I just finished reading an article that has been popping up in my social media feed for some days now; Nostra Aetate and the Catholic Response to Islam, recently published by Crisis Magazine.
The punchline is already present in the title: According to the writer, the Council’s “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” is the Catholic response to Islam.
In reality, it is anything but.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what the Council had to say about Islam in Nostra Aetate – Article 3; in particular, its first few sentences.
Before we dig into the text, one should note the intent that is expressed in the title to the Declaration and repeated in its introduction:
“… the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions…” (cf NA 1)
Why is this so important?
Because it tells us that the document is not, as some claim, ordered toward human beings of a different faith; as if little more than an exercise in affording these individuals the respect that all persons deserve.
Rather, this document is specifically addressing the Church’s relationship with particular systems of belief and worship.
The two are very different.
Religions can, and indeed must, be evaluated in a purely objective manner; whereas there is an element of the subjective (the domain of God alone) to be acknowledged with regard to our interactions with individual persons.
With this distinction in mind, let’s begin.
“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet.” (cf NA 3)
First, it is noteworthy that the Latin normative text of Article 3 opens with one long sentence as opposed to two separate sentences as one finds in the English translation:
Ecclesia cum aestimatione quoque Muslimos respicit qui unicum Deum adorant, viventem et subsistentem, misericordem et omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae, homines allocutum, cuius occultis etiam decretis toto animo se submittere student, sicut Deo se submisit Abraham ad quem fides islamica libenter sese refert.
What difference does this make?
Quite a bit, actually.
It is one thing to speak kindly of a group of persons in a generic sense, but what the Council did in the case of “the Moslems” is quite another.
Being aware of the aforementioned intent of the Declaration, we should already be alert to this fact.
Even so, the format of the Latin text makes it clearer still that the esteem being expressed for Moslems is predicated upon what follows, in the same sentence, concerning the religion of Islam.
“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems who adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself, merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men, and who take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.”
As one can see, read as one lengthy sentence, it is obvious that the Council is articulating the reasons why esteem is being expressed for the Moslems; namely, it is based upon their particular system of belief and worship.
And what does the Council tell us about Islam?
The text goes well beyond simply acknowledging that the followers of Islam claim or perhaps even desire to direct their adoration toward the God of Abraham. Rather, Nostra Aetate boldly equates Abraham’s faithfulness with the behavior of devout Moslems.
Worse, it suggests a certain equality between “the inscrutable decrees” that came from God to Abraham with the Moslem understanding of the same; the former having been made known to us in Sacred Scripture.
And where, pray tell, do the Moslems encounter the so-called “inscrutable decrees” to which they “take pains wholeheartedly to submit”?
In the Qur’an.
Recall that Francis once exhorted a gathering of refugees gathered in Rome:
“Sharing our experience in carrying that cross, to expel the illness within our hearts, which embitters our life: it is important that you do this in your meetings. Those that are Christian, with the Bible, and those that are Muslim, with the Quran. The faith that your parents instilled in you will always help you move on.”
How dare he equate the Bible with the Qur’an!
Indeed, but let’s be honest; the Council did it first.
By plainly suggesting that the Moslems’ submission to the Satan-inspired decrees recorded by Muhammed in Islam’s “holy book” is comparable to Abraham’s submission to the voice of the one true God, the Council is essentially endorsing, in the name of the Church no less, the claim that the Qur’an is divine revelation!
Let that sink in for a moment…
Nostra Aetate continues:
“Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet.” (ibid.)
As is often the case with modernists, “they pervert the meaning and force of things and words.” (cf Pope Leo XIII, Ut Mysticum, quoted by Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi)
As such, do not be fooled by the Council’s (much less Islam’s) use of the word “prophet.”
In reality, the Moslems do not consider Jesus a “prophet” as Catholics understand the word; namely, as one who speaks truth in the name of Almighty God.
Rather, Islam “reveres” Jesus as a mere messenger of Allah – the false god who utters blasphemies and encourages all manner of violence.
And for this the Council expressed esteem…
What could possibly be more anti-Catholic than that?
Hey Louie, I think I know which page the Iman is showing Francis; It’s the passage that says to kill the infidels.
Quran 5:33: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”
Francis the Idiot: “Youz guys is so peaceful “
Regarding your last statement that’s Exactly right. So when are we gonna have a big bonfire n burn that Vat II document. When it does happen it should be on a feast day of Our Lady.
Why should anyone expect something truly Catholic to come out of the postconciliar church?
“According to the writer, the Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to non-Christian Religions is the Catholic response to Islam.”
You cannot argue that this writer is incorrect and that NA is not the Catholic response to Islam if you believe there has been no contradiction in what the Church taught about both the Catholic religion and all other religions between the time before and after the Council. All of the popes since Vatican II have taught that “all religions have elements of truth within them” and so “the Church rejects nothing that is true and HOLY within them” (NA, #2). Further, “Catholics are to engage in dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions so they can recognize the good things found within them”. (NA, #2).
Obviously from this we can do nothing but admit that the Catholic Church taught error for over 19 centuries, particularly if all religions are HOLY, since it clearly never taught that false religions contain anything good or HOLY within them as they are from the Devil, which really means the Catholic Church has not been the arbiter of Truth revealed by God and it can readjust its teachings as men see fit.
Exactly, Vatican II promotes another religion that is anti Catholic. Vatican II does not worship Christ but the Prince of the world.
What has Francis done about the horrific slaughter of Coptic Christians by Islamic terrorists? Nothing!
Yes but dialogue and accompaniment.
And no triumphalism either.
And prostelytism is solemn nonsense. So is my spelling.
October 10, 2012:
“On Wednesday, the eve of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Pope’s newspaper “L ‘Osservatore Romano”, published a special edition dedicated to Vatican II. It opens with an article written by Pope Benedict XVI on his personal memories of the great ecumenical gathering. Penned this past summer in Castel Gandolfo, the article is in fact the preface to a collection of writings by the young Prof. Joseph Ratzinger at the time of the Council, which, however, have never been published. Edited by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the complete collection is due to be published in Germany, by Herder.
Speaking about the Declaration “Nostra Aetate”, on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Benedict stated “at the outset the intention was to draft a declaration on relations between the Church and Judaism, a text that had become intrinsically necessary after the horrors of the Shoah. The Council Fathers from Arab countries were not opposed to such a text, but they explained that if there were an intention to speak of Judaism, then there should also be some words of Islam. How right they were, we in the West have only gradually come to understand.”
Further on he states: “a weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.”
The article goes no further in revealing what Benedict meant when he stated the declaration had “far-reaching importance”, nor why the declaration disregards the “sick and distorted forms of religion”, nor why the Council rejected the perennial Christian faith which “from the outset” took a “critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.”
What conclusion can be reached from this is up to you. However, it cannot be denied that the Council contradicted the perennial teaching of the Church on the Jews and that religions other than Catholicism are false and thus could not possibly be “holy” nor paths to salvation.
According to Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Liberty, which Benedict XVI said was “urgently requested and also drafted by the American Bishops in particular” and what was “at stake was the freedom to choose and practice religion and the freedom to change it” which they now claim are fundamental human rights and freedoms.”
If those who believe in Islam practice their religion which calls for the murder of all who reject Islam, which their religion does, they have a fundamental right to do so. That they slaughtered Coptic Christian’s was simply unfortunate for them.
“Make it known to My ministers that given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, that they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”