Spiegel magazine interviews Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity:
SPIEGEL: Why is dialogue with Islam so difficult for the Catholic Church?
Kasper: There is no such thing as one Islam. The Koran is ambiguous and Islam is not a monolithic entity. The distinction between radical Islam and moderate Muslims is important, as are the differences between Sunnis and Shiites, and between militant and mystical Islam. Islam in the Arab world coexists with Indonesian, Pakistani and Turkish Islam. There is limited solidarity, even within the Arab world. Muslims living among us (in Germany) haven’t managed to build an organization that represents all Muslims. Such an organization could protect us against irrational fantasies driven by fear, fantasies that completely demonize Islam. But it is difficult, under the current circumstances, to find representative counterparts to talk with.
SPIEGEL: Do you think a dialogue on equal footing is possible?
Kasper: One cannot be naïve when engaging in this dialogue. Islam undoubtedly deserves respect. It has some things in common with Christianity, such as Abraham as a common progenitor, and the belief in only one God. But Islam developed in opposition to orthodox Christianity from the very start, and it considers itself superior to Christianity. So far, it has only been tolerant in places where it is in the minority. Where it is the majority religion, Islam does not recognize religious freedom, at least not as we understand it. Islam is a different culture. This doesn’t mean that it’s an inferior culture, but it is a culture that has yet to connect with the positive sides of our modern Western culture: religious freedom, human rights and equal rights for women. These shortcomings are one reason so many Muslims feel such frustration that often turns into hatred and violence against the West, which is despised as being godless and decadent. Suicide attacks are the actions of losers who have nothing left to lose. In this case, Islam serves as a mask, a cover for desperation and nihilism, but not for religion.
[Via Insight Scoop]
My question is what did Pope Benedict do with the real Cardinal Kasper and where did he find such a sharp the look-a-like? All I know is I haven’t found anything slightly annoying in what the Cardinal has had to say since the Pope’s election.
Excellent insight by Cardinal Kaspar. Thanks for posting this. I cannot agree his excellency ever more.
What people miss is that Kaspar is doing his job, just as B16 did when he was Ratzinger at the CDF. Kaspar is an ecumenist. It is his job to smile and be nice when that is necessary and to frown and be sharp when that is necessary.
We need to understand what an Catholic ecumenist is. He is a spiritual diplomat. He has to be nice, but he also has to be shrewd. A Catholic ecumenist is not (despite what critics say) always trying to sell the Catholic faith downriver. He is trying to build bridges, but he is also trying to mend fences. Remember, good fences make good neighbors.
The final goal is the Catholic ecumenist is actually evangelisation. As St Paul said, ‘By all means to win some.’
Isn’t it considered to be polite to say “What a beautiful baby!” to the parents of a monkey?
And, of course, we pray that the child “grows into his face,” and it eventually does.
I love the quote that we have much in common with Islam like Abraham. What about all we do NOT have in common like blowing up towers because America supports Israel and Jews?
Let all be real, the church is in a horrible state of self denial, and cant seem to come to grips with what she was intended to do here on earth, that is protect Catholics, the faith and salvation and spreading the “Good news”. This garbage from Vatican II that we all worship the same God, must be revered, love Hindus, Assisi, and all that JPII’s pontificate really stood for would be deemed heresy by any of the past 260 Popes before 1962
My humble opinion of course
I’m not sure I buy that bit about “equal rights for women”. Understood in the proper sense, this is true, but “women’s rights”, as they are understood through the lens of feminism, are completely at odds with traditional Catholic thought.
Furthermore, the cultural roles of women in Europe and the Middle East predate the Christian/Muslim divide. Europe, especially in the north and west, has always had somewhat stronger, more independent women than cultures in the Mediterranean and Middle East- even during the late Roman Republic, this was true. I wonder if the treatment of women in the Middle East doesn’t owe as much to this cultural legacy as it does to Islamic influence.
The other question I have is this: what’s really more degrading to women- burqas, or porn films? I’m not saying Middle Eastern or Islamic culture treat women as well as they could, but I am saying that western culture has a long way to go before criticizing the Middle East will seem like anything but a case of “the pot calling the kettle black”.
Really, that’s our problem in a nutshell. Catholics and pther Christians in the west certainly do need to address our problems with the Muslim world, but we shouldn’t let that obscure the fact that secular western culture is, in many ways, even more dangerous and more opposed to our faith than Islam. Let’s not cede any ground to the secularists just because we’re concerned with the threat of Islam.
That was excellent-I have never thought of that before, if you dont mind I just may have to use your post as a quote of my own during my few discussions with those of the liberal ilk
Don’t worry, the real Walter Kasper is right beneath the surface. When he says he doesn’t consider Islam an inferior culture and then goes on to cite the many ways in which it is, he is really showing his original multiculturalist stripes.