Lumen Gentium?

*sorry if this is in the wrong section, was not sure where to put it

A traditional Catholic told me that there are theological problems with the Lumen Gentium including saying that Muslims believe in the same God as Catholics.

If this is so, does it affect the other things that came out of it, such as the salvation clarifications which we reference?

All teachings of the Magisterium have the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit. Infallible teachings are free from all errors. The non-infallible teachings of the Magisterium can possibly err only to a limited extent, and never so as to lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. Much of what Vatican II wrote may be non-infallible, but in all the years I’ve been studying that teaching, I’ve not found even one putative error.

I don’t see any problem with saying that Muslims, Jews, and Christians all worship the same God. We all believe in one all powerful loving Creator God. It is true that Muslims have a different understanding of God, which may incorporate some errors. But that is also true of Protestant Christians and many Catholics (who misunderstand Catholic teaching or who have erroneous opinions). An error in one’s concept of God does not imply that one is worshiping a different God.

The person who told you this is very mistaken. During the years when I taught ecclesiology (I am now retired) the structure of that class, if not the entirety of the content, was entirely based on Lumen Gentium. It is a wonderful document and one of the great gifts to the Church of the Council Fathers of Vatican II.

It is also an accessible document that I would encourage you to read for yourself. While it has a great richness and nuances that are more readily apparent if you have a background in theology or Church history, anyone can read it with great profit.

Nosta Aetate, another Vatican II document, says the same thing and cites a letter of Pope St. Gregory VII. This is nothing new. Can your friend show any evidence that the Church has instead condemned this position? I have never once seen it contradicted, but plenty of sources pre-Vatican II say the same thing as Vatican II (like the Catholic Encyclopedia, for example). The Muslims and Jews are always distinguished from pagans who worship false gods and idols. Again, the burden is on your friend to prove the Church has taught otherwise.

Anyway, here is a link to a longer post I recently made on this topic that lays out the philosophical argument (which is also found in Scripture) for why they do acknowledge the one God and Creator of all.

Lumen Gentium is quite traditional when it says that Muslims and Catholics worship the same God. Even Pope St. Gregory VII recognized this in 1076 A.D.: “We and you must show in a special way to the other nations an example of this charity, for we believe and confess one God, although in different ways, and praise and worship Him daily as the creator of all ages and the ruler of this world.” (Source: Pope St. Gregory VII’s Letter to Anzir [Nacir], Muslim King of Mauretania)

One comparison that comes to mind re: Islam and Christianity having the same God, is that the Bible is quite clear that Christians and Jews worship the same God, even though Jews do not believe in the Trinity. The Bible says about them: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”

You could say the same about Muslims. They have a zeal for God, but it is not according to knowledge, because it is mixed with serious errors. Does that make sense?

Also, your traditional friend might like this link:

Five Ways Vatican 2 Condemned Modernism

CA’s apologists have answered this one several times. Take a look…

*]What do I say to people who say we worship the same God as Muslims?
*]How can you say that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God?
*] If Allah is a name for God, what’s wrong with Catholics praying to him?
*]Must I believe that Muslims worship my God?

Thanks for the replies!
I believe he meant it as in the knowledge part, because of the beliefs about God being so different. I’ll check though.

First of all, that’s not the point that Lumen Gentium was making. LG includes Muslims among those who might be saved through invincible ignorance.

The guy is surely thinking of V2’s Nostra Ætate, which is much more explicit:

  1. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,[sup]5[/sup] who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.

5. Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.)

As footnote #5 indicates, this teaching goes back at least as far as Pope St. Gregory-7 (reigned 1073-1085). In this letter to Anzir, King of Mauretania, Saint Gregory-7 writes:

We and you [Muslims] must show in a special way to the other nations an example of this charity, for we believe and confess one God, although in different ways, and praise and worship Him daily as the creator of all ages and the ruler of this world.

That letter was written in 1076. By a Saint. You don’t get much more “traditional” than that.

EDIT: OK, I’m an idiot, ploughing ground that others have already ploughed. I usually try not to do that…

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