Friday, September 10, 2004

It needs to be repeated...

While I am in favor of fighting terrorism and threats to human life, I am not among those who wish that our government would wage a holy war against all Muslims at home and abroad. Certainly, Muslim terrorists use a perverted religiosity to attack innocent people, but the Muslims with whom I live and work do not. They are as American as I am, recalling a time in which Catholics were not accorded much respect as a group. History has certainly shown the folly of marking large groups of people for suppression or internment based on religion, race, or ethnicity.

I do believe that the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of revealed truth, born in the person of Jesus Christ, but I do not seek to dishonor anything that is intrinsically true in Islam, nor do I dishonor any man's sincere desire to know God. I have enjoyed many discussions with Muslims centering on the nature of what is true, what is virtue, and what is good. I don't always agree - I don't have to agree, but I anticipate many more discussions. I think the conciliar document Nostra Aetate bears a re-read.
The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these [non-Christian] religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.
Muslims are certainly not a unified religious body, and I'd be lying if I said I understood Islam, but it pains me to see Christians who believe they understand Islam simply by throwing around verses from the Koran. I see atheists do the very same thing with our own Scriptures to reach a similar end. I think we can act with a little more reflection and a little more depth than that. I believe that is what the conciliar statement is asking us to do.

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