Historically, condemnations have generally been towards baptized Catholics, usually clergymen such as Arius, Pelagius, Jan Hus, Luther, etc., or towards errant monarchs such as Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. The purpose isn’t just an attempt to steer back that individual, but because of the influence they have on others either in religious circles or in matters of state, the Church took a special and dire interest in them. It wasn’t just immorality in general that attracted attention; it was if you were doing something that caused public unrest in spiritual or temporal affairs. If one could successfully convert a ruler/warlord, much of the general population within their realm, both commoners and elites, did the same. If not immediately, then within a few generations through a combination peer pressure, economic rewards or sanctions, criminalization of practicing an opposing faith, or from dissident groups migrating from the country.
Popes and bishops used to have a strong and intimate hand in temporal affairs, even to the point of personally overseeing or journeying on military ventures, so it wasn’t uncommon to not mince words towards groups such Huns, Normans, Baybars, and eventually Muslims, since all of these groups were aggressively familiar with Christendom at different points (and for a time in the 900s, on all fronts; north, south, and east). Still, these condemnations weren’t analogous to a condemnation within the Church, since, for example, a marauding group of Baybars and their leader were never within the Church to begin with. They weren’t under any bishop or Christian monarch’s authority.
Life gradually changed over the centuries a piece at a time as the Ottoman waned, and desire for dialogue grew. St Francis de Sales, among others, was in many ways a proto figure of Vatican I & II. Particularly after the 2nd World War, the focus shifted in many ways. Although a Pope will address current world events, such as Pope Francis has been doing in Egypt, Syria, Venezuela, and elsewhere, they are not condemnations towards “Islam” in the broad sense but towards individual actions, and even then, the focus is more on building peaceful ties and strengthening the domestic Church.
The Church is quite clear in the orientation it has set in the modern era.
Quoting from the document of the Council Fathers of Vatican II, Nostra aetate:
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, 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. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.
Just a few weeks ago, the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the competent Vatican Dicastery, issued the following statement to commemorate the end of Ramadan:
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
MESSAGE FOR THE END OF RAMADAN
E ‘Id al-Fitr 1437 H. / 2017 A.D
Christians and Muslims:
Caring for our Common Home
Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,
We wish to assure you of our prayerful solidarity during this time of fasting in the month of Ramadan and the celebration of ‘Id al–Fitr that concludes it, and we extend to you our heartfelt best wishes for serenity, joy and abundant spiritual gifts.
This year’s Message is especially timely and significant: fifty years ago, in 1967, only three years after the establishment of this Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964, the first Message was sent for this occasion.
In the years that have followed, two Messages have been particularly important: the Message of 1991, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, entitled “The Path of Believers is the Way of Peace”, and the Message of 2013, in the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate, entitled “Promoting Mutual Respect through Education”. Both Messages were signed by the Pontiffs.
Among the many activities of the PCID for promoting dialogue with Muslims, the most important and longstanding is this yearly Message for Ramadan and for ‘Id al-Fitr addressed to Muslims throughout the world. To share this Message in the widest way possible, the PCID is assisted by local Catholic communities, as well as Papal Representatives present in almost every country.
The experience of both our religious communities affirms the value of this Message for promoting cordial relations between Christian and Muslim neighbours and friends, by offering insights on current and pressing issues.
For this year, the PCID offers a theme related to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’–On Care for Our Common Home”, which was addressed not only to Catholics and Christians, but to the whole of humanity.
Pope Francis draws attention to the harm our lifestyles and decisions are causing to the environment, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings. There are, for example, certain philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives that present obstacles which threaten humanity’s relationship with nature. To take up this challenge involves all of us, regardless of whether or not we profess a religious belief.
The Encyclical’s title itself is expressive: the world is a “common home”, a dwelling for all the members of the human family. Therefore, no one person, nation or people can impose exclusively their understanding of our planet. This is why Pope Francis appeals “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet…, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affects us all” (n. 14).
Pope Francis states that “the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion” (no. 217). What is needed is education, spiritual openness and a “global ecological conversion” to adequately address this challenge. As believers, our relationship with God should be increasingly shown in the way we relate to the world around us. Our vocation to be guardians of God’s handiwork is not optional, nor it is tangential to our religious commitment as Christians and Muslims: it is an essential part of it.
May the religious insights and blessings that flow from fasting, prayer and good works sustain you, with God’s help, on the path of peace and goodness, to care for all the members of the human family and for the whole of creation.
With these sentiments, we wish you once again serenity, joy and prosperity.
From the Vatican, 19 May 2017
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran
[RIGHT]Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.l.
St. John Paul 2 was quite clear that Islam is false:
"Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitively been set aside. [Paragraph break.] Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection. … [The] tragedy of redemption is complerely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity. … [But we should still] have a dialogue with followers of the ‘Prophet.’ " source
I especially note how the word Prophet is put in quotation marks. (He does it again on page 43.) Mohammed is not a true prophet, he is a “prophet.” (I checked the Italian original, the one written by the pope himself, and the quote marks are in that one too.) To me, that is equivalent to identifying Mohammed as a false prophet, and I think that is an important thing to point out.
This. Condemning Islam strikes me as a rather pointless action. Muslims aren’t exactly going to care, and presumably any sort of faithful Catholic is already aware that it’s not true (and any that isn’t probably isn’t going to be swayed).
There is no benefit to condemning Islam or Mohammed, as such.
There is some benefit to pointing out that Muslims have some portion of the truth, and often lead exemplary lives. We can’t in any way judge the person Mohammed. We can point out the differences between Islam and Christianity, as St. John Paul II did. We can also reach out to persons of Islamic faith, in love and respect.
I think it would be extremely dangerous to Catholics and Christians in the regions were Muslims are the majority to do something like this, just to appease some radicals.
As others stated - what would be the point? Islamic authorities know where Christians stand theologically, and vice versa … or they should. Condemning a specific religious figure they hold dear would only lead to dead Catholics.
However, in an apologetic, academic, or personal debate or something, such a thing should come up for clarity – as should the oft mentioned by Islamic scholars, the condemnation against “tri-theism” and “paternalizing” of God by Christians. They are not afraid to call our faith out when they find it necessary. One can see it on threads on CAF as well, by lay Muslims.
I am proud of the Popes for esposuing Christian value in reaching out to the Muslims.
They were also doing termendous amount of good work for the good of Christians in Muslims land who are at the mercy of their Islamic government where it is really difficult for them to grow as Christian societies.
On top of that, they are under various islamic laws where they could be prosecuted for merely being what they are as Christians and many times anything they do or say would be held against them. They are also having to endure physical violence against them.
Christian leadership can only appeal to the goodwill of Muslims to be kind to our fellow Christians in their land. And that often means not to offend them by saying out the difference in our belief respectively.
To dovetail on this, I think we should remind ourselves that the Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a brother amidst many bishops, and while he is at the top of the hierarchy, that doesn’t necessarily make it prudent or even logistically possible for him to personally involve himself in every affair. I’ve on several occasions seen different posters say, “Why doesn’t the Pope speak about X or Y event in X or Y country/region/city”. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week for him as much as for anybody else. In the overwhelming majority of cases, one doesn’t wait for a directive from the Vatican to do or say something. We have bishops who address struggles within their dioceses, and we also have Conference of Bishops who addresses matters in wider regions, and those bishops have priests who address matters in their parishes, who have parishioners to be the hands and feet. Catholicism is typically seen as highly centralized, which compared to protestant Christianity or Islam I suppose it would be, but nonetheless, it still uses local and diocesan personnel to do the job 99% of the time.
If there’s something you want to address, as a Catholic, you would call the parish office. You don’t pick up the red phone sitting behind the vaulted safe in your basement and dial the Vatican.
I think it is also necessary for Scholars from all difference fields of theology and philosophy to point out Jesus was not God but “god”. Not the Divine Son of God but like any other “son of God” in the Bible.
Muslims need to realize Mohammad is not the last and the best Prophet but a “prophet” like every other inspired teacher and prophet that appeared on this earth before or even after him.
If people acknowledged this fact the only thing we would be condemning is division which wouldn’t even be necessary because it wouldn’t even exist in the first place.
Okay let us start with the so called Apostolic tradition. Outside the Gospels that the Church chose which were divinely inspired, what did the 11 apostles who KNEW Jesus pass on. Did they teach Jesus was the Creator of the Universe who sits at the right hand of the Father? Offer me some solid evidences that will confirm what the Church teaches.
Yes. This appears, among other places, in Acts 2:5-7, St. Peter says: “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God…he has poured out this which you see and hear… For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Also Peter says something similar in Acts 5:29-32 – “The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
See also St. Peter’s words in Acts 10:2 – “You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).”
St. Peter also calls Jesus “our God and Savior” in 2 Peter 1:1.