Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A question that needs urgent confrontation

As a germane addendum to that recent “letter for peace” addressed to various Christian leaders and signed by 138 Mohammedan academics and religious representatives, comes this item from Catholic World News:

Cardinal sees difficulties in talks with Islam

Rome, Oct. 23, 2007 ( - Responding to an initiative by 138 Islamic officials, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue has welcomed a bid for talks between Christian and Muslim leaders, but warned about inevitable difficulties in that dialogue.

In an interview with the French newspaper La Croix, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran pointed out that Muslims do not accept the sort of inter-religious dialogue that Christians have come to expect. For example, he said, Muslims "will not allow in-depth discussion of the Qur'an," since they believe that the words were literally dictated by Allah, and any questioning of the text borders on blasphemy.

Because Islamic leaders refuse to discuss the fundamental basis of their beliefs, the French cardinal said, "it is difficult to discuss the content of their faith."

Cardinal Tauran said that insofar as talks with Muslims can be pursued, Christian leaders should insist that Islamic societies respect religious freedom, in the same way that the western world respects the rights of Muslims. Specifically, he said, "if they can have mosques in Europe, it is reasonable to expect them to allow churches built in their countries."

As a rule Melancholicus has no interest whatever in pursuing inter-religious “dialogue” with Muslims, especially not of the sort that the Holy See has been obsessed with since the days of Paul VI. He could not care less whether Christians and Muslims approach such dialogue with a divergent frame of reference, or whether Muslims will or will not permit historico-critical study of the Qur’an. What does it matter, anyway? Either the Church wishes ultimately to convert the Mohammedan, or she does not. If she does, then let the clergy evangelize those benighted souls. If she does not, what is the point even of “dialoguing” with them in this fashion?

Yet Cardinal Tauran raises a point that Melancholicus considers of primary importance, for it affects the lives of millions of Christian people throughout the world, specifically those who live in predominately Mohammedan societies. The first step — I repeat, the very FIRST STEP — in engaging the signatories of this letter in dialogue should be to extract guarantees from them that they will strive to the utmost of their power to secure religious liberty for all non-Muslims, and especially Christians, within their jurisdictions. If they are not willing to concede even this minimum, Christians should refuse categorically to join in such an empty and meaningless ‘dialogue’. How dare the Mohammedans expect to build mosques in Europe when in many Muslim countries new churches may not even be built, even while existing churches are destroyed by mobs of enraged hooligans? Of course the liberal European left, with its insistence on ‘multiculturalism’ and its infatuation with all kinds of minority groups, is just as much to blame for this unequal state of affairs as are the Mohammedans, insofar as the left bends over backward to appease them at every opportunity, and demanding nothing in return, even when people’s lives are at stake!

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