Friday, January 16, 2015

Pope Francis: This is why there cannot be any authentic dialogue with Islam

In his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, Pope Paul VI told us that, "The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make." (No. 65).

The Holy Father goes on to say that, "Dialogue, therefore, is a recognized method of the apostolate. It is a way of making spiritual contact. It should however have the following characteristics:

1) Clarity before all else; the dialogue demands that what is said should be intelligible. We can think of it as a kind of thought transfusion. It is an invitation to the exercise and development of the highest spiritual and mental powers a man possesses. This fact alone would suffice to make such dialogue rank among the greatest manifestations of human activity and culture. In order to satisfy this first requirement, all of us who feel the spur of the apostolate should examine closely the kind of speech we use. Is it easy to understand? Can it be grasped by ordinary people? Is it current idiom?

2) Our dialogue must be accompanied by that meekness which Christ bade us learn from Himself: "Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart." It would indeed be a disgrace if our dialogue were marked by arrogance, the use of bared words or offensive bitterness. What gives it its authority is the fact that it affirms the truth, shares with others the gifts of charity, is itself an example of virtue, avoids peremptory language, makes no demands. It is peaceful, has no use for extreme methods, is patient under contradiction and inclines towards generosity. 

3) Confidence is also necessary; confidence not only in the power of one's own words, but also in the good will of both parties to the dialogue. Hence dialogue promotes intimacy and friendship on both sides. It unites them in a mutual adherence to the Good, and thus excludes all self-seeking.

4) Finally, the prudence of a teacher who is most careful to make allowances for the psychological and moral circumstances of his hearer, particularly if he is a child, unprepared, suspicious or hostile. The person who speaks is always at pains to learn the sensitivities of his audience, and if reason demands it, he adapts himself and the manner of his presentation to the susceptibilities and the degree of intelligence of his hearers....In a dialogue conducted with this kind of foresight, truth is wedded to charity and understanding to love." (Nos. 81, 82).

As faithful Catholics, we must recognize and embrace these characteristics of authentic dialogue, even when our partners in dialogue refuse to accept these principles. For we will often encounter those who have succumbed to relativism or who do not possess a love of objective truth. For such people, the purpose of dialogue is not to attain truth but rather to achieve personal victory and to triumph at any cost. As Dr. Montague Brown explains in his wonderful book "The One-Minute Philosopher" (Sophia Institute Books): "An argument (emotional, not rational) is a disorderly confrontation based on an unwillingness to learn from one another. Desire for victory takes precedence over love of truth, with the result that agreement becomes an argument, I simply want my position to be the right one and you to agree with me. I am, indeed, looking for agreement, but on my terms, not in terms of objective truth." (p. 33). An authentic dialogue (which such people are not really interested in) is, " orderly confrontation based on a mutual willingness to learn from one another. It involves the presentation of evidence by each party and then a good-faith attempt of the participants in the discussion to come to agreement...In a discussion [or dialogue], I do not primarily want to disagree: I want to know the truth.." (The One-Minute Philosopher, p. 32).

It was Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint, No. 36, who said, "There must be charity toward one's partner in dialogue, and humility with regard to the truth which comes to light and which might require a review of assertions and attitudes."

In order for dialogue to be authentic, all parties involved must be charitable toward others in the dialogue and possess humility with regard to the demands of truth.

As Franklin Graham just said on Facebook, "..followers of Islam are raping, butchering, and beheading Christians, Jews, and anyone who doesn't submit to their Sharia Islamic law." Clearly one cannot dialogue with such people.  Anyone who believes differently is simply not in touch with reality.

Those who attempt to argue, as Pope Francis has, that there is nothing inherently violent about Islam, are being dishonest.  As this website correctly notes, "The strangest and most untrue thing that can be said about Islam is that it is a Religion of Peace.  If every standard by which the West is judged and condemned (slavery, imperialism, intolerance, misogyny, sexual repression, warfare...) were applied equally to Islam, the verdict would be devastating.  Islam never gives up what it conquers, be it religion, culture, language or life.  Neither does it make apologies or any real effort at moral progress.  It is the least open to dialogue and the most self-absorbed.  It is convinced of its own perfection, yet brutally shuns self-examination and represses criticism.

This is what makes the Quran's verses of violence so dangerous.  They are given the weight of divine command.  While Muslim terrorists take them as literally as anything else in their holy book, and understand that Islam is incomplete without Jihad, moderates offer little to contradict them - outside of opinion.  Indeed, what do they have?  Speaking of peace and love may win over the ignorant, but when every twelfth verse of Islam's holiest book either speaks to Allah's hatred for non-Muslims or calls for their death, forced conversion, or subjugation, it's little wonder that sympathy for terrorism runs as deeply as it does in the broader community - even if most Muslims personally prefer not to interpret their religion in this way."


Anonymous said...

Dialog with Islam is like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable rock. What is the obsession with intereligious dialog anyway? In an academic setting you might learn something from it, but when you already have the truth how can you possibly learn anything by pretending you don't in a conversation? Dialog makes sense when you're trying to reach the truth, not when you already have it.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Another purpose of dialogue is to share the fullness of truth [which is Catholicism] with those who do not possess it. Catholics have nothing to fear from dialogue. But obviously others do not always feel the same way.

John Paul insists that, "There must be humility with regard to the truth which comes to light and which might require a review of assertions and attitudes."

This is why so many non-Catholics are afraid of authentic dialogue. They fear that, having been exposed to the brilliance of the Lumen Christi, they will have to change.

And that prospect is too much for them. This is precisely how the judgment works: Some refuse to approach the light because it will make their deeds manifest.

Anonymous said...

I guess so, but I'm wary of it. It looks like Pope Francis wants to meet non-believers half way at some convergence point rather than to share truth. Here is a good blog post I found about dialogue:

Coming from an international school, we were raised to believe that truth is better known by consensus and commonality rather than an unchanging objective reality. This is pretty much how the New World Order will work. I think that this idea that we must build a consensus rather than speak the truth about controversial issues is flawed:

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, in his classic work Trojan Horse in the City of God, explains that, "..even some Catholics who experience the exclusivity of truth as liberating and who are not tempted to revolt against its alleged infringement on their freedom believe that the fight against error is uncharitable. The anathema of the Holy Church seems to them hard and inhuman. They have forgotten the admirable dictum of St. Augustine, 'Kill the error; love the one who errs.' They are unwilling to accept the idea that the killing of error is inseperable from love for the one who errs. Their false irenicism makes them blind to the glorious character of the anathema when spoken by the infallible Church...It should not be forgotten that the words of St. Augustine apply not only to the anathema which is reserved exclusively to the infallible magisterium of the Church; they also imply that everyone should be eager to help liberate his neighbor from error...When, out of a confused notion of charity, a soft-heartedness, or a superficial benevolence, we believe that we should leave the erring person in his error, we have ceased to take him seriously as a person and have no interest in his objective good." (Trojan Horse in the City of God, pp. 200-202).

Such a spirit animates authentic dialogue. And I agree with you, Pope Francis seems to be offering a false irenicism instead.

Unknown said...

Dr. D von Hildebrand, in his classic work Trojan Horse in the City of God...
I know I used this poem already as an answer but the Trojan Horse is in it so I thought just post it girl :

Woe, Woe, Woe
satan is using a hoe
to attack us and destroy
hidden in the horse of Troy

he puts on a "friendly face"
for, "just in case"
we fall into his trap
he can deride us in his lap

Following You, our heavenly Boss,
on the way of the Cross
satan always lies in wait
to entice us with his bait

As he has only a short time left
his behavior becomes very deft
enticing as many as he can get
to lure them in his evil drag-net

But I know, oh my Lord
that I try to strike a chord
to elicit Your intervention
to keep satan in detention

Impatiently waiting for Your return
which we still need to earn
free us from the snares of the devil
push him back to the lowest level

In God we trust
Rita Biesemans November 5 2013

Unknown said...

"When anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he in God." (1 John 4:15). One of the inscriptions on the golden dome mosque in Jerusalem states : God has NO son. In Jerusalem muslims told me that Jesus NEVER died on the Cross because His apostles interchanged Jesus with somebody else who died on the cross instead of Him. The 2nd Temple was built over the rock where Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac, but as to Islam it was Ishmael who was going to be sacrificed. Islam built the Omar mosque on the spot of the 2nd Temple. MORMONISM denies Jesus as Son of God. Wearing a Cross is an abomination to them because it reminds them of the "DEFEAT" of Jesus. Hearing them say this made me speechless. Jehovah witnesses don't accept Jesus as the Son of God either.
O Jesus how many sects speaking in Your name and proclaiming to be christians, have actually NO clue WHO YOU ARE.

Unknown said...

The Fight to Protect Religious Freedom

Ronald Reagan wisely said "if we ever forget we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." Well that day is far closer than we could ever imagine. After our country made the disastrous decision to elect President Obama, our President quickly distanced himself from the Judeo-Christian foundation of our society

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