Monotheism 101

The Church teaches (CCC 841) that "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

These days, many people are inclined to be skeptical of this as a specimen of post-Vatican II ecumania and indifferentism.

The problem with this view is that it is emphatically nothing new in the Catholic tradition to see Islam as worshipping the same God we do.  Case in point, modernist indifferentist heretic Pope St. Gregory VII, writing to the Muslim Sultan of Bougie in North Africa in 1076:

For there is nothing which Almighty God, who wishes that all men should be saved and that no man should perish, more approves in our conduct than that a man should first love God and then his fellow men … Most certainly you and we ought to love each other in this way more than other races of men, because we believe and confess one God, albeit in different ways, whom each day we praise and reverence as the creator of all ages and the governor of this world.

Nor is the appeal to the sins of Radical Islamists much help in proving that the God of Islam is not the same God we worship.  We Catholics, who have been told for decades that sinful Mafiosi, or anti-semites, or abusive priests somehow render Catholicism idolatrous should know better.  Sin proves that we are sinners.  It does not prove that we believe in "another god".  So we are left with the search for a theological argument to show that Muslims worship some other god.  Typically this boils down to citing 1 John: "No one who denies the Son has the Father" (1 John 2:23).

 Now there is no question that, Muslims deny some key truths of the Faith including the Trinity and the deity of Christ–but then, so do Jews. Yet only the most extreme Reactionary Dissenter would conclude from this that these fellow monotheists worship "another god."  So what gives?

Exclusivist Catholics seem to me to be ultimately erring in two ways in trying to reject CC 841.  The first error we will discuss this week, the second next week.

The first error is called "salvation by intellectual works" It is the idea that God will not accept somebody who does not have all their intellectual conceptions of God in perfect shipshape.  But if this were the case, then it would be mighty tough for any of the worthies of the Old Testament to be saved.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never professed faith in the Trinity.  Isaiah held no doctrine of Transubstantiation.  Yet we know that they are in Heaven.

Analogously, many people today, through no fault of their own, "reject" Catholic teaching (due to who-knows-what sort of familial and cultural baggage that keeps them from seeing Jesus as the Church sees Him). The Exclusivist who simplistically cites "No one who denies the Son has the Father" but who does not take into account the Church's teaching on culpability is simply practicing another form of Fundamentalism. Yes, Jesus said, "He who is not with us is against us."  But he also said, "He who is not against us is for us."  The Muslim whose only conception of the Trinity is that Christians believe God the Father had physical relations with the Blessed Virgin is not sinning by rejecting this stupid notion.  Indeed, he is (if he but knew it) affirming Catholic belief.  If he never hears actual Trinitarian teaching in a way he can comprehend, and tries his best to be faithful to the light he has by living a life of charity, our faith hold out hope that he will be saved by the grace of Christ.

It is worth noting that the description of judgment in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats says nothing about having figured out correct doctrine.  It is all about people responding as best they can to the light they have.  Indeed, the mark of the saved sheep in that parable is surprise.  By Jesus' account, none of his followers among the "nations" (those outside the visible covenant community) had the slightest idea they were serving him: "Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'" (Matthew 25:37-39). 

This is why the counsel of the Church to those who are too eager to know who is and is not saved is to remember, "We know where the Church is.  We do not know where it is not."

Mark Shea

By

Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • Guest

    My position is simple:  The Ordinay Means of Salvation is through the one Church founded by Christ.

     It would be silly (heretical) of me to impose a limit on who God can save, but the Church has taught that the ordinary means of salvation is through the Church — for who else has the sacraments of sanctifying grace?

    Baptism is a necessary step, all Christians have access to it.

    The sacrament of Reconciliation is the only ordinary means of removing serious (mortal) sin after Baptism — so if all you have is baptism the road gets much harder.

     God is all powerful, He can do all things.  The parable of the workers in the vineyard tells that God can bestow gifts and blessing upon anyone he chooses.

     Here my example though:  Halftime of the Dallas Mavericks basketball game, I get called down to shoot a free throw.  If I make it, I win one million dollars.  Hopefully I've been practicing becuase I know this opportunity may arise.  The downside — if I miss my right arm is amputated.  Then I'm offered a choice — to turn with my back toward the net and put a blindfold on, or to stand facing the net with my eyes wide open.  Given the consequences at hand — there's no way I'm accepting the blindfold, even though there is still a possibility the shot goes in. 

    Why do we have so many martyred missionary Catholic Saints?  The answer is very clear — until we embrace indifferentism, even unto the Muslims and Jews!

  • Guest

    Kelle,

    You are troubled by many things, but have faith in these words of Our Lord: "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

    Do you know that "Allah" is simply "God" in Arabic?

    So what are Christians in Arab speaking countries supposed to call God?

    PTR!

  • Guest

    Kelle is the heretic. This person throws out all these claims and without a single paragraph to support their arguement. Did you forget that scripture says "the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church". We can't be without a valid Pope. Christ will not leave His Church unprotected. Go to a Mass in english it is wonderful to participate in the worship and receive Jesus body, blood, soul and divinity.

    "Be not afraid" Jesus/John Paul II

    Trust 

  • Guest

    I think there is some significance in how the Catechism refers to “Muslims” here (meaning, persons) and not Islam (meaning a religious belief system). Stating that “the plan of Salvation includes… Muslims”… well, really, the plan includes everyone (though not everyone will necessarily accept the plan). You could substitute Italians, vegetarians, fornicators, etc. in place of “Muslims” here, and I believe it would still be a true statement (not positive about the vegetarians, though).

     

    I also think it is significant that it describes the Muslims as “professing” a belief in the “One God”… which I don’t believe automatically or definitively means this is the same God. Islamic teaching is pretty clear that they do not believe Allah to be the same Trinitarian God we worship (“Do not say God it three!”).

     

    I am not sure why “No one who denies the Son has the Father” is so quickly and easily dismissed here, and even an uncharitable jab is taken at those who cite this passage, as being “simplistic” or “fundamentalists”.  We have a pretty “simplistic” understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, “This is My Body…”  I am sure Jesus said this other statement for a reason. Until we have clarity on what that reason is, I don’t think we can so readily dismiss it.

     

    Finally, we have to be honest in acknowledging some basic truths here, using the principle of non-contradiction. Regarding Islam and its origins, there are 4 possibilities I can see:

    (1)               Gabriel truly did appear to Muhammad, and provided new revelation… in this case, the Christian Bible is corrupted, and Christianity is a false religion

    (2)               Muhammad had a hallucination (a rather long one)… in this case, Islam is a false religion

    (3)               Muhammad made the entire thing up, for reasons unknown… in this case, Islam is a false religion

    (4)               It was not Gabriel, but a demon claiming to be Gabriel who fooled Muhammad. In this case… well… this one is scary…

     

    Our statements against Islam in no way lessen the hearts and opportunity for Salvation of Muslims. But a Catholic Christian understanding would be that, if a Muslim is saved (which I no doubt believe many of good conscience will be) it will be in spite of Islam, not because of it.

  • Guest

    Our separated brothers and sisters in the evengelical churches sometimes take quotes from different councils to "prove" that the Church can't claim to teach infallibly.

    And at another level, how do we know whether any of the popes were elected canonically?  We weren't in the room. 

    At some level, one must trust the Church.

    There is a good piece here which might help. 

  • Guest

    In John 10:16 "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold". I'm 62 yrs old and I remember that the Church has always taught that we are all on a pilgrimage even those who aren't in The Church yet. It is always true to say that all are saved through the Catholic Church because all santifying grace comes through the Body of Christ, The Catholic Church but remembering we are all on a pilgrimage and some don't get all the way INTO the Church they are still saved by the same santifying grace because they responded as best as they could with what they had learned and experienced of God and his Son Jesus, unlike some who think they know all there is to know about the Church teaches which took 2000 yrs to understand and the Church is still learning. Ofcourse if you already know it all than God really isn't God now is he.

    The people, some my neighbors, who are in the Latin Mass community are living in fear of change (healthy change). I for myself  pray daily to trust the Holy Spirit and live a life of peace, in the Church of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic.

    Rest in the Lord and leave it to the Holy Spirit to take care of the Magistarium unless you feel God has raised you up to Pope level.

  • Guest

    Kelle,

         You come across as a very unloving person.  I can certainly understand your hostility toward several things that occur in the church today.  But to declare that several of our popes are anti-popes?  And to target that hostility toward authors and viewers of this site, who are some of the most faithful Catholics in existance today?  Jesus promised that his Church would not be lead astray and that the "gates of hell" would not prevail against it.

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    Rarely a safely quiet bet with Mark Shea –

    I find the man very nearly a living saint – but, then, Ms. Pagnanelli, so, too, do I find most Supreme Pontiffs on that edge. If these of recent conclaves have been anti-popes, we have been blessed even of these.

    Yet, dear, they are not anti-popes. The Spirit protects the Church of Jesus Christ. And, even in ‘competing Pope’ eras, the Church wasn’t with an anti-pope only.

    And, my dear lady, it is sad to have you trimming others to heresy with what is heresy.

    Remember, I love you, too

    Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)

  • Guest

    Kelle,

         I did not say that you aren't nice.  I said that you come across as un-loving.  Where do you suggest the Church is that Jesus promised would not be lead astray?  Did it just vanish?  If so, then I guess Jesus did not keep his promise.  I, too, am concerned with the salvation of souls.  Thank you for your recommendation for how I can save my soul.  I will continue to work on obtaining salvation by frequenting the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

  • Guest

    Pope Boniface VIII in the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302, “We declare, say, define and pronounce that it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the salvation of EVERY human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    Hmm. But Dante places Pope Boniface in Hell, face down, or rather head downward, still pointing towards heaven. Ah, yes, there you have it. Dante doesn’t teach authoritatively. Indeed no. He teaches imaginatively, and would not doubt the authority of Pope Boniface’s word even as he derided the pontiff for all to see. Not just derided him, but did so publicly and with no lack of humor to boot. Good Dante, and it is not I who says so. Pope Benedict XV writes In praeclara summorum in 1921, stating the following about the “divine poet” (his words, not mine):

    So, just as at the beginning of Our Pontificate by a Letter to the Archbishop of Ravenna We promoted the restoration of the temple where the ashes of the poet lie, so now, to initiate the cycle of the centenary celebrations, it has seemed most opportune to Us to speak to you all, beloved children, who cultivate letters under the maternal vigilance of the Church, to show even more clearly than before the intimate union of Dante with this Chair of Peter, and how the praises showered on that distinguished name necessarily redound in no small measure to the honour of the Catholic Church.

    Ah, yes, but Dante criticized the Bull bearer, condemning him in his person to Hell, at least for the sake of a bit of fun. And Pope Benedict XV praised Dante for the works that bear this condemnation and praised him in his person because of the works. That must mean that Pope Boniface was an anti-pope also, and therefore his Bull can claim no authority. After all, Pope Benedict XV praised the condemner and by extension affirmed the condemnation. But then again, Pope Benedict had these words for someone who attacked an obvious and moral prince of the Church. Therefore, Pope Benedict XV must be the anti-pope. But this same Pope also wrote Principi Apostolorum Petro, in which he afirms, “Indeed the unique gift of Peter’s primacy is that he might spread everywhere and preserve the riches of charity and faith, as Ignatius Theophorus, a man of Apostolic times, beautifully declared. For in those noble letters he wrote to the Roman Church on his journey, announcing his arrival in Rome to be martyred for Christ, he gave testimony to the primacy of that Church over all others by calling it ‘presiding officer over the universal community of charity.'” But this is true, and therefore it must be Pope Benedict XV who is the true pope whose affirmation of the condemnation of Pope Boniface is also true, rendering Pope Boniface the anti-pope whose Bull cannot have been true. Or else, it’s the other way around. In reverse. With rear and left-hand-side trading places to make way for the underside (after all, Dante buries Pope Boniface’s head in the ground of Hell), which in turn falls topsy-turvy into the the nebulous void below.

    The Church might just call this whole thing nihilism, and might even dare to question those who promote such convoluted thinking.

  • Guest

    Kelle

    Its strange to hear you rave of your great intellegents. I must tell you that as for me and my house i will serve the Lord. Jesus gave us the teaching authority of His Church, oh by the way Peter our first Pope wasn't at the foot of the cross and I suppose you have him as one of the bad Popes. none the less he was our first Pope. Jesus knew what He was doing, he was dying for us sinners. He left His One Church in the hands of us sinners and by the power of the Holy Spirit has kept the Truth intact and i thank Him everyday for that as i go to daily english Mass and receive Him in the paschal Mystery the Eucharist. One more thing the People of God are at both the latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass come join us sometime and you just might be heal of all that hate I hear in your messages. Remember Jesus is in charge and is still King of Kings even of you. By the way there are some things going on in our church that are upsetting but God is still in charge and it will all work at least for me if I trust Him and focus on Him as my Lord and Savior. Are you Baptized and are your receiving the Sacraments frequently if so you should be realizing God peace soon. 

  • Guest

    Actually, I find Kelle’s questioning to be quite entertaining. But first to the points.


    Regarding Assumption (1), only God knows for certain if somebody is in Hell. Dante is not God. Therefore, Dante does not know for certain that Pope Boniface is in Hell. This is Reason (1) why your conclusions above are not logical deductions.

    Ah yes, but no Pope can can ever make a false claim as pertains to faith and morals in the issuance of an official teaching. Thus, Pope Benedict XV is either teaching truly in the encyclical letter, or else he has by that time fallen astray. And so, when he writes, “Indeed, his Commedia, which deservedly earned the title of Divina, while it uses various symbolic images and records the lives of mortals on earth, has for its true aim the glorification of the justice and providence of God who rules the world through time and all eternity and punishes and rewards the actions of individuals and human society,” Pope Benedict is either recognizing the theological merits of Dante’s imaginative storytelling (to say nothing of the his wit), or else he is wrong. And in this area, which applies faith and morals to the judgments about the divine poet’s approach, we have a definite either-or: either Pope Benedict teaches wrongly (which places him in opposition to his office) or else he teaches rightly (which recognizes that it is often laudable to criticize, sometimes severely, even those who execute the office of Pope).

    But more importantly, I wasn’t striking for logic but rather to fight nonsense with nonsense. It is of course silly to strike up an opposition between a criticized Pope (who nonetheless taught properly) and another Pope who lauds his criticizer.

    But it is equally silly to lambaste those faithful who, following the lead of our own Holy Men, fail to reach the pinnacles established by those who are not Popes. There is some context missing from some of the aforementioned arguments. I’ll demonstrate one example and leave the rest as an execise for the reader. Let us provide the full text of Custodi di quella fede, again referring to number 15:

    Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God (emphasis mine).

    Pope Leo is speaking specifically about the problem of freemasonry and of specific attacks upon the faithful emanating from this specific group, which persecuted the Church in Pope Leo’s specific time. He then applies the timeless teachings to the effect of explaining why freemasonry is anti-Catholic in nature. The familiarity to be avoided is with that specific organization and its affiliated groups. Indeed, the subtitle of Custodi di quella fede is “Encyclical of Pope Leo XII on Freemasonry.” It would be immodest to generalize too much from Pope Leo’s words. So while, the Knights of Columbus are no doubt happy that we’re discussing this encyclical (their institution in no small part due to the need to fight freemasonry), I fail to see how it addresses the issue at hand, which is Mr. Shea’s explanation of CCC 841.

  • Guest

    We think so highly of Logic that we kneel before Him in the Blessed Sacrament, which is to say that we adore the Logos with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.

    As to Casti Connubii. I have read it in full, in both English and in Spanish, and I cannot yet fathom how number 59 is so misunderstood:

    Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved (emphasis mine).

    I am further bamboozled as to the lack of logic that comes in criticisms of NFP. If God created man and woman, then he created each as he or she is. Moreover, it is natural for a woman to be fertile only about 25% of the time, and this nature is created by the Divine Author. In practicing NFP, one is either employing knowledge about the fertile time to avoid conception — in complete obedience to the teaching of Pius XI in Casti Connubii — or else is leveraging that knowledge with the express purpose to conceive. Since NFP helps to conceive, and since conception is good, then any blanket condemnation of NFP is expressly false.

    But the same God who created cyclical fertility in women has never condemned the pursuit of knowledge by His followers, nor indeed any application of that knowledge in ways that respect the natural moral order. NFP respects this order, even when used to avoid conception, and the express consent of Pope Pius himself, writing in Casti Connubii, demonstrates this Truth.

  • Guest

    Kelle's posts have been deleted.  Catholic Exchange does not owe a forum to preachers of schism.  Future posts of protest from Kelle will also be deleted.  If Kelle wants a forum, Blogger is open for business.

  • Guest

    To Mark: Thanks for your exclusion of a certain future posts by… A few comments on your article. You would agree that it is one thing to say that we must exhibit charity " all the way down" towards our no-Christian brothers and sisters, and yet another to say thatthe Father's giving of the Son is the sui generis and final/complete revelation and salvific act of God towards the human race, no? And if I were to argue against the claim made that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, then such a claim can be made without necessarily implying any absence of charity towards Muslims on my part, no? I hope you agree. Now, "God" for us presupposes the knowledge of God that has been revealed to us by God so that we know and experience God as Trinity. So when a sentence uttered by a Christian Catholic refers to God as in the sentence, " We and Islam worship the same God." the term "God" presupposes "God as Father-Son-Holy Spirit". And, as you alluded to, our salvation does not depend upon our "figurin" this out; it is revealed knowledge. And I certainly agree with CCC and Vatican II documents, that one does not have to possess an explicit knowledge of Trinity or of Christ to be saved. But, to say that we and Muslims worship the same God is incompletely true at best. There is no equivalence and only a very weak analogy between our knowledge of God-as-Trinity and the Muslin conception of God as Transcendent Father. In fact, Islam explicitly repudiates Trinity. How then can it be said that we worship the same God when God for us always assumes Trinity while God for Muslims explicitly excludes Trinity. Thus, we do not know nor do we worship the same God.  I will not here discuss the legion implications of knowing or denying knowledge of God as Trintiy, but if I may so suggest, the differences are profound, virtually fatal to those denying it, and not at all a matter of mere intellection. Knowledge of God as Trinity is, I suggest, the allowing of oneself to participate in the gracious sui generis salvific power of Christ. It is what God has willed for the human race.  Now should we concede the above and nonetheless claim that we and Muslims worship the same God as Father and thus share the faith of Abraham, this requires that we might  somehow now truncate our knowledge of God as Trinity ( recall, we profess that we have been given knowledge of God ias Trinity) and say, mistakenly,that the Father we now know is the same Father that Muslims know. This claim would erect a false equivalence akin to Hegel's humorous quip when  admonishing us to beware of the "…dark of midnight in which all cows are black". (paraphrase). We know the Father precisely and only as the Father-Who-Gives-the Son-tghe Holy Spirit. This giving the Son is presupposed in our knowledge of God. To attempt to retrace our steps along the path of God's self-revelation back to a phase of Father-Prior-to-Son is not only impossible for us – we can't just willfully prehend Son from Father now that we know the full story!.If we were attempt it, we would find ourselves religiously, spiritually, and theologically off- balance and self-refuting. For Father was all along "back then" the Father-of- Promise who was working in human history towards the completeness of His self-revelation to the human race. It seems, then, that there is no possible nostalgic return ( in Heidegger's sense of nostalgia) for us who are on the other side of Trinity so to speak; no willful re-locating ourselves to a "time" of a static God becaues all along God was intending and anticipating the Son.  If the reply be made that the Islamic God was also one of Promise and Anticiaption, and the object of that promise has been met in the Prophet, what are we now to say? That God has wrought two very different final revelations,. a patent contardiction? To conclude, Mark, I feel strongly that we must find a way to extol the absoluteness and uniqueness of Christ as pertaining to  knowledge of God ( by knowledge is not meant mere intellection) without at the same time fostering attitudes and dispositions of anything less than charity " all the way down." Afterall, this revelation of God of Himself was important enough to Him to have carried it out for us. Thanks.  

  • Guest

    Lwall:

    1. I completely understand and agree with your assessment of the differences in the God of Christians and Allah (Maronites excluded, of course) of the Muslim.  Perhaps to say that we worship one divine nature is true without reference to the person(s) but this seems, as you suggest, a difficult return from "this side of the Trinity."

    2. Could you please use carriage returns, line-breaks, <br>, <p>, or some other method of breaking up your post?  I enjoy reading the posts, but it would be much easier if you could give a little white space.

    Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    I am saddened that Kalle has been silenced.

    I am Catholic, I can talk with anyone, without fear.

    If someone presents an untenable position, it will fall under its own weight.

    Although not in complete agreement with Kalle, I am having difficulty understanding Vatican II.  There does seem to be some inconsistency with the teachings that came before. 

    The only metric I have come up with that counts is the number of souls an idea pushes to heaven or hell.  I have yet to figure out how to make the particular measurement conclusively.  I apply it as best as I can.

     Kalle was not unloving.  Kalle disagreed.  Kalle, I think we can all agree, is trying to live out the faith as best as possible.

    It is not uncommon for men of goodwill to disagree.  How we react to this disagreement is a manifestation of our character.

    JMJ  I love you, save souls.

  • Guest

    Thank You Catholic exchange for taking Kekke off.

     

  • Guest

    I started reading your article and was finding it interesting until I came to the words "modernist indifferentist heretic Pope St. Gregory VII" and I stopped, wondering, as good a theologian Mr. Shea might be, and for all the good he does with his Catholic Exchange website, what gives him the right to be so judgemntal concerning a person declared a saint by the Church?

    Fr. Joe Geleney

     

  • Guest

    He's joking for effect!   

    Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    But then I came to a part I really liked: "If he never hears actual Trinitarian teaching in a way he can comprehend, and tries his best to be faithful to the light he has by living a life of charity, our faith hold out hope that he will be saved by the grace of Christ." Thank you, Mark.

    It absolutely true that all are saved solely by the grace of Christ. As Catholics we know that we must respond to this grace by sharing God's love with those we encounter on the way. If a non-Catholic shares the love of God in their own authentic way, then they too can hope for salvation.

    There is only one redeemer and the job of savior has already been taken. Blessed be His name. And as St Francis of Assisi would put it: "Now, let's preach the Gospel, and use words when necessary."

    Fr. Joe Geleney

  • Guest

    Father Joe,

    Go to Mark Shea's weblog sometime and read for a while.  Mark has a dry sense of humor and does not red flag his sarcasm with (PARODY ALERT) signs. It can get you blood up until you get used to his style.

    God bless.

    PTR!

  • Guest

    Fr. Joe:

    I was kidding about Pope St. Gregory.  As our banned commenter Kelle illustrated, this is the language that is routinely thrown at people who say precisely what Pope St. Gregory said.

    lwall:

     

    I am not attempting a full exposition of Trinitarian doctrine in this piece. As the title makes clear, I am addressing one, single, solitary question: Do Muslims believe in the one God of Abraham?  Answer: yes, according to the Church.  The question of whether they fully understand the nature of the one God of Abraham is a separate question outside the scope of this article (or next week's article).

  • Guest

    Thanks for your response, Mark. I look forwrad to the next installment. Perhaps now I can get your comment on my prior post's development which claims that when we utter God /Father we mean a very different thing than Islamic God/Father. If there is commonality here between us and them, I do not see how it rests on our "worshipping" the same God/Father. What we know of Him as He has disclosed Himself in the totality of salvation history reveals a quite different God. This would, in my opinion, constitute an honest analytic of the term God without what I sense is an intended glossing [ not a glossing by you] the differences disclosed for the sake of I- know- not- what. I had also commented that, phenomenologically at least, that which is held and experienced interiorly for us in our so-called knowledge of God is inseparably bound to God as Trinity? And that we know the Father precisely and only as The Father Who Gives His Son. This inseparablility precludes that we might factitiously now sunder Son from Father, and thereby[ falsely ]hold in our minds a watered down, isolated pure Father conceptsaid to resonate with and analogize to the Islamic view of same. I did not mention then but will nowMuslims do not acknowledge a shared belief in Abraham. For according to Islam, we get Abraham all wrong who, in their view,settled on the Arabian peninsula and established a religion informed by divine revelation….We enjoy only a nominal sharing of Abraham. It seems to me that the commonalities viz. God/Father/Abraham are nominal at best, do no real work, and are conceptually incompatible. I look forward to your addressing these concerns.

  • Guest

    lwall:

     

    When St. Thomas say, "There is an Unmoved Mover and that is what we call 'God'."  He does not give us anything like a full Trinitarian doctrine.  He doesn't even approach the fact that God is personal.  He simply gives us what Peter Kreeft calls a "slice" of God.  But he is, indeed, talking about the God who has fully revealed himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Muslims get a bit further than saying God is an Unmoved Mover.  They do not get as far as Trinitarian theology.  But they are right as far as they go.  They are only wrong when the deny what the Church affirms and affirm what the Church denies.

    As say, we are talking Monotheism 101 here, not attempting to pretend that Catholics and Muslims are saying the same thing in every detail.  Merely pointing out that Pope St. Gregory and the Vatican Council are right to note that the three great Abrahamic religions are, in fact, Abrahamic religions.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the reply, Mark. I suppose I do not understand what "Abrahamic religion" means such that we and Islam may be said to share its content; share this Abrahamic faith more than in name only. I will try to do some research. Any suggestions for sources?

  • Guest

    This is not a suggestion as to the proper understanding or explanation of Abrahamic religion. However, if you want a good allegory that explains how you can serve God as He is even when your own understanding is flawed, I highly recommend C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle. It helps to read the first six books first. In order to avoid spoiling the plot for anyone who hasn't read it yet, I won't go into detail here. However, there is a sub-plot to The Last Battle which offers a view into how a human's flawed understanding (which again is not merely knowledge) of God in no way affects the reality of God, nor does it affect the ability of the human to serve God despite his (i.e. the human's) own ignorance in the matter.

  • Guest

     Homeschool, thanks but I don't grasp that your recommendation pertains to me. I am trying to discern the stated commonality between Catholic Christians and Islam viz. our supposed sharing of " the Abrahamic religion."  I am looking for a specfic relgious content of " Abrahamic religion" that is more tha a nominal historical sharing of this ancient patriach who was called froth from Ur, fathered two sons in later years ( resulting in two very different lines of progent), supposedly discoursed with God, and received the promises of Genesis. Is that what is being called the point of commonality between us and Islam, forgeting for now that Islam has much more to say re: Abraham. I believe Islam's much more to say about Abraham transforms Abraham into a figure we don't even recognize, so how is it claimed that we share "the faith of Abraham.?  I am open to instruction on this matter.  

  • Guest

    Kelle, I must defend Mark at least to this degree: he does not claim that the Muslim God is the same as the Christian Trinitarian God. He wants to argue that we share a monotheistic God such that the Muslim God would be the same ( ? is "the same" appropriately representing Mark here? ) as God the Father of the Trinity. Now if this represents Mark's claim somewhat accurately, I would challenge him on that claim which I have done in my previous posts. See above.

  • Guest

    Kelle,

    First, many people use NFP in order to have a baby. Although NFP can be used wrongly, with a contraceptive mentality, it is designed to be used in cooperation with God's plan for married love. 

    Second, regarding #54 and #56, the conjugal act exercised by couples using NFP does not deliberately frustrate the natural powers of the act. The natural powers of the act are still there. There is nothing in the act iteself which frustrates those powers.

    Third, regarding #59, although I am not a Latin scholar and must rely on the English translation, it seems to me #59 rather clearly disproves your contention. It clearly states that it is not acting against nature for married couples to engage in the conjugal act when on account of timing (or defect) new life can not be brought forth.

    Fourth, one of the most loving effects of NFP I have witnessed is that couples become engaged in a constant loving dialog about each other's needs and the needs of the family. It teaches Godly obedience, prayerful communication with both God and each other, self-mastery and mutual self-sacrifice — holy things which many modern marriages lack.   Every cycle, the wife and husband are in prayerful conversation — talking and listening to each other — and then acting in cooperation with God's plan for married love.  This loving, prayerful dialog is better than most marriage counseling the world can offer.

    PTR! 

    By the way, how do you know for sure if you are quoting popes or anti-popes? I mean, what infallible authority are you relying on to tell you, say, Eugene IV is a valid pope to quote, but John XXIII is an invalid anti-pope?

  • Guest

    Kelle,

    First, thanks you for the response.

    I think we are in agreement that NFP couples can have a contraceptive mentality.  We seem to disagree about whether every conjugal act that is exercised (in the natural manner) at the time when new life can not be brought forth is frustrating the nature of the act or cooperating with it.

    Am I following your logic correctly?

    It seems that every one of the faithful must apparently be required to know the ins and outs of  these Vatican documents in order to identify the true Church.  But since we can not rely on the teaching office of the Church, then how do we know even which of these documents are authentic?

    And we know Bl. John XXIII was a communist based on what infallible authority?  Likewise his membership as a Freemason?

    The infallible authority I have been relying on is the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Church, the bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome.

    Also, if there have been no valid popes (and no bishops? few bishops?) for the past forty years, then all the priests and bishops they have ordained are not valid priests and bishops.  And are the saints they have proclaimed really anti-saints? This would also mean the number, location and identity of valid priests and bishops must be very, very small indeed at this point. Perhaps even gone, in which case the gates of hell have prevailed.

    Can you see how following your logic gets very confusing, at least to me?

    While it is sometimes very difficult to accept the things with which one disagrees, it is essential to continue to accept the gift given to the authoritative teaching office of the Church.  Otherwise, we are each our own pope, having to make our own determination where and whether the Church exists.

    In Acts of the Apostles, the early Church had to struggle with the issue of circumcision and whether the newly converted Gentiles were required to enter God's OT covenant and follow Mosaic law in order to become Christians.

    Had God's everlasting covenant ended?

    Did God's law change, even though Jesus said He did not come to change one iota of the law? 

    Ultimately, the Church recognizes the authoritative teaching office of the Church and submits in obedience to the power of the Holy Spirit in this. It is clear in Acts that many disagreed and were upset over this.

    Likewise, we must recognize the authoritative teaching office of the Church and submit in obedience to the power of the Holy Spirit in this, even though we might disagree and be very upset over the issue.

  • Guest

     Kelle:

    Does the Church permit continence in the conjugal act for a married couple if both parties consent?

     Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Kelle:

    I re-read Casti Connubii in its entirety and saw nothing about "a period of time."  Even if that statement were there, it mean nothing as, and eon is "a period of time."  I suggest that the couple is suboridinated the the purpose by the fact that, even if they may not seek to have children at that time, they are open (not presenting mechanical or Onan-ary obstacles) to the Will of God.

    The exact quote, from paragraph 53 is:

    "First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act."

    Does this not say, in paraphrase, that through virtuous continence offspring may be carefully avoided?

    BTW, I have no real opinion on NFP since my wife and I have never had need to use it.  But it seems that your reading of Casti is more restrictive than the actual words.

    Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Kelle: 

    Have you read Principles of Catholic Theology? 

    Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Kelle:

    You will have to explain how "virtuous continence" is different from NFP.  My understanding of NFP is that it is intended as the practice of virtuous continence for postponing childbirth.  Where does CC state that virtuous continence may not be practiced during fertile periods?

    As to Ratzinger, I have addressed this topic in another post some time ago.  Taking one word from an entire argument and using it out of context seems to be somewhat lacking in charity.  Re-read that section and then see if it is not setting the Syllabus in its historic context and then expanding it into the Cold War/Communist Era mielieu.  "Contra" has more than one sense of meaning.

    Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Kelle:

    I see that you are as ill-tutored as you are ill-mannered. You play the sophist well. If it helps you to relegate your opponent to a status of sub-human (undeserving of dignity, only name-calling) in order to support your weak arguments, you may certainly do so. However, one may refer to your position as the unhappy, disobedient, sedevacantist/conclavist, conspiracy church. I can play the sophist, too.

    In particular, you seem to regularly confuse Novus Ordo (a mass) and Vatican II (a council). Similarly, you referred to “virtuous continance,” which you say contains within itself the idea of “a period of time,” as something to be practiced for “a period of time.” Thus your argument can be reduced to “something which may be practiced for a period of time may be practiced for a period of time.” You are either a senior bureaucrat in the Department of Redundancy Department, one who is ignorant of what one just stated, or unable to articulate the point well. Is it a wonder that I requested clarification? As to how you can confuse my point about Benedict XVI’s nee Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s work with a Modernist position is a mystery. The two aren’t even related. Just like protestants, the sedevacantist/conclavist pulls out a standard repertoire of objections sans context sans critical thought sans charity sans humility and proceeds to beat the faithful about the head with them, thinking, I suppose, that they are fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission. May a pope hold an unorthodox position without being a heretic (at least while serving)? Look no further than Honorius I (a favorite among Protestants to refute papal infallibility). Was he an anti-pope? No. Though later declared heretic.

    You are in good company, Kelle. The Old Catholics, the Pope in Red (Gregory XVII/Cardinal Siri) crowd, the Schuckardists, the Arriagans, the “conclavist true Catholic Church,” and the Thuc line, all agree with you and disagree with one another. Which are you? As with the Protestant “Deformation,” infidelity yields separation yields further division.  One almost expects to hear "ultramontaine" or papist or Romish coming from you.

    Do I read books by Satanists? Yes, and those by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, Baptists, Mormons, Marxists, sedevacantists/conclavists, and atheists. I also read the Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, encyclicals, Kierkegaard, von Hildebrand (both Dietrich and Alice), Aquinas, theories of quantum electro-dynamics (QED), biology, science fiction, and, as part of past jobs, investment reports, news articles, press-releases, 10Ks and 10Qs, and OCC and Fed regulations. Know thyself and know thy enemy. Knowledge is one of the Gifts of the Spirit as is Wisdom.

    And you give lie to the claim that you aren't your own pope.  You are not only your own pope, but curia as well, if you are able to discern and declare heresy from reading excerpts of books.

    I know you’re posts have been deleted from the conversation. You may not even be allowed to reply. Despite my harsh tone, I have sincerely prayed my rosary intentions for this conversation daily, and for you. I ask your prayers as well.

    Michael
    "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried"

    "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Michael, 

    Thanks for the reply.  As the Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" church continues on its course of self-destruction (modernist faith, Protestant liturgy, compromised morals, shortage of vocations and priests, sexual scandals, etc.), I pray that you come back to the Catholic Church.

    Remember, by your fruits you shall know them.  The Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" fruits reveal your counterfeit church's ungodly origin.

    P.S.  Your use of Honorius I to attempt to prove the point that today's explicitly heretical anti-popes can still be popes is refuted as follows:

    Honorius I reigned for only 3 1/2 years after his alleged act of heresy.  Very simply, Honorius was indeed a valid pope prior to his alleged manifestation of heresy.  Since Honorius issued no dogmatic decrees after his alleged manifestation of heresy, the Church had no need to declare Honorius an anti-pope, even though Honorius would have lost his office "ipso facto" without need of a declaration if he was truly guilty of heresy.

    St. Francis De Sales (17th century), Doctor of the Church, The Catholic Controversy, pp. 305-

    "Thus we do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was. Now when he [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church…"

    Today’s anti-popes are not just popes that "hold an unorthodox" position as you say and as Honorius allegedly was.  No, today’s anti-popes are explicit heretics, individuals who knowingly and publicly teach falsehoods regarding the faith.

    For example, when Ratzinger formally teaches that "There are perfectly good reasons, then, for denying that the Old Testament refers to Christ", Ratzinger makes himself out to be an explicit heretic!  ("God and the World", 2000, P. 209.)

    No Catholic pope would ever teach that there are "good reasons" for denying that Jesus is the Messiah!

  • Guest

    Michael,

    I also feel the need to respond to your lack of understanding with regard to the difference between "virtuous" continance and sinful contraceptive NFP.

    While practicing "virtuous" continance, the couple does not PLAN just to have sex during infertile periods.  That is, the couple does not just say "Let's practice continance for the next two weeks because that is the fertile period, and then let's have intercourse the next two weeks because that is the infertile period."  No, that would be contraceptive NFP and sinful because that would manifest a willful INTENT or PLAN to frustrate the procreative purpose of conjugal love.

    While it does include some periods of continance, contraceptive NFP becomes sinful is when the couple PLANS to have sex only during the infertile periods because that is deliberately frustrating the purpose of conjugal love.  This is sinful contraceptive NFP may be continance but not "virtuous" continance.

    When a couple practices "virtuous" continance and not sinful contraceptive NFP, the couple agrees to abstain from intercourse for a length of time, but the agreed upon length of time is not PLANNED around the fertile and infertile periods.  If the time period of the continance were PLANNED to coincide with infertile periods, then the couple would be guilty of INTENDING to frustrate the purpose of conjugal love.  They would be very clearly PLANNING to have sex only when procreation would be frustrated.  And that is mortally sinful.

    The difference between "virtuous" continance and the sinful contraceptive continance of sinful contraceptive NFP is the INTENT of the couple.  The INTENT to frustrate the procreative purpose of intercouse while engaging in intercourse is the sin.

    This is the teaching of the Catholic Church but not the Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" church.  The Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" religion has compromised on this teaching and allowed the devil to convince many married couples to purposely frustrate the procreation of new life.  You choose the religion that you want to belong to, but if you choose the Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" religion you will spend an eternity in hell.

  • Guest

    Kelle,

    My goodness! So we've gone from Vatican II Church to the Vatican II Novus Ordo Church to the Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" Church.

    What's next, I wonder? The Vatican II, Novus Ordo, "People of God", The Pope is an Anti-Pope, Handholding at the Our Father, Impure Thoughts on a Steamboat Landing, Mopery with Intent to Creep, Dan Brown Doesn't Know the Half of It Church?

    I hope you have good intentions, but I have to say you come across as someone who is angry and needs a hug. Please take some solace in knowing you are in my prayers today. God loves you; He sent His Son to suffer and die for love of you; and He sends His Holy Spirit to guide His Church.

  • Guest

    PTR,

    Your posts have no substance.  All you keep saying "Kelle, God loves you."

    Yes, I know God loves me.  The question is "Do we love God back?"  If so, we will put forth the effort to find His Church.

    I have a question for you PTR.  How do you respond to your latest anti-pope's remark calling for "complete respect" for heretical sects?

    Benedict XVI, Address to “Bishops” of Brazil, May 11, 2007: “… the one Church of Christ… subsists in the Catholic Church which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.  In this way, through the National Council of Christian Churches, you will be able to move towards candid ecumenical dialogue, committing yourselves to complete respect for those other religious confessions…” (L’Osservatore Romano, May 16, 2007, p. 10.)

    This is heretical.  The true Catholic Church doesn’t look upon heretical religions with respect, and it certainly doesn’t have “complete respect” for their heretical bodies which keep people outside the Church and in a state of damnation.  How can we have "complete respect" for religions which teach falsehoods about Our Lord?  Do Novus Ordo "catholics" even think anymore?

    Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, Constitution 3, On Heretics:We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy raising itself up against this holy, orthodox and Catholic faith which we have expounded above.  We condemn all heretics, whatever names they may go under.  They have different faces indeed but their tails are tied together in as much as they are alike in their pride.”

    Pope Pelagius II, epistle (1) Quod ad dilectionem, 585: “If anyone, however, either suggests or believes or presumes to teach contrary to this faith, let him know that he is condemned and also anathematized according to the opinion of the same Fathers.” (Denz. 246)

    Which religion do you belong to PTR?  Only somebody without a mind would argue that the two religions are the same. 

    But alas, I know what will happen.  The members of the newest religious sect (ie, Vatican II Novus Ordo "People of God" church) will not answer my question nor defend their anti-pope.  They will just write back and say "God loves you" and "You must trust the anti-popes."

  • Guest

    Kelle:

    Can the gift of cyclic fertility be misused? Of course. Can the gift of free will be misused? Yes. Which gifts of Natural Law may not be misuesed?

    But upon what text do you base “While practicing ‘virtuous’ continance, the couple does not PLAN just to have sex during infertile periods. That is, the couple does not just say ‘Let’s practice continance for the next two weeks because that is the fertile period, and then let’s have intercourse the next two weeks because that is the infertile period.’

    Michael

    “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried”

    “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Kelle:

    From pp. 208-210 of God and the World

    “Now let’s take the prophet Isaiah. The original text in fact reads “Drop down righteousness, O heavens.” Only after righteousness had come in the guise of a particular person did the Christians read this text with a personalized reference. Thus in this relationship of agreement between Old and New Testaments we can see how the word of Scripture offers a progressive way. The words go to meet him; they seek him out where he is still in obscurity.

    “It is of course possible to read the Old Testament so that it is not directed toward Christ; it does not point quite equivocally to Christ. And if Jews cannot see the promises as being fulfilled in him, this is not just ill will on their part, but genuinely because of the obscurity of the texts and the tension in the relationship between these texts and the figure of Jesus. Jesus brings a new meaning to these texts—yet it is he who first gives them their proper coherence and relevance and significance.

    “There are perfectly good reasons, then, for denying that the Old Testament refers to Christ and for saying, No, that is not what he said. And there are also good reasons for referring it to him—that is what the dispute between Jews and Christians is about. But this is not all. A great part of the purely historical and critical exegesis, likewise, does not read the Old Testament in this sense of pointing the way forward; it regards the Christian interpretation of it as being inconsistent with the original meaning, or at any rate as going far beyond it.

    “One would have to add the: The Old Testament is not an oracle; it is a path. We still have the freedom to reject it. I would say that the very fact that this freedom is open to us is a guarantee that the texts will stand on their own. It is quite clear that historically the Old Testament precedes Christ; the faith and the Scriptures of the Jews make that as clear as day. The Church Fathers saw it as the historical mission of the Jews that, by saying Yes to the Old Testament and No to Jesus, they give a universal guarantee of the age and authenticity of their sacred books. This, so the Fathers thought, was why they remained Jews and did not become Christians. The texts stand on their own, but they gain a new significance and a unity of the view when we read them with Christ.” [disputed area highlighted for clarity].

    Like saying that the Psalms definitively say “There is no God” (Ps. 4:1-2) you commit the gross error of Fallacy of Accent. Failure to present the full context of a quote does not bolster your argument, it only makes you appear that you don’t understand the quoted material. Similar errors are committed when saying that the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX anathema 15 is a blanket statement. The textual references given at the end of the statement set the parameters for the anathema…it is not a blanket statement. Outside of those parameters, until the Church has specifically pronounced additional specifics, Catholics may, in good faith, disagree though interior assent is required of the parameters for which the anathema was made.

    Michael

    “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried”

    “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” – GK Chesterton

  • Guest

    Kelle,

    If you find the message that "God loves you" has no substance, then I will just leave it at that and continue to pray for you. God has certainly given you have a very fine mind and I hope you can use it to find substance in this message.

    As to the Holy Father's May 11th remarks about ecumenical dialogue, my response is that the bishops ought to heed the advice of the Holy Father approach the dialogue in complete respect for those other religious confessions.

    I don't know in what language the Pope spoke these words, and since I only speak English, I am admittedly limited in my ability to understand his words.  But the word "respect" has several meanings in English. 

    One definition is "a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward somebody or something." This definition is, I take it, the one you are using and find offensive. 

    Another definition of respect is "consideration or thoughtfulness." This definition makes more sense since the Holy Father is apparently emphasizing his intent on making the dialogue meaningful and candid.

    Condemning people to damnation in Hell is God's business, not mine.

    Or yours.

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