Friday, November 07, 2008

Christian-Muslim dialogue

There's a meeting going on between the Catholic Church and some Muslim representatives as a follow up on the letter sent by 138 Muslim scholars to the leaders of the various Christian communities in the wake of Pope Benedict's Regensburg address. Personally, I feel that this is all futile rubbish.

Why? Because the Muslim representatives are of no consequence and represent no one but themselves as there's no united Muslim government. Whatever they say or agree to is meaningless to the other Muslims out there. There are no mighty Mullahs from Iran or Afghanistan or Muftis from Saudi Arabia and these are the folks who really matter. This makes the whole thing pointless and the Muslim representatives don't have any locus standi to speak on behalf of Muslims and no Muslim of consequence bothers what they think anyway.

The leader of the Muslim delegation is the Grand Mufti of...... Bosnia. Yep. And we all know the importance Muslims all over the world place on the opinions of the Grand Mufti of Bosnia (oooohh), right? How they all, Osama and al-Zawahri et al, hang on this every word?

Sorry if I'm being bitter, but living here, on the ground in a Muslim country, I realize just how academic this all is and how it's unlikely to have any real actual impact on Christian relations with Muslims on the ground. And I suspect it's the same elsewhere.

Illuminated by the Cross of Christ?
Muslim delegation head Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, reads a document during a meeting at the Gregorian University in Rome November 6, 2008. Catholic and Muslim leaders at unprecedented Vatican meetings vowed on Thursday to work together to combat violence and terrorism, especially when carried out in God's name. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY)

I hope they don't issue a death fatwa against the Pope for violating sharia law by touching a woman with whom he is not mahram. If you're interested in this, Muslim jurisprudence is as Pharisaical as the most intricate of Jewish legal codes.
In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L' Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, at right, greets participants of a three-day Catholic-Muslim forum hosted by the Vatican, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. The Pontiff has told Muslim clergy and scholars that Christians and Muslims must overcome their misunderstandings. He is also urging freedom of worship for non-Muslims in the Islamic world. Man at left is unidentified. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO)

Hold on one minute there, bub.
In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L' Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, right, talks with Mustafa Ceric, head of the Bosnia Islamic Community, during a a three-day Catholic-Muslim forum hosted by the Vatican, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. The meeting is intended to help the two faiths find common ground and improve dialogue. The closed-door forum is gathering 29 scholars and clerics from each side and will end next Thursday, Nov. 6 with an audience with Pope Benedict VI.
(AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO)

Note the icon of the Embrace between the Brothers, Sts. Peter and Andrew in the background. Somehow, the dialogue between Cardinal Touran and the Mufti does not seem so brotherly. Hmmm...

And finally, the Church Militant.
A Roman Catholic priest blesses machine guns for the army in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Nineteen Muslim separatist rebels have been killed in fresh air strikes carried out by Philippine troops on southern Mindanao island, an official said (AFP/Str)


Anonymous said...

Andrew, I fully agree with your post.
Anyway, the whole exercise could, and has not been prepared in order to discuss faith issues, but just how to deal one with the other, but as you rightly pointed out...speaking with the head of the Bosnian Muslims doesn't help a lot.
Another point: there was a muslim convert (fron Catholicism), whose name is Ingrid Mary Mattson.
a question I would like the Muslim to answer: would they have accepted a Catholic member converted from Islam as well?
have a nice we
and God blesses you

Collin Michael Nunis said...

There are plenty of Catholics who have converted to Islam. However, the whole country went ballistic when Lina Joy put her case forward.

And, on another thought, the Church should not be blessing handguns. This is bad for the image of the Church as the doorway of the life-giving God.

Anonymous said...

what a waste of peter's pence?

DonAaron said...

Yep and there are Italian muslims, converting to Catholicism, but I salute Magdi for speaking out, if there were a whole battalion of him in this country! Oh and by the way if you think of conversion in Malaysia's bad think again here

Anita Moore said...

My kind of priest! I hope you don't mind my posting this pic on my own blog as an introduction of yours to my small yet loyal readership.

Collin, the Church gives life, but she is anything but pacifist. There are many soldier-saints (who did not give up soldiering upon becoming Christians), and saints who led armies into battle even though they themselves did not bear arms (e.g., St. Lawrence of Brindisi). The feast of the Most Holy Rosary commemorates a naval victory, namely, that of the outnumbered Christian fleet (plus the Rosary) over the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. And then of course, one of my personal favorites, St. Gabriel Possenti, the frail young Passionist monk who drove a band of marauding brigands out of town with two of their own pistols. "Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle..." (Psalm 144:1)

(Besides which, I know a gun-toting priest-blogger out of Ogden, Utah who will really like this.)

Mike T said...

I live in a country where the primary "persecution" of the church comes certainly not from Islam, but from secular humanism.

TV and the press have successfully brain-washed large portions of the population with the proposition that war is caused by religion. Therefore, if you want peace, get rid of religion, or at least replace your real religion with the United Nations-approved Earth Charter.

In the face of this relentless barrage of nonsense, honest attempts by the Catholic Church to work with Islam, independently from some UN mandate, are valuable, even if we end up only being able to talk with a mullah from Bosnia.

Thanks to Anita for pointing to this very interesting blog. It does my heart good to see the Faith flourishing in Malaysia. I'll try to find Tanjung Bunga on a map.

Andrew said...

Hi Anita, many thanks for your kindness. =) Remember Lepanto!! The Lord is a Warrior, the Lord is His name as was sung after the Lord routed the Egyptians.

Hi Mike, good luck on that. You'd better have a really big map or a real powerful microscope =)

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