your comments about non-Catholics who stumble across this blog.

      My concern is that if someone posts what appears to be an inflammatory and uncharitable post on this blog then it should be questioned by ONE person (not a group) and then the person(s) concerned should be allowed to respond to that.

      And if they come back with some outrageous “get stuffed turkey” reply then others could perhaps respond then.

      But always in a calm and reasoned manner, and always with absolute charity.

      We’ve got to remember that we too have an obligation to be just and charitable in our handling of such matters.

      Having three people tell someone off before they have even responded to the initial allegation raised against them is not clam or reasoned.

      Peace.

    128. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 3:44 pm

      Oops James I just saw your #125!

      Yes please to the smilie lessons!

      Don’t forget to see if there is a Darth Vader smiley!

    129. kaymae November 30, 2006 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you for keeping some perspective Hoff. I am offended by the sarcastic remark from Chris, and your comment Captain was uncalled for. I could say the same thing about your stance on contraception. No-one is a “perfect Catholic”, so he who is may cast the first stone.

      I know JP III personally and know he would never say anything out of malice therefore have no problem in agreeing with anything he says. If you read his post properly you would see he said “i ask this question in all sincerity”.

      For the past few weeks I have been wondering about Chris’ motives as many of his opinions question Catholic teaching beyond what I would consider curiosity. And many of his opinions are contrary to Catholic teaching as I understand it.

      I would never attack anyone on this blog as tempted as I may be. I would thank you all to do the same.

      I stand by my comment and support JP III.

    130. The Captain November 30, 2006 at 4:11 pm

      kaymae, you may know JPIII personally but many of us do not – so forgive us for not giving him the benefit of the doubt.

      I don’t think my comments towards you or JPIII were attacks – as far as I’m concerned, you both expressed an abhorrent point-of-view and I felt it needed to be responded to quickly and strongly. I stand by my comment.

      And Hoff, we’re not all sitting together behind the scenes plotting our next comments. I was outraged at kaymae and JPIII’s suggestion, there was no way I could know Scribe would react as well. The fact that a number of people rsponded to their comments may, do you think maybe, be indicative of how outrageous they were?

      Just as plenty of people feel the need to answer every question that’s put forward on this site, I feel a need to respond to hurtful and uncalled-for personal attacks. I don’t want anyone reading this site to think kaymae and JPIII’s comments are representative of Catholics. If that requires me posting 20 comments, I’ll do it.

    131. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 4:31 pm

      Captain,

      “We’re not all sitting together behind the scenes plotting our next comments.”

      I didn’t think that you were, and that’s definitely not what I meant by my statements about more having no more than one person at a time addressing what appear to be uncharitable posts.

      “I feel a need to respond to hurtful and uncalled-for personal attacks”

      I have no problem with this at all, and I don’t think anybody else here does either.

      But we still haven’t actually established the tone and the intent of JP III’s original comment, and like James’ said – it’s easy to misconstrue things on the internet.

      There was nothing wrong with questioning what could be taken as a malicious comment, but there is nothing right about telling people off before having actually confirmed that we are in fact dealing with a malicious statement.

      Kaymae has clarified that she took JP II’s comment to be nothing more than a genuine question (albeit with a lack of smilies to add in translation!) in response to his interpretations of Chris’ comments.

      Until JP III enlightens us about his intent then we are still all in the dark about his comment, and this means we could be totally wrong about it being uncharitable or malicious.

      I agree with you about posting 20 comments, in fact I think we should all be aiming to post seventy times seven comments to correct abuse and error, but we must also always confirm first that something is actually abuse and error, and not just a misinterpreted comment.

      Peace

    132. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 4:32 pm

      Right, now back to the actual discussion at hand!

      Chris,

      Re: #123

      “Can’t we join Mary in that house at Ephesus, in unity and peace, united in common love and service of the same one God?

      Or do we have to keep tearing each other apart, as Catholics and Orthodox have done for a thousand years in petty doctrinal disputes, and are still so tragically and scandalously disunited?”

      Of course we should act with peace and love towards those in the Islamic religion, we are never justified in using violence or uncharitable actions towards them.

      But it is important to remember that we don’t actually have a common communion with Islam.

      Islam is a false religion that denies the basic tenants of the Christian faith, such as the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the sacrifice and redemption of mankind through the cross.

      We don’t actually worship the same God at all.

      We believe that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Islam does not.

      God has always been triune, but Islam completely rejects this (just like the Jehovah’s Witness cult)

      They may have incorporated aspects of the Judaic and Christian faiths into their religious beliefs and writings but they don’t accept the core tenants of teaching about the God of the Bible.

      They reject his triune nature, they reject that Jesus was His Son and they reject that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross redeemed mankind.

      There was no Islam before Muhammad, and he wasn’t born until the sixth century.

      Christianity was already almost 600 years old before Islam was even invented.

      The relationship between East and West is completely different – once upon a time we were the very same Church, and we hold the same core teachings about God.

      We share a common communion with them.
      Islam was never part of either Judaism or Christianity – it was founded outside of the Church by Muhammad, almost 600 years after the Church was instituted by Christ.

      Yes, we must always seek peace and we must always extend the olive branch to our Muslim brothers and sisters, and we can even get together with them to defeat the culture of death (because of their strong pro-life stance).

      But we mustn’t get carried away and forget that Islam is still a false religion and that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ and that we have an obligation to evangelise our Muslim brothers and sisters in the hope that they will embrace the truth of Christianity.

    133. kaymae November 30, 2006 at 4:46 pm

      Captain it was not a personal attack. If you read the post you see the JP III said

      “I ask this question in all sincerity”

      the fact that that is written would suggest it is an actual question rather than an all out attack.

      As far as i’m concerned saying “And I’m embarrassed that you call yourselves Catholics” is a personal attack. You are questioning my motives and my faith. Two things which you know absolutely nothing about.
      You also said ““Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you… for a great reward is kept for you in heaven.” Matthew 5, 11-13″ I hope you are applying that to me, seeing as you are now the persecutor.

      Again it was not a personal attack and I ask you, Captain, to refrain from the personal attacks on me and JP III.

    134. The Captain November 30, 2006 at 4:57 pm

      kaymae, I’m not questioning your motives nor your faith. I am not in a position to do so, nor would I ever want to be.

      I think it’s horrific for you and JPIII to even suggest Chris find himself another religion. I am embarrassed that that comment/question be associated with Catholicism. I stand by that, and I don’t agree that saying so is a personal attack on you or your faith.

    135. JP III November 30, 2006 at 6:04 pm

      Hi all,

      I have been at hospital.

      Quite an uproar going on in my absense….:)

      Thankyou to those who have defended me in my absense, – and not jumped to quick judements.

      Kaymae and Hoff have it right.

      I was asking a sincere question. Nothing more, nothing less.

      It was not an uncharitable question.

      It was sincere and honest. I am a frank person and I asked a clear and direct question. There was no guile or sarcasm or deception.

      Chris answered it. And you answered one part of it it justly Chris. You find the sin intolerable: that’s fine with me and is a good answer.

      I was not suggesting, nor encouraging Chris to leave the Church, or anything of the sort.

      Check my words: “Why don’t you join them?”

      I’m sorry; but in the way that I learnt the English language, those words constitute a question, not a command, i.e., “I’m telling you to join them.”

      Those who took the words to mean the later above, have inferred too much.

      Those who have accused me this afternoon, have made a rather hasty, rash, and uninformed judgement. You have lept to conclusions without any evidence.

      I would have had no problem with people asking me sincerely if I was being rude or not. But almost everybody assumed, and then jumped on in with knives…

      Your question in No.120 is just Scribe: but more because of the reply comments, than because of my question.

      I’ll say it again: I asked the question sincerely, and even put that word “sincere” in my question.

      If don’t believe that – then you have a problem, and not me.

      My point was simply this:
      - Some on this forum seem to blame the Church for alot of things (even going so far as to infer that the Church is gulty of murder in Africa due to its stance on contraception in light of the AIDS pandemic)
      - These same people seem to go out of their way to defend Islam to the hilt – I have also seen your letters in the NZ Catholic Chris.

      So, you can see why I wanted to pose the question (sincerely).

      Also, a final point.

      In this day and age, the Catholic Church is suffering from many members being brought up with a false impression of the Church. Almost, I would say, a brainwashing…and what is this brain-washing? Is it, that after the Second Vatican Council, we have finally broken free from the tyrannical, intolerant, medievil, ignorant, horrible, and rigid Church of the past; and now we have an open warm, welcoming and loving Church.

      Quite a false dichotomy.

      This brainwashing, which occurs in our schools, universities and media, has come about from alot of false teaching of history, and propaganda, and a direct anti-Catholicism within society.

      For this reason, many Post Concilliar Catholics, seem to live in a permanent state of obsequiousness; grovelling before the secular culture….and constantly apologizing for being Catholic…as if somehow, the Catholic Church is responsiblie for all the ills and atrocities in the world.

      So, when people start trying to blame the Church for murder in Africa because of its stance on contraception, the question comes to me…sincerely…

      Why do you stay if, in your mind, Islam is so loving, tolerant, and good, and the Catholic Church indirectly commits murder in the name of God?

      And Chris, I imagine you stay because you love Jesus. But I was still asking sincerely, and I wanted a sincere awnser as to why you stay in the Church, and don’t join the Muslims.

      My sincere-ist apologies fo the offence taken.

      :)
      :)
      :)

    136. kaymae November 30, 2006 at 6:04 pm

      I find it interesting that the first thing some of you chose to do was accuse rather than find out the actual tone and intent of JP IIIs comment.
      Essentially, we are being told we can’t make a comment that appears malicious but you can make outright judgments that are offensive. Bit of a double standard.
      This post is about love. Where was the love in the things that were said to us? Even if JP III was suggesting Chris get out and become Muslim, it doesn’t give anyone the right to attack. Turn the other cheek and all that. There is a difference between attack and defence.

      “I am embarrassed that that comment/question be associated with Catholicism” is a much more acceptable thing to say. It has nothing to do with me personally and is owned by you. What you said before came across as judgemental and questioned my integrity.

      Thats interesting stuff, Hoff. I never knew that about Islam. I thought we did worship the same God! So much to learn, so little time!

    137. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 6:44 pm

      Okay peeps,

      I think we’ve addressed the issue of mistaken interpretations of comments and I think that James’ suggestion on the use of smilies would certainly help to avoid such confusion and conflicts in future.

      James – bring those lessons brother!

      If there aren’t any further objections I’d be keen to get back to the discussion at hand!

      Yes, Kaymae; a lot of people don’t actually understand the historical roots of Islam, and as a result it is common to believe that Islam traces its origins back to Old Testament times.

      Alas, it is not so.

      Islam was invented 600 years after Christ founded the Church on Peter.

      For those interested in a good read about the history of Islam, there is an excellent article by Hillare Belloc (one of the best Catholic thinkers/writers of last century) called “The great and enduring heresy of Mohammed”

      It is actually a chapter from his book titled; “The great heresies”, and it was written in the 1930’s when the Islamic world was in disarray.

      In that chapter he predicted that unless the world properly addressed the issues in the Islamic world then Islam would become a serious problem for the West before too long.

      Funnily enough, his peers of the day laughed at his predictions, which they consider completely impossible.

      You can read the “Great and enduring heresy of Mohammed” here:
      http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/HERESY4.TXT

    138. JP III November 30, 2006 at 6:45 pm

      To add: when I said “Go and join them” I did not mean it in reality. It was more a “it seems like the natural consequence of your line of reasoning.” I was not advocating doing that.

      Also, a couple of weeks back, in our discussion about the Liturgy, I remember you calling me a Pharisee, Chris. Quite an insult if taken at face value. But at the time I thought nothing of it, passed over it, and trusted your intention.

      Someone stuck up for me (Ox I think) and told you that you had gone too far. But I certainly don’t remember too many others on this board leaping to decry your comment and condemn you for it, and to defend me, like they have leap to defend you today and decried my comment.

      Just an observation and a curious unfolding.

    139. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 7:30 pm

      All,

      This is a lesson in what we call “flaming”. I commented as I did and will continue to do whenever I see potential flamebait. :) The previous comments show what I mean – everyone picks a side and the arguments get out of hand and everyone leaves with a bitter taste in their mouth.

      Just to clear the air JPIII, in the post you refer to, Chris said “You would have made a good Pharisee ! And I mean that as a compliment, as one who studies the Jewish Talmud and has the greatest respect for Jewish liturgical tradition.” He states his intended tone – it was relatively clear that he was being cheeky – and there was no flamewar following. Had he said “You are a Pharisee!” and left it at that, I similarly would have chimed in with the same message I posted above.

      So, let’s all move on shall we. :)

    140. Scribe November 30, 2006 at 7:30 pm

      JP III,

      I didn’t have too much problem with the first half of your comment in #112 that got my blood pressure up — and some others, too. As you said, you had a “sincere” question.

      It was the second half of the comment that really bugged me.

      You said to Chris: “Through many of your comments, I detect a latent hatred for the Catholic Church…and a warm openness to Islam…

      Go and join them if you like them so much.”

      You have now partially recanted in #138, but I think you should be able to see why some of us felt the need to step in and say something — not that Chris needs any bodyguards.

      Accusing someone of having “Latent hatred for the Catholic Church” — that’s not cool at all.

      And kaymae’s endorsement of your comment meant he/she was subject to the same admonishment.

    141. Scribe November 30, 2006 at 7:33 pm

      To clarify my comment in #140, accusing a practising Catholic of a “latent hatred for the Catholic Church” is not cool.

      Plenty of people in today’s society have a latent — or not-so-latent — hatred of the Church, and religion in general.

    142. kaymae November 30, 2006 at 8:14 pm

      JP III never made an accusation, it was an observation, there is a difference. One is a judgement, the other is an opinion. the “I detect” part of the statement made this clear it was an opinion. Latent also means apparent, so the “hatred” part is quite subject to JPs opinion and in no way states that Chris actually hates the Church.

      There was no “just stepping in and saying something” there was all out attack. Funny how some people are ok with doing the things that we are being accused of.

      I find it difficult to believe someone can love the Church while saying the things Chris says. He contradicts himself, says disrespectful things about the Pope, calls into question (some aspect of) every teaching that has been broached on this board (that I have read) and has no problem using sarcasm if something isn’t going his way.

      I think JP IIIs explanation more than covers what was actually meant. Neither of us are children, we do not need to be admonished. I am always open to discussion and can accept constructive criticism and will apologise if necessary. However, no-one responds well to nasty comments.

    143. JP III November 30, 2006 at 8:46 pm

      Thankyou Kaymae for your comments and your explanantion.

      Scribe, I do take on board that the phrase, “latent hatred for the Catholic Church” could be taken as a direct attacke on Chris.

      For that I’m sorry.

      I can confirm what Kaymaye is saying, in that I made an observation using the words “I detect a latent hatred”…meaning…”I’m not certain, and not accusing you of that, but it seems to be there in all the other stuff”…”through the words and comments”…which I have trouble with.

      However, I do apologise Chris.

      James, I wasn’t trying to deliberately flame, even though we’ve had a bit of a flare up.

      However, I do believe in pointing out things that seem to permeate the sub-structure of a standpoint or line of reasoning, when I believe thats it’s wrong or flawed.

      Captain has often done so when not liking other stuff I say, and I have no problem with that, though obviously I disagree with her alot.

      If I think there is a contradicotry stance I will say so. But, point taken, I will be more gentle in my words in future.

    144. JP III November 30, 2006 at 8:58 pm

      “Certain posts do read as if Chris thinks…

      Catholic Church = evil sinful warmongering bunch of sinners

      Islam = happy peaceful people unfairly and brutally attacked by the evil Catholic Church”

      Yes, Hoff, precisely my point. Thankyou for putting it so well, and succinctly. That is why I said, “I detect…” etc…

      “Also, I don’t know I it helps to spread charity by including comments like “I’m embarrassed that you call yourselves Catholics”

      That’s just spiteful.”

      Hoff, thankyou again.

      I still love you Captain :)

    145. JP III November 30, 2006 at 9:01 pm

      James,

      I’d also like to know how to put stuff in Italics.

      Thanks :)

    146. James the Least November 30, 2006 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks for that JPIII – good man. :)

    147. The Hoff November 30, 2006 at 10:24 pm

      GROUP HUG!!!!!

      :rasberry_ee:

    148. kaymae November 30, 2006 at 10:45 pm

      me to me to! :cheese1_ee:

    149. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 7:59 am

      JPIII,

      Thank you for your apology.

      To answer your sincere question :

      Those of us who live with Mary in her house (the Church) are both Muslim and Christian. We don’t need to leave the Church to be good Muslims. As the Holy Qu’ran says “the disciples of Jesus are Muslims”. And the Church includes all good Muslims and those Muslims in heaven are certainly members of the Church Triumphant.

      I was spiritually a Jew and a Muslim before I became a Catholic and as a Catholic I remain spiritually Jewish and Muslim.

      With Mary, one doesn’t need to pick sides, but to work to understand and reconcile. “Do whatever he tells you”. As the Meditarix of All Graces, she’s the key to pretty much everything, and especially the reconciliation of Christians with Muslims; and of Catholics with Orthodox.

      God Bless

    150. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 8:36 am

      Chris,

      Re: #149

      I’m not sure where you formed such an idea, but it is not Catholic at all.

      I am not a Muslim, or even a spiritual Muslim (whatever that is) and neither are you.

      The Church teaches us that by virtue of our Baptism we are born into the new House of David, the New Israel – which is the CATHOLIC Church.

      St Paul tells us as Gentiles, that we have become adopted sons of God’s chosen people through Jesus Christ.

      I am not any kind of Muslim, and neither are you.

      Islam is a false religion that was started by Mohammed 600 years after Christ founded His ONE true Church on Peter.

      And it was started outside the Catholic Church, and most of its doctrines are in complete opposition to Christianity and her core teachings given by Christ, by Scripture and by the Magisterium of God’s Holy Church.

      Comparing the division between Christianity and Islam to the split between the Church in the East and the West shows a lack of understanding about history, and it is completely farcical.

      The Church in the East split away from the Church in the West – we were once originally one in the same Church – they were part of us.

      But thanks to the sinful actions of human beings a division occurred.

      But the East and the West are almost identical in belief, teaching and practise – there are differences, but those differences are nothing like the complete opposition to Christian doctrine that is found in Islamic doctrine.

      Also, the Church DOES NOT include all good Muslims – this is a complete nonsense.

      Firstly, to actually be part of the Catholic Church one has to be Sacramently Baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

      Baptism is the ONLY doorway into the Church; without it you don’t get in.

      Groups can be of one mind with the Catholic Church, even if they haven’t had Catholic Baptism, but Islam is certainly not of one mind with the Church – in fact she completely refutes the core tenants of Christian belief.

      Yes we must continually seek peace with all people, but we mustn’t become deluded and think that seeking peace means that we must stop evangelising all peoples (Muslims included!)

      We must continue to evangelise our Muslim brothers and sisters, because they do not have the truth of Jesus; the only way for mankind to obtain salvation.

    151. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 8:45 am

      Chris,

      You might find the following helpful.

      These quotes from a Zenit interview, earlier this week, with Ilaria Morali.

      She is a renowned Catholic scholar who has been living in Turkey and dialoguing with Muslims for quite some time.

      ”Many Catholics have lost the exact meaning that the magisterium attributes to dialogue and have reduced its value, thinking… that dialogue should be expressed essentially with gestures of friendship and solidarity, avoiding a serene but difficult confrontation including on painful points.

      “So I have been able to verify, among other things, the superficiality of some focuses seen in the Catholic world, when there is talk of dialogue between religions, as if one religion was the same as another…”

      “I recall that last year, at the moment of exchange with the assembly, a person in the audience asked me if I could at least accept that Mohammed was the last and greatest of the prophets.

      Addressing an audience made up of Muslims, and before answering, I asked him in turn: “If I posed a similar question on Jesus Christ, for example, asking a Muslim professor to admit at least that Jesus Christ is as great as Mohammed, would you think he is a good Muslim if, to please me, he said I was right? You would prefer, I believe, that he be consistent with his faith even at the cost of displeasing me with his answer. I think that you want an answer from me as a Catholic woman and would not appreciate an answer of compromise to please you. You would not consider me a good Catholic Christian. That is why I answer you as any Catholic should answer: with sincerity and serenity.”

      I remember that his reasoning touched deep chords in my Muslim colleagues who expressed great appreciation for the sincerity and transparency I showed, and also for my courage in giving them an answer which was certainly not totally acceptable for a Muslim.

      A professor said to me: “Dr. Morali, we want to dialogue with true Catholics, not with mediocre Catholics, though this is certainly rather more difficult. Continue like this, please.”

    152. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 8:53 am

      I am not a Muslim, or even a spiritual Muslim (whatever that is) and neither are you.

      I am not any kind of Muslim, and neither are you.

      Thank you for telling me who I am.

      Ox, the Church Triumphant (those members of the Church who are in heaven) includes all the Muslims in heaven by definition. Therefore, they must have been baptised somehow.

      The Church has always taught that there are other baptisms than that by water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For example, baptism of desire, blood, and implicit desire.

      I expect good Muslims are baptised by implict desire (if they knew the truth of the Church they would desire baptism).

      There are a great deal more members of the Church than is often supposed.

      God Bless

    153. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 9:13 am

      Those of us who live with Mary in her house (the Church) are both Muslim and Christian. We don’t need to leave the Church to be good Muslims. Chris

      I am not any kind of Muslim, and neither are you. Ox

      Thank you for telling me who I am. Chris

      Chris, I am not sure if you meant to be sarcastic or jokey in that last statement, due to lack of smileys (very helpful thank you admin :D)

      However, I am sure it’s not too hard to see that you are accusing Ox of the very thing you yourself did first – told us all who we are. I have to say I disagree. By virtue of my baptism I am a Catholic, and therefore a follower of Christ, NOT Mohammed. I will never identify myself as a Muslim, no matter what.

      I am not sure about all this baptism of desire, implicit desire etc and about whether Muslim’s go to heaven if they would desire to be baptised had they heard the truth. It’s not really up to me whether they go to heaven or not – that’s up to God to decide when their mortal life ends. However, that doesn’t mean we should avoid telling them/showing them the truth when we have the opportunity so that they have the option to choose it in this life. We are called, not just to dialogue with those of other faiths, but to evangelise them in love and charity, of course! :D

    154. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 9:18 am

      “Ox, the Church Triumphant (those members of the Church who are in heaven) includes all the Muslims in heaven by definition. Therefore, they must have been baptised somehow.”

      Chris, you’re argument is self-refuting.

      If a Muslim has been baptised then they are no longer a Muslim, they are now one of God’s holy people in the Catholic Church.

      And If a Muslim is in Heaven then they are no longer a Muslim!

      They are now one with God and the Church.

    155. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 9:31 am

      Perpetua,

      OK.

      I didn’t mean we all have to consider ourselves Muslims. Nonetheless, that’s what the Qu’ran says the disciples of Jesus are. In Islam, a Muslim is basically a follower of the one God. In the Muslim view, Abraham, Moses, and all the prophets, and Mary and Jesus are all Muslims.

      Muslims can be members of the Church without being conscious of that. Christians can also be Muslims without being conscious of that. Islam would say that good Christians are actually also Muslims.

      Ox,

      You are setting up and EITHER/OR argument. Either Catholic OR Muslim. I’m saying it’s perfectly possible to be both. A Muslim can become a baptised Catholic while remaining Muslim (although the Catholics and Muslims will probably give him/her a hard time!). Ditto for a Jew. Baptism doesn’t put an end to one’s being a Jew. The apostles, Mary and Jesus were and are all Jews.

      God Bless

    156. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 9:32 am

      “The Church has always taught that there are other baptisms than that by water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For example, baptism of desire, blood, and implicit desire.”

      Actually, Baptism of Desire was a later development in Catholic doctrine, but yes; it is still definitely a Catholic doctrine.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “implicit desire” because there are actually only three types of Baptism in the Catholic Church.

      1. Baptism by Water

      The ordinary means of salvation

      2. Baptism of desire

      This is where a person desires to be baptised, but dies before their desire in this regards is able to be carried out.

      3. Baptism of martyrdom (or blood)

      This is where a person is martyred for the Catholic faith without Baptism.

      But the minimum requirement for Baptism of martyrdom is that the person being martyred is being killed out of a hatred for the Catholic faith.

      Baptism of martyrdom does not apply if you are being killed for another religion, and it doesn’t apply if you walk out in front of a bus one day.

      The only way a Muslim could achieve Catholic Baptism is either through water, through a desire to be baptised in water or if they are killed because they are a Catholic.

    157. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 9:40 am

      There’s a reasonable article covering baptism by implicit desire on ewtn at :-

      http://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/BAPTISM.TXT

      God Bless

    158. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 9:49 am

      “I expect good Muslims are baptised by implict desire (if they knew the truth of the Church they would desire baptism).”

      There isn’t actually any such baptism in Catholic teaching as an “implicit baptism”.

      The Church teaches that there can be an implicit desire to be baptised, but she doesn’t teach about anything known as an “implicit baptism”.

      There is definitely salvation outside the Church, but this is a great mystery of God’s mercy and love.

      It is not the norm.

      God, being the perfect judge, will judge every man and he will make his decision based on things like whether or not a person was afforded the opportunity of hearing the Gospel of Christ and then able to choose for or against God.

      Or whether or not they were of sound mental state (and therefore culpable for their decisions, etc), and even things like the type of natural virtues they practised.

      This mystery is accomplished only through Christ.

      But you don’t get baptism based on the fact that you most likely would have chosen to be baptised had you been presented the opportunity.

      Such a proposition is a complete affront to human dignity and free will – because now you would be being baptised, not because of a free act of your will, but because God thought you should be.

      Our human dignity comes from God’s love, which endowed all men with a free will to choose to do good or to do evil.

      God respects our dignity by allowing us to cooperate in our own salvation by choosing Him.

      He never forces Himself upon us, or forces baptism and salvation upon us.

    159. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 9:57 am

      Chris,

      Have you actually read the article that you linked to in #157?

      It doesn’t make any reference to the “implicit baptism” that you are referring to.

      It talks about how Baptism of Desire can be implicit or explicit – in other words the desire to be baptised can be an explicit or an implicit desire.

      The word “implicit” isn’t referring to the baptismal act – it is referring to the desire which obtains the sanctifying grace that comes from the baptismal act.

    160. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 10:04 am

      “Nonetheless, that’s what the Qu’ran says the disciples of Jesus are. In Islam, a Muslim is basically a follower of the one God. In the Muslim view, Abraham, Moses, and all the prophets, and Mary and Jesus are all Muslims.

      Muslims can be members of the Church without being conscious of that. Christians can also be Muslims without being conscious of that. Islam would say that good Christians are actually also Muslims.”

      Chris,

      This is just silly.

      And to prove how silly this actually is; I have just formed my own religion called Oxlam.

      I have written my own holy scriptures, called the Holy Ox Tales, and my scriptures state that you, Chris Sullivan, are actually a faithful Oxlamite.

      In fact my holy scriptures also state that you, Chris Sullivan, are now my mother and my divine goat god.

      Now all of these things have to be true, because the Holy Ox Tales proclaim them to be so!!!

      “Chris Sullivan is thus a member of Oxlam.

      He is the mother of the Dumb OX and he is also the goat God of the Dumb Ox, and he must be worship 8 times a day facing down.”

      - The Holy Ox Tales, article 1

    161. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 10:13 am

      I have just formed my own religion called Oxlam

      Now all of these things have to be true, because the Holy Ox Tales proclaim them to be so!!!

      Yes, I know :)

      God Bless

    162. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 10:15 am

      Ox,

      You write:
      There is definitely salvation outside the Church

      I disagree. It is a defined doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church. See http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/EXTRAECC.TXT

      Fr William Most has an interesting article which discusses implict baptism of desire and membership of the church :-

      So we seem to have found the much needed solution: Those who follow the
      Spirit of Christ, the Logos who writes the law on their hearts, are
      Christians, are members of Christ, are members of His Church. They may
      lack indeed external adherence; they may never have heard of the Church.
      But yet, in the substantial sense, without formal adherence, they do
      belong to Christ, to His Church.

      http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/OUTSID.TXT

      In 1949 the Holy Office stated in “THE SALVATION OF NONCATHOLICS” :-

      The “desire” may suffice

      In his infinite mercy God has willed that the effects, necessary for one to be saved, of those helps to salvation which are directed toward man’s final end, not by intrinsic necessity, but only by divine institution, can also be obtained in certain circumstances when those helps are used only in desire and longing. This we see clearly stated in the Sacred Council of Trent, both in reference to the Sacrament of Baptism and in reference to the Sacrament of Penance.

      The same in its own degree must be asserted of the Church, in as far as she is the general help to salvation. Therefore, that one may obtain eternal salvation, it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing.

      The implicit “desire”

      However, this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance, God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.

      http://friarsminor.org/boston.html

      Hope this helps

      God Bless

    163. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 10:17 am

      “I’m saying it’s perfectly possible to be both. A Muslim can become a baptised Catholic while remaining Muslim (although the Catholics and Muslims will probably give him/her a hard time!). Ditto for a Jew. Baptism doesn’t put an end to one’s being a Jew. The apostles, Mary and Jesus were and are all Jews.”

      Chris, I did jest in #160, but in all seriousness what you state here is a serious error, counter to Catholic theology.

      You appear to be confusing race with religion.

      A Jewish person who is baptised into the Catholic Church remains a Jew because that is their ethnicity – baptism doesn’t change your ethnicity.

      But I that Jewish person had been a member of Judaism, they wouldn’t still be part of the religion of Judaism – they would now be a Catholic.

      Islam is not an ethnicity – it is a religious belief system, therefore if you were a Muslim and you got baptised you would no longer be a Muslim; instead you would now be a Catholic.

      Your ethnicity would still remain the same, but you would now be a baptised Catholic.

      And a Catholic cannot be both a Muslim and a Catholic.

      Catholic baptism can only be given to those who choose the Catholic faith over any other denomination or religious belief system – so it is impossible to be part of both religions.

      Secondly; Islam teaches doctrine that is completely false and completely anti-Catholic, there is absolutely no way that the two religions can be married up at all!

      One is the One True Faith given by God as the ordinary means of man’s salvation, and the other is a completely false man made belief system.

    164. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 10:21 am

      Chris,

      Re: #161

      Don’t tell me you are a moral relativist!

      I had such high hopes for you.

      I thought you moiré intelligence than to embrace the dumbest philosophy known to man – moral relativism.

    165. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 10:21 am

      Chris,

      Can I be a Satanist and a Catholic at the same time?

      :question_ee:

    166. MacGyver December 1, 2006 at 10:40 am

      You are setting up and EITHER/OR argument. Either Catholic OR Muslim. I’m saying it’s perfectly possible to be both.

      Another way of looking at that would be to ask how you can believe in the Islam understanding of Allah and the Christian understanding of the Trinitarian God at the same time.

      Or believe that Jesus was just a prophet, nothing more, and yet was God as well.

      You have to believe either God is Trinitarian or He is not. Jesus is either God, or He’s not. There can’t be a both in those.

      You can’t follow Islam and Catholicism at the same time.

      Even the Qur’an says so.

      “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (Submission to Allah), Never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.”(Qur’an 3:85)

    167. MacGyver December 1, 2006 at 10:41 am

      er, so I haven’t quite figured out the bold tags properly yet. Oops!

    168. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 10:42 am

      Chris,

      It is my understanding that Muslims do not believe Christ to be the Son of God, or divine in any way at all.

      Neither do they accept the doctrine of the Trinity. The Qur’an states:

      “They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.” (Qur’an 5:73)

      In order for a Muslim to become a Christian
      they would have to reject these fundamental beliefs of their faith. There is no way they could do so and still remain Muslim.

    169. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 10:43 am

      Something decidely odd is going on with these bold tags!

    170. MacGyver December 1, 2006 at 11:07 am

      Broken and fixed by MacGyver.

      :embarrassed_ee:

      (remember to close those tags!)

    171. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 11:15 am

      Another way of looking at that would be to ask how you can believe in the Islam understanding of Allah and the Christian understanding of the Trinitarian God at the same time.

      Easy. Islam believes what we do about there being one God. We have the additional revelation that God is 3 persons – that doesn’t make Islam wrong just not necessarily aware of the fuller truth.

      Even the Qur’an says so.

      “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (Submission to Allah)

      This defines Islam as submission to God. That means Christians are also Muslims, according to the Holy Qu’ran, because we also submit to God.

      They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity

      What the Qu’ran says is true. This is blasphemy, to say that God is one OF three. God is one who IS three, not one OF three. There are not three Gods, only one. Read the Qu’ran carefully – there’s no contradiction between it and the doctrine of the Trinity.

      Hope this helps
      God Bless

    172. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 11:24 am

      Chris,

      Islam does not believe in the Triune God -which is the God of the Old Testament, the New Testament and of all time.

      Therefore they do not believe in the same God.

    173. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 11:31 am

      “This is blasphemy, to say that God is one OF three. God is one who IS three, not one OF three. There are not three Gods, only one. Read the Qu’ran carefully – there’s no contradiction between it and the doctrine of the Trinity.”

      Verbal and theological nonsense here I’m afraid.

      The Catholic teaching is that the Trinity is three distinct persons who are all one.

      God is not one God with 3 split personalities.

      So, God is in fact one of three – who also happen to be three in one.

      So it is not blasphemy at all to say that God is one of three persons in the Trinity.

      Secondly; the Qu’arn is stating in this statement that the doctrine of a Triune God is anathema to Islam.

      It is NOT making a finer theological clarification about the theology of the Trinity!

      Perpetua is 100% right Chris – if you are Muslim you have to reject the Triune God of the Old Testament, New Testament and all eternity.

      If you are Catholic you have to reject the notion that God is NOT three divine persons who form the Trinity.

      Therefore you CAN’T be both at the same time.

    174. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 11:32 am

      Chris,

      I’m still really keen to know I you think one can be a Satanist and a Catholic at the same time?

      :question_ee:

    175. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 11:35 am

      Ox,

      What you said in 171 isn’t what the Church teaches. The Church teaches that we worship the same God that Islam does.

      The Holy Father recently quoted a Pope some 1000 odd years ago who wrote to a Muslim Sultan stating that Christians and Muslims believe in the same God.

      All of us understand God in different ways. Even many Christians have big problems grasping the Holy Trinity.

      That we understand God in different ways does not mean we worship different Gods.

      God Bless

    176. Chris Sullivan December 1, 2006 at 11:38 am

      I’m still really keen to know I you think one can be a Satanist and a Catholic at the same time?

      Ox,

      I never said that.

      Satan is not God.

      Allah is.

      Allah is simply the arabic word for God. In arabic countries Christians use “Allah” as the name for God.

      God Bless

    177. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 11:41 am

      Chris,

      Islam rejects the fullness of Revelation that has been given by God to His Church.

      They started outside the Church and they are still outside of the Church.

      They refuse to accept that Jesus is Son of God and has a divine nature.

      They deny the Trinity.

      They deny the Hypostatic Union.

      They deny the redemption of mankind on the cross.

      Can’t you see that they aren’t actually following the same faith as us?

    178. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 11:59 am

      All of the points Ox has made in #176 should be enough to illustrate that one cannot be both Muslim and Catholic, or even Muslim and Christian. While the Muslim faith does have it’s roots in the faith of Abraham (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong there though), Muslims follow Mohammed and not Christ.

      “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” JESUS

      If you are not following Christ, the Son of God, then you cannot call yourself His disciple and therefore a Christian.

    179. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 12:01 pm

      Sorry, don’t know how to fix that one! Someone cleverer than me please help. :redface_wp:

    180. MacGyver December 1, 2006 at 12:06 pm

      lol!

    181. MacGyver December 1, 2006 at 12:07 pm

      Just call me Mac

      :smirk2_ee:

    182. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you! Saving the day as per usual. :grin1_ee:

    183. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Perpetua,

      Islam doesn’t actually have roots in the faith of Abraham.

      Although Islam does borrow from the faith of Abraham.

      Islam began long after Abraham, and long after Christianity – and it diesn’t spring out of either.

      It does have ethnic links to Abraham, because of the nationality of Mohammed, but not doctrinal or historical roots.

    184. MacGyver December 1, 2006 at 12:29 pm

      Here something I’ve been pondering…

      You can’t be both Muslim and Christian. Fair call. Simple logic.

      But Allah not being God?

      I’m not sure it’s that simple.

      Easy. Islam believes what we do about there being one God. We have the additional revelation that God is 3 persons – that doesn’t make Islam wrong just not necessarily aware of the fuller truth.

      I sort of agree with you on this point Chris. Though I’m not sure you can say that they believe what we do about there being one God, cause our one God is three persons. Totally different.

      Now, I fully agree that their understanding of God is very very far from the truth. But I don’t think even the Pope goes as far as to say they worship a different God.

      I’m guessing that it wouldn’t be a good parallel to say that it has been agreed that we worship the same God as the Jews. But we can also look at a lot of similarities between Islam’s Allah and the God of Christianity.

      Maybe it is better to say that we have the fullness of revelation concerning God, and Muslims share in some of that. Though, I agree, they remain a separate religion that is very opposed to Christianity.

      Fire away Ox :tongue_wink_ee:

    185. Perpetua December 1, 2006 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks Ox. I feel smarter already! Maybe I should read a book on this topic. Can you recommend any good ones?

      I just read a weird article that suggested that Adam was the first Muslim and that basically everyone is Muslim as long as they are doing what God (Allah) tells them to do, because that means they are “doing” Islam.

      (Slyly avoiding any use of scary tags :wink_ee:)

    186. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 12:35 pm


      “Allah is simply the arabic word for God. In arabic countries Christians use “Allah” as the name for God.”

      But Chris, there is one hugely important distinction here.

      God has divinely revealed to mankind that He is Triune, that He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that He is three in one.

      Islam states that Allah is NOT triune, that He is only one.

      They completely reject who God has told us that He is actually is.

      And instead they say God is not who He has revealed to us that He is, instead God is Allah (and Allah is only one).

      They deny that God has a divine Son.

      They deny that God came to earth in human form through Jesus and then died to redeem mankind.

      God says He is Trinity.

      God says He has a Son.

      And God says He came to earth in human form and died to redeem mankind.

      Islam says that…

      God is not Triune.

      God does not have a Son.

      And that God did not come to earth in human form and then die to redeem mankind.

      So, how can we worship the same God?

      The best that you could claim is that Islam clings to a pre-Christ and partial revelation about the true God.

      But now that God has fully revealed to mankind who He actually is, it is clear that God is not the same God that Islam claims He is.

      And Islam isn’t right.

      Therefore we don’t worship the same God.

    187. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 1:11 pm

      Also,

      Islam denies that God is a God of reason.

      According to such a premise if God changed His mind tomorrow and decided that adultery was a good thing, then marital infidelity would become a virtue.

      But this is completely contrary to Christianity which teaches that faith is built on reason.

      And that God adheres to reason.

      Islamic doctrine makes God totally unreasonable, and this goes right to the very nature of God’s essence.

      God would be denying His very own nature if he wasn’t bound by reason – in effect He would be untrustworthy and we would be unable to have faith in Him.

    188. JP III December 1, 2006 at 1:17 pm

      Chris,

      Ox is right here. It is very clear and easy to follow.

      Islam, while having some truth, does not have these essential truths, so one cannot say that we worship “in Spirit and Truth”, the same God.

      However, we will give them credit, for trying to practice what we call the “virtue of religion”: that is, that every person, has within them, a sense that they should render to their creator, honour, thanksgiving, praise, and worship.

      That is why we have all the pagan religions. There is, within man, an innate knowledge that there is something in this universe that is greater than him, and him should try to find that Being, and honour that Being.

      So, in that sense, we applaud the Muslims for wanting to practise this natural virtue of religion, albeit, very imperfectly.

      However, as Ox has pointed out, they have many many hings wrong, and some very important essential things wrong.

      Therefore, one can never say that the Christian God, is the “same” as the Muslim God.

      There are similarities, due to this virtue of relgion, i.e., he created everything, he is just, all holy…etc….but even some of the pagan religions have such beliefs…that doesn’t mean that we worship the same God as the the pagans.

      Satan is very good at appearing as an ‘angel of light’ and making himself out to be like God in order to ensnare people. He is often referred to as the Great Ape of God because he mocks and mimicks God.

      And Satan will do all that he can to keep people away from the Fullness of Truth, found in the Catholic Church, by encouraging them to remain in partial truth, false religions….so that they remain confused, and endanger their salvation.

      Just because there seem to be similarities, doesn’t mean that it’s the same God.

    189. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 1:18 pm

      Perpetua,

      There are some really good books about Islam available.

      One I recommend is called Inside Islam – A guide for Catholics

      It is by Daniel Ali and Robert Spencer, and it has a foreword by Father Mitch Pacwa S.J.

      Daniel Ali converted from Islam to Catholicism in 1998 and he is the founder of the Christian-Islamic Forum.

      Robert Spencer has written several books on Islam.

      The book is written in question and answer format, which means that you can read the book from cover to cover and/or use it as a reference book about Islam.

      The Catholic Truth Society (based in the UK) also put out an excellent little pocket book called A Catholic guide to Islam.

    190. James the Least December 1, 2006 at 2:03 pm

      Ox,

      Do the Jewish people worship the same God as us? We have the same heritage – even the same scripture…to a point. They may not have the fullness of the truth, but it is the same God…surely?

      If so, isn’t Allah also the same? I understand the lack of fullness of truth, but it is the same deity is it not? It’s not like they’re worshipping Baal or something…is it?

    191. The Dumb Ox December 1, 2006 at 2:48 pm

      James,

      Judaism definitely worships the same God as us, and there are some huge differences between Judaism and Islam.

      Firstly; Judaism believes in a God of reason, as opposed to a God who is not bound by His reason (like Islam) – this means that, in essence, the God worshiped in Islam is completely different to the God being worshiped in Judaism.

      The Jewish people are God’s chosen people, and it was through them that He chose to reveal himself to mankind.

      We owe our Catholicism to the Judaic tradition – they are our faith ancestors if you like.

      God even revealed Himself to Man through the Jewish race.

      Christ is the stumbling block to Judaism; because they reject that He is the promised Messiah and that He was Son of God.

      But there are Messianic Jews, who embrace the revelation about Jesus and worship Him as Son of God and still hold too many of the Judaic traditions and practises.

      The big difference here though is that Islam doesn’t spring from Christianity, or Judaism – it came much later from outside of both religions and it simply borrowed aspects from both and then completely rejected others, and introduced lots of new things of its own.

      The Jews rejected that Christ was the promised Messiah, but they didn’t reject any of the revelation given to them about God before the time of Christ.

      Because of their rejection of Christ they only have part of the fullness of revelation, it never developed beyond the pre-Messianic for them because they rejected Christ.

      But Islam was never given any revelation of God – they simply stole elements of pre-Messianic revelation about God, elements of post-messianic revelation and then directly rejected other revelation that God has given about Himself, and they also made up doctrines of their own that are completely foreign to both Catholicism and Judaism.

      God didn’t reveal Himself to Mohammad.

      He did reveal Himself to the Jews, and then when the Jews rejected Jesus the Church became the new Israel; and through Baptism into Christ’s Church we become adopted sons and daughters of God’s chosen people.

      But Mohammad simply took the concept of a monotheistic God (that the Jews and Christians had) and then completely rejected God’s revelation about Himself, and stole different bits of Judaism and Christianity as well as adding lots of doctrines of his own.

      The Jews never rejected any of the revelation about God that was given to them; in fact they are still awaiting the promised Messiah who will fulfil the prophesies in the Old Testament.

      In regards to Judaism and baptism; one couldn’t be both a Baptised Catholic and part of Judaism; because Judaism rejects Jesus Christ and it doesn’t have the fullness of revelation.

      But let us not forget that we owe our faith to the Judaic tradition, and it was through the Jews that God approached mankind and offered His love.

    192. Agnes Day December 1, 2006 at 3:18 pm

      Hey guys, I’m coming in again! After many manic days at the office I’m back on line :surprise_ee:

      I have tried to go over many of the comments on this super commented on post but one inparticular stuck out;

      Re #172: Muslims absolutely and utterly do not believe in the trinity! My Father who worked in Egypt was warned to never mention the trinity, let alone the divinity of Jesus! He feared for his life to mention Christianity in any sort of positive form… Did you see the banners of Muslims on TV? ‘Jesus is not God, he is prophet of Islam!’ Were all over the place.

      I know this topic is a huge one, but this point is very clear – and no I do not want to read the Qu’ran thank you – I am going from familial experience. Muslims do not believe in the Trinity, full stop.

    193. JP III December 1, 2006 at 4:51 pm

      Just to add what Ox and Agnes are saying.

      Something that is always good for our discussions is to look at Scripture:

      Look at what St John says of those who refuse to believe that the Word has become Flesh.

      Don’t get confused, what St John is talking about here, are those who refuse to accept that God became Flesh, i.e., those who deny the Incarnation.

      1 John 4:1-3

      “Beloved, do not trust every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. “

      2 John 1:7

      “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.”

      Those who, either intentionally or not, who do not accept that Jesus Christ is God, are closed to the Truth, and are affected by the spirit of the anti-christ.

      John 6

      “This is a hard teaching…who can accept it….”

      “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (c.f. John 6) …

      John 9:39

      “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

      We always need to read the Scriptures in their fullness, and not just a cozy bits that we like.