How to Explain the CCC 841

The recent attacks by Muslim extremists have brought CCC 841 back into the limelight and some Protestants are using it to disprove the validity of the Catholic Church. They have said that there is no way that Muslims, together with us, worship the one, true God because as Christians, we believe in the Holy Trinity. It is impossible to say they only believe in God and not the Son because They are indeed Three in One. How could it possibly be the same when God has three components and Allah does not? How do I answer this? I have said that Muslims also believe in a monotheistic religion and just don’t correctly understand God, but how can I justify their separating the inseparable? At this point I’m just as confused as they are. Doesn’t removing the Son and the Holy Spirit from the Father change the very nature of God and result in an entirely different deity?

Do these people also deny that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their Jewish progeny worship the one true God? Neither do they believe in the Son?

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The theory of a different God or another God is contrary to Christian belief. If you believe there is One God which I assume the Christians you speak to do believe. Than how can they suggest theres another God which is a contradiction?

Understanding God differently doesn’t change this?

The Muslim definition of God and whether He is identical to the Christian God surely does not just rely on esoteric theology but also on what the Muslim believes their God desires of them as compared to the Will of the Christian God.
The Christian God would forgive the woman caught in adultery whereas the Muslim God would have her stoned to death.
The Christian God would forgive the repentant thief even on the Cross whereas the Muslim God would cut his hand off.
The Christian God would have a man treat his wife as at one in person with himself, protecting his family in love and affection.whereas the Muslim God permits a man to beat his wife if she is disobedient.
Are they different “Gods”? I leave that to the Church theologians, but their followers sure don’t sing from the same hymn book.

I’m with Petaro to a biggish extent and think this is potentially a weakish passage in the CCC if we aren’t careful how to take it. Sentimentally putting monotheism on a pedestal dates back at least to the times of Macaulay (and others besides Muslims are more or less monotheistic) and it isn’t one of the Cardinal Virtues or Fruits of the Holy Spirit. I think the writer of the CCC was simply trying to find common ground with others, and doesn’t always write as sharply as at other times. God knows how much faith any Muslim has in Him despite having different scriptures and (officially) no Jesus Christ; Jews who are also mentioned, have most of the same Scriptures as us and the same Messiah; God searches each heart whether of Jew or of Christian or of any other kind of person just the same.

(Jesus advocates proportionate imprisonment or fine for stealing and leaves it to civil society to specify its own laws and to Christians alongside every citizen of good will to advocate for justice.)

The CCC isn’t a good basis for refuting Protestants! It was thrown together in a hurry in 1993.

This is a direct quotation from Lumen Gentium, one of the premier documents of the Vatican II Council. If you do not understand the context, perhaps read LG in its entirety, specifically LG16 from which this quotation comes.

The “writers of the CCC” were quoting Lumen Gentium.

The CCC is the official catechism of the Church.

I don’t know where you got such a patently false idea. The current CCC was put together by a group of bishops hand picked by JPII in 1985. They worked on the Catechism for 7 years until its publication in 1992 in French. It was released two years later, in 1994, in English.

This is not the first thread in which you have cast aspersions on the Catechism. This is an official document of the Church, promulgated by John Paul II, and given as the normative catechetical document for the universal church.

The Muslims did not invent the law of the Old Testament, which was indeed strict and punishing. However, it was the same God in those times.

Vic, you should take a bit more time to examine and contemplate the Catechism, perhaps with the help of an adult faith formation group in your parish. It really makes a lot more sense and contains a lot more wisdom than you say.

Do Jews worship the same God?

Yes.

Do they accept the fuller understanding via further Revelation of the mystery of God?

No.

But does that mean that they do not worship the same God?

No.

Do Muslims worship the same God? The God of Abraham?

Yes.

Do they accept the fuller understanding via further Revelation of the mystery of God?

No.

Are there various matters that we and the Jews would not agree with them about God?

Yes.

But does that mean they do not worship the same God?

No.

If your name is John and someone thinks it is Jack when they phone you - intending to phone you - does that mean they are not phoning or intending to phone you?

No.

They are just mistaken on your name.

Now you are 33 and they think you are 25 does that mean that they are not in fact talking to you?

No.

They are simply mistaken on that point.

I don’t believe it’s that they don’t “accept the fuller understanding via further Revelation of the mystery of God.” They flat out reject the fact that Jesus in the Son of God. They choose to reject him.

So,is it possible to worship God and reject him at the same time? I don’t know. Some examples why I, too, struggle with CCC 841:

Luke 10:16
*“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” *(This was Jesus speaking)

John 3:17-18
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

1 John 2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

These verses don’t give much hope if you don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God. So are they worshiping the same God but rejecting him at the same time? :shrug:

Great explanation, Bookcat! :thumbsup:

Yes, it’s Jesus speaking. As always, of course, when it comes to exegesis, it’s important to recognize the context. To whom is He speaking? About what is He speaking?

Here, Jesus is sending the seventy(-two) out to proclaim Jesus’ Gospel to his fellow Jews. It is to this particular audience – who has Jesus in their midst in those days – that Jesus is speaking. Not to future audiences; not to all Jews in all times; not to Muslims… but only to the people to whom Jesus is sending his disciples for this particular round of missionary activity.

John 3:17-18
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

This is the prototypical “only Christians go to heaven” proof-text. Again: context. Here, John is using the metaphor of a court case, as he does throughout his Gospel. Jesus is talking about a judgment (/‘condemnation’). And, in John 3:20-1, we see who avoids condemnation in judgment: those who do not shrink away from the light in favor of darkness, who come to the light. The Catholic Church authoritatively interprets this to mean not that only those who are Christian may ‘come to the light’, but all those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to accept the Gospel, may also come to the light.

1 John 2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

OK… for a third time: context, context, context! Ask yourself: to whom is the author referring? (You’ll find it in 1 John 2:19.) It’s those “who went out from us” and ‘deserted’ the faithful. In other words, it’s those who were Christian but who apostized from the faith: Jews and Muslims don’t fit into this category, so they’re not the audience about whom the author is speaking.

These verses don’t give much hope if you don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God.

If you proof-text, and avoid examining the context? Then yeah, they seem to say what you’re claiming. If you read carefully, however, you’ll see that this isn’t the case… :wink:

The Church has defined (at the First Vatican Council) that God can be acknowledged without faith. Faith is believing what He has revealed. As such, it is possible for someone to acknowledge and even adore God but be deceived or mistaken as to what He has revealed.

Furthermore, the defining aspect of God is that for Him, essence is the same as existence (as summed up in His ultimate declaration of who He is: “I AM” or “I AM who AM.”) He is the Creator of all that exists and all other being is dependent on Him.

It is impossible to posit a being for whom essence and existence are the same who is not God. By definition, if for a being essence and existence are the same, it is God. Muslims acknowledge God as the Creator of the Universe and for whom essence and existence are the same. That’s all that’s necessary to acknowledge God (in fact, the virtue of religion, which is not a theological virtue, but falls under justice, is to honor God as the Creator and principle of all being; faith, on the other hand, is necessary to acknowledge the Divine Persons since they can only be know through revelation).

The rest of the truth about God and His plan for our salvation is known only by faith in God’s word, but this is not necessary to simply acknowledge Him or worship Him.

Nothing more should be implied from acknowledging this basic truth–we should not put the two religions therefore on the same footing, we should not treat the two holy books as both authentically revealed, etc., etc. This also does not mean that everything done in His name is therefore virtuous or good.

Yes, you are correct. Jesus was speaking to a select group. You can get that from the ‘context’. But does that diminish what he said? Is not what He said important today just as it was when He spoke it? Do you believe that to everyone (other than the group he sent out and spoke those words to) can reject Jesus without rejecting God?

Almost everything Jesus taught or spoke was to a group or a specific individual. Are we not to apply it in our own lives? If not, all we have is a history book of what He taught others. But the words He spoke to others DO apply to us today. When He said that to reject Him is to reject the one who sent Him applies today just as it always has. God doesn’t change!

Blessings

I’m afraid I do have an issue with this statement in the CCC.

I believe that God revealed Himself to humans over time, in His own way. Thus, God the Father was revealed to the tribes of Israel in the OT. Next, God the Son was revealed in the NT, & people of that time chose (or not) to become Christians, or Messianic Jews. Lastly, the Holy Spirit was revealed to the Apostles at Pentecost. GOD in the Trinity was then complete to humanity.

Christians, I believe, can understand the Jewish belief in a God in one Person, as that is how God was revealed to them. Islam, however, was created LONG after the Holy Spirit was revealed, meaning they chose NOT to believe in the Trinity.

That being said, how can Muslims be said to believe in the same God that we do? :confused:

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Exactly! Their god does not have a son. Our God has a son.

‘Diminish’ it? Make it less ‘important’? Of course not! However, it does provide the audience to whom and about whom He was speaking. And, when the Church authoritatively interprets Scripture in a way that is mutually exclusive with your ‘all audiences and all people’ interpretation, then it’s clear which interpretation is in error. :shrug:

Do you believe that to everyone (other than the group he sent out and spoke those words to) can reject Jesus without rejecting God?

It doesn’t matter what I believe; what matters is what the Church teaches. And yes, she teaches that those who are invincibly ignorant may attain to heaven.

Almost everything Jesus taught or spoke was to a group or a specific individual. Are we not to apply it in our own lives?

Of course we are! However, we are not to apply it in ways that contradict Church teaching. Doing so explicitly means that we’re placing our personal interpretation of Scripture above the Church’s. :sad_yes:

When He said that to reject Him is to reject the one who sent Him applies today just as it always has. God doesn’t change!

Absolutely it still applies! But… it only applies to those to whom He applied it; and not, indiscriminately, to anyone and everyone – especially if that’s not how the Church interprets it! :wink:

But can’t the same thing be said of the Jewish people? They also chose NOT to believe in the Trinity, despite God revealing himself through His Son, whom he sent directly to them. And even today, they still reject the Trinity.

The fact that Islam was founded hundreds of years after Christianity really doesn’t change anything. If Jews are still worshipping the one true God, despite rejecting the Trinity, then the same principle should apply to Muslims. Otherwise we are simply engaging in special pleading.

That being said, how can Muslims be said to believe in the same God that we do? :confused:

Because they get the basic, metaphysical truths about God right. They profess him as the One God “living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,” as Nostra Aetate puts it. And this means that, even if they fail to recognize other truths about His inner life that He has revealed, they still are ultimately worshipping Him, albeit imperfectly.

In order to deny they worship the same God, we would have to demonstrate that they don’t actually believe in one God, living and subsisting in himself; who is merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth. Because only the one, true God possesses these attributes.

It should also be noted that even though yes, strictly speaking, Muslims reject the Trinity, most Muslims have such a distorted understanding of what the Trinity actually is that what they are rejecting is really a straw man. They are taught that Christians believe in three separate Gods, and that we believe that the Father begot the Son through a wife etc… So the fact that they reject this picture shouldn’t be held against them and used to prove they don’t worship the same God we do. If this was what we really believed, they would be right to reject it.

That is correct. Muslims view God exactly as the Jews did (do). Yet, nobody seems to claim that the God of the Jews is not the one true God, even if his nature was not completely understood (and, ahem, is STILL not completely understood - Trinity barely scratches the surface).

If someone doesn’t want to look it up, here is the article in question:

CCC 841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”[sup]330[/sup]

The Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals the Trinity, yet all do not know the Gospel, so some non Christians have no faith in the Holy Trinity, but simply in one God.
***Chapter II, Lumen Gentium

*Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. (19)
(19
) Cfr. Epist. S.S.C.S. Officii ad Archiep. Boston.: Denz. 3869-72.

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