Comments in green are my own comments/additions.
August 07, 2013 District of the US
We make available here an article of Fr. Regis de Cacqueray, District Superior of France, which was published on August 6 and comments on the message of Pope Francis for the conclusion of the Muslim Ramadan. We are grateful to the French District website, La Porte Latine for allowing us to reproduce this text in English.
For the end of Ramadan and Id al-Fitr, Pope Francis signed with his own hand, on July 10, a message of good wishes [see text below] to the Muslims, to be published on August 2, 2013.
For centuries, after the example of Our Lord, Catholics have been called to show their charity towards their neighbors; this charity is expressed by the most ardent and noble desire, that of seeing them one day receive the greatest of gifts: becoming sons and daughters of Jesus Christ by the grace of baptism. It would thus be a lack of esteem for our neighbor not to hope with all our heart that he may resolutely abandon the obstacles that draw him away from Christ and the Holy Church instituted by Him. Man-made religions, such as Buddhism, Islam or Talmudic Judaism, are among the foremost of these obstacles.
And yet, since Vatican II and its declaration, Nostra Aetate, these obstacles have suddenly come to be seen as worthy of esteem, even as vehicles of grace. While in reality they keep souls from finding the truth and adhering to Christ, the only way of salvation, a good number of pastors now encourage interest in these spiritual systems, and invite non-Christians to deepen their own beliefs. In some cases, they even encourage them to remain in their errors!
When the popes, by their acts, such as kissing the Koran (Pope John Paul II, below), or by their writings, such as wishing them a happy feast of Id al-Fitr (each of the last 3 popes), encourage the Muslims in the practice of Islam, we cannot but be devastated! In doing this they seem to lose sight of souls’ need to leave these paths that do not and can never lead to their salvation.
This attitude is the very opposite of that of St. Francis of Assisi when he met Sultan Al Malik Al Kamil: he gave proof of a demanding charity towards him, showing that he truly understood the man, but desiring only one thing: that his soul might go to Jesus Christ and abandon Islam. He neither insulted nor assaulted him. But neither did he give way. He told him straightforwardly:
If you wish to convert to Christ, and your people with you, I will most gladly remain among you out of love for Him. If you are hesitant about abandoning the law of Mohammed for the faith of Christ, order an immense fire to be lit; I will enter into it with your priests and you will see which is the surer and holier of the two creeds, and which one you must follow.
On April 3, 1991, John Paul II sent a message to the Muslims for the end of Ramadan. This August 2, his successor Francis imitated him. These acts are justified by the new practice of friendship inherited from the Council. This practice wishes to respond to the desire of entertaining peaceful relations in the zones of coexistence. But how can we not see that in the regions where Christians and Muslims live, the Christians are never the ones persecuting? How can we not notice that in our Western lands, it is the mosques that are being built and the churches that are being destroyed? How can we not observe that where Islam advances, it is to the detriment of our sanctuaries and calvaries? Is not this growth thanks to an irenicism that has refused prudence and embraced unconsciousness?
Fr. De Foucauld, who lived in contact with the Muslims and whose love for these men knew no bounds, was always lucid in distrusting their erroneous beliefs. Speaking of the Muslims of North Africa, he said:
They can fight with great courage for France, out of a sentiment of honor, a warlike character, a solidarity, a fidelity to their given word, like the mercenaries of the 16th and 17th centuries, but generally speaking, besides some exceptions, as long as they remain Muslim, they will not be French; they will wait more or less patiently for the day of the medhi, when they will drive France to submission.
Why should this realistic warning from the holy missionary come to be seen as an exaggerated judgment and a fearful proof of his animosity?
For the love of God, for the love of souls, we pray that the Church’s authorities, and in particular the Sovereign Pontiff, may return to that clear language that consists in showing one’s love for one’s neighbor, but never showing esteem for the errors that can keep him far from God.
As the Apostle of the Gentiles warning St. Peter, we desire in our modest turn to send out a cry of alarm to his successor. May he strengthen souls with the charity of the missionary spirit that can only open a dialogue with the one single idea of resolutely leading souls to Jesus Christ.
There only is their good. There only is their salvation.
Suresnes, August 6, 2013, feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.
~ Fr. Regis de Cacqueray, District Superior of France
Message of Pope Francis on August 2, 2013, for the end of Ramadan
To Muslims throughout the World: It gives me great pleasure to greet you as you celebrate ‘Id al-Fitr’, so concluding the month of Ramadan, dedicated mainly to fasting, prayer and almsgiving. It is a tradition by now that, on this occasion, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends you a message of good wishes, together with a proposed theme for common reflection.
This year, the first of my Pontificate, I have decided to sign this traditional message myself and to send it to you, dear friends, as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are religious leaders (aka those certainly NOT in a state of invincible ignorance). As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of “Francis”, a very famous saint who loved God and every human being deeply, to the point of being called “universal brother”. He loved, helped and served the needy, the sick and the poor; he also cared greatly for creation. I am aware that family and social dimensions enjoy a particular prominence for Muslims during this period, and it is worth noting that there are certain parallels in each of these areas with Christian faith and practice.
This year, the theme on which I would like to reflect with you and with all who will read this message is one that concerns both Muslims and Christians: Promoting Mutual Respect through Education. This year’s theme is intended to underline the importance of education in the way we understand each other, built upon the foundation of mutual respect.
Pope Leo XIII, Custodi di Quella Fede, 1892, #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."
“Respect” means an attitude of kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and esteem. “Mutual” means that this is not a one-way process, but something shared by both sides. What we are called to respect in each person is first of all his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices. We are therefore called to think, speak and write respectfully of the other, not only in his presence, but always and everywhere, avoiding unfair criticism or defamation. Families, schools, religious teaching and all forms of media have a role to play in achieving this goal.
Turning to mutual respect in interreligious relations, especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols, its values.
"Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons...We must be tolerant to the erring, because ignorance may have led them astray; but we must be intolerant to the error, because Truth is not our making, but God's." - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, 1928, #10
"The union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it... whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head."
Particular respect is due to religious leaders and to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of these! It is clear that, when we show respect for the religion of our neighbors or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy, without making reference to the content of their religious convictions.
Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, Session XIII, 1551, Ch. VIII
"It is not enough to declare the truth unless errors be exposed and repudiated, it has seemed good to the holy council to subjoin these canons, so that, the Catholic doctrine being already known, all may understand also what are the heresies which they ought to guard against and avoid."
Regarding the education of Muslim and Christian youth, we have to bring up our young people to think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing or denigrating their convictions and practices. We all know that mutual respect is fundamental in any human relationship, especially among people who profess religious belief. In this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow.
When I received the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on March 22, 2013, I said: "It is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world."
Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, 1907, #14
"Here it is well to note at once that, given this doctrine of experience united with the other doctrine of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true...And with what right will Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? With what right can they claim true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed Modernists do not deny but actually admit, some confusedly, others in the most open manner, that all religions are true...the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more living."
He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.
1 John 2:22
Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, who denieth the Father, and the Son.
2 John 1:10
If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you.
For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.
With these words, I wished to emphasize once more the great importance of dialogue and cooperation among believers, in particular Christians and Muslims, and the need for it to be enhanced. With these sentiments, I reiterate my hope that all Christians and Muslims may be true promoters of mutual respect and friendship, in particular through education.
Finally, I send you my prayerful good wishes, that your lives may glorify the Almighty and give joy to those around you. Happy Feast to you all!
From the Vatican,
July 10, 2013
Pope Pius IX, The Syllabus of Errors, 1864, #15
Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true - CONDEMNED
Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, 1928, #2
" ...[some] hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life.
For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission.
Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion."