RU 22/2006 - The Pope face to Islam
- ISLAM: Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has just closed the "Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue"; this one will be integrated into the "Pontifical Council for Culture", presided by the French cardinal Paul Poupard. The ex-president of the Inter-religious Council, Mgr Michael L. Fitzgerald, is chased, i.e. he is nominated apostolic nuncio in Cairo where he can continue his utopian dialogue with Islam as if this one were a religion. - Let's see phase by phase this evolution in the Church. During the long years of his pontificate, John-Paul II had not only instituted the "dialogue with Islam", but even political cooperation, notably by a Catholic-Moslem common front as "objective allies" against the feminist aberrations at the time of the Conference of Beijing (1995) concerning the rights of the women, and even the prayer in common, while declaring in 1988 to the Moslem crowds in Morocco: "We believe in the same God, the one and the only God, who created the world and brought its creatures to perfection". It's the first pope who prayed in a mosque (Damascus) and who exercised gestures which are specially reserved to the Jewish religion, while slipping a prayer paper into a cleavage of the lamenting wall in Jerusalem. Already at that time, the cardinal Ratzinger - Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith - had shown reserves facing this approach, while declaring that this "dialogue" didn't put the Church on the side of the Muslim peoples, but on the side of despotic regimes that dominate the Muslim world. Already at that time, cardinal Ratzinger realized that there was nobody competent in front of the pope, except for a crowd of various isolated or national authorities, or a disparate multitude of imams escaping all doctrinal control. In addition he realized that Islam, in spite of an obvious recent expansion, is at present in a full identity crisis facing its internal contradictions, but also facing the modern world as well as the violence and the "anger" (Benedict XVI avoids the word "hate"), as Islam is like frozen up in the collar of a Koran that doesn't tolerate any interpretation. How to consider, in this situation, a "theological dialogue" with Islam? Yet worse, he understand that the "dialogue with Islam" of John-Paul II could appear ambiguous to many Catholics who saw there a levelling of all beliefs, dangerously inciting them to become Catholics "of free choice", since everything seemed to become relative and subjective. The answer of Benedict XVI was radical: STOP! No more any "religious dialogue" with Islam, closing of the Pontifical Council dedicated to this ambiguous objective, chasing away of cardinal Fitzgerald, protagonist of this policy. Instead, Benedict XVI wishes a "cultural dialogue" with Islam. By one single stroke, he catches up two flies: on one hand he looks like denying to Islam the character of a "religion"; in fact, if one doesn't have the same God - and since there cannot be different Gods -, Islam turns therefore around nothing; remains only the possibility to discuss with Islam about music, mathematics, astronomy, in one word "culture" (on this last point it happens to Benedict XVI even to make big compliments to them). On the other hand, he brings back the Christians to their real mission: the individual conversion of the Moslims, and not of Islam. Islam is only a shaky scaffold composed of badly copied half-truths and of lies, it's indeed "inconvertible". The Moslems, however, are called by the Creator to follow His divine Son Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. This call resounds in their hearts, as in every human heart, since he already lives "in Him, and with Him, and through Him", but not yet for Him. Benedict XVI isn't like those who say, with the big majority of the bishops and priests, that "Moslems cannot be converted". He proved this while encouraging and blessing, 3 years ago, in Austria, an "Institute of Catechesis for Moslems" which is unique in the world, that already brought more than 100 adults to Catholic baptism. Even though Benedict XVI doesn't express himself in this way, his declarations make understand that he sees, in the deepest corner of each human soul, not a "rationality that unites us", or hypothetical "common values" permitting some dialogue, but this unique call of God which is constituent for the very existence of each human soul, this most intimate place in man where he knows how to hear and to follow the divine call. It's only there that the "religious dialogue" - or rather the announcement of the Good News - has its place, while leaving the remainder to the level of the doctors of culture and of institutions which are always abstract, even if this concerns established "religions". In the middle of our chaotic dialogue with Islam, Benedict XVI puts back God to his honor place: He is the One who hits at the door of every soul, including each Moslem. Benedict XVI even declares that what shocks the Moslems mostly in Europe, is not the presence of the crucifix or religious symbols, but their absence, or even their negation. The pope sees there an encouraging sign of their interior apprehension of the "sacred". On October 25th, 2004, yet cardinal, he declared: "It has been said that we must not speak of God in the European Constitution, because it would offend Moslems and the members of other religions. The opposite is true: what offends the Moslems and the members of other religions, is not the fact to speak of God or of our Christian roots, but rather the fact of disdaining God and the sacred...". THANK YOU, Holy Father! - Besides, the question will soon come back on the desk. And you will be astonished who are the protagonists. So Angela Merkel, Protestant, declared that in June 2007, at the end of her European presidency, she will present a new Constitution project, with a clear reference to the Christian roots of Europe. Who do You guess immediately stood up to oppose her? The Austrian chancelor Wolfgang Schüssel, a Catholic: the U.E. should be "big enough to welcome a European Islam". Worse: "God doesn't need the Constitution of the European Union", Schüssel dixit. Without commentary. - (ru; cf. BA Apr.16, 05; AN Apr.26, 06; RV May 30, 06; NTV May 30, 06).