Faith/Spirituality Forum: Islam
Islam QUESTION from John on April 5, 2002 I am concerned about the apparent solidarity the Catholic Church is showing toward Islam. This was highlighted for me when the Holy Father entered and prayed in a mosque. Other issues have alarmed me as well - namely views by certain cardinals within the Church that we should support and even embrace islam - and and hence accept muslems as our fellow-brothers and sisters.
To me this seems to compromise our faith. Bear in mind the words of Our Lord when He said:- I am the Way, the Truth and the Life - no one comes to the Father but by Me. What do you think concerning this?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on May 18, 2002 Dear John
The Pope is NOT suggesting that we embrace Islam as equal to Catholicism. The Pope is merely following the mandates of Christ to preach the Gospel to all people. The Gospel is better preached in friendship rather than as adversaries.
The Pope's gestures toward Islam is for the purposes of evangelization. In doing so, he is NOT compromising the faith one iota. No doctrine or teaching is being compromised. Rather the teaching of Christ is being fulfilled to preach to ALL peoples.
With that said, the Church does recognize a special connection with Islam and with Israel that does not exist with other religions. Islam and Israel are closer to Christianity than are religions such as Hindu or Buddhism, etc.
This special connection is that all three of us: Christians, Muslims, and Jews all worship the God of Abraham.
Our understandings of the God of Abraham differ, however. The Jews do not recognize Jesus but still look forward to the coming Messiah. The Muslims recognize Jesus as a prophet but not as God and accept Muhammud as the last prophet of God.
Both these view are wrong. The Messiah as already come in Jesus, and Jesus was God and Mohammud is a false prophet.
Nevertheless, the Jews and Muslims, according to their less-than-perfect understandings worship the God of Abraham.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has the FULLEST of understandings of the God of Abraham and the FULLNESS of the faith. It is precisely because Catholics have the FULLNESS of the fiath that we need to reach out in friendship to other peoples. In that outreach we hope to eventually bring the fullness of the knowledge of God to those peoples.
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