Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What they mean by "dialogue"

"On the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate"
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
[Matthew 28:18-20]
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.
[Mark 16:15-17]
"Dialogue is a two-way communication. It implies speaking and listening, giving and receiving, for mutual growth and enrichment. It includes witness to one's own faith as well as an openness to that of the other. It is not a betrayal of mission of the Church, nor is it a new method of conversion to Christianity. This has been clearly stated in the encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II "Redemptoris Missio". This view is also developed in the two documents produced by the PCID: "The Attitude of the Catholic Church towards the Followers of Other Religious Traditions: reflections on Dialogue and Mission" (1984), & "Dialogue and Proclamation" (1991).
[Official history of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue]
The document referred to above, Redemptoris Missio, is subtitled "On the permanent validity of the Church's missionary mandate." It begins with the statement that "The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion. As the second millennium after Christ's coming draws to an end, an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service."

Redemptoris Missio raises the following questions:
1. Is missionary work among non-Christians still relevant?
2. Has it not been replaced by inter-religious dialogue?
3. Is not human development an adequate goal of the Church's mission?
4. Does not respect for conscience and for freedom exclude all efforts at conversion?
5. Is it not possible to attain salvation in any religion?
6. Why then should there be missionary activity?

However, the seriousness with which these questions are posed is given away by the title of the section in which they appear: "Jesus Christ, The Only Savior." But just in case there is any room for doubt, as soon as the these questions are listed, the next subsection is titled: "No one comes to the Father, but by me."

Redemptoris Missio makes abundantly clear the agenda behind all "charity" work, all "social activism", and all "dialogue" whatsoever, from the standpoint of Christianity. These are merely part of the arsenal of spiritual warfare, the end goal of which is, as it has always been, the downfall of all other, false, religions and their replacement by the lurid fantasies of the creed-making fishermen.

In true Orwellian fashion, the Church's project of extirpation is framed in terms of "universalism":
"The universality of this salvation in Christ is asserted throughout the New Testament. St. Paul acknowledges the risen Christ as the Lord. He writes: 'Although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth - as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords' - yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist' (1 Cor 8:5-6)."
[from the subsection "Salvation in Christ is Offered to All"]

"The God whom Paul wishes to reveal is already present in their lives; indeed, this God has created them and mysteriously guides nations and history. But if they are to recognize the true God, they must abandon the false gods which they themselves have made and open themselves to the One whom God has sent to remedy their ignorance and satisfy the longings of their hearts. These are speeches which offer an example of the inculturation of the Gospel."
[from the subsection "The Spirit Directs the Church's Mission"]

"The Church contributes to mankind's pilgrimage of conversion to God's plan through her witness and through such activities as dialogue, human promotion, commitment to justice and peace, education and the care of the sick, and aid to the poor and to children. In carrying on these activities, however, she never loses sight of the priority of the transcendent and spiritual realities which are premises of eschatological salvation."
[from the subsection "The Church at the Service of the Kingdom"]

[The very cool Cyborg illustration is by Sean Wang.]

Sharia World: A Brief News Round-Up

Iran: #1 Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43 year old woman, awaits the carrying out of the death sentence placed on her as punishment for an "illicit relationship outside marriage." The method of execution will be stoning. Source: Also: read this story over at it recounts the mind-bogglingly sadistic details of Sakineh's case, and includes a video-taped plea from her son.
#2 While the stoning of Sakineh has still not been carried out, Iran has moved ahead with the criminalization of the mullet. This story inspired Guy Walters, writing for the UK Telegraph, to ask "Can Iranian mullet-wearers be granted asylum?"

Nigeria: Niger State governor, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, has declared that "sharia law cannot be practised unless there exists a shariah penal code", and enforcement of this penal code must have the full backing of the state. In the same speech, Aliyu also insisted that violations of sharia law include "failing to keep promises, coming late to appointments, deceit and telling lies." Source:

Ingushetia (Russian province): "At an Ingush conference for Muslim scholars and elders this week, attended by Yevkurov, the money a groom must pay the bride's family for her hand was increased from 12,500 roubles (265 pounds) to 40,000 roubles (851 pounds), the local government said on official website." Source: Reuters Africa.

Indonesia: Nine Islamic groups have announced that they intend to organize an armed youth militia to enforce Sharia law, and, in particular, to use force to prevent people from choosing their own religion: "so that there is no more room for apostasy." Source: Christianity Today. Also see this long detailed post at the Barthnotes blog -- it contains numerous other links to media sources including Associate Press, the Maylaysia Star, the Jakarta Globe and more.

Egypt: "Nasr Hamed Abu Zeid, a prominent Egyptian scholar once accused of apostasy for his contemporary interpretation of Islam, has died. He was 66." Source: The Canadian Press. The story goes on to explain that:
Abu Zeid came to the public eye in 1995 when Islamist lawyers filed a suit against him, demanding he divorce his wife because his writings insulted Islam. A court ordered Abu Zeid to divorce, and the couple refused and fled Egypt for fear of being attacked by Muslim fundamentalists.

The case outraged secular Arab intellectuals, who saw it as an attack on freedom of expression.

Abu Zeid later appealed the ruling and won, but remained abroad, spending most of the last fifteen years in the Netherlands.
UK: "What isn't wrong with Sharia?" asks Maryam Namazie, writing in the pages of the UK Guardian:
The demand for the abolition of sharia courts in Britain, as elsewhere, is not an attack on people's right to religion; it is a defence of human rights, especially since the imposition of sharia courts is a demand of Islamism to restrict citizens' rights.

Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not for beliefs and parallel legal systems. To safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no religious courts.