Should I Be Concerned About This?

This past Sunday, a flier was inserted into the parish paper that kind of upset me. My parish’s adult faith formation committee is organizing a “Bus Trip and Educational Tour” to the Islamic Center of America. Of all the places to go, they decide to go to an Islamic site rather than the TONS of Catholic holy sites in southeast Michigan.

I guess the reason it troubles me is that I am getting the impression that the catechesis at my parish is very poor. This year I volunteered to be a catechist for an 8th grade class and I taught a discipleship class. What I found is that I often had to introduce material in order to teach the kids. For example, the children had no idea what the works of mercy were nor did their textbook mention the works of mercy. I had to introduce the works of mercy to them.

So, I am wondering, why spend time learning about Islam if people are barely learning about Catholicism? Any recommendations as to what I should do? I really have no idea what is taught to the RCIA group, but I can’t imagine their faith formation being a quality one.

Do you live in an area with a considerable Islamic population? If you do, it may be there is a need for some education, we are called to be salt and light to the world around us. One can be better at loving thy neighbor if we know our neighbor.

I think you should be concerned. The obvious fact is that everyone is concerned about learning more about other faiths (in this case Islam) and not enough of our faith. Your feelings of concern are well founded. If you find yourself in a situation where you must attend with the group of catholics, then make your catholicism obvious. Wear a crucifix or a Miraculous Medal or some other obvious Catholic sacramental. If the group eats with the moslem group, make the sign of the cross. All of this not in a combative or litigious manner but as a matter of habit or as a matter of religion. If you become the victim of persecution - then…rejoice and be at peace because you’re in good company.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

as a Detroit native, IMO anyone living in SE Mich should make it a top priority to learn all they can about Islam and about Islamic communities in your midst, and if this is one way to do it, go for it. I see no difference between this and learning about our Jewish neighbors or those of other ethnic or religious groups which are becoming a sizeable presence in the population.

Some say that you have to know the enemy to defeat them, but in this case I don’t believe this is right . You have your right to be dismayed aslong as it does not takeyou away from thinking positivly about God. So the main point may be not to let it get you down.

I have to agree with puzzleannie… It seems natural to me that you would at least need to know a little about the culture to get along. It isn’t like they are trying to convert you…

A couple years ago we had a rabbi come to our parish and teach us about passover… the traditions, the symbolism… it was one of the most informative lectures I have ever been to at my parish.

That is very sad when the most informative lecture at your parish is about the Jewish passover, and not something Catholic.

Pray for the intercession of Bl Ramon Lull. He founded a seminary for the express purpose of teaching men about Islam and Arabic culture so they could be better equipt to go into the Middle East and convert them to Catholicism. His life is extremely interesting and inspiring. I have been praying to him regularly during this Iraq war.

Yeah but we have high hopes… new pastor, very interested in adult education and formation… we shall see!!!

Do you have a website or any more info?

II read his bio in a book called “Heros of God”. Here is info from the Catholic encyclopedia:

Doctor Illuminatus", philosopher, poet, and theologian, b. at Palma in Majorca, between 1232 and 1236; d. at Tunis, 29 June, 1315. Probably a courtier at the court of King James of Aragon until thirty years of age, he then became a hermit and afterwards a tertiary of the Order of St. Francis. From that time he seemed to be inspired with extraordinary zeal for the conversion of the Mohammedan world. To this end he advocated the study of Oriental languages and the refutation of Arabian philosophy, especially that of Averroes. He founded a school for the members of his community in Majorca, where special attention was given to Arabic and Chaldean. Later he taught in Paris. About 1291 he went to Tunis, preached to the Saracens, disputed with them in philosophy, and after another brief sojourn in Paris, returned to the East as a missionary. After undergoing many hardships and privations he returned to Europe in 1311 for the purpose of laying before the Council of Vienna his plans for the conversion of the Moors. Again in 1315 he set out for Tunis, where he was stoned to death by the Saracens.

Apparently he was also interested in alchemy and that is probably what has held up his connonization.

I believe that anything about how the Jewish people from Jewish people, and relate to the bible can only help we who have the new testement to check it. I think information like this will show us from those of the provence of Jesus a feeling of the life Jesus lived in some small way and relate it to bible knowledge for their own living.

Indeed. I feel the urge to do the same. St Francis of Assisi would also be a powerful intercessor in this regard, he went to preach to Muslims in the Holy Land at the height of the Crusades.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Catholics learning about Islamic culture and religion.

As for deciding to go to the Islamic site “rather” than a Catholic site-- maybe they’ve been to Catholic sites before. Maybe they have plans to go to a Catholic site another time. Maybe you can get involved with the group that plans these events or put in a suggestion for a topic, trip, or speaker.

Don’t assume that it’s the **parish **catechesis that is lacking. I have taught the same group of kids for the past two years and I now have them a third year this year. I just keep moving grades with them due to a variety of circumstances in our small parish. I have *personally *taught them many things and yet they stare blankly when I ask questions.

In fact, I’ve used the exact same questions for my “Jeopardy” reviews for three years in a row and they still get a number of them wrong! And, I can’t blame the teacher!!

The students do not get any formation from their PARENTS. That’s not the DRE’s fault. That’s not the priest’s fault. That’s the PARENTS’ fault. Soccer and dance class is more important than religious education and formation in today’s typical family.

Honestly, you seem long on assumption and short on fact.

You do not know that people are “barely learning about Catholicism”. You have no idea what the RCIA program entails and yet you disparage it.

Honestly, I find your post quite uncharitable and I think objecting to an educational tour of a mosque is really straining at gnats.

I believe that the concern one should have if any shouls be why? Why am I concerned, is it that I am not able to go out and just by being with people just by sharing a biscut over tea just by sharing the love I have for Jesus is makes me think other than that I have the power because Jesus gave it to me to love ALL people. I believe that the love God has given me is one that is not tru love until I give it away for others to feel. I think that St Francise gove us the words in his prayer, It is in giving that I receive…
Let us share the gifts that God has given us and share them out if we say that we have the right way of living.

I disagree, a proper understanding of the Jewish passover is absolutely essential to proper understanding of the Eucharist.

Since so few Catholics believe in the real presence today, maybe they should have a discussion on that, rather than try and have an informative dialogue session on a false religion.

Brother/sister there is only one Jesus who will judg ALLpeople when the time comes. For any person to state that “there are so few catholics who believe in the real presence today”, could be seen as detramental to how we are to love and leave all judgement to Jesus.

For me if I were to think this way, then I would have to say OK! what am I doing to help those who may be inclined more now to the world. How am I helping them see that without Jesus, if the world we surround ourselves with should diminish or break down, what would we do, how would we feel, how would we relate?
I believe that this keeps our lives in perspective.
An old song “not my brother nor my sister but it’s me oh Lord standing in the need of prayer”.


Well, there was a gallup poll taken a couple of years ago that said only 29% of Catholics believe in the real presence.

Also here’s an excert from Fr. Hardon concerning this:

The Crisis of Today by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Four Centuries after the Council of Trent the Church is now in another crisis of Eucharistic faith and specifically of faith in the Real Presence. Palpable evidence of such a crisis is seen in the practical disappearance in not a few dioceses of the Forty Hours Devotion; the corresponding disappearance of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; the complete revision of constitutions of once flourishing contemplative institutes that specialized in worship of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, the widespread neglect of showing any of the customary signs of reverence to Christ’s Real Presence in the tabernacle; the removal of the tabernacle in churches to some obscure and unobtrusive place where the Real Presence is isolated from even possible devotion by the faithful; the mounting literature in still nominally Catholic circles that seldom touches on the Real Presence or that explains it in a way congenial to Protestants who do not believe in Christ’s corporeal presence in the Eucharist, but totally incompatible with the historic faith of Catholicism; the dissemination of religious education textbooks, teacher’s manuals, and study guides that may make an apologetic mention of the physical presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament but leave a distinct impression that this presence is peripheral to Catholic faith and practice and is certainly not a cardinal mystery of the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

Although seldom adverted to, part of the same crisis about the Real Presence is the contemporary desacramentalization of the Catholic priesthood. Priests are said to be essentially preachers of the word or ministers of the Gospel or organizers of Christian communities, or spokesmen of the poor or defenders of the oppressed or social leaders or political catalysts or academic scholars or theological appraisers of the faith of believers.

So they are. But is that all? And is that the primary purpose of the Catholic priesthood? No. The primary meaning of the priesthood is its relationship to the Eucharist - as Reality, as Sacrament and Sacrifice. And among these three primarily as Reality, made possible by priestly consecration.

Once again as in previous ages the Church’s magisterium has reaffirmed the Real Presence but in accents and with nuances that were not called for in previous times.

Pope Paul VI in Mysterium Fidei was concerned about those who in spoken and written word “spread abroad opinions which disturb the faithful and fill their minds with no little confusion about matters of faith.”

Among these opinions was and is the theory that so redefines the meaning of the Eucharistic Presence as to obscure, if not deny, the fact of the Eucharistic Reality. It is as though someone said “I believe in the Eucharistic Presence but not as Reality, or as Reality which is only presence and not objective actuality.”

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