Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Which Islam are we talking about?

Just a short post to recommend an article in Catholic World Report on our understanding of Islam.  I'm not saying I agree with every word of it but it has given a direction to answer some of the questions I've sometimes had on hearing Catholic leaders talk about Islam.  William Kilpatrick suggests that they may be basing their more positive assessment of Islam on a particular strand that is not representative of the vast majority of Islamic countries - that of the Sufi tradition. Apparently, a Catholic scholar of  this particular Islamic tradition, Louis Massignon (1883-1962), has been very influential in the late 20th century Catholic view of Islam.   I was particularly interested to read of his background influence on  the Second Vatican Council documents, Nostra Aetate and Lumen Gentium. Have a read of "Looking at Islam through Catholics eyes."  

he also writes for Crisis Magazine.  There are some further articles of his:

1 comment:

Jacobi said...

From its inception Islam has been an inherently violent religion although as it developed into a political empire it naturally tolerated other religions for tax purposes, as all empires do.

It now poses a further threat. Given the secularisation of Western Society and now, increasingly of Catholicism, the Christian influence on public matters has diminished, almost to zero, producing a moral and religious vacuum.

Sadly our Hierarchy seem happy to go along with that or at least do nothing to counter it. This indicates collective, and personal, moral and actual, cowardice.

Vacuums will always be filled, and it is increasingly clear that Islam not only can, but fully intends to do so.

Kilpatrick criticises Pope Francis attitude towards Islam, and rightly so. But we should perhaps show some understanding of this. Given the nature of Islam, any angry or severe word uttered in public could mean the loss of Christian lives in the Middle or Far East, or as is happening daily now, in Africa. (see Fr Z’s note). That is partly behind the tone of his comments. But equally, being ”nice” to them, is not the answer.

Sooner or later we in the West, and particularly in the Church, will have to face up to this danger.