Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Keep calm and carry on

This morning, a couple of FB friends who are old bloggie-buddies here were discussing the Robert Spencer article (linked in the last post) about the oft-repeated claim of many in the Church that "Catholics and Muslims, after all, worship the same God." I have made the case many times that this is simply an error, one that becomes increasingly difficult to swallow the more you learn about Islam and its founding (anti-)principles.

One of the things that my two friends were discussing was the point Spencer made about Nostra Aetate (non-Catholics in the class have permission to stare out the window at this point, or go to the library), where it makes the claim in section 3 that "Moslems"
adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth... Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet.

There were expressions like "I really struggle with NA..."

Guys, for heaven sake, what's to "struggle" with?

It was wrong.

The passage above is perhaps the most obvious point where even people with no training in theology can say, "This contradicts the Faith". The document itself displays its own internal contradictions: "Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet."

[eyeroll][patientsigh]The nature of God is triune. We believe that God is one, indivisible, in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. If you have denied the divinity of Christ, you cannot make the claim to believe in the same God as we do. If you are worshiping something that you claim is God but that does not include Christ as the Second Person of a Holy Trinity, then you are not "worshiping the same God," you are making something up all on your own. [/patientsigh][/eyeroll]

Moreover, Islam is filled with internal contradictions about both human life and about the nature of God; it is inimical to logic and the laws of rational thought. It is also opposed to the moral law.

What Nostra Aetate refuses to mention is that Islam claims to have been founded on the word of an angel, that its "holy book" orders its followers to murder, rape and enslave others. It says that God can change His mind and contradict Himself. Why do the authors of this document neglect to mention that Islam's followers are under obligation to conquer nations who refuse to accept it? The document mentions that "in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems," but declines to mention why.

I'm afraid I just don't see the problem with simply rejecting Nostra Aetate. It contradicts the teaching of the Church on heresy. It is opposed to Catholic doctrine, to the Truth of the Faith.

One of the reasons we can see that the Catholic religion is true is that it never, ever contradicts itself. It is inimical neither to logic and reason, nor to observable data, nor to its own deposit. It holds together in relation to both internal and external evidence.

It is popular for Catholics to make silly boasts like, "If the Church told me black were white, I'd believe it..." but in fact, the reason we believe everything the Church teaches is because it is observably true. Catholic teaching on faith and morals is never internally contradictory. Ever.

So, what do we do when we find something that proposes a change in a previously held doctrine of the Faith? What do we do when we are faced with a proposition of heresy, from any source?

Understand that the "we" in this case just means you and me. Lay people. I'm not talking about bishops or curial cardinals or the pope. I'm none of those things and their obligations aren't my obligations. I'm a lay person. So, what do we do? Come on now, you know the answer.

The fact is that not enough time has passed since the issuance of those documents. The crisis of Faith in the Church has not abated, and much of the mess was caused by that Council. I have faith that there will come a day when the Barque of Peter, the Church, will correct itself, or, more accurately, will be corrected by the proper authority. There will (soon) come a time when the people in charge of the Church will no longer be wedded to that wretched disaster. The young men in seminaries now, the men joining religious orders and starting to move up the ranks, will at some point no longer have to keep quiet in the presence of the current generation of leadership. They will be the leadership. And that day is not far off. One of the reasons I'm happy to have survived cancer is that I can now imagine that I will live to see the day, as poor John Muggeridge didn't.

There have been times in the past when terrible heresies all but wiped out the Faith in the world. When the Faith has had to go underground. When the world woke and "groaned to find itself Arian". Remember? It hasn't yet been 50 years since V-II. The Egyptian generation has yet to be purged. Until then, what are we charged to do?

In the meantime, what's my job?

To keep the Faith.

And nothing else.


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