European bishops' conferences pledge to deepen dialogue with Islam [CWN]

Bishops and episcopal conference officials responsible for relations with Muslims in Europe have affirmed their commitment to dialogue."Islam is a religion rich and diverse in its …

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I never quite understood what dialogue with other religions meant.

That’s a decent question. At its best, I think it means collaborating together for different service based projects and providing opportunities to learn more about one another’s faith. In many ways Christianity and Islam are very similar, and while it would be wrong to say that there aren’t real and significant differences, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be political and cultural allies. In post-Christian Europe, where the Orthodox Christian is rapidly finding himself without any allies, I can’t imagine were else Christians can find support on issues such as same-sex marriage, religious freedom, displaying one’s religion in a public square, and to SOME extent issues regarding abortion and sexual promiscuity.

An example of such an alliance that could and should have happened is in Ontario, Canada where both Muslims and Christians have been protesting the province’s latest sex-ed curriculum. Doing so together would have been a powerful display of unity.

What about displaying one’s religion in a public square by cutting off the head of a Catholic bishop?

Let me quote myself from an earlier discussion:

Of course when I wrote that back in August '14, the threat of cutting off the heads of Christians was largely abstract. Today, in areas controlled by the Islamic State, it’s such an everyday occurrence that it is barely reported anymore. The caliphate now only makes the news if they burn someone alive.

There’s precisely one thing which is stopping the Muslim minority in places like Rome from slaying the Christians, and it’s the secular state. Keep undermining it, and I will live long enough to see the last pope beheaded by islamists on St. Peter’s Square.

Islam is not a religion, it’s a totalitarian political system masquerading as religion.

There is no “dialogue” with people who want to kill you.

Then leave dialogue in the hands of those who may be able to do something.
One is not always predisposed to do so. It is human too.
By experience , dialogue can happen with those.who would kill you if they had.to.
Fundamentalists are extremes. Not everyone is an extremist.

I am weary of the term “dialogue” in today’s Church and society.

Agreed. Most dialogue ends up in caving in to the other side. Just this Sunday the Gospel reading gave us the only example of dialogue we need to observe:
. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Not all Muslims want to kill you…

While i do not argue that is true, very few followers of mohamet are tolerant to christians and jews. Even our allies Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Jordan and sometimes Egypt are not very hospitable to Catholics and Jews. The sticking point of this is whether you are dealing with devout muslims or secular muslims. Even our best ally, the House of Saud, are very intolerant when it comes to Christians in their country. And just as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, you only figure out friend from foe when the gun fires or the bomb goes off.

What is more striking for me , Ora , is that precisely in US you have an example that you can live quite peacefully in diversity.
I ll tell you honestly. It is like you have the evidence that you can share and dialogue in front of you and you sometimes cannot see it. This is how strong I see your society in many ways. So I really mean it kindly. It is like you are among the best examples that you can dialogue and live together.
If I think of how religions have shared and lived together where I live too , I really feel that our bonds have to be stronger and prevail.We are somebody s neighbour , starting from our smaller circles ,we can protect our bonds…
Just a thought.

If I am not mistaken , the pledge is to deepen an interreligious dialogue with Islam , which will be continued between religious people. This is to deepen and it takes time.
What does it mean to you ,Outremer ?

Well let me relate a little anecdote. Before I retired I worked as an analyst for a tech company making health care software. One of the persons I worked with was, in fact, a devout Muslim, a woman who wore the hijab (a francophone native of Algeria). The rest of the crew were secular Canadians of francophone Quebec origin, which means that almost all of them were at least nominally of Catholic descent but none of them had set foot in a church in ages.

I would bring my breviary to work with me. It was my practice to pray mid-day prayer about 10 minutes before the lunch hour. More often that not a nominally Catholic (and in reality fundamentalist secularist) co-worker would come to see me for a tech issue, and even though I had my breviary open in plain view, would proceed to interrupt my prayer for their tech question.

One day, my Muslim colleague came to see me under the same circumstances. She saw the breviary and whispered softly “oh, I see you are praying, I will come back and see you after lunch”.

She was the only, and I mean ONLY person who respected my prayer time (until an actual practicing Catholic joined the company some time later). She knew when I prayed and never again came to see me on a work problem at that time.

We also worked on a project together and were discussing the workload. I said it didn’t bother me because I was from a religious tradition (Benedictine) that had as tradition “Ora et Labora” (pray and work), she e-mailed back “I think we’re going to get along really well because my motto is ‘work is prayer’”.

We would go on lunchtime walks occasionally and would chat about our faith, prayer, our families, and would compare notes on how we prayed; my prayer of the canonical hours was common ground with Muslim prayer through the day. We never proselytized or tried to convert the other, simply we discussed how important faith in God and our families, were in our lives. Another small anecdote, when it was Ramadan or Lent, we would mutually encourage each other in our privations.

Ever seen the film “Of Men and Gods”? That is the most beautiful depiction of inter-religious dialogue I’ve seen. I like to think that my conversations with my Muslim colleague at least reflected a small part of that.

She wasn’t my only Muslim colleague. I found all of them fine people to work with, helpful, unfailingly courteous and extremely generous and after Ramadan they always brought traditional plates of sweets for all their colleagues to enjoy.

I think, at the interpersonal level, that’s how inter-religious dialogue is supposed to work.

In any case, inter-religious dialogue is approved at the highest levels in the Church, and also has a Pontifical Council dedicated to inter-religious dialogue. It isn’t only a good thing, it’s a duty of the Church.

Islam is much bigger than the middle-eastern countries, in fact Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world. It’s much bigger than ISIS, Wahabbism, and radical imams that make it into our evening news. Nor are Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden fair representations of Islam.

"In any case, inter-religious dialogue is approved at the highest levels in the Church, and also has a Pontifical Council dedicated to inter-religious dialogue. It isn’t only a good thing, it’s a duty of the Church.

Islam is much bigger than the middle-eastern countries, in fact Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world. It’s much bigger than ISIS, Wahabbism, and radical imams that make it into our evening news. Nor are Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden fair representations of Islam.: OraLabora

Yes, Indonesia is the largest muslim country by population, and the extremists are growing there quite well. Saddam Hussein was secular, and a despot. Bin Laden was devout. Previous Councils, Popes, Saints and Doctors of the Church have warned of the dangers of islam. That our current and most previous curial leaders wish to dialogue with muslims not withstanding, it is a mistake to believe that the focus of islam has suddenly changed, i.e. the spread of islam across the world.
Our Lord directed the Apostles to " [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

That is the mission and duty of the Church. Let us agree to disagree. Peace.

Nobody is arguing against that. We are to evangelize (but not proselytize). But before one can evangelize, one needs to be able to talk to those we wish to evangelize. And not everyone will heed that message, so we need to continue to live together in some form of peace and harmony.

That is why it is also a duty of the Church, and her faithful, to dialogue with those who have not yet heard the message, or for whom the message has not yet sunk in. I’m pretty sure Muslims and other non-Catholics will be around for a very very long time. And that is why I wrote that it is a duty of the Church, not the duty of the Church, to dialogue.

For me, the question is if they will persist in this modern notion that Islam is entirely a religion of peace devoid of any violent texts within its holy book, the Koran. My assumption is they will follow modern secular and progressive mindsets on this that treats Islam as if Mohammed was a boy scout.

And, what is the purpose of this dialogue? If it is to better understand Islam so we then know how to bring them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, so be it. But I also doubt that.

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