Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"No, the God of the Qur'an is Not the God of the Bible" Says A Protestant Theologian

The above is the Title of an article that appeared today in First Things at  
written by Gerald McDermott, Professor of Religion at Roanoke College and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. 

I particularly found this article to be offensive to Muslims who worship the same God worshiped by Christians and Jews. The author is trying to compare a text (The Qura'n) with another text (The Bible). Surely he finds differences since he as a Protestant Christian refers only to the Bible as the rule of faith "Sola Scriptura."  Although at the end of his article he attempts an about-face recognition of Muslims who can be saved through Christ, his approach does not strike me as ecumenical or, to say the least, as truthful with regard to the way Christian American Presidents - all more or less attached to Christian faith - endorsed the killing of many innocents in the Middle East. 

Here is my reply to him in the "Comments" section:

According to the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council (binding on all Catholics), Christians and Muslims worship the same God (Cf. Nostra Aetate document here:
Furthermore, Catholic theologians have repeatedly emphasized that salvation is possible for all human beings. We pray for anyone to attain salvation. The Second Vatican Council affirms that non-Christians who have not heard the Gospel can attain it if they follow the dictates of their conscience. In addition to the great theologians Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner and Yves Congar, you may wish to read Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, founder of First Things and co-leader of Evangelicals and Catholics Together who wrote in First Things: Will All Be Saved?
And Avery Cardinal Dulles article in First Things: Who Can Be Saved?

There is no question in my mind that God alone will judge the hearts. If anyone is not saved, the first will be Christians who are hypocrites today in a materialist Europe and North America.  I remain Catholic and follow the teachings of the Catholic Church which is based not on Sola Scriptura but on Tradition in which the Bible is authoritatively interpreted by the Church since the Apostolic Age.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Resolution to Personal Conflict

Following yesterday's correspondence on the reality of conflict, I received two emails from readers one congratulating me on winning the Best Bulletin Award presented by the Knights of Columbus and the second encouraging me to stay faithful to the Catholic Church.
Most significantly I received a phone call from my best friend who was present in the outing with our close friends on Saturday. He first clarified to me that no one intended to mock me then he advised me to relax my tone when speaking with others as possibly my style of speaking or tone could generate unnecessary tensions between friends. The person that I singled out yesterday as criticizing me and my pride did not direct his criticism to me but to all who were listening. He meant it in a purely Christian fellowship. I reflected on the above points and think that my best friend really has my best interest from his point of view. I believe that what my best friend said is not only wise but also God-send in the sense that we can never judge the intentions of others. I resolve to ask everyone whom I hurt in the past to forgive me. Christian love demands listening to others, patience, and above all forgiveness. I further resolve that I will do my best to communicate my ideas in a better tone to friends and others with God's help. Of course this applies also to my future lectures.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Reality of Conflict

Conflict is not only a disagreement between two intellectuals but has to do with preconceived ideas. I can refer to the history of long divisions between Christians who to-date have not healed. But even within friends conflicts can arise because one is perceived by his friends as too demanding. I experienced it yesterday when a number of women and men who are close friends mocked me because they perceived that I wanted to impose my will on their entertainment. One of them who is always critical of my Catholic knowledge since he is attached to a non-Catholic Church, intrigued me yesterday by admonishing me to be humble and not to seek my self-glory, following the gospel's demand. If you have ever experienced the human endeavor of always thinking about how you would look when a friend - publicly in front of your other close friends - humiliates you, you can understand my predicament.
But today I was vindicated when the District Deputy of the Knights of Columbus in Ontario and the pastor of Jesus the King Church announced to everyone, some 200, in the Mass my name as the winner of the best Bulletin Award - Honorable Mention. The Pastor added that "George has displayed so much energy in writing"! This was, of course, not my choice but the choice of leaders of the Knights of Columbus among 800 delegates in Ontario in their meeting a couple of weeks ago. We had a number of pictures taken with other 7 Knights who also won veritable Awards ranging from Best Council, Best Youth Project, to Best Web Site and many more.
One lesson is evident here. Men are free to join or reject joining the Knights of Columbus but the truth must be said: This lay order has close to 2 million Catholic members working together in charitable works. Satan can attempt to sow divisions as he did and always does whether in stimulating envy or getting me to hate those who disagree with me. But I am confident as we celebrate 'Corpus Christi" that Christ will in the end be the victor!

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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