JP2 And The Quran

by Jimmy Akin

in Islam

John_paul_ii_quranA reader writes:

I had never heard you address this on your show or Blog – though I’m certain you are familiar with it and have covered it before.  But what gives about the story of JPII kissing the Koran?!  I’ve seen it mentioned enough times by serious Catholics to accept this must have happened.  However, I don’t know the context of this event or any other details so I can only wonder what our late Holy Father might have been thinking…  Your thoughts?

This question has come up over the years, and I know that I’ve addressed it on the show (though I don’t have the faintest idea in what episodes), but I don’t seem to have done so on the blog, so here goes. . . .

First, I’ve reprinted the famous picture of the event above so that people can see what is being talked about.

Based on the picture alone, I would not be sure what is happening. The book is ornate and could be something other than the Quran. From the looks of it, it could be a book of the gospels.

However, the former Chaldean patriarch–Raphael Bidawid–was present at the meeting where the event occurred, and in an interview with the press service FIDES, he said the following:

On May 14th I was received by the Pope, together with a delegation composed of the Shi’ite imam of Khadum mosque and the Sunni president of the council of administration of the Iraqi Islamic Bank. There was also a representative of the Iraqi ministry of religion. I renewed our invitation to the Pope, because his visit would be for us a grace from heaven. It would confirm the faith of Christians and prove the Pope’s love for the whole of humanity in a country which is mainly Muslim.

At the end of the audience the Pope bowed to the Muslim holy book, the Qu’ran, presented to him by the delegation, and he kissed it as a sign of respect. The photo of that gesture has been shown repeatedly on Iraqi television and it demonstrates that the Pope is not only aware of the suffering of the Iraqi people, he has also great respect for Islam [SOURCE].

What, then, is one to make of the event?

It seems that there are a number of possibilities:

1) The FIDES news agency misquoted the patriarch.

2) Patriarch Bidawid was mistaken about what happened. It was not the Quran but something else.

3) John Paul II kissed the Quran but didn’t know the nature of the book he was kissing.

4) John Paul II kissed the Quran and knew that this is what he was doing.

I would love to think that either option (1), (2), or (3) was the case, but I have no evidence that any of them was the case.

The most likely one of the three, to my mind, would be (3), because so far as I know, John Paul II was not an Arabic speaker and may not have understood the nature of the book that he was being presented with.

People shove all kinds of books into the pope’s hands at audiences, and if the pope was under the impression that the thing to do with a gift in Iraqi culture is to kiss it as a sign of respect to the one who gives the gift then he might have kissed it reflexively, not even understanding the nature of the book.

While this is possible, I think it likely that an interpreter explained the nature of the gift that was being given on this occasion. This still leaves the possibility that the pope kissed it as part of Middle Eastern politeness rather than as a gesture of respect for the book itself.

I have heard claims that in some Middle Eastern cultures that this is a typical gesture of respect for one giving a gift, but I have asked Chaldean friends of mine whether this is the case in Iraqi culture and the answer was a definite "No." "The pope put his foot on the neck of all Chaldeans with this action" was the response I was given. (Just to make things clear, putting your foot on the neck of someone is a bad thing in Iraqi culture.)

Still, the pope may have been under the mistaken impression that this was the appropriate thing to do when receiving a gift in their culture. He can’t be an expert on every culture in the world, and he could get this wrong.

Or maybe he didn’t.

Maybe he knew it was the Quran and kissed it anyway, not as a customary gift giving response, but for some other reason.

What might that reason be?

It certainly wouldn’t be that he believes in Islam or believes that Islam is on a par with Christianity. If he believed either of these two things then he (a) wouldn’t be the earthly head of the Christian faith and (b) wouldn’t have approved the publication of Dominus Iesus, which asserts the salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.

Any attempt to represent him as thinking one of those things doesn’t even get out of the gate.

So what might he have been thinking?

We’re only speculating here, but two things spring to mind as what JP2 might have been thinking:

1) The Quran does contain some elements of truth (as well as grave elements of falsehood) and he might have wanted to honor the elements of truth it contains.

2) Showing respect in this way could foster world peace and interreligious harmony.

Of these two, I would conjecture that the latter would have been uppermost in John Paul II’s mind, though the former may not have been absent.

John Paul II was a man who was enormously concerned with world peace and interreligious harmony. As a young man he lived through the horrors of World War II, which had a permanent effect on him and his generation and their views about war and peace.

As a mature man he lived through the Cold War that repeatedly brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster, and this also had a permanent effect on him and his generation and their views about war and peace. The constant threat of nuclear warfare hung particularly heavily over Europe–which would have been the chief battleground in a conflict between the Soviet Union and the West–and (particularly on the heels of WWII) it deeply impressed the "find peace at any cost" message on his generation.

As a result of the Cold War, the nations of western Europe were forced into an alliance (NATO) whereby their centuries-long enmities (as between France and Germany) had to be suppressed for the sake of common survival. Negotiation became the key to survival in western Europe, and the same message was driven home to those in Eastern bloc countries, such as John Paul II’s native Poland.

By letting the US shoulder the main burden for the military defense of Europe (during and after the Cold War), many Europeans of John Paul II’s generation absorbed the idea that negotiation was paramount and could solve virtually any problem. It wasn’t until the events of the Global War On Terror that this idea began to be seriously called into question many in European circles.

As a result, as a man of his generation, John Paul II–for the best of motives–may have overestimated both the need for and the utility of gestures such as the one exhibited in the Quran-kissing event.

If the former pontiff did understand that the gift was a Quran and if he wasn’t under the impression that kissing a gift was a standard response in Iraqi culture then I would suppose that he did so out of a desire to foster peace and interreligious harmony, but it would still have been a mistake to my mind.

The Quran, whatever elements of truth it contains, also contains venomous attacks on the divinity of Christ and on Christian doctrine and these make it inappropriate for the Vicar of Christ to kiss it under any circumstances.

John Paul II also may not have been attending to the gravity of the false elements in the Quran. Even if he knew them, he may not have been thinking about them and may have acted on the spur of the moment, without fully thinking through his action.

Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions. A pope is not attempting to make anything remotely like a dogmatic definition in an act of this nature. And so, however misguided the action may have been and however good the motives for it may have been, it would constitute an error that does not touch upon papal infallibility or ecclesial indefectibility.

It would be one of the mistakes that all fallen humans are heir to, even the vicars of Christ.

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{ 303 comments }

Jordan April 6, 2006 at 12:17 pm

Naive Jimmy Akin, why can’t you just accept the logical explanation, which is that JPII was secretly a Mason and used this act of iterreligious osculation to signal that he hated the Latin Mass and rejects all Tradition before Vatican II?

Inocencio April 6, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Anyone interested in Dave Armstrong’s discussion of Pope John Paul II kissing the koran can find it here.
http://web.archive.org/web/20030604152818/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ394.HTM

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 12:26 pm

“Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions.”
You mean, this can’t be used as a proof that everything since Vatican II is invalid and constitutes an abandonment of the faith?
This isn’t a decisive blow for sedevacantism?
Next thing you know, you’ll be telling us that those who eat chicken flavored ramen noodles on Fridays during Lent won’t be going straight to hell.

Spacemouse April 6, 2006 at 12:42 pm

1) The Quran does contain some elements of truth (as well as grave elements of falsehood) and he might have wanted to honor the elements of truth it contains.
2) Showing respect in this way could foster world peace and interreligious harmony.

And then there’s option 3, which in a way combines the two:
3) One can respect a person or a book without believing it to be true, because respect is not an attitude limited towards truth claims (which point 1 seems to assume, perhaps inadvertently). One can respect sincerity, zeal, and religious faith even if all of it is misdirected. Further, one may respect a literary work which conveys these elements even if one feels that the literary work is fundamentally false. (In other words, we don’t have to agree with George Eliot’s non-theistic humanism to respect Adam Bede, a book intended to teach these values. Our respect for the book may have nothing to do with its truth claims.)
Respect directed at the Qu’ran may ultimately be respect directed at the faith, the zeal, etc. that it represents, not at the partial truths it may or may not complain. And in this sense, I don’t think that showing respect to the Qu’ran is actually a mistake. There is much to respect about Islam, even if one doesn’t agree with it.
What was unfortunate about the kissing of the Qu’ran, then, was not that it was a mistake for JPII to show respect, but that his action was so open to misinterpretation. Part of this undoubtedly stems from the fact that for Christians, kissing the Bible DOES indicate respect for its divine inspiration, not just respect for it as a witness to human faith. So, if this were JPII’s motive (not that we know), I’d say that the specific gesture he used was unfortunate, but that the desire to show respect for the text as a way of showing respect for the faith and good-will of many who revere the book was not a mistake.

SDG April 6, 2006 at 12:52 pm

Very thorough, carefully thought-out, scupulously honest, both charitable and uncompromising. Must have been hard to write this one. Muchos kudos.

SDG April 6, 2006 at 1:06 pm

There is much to respect about Islam, even if one doesn’t agree with it.
What was unfortunate about the kissing of the Qu’ran, then, was not that it was a mistake for JPII to show respect, but that his action was so open to misinterpretation.

“Misinterpretation” is a slippery word. If I decide to use a word with a familiar, widely understood meaning, while personally choosing without explanation to use this word to mean something quite different, I cannot then suggest that those who take the word in the familiar, widely understood sense have “misinterpreted” me. I can’t even say that my usage was “open to misinterpretation.” It would be more honest to say that I misused the word.
When a priest kisses the book of the gospel, or when a Catholic kisses a crucifix, holy medals, or other sacramentals, we all know what such a gesture means. Given that, IF the pope knowingly kissed the Koran, that seems to me an essentially a false and scandalous gesture, whatever meaning such an action (again, IF the pope did it, and knowingly) may have had in his own mind.

anonymouse April 6, 2006 at 1:42 pm

Could be good for a picture caption of the week picture.
“I’m not sure what this stain is, it kind of smells like bacon.”

JJ April 6, 2006 at 2:26 pm

Well handled, Jimmy. A fair and nonbiased (to either side) analysis. Bravo.

John April 6, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Um, I see no radtrads in the blog entry or the comments box. Why are y’all early commenters spouting venom?

arthur April 6, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions.
Like the man who was present said, “It would confirm the faith of Christians and prove the Pope’s love for the whole of humanity”.
The infallibility of love is what counts.

Rosemarie April 6, 2006 at 2:49 pm

+J.M.J+
>>>Still, the pope may have been under the mistaken impression that this was the appropriate thing to do when receiving a gift in their culture. He can’t be an expert on every culture in the world, and he could get this wrong.
A Coptic (Egyptian) Catholic friend of ours explained that kissing a gift as a gesture of respect to the giver is a custom in the Middle East. It’s possible that the custom is more common in Egypt than Iraq, though. I think your surmise is plausible.
As for his attitude toward Islam, didn’t the former Pontiff say something less-than-flattering about it in _Crossing the Threshhold of Hope_?
In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 3:15 pm

“Fortunately, the infallibility of the pope and the indefectibility of the Church do not extend to such actions.”
John,
You are absolutely correct. I beg your pardon. This is something I am praying about. It is so easy to lapse into uncharity when one is banging away at a keyboard, rather than talking face to face.
Mea Culpa.

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 3:16 pm

Sorry, that last post (my apology) was in response to this from John;
” Why are y’all early commenters spouting venom?”
The other quote was still floating around on my clipboard, I guess.

Jason April 6, 2006 at 3:17 pm

I don’t see anything wrong with him kissing the Koran. Some people may choose not to do so, for prudential reasons, and I respect that. But the Koran is at heart a good back. I can read the Koran and draw much inspiration and spiritual encouragement from it. Does it also bear elements of a vehement disagreement with some Christian doctrines? Yes. Does it contain accounts of history that may not be wholly moral? Yes. But it is no more a depraved book than the Talmud. Kissing is a sign of respect, and I could say I do respect the Koran as a holy book, although I don’t believe it to be A holy book (in the sense that the Bible is), just as Pope Benedict can have a sincere respect for Martin Luther, even though he was a heretic. Would we react in horror if a Catholic gave Martin Luther a kiss?

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 3:18 pm

“Yes. But it is no more a depraved book than the Talmud”
Huh?

Jason April 6, 2006 at 3:18 pm

Should read: “…at heart a good BOOK”

Jason April 6, 2006 at 3:20 pm

“Huh?”
Some people lambaste the Talmud as a depraved book, because it was written by post-Christian Jews. But the Talmud is at heart a good book of Jewish spirituality, just as the Koran is at heart a good book of Muslim spirituality. It’s not perfect, no. But we don’t have to make it out to be “The Satanic Bible”. John Paul praises its titles for God in “Crossing the Threshold of Hope”.

Maureen April 6, 2006 at 3:40 pm

Iraq is not, at heart, an Arab country. There are Bedouins and other folks of Arab descent who live there, but most of Iraqi culture comes from the old Persian Empire. (Iran, the Kurds, and Afghanistan are also heavily influenced by the old Persian stuff.) They pronounce Arabic very differently than most of the Middle East does (and a lot of folks speak Farsi or Aramaic or other languages, anyway). If you add that there’s been a lot of separation for a long time between Sunni and Shiite, it shouldn’t be surprising that customs would differ a lot.

tim April 6, 2006 at 3:56 pm

jason, are you serious?

BillyHW April 6, 2006 at 4:08 pm

But the Koran is at heart a good back. I can read the Koran and draw much inspiration and spiritual encouragement from it.
I felt the exact same way. I mean, who can read the following and not get warm fuzzy, spine-tingly feelings of inspiration?
“They ask the (O Muhammed) of the spoils of war. Say: The spoils of war belong to Allah and the messenger…”

Jeb Protestant April 6, 2006 at 4:21 pm

This is one of the reasons that I can’t take much of Catholic apologetics seriously.
If Martin Luther or John Calvin had kissed a copy of the Koran, we protestants wouldn’t hear the end of it.
If Karl Rahner, Hans Kung or Richard McBrien had kissed the Koran, that would have been proof of their liberalism.
But if JP the Great kisses the Koran (assuming he knowingly did) well it’s not such a big deal.
Doesn’t this sound like moral relatavism (sic) to you? It sure does to me.
Give me a break.

Jason April 6, 2006 at 4:46 pm

I felt the exact same way. I mean, who can read the following and not get warm fuzzy, spine-tingly feelings of inspiration?
Why does that offend you? Do non-Christians have to believe in Jesus to appreciate the Bible as an inspirational book of literature? Do non-Jews have to believe that God would slaughter first-born children to appreciate much of what the Old Testament has to offer?
Jeb,
If you read in the Koran that “Allah” had slaughtered the first-born of a nation, or commanded Mohammed to “utterly destroy them, make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them” (Deut 7), would you not recoil in horror? But because the Bible says it, we control our natural reaction. Why? Because we believe the Bible is credible. EVERYONE explains away “hard passages” when it comes to their own faith. They may be right, they may be wrong. But it’s not dishonest to do so. If you believe in something, you are going to try to reconcile it as best you can.
tim,
Yes, I am serious.
From the beginning of the Koran:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
Keep us on the right path.
The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.

Why couldn’t I draw the same kind of inspiration from this I would from Plato or Shakespeare? I don’t necessarily agree with everything they’ve written.

Scott W. April 6, 2006 at 5:23 pm

This is one of the reasons that I can’t take much of Catholic apologetics seriously.
If Martin Luther or John Calvin had kissed a copy of the Koran, we protestants wouldn’t hear the end of it.
If Karl Rahner, Hans Kung or Richard McBrien had kissed the Koran, that would have been proof of their liberalism.
But if JP the Great kisses the Koran (assuming he knowingly did) well it’s not such a big deal.
Doesn’t this sound like moral relatavism (sic) to you? It sure does to me.
Give me a break.

Care to actually interact with some of Jimmy’s points or can we just chalk this up to the usual worthless meta-analysis?

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 5:54 pm

“If Karl Rahner, Hans Kung or Richard McBrien had kissed the Koran, that would have been proof of their liberalism.”
In that case, it would have been FURTHER proof of their liberalism. Context is everything, or do you think we should judge JPII by this incident in isolation?
Did you hear that Billy Graham recently (apparently) endorsed Hillary Clinton as President? Do I judge him by this statement, or by his whole life’s work? Isn’t it prudent to evaluate it in the context of the positions he has taken consistently in the past?
I’d allow that he and JPII are allowed a few aberrations. Karl Rahnern, Hans Kung and the rest don’t need to kiss the Q’uran to prove their liberalism. It is evident in everything they do.

Jeb Protestant April 6, 2006 at 6:01 pm

Tim J,
Ok, let’s leave Rahner et al out of it. (Although since Rahner has been rehabilitated by the Vatican I don’t know by what grounds you consider him a liberal.)
What if Martin Luther or John Calvin had done this — wouldn’t this have been exhibit A in any catholic apologists bag of tricks?
If “John Paul the Great” kissed the Book of Mormon or the New World Translation would you approve of it?
I don’t think it was an aberration (consider the Assisi spectacles) but is it totally irrelevant? Why is JP II given a free pass?

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 6:08 pm

“If “John Paul the Great” kissed the Book of Mormon or the New World Translation would you approve of it?”
Jeb-
Nobody said they approved of it. Where did you get that idea? Jimmy said it was a mistake. I agree. That does not mean that anyone ought to therefore be able to use it to smear the entire pontificate of JPII.
You seem to be very willing to use it as a handy club with which to beat JPII, and then rail about how we would do the same thing if it were a Prot or a Lib.
Please read Jimmy’s post again. Neither he, nor anyone else excused it. It bothers a lot of Catholics. It bothers me, but I will not judge the man by this one incident.

Eileen R April 6, 2006 at 6:11 pm

NOt that I’m about to go around Koran kissing, but Jason does have some good points. There really are parts of the Koran that are very beautiful reflections on God, inspired in large part by the culture’s contacts with Judaism and Christianity.
Of course, there are also really long boring parts, and questionable parts, and then some really more long boring parts.

Eileen R April 6, 2006 at 6:17 pm

Oh, I see someone’s brought the Book of Mormon into it. I’ve read both, and the Koran is actually an authentic literatry product of its time.
The Book of Mormon is a guy trying to write a book that sounds like the Bible.
The Koran’s an authentic religious expression. The Book of Mormon is a hoax, even if we respect Mormons.
I wouldn’t kiss either, as stated above, but they’re not equivalents.

bill912 April 6, 2006 at 6:18 pm

Scott W: I think his answer to your question is “No”.

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 6:19 pm

Reading the Q’uran for inspiration reminds me of the dad who wanted to teach his kids a lesson about the kind of movies and shows they watched.
They sometimes wanted to watch programs and movies that had foul language or nudity, and would defend it by saying “Well, there is only a little nudity. Most of the movie is okay.”.
One day the dad made a big batch of brownies, and the delicious smell went through the whole house.
The kids were ready to dig in, when the dad said “Oh, you ought to know, I put some dog poop in there.”.
The kids were disgusted and indignant that he had ruined the brownies.
Then, looking surprised, the dad said “But, it was only a tiny bit. Most of them should be fine.”.

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 6:22 pm

Actually, I see a lot of similarities between the whole Mormon thing and Islam.
The Q’uran is also cobbled together from other religions.

Jeb Protestant April 6, 2006 at 6:30 pm

Tim J,
I’m not saying you or Jimmy approved of it. I do find the willingess to overlook it curious. As I pointed out, no Catholic would overlook it if Luther or Calvin did it.
In fact, with respect to JP II I think the man did try pretty consistently to downplay to the uniqueness of Christianity. The Assisi events are one example. The whole dispute about whether he was annointed as a priest of Shiva (or whatever it was) in India is another. His statements about hell were rather nebulous as well.
JP II did some admirable things. I commend him for his stand against homosexuality and abortion. But when it came to an unambigous message about the need for conversion to Jesus Christ, he was quite lacking.

SDG April 6, 2006 at 6:42 pm

What if Martin Luther or John Calvin had done this — wouldn’t this have been exhibit A in any catholic apologists bag of tricks?

Um, no.
What would that prove? Only that Luther and Calvin were fallible men who made mistakes and errors in judgment, sometimes bad ones. Luther and Calvin themselves would say the same, as would all good Lutherans and Calvinists. No controversy there.
Catholic apologetics is fundamentally positive, not negative. Bashing the Reformers could never be exhibit A. Exhibit A is always going to be why Catholicism is true, not why Protestantism is false.

paul zummo April 6, 2006 at 6:43 pm

I do find the willingess to overlook it curious.
Funny how the willingness to overlook it included writing an entire blogpost about it.

Spacemouse April 6, 2006 at 7:17 pm

If I decide to use a word with a familiar, widely understood meaning, while personally choosing without explanation to use this word to mean something quite different, I cannot then suggest that those who take the word in the familiar, widely understood sense have “misinterpreted” me.
You can if you’re Alphonsus Ligouri. ;-) It’s called equivocation. It isn’t sinful in all circumstances, at least not according to some of the most beloved Catholic moral theologians.
More seriously, even with the list of items you mention, does kissing them really mean the same thing? Kissing the icon of a saint is not the same as kissing a Bible (one is a representative of a member of the communion of saints, and one is the written word of God) and neither of those is at all the same as kissing your pet or your infant nephew.
I do see your point, but I think it depends on the idea that kissing such an object could only have one primary meaning, and I’m not sure that’s true.
Still, I do agree that it was an unfortunate gesture to use.

Jason April 6, 2006 at 7:22 pm

The kids were ready to dig in, when the dad said “Oh, you ought to know, I put some dog poop in there.”.
The kids were disgusted and indignant that he had ruined the brownies.

That’s a cute story, but not exactly a good philosophy for life.
To quote Pope Pius XII: “The Church has never held the doctrine of the pagans in contempt, but purified it from all error and crowned it with Christian wisdom.”
By your logic, we shouldn’t read Origen, or even St. Thomas Aquinas, since he argued against the Immaculate Conception, which is now a dogma. We might eat that poop and die! :P
(Sorry for the multiple posts, Jimmy. This will be my last.)

Rosemarie April 6, 2006 at 7:23 pm

+J.M.J+
Here’s what JPG actually had to say about the Koran:
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 definitely been set aside.
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. Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity.

From Crossing the Threshhold of Hope, pp.92-93.
We have to look at the Koran-kissing incident in the light of the Pontiff’s personal attitude toward that book. He obviously does not consider it equal to the Bible, so his gesture must clearly mean something else.
In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J. April 6, 2006 at 7:55 pm

“That’s a cute story, but not exactly a good philosophy for life.”
Okay, Jason. It’s just a story, and not presented as anything else.
But it does make my point. You may find some worthy things in the Q’uran, but I maintain that you will find absolutely nothing of value in it that is not better and more fully expressed in the Holy Scriptures.
Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?

Mike S April 6, 2006 at 8:13 pm

The answer may be in JP2′s May 5, 1999 general audience speech (http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2muslm.htm)

Alan Phipps April 6, 2006 at 9:22 pm

We have to look at the Koran-kissing incident in the light of the Pontiff’s personal attitude toward that book. He obviously does not consider it equal to the Bible, so his gesture must clearly mean something else.
Thank you for posting that, Rosemarie. You hit the nail squarely on the head.

Francis DS April 6, 2006 at 9:44 pm

One more thought. Did the Pope REALLY kiss the book or did he just pretend to kiss the book? (something like just touching the tip of his nose to the book).
My opinion is that he was caught between committing an act of disrespect (in an ecumenical mission), and an act that may be criticised by fellow Christians, and at the spur of the moment decided to act in a way that would offend Christians rather than Muslims, since we are supposed to be the more understandable and forgiving sort of people.
Those of us who’ve lived in non-Christian countries would have had similar experiences when attending a social event composed of people with a different religion. Do I eat meat consecrated to idols or not?

NonAnonymous April 6, 2006 at 11:09 pm

The way I remember this was explained by Vatican spokemen almost immediately after it happened, was that John Paul was kissing the book for the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary that it contained.

Kevin Miller April 7, 2006 at 3:09 am

I was going to say, but someone else above has pretty much said it, that it’s silly to think that if you really look at JPII’s actions as a whole, you don’t get a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can begin with his very first encyclical, out just a few months after his election – The Redeemer of Man – and work your way forward.

Stefan of the North April 7, 2006 at 5:18 am

I wonder if this kiss, much like the apologies to all the people wronged by the Church over the centuries, was not an act of charity from the Pope. Just an idea, but I remember these things bothering me too, and I wondered what the Pope would say if I asked him: “Holiness, why?” Might he not smile and say, “Must a man deserve an apology if it serves peace?” Sort of a turning the other cheek thing.
After all, I’m sure the apostles were all shocked and asking the questions above (it: What is He DOING??) when Christ allowed himself to be taken, put on trial, scourged, crucified. It was that surpeme caritas of which only God is capable. Perhaps kissing a koran is something like that.

Heather April 7, 2006 at 6:58 am

Hmmm Well seems that Jimmy is like an ostrich, and Jason seems to suffering same myopia.
Jimmy: This is the pope who has the distinction of being the first pope to pray in a Muslime mosque. He invoked the blessing of St. John the Baptist over “Islam.” He made numerous addresses and speeches to the Muslim people, always encouraging them to continue make their contribution to “a new human family”
He knew what the Quran was. He knew what it contained. He kissed it with full knowledge and intention, because he valued what Islam and Catholicism shared in common.
[No one knows why JPII kissed the Koran, and he never made his reasons public while he was alive.]
That’s precisely where I disagree. This might be true if no one had ever heard of JP2 before, if no one knew anything about him, if we were just shown this picture of a man kissing the Quran and were made to answer “why is this man kissing this book?”
Then it might be charitable to pile up the excuses – maybe he didn’t know what book it was, maybe he was mistaken about how to show a gesture of thanksgiving in that culture, maybe he was completely clueless, etc.
But we’re not in the dark on JP2. All of his other interactions with Islam – and there were plenty of them – show us without a shadow of doubt that he knew what he was doing, and had reasons for doing it. Over and over again he commended Muslims for their belief in “the one God,” and encouraged them to live well in their own religion, to make a contribution to the “new human family” and the cause of world peace. He constantly made reference to the things shared in common by our two religions – and all of this shows us exactly what his mindset towards Islam was.
All of his actions and gestures would lead us to expect that he would kiss the Quran if ever given the chance, because he venerates it as a holy book belonging to a praise-worthy religion.
I’ll let John Paul II have the last word:
Quote:
Christians and Moslems, we meet one another in faith in the one God, our creator, our guide, our just and merciful judge. We strive to put into practice in our daily lives the will of God, following the teaching of our respective holy books. (Documentation Catholique, Jul. 7, 1985)
And Jason, the Talmud was NOT written by “post Christian Jews” (what kind of term is THAT??!) It was compiled by anger Pharisees and Saduchees who were bereft at the loss of more of their Jewish community to Christianity. Let’s look at a section from the Talmud that you so greatly respect: verse 5:4 of the tractate Niddah. ‘it is like a finger in eye’ Rabbi Litman explains what it means: “This refers to the hymen of a girl younger than three years old. The Sages believed that in the case of toddler rape, the hymen would fully grow back by the time the girl reached adulthood and married. Therfore, though violated, she would still technically be counted as a virgin and could marry a priest. It’s an analogy: poking your finger in the eye is uncomortable, but causes no lasting harm.”
Oh! Let’s not forget what the Talmud says about Our Mother:
Tract Kallah, 1b:
“Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered, the other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy’s mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: ‘My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.’ She demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so—but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: ‘Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours’? To which she replied: ‘The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me. But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to me.’ Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: ‘Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders’! And they exclaimed: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph’ ”
Must I continue??
People let’s get our heads out of the sand and see things for what they really are: a spiritual battle between good and evil. Satan has and will continue to use Judaism and anything else Islam, etc to be tools, instruments to wage war against us that believe in the One, True, Apostolic church that Christ instituted in whatever way he can. Don’t fall for it!

Anonymous April 7, 2006 at 7:19 am

Francis:
“4: Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords” — yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.” (1 Cor 8:4-13)
It’s clear from this passage that eating meat consecrated to idols is fine, unless you cause scandal to your brethren in such case you should abstain. Thus in the case you’re talking about you could eat it and not sin.

Anonymous April 7, 2006 at 7:25 am

Heather I would laugh at your nonsense if I wasn’t sad at such a display of hate and bitterness…

Alan Phipps April 7, 2006 at 7:30 am

It’s times like this when I remember Catechism #2478:
2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
“Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved” – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 22.

In light of what our late Holy Father has written about Islam, how can we not interpret this action in the context of the man’s life and public teaching? Do we really want to reduce the sum of his teaching down to the worst possible explanation of one action. I would expect the media to do that, because the media has no memory. But we are Catholic Christians. Let us especially remember this during Lent (myself included).

Alan Phipps April 7, 2006 at 7:31 am

Sorry, that last paragraph should not have been in italics!

Rosemarie April 7, 2006 at 7:32 am

+J.M.J+
The “finger in eye” statement in the Talmud is not meant to justify child-rape, just to rule that a girl violated against her will should still be considered a virgin for the sake of the marriage dowry later in life. A virgin’s dowry was higher than that of a non-virgin, so the rabbis were saying that child molestation should not be held against a victim.
They were in no way saying that it wasn’t a crime to molest a girl. The Talmud strictly forbids sex outside of marriage, and raping a three year-old girl certainly qualifies as such.
As for the second statement, it does not refer to Christ, but to another “prophet” named Yeshu who lived around 100 AD. After all, Rabbi Akibah lived from c. 50 AD to 135 AD – he was not alive at the time of Our Lord!
In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J. April 7, 2006 at 8:22 am

Thanks, Marie.
Imparting the worst possible interpretation and motives to the text doesn’t really help in trying to understand other faiths.

Romulus April 7, 2006 at 1:36 pm

He obviously does not consider it equal to the Bible, so his gesture must clearly mean something else.
Rosemarie: Yes, it means JP2 was a bit of a ham, and was not immune to the temptation to showboat.

Tim April 7, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Maybe he was just trying to read some fine print on the cover! ;-)

Romulus April 7, 2006 at 2:46 pm

Heather it’s an unfortunate fact that the Talmud does contain a number of veiled statements, ranging from criticisms to outright slurs, against Jesus and Our Lady. It’s not hard to find educated Jews who’ll acknowledge this — some with regret, others not. It strikes me as not inconsistent with the historical tension between Christians and Jews, which on both sides has seen intemperate remarks and even libelous myths. It’s well past the time we put all this behind us, but there’s no use pretending it never existed.

Tim M. April 7, 2006 at 3:06 pm

“It’s clear from this passage that eating meat consecrated to idols is fine, unless you cause scandal to your brethren in such case you should abstain. Thus in the case you’re talking about you could eat it and not sin.”
except like everything in the Bible it is not to be read or understood outside of context or only within it’s own pericope.
So, sure, Paul here says it’s ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols, if understood from only this statement. But taken with other statements from Scripture, say, like ACTS 15:(23-)28-29, which is the summation of the First Council of the Church at Jerusalem:
“28
‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
29
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’”

Rosemarie April 7, 2006 at 4:49 pm

+J.M.J+
>>>Yes, it means JP2 was a bit of a ham, and was not immune to the temptation to showboat.
A “ham”? Showboating? I don’t see where you’re coming from.
>>>Heather it’s an unfortunate fact that the Talmud does contain a number of veiled statements, ranging from criticisms to outright slurs, against Jesus and Our Lady.
Yes, there are a few such passages in the Talmud, even as there are some nasty statments about Jews in the Patristic writings. Both sides were unfortunately rotten to each other. Yet the majority of Talmud texts that anti-Semites claim refer to Our Lord and Our Lady actually refer to other people, including some false prophets like the biblical Balaam and the aforementioned Yeshu who lived seventy years after Our Lord’s Ascension.
In Jesu et Maria,

J. R. Stoodley April 8, 2006 at 8:03 am

John Paul II was a great man and a great Pope. He had the balance to acknowledge what is legitimate in other religions while not denying the uniqueness of Christianity. Furthermore he was the Vicar of Christ chosen by God from all eternity to shepard His churuch in this dark time. Let’s not haggle over obscure actions of his and claim that they do or do not dicredit him. Let’s not condemn generous deeds with cold logic.
The purpose of Christianity is to bring human beings into communion with God their Creator. Other religions are generally an attempt to find God, and will always contain much good, or at least imitations of good, even pagen religions. Islam is not a pagan religion but a monotheistic one heavily influenced by Christianity and Judaism. It is imperfect, contains errors, was founded by a precursor of the antichrist I’d even say, but still contains much good.
It is in the spirit of rationalism that so pervades modern culture that we feel comfortable analyzing every act and teaching of the successors of the Apostles, demanding credentials and complete consistency, and forming strong opinions based on hearsay and some books one has read.
How about if we accept authority for what it is, give the benefit of the doubt to anything we find difficult, and seek conversion and deeper union with God for ourselves and others.

Jeanetta April 8, 2006 at 8:19 am

I was going to say, but someone else above has pretty much said it, that it’s silly to think that if you really look at JPII’s actions as a whole, you don’t get a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can begin with his very first encyclical, out just a few months after his election – The Redeemer of Man – and work your way forward.
Amen. A certain noncatholic troll does with JPII exactly what fundamentalists do to the Bible – take individual events or lines completely out of the wider context of history and tradition. This is the same troll who attacks Mother Teresa for similar reasons. Everyone above who answered him did a marvelous job, but you’re flogging a dead horse. It ain’t going nowhere.
Might be best to let it go. As philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe said in another context (paraphrased),
“When confronted with a person who really thinks it a live moral issue whether [JP II and Mother Teresa are good Christians]. . . the right thing to do is to walk away rather than argue; for such a person shows evidence of a corrupt mind.”

bill912 April 8, 2006 at 8:32 am

Your last paragraph is excellent advice, Jeanetta. (I gotta remember to follow it).

Joseph D'Hippolito April 8, 2006 at 4:24 pm

As one of those who criticized the late pope heavily for kissing the Koran, I have several ideas why:
1. JPII viewed Islam as a useful ally against Communism and secularism, even to the extent of ignoring the plight of Christian minorities in Muslim nations. He also believed that ecumenical dialogue would prevent the kind of WWII-like “clash of civilizations” that he feared. Don’t believe that? Then read the following:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11662
2. Many Christian intellectuals, tired of secularism and individualism, admired Islam’s focus on the transcendent — to the point of ignoring or denying the legitimate theological differences between the two faiths. Alain Besancon, a French Catholic historian, makes this case in his Commentary magazine article from 2004, “What Kind Of Religion is Islam?”
Influencing that attitude was the work of European scholar Louis Massignon, who popularized the ideas of the Koran as a kind of biblical revelation and of Muslims as being among Abraham’s spiritual children.
“An entire literature favorable to Islam has grown up in Europe,” Besancon wrote, “much of it the work of Catholic priests under the sway of Massignon’s ideas.”
Obviously, JPII was aware of these intellectual currents and likely embraced them personally.
3. A kind of sentimental ecumenism exists among many Christian leaders. Cardinal Law displayed such sentimentality when he bowed toward Mecca and prayed to Allah in a suburban mosque in 2002, then told the congregants:
“I feel very much at home with my fellow fundamentalists here, who are convinced that God must be at the center of our lives (Boston Globe, Nov. 25, 2002).”
4. European Catholicism and Islam have had a very cozy relationship — too cozy, according to Oriana Fallaci in her latest, The Force Of Reason. In that book, she describes how Catholic bishops gave churches and schools to Muslims, only in one case to see one of the facilities burned down. Catholic social-service agencies also helped Muslim immigrants avoid legal deportation.
JPII’s Koran kissing isn’t an isolated incident but a very calculated reflection of his own geopolitical and theological agendas, as well as of intellecutal currents within European
Catholicism.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 8, 2006 at 4:32 pm

One more point: If none of you believe me, then ask yourselves this question: Why is Pope Benedict’s approach to Islam so different from JPII’s?

michael hugo April 9, 2006 at 4:10 pm

Can anyone say for sure what JPII’s position was on UNIVERSAL SALVATION?
I’ve read at least twenty documents where his position sounds very…uh…not Catholic. But if you take Universal Salvation to its logical conclusion, why not kiss the Koran? It’s all good.
Could this be another reason for “the kiss”?

michael hugo April 9, 2006 at 4:14 pm

Jimmy’s treatment is, as usual, sober and reasoned. And very fair.
Some of the comments here, on the other hand, are not. There is some needlessly uncharitable Trad bashing.
One doesn’t have to be a Sedanvacantist or RadTrad to question the prudence of JPII’s kiss (as Jimmy demonstrates). This is because there have been MANY other strange messages implicitly communicated by the Church over the last 40+ years, most of which was on JPII’s watch. It is against this backdrop of seemingly consistent message of indifferentism that “the kiss” is interpreted. So, while Jimmy does a valiant effort at explaining this ONE event, it ignores the broader context of confusion regarding issues like “salvation outside the church”, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
I speak from experience on this, because it has taken me YEARS of reading and research to actually figure out what the Church believes about these issues. You can’t go to one source about this, because the answers you get are, themselves, usually vague or inconsistent. Even the Catechism is cagey on this issue, as if it is trying to satisfy people with differing opinions.
This “Koran Kiss” has to be seen in the context of, for example, the Assisi debacle. Here is an article by Magister about the confusion that fiasco caused.
http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=19632&eng=y
In short, I would simply like to suggest that this one event is difficult to interpret without considering a broader context. And the broader context is even more confusing.
I’m sure JPII was a deeply holy man, and I am not. I wouldn’t presume to stand in judgement of him on any level. That being said, I am much happier with PBXVI at the helm.

michael hugo April 9, 2006 at 4:29 pm

Joseph,
Wow. Well said. I agree. Here is one more thought:
From the Council of Carthage (a.d. 298)
“None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whosoever shall communicated with those who are cut off from the Communion of the Church, whether clergymen or laic, let him be excommunicated.” (Coun. Carth. Iv 72 and 73) 18
And again, I would strongly, STRONGLY, suggest reading this article:
http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=19632&eng=y
You are right. Cdl. Ratzinger was NOT happy with the whole Assisi travesty. I have read that is was he, not JPII, that pushed for the release of “Iesus Dominus”, in part because of the confusion that reigned during JPII’s pontificate.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 10, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Michael, many thanks for your complements.

Rosemarie April 10, 2006 at 1:50 pm

+J.M.J+
Well, I’m posting the following link which answers these objections against JPG according to the sensus Catholicus which we should all have:
http://www.saint-mike.org/apologetics/qa/answers/faith_spirituality/f0212120050.html
Though, judging from past experience, I won’t be surprised if Joe D’ cusses me out for defending JPG.
In Jesu et Maria,

ByzantineCatho April 10, 2006 at 5:56 pm

I was Orthodox and I’m Eastern Catholic now. Pope John Paul the Great lead me do Catholicism. I’m sure he’s a saint!

Inquisitor Generalis April 10, 2006 at 8:15 pm

Why is it so difficult for people to admit that JPII was a rotten pope? He was hands down the worst one ever.

J. R. Stoodley April 10, 2006 at 8:31 pm

Inquisitor Generalis
Do you want to let Benedict IX off so easily, or John XII?
Seriously, you discredit yourself by making such a statement. In fact I’m not sure it is not a prank. To not see that Pope John Paul II was a man of great prayer and devotion to God and the Blessed Mother, who shepherded the Church in a difficult time with courage, and to the best of his ability, is to show either ignorance or spiritual blindness.

J. R. Stoodley April 10, 2006 at 8:33 pm

so does your pseudonym

bill912 April 10, 2006 at 8:37 pm

It’s not a prank, JR. In the past, IG has posted that he cannot think of JPG without going into a rage. Rages have neither logic nor IQs. Pray for IG.

J. R. Stoodley April 10, 2006 at 8:38 pm

I shall.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 10, 2006 at 9:45 pm

Rosemarie, I will not curse you out for defending JPII. I am not your husband…
Now, just what was the response to somebody who questioned JPII’s actions? I quote from the link Rosemarie cited:
If you do not understand something the pope does then the problem is NOT with the Pope, but with you.
A good Catholic will presume that the Pope is doing the right thing and will ask himself “what am I not understanding”.
As I mentioned in the last post, it is the Magisterium of the Church who are the official interpretors of all Church documents and other writings concerning the faith. The Magisterium has the official teaching charism from the Holy Spirit, not you.
You are going down a dangerous road son, a road that will lead YOU to schism and heresy. The tone and presumptions of your statement show that you are approaching these things from what I call a “Hermeneutics of Opposition”. That means that you tend to automatically interpret the Pope, for example, as doing something wrong.
Son, we are to give the presumption IN FAVOR of the Pope and Magisterium and NOT presume error. The error is in us, not them on official matters of teaching.
Jesus in Matt 23:2 states that the Pharasees who were corrupt and hypocrites were to be OBEYED nevertheless when they sit on the “chair of Moses”. When the Pope sits on the chair of Peter he is to be obeyed. When the Church declares dogma we are to believe, when the Church declares authoritative teaching we are to give it the presumption that it is correct.
“Do not look to your own understanding” God tells us in the bible.
I will put it plainly. You are incompetent to judge the Pope and Magisterium on these issues.
Mortify your ego and have faith. This attitude of yours shows a profound lack of faith that Jesus does not tell lies. Jesus gave the POPE and MAGISTERIUM the charism to validly interpret the faith, not you or me. Is Jesus a liar when he says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church?
The Church has survived corrupt popes and bishops but NEVER has the official teaching on faith and morals been corrupted — NEVER.
Stop backseat driving the Church. You just are not up to the job, and neither am I or anyone else except God’s appointed Pope and Magisterium in union with him.

English translations: Turn your brain off. Don’t ask serious questions. Don’t notice serious inconsistencies or discrepancies. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Etc.
Such admontions turn Catholicism into a personality cult on the level of Nazism (Hitler), Communism (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim Il-Sung, etc.), Islam (Mohammed, Khomeini and various imams), Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard) or any other such ideology. They are insults not only to the faithful but also to the admonition in Scripture that calls upon the Christians to “test the spirits” and to Christ’s declaration, “You shall know them by their works.”
Besides, the accurate translation of the passage in Matthew is, “Listen to what they say but do not follow their example.” Christ’s comment reflects several issues:
1. Christ was not going to suggest outright rebellion against the religious leaders of his day. He knew they were out to get Him, so He was not going to give them any more ammunition than necessary, certainly not until it was time for Him to allow Himself to be handed over to them.
2. Christ was more of a master of irony than many Christians give him credit for being. If an authority’s example is bankrupt, how can his words have any meaning? Just look at Cardinal Roger Mahony.
Rosemarie, you are not offering a defense of JPII. You are offering the kind of blind, obsequeious submission that Catholic leaders have exploited for centuries to hide from accountability. Just look at the clerical sex-abuse crisis.
BTW, Inquisitor Generalis, JPII was far from being the Worst Pope Ever. I suggest you take a look at Alexander VI, for starters.

Inocencio April 10, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Please read da rulz of Jimmy’s Blog.
#3. Also because of the format restrictions, everyone must be concise. Don’t go on at length about things. Pasting large amounts of text into the combox also counts as going on at length. Going on at length constitutes rudeness.
And I again recommend reading Dave Armstrong’s discussion on the subject.
http://web.archive.org/web/20030604152818/http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ394.HTM
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito April 10, 2006 at 10:37 pm

Thank you, incencio. I’m new here and I didn’t read the rules. I posted the entire italicized response to be fair to its creator and to avoid being accused of taking things out of context. Anyway, I shall try to be more concise next time.

Jeb Protestant April 11, 2006 at 3:12 am

If Benedict XVI determined that catholics were dragging their feet on ecumenicalism and ordered all catholics to attend ecumenical services presided over by female protestant ministers, would catholics be obligated to obey?

Rosemarie April 11, 2006 at 4:59 am

+J.M.J+
>>>Rosemarie, I will not curse you out for defending JPII. I am not your husband…
Well, my husband won’t curse me out for defending JPII, either. :-)
The page I linked to did not call for blind, obsequeious submission in all things, just for obedience in matters of faith and morals. The brother did not say that we should lay down and play dead while bishops shuffle pedophile priests from parish to parish, just that we should submit to the Magisterium rather than becoming mini-magisteri unto ourselves. We shouldn’t be privately interpreting Church documents to determine for ourselves whether a pope is in error/a heretic/etc. It is the Church’s job to interpret her documents, and our job to assent to her official interpretation.
To extrapolate from that the notion that we should also allow certain bishops to abuse their office and let wolves prowl among the sheep is to take a huge leap of logic! Neither I nor the brother who wrote that response are proposing that.
In Jesu et Maria,

Rosemarie April 11, 2006 at 5:16 am

+J.M.J+
>>>If Benedict XVI determined that catholics were dragging their feet on ecumenicalism and ordered all catholics to attend ecumenical services presided over by female protestant ministers, would catholics be obligated to obey?
B16 would never order Catholics to do something so pointless, which has nothing to with faith and morals anyway.
Besides, Protestant ministers – male or female – are not the same as Catholic priests because they lack Holy Orders (I speak generally, of course, because a few male ministers may also have valid holy orders – if they are ex-Catholic priests, for instance).
In this way, both male and female ministers are “in the same boat,” to use an old cliche. If Catholics can attend the occasional ecumenical meeting with male Protestant ministers present, I don’t see why they can’t also attend one that involves a female minister – as long as no communio in sacris is involved.
In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J. April 11, 2006 at 5:17 am

Jeb, don’t start throwing around silly hypotheticals unless you want some thrown back at you.
I am happy to answer real questions, but that was just dopey.
Heck, I’ll answer anyway; the Magisterium doesn’t contradict itself. Catholics can never be REQUIRED to attend non-Catholic religious services. I’m pretty sure the Pope KNOWS this. If he were to take a fever and make such an announcement contradicting long-held Catholic doctrine, it would be spotted right away.
You are aware that Papal Infallibility doesn’t extend to the pope’s every word, aren’t you? He can’t just shoot from the hip, like that. He can’t just come out and command that Catholics eat Cocoa Puffs for breakfast. You should already know this.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 11, 2006 at 9:12 am

Rosemarie, I suggest you re-read the link you claim to be a defense of JPII’s actions concerning ecumenism. If you read between the lines, the “brother” is really saying, “Don’t question the Pope or the Magisterium, ever.” The question then becomes, “How can Pope JPII perform actions that directly contradict previous church positions? Are those positions wrong or was JPII wrong? And are his actions in this regard, regardless of whether they’re right or wrong, truly ‘magisterial’?”
Besides, Rosemarie, I seriously doubt that the marytrs who gave their lives for refusing to covert to Islam would look very favorably upon any Pope who kisses a Koran.

Anonymous April 11, 2006 at 10:59 am

+J.M.J+
Attempting to “read between the lines” can sometimes give a wrong impression. With respect, I think you are reading too much into what he wrote.
For instance, there is no mention whatsoever of the sex scandal, which you brought that up in your post above in criticizing him. There is actually a big difference between saying, “We must believe whatever the Pope and Magisterium officially teach as articles of faith” and “It’s okie-dokie for individual bishops to protect predatory priests.” The former is true, the latter is bunk. The latter does not proceed from the former. One can submit to Church teaching while decrying the Scandal.
Perhaps you should write the Brother and ask his opinion on these other matters?
The page is also not specifically about the Koran-kissing incident. It is just about whether JPG’s ecumenism is licit according to official Church teaching. The questioner cites snippets of Church councils (including the one cited above by Michael Hugo), and asks whether the former Pontiff’s teachings excommunicate him. The Brother answers the question at hand by basically saying, “You have no authority to interpret Church documents; that’s the Magisterium’s job, not yours.” And he’s right; we don’t have the ability to interpret Church documents for ourselves.
That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything the Pope does. I’m not thrilled with the fact that the former Pontiff kissed the Koran; the gesture was widely misunderstood and used against him. But I want to come to a proper understanding of why he did it rather than attribute motives to him which he didn’t in fact have.
I don’t believe that JPG was perfect; this may very well have been a mistake on his part. Yet he was still my spiritual father so Christian charity demands that I give him the benefit of the doubt, that absent conclusive evidence I assume the best rather than the worst. St. Catherine of Siena rebuked a pope for his actions, but she still called him the “sweet Christ on earth.” That is the proper Christian attitude.
In Jesu et Maria,

ByzantineCatho April 11, 2006 at 3:21 pm

“St. Catherine of Siena rebuked a pope for his actions, but she still called him the sweet Christ on earth. That is the proper Christian attitude…”
Thank you, Rosemarie!
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!

Tim J. April 11, 2006 at 3:28 pm

Thanks, indeed, Rosemarie.
My feelings exactly.

Inquisitor Generalis April 11, 2006 at 10:16 pm

“BTW, Inquisitor Generalis, JPII was far from being the Worst Pope Ever. I suggest you take a look at Alexander VI, for starters.”
Alexander VI was a far, far better pope than JPII. If a pope were to restore the Church back to Her state when Alexander VI reigned, we wouldn’t mind at all if he kept mistresses, engaged in bribery, or committed a few murders. All of these things are better than the sins of JPII.

Frere Ignatius April 11, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Whatever one can say about Alexander VI (he was actually one of our favorite popes, he bought the papacy with several wagons of silver, how nice is that!?!?) he was definitely doctrinally orthodox. That is questionable with JPII, however, to say the least.

bill912 April 11, 2006 at 10:33 pm

IG: Still letting your feelings of rage against JPG do your thinking for you, I see.
Frere Ignatius: It is impossible to believe what you stated in your last sentence and be a Catholic. Our Lord assured us of that.

Inquisitor Generalis April 11, 2006 at 10:39 pm

Pfffffft… JPG? And you claim trads have no sense of history?

J. R. Stoodley April 11, 2006 at 10:48 pm

Hear Hear Rosemarie!
and here is a link that might be helpful in the issue of what is true orthodoxy, though it has much more to do with doctrinal teaching and infallability than actions.
http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Issues/Papal-Infallibility/papal-infallibility.html
I must admit I have not looked extensively into the credentials of the site or the author, but it looks good to me.

J. R. Stoodley April 11, 2006 at 10:52 pm

Are IG and Frere Ignatius the same person? Both seem to use the royal we. Or is this some kind of organization of non-Christian pseudo-Catholics?

J. R. Stoodley April 11, 2006 at 10:55 pm

My rash use of the word non-Christian was a mistake. Let’s not judge the Christianity of someone by a few stupid comments. But I stand by “pseudo-Catholics”

Inquisitor Generalis April 11, 2006 at 10:56 pm

We’re different people, we just both prefer the royal We. Check our links. We both use it on our blogs. Inquisitor Generalis and Count Tradula are the same, however.

Frere Ignatius April 12, 2006 at 12:16 am
Joseph D'Hippolito April 12, 2006 at 12:22 pm

Rosemarie, one doesn’t have to read between the lines to see what the “brother” is saying. It’s quite obvious, and I reproduced his entire response: Never qu3estion the Pope or the Magisterium on anything. The “brother” didn’t even bother offering a substantive response based on encyclicals; he basically intimidated the questioner.
I brought up the sex scandal because the attitude that “brother” represents is the exact same one that millions of Catholics had concerning the bishops who enabled pedophilic priests without their knowledge or consent. It is the exact same one Catholic bishops have exploited and hidden behind to avoid accountability.
It is the exact same one many of you use to excuse anything and everything JPII did, no matter how questionable.
You are living in denial, Rosemarie. You value group loyalty and ideological identity over truth.
So to those who believe that Alexander VI was a better example of a Pope than JPII. Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?
If this is what Catholicism is coming to, then Scientology is truly scientific by comparison.
People like Michael Hugo, Spacemouse and Billy HW will be the ones who draw this Church out of the moral and intellectual mire in which it is stuck — not the Rosemaries, the IGs or the FIs.

Tim J. April 12, 2006 at 12:55 pm

“It is the exact same one many of you use to excuse anything and everything JPII did, no matter how questionable.”
“Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?”
Good grief. Once again, nobody on this thread has excused or defended JPII’s kissing of the Q’uran.
Maybe he simply screwed up! Jimmy and others have been exploring different factors that may help explain his behavior, but nobody has excused it.
Jimmy has said that HE thought it was a mistake.
But making a mistake doesn’t make him NOT a saint, unless you have a very simplistic understanding of what being a saint means.
To seek to understand why the Holy Father did this is not the same as excusing it. I won’t excuse it, but neither will I use it as an excuse to crap all over his entire pontificate, as seems to be the desire of some.

Rosemarie April 12, 2006 at 1:52 pm

+J.M.J+
Again: the brother was talking about the Magisterium interpreting its own documents, not about criticizing failed pastoral policies. The two are quite different.
There is no article of faith which states, “When a priest molests a minor, the bishop must cover up the crime and assign the priest to a new parish where he can molest more children.” That is not a dogma of the Catholic Church, just a horrible, disasterous pastoral policy! One cannot defend or excuse such an policy by appealling to the Magisterial authority of the Church, because that’s something quite different. Any person who tries to do so is wrong.
>>>You are living in denial, Rosemarie. You value group loyalty and ideological identity over truth.
I value the See of Peter established by Christ, and respect each man who occupies it regardless of his faults. My loyalty is to Christ and His Mystical Body. It saddens me that you can’t see past your anger at the heirarchy, but I can’t do anything about that.
In Jesu et Maria,

Rosemarie April 12, 2006 at 2:02 pm

+J.M.J+
>>>Jimmy has said that HE thought it was a mistake.
I also said that I think it may have been a mistake. I guess some people can’t see the difference between trying to understand motives and “excusing” or “defending” something.
FWIW, I did not always love JPG. As a teenager, I had a friend who made fun of him, so I saw the pope as an object of mockery.
When I left the Church for Evangelicalism at age 15, I initially thought the pope was the Antichrist. As my attitude toward Catholicism changed, I first came to view him as the leader of the largest cult in the world,and later, as a mere poser falsely claiming to be Jesus’ representative on earth.
While I considered returning to the Church at age 19, I talked to a certain nun. I remember telling her point-blank “I don’t believe in papal infallibility. I don’t care about the pope; I couldn’t care less what he has to say.” That was pretty much my attitude at the time: apathy with an edge of hostility.
Around that same time, I took a bit of a lefty turn (probably not surprising for a college student). I soon embraced “Christian feminism”, and after returning to the Church I then saw the pope as a sexist patriarch who oppressed women by refusing to ordain them because he “feared female power and sexuality” – or some rot like that.
When I finally recovered from Christian feminism, I still didn’t have much interest in the pope at first. It wasn’t until 1993 World Youth Day in Denver that Our Lord started to teach me to love the Holy Father as my spiritual father.
I don’t believe JPG was perfect or never made any mistakes, but I’m not going to hate or mock or belittle him for it. Been there, done that.
In Jesu et Maria,

Joseph D'Hippolito April 13, 2006 at 1:05 pm

Since I’m apparently not explaining myself clearly, let me restate the following:
1. I did not “crap all over JPII’s pontificate.” I made a legitimate criticism concerning his kissing of the Koran and offered explanations. See my first post.
2. Many people in Catholic blogdom (cf, Mark Shea) have the attitude that Pope JPII Can Do No Wrong. If people had such an attitude regarding political figures, it would be correctly seen as “spin doctoring.”
3. My statement, “Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?” had nothing to do with JPII. It had to do with such people as IG, who seem to have more respect for a theologically correct sexual pervert such as Alexander VI than a JPII whose personal morality cannot be questioned, regardless of his geopolitical and theologcial views.
4. I bring in the clerical sex-abuse crisis not to illustrate a “failed pastoral policy” but to illustrate how many loyal Catholics refused to believe that their bishops were even capable of enabling sexual perversion. That refusal to believe reflects an attitude of blind, obsequeous deference to authority — the kind of attitude that Rosemarie’s “brother” is encouraging in the face of legitimate questions.

Frere Ignatius April 13, 2006 at 1:25 pm

The Bishops shouldn’t be capable of it, and wouldn’t have been capable of it, in the old days. The faithful have every right to hold to the opinion that this is the farthest thing from the minds of the bishops, and to never even consider the possibility. This is how diabolical it is since these things have actually happened. The hierarchy has been infiltrated with godless men, communists, sodomites, et al., who do not have the Catholic Faith, and have done terrible, terrible things to sully the image of Christ’s mystical body.
I do not believe that God will excuse sexual perversion, no. As I pointed out in the linked blogpost, Alexander VI is probably in Hell right now, at least his successor thought so. My point is, if Alexander VI is in hell, isn’t it a little premature to be calling JPII “John Paul the Great,” when it is obvious that, doctrinally speaking, Alexander VI was worlds better than JPII, and that in the time of Alexander VI, at least his successor had a Church, while JPII’s either complete ignorance, or lack of administrative skill, or SOMETHING managed to make his pontificate one of the worst in Church history, bar none.

Tim J. April 13, 2006 at 1:49 pm

Okay, Joseph, I see that we do have a number of cross-currents going in the discussion and I misinterpreted some of your comments.
Some people do want to use this event (and others) as prima facie evidence that JPII was little better than an apostate (like the last poster) and I thought you were in that camp.
Frere Ignatius-
“… JPII’s either complete ignorance, or lack of administrative skill, or SOMETHING managed to make his pontificate one of the worst in Church history, bar none. ”
Is that why he is so relentlessly trashed by dissenters on the Left? Your statement makes me think that perhaps you don’t appreciate the scope of the challenges that the Church faced on JPII’s watch.

J. R. Stoodley April 13, 2006 at 1:49 pm

By what authority do you judge which Popes were doctrinaly orthodox and which Popes were not, Frere Ignatius?
A big difference between orthodoxy and unorthodoxy is whether you make yourself the ultimate judge of truth, or whether you defer to the Magiserium.

Ryan C April 13, 2006 at 2:11 pm

People can argue about all of this till the proverbial cows come home, but I’m sure John Paul is in Heaven now, praying fervently for the church he led in life, as I’m sure will be confirmed within my young adulthood.
Once John Paul is canonized and we get some distance from this historical period (which only God knows how it will end) in the Church I’m sure views of the later pontiff will change substantially, on both sides of fence.

Rosemarie April 13, 2006 at 2:34 pm

+J.M.J+
>>>I bring in the clerical sex-abuse crisis not to illustrate a “failed pastoral policy” but to illustrate how many loyal Catholics refused to believe that their bishops were even capable of enabling sexual perversion.
I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree, Joe. I still insist that one can be fully submissive to the Magisterium in matters of faith or morals and at the same time highly critical of the stupid pastoral policies of individual bishops.
I once argued with someone on a Catholic mailing list who insisted that, because a bishop is the official teacher of his diocese, everyone in the diocese must believe everything he teaches them unquestioningly. I asked, “What if he teaches heresy?” He replied that the bishop’s flock should still believe what he taught them until the pope steps in and says he’s wrong!
I disagreed with him very strongly, and he all but accused me of being a disobedient Catholic! I haven’t changed my mind since then, so it’s pretty ironic to now be accused of having “an attitude of blind, obsequeous deference to authority”! Kind of reminds me of the old story of the old man, the young man and the donkey….
(BTW, that guy left the mailing list soon afterwards because of the argument – which occurred about a month before the Scandal broke wide open in early 2002. I’ve often wondered what he thought of the Scandal, in light of his belief in extreme submissiveness to bishops).
>>>That refusal to believe reflects an attitude of blind, obsequeous deference to authority — the kind of attitude that Rosemarie’s “brother” is encouraging in the face of legitimate questions.
If one has a “legitimate question” as to whether a pope has violated a particular Magisterial statement, then he should submit a query to the proper Congregation at the Vatican (CDF, maybe?). It is the Magisterium’s role to interpret the Council of Carthage, not yours or mine or anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be outraged over clerical misconduct, since that has nothing to do with the teaching office of the Church and so does not require our obedience. Apples and oranges.
In Jesu et Maria,

J. R. Stoodley April 13, 2006 at 3:25 pm

Rosemarie,
There is a principle that you give religious assent (not as strong as the assent of Faith but still an assent) to all that your parish priest teaches on faith an morals, unless it is contrary to what the local bishop or the Pope (or councils) teach. You give assent to your local bishop unless he contradicts the teachings of the Magisterium as a whole (again, the Pope its head or the councils). You accept the teachings and pastoral guidance of the Magiserium without constantly looking for imfallability.
Concerning policies, while individuals, including Popes, may sometimes make mistakes, it is incorrect to say that you are free to reject everything other than formal teachings on faith and morals. The clergy has the right to regulate things like the liturgy, so the faithful should recognize this legitimate authority, except when a lower level of that authority is in disobediance to a higher authority.
When confronted with something as bad as the abuse scandal, I see no reason not to be outraged. When it comes to something like liturgical regulations, though I may find some changes difficult, I will not condemn or disobay the directives.
The Koran kissing event is not even directive from the Church, but it is an act of the Pope, so in the spirit of the idea of auctoritatis, and because I greatly respect John Paul the Great (who did indeed hold the line of orthodoxy through one of the most trying times in Church history) I will not rush to condemn this act. Like I said way up near the top of this comment section, even if he meant it as an interfaith relations act, it was a generous deed done out of love and respect. It was certainly not done to condone the evil or incorrect aspects of Islam. I will not linger on whether it was imprudent, because I simply don’t want to.

J. R. Stoodley April 13, 2006 at 3:28 pm

not that you were saying all the things I contradicted, Rosemarie

Jeb Protestant April 13, 2006 at 4:34 pm

Can anyone name a seminary or university that was liberal when JPII became pontiff and thanks to him was conservative when he died?
I think the left doesn’t like him because he was conservative on sexual morality.

Tim J. April 13, 2006 at 6:20 pm

“Can anyone name a seminary or university that was liberal when JPII became pontiff and thanks to him was conservative when he died?”
I wouldn’t know, but according to Scripture, there are times when holding the line is a major accomplishment;
“Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come.” Rev. 2:24-25
The late twentieth century was a tough shift to pull.
“I think the left doesn’t like him because he was conservative on sexual morality.”
You might add the following items, from a coalition of disgruntled lefties:
“1. the “repression and marginalization” of controversial theologians;
2. the movement away from collegiality in Church governance;
3. the unwillingness to engage in “real and serious debate about the status of women in the Roman Catholic Church;”
4. the opposition to “a reconsideration– in the light of the Gospel, science, and history– of certain norms of sexual ethics;”
5. the adherence to the discipline of clerical celibacy–which, the statement said, continues despite the evidence that many priests in some geographical regions live with women, and the sexual abuse of children in other regions;
6. the lack of control over Church financial institutions, leading to the banking scandals of the 1980s;
7. the “ecclesial isolation” of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the failure to support the theology of liberation in Latin America.”
The left had a number of gripes with JPII, but I’m glad to know you are in favor of good, solid Catholic institutions. Me too!

J. R. Stoodley April 13, 2006 at 7:48 pm

JPG was not conservative on sexual morality, he was human on sexual morality.

Anonymous April 13, 2006 at 9:04 pm

Several challenges:
1. John Paul the Great (… did indeed hold the line of orthodoxy through one of the most trying times in Church history)
Then why were so many of the bishops he appointed (or whom the Vatican appointed under his supervision) not only were not nearly as orthodox as he but had highly questionable personal morals?
Could it be that JPII was more interested in “company men” than many would like to believe?
2. …the movement away from collegiality in Church governance…
Benedict seems to be moving toward collegiality in Church governance. What say you all to that?
3. …the lack of control over Church financial institutions, leading to the banking scandals of the 1980s…
This isn’t just a concern of “lefties” but also of “righties” like myself. Read David Yallop’s In God’s Name to understand how the Vatican (starting with Paul VI) allowed unscrupulous men with ties to organize crime use Vatican banking institutions to launder money. Yallop accuses JPII of turning a blind eye to the whole business — which his predecesor, JPI (a truly “great” man who should be canonized), wanted to resolve before his untimely death.
Challenges 1 and 3 point to a legitimate criticism of JPII’s papacy: The failure or refusal to be a competent steward of God’s church. Too many people have been infatuated with the man (or, rather, his personality cult) to examine this question thoroughly.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 13, 2006 at 10:29 pm

The last post was mine.

Jeb Protestant April 14, 2006 at 7:26 am

Tim,
Number 1, 3, 4 & 5 of your list all concern or implicate sexual morality.
No one is saying JP II was a leftist. However many of his views (support for evolution, higher criticism of the Bible, his opposition to the death penalty, ecumenicalism, support for the UN & EU) put him somewhat on the more liberal side of Catholic orthodoxy than other people.
Or take a supposed champion of orthodoxy such as Cardinal George. Does Andrew Greeley go to bed at night worried that George will in any way discipline him for his views?

Rosemarie April 14, 2006 at 8:42 am

+J.M.J+
>>>Then why were so many of the bishops he appointed (or whom the Vatican appointed under his supervision) not only were not nearly as orthodox as he but had highly questionable personal morals?
I read an article shortly after JPG’s death which said that the Communists in Poland used to smear men by accusing them of being homosexuals. Karol Woltyla saw so many innocent men’s reputations damaged by such charges over the years that he evidently developed a “blind spot” toward charges of homosexuality among the clergy.
After becoming pope, whenever he considered making someone a bishop, if anyone in the Curia brought up rumors that the man in question was homosexual, JPII would hear none of it and would often make him a bishop. He evidently didn’t believe that these men were homosexual and figured the rumors were just evil attempts to slander an innocent man.
That blind spot may well have been one of his flaws, though it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a devout and holy man, totally consecrated to Our Lady. I tend to think that his final years of suffering were his “purgatory on earth,” by which he worked off his temporal punishment.
>>>Benedict seems to be moving toward collegiality in Church governance. What say you all to that?
I think you’re right. The modernists don’t know what they’re talking about here.
In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J. April 14, 2006 at 8:50 am

A little more perspective on JPII from the liberal side. I picked up this blurb from Hans Kung over at Amy Welborn’s blog:
“John Paul II failed to convert many persons to his rigorous viewpoints, especially in matters of sexual morality, despite all his speeches and his travels. Such viewpoints have been rejected by a crushing majority of Catholics and national parliaments, even in his native Poland. All his encyclicals and his catechism, his decrees and his disciplinary sacntions, all the pressures from the Vatican, plain or hidden, on those who opposed him, resulted in practically nothing.”
So, yes, the left is obsessed with sex. What else is new? Their real problem is with authority.

Jeb Protestant April 14, 2006 at 9:20 am

Tim,
I don’t see how the ravings of the left are particularly relevant to a fair appraisal of what JP II did (or didn’t do) in fighting liberalism in the church.

Anonymous April 14, 2006 at 9:27 am

I doubt the kind of collegiality that B16 is moving toward is the kind that will make the dissenters happy at all, at all.
What they really want is a kind of democracy, where we all get to vote on what the Catholic church should teach, and where all opinions, traditional and modernist, are weighed equally, especially modernist.
I expect they would also want local and national bodies to be given increased authority and autonomy, and, shall we say, de-centralize the authority of the Pope… except when he agrees with them, like JPII with the Iraq war and the death penalty.
In that case, well… “The Matter is Settled, Rome Has Spoken!”.

Tim J. April 14, 2006 at 9:28 am

Sorry, that last post was mine.

Tim J. April 14, 2006 at 9:43 am

“I don’t see how the ravings of the left are particularly relevant to a fair appraisal of what JP II did (or didn’t do) in fighting liberalism in the church.”
In sifting out assertions that JPII didn’t do enough to combat liberalism in the Church, you don’t think it useful to hear how the liberals look at it? Let’s throw all the grist into the mill, and not just the frustrations of righties (like me).
I think it would be hard for a non-Catholic to appreciate the massive and relentless assault that the left has mounted within the Church for the last several decades.
People who are raised Baptist, for instance, and who come to hate the Baptist Church, for the most part simply leave it and go somewhere else (or nowhere else).
In the Catholic Church, the true Haters tend to stick around, make a lot of noise and start fights. They are not content to leave, the want the Church destroyed, or disfigured beyond recognition.
Some of them might even go so far as to become priests or bishops.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 14, 2006 at 11:21 am

I read an article shortly after JPG’s death which said that the Communists in Poland used to smear men by accusing them of being homosexuals. Karol Woltyla saw so many innocent men’s reputations damaged by such charges over the years that he evidently developed a “blind spot” toward charges of homosexuality among the clergy.
After becoming pope, whenever he considered making someone a bishop, if anyone in the Curia brought up rumors that the man in question was homosexual, JPII would hear none of it and would often make him a bishop. He evidently didn’t believe that these men were homosexual and figured the rumors were just evil attempts to slander an innocent man.

If what you say is true, Rosemarie, it implies that JPII allowed the trauma he experienced under Nazi and Communist tyranny to play too great a role in his papacy.
To equate all secular governance with Communism or totalitarianism, as he apparently did, is nothing but ignorance. The failure to examine an individual’s moral fitness for episcopal office can never be excused — especially since that moral fitness can adversely affect the faithful, so I don’t want any accusations of “Donatism” here.
I believe that the Church’s revisionism concerning capital punishment — revisionism that JPII encouraged — also reflects his trauma. But the Church had centuries of teaching from Scripture and Tradition on this issue, and JPII failed or refused to uphold it. Again, no excuse.

Ryan C April 14, 2006 at 12:25 pm

“However many of his views (support for evolution, higher criticism of the Bible, his opposition to the death penalty, ecumenicalism, support for the UN & EU) put him somewhat on the more liberal side of Catholic orthodoxy than other people.”
But still orthodox, as you point out, which is all that should matter to the faithful Catholic. I really think we need to make an effort to avoid using labels like “left” and “right,” and “liberal” and “conservative” – political labels with a very recent and secular resonance – in the theological sphere, where the ancient labels “heterodox” and “orthodox” are far more appropriate and essential. And I don’t quite see what a political decision (support for the UN or EU) has to do with Catholic orthodoxy in general.
“If what you say is true, Rosemarie, it implies that JPII allowed the trauma he experienced under Nazi and Communist tyranny to play too great a role in his papacy.”
To say that someone “allowed” a trauma to impact their decisions requires more insight into a person’s psyche than I think anyone here possesses.
“To equate all secular governance with Communism or totalitarianism, as he apparently did, is nothing but ignorance.”
I don’t see how that follows from Rosemarie’s post, unless you’re referring to something else?
“I believe that the Church’s revisionism concerning capital punishment — revisionism that JPII encouraged — also reflects his trauma. But the Church had centuries of teaching from Scripture and Tradition on this issue, and JPII failed or refused to uphold it. Again, no excuse.”
I don’t think the Church’s current stance on capital punishment, as stated in the Catechism, can be termed “revisionistic,” as that would imply that the Church as a “truth-telling thing” as Chesterton puts it, subtantially changed the Truth it teaches.
I think what the Church did do is develop a prudential understanding of the situations where captial punishment is the best course of action, and when mercy should prevail. As St. Therese of Liseux (and Aquinas) knew and taught, Mercy is the supreme attribute of God. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say it should be the supreme attribute of the justice system as well.

Jeb Protestant April 14, 2006 at 12:38 pm

Tim,
It has some relevance. But consider Kung — the Vatican says he can’t call himself a catholic theologian, and he compares it to the Inquisition! The guy is a little unhinged.
And if Kung’s opposition to JP II is important, what about his support for the pope for evolution and the like?

Tim J. April 14, 2006 at 12:47 pm

It’s true, “left” and “right” are probably not that helpful, but they are a handy shorthand for “orthodox” and “heterodox”.
Truthfully, I think of myself as smack in the middle, but in response to those who have been trying so hard to pull the Church to the Left (and over a cliff), I end up pulling Right, mostly.

Tim J. April 14, 2006 at 1:10 pm

I don’t know that “evolution” as such could be considered a hot “left/right” issue in the Catholic Church.
Scads of conservative scholars leave room for evolution as a part of the creation process, as does official Church teaching.
It’s true, the opposition to evolution seems to come exclusively from the Right.
To acknowledge the possibility of some kind of evolution would hardly make one a “liberal” theologian, though. A faithful Catholic can hold any one of a number of theories on the exact meaning of the early chapters of Genesis.
I think one indication of the direction in which JPII took the Church can be seen in the College of Cardinals choice of a new Supreme Pontiff. I don’t know a lot of people who would have made book on Cardinal Ratzinger becoming Pope! Many were surprised, not to say shocked, at the conservatism of the Cardinals on that day.

Rosemarie April 14, 2006 at 1:11 pm

+J.M.J+
>>>The failure to examine an individual’s moral fitness for episcopal office can never be excused
Again, I’m not “excusing” what he did, just explaining it. As I said above, JPG wasn’t perfect: he made mistakes, he even apparently had a blind spot when it came to assessing a man’s moral fitness for episcopal office. In short, he was a mere human being, not God Incarnate. Every pope in the history of the Church has been flawed, including the first one. Can St. Peter’s triple denial of Christ ever be “excused”?
We would love for our popes to be perfect and flawless, but alas, they are all mere flesh and blood who will fall short of perfection in one area or another. So are we, of course, yet how lenient we can sometimes be about our own failures while being so hard on others.
If I were a gambler, I’d bet that the Devil tempts the successors to St. Peter even harder than he tempts us. When they fail in some area we judge and find fault with them so easily, but would we want to endure for just a half hour the spiritual struggle they endure every day of their lives?
In Jesu et Maria,

Ryan C April 14, 2006 at 1:24 pm

They can be handy, but they can also cloud things. Right now it seems like most (but certainly not all) of the attacks on the Church come from the left, at least in this country.
But there may come a day (in fact I wouldn’t doubt it) when the word “right” will be a more appropriate shorthand for heterdoxy.
As Chesterton says of the Church throughout her history:
“She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands.”
The key is not to try to judge the Church by our own standards of right and left, but to let Holy Mother Church teach us the standards we should live by so we don’t become slaves to the age.

Rosemarie April 15, 2006 at 5:34 am

+J.M.J+
J. R. Stoodley writes
>>>You give assent to your local bishop unless he contradicts the teachings of the Magisterium as a whole (again, the Pope its head or the councils).
That’s what I told this guy, but he would have none of it. He said Catholics should believe whatever their bishop says, even heresy, unless and until the Pope corrected it. He believed that any criticism of a bishop whatsoever revealed a disobedient spirit.
I’ve never since run into anyone with that same attitude, though.
In Jesu et Maria,

Joseph D'Hippolito April 16, 2006 at 9:09 pm

“If what you say is true, Rosemarie, it implies that JPII allowed the trauma he experienced under Nazi and Communist tyranny to play too great a role in his papacy.”
To say that someone “allowed” a trauma to impact their decisions requires more insight into a person’s psyche than I think anyone here possesses.

This isn’t a matter of unusual insight; it’s a matter of knowing someone by their works. Perhaps “allowed” isn’t the best word. Nevertheless, it appears evident that the late pope’s trauma under Nazism and Communism profoundly affected his fundamental view of life, not to mention theology.
“To equate all secular governance with Communism or totalitarianism, as he apparently did, is nothing but ignorance.”
I don’t see how that follows from Rosemarie’s post, unless you’re referring to something else?

It refers to JPII’s tendency to automatically dismiss accusations of homosexuality against any cleric because of his experiences in Poland; the Communists used the same tactic to undermine clerical credibility.
BTW, that reinforces the last point I made.
“I believe that the Church’s revisionism concerning capital punishment — revisionism that JPII encouraged — also reflects his trauma. But the Church had centuries of teaching from Scripture and Tradition on this issue, and JPII failed or refused to uphold it. Again, no excuse.”
I don’t think the Church’s current stance on capital punishment, as stated in the Catechism, can be termed “revisionistic,” as that would imply that the Church as a “truth-telling thing” as Chesterton puts it, subtantially changed the Truth it teaches.

Ryan, read Genesis 9:5-6. In that passage, God demands the execution of murderers because murder is the ultimate desecration of the divine image in humanity. Moreover, just look at JPII’s personal activism on the issue. He didn’t just suggest a “prudential understanding of the situations where capital punishment is the best course of action,” he demanded its abolition altogether, a stance that directly contradicts both Scripture and Tradition. His encyclical Evangelum Vitae was nothing but a figleaf for his agenda on the issue.

J. R. Stoodley April 16, 2006 at 10:13 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
When you quote Bible verses to contradict Magisterial teaching do you know what that makes you sound like? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think JPG’s statements on capital punishment in Evangelium Vitae count as ordinary Magisterial teaching.
I am not an expert on this matter, but my impression is that the right of a nation to put a person to death for a just reason has not been called into question. The issue is whether in a society where a person can be put in prison for life there is any just reason to put them to death.
The contents of Genesis 9 can be interpreted many ways. One could claim for instance that it gives a prohibition against all drinking of animal blood (weird for us but customary as an ordinary food/drink source in parts of Africa) or eating raw animal flesh (sushi?) or even rare hamburger (after all it still has its “blood in it”). The Church does not teach this, however. The Church interprets the prohibition against blood to be a prohibition against certain occult practices in which blood, seen as the life of a creature, was consumed.
I don’t know what, if anything, the Church has taught specifically about verses 5 and 6, but they should be read in the context of Church teaching. That includes not just teachings of the distant past, but recent teachings such as those of the wonderful pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae.
Do you not acknowledge that you have set yourself (or someone else who teaches you) above the Magisterium as the interpreter of Scripture and Tradition?
By the way, can anyone tell me how to make things italic in these posts?

Inocencio April 17, 2006 at 6:07 am

J. R. Stoodley,
By the way, can anyone tell me how to make things italic in these posts?
Place < i > before text and < / i > after text without spaces. And the letter b for bold.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito April 18, 2006 at 11:39 am

The contents of Genesis 9 can be interpreted many ways. One could claim for instance that it gives a prohibition against all drinking of animal blood (weird for us but customary as an ordinary food/drink source in parts of Africa) or eating raw animal flesh (sushi?) or even rare hamburger (after all it still has its “blood in it”). The Church does not teach this, however. The Church interprets the prohibition against blood to be a prohibition against certain occult practices in which blood, seen as the life of a creature, was consumed.
J.R., this is absolute nonsense. First, you are equating the blood of an animal with the blood of a man. Second, God forbade the consumption of blood in preparation for the Mosaic Law, in which blood was considered the mechanism of atonement and, as such, was considered holy. That’s why Christ died on the cross; His blood redeems.
If Scripture isn’t enough, then you might want to consider Thomas Aquinas for a “thoroughly Catholic” view of capital punishment:
“The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain
than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentence. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death, their
heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgement that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers (Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, 146).”
Here’s what the Doctor of the Church says about capital punishment and protecting the community:
“If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended. Only the public authority,
not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgement. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted. (Summa Theologica 11: 65-2; 66-6).”
I know what I sound like, J.R. I sound like an intelligent, independent thinking Catholic who refuses to be swept along with the tides of a popular papal personality cult.

Tim J. April 18, 2006 at 12:14 pm

Joseph-
If St. Augustine (my patron) is allowed to make a prudential judgement as to when the death penalty should be used, is not the Pope allowed the same?
The right of the state to use the DP has not been touched.
I accept JPII’s right to make a prudential judgement on the matter, which is all he did, and with which I feel free to disagree.

Ryan C April 18, 2006 at 1:07 pm

“Ryan, read Genesis 9:5-6. In that passage, God demands the execution of murderers because murder is the ultimate desecration of the divine image in humanity.”
In terms of revisionism – if my interpretation of a passage in Scripture is in contrast to the interpretation of the Church has set out with her own authority (with which she interprets the entire deposit, not just a single passage from Scripture) then I need to conform my interpretation to the Church’s – not consider the Church to be revisionistic.
“Moreover, just look at JPII’s personal activism on the issue. He didn’t just suggest a “prudential understanding of the situations where capital punishment is the best course of action,” he demanded its abolition altogether, a stance that directly contradicts both Scripture and Tradition. His encyclical Evangelum Vitae was nothing but a figleaf for his agenda on the issue.”
I didn’t mention JP II’s actions for a reason, as there needs to be a distinction between a Pope’s actions and important documents like the Catechism (which I referred to) or an encylical. Those are what the Church has going forward and I just don’t see any revisionism in them, thus I don’t see how the Church has been revisionistic on the issue of captial punishment.
As the old CE says:
“The infliction of capital punishment is not contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, and the power of the State to visit upon culprits the penalty of death derives much authority from revelation and from the writings of theologians. The advisabilty of exercising that power is, of course, an affair to be determined upon other and various considerations.”
In any case, to call EV a “fig leaf” seems quite extreme and mimimizes the spiritual light and instruction we should be looking for in documents from Peter’s heir.
Again, if mercy is the supreme attribute of God (according to Aquinas and Therese of Liseux) why should the Pope be accused of “revisionism” for encouraging mercy in situations where it is possible to exercise that virtue in a prudent manner?

Joseph D'Hippolito April 19, 2006 at 11:34 am

Ryan C. and Tim J., please read the following article. It reinforces my point:
http://www.seattlecatholic.com/article_20040406.html
Please pay particular attention to the following:
“Unfortunately, the confusion grows deeper. For the Holy Father has, in a public talk, asserted a view of the death penalty which extends even beyond Evangelium Vitae and the Catechism: ‘The dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform…. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary (Papal Mass at the Trans World Dome, St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 27, 1999; emphasis mine).’
“This text seems to represent an absolute and unconditional prohibition of the death penalty, in that it implies that the death penalty automatically takes away ‘the dignity of human life,’ and also that the death penalty is intrinsically cruel. Such a prohibition — if that is truly what this represents — extends well beyond what the Church has perennially taught concerning capital punishment. This cannot help but confuse the individual Catholic.”
Your serve, gentlemen….

Anonymous April 19, 2006 at 11:45 am

Joseph D’Hippolito,
“This text seems to represent an absolute and unconditional prohibition of the death penalty
Then why does the pope renew an appeal for it and not demand it?
The dignity of human life must never be taken away. Even if someone is put to death for their crimes that doesn’t take away the inherent dignity of human life being made in the image and likeness of God.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Tim J. April 19, 2006 at 11:49 am

Joseph,
I don’t have to point out to you the difference between a prudential judgement, given during a Papal Mass, and a Solemn Definition, do I?
Sure, JPII was opposed to any use of the DP. I guess that confused some people, but it shouldn’t.
The Catechism, which JPII promulgated, made it very clear what the teaching of the Church is on the matter.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 19, 2006 at 8:37 pm

The dignity of human life must never be taken away. Even if someone is put to death for their crimes that doesn’t take away the inherent dignity of human life being made in the image and likeness of God.
Innocencio, if God is the Author of life, then God has the perogative and the right to delineate the circumstances under which humans can (and must) take it. This He did in Genesis 9:6. Consider the possibility that allowing a murderer to live violates the dignity of his victim, that the victim’s life is worth less than it should be.
That’s the idea behind proportional punishment, an idea that God endorses and demands be applied.
I don’t have to point out to you the difference between a prudential judgement, given during a Papal Mass, and a Solemn Definition, do I?
Perhaps not to me, perhaps to JPII. Anyway, Tim, you know very well that JPII used his public appearances as teaching tools. He never said anything that he didn’t want misinterpreted. Whether you like it or not, JPII’s opinion of the death penalty as cruel and unnecessary contradicts the direct teaching of Scripture and Tradition. As such, no Catholic is morally responsible for obeying it.
The Catechism, which JPII promulgated, made it very clear what the teaching of the Church is on the matter.
Then JPII is directly contradicting his own Catechism! Besides, the Catechism is not divinely inspired (regardless of its value as a compendium of doctrine). Scripture is; therefore, Scripture trumps the Catechism.

J. R. Stoodley April 19, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito
J.R., this is absolute nonsense. First, you are equating the blood of an animal with the blood of a man. Second, God forbade the consumption of blood in preparation for the Mosaic Law, in which blood was considered the mechanism of atonement and, as such, was considered holy. That’s why Christ died on the cross; His blood redeems.
I did nothing of the sort. I pointed out another instance, in the same chapter of the same book, where a passage can be and has been easily misinterpreted. By the way it is not a part of the Mosaic law, but given to Noah, and enforced (as a changable ecclesial law we would say) by the early Church. My point is that if you reject the authority of the Church to interpret Scripture you are lost in the darkness of your own personal opinion.
Besides, the Catechism is not divinely inspired (regardless of its value as a compendium of doctrine). Scripture is; therefore, Scripture trumps the Catechism.
Are you trying to sound like a Protestant now? Scripture and Tradition are not opposed to each other. The Catechism, we may be sure, “is a sure norm for teaching the faith” as Pope John Paul II declared when he approved it and ordered it to be published by his Apostolic Authority. We should then interpret Scripture in light of this authoritative Magisterial teaching.
It seems that in order to uphold your position you find in necessary to reject the authority of the Ordinary Magiserium. Acceptance of ordinary Magisterial teaching is not a personality cult of any Pope, it is orthodoxy.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 19, 2006 at 9:31 pm

My point is that if you reject the authority of the Church to interpret Scripture you are lost in the darkness of your own personal opinion.
The question is not whether the Church has the authority but how it uses that authority. Using it to enshrine into the catechism an opinion that has more to do with intellectual fashion than revelation must be questioned by any Catholic worthy of the name.
And if the Church decides to act like Oceania’s Ministry of Information in Orwell’s 1984 in compiling the catechism, then personal opinion is all we have left.
Are you trying to sound like a Protestant now? Scripture and Tradition are not opposed to each other. The Catechism, we may be sure, “is a sure norm for teaching the faith” as Pope John Paul II declared when he approved it and ordered it to be published by his Apostolic Authority.
No, it is JPII who is sounding like a Protestant when he effectively declares that his prudential opinion supercedes what Scripture and Tradition have said on the issue of capital punishment!
You know, you apologists for JPII are really something. First, you ignore the obvious meaning of words, let alone previous teaching. When Catholics call you on it, you say they’re being “disloyal” to the Magisterium and “thinking like Protestants.”
Well, I don’t give two micrograms of dessicated rat droppings for a “Magisterium” that conveniently changes revealed moral teaching at the insistance of an arrogant pope who thinks he knows better than such doctors as Aquinas and such prophets as Moses.
Ignoring the fact that Scripture is divinely inspired and that the Catechism isn’t doesn’t qualify as “thinking with the Magisterium.” It qualifies as stupidity.

J. R. Stoodley April 19, 2006 at 10:06 pm

No one is denying that Scripture is divinely inspired and the Catechism is not. But perhaps it is better to just let you discredit yourself as a Catholic. You are doing a good job of it so far.
I say this not to be insulting, just to point out that you have enshrined dissent as a virtue. Holy Mother Church as Oceania’s Ministry of Information? Enough said.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 19, 2006 at 10:21 pm

J.R., look around you. Study the issue. If I’m wrong, then why has the USCCB been promoting for 13 months a campaign to abolish capital punishment in this country? (Don’t take my word for it; go to the USCCB site yourself). And if promoting such an abolitionist stand countermands the catechism, then why isn’t Rome discipling the USCCB for deliberately misrepresenting the faith?
This is not “enshrining dissent as a virtue.” This is asking serious questions that few Catholics ask (or want to).
It should be obvious that the USCCB’s stand and Rome’s stand on the issue are equivalent. Or, at the very least, that Rome tolerates the USCCB’s approach. Neither case supports traditional Catholic teaching on the issue, regardless of whether you wish to admit that.

Tim J. April 20, 2006 at 5:36 am

Joseph-
Ending the DP in the US or anywhere else is a matter of politics, not Defined Doctrine. JPII never countermanded the Catechism (though you don’t sound aS if that should bother anyone), but was saying that, though states retain the RIGHT to use the DP, circumstances in the modern West make it unnecessary 100% of the time; “Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.”.
I disagree, and any Catholic is free to do so. No one here has said that we must “obey” the Pope on this matter. He put his opinion in terms of an “appeal” (he used that word), not a command. You seem to think one is the same as the other.
I am not surprised at anything the USCCB does. I have heard some talk as if being against the DP makes the Catholic stance on abortion and euthanasia more comprehensible to outsiders. Fine. I disagree with that, too, but I at least see the reasoning.
Yours I don’t see. Are you saying that a country MUST have the DP, or it is going against Catholic teaching? A government has the perfect right to say “we choose not to exercise our prerogative in this area” without in the least running afoul of Sacred Scripture.
Remember the woman caught in adultery. Do you really think God would be disappointed if we decided not to execute people anymore? If you are going to the Old Testament to bolster your take on this, you had better be ready to accept the slaughter of entire cities and the stoning of disobedient children as official policy.
But then, maybe you are.
I disagreed with JPII on the DP. I think we still need it, sometimes. You seem to think that is not good enough, and that the DP is some kind of Sacred Duty of the state. If all you’ve got is the Old Law, then I think you are grasping at straws.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 6:33 am

Joseph D’Hippolito,
You never answered my question. Why did Pope John Paul II renew an appeal for the end of the death penalty? If he changed doctrine as you demand we believe why doesn’t he proclaim that instead of renew an appeal?
Surely as an “intelligent, independent thinking Catholic who refuses to be swept along with the tides of a popular papal personality cult.” Who doesn’t “give two micrograms of dessicated rat droppings for a “Magisterium” that conveniently changes revealed moral teaching at the insistance of an arrogant pope who thinks he knows better than such doctors as Aquinas and such prophets as Moses.
Someone as humble and obedient as yourself must have an excellent answer.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 8:29 am

Tim J.,
You make an excellent point with the woman caught in adultry, Lev 20:10 says she should be put to death.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Shibboleth April 20, 2006 at 8:41 am

There seems to be some misunderstanding of God and Law. God has several bodies of Law some of which apply to all some of which do not….
For instance natural law will always apply to everyone in every instance at every time. Most of the Levitical Laws on the other hand only every applied to the Levites and today of course many of those laws are no longer binding because they were fulfilled by the Christ.
If you confuse the Bodies of Law you have confused Theology.

Shibboleth April 20, 2006 at 8:42 am

Sorry I meant “only EVER applied to the the Levites” not EVERY

Shibbolerth April 20, 2006 at 8:44 am

And I meant Hebrews not just those of the tribe of Levi…. I think I will stop now.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 8:47 am

Shibboleth,
That is the point I was trying to make and I did a poor job.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

J. R. Stoodley April 20, 2006 at 9:17 am

Shibbolerth is right that you should not mix up the Mosaic Law with the Natural Law. This is something Joseph did too, calling the prohibition on blood in Genesis 9 a Mosaic Law when it was given to Noah (strangely then claiming that the part right after it about capital punishment did apply to everyone). Of course the 10 commandments were given to Moses but we must follow them. It all becomes very confusing if one does not accept the guidance of the Magisterium on how to interpret the various laws in the Bible. That is why we don’t rely on our own personal interpretations but trust the Church.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 11:20 am

Remember the woman caught in adultery. Do you really think God would be disappointed if we decided not to execute people anymore? If you are going to the Old Testament to bolster your take on this, you had better be ready to accept the slaughter of entire cities and the stoning of disobedient children as official policy.
Regarding the woman caught in adultery, Jesus prohibited her from being stoned because He knew that the religious leaders not only were trying to trap Him but also that they disobeyed the Mosaic Law in trying to do so. Those leaders were acting as a lynch mob, a kangaroo court. Where were the two witnesses required in any capital trial? Those leaders would act in the same manner later in St. John’s Gospel when a Temple guard slapped Jesus in the face during His trial — contrary to all established procedures.
Besides, Tim, the issue isn’t capital punishment for adultery or disobeying parents; nobody would
seriously advocate that. The issue is capital punishment for murder.
Regarding the Mosaic Law, most of its provisions were designed for a theocratic society unique to civilization; the Israelites were God’s chosen oracle. Nevertheless, those provisions illustrate God’s view toward sin and God’s demands for justice. Those demands, obviously, also necessitate a means for atonement and redemption. They also reveal God’s demand for proportional punishment and preserving the life of a murderer is not proportional punishment.

Tim J. April 20, 2006 at 11:27 am

“the issue isn’t capital punishment for adultery or disobeying parents; nobody would seriously advocate that”
Why? It’s in the Bible!
“preserving the life of a murderer is not proportional punishment.”
So, you ARE saying that the DP is a Sacred Duty, and the state doesn’t have a right NOT to use it?
I mean, just for the record.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 11:31 am

Now, to the rest of your challenges:
Inocencio, JPII did not “renew an appeal;” he proclaimed unilaterally that capital punishment was itself an evil, which directly contradicts centuries of Catholic teaching.
Tim, the USCCB’s stance regarding capital punishment is not just politics but that body’s interpretation not only of doctrine, but of the late pope’s activism on the issue. It should be clear by his actions — such as writing Pres. Bush to ask for clemency for Timothy McVeigh — that JPII did not want any nation to use capital punishment for any reason whatsoever.
Tim, you ask whether I believe that the death penalty is the “sacred duty of the state.” When it comes to murder, yes. Suppose I broke into your home and murdered your wife, your children, your parents or your siblings. Why is it fair or just for me to retain my life — even if I spend the rest of it in prison — when I have arbitrarily taken the lives of people who have done me no harm, when I have deprived them of their God-given right to use the talents He gave them, to enjoy the lives He gave them and to serve others through those talents and lives?
Of course, such an answer cannot be found in the CCC, which means that it’s beyond your collective comprehension, unfortunately.
I would remind all of you of what St. Paul said to St. Timothy: Scripture is divinely inspired and useful for teaching, reproof, doctrine, etc. Considering that the NT had yet to be fully written and collected when St. Paul wrote that, he obviously was referring to the OT. Now, St. Paul certainly viewed the Mosaic Law’s requirements for atonement and redemption as null and void because of Christ. But the Mosaic Law goes beyond atonement and redemption, as I indicated previously — and St. Paul was taught by one of the most learned and respected teachers of the Law, Gamaliel, so I doubt he would agree with your superficial understanding of it.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 11:39 am

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Pope John Paul II words from your own post:
“I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary (Papal Mass at the Trans World Dome, St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 27, 1999; emphasis mine).’
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Tim J. April 20, 2006 at 11:40 am

“Of course, such an answer cannot be found in the CCC, which means that it’s beyond your collective comprehension, unfortunately.”
But I DO comprehend what you are saying, Joseph. I just think you are wrong, for reasons stated above.
“…you ask whether I believe that the death penalty is the “sacred duty of the state.” When it comes to murder, yes.”
Okay, everyone, take note. Mercy to murderers will not be tolerated, as it is against God’s law. Mercy to disobedient children and stuff will still be allowed, however, for some reason.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 11:41 am

“the issue isn’t capital punishment for adultery or disobeying parents; nobody would seriously advocate that”
Why? It’s in the Bible!

Tim, read what I actually wrote instead of what you think you said — or, more accurately, stop viewing it through the lens of your anti-Protestant bigotry.
If you’ll recall, I said that “most of its provisions were designed for a theocratic society unique to civilization…those provisions illustrate God’s view of sin and demands for justice.” Taking firm stands against disobeying parents, for example, does not mean executing children who do so. We are talking about God’s revealing of His personality and character, and the moral demands He makes on humanity.
“preserving the life of a murderer is not proportional punishment.”
So, you ARE saying that the DP is a Sacred Duty, and the state doesn’t have a right NOT to use it?

I addressed this topic. What individual nations do is their own affair. But in God’s eyes — and, ultimately, this is what I’m talking about — no, preserving the life of a murderer is not proportional punishment.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 11:50 am

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Ignoring the fact that Scripture is divinely inspired and that the Catechism isn’t doesn’t qualify as “thinking with the Magisterium.” It qualifies as stupidity.
The Magisterium which has the God-given authority to teach and preach, has given us the CCC as sure norm for teaching the faith.
You don’t accept that. You are, in your own mind, more Catholic than any living pope and the only one who can correctly interpret Sacred Tradition. You sound more like Martin Luther than the “intelligent, independent thinking Catholic” you claim to be.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

chris April 20, 2006 at 11:53 am

Please check out the website of Robert Spencer, Catholic author who is clearly an expert on islam.
http://www.jihadwatch.org/
While I don’t agree with all the posts of the readers, the material by Dan is frightening.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 12:06 pm

The Magisterium which has the God-given authority to teach and preach, has given us the CCC as sure norm for teaching the faith.
Well, Inocencio, you value the Catechism more that Scripture. That truly is sad.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 12:14 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
I value obedience to the God-given authority of the Magisterium to interpret Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. It appears you do not.
It seems as though your biggest problem with the papacy is that God did not chose you as His Vicar.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Shibboleth April 20, 2006 at 12:35 pm

I don’t think that it is fair or just to accuse someone of dismissing scripture if they appeal to a more learned person’s commentary on the verses in question. The truth of the matter is that the Magisterium has made very few infallible definitions on the meanings of particular scriptural verses.
To flip the coin on this issue the words, “faith alone” only appear once in the Scriptures and in that one instance the idea is denounced quite clearly. But, Protestants abide by the teachings of their past reformers on the verse. I have a hard time believing that the vast majority of Protestants would view the Epistle of James as they do if they were not filtering it through the teachings of their particular ‘Magisterium’ of past reformers.
Consequently what appears clear cut to you appears differently to the Catholics and in fact the Orthodox in the way you present the death penalty. Honestly, are you any better or any different? We all have our filters of understanding. In fact if someone were to pick up the scriptures and read without the assistance of past Theologians they would have far more error in their understanding than if they were guided.
The Scriptures are incredibly important that is for certain but without the extra Biblical writings we wouldn’t even know what constituted Scripture.
Sorry about the long post….

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 2:06 pm

Inocencio, you misinterpret my arguement. I am not arguing for a “Protestant” interpretation of the OT. I am arguing for a contemporary Catholic interpretation of the value of capital punishment that is consistent with past teaching. If the Magisterium cannot or will not do this, what use is it?
Shibboleth, this isn’t about “Scripture alone” vs. “Scripture plus Tradition.” One of my arguments in favor of executing murderers comes from Aquinas, whom Protestants likely would not cite. The fact is that certain Scriptural teachings transcend “Catholic” or “Protestant” labels; one of them is God’s demand for proportional punishment. If you don’t see the need for such a demand, read Genesis 34, in which Jacob’s sons Levi and Simeon murder all the men of one town, and enslave all the women and children, because one man raped their sister. Nobody can argue that the brothers’ action was “proportional.”
The whole idea of proportional punishment is to prevent such binges of vengeance that were common among the Middle Eastern peoples of that time.
I find that many Catholics who argue against “Scripture alone” or who value the Catechism on an equal basis with Scripture have never studied Scripture intensely or intelligently, either on their own or with guidance.

Shibboleth April 20, 2006 at 2:24 pm

So when someone slaps you do you slap them back…
What you are speaking of is exactly what Jesus explains in his ministry. The Jewish understanding of scripture was such that if someone slapped you you were required to do something proportionately equivalent. Jesus came along and restated this saying, “That is the maximum that you can impose not a requirement.” God did not set a requirement on this issue but a limit.
If someone slaps you turn the other cheek. Hardly proportional punishment.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 2:34 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
If the Magisterium cannot or will not do this, what use is it?
Again I understand that you do not accept the God-given authority of the Magisterium to interpret both Sacred Tradition and Scripture.
We are subject to it just the same.
I find that many Catholics who argue against “Scripture alone” or who value the Catechism on an equal basis with Scripture have never studied Scripture intensely or intelligently, either on their own or with guidance.
The Catholic Church rejects Sola Scriptura as do the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition.
Question all you like but do not pretend to assume the authority to interpret the Sacred Scriptures that our Blessed Lord gave to His Bride alone.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 3:13 pm

If someone slaps you turn the other cheek. Hardly proportional punishment.
Shibboleth, Christ was talking about interpersonal behavior, not the necessity to preserve social order and morality. This same Christ is the one who also said that “not one jot nor tittle of the Law” will pass away until everything is fulfilled.
Besides, why is so hard for you to understand that a loving, just, merciful and righteous God demands punishment proportional to the offense?
Again I understand that you do not accept the God-given authority of the Magisterium to interpret both Sacred Tradition and Scripture.
We are subject to it just the same.

And what are Catholics supposed to believe when the Magisterium contradicts itself, which is the point you refuse to address?
The Catholic Church rejects Sola Scriptura as do the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition.
Question all you like but do not pretend to assume the authority to interpret the Sacred Scriptures that our Blessed Lord gave to His Bride alone.

Inocencio, you refuse to acknoledge my point: The current revisionist position on capital punishment contradicts both Scripture and Tradition. Appealing to an anti-Protestant bias won’t make that inconvenient fact go away.

bill912 April 20, 2006 at 3:45 pm

“The current revisionist position on capital punishment contradicts both Scripture and Tradition.” Baloney! Are you really that thick, or is your ignorance willful?

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 3:49 pm

Baloney! Are you really that thick, or is your ignorance willful?
Bill, you must be speaking about yourself. You really have no knowledge of what the Church has taught on this issue, do you?

J. R. Stoodley April 20, 2006 at 4:09 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Could you, to inform this conversation, provide formal Magisterial teaching from the past (presumably infallible teaching since it must contradict ordinary Magisterial teaching) where the Church taught that states MUST put murderers to death or exercise proportional punishment and not anything less.
Not that the Church does not remain the authentic interpreter of Scripture and Tradition, not you or me, but I am currious whether you have anything at all to back you up, with regards to tradition. We have already covered the inappropriatness of your private interpretation of Scripture contrary to the Church’s interpretation.
I’m not talking about St. Thomas Aquinas or any other individual theologian, or the prevalent attitude or practices of a past era, but true Magisterial teaching from a Pope or Council.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 4:30 pm

The first Pope to take a stand in favor of the death penalty was Innocent I in the year 405, who in response to a query from the bishop of Toulouse bases his favorable position on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Innocent writes, “In regard to this question we have nothing definitive from those who have gone before us. It must be remembered that power was granted by God, and to avenge crime the sword was permitted; he who carries out this vengeance is God’s minister (Rm 13:1-4). What motive have we for condemning a practice that all hold to be permitted by God? We uphold, therefore, what has been observed until now, in order not to alter the discipline and so that we may not appear to act contrary to God’s authority.”28
In the year 866, however, Pope Nicholas I adopted a different angle in his letter to the newly converted Bulgarian Christians. Nicholas urges the neophytes to promote life both of body and soul, and to “rescue from death not only the innocent, but also the guilty.”29 As grounds for his argument, Nicholas appeals to the example of Christ, who had saved the Bulgarians from their imprisonment to death and brought them to eternal life.30
After the turn of the millennium came another milestone in the Church’s reflections on capital punishment. In dealing with Waldensian heretics who sought reentry into the Catholic Church, Pope Innocent III required the pronouncement of a profession of faith which included the statement: “The secular power can without mortal sin carry out a sentence of death, provided it proceeds in imposing the penalty not from hatred but with judgment, not carelessly but with due solicitude.”31
The basic acceptance of the legitimacy of capital punishment continued through more recent pontificates, though usually in the form of indirect reference. In his letter to the bishops of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Pastoralis Oficii, Leo XIII wrote of the prohibition by divine and natural law of killing or wounding a human being, “except for a public cause [that is, by public authority] or in the necessity of defending one’s own life.”32
Pius XII presented a more explicit defense of the lawfulness of capital punishment. He states that “as long as a man is without guilt, his life is untouchable,” and adds that “God is the sole lord of the life of a man not guilty of a crime punishable by the death penalty.”33 The Pontiff provides the moral reasoning behind his thought on capital punishment in an address to a congress of doctors: “Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he himself, through his crime, has deprived himself of the right to life.”34
Notes:
28 Innocent I, Epist. 6, c. 3. 8, ad Exsuperium, Episcopum Tolosanum, (20 Feb. 405), PL 20, 495.
29 Nicholas I, Epist. 97, 25: Responsa ad Consulta Bulgarorum, PL 119, 991.
30 Some affirm that Nicholas did not intend to take a stand on the principle of the death penalty, but only the excessive facility with which recourse was had to such punishment. See, for example, Lino Ciccone, «Non uccidere»: Questioni di morale della vita fisica, Edizioni Ares, Milan, 1984, p. 79.
31 DS 795/425.
32 Leo XIII, Pastoralis Oficii (12 September 1891), ASS 24 (1891-92), p. 203.
33 Pius XII, To the San Luca Medical-Biological Union, (12 November 1944), VI, 191.
34 Pius XII, Address to the First International Congress of Histopathology of the Nervous System (14 September 1952), XIV, 328. It should be borne in mind that in this address Pius was seeking to underscore the narrow limits of State sovereignty over the lives of citizens, and not to articulate a theory of justification of the death penalty.

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 4:33 pm

From a review of the book, “Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition” by E.C. Brugger:
“Has the Roman Catholic Church changed its mind on the death penalty? Brugger, assistant professor of ethics at Loyola University of New Orleans, contends that it has. He begins by analyzing pertinent sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997) and of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letters, Evangelium Vitae (1995) and Veritatis Splendor (1993). From these documents, he infers that the 1997 Catechism, in sharp contrast to the 1566 Roman Catechism, teaches that capital punishment is not an exception to the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill.” Whereas the sixteenth-century Catechism taught that the death penalty could be inflicted in order to redress wrongdoing (retributive justice), the new Catechism, supported by the two encyclical letters, eliminates retribution as a justification for the death penalty and limits state execution to instances where it is absolutely necessary to protect the community’s safety. Such instances, the Catechism asserts, “are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (§2267). Brugger argues that the dignity of the human person provides the anthropological basis for suppressing retribution as a justification for capital punishment.
“To support his contention that the magisterium has developed its teaching in opposition to capital punishment, the author examines certain texts in both the Old and the New Testaments. He gives central focus to Paul’s Letter to the Romans (13:1-7)-especially to the verse, “for the authority does not bear the sword in vain” (13:4b)-arguing correctly that most contemporary biblical scholars interpret the meaning of “sword” as a metaphor for the state’s coercive authority and not specifically for capital punishment. His historical analysis includes a clear interpretation of influential Christian thinkers (Augustine, Pope Innocent III, and Thomas Aquinas), as well as important texts (Gratian’s Decretals [c. 1140], papal writings). Brugger’s interpretations of both Scripture and tradition are objective and insightful. His survey reveals a gradual increase in Christian participation in exacting the death penalty, moving from no Christian participation (pre-Constantinian period), to lay Christian participation (post-Constantinian period), to participation by both clergy and laity (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries).”
To be continued…

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 4:35 pm

review continues…
“Brugger shows how many arguments coalesce into one doctrine aimed at justifying capital punishment, based principally on theories of retribution and community safety. Moreover, he demonstrates in great detail that the doctrine was never infallibly taught and calls it “non-irreformable” teaching. He concludes by stating his normative position that “[society's] refraining from deliberately killing serious offenders is an expression of commitment to the fundamental dignity of the human person.”
He systematizes his position in the final chapter by entering into a creative dialogue with Thomas Aquinas, whose defense of capital punishment has carried the most authority in the Catholic tradition. Brugger offers an excellent critique of Aquinas’s arguments. Aquinas, for example, reasons that by sinning (committing murder) a person departs from the order of reason and thereby falls away from human dignity. Hence, the judge may justifiably condemn this individual sinner to death, not out of hatred, but out of charity for the community. Brugger gently probes Aquinas’s understanding of “human nature,” pointing out that Aquinas elsewhere claims that rational human nature and being loved by God confer dignity on a person. Brugger rightly points out that, since neither of these gifts is lost because of sin, human beings do not lose their inherent dignity by committing a crime. Therefore, murderers should not be treated as beasts that can be sacrificed without remorse, as Aquinas argues.”
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Shibboleth April 20, 2006 at 4:37 pm

It is not that I cannot accept your hypotheses it is that I disagree with your interpretation especially in light of the New Covenant. I do not see Genesis 9:6 as a commandment… it is a warning just as Jesus reiterates in Matthew 26:52 ‘all who take up the sword die by the sword.’
Capital Punishment is not condemned in the Bible but neither is it set as a requirement.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
Inocencio, you refuse to acknoledge my point: The current revisionist position on capital punishment contradicts both Scripture and Tradition. Appealing to an anti-Protestant bias won’t make that inconvenient fact go away.
I REFUSE to acknowledge that you have any authority to decide these matters. You refuse to accept that you have no authority whatsoever and it seems to be making you insane. The pope gave us his understanding about applying the death penalty but never said the state does not have the right to use it. He said it that the situations when it should be used were rare, if not non-existent, that it was cruel, unnecessary all very much his opinion on the matter, yes, but he did not deny that the state has the right to execute the guilty.
Our Blessed Lord established the hierarchy with His authority and we are subject to that authority, above all the pope, even if you
think you are to intelligent for obedience or humility.
Sola Scriptura and Sola Traditio are not Catholic teaching and I apologize if that is inconvenient to your lifestyle.
You assume an authority to interpret Sacred Tradition and Scripture that you DO NOT have. We have a pope and you are subject to him at the cost of your salvation.
Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302
Amazing how you claim to know Catholic teaching and yet you ignore every tenet of the Faith that is inconvenient to your pride.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

J. R. Stoodley April 20, 2006 at 4:55 pm

None of the things you sight seem to be binding infallible teaching. In any case, none clearly contradicts the recent Church teachings on capital punishment. St. Innocent I mearly and rightly chooses, in a world very different than our own, not to reverse the historical allowance of capital punishment.
St. Nicholas I’s statement could have come from JPII himself, and I thank you for your honesty in giving it.
None of the following statements are in any way in clear contradition to more recent Church teachings. E. C. Brugger has no more authority to interpret Sacred Tradition than you or I have.
I shall therefore stand by the teachings of the Church.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 4:58 pm

Sorry about the italics and bold mistakes.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 4:58 pm

Sorry about the italics and bold mistakes.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 5:20 pm

E. C. Brugger has no more authority to interpret Sacred Tradition than you or I have.
Why is that so obvious to everyone but Joseph?
I shall therefore stand by the teachings of the Church.
As shall every faithful Catholic.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito April 20, 2006 at 9:23 pm

Shibboleth, Christ’s words in Matthew 26:52 are 1) more fitting to people like Saddam Hussein, Hitler and others who used violence as a fundamental means to achieve their ends; they are not meant to criticize the ability of lawful authority to create a moral social order 2) designed for St. Peter’s protection, since Peter was rather headstrong.
Now, for Inocencio:
The pope gave us his understanding about applying the death penalty but never said the state does not have the right to use it. He said it that the situations when it should be used were rare, if not non-existent, that it was cruel, unnecessary all very much his opinion on the matter, yes, but he did not deny that the state has the right to execute the guilty.
If the late pope said (as he did in St. Louis) that the death penalty is “cruel and unnecessary,” then he contradicted the Catechism you say he supported, let alone his own language in Evangelum vitae. No amount of spin can wipe away that fact.
Inocencio, this isn’t about “sola scriptura” or following the Magisterium or anything else. You have deliberately distorted my arguments because you refuse to believe the evidence I have offered. You refuse to believe because doing so would somehow cause you a great crisis of faith either in the Church or in the late pope’s character. That is the only logical explanation for your attitude.
Frankly, so have most of the rest of you.

Inocencio April 20, 2006 at 10:06 pm

Joseph D’Hippolito,
You have provided no evidence whatsoever. The pope comments in St. Louis are just that his comments in St. Louis. That is his opinion everybody understands that but you.
He didn’t issue a formal document denying a states right to use the death penalty or use language declaring and defining such teaching. And no amount of wishing to be right will change the facts.
You are the one who keeps referring to Scripture alone as your basis for your understanding of the Church’s teaching. Your fallible understanding of Sacred Scripture only jeopardizes you own soul and not my faith.
The only logical explanation for your ranting and raving…well there isn’t one. You have no authority to define or declare Church teaching at some point you will have to accept that. By God’s grace I hope it is before it is too late.
And now back to your ranting and raving.
Take care and God bless,
Inocenico
J+M+J

J. R. Stoodley April 20, 2006 at 10:17 pm

Joseph,
Saying the death penalty in America is cruel and unnecessary is not to say that States do not have a right to exercise capital punishment. I can see well how it could the statement could leave you with that impression, but it can be interpreted in other ways, i.e. that it is conducted in a way and for reasons that are not right.
You have offered no evidence of substatial inconsistancy in Magisterial teaching, only shifts in focus that we all knew were there, and the private opinions of yourself and others with no authority.
You have made it quite clear that you do not accept the authority of the ordinary Magisterium. No claiming we have distorted your arguments can change that. We do accept the authority and teachings of the ordinary Magisterium. We beleive that this acceptance is part of the virtue of Faith. You clearly do not. If you think this analysis of the situation is wrong, please point out how.

Anonymous April 21, 2006 at 9:55 am

As much as I hate to keep banging my head om this wall…
“And what are Catholics supposed to believe when the Magisterium contradicts itself, which is the point you refuse to address?”
Authentic magisterial teaching CAN NOT contradict itself, because it comes from God “who can neither decieve or be deceived”.
“The current revisionist position on capital punishment contradicts both Scripture and Tradition.”.
There is no revisionist position in Catholic teaching. There may be a lot of talk from priests, bishops and even JPII, but it is nowhere near being Church Doctrine.

Tim J. April 21, 2006 at 9:56 am

Sorry, that was me.

Inocencio April 21, 2006 at 10:29 am

Joseph D’Hippolito,
You are contradicting yourself “this isn’t about “sola scriptura” or following the Magisterium or anything else.”
this isn’t about “sola scriptura”
Scripture is; therefore, Scripture trumps the Catechism.
I find that many Catholics who argue against “Scripture alone” or who value the Catechism on an equal basis with Scripture have never studied Scripture intensely or intelligently, either on their own or with guidance.
or following the Magisterium
The question is not whether the Church has the authority but how it uses that authority.
And if the Church decides to act like Oceania’s Ministry of Information in Orwell’s 1984 in compiling the catechism, then personal opinion is all we have left.
Well, I don’t give two micrograms of dessicated rat droppings for a “Magisterium” that conveniently changes revealed moral teaching at the insistance of an arrogant pope who thinks he knows better than such doctors as Aquinas and such prophets as Moses.
If the Magisterium cannot or will not do this, what use is it?
Ignoring the fact that Scripture is divinely inspired and that the Catechism isn’t doesn’t qualify as “thinking with the Magisterium.” It qualifies as stupidity.
or anything else.
I know what I sound like, J.R. I sound like an intelligent, independent thinking Catholic who refuses to be swept along with the tides of a popular papal personality cult.
Your own words show that your arguments are based on exactly what you are claim we are distorting.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Joseph D'Hippolito April 22, 2006 at 4:32 pm

Inocencio, you are free to believe what you like about me or about the Church’s views on capital punishment. But you and your compatriots are ignoring these words from the late Pope’s address in St. Louis:
“I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty.”
Now, if the Pope is following the CCC, then why is he issuing such an appeal? Wouldn’t such an appeal contradict his own words in Evangelum vitae, let alone Catholic teaching?
Then again, I don’t expect a logical answer from robots whose primary loyalty is to the Preservation of the Karol Wojtyla Personality Cult From All Legitimate Criticism, World Without End, Amen. I expect the same kind of nonsensical attacks I have received from you.
Go ahead, have at it. All you’re doing is exposing your own lack of character and intellectual honesty.

J. R. Stoodley April 22, 2006 at 6:18 pm

Jesus, I trust in You.

Tim J. April 22, 2006 at 7:22 pm

Joseph,
Your personal hatred for JPII has clearly clouded your judgement and made you immune to serious argument.
For some reason you want to say that a personal appeal by JPII (in fact, a prudential judgement) is equal to defined doctrine, which is demonstrably false.
There has been no change in magisterial teaching on the issue, and the more of your evidence I see, the more I am convinced of this.

Bear April 22, 2006 at 9:10 pm

Bold be gone!

Did it work?

Bear April 22, 2006 at 9:10 pm

guess not.

Bear April 22, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Oh wait. Now it did.

me April 23, 2006 at 9:16 am

well as a muslim I respected him more when he kissed the quran because it shows that the pope is wise enough to act in an open-minded way and to treat this holy book as if he would treat the bible … why are you making it such a big deal ?

Anonymous April 23, 2006 at 2:42 pm

Joseph let me start by saying that I am not Catholic I am Eastern Orthodox.
You are correct Matthew 26:52 is not talking about lawful authority. My point was not a condemnation of capital punishment nor is my argument driven off a liking of the last Pope… although I do think he was a great man because of his ecumenical work amongst other things.
My point was that Genesis in no way commands nations to execute. What is talked about in the verse that you are claiming is commandment to execute is actually a warning akin to that of Matt 26:52.
If this is the worst of mistakes that the last Pope made then that is great by my standards. I am not sure that I could even go a month without making some sort of heterodox mistake if I had to comment on religious matters on the level that Patriarchs are required.
Even if this were a mistake, and I do not think that it is, it is hardly enough to denounce a man on… and certainly not the Church Catholic no more than one could refute Jesus by the acts of Judas.
But let us say that he was the man that you are painting him to be… each man has their path set out by God for them to walk and Pope John Paul II certainly walked his in the ecumenical works.
There is a saying,
“Only Nixon could go to China.”

Ryan C April 23, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Right, the work JPG did with his ecumenical ventures could bear great fruit in the coming years, especially with the Eastern churches. Not to mention the seeds of faith he sowed in my generation.

Inocencio April 24, 2006 at 12:36 am

Joseph D’Hippolito,
I have not ignored the quote of Pope John Paul II. I pointed it out to you that he “renewed an appeal” for us to form a consensus to end the use of the death penalty in the U.S.A. but he did not deny the right of the state to use it. We are still a democratic society and could vote to end the use of the death penalty. We all know that Pope John Paul II encouraged that but did not and could not demand it. So he renewed his appeal. Why is that so hard to understand?
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Keegan April 25, 2006 at 4:42 pm

Keegan

Rickey Todd Aydan Haden Drake

Roman Catholic Blog May 5, 2006 at 8:59 am

Why Did Pope John Paul II Kiss The Koran?

Speaking of Islam, James Akin has a good article on the infamous Pope John Paull II Koran kissing incident: JP2 And The Quran Your thoughts on this incident? Please keep them charitable.

Michel June 10, 2006 at 9:46 pm

Jimmy,
I think you are too harsh on Islam, terrorism, the trek from Medinah to Mecca, and historical military conquest and animosities notwithstanding.
I would suggest at least (a) book by author/philospher/professor (at George Washington University) SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR
He is BRILLIANT, his book KNOWLEDGE AND THE SACRED and also his Book THE HEART OF ISLAM.
I am NOT Muslim. Nor an apologist. I analogize Islam and Mormonism and even some aspects of Protestantism generally. Islam is an Arian heresy (some famous historian agrees with this and there is a qoute to insert) HOWEVER, Islam does hold some truth and has done some good things.
The similiarites with Christianity and the truth of the foundational religion of Judaism are:
1. MONOTHEISM (and not this Protestant Jack Chick track that Allah is the Moon god–I went to Mass in an Orthodox church and Catholic Eastern Churches in backwater Syria and the name for God in the Mass is Allah)
Muslims believe in God, the One God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and in their case Ishmael.
2. The attributes and nature of God are similiar and are not all harsh such as al-Raheem, and merciful and just etc.
3. PRAYER: The pillars of belief are much simpler than are Nicene or Athanasian creed However the requirement of prayer (the blaspehmous or at least incorrect statement that Mohammad is the prophet) are the same theological supplication to divine authority.
Facing east (which our altars do at least historically), to prostrate (Martin Luther prostrated himself), to recognize the Greatness and Unity of God.
4. Pilgrimage, the Hajj to Mecca for Muslims and while not compulsory or a unitary destination, Pilgrimage in Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental non Orthodox alleged Monosphytes Assyrians, Copts, Aremenians ALL have Pilgramage and holy sites.
5. Fasting, a pillar in Islam and a requirement by Canon Law in Latin Rite Catholicism and a practice even amoung Protestants for prayer, preparation for prayer and even deeper analysis and practice in aesthetic theology.
6. Links between Sufism, the Jesus Prayer in the Easter Rite (Catholic and Orthodox) and the Hechastic movement as well as links between Sufism and Monastic (Desert Fathers) even though Islam does not have a monastic class, Christian monks are highly revered in Islam and a Christian monk recognized the uniqueness of Mohammad.
7. Alms to the poor, tax (zakat) and Christian and (Old Testament) Jewish tithing. For institutions of social service. Islam is not a low culture of animists living in a jungle (who still deserve respect, have wisdom, etc) but Islam gave us Aristotle to Aquinas.
8. Kisme is not universally practiced as there are different theological schools of thought in Islam and there is no magisterium (similiar to predestination and Calvisinism)
9. Islam under the millet system and the Turks was arguably more tolerant than Christians in the same period.
10. High culture and medicine, algebra, circulatory system, astronomy (lunar and solar), Jewish culture and promotion of thought including Maimonedes, and translation and finding of Aristotle that found it’s way to the desk of Aquinas.
11. Conservative social values on abortion, homosexuality, freedom of parents on religion and schooling, excesses of a secular and scientific materialistic society.
12. Islam theoretically, and throughout much of it’s history had tolerance for AL KITABEE (transliterated so forgive spelling but translated to people of the Book), today is actually worse, but in history there was more freedom for Chritians in Muslim lands than vice versa and for Jews, many who had top government positions, the reverse is not true.
Islam also theoretically holds Jesus in High esteem although like Arian heretics only as prophet and perhaps the Hebrew but not universal messiah.
13. An honor for Mary (Maryam) in the Quran including the Virgin birth, and if you go to Ephesus in Turkey you will see Muslim devotees and qoutes from the Quran in the chapel. Some Islamic sects like Alowites (the religion of Hafez and Bashir al Assad that actually has more gnostic and Babylonian roots that Orthodox Islam)has a higher devotion among some (and some Sufi orders have the same) where Jesus is higher on the spiritual pyramid than Mohammad and their are mystical rites that have meditations on Jesus and/or Mary.
14. The reality of Islam is not going away, and while it is agressive in many guises and perhaps inherently, and violence may be necessary at least at times to fight back, there has to be a tolerance and ability to live together with Islam and dialogue as human beings and as Monotheists as children of the same One God,
15. Jews certainly and perhaps biologically, genetically and certainly spiritually covenentally are children of Abraham, by extension Christians too are spiritual descendants of Abraham and the Abrahamic covenant which would be better explained as expanded upon rather than broken by Jesus, Similarily, Muslims, at least through Arabs claim a genetic and literal, blood relationship to Abraham through Ishmael and a spiritual covenant with the One God through Abraham and an acceptance (even if flawed and in error)of the Abrahamic convenant spiritually and through Mohammad and belief. There has to be a recognition of this reality.

Anonymous June 21, 2006 at 5:05 pm

There seems some good and true and parts of Islam. There is some common ground.

Phil June 21, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a great writer.

Remus June 25, 2006 at 9:45 pm

Does Jimmy Akin believe there is any common ground with Islam?

Urban II June 26, 2006 at 8:49 am

The recent Sears Tower terrorists were domestic African Americans.
Oklahoma City were white supremacist separatist.
There are good parts of Islam, and the realpolitik is we have to deal with them

Anonymous June 26, 2006 at 7:31 pm

We all believe in the One God.
We are all children (spiritual or genetic) of Abraham.
Did PJII kiss the Quran? If so, is that bad?

Anonymous June 26, 2006 at 7:46 pm

merely denigrating Islam without dialogue is not helpful. Coexistence is necessary. this does not mean being ignorant or naive or not to realize history, warts and violence and all. But Christians have also done brutality in the name of Jesus and specific organized religion.
The 30 years war
When Godfrey de Boullion went into Jerusalem he slaughetered everyone, Oriental Christian, Muslim, Jew, animal, women, children, blood was running in the street, and bodies were piled up

T July 19, 2006 at 4:32 pm

At least the Pope didn’t kiss the Talmud, a real book of hate

Michel August 29, 2006 at 9:34 pm

Jimmy,
I think you are too harsh on Islam, terrorism, the trek from Medinah to Mecca, and historical military conquest and animosities notwithstanding.
I would suggest at least (a) book by author/philospher/professor (at George Washington University) SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR
He is BRILLIANT, his book KNOWLEDGE AND THE SACRED and also his Book THE HEART OF ISLAM.
I am NOT Muslim. Nor an apologist. I analogize Islam and Mormonism and even some aspects of Protestantism generally. Islam is an Arian heresy (some famous historian agrees with this and there is a qoute to insert) HOWEVER, Islam does hold some truth and has done some good things.
The similiarites with Christianity and the truth of the foundational religion of Judaism are:
1. MONOTHEISM (and not this Protestant Jack Chick track that Allah is the Moon god–I went to Mass in an Orthodox church and Catholic Eastern Churches in backwater Syria and the name for God in the Mass is Allah)
Muslims believe in God, the One God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and in their case Ishmael.
2. The attributes and nature of God are similiar and are not all harsh such as al-Raheem, and merciful and just etc.
3. PRAYER: The pillars of belief are much simpler than are Nicene or Athanasian creed However the requirement of prayer (the blaspehmous or at least incorrect statement that Mohammad is the prophet) are the same theological supplication to divine authority.
Facing east (which our altars do at least historically), to prostrate (Martin Luther prostrated himself), to recognize the Greatness and Unity of God.
4. Pilgrimage, the Hajj to Mecca for Muslims and while not compulsory or a unitary destination, Pilgrimage in Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental non Orthodox alleged Monosphytes Assyrians, Copts, Aremenians ALL have Pilgramage and holy sites.
5. Fasting, a pillar in Islam and a requirement by Canon Law in Latin Rite Catholicism and a practice even amoung Protestants for prayer, preparation for prayer and even deeper analysis and practice in aesthetic theology.
6. Links between Sufism, the Jesus Prayer in the Easter Rite (Catholic and Orthodox) and the Hechastic movement as well as links between Sufism and Monastic (Desert Fathers) even though Islam does not have a monastic class, Christian monks are highly revered in Islam and a Christian monk recognized the uniqueness of Mohammad.
7. Alms to the poor, tax (zakat) and Christian and (Old Testament) Jewish tithing. For institutions of social service. Islam is not a low culture of animists living in a jungle (who still deserve respect, have wisdom, etc) but Islam gave us Aristotle to Aquinas.
8. Kisme is not universally practiced as there are different theological schools of thought in Islam and there is no magisterium (similiar to predestination and Calvisinism)
9. Islam under the millet system and the Turks was arguably more tolerant than Christians in the same period.
10. High culture and medicine, algebra, circulatory system, astronomy (lunar and solar), Jewish culture and promotion of thought including Maimonedes, and translation and finding of Aristotle that found it’s way to the desk of Aquinas.
11. Conservative social values on abortion, homosexuality, freedom of parents on religion and schooling, excesses of a secular and scientific materialistic society.
12. Islam theoretically, and throughout much of it’s history had tolerance for AL KITABEE (transliterated so forgive spelling but translated to people of the Book), today is actually worse, but in history there was more freedom for Chritians in Muslim lands than vice versa and for Jews, many who had top government positions, the reverse is not true.
Islam also theoretically holds Jesus in High esteem although like Arian heretics only as prophet and perhaps the Hebrew but not universal messiah.
13. An honor for Mary (Maryam) in the Quran including the Virgin birth, and if you go to Ephesus in Turkey you will see Muslim devotees and qoutes from the Quran in the chapel. Some Islamic sects like Alowites (the religion of Hafez and Bashir al Assad that actually has more gnostic and Babylonian roots that Orthodox Islam)has a higher devotion among some (and some Sufi orders have the same) where Jesus is higher on the spiritual pyramid than Mohammad and their are mystical rites that have meditations on Jesus and/or Mary.
14. The reality of Islam is not going away, and while it is agressive in many guises and perhaps inherently, and violence may be necessary at least at times to fight back, there has to be a tolerance and ability to live together with Islam and dialogue as human beings and as Monotheists as children of the same One God,
15. Jews certainly and perhaps biologically, genetically and certainly spiritually covenentally are children of Abraham, by extension Christians too are spiritual descendants of Abraham and the Abrahamic covenant which would be better explained as expanded upon rather than broken by Jesus, Similarily, Muslims, at least through Arabs claim a genetic and literal, blood relationship to Abraham through Ishmael and a spiritual covenant with the One God through Abraham and an acceptance (even if flawed and in error)of the Abrahamic convenant spiritually and through Mohammad and belief. There has to be a recognition of this reality.

Rosemarie September 18, 2006 at 7:49 am

+J.M.J+
>>>At least the Pope didn’t kiss the Talmud, a real book of hate
*Sigh,* a cowardly troll posting on a dead thread. We covered this; see my post above from Apr 7, 2006 7:32:11 AM.
How I wish such old threads would all be closed when the discussion ends. Then again, this isn’t my blog so….
In Jesu et Maria,

Anonymous October 13, 2006 at 9:57 am

3. My statement, “Do any of you seriously believe that God will excuse gross immorality in favor of theological correctness, as you seem to?” had nothing to do with JPII. It had to do with such people as IG, who seem to have more respect for a theologically correct sexual pervert such as Alexander VI than a JPII whose personal morality cannot be questioned, regardless of his geopolitical and theologcial views.
Actually, Joseph, it is better to be a pervert than a heretic, particularly if one is Pope. After all, whoever sins against our Lord, his sins can be forgiven him. Whoever sins against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him… Being that the Pope is supposed to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit in theological matters, I’d say, it is definitely better (for a Pope) to be theologically orthodox but a public moral sinner than to be morally spotless but feed his sheep doo-doo.

Ignatius October 13, 2006 at 9:58 am

Sorry, didn’t mean to post that anon.

Jamie Beu October 13, 2006 at 10:07 am

I believe it was C. S. Lewis who said that God isn’t interested in making us “good people”, but rather making each of us a “new creation in Christ”.
Yes, morality is important, but “being a good person” is not the end-all-be-all of Christianity – it’s an after-effect, a by-product.

Brother Cadfael October 13, 2006 at 10:51 am

And in John Paul the Great, of course, we have the best of both worlds: impeccable personal morality and unquestionable orthodoxy.

Tim J. October 13, 2006 at 10:54 am

I wouldn’t call it a by-product. Making us good is absolutely required if we are to inhabit heaven with our good God.
God saves us by sanctifying us. I do understand where you are coming from, Jamie, I just hate to see the idea of becoming a “new creation” in Christ become seperated from the idea of being a moral person.
The two are simply twin aspects of the same process, as per James.

Ignatius October 13, 2006 at 11:25 am

“the Great”? Please… you defame Leo the Great and Gregory the Great by placing JPII in the same category. Only if you are a rabid, lunatic modernist ecumenist, is JPII considered “great” in any way, shape, or form.

bill912 October 13, 2006 at 11:33 am

Amen, Brother C, from a fellow rabid, lunatic, modernist ecumenist.

The Voice of Reason November 30, 2006 at 9:47 am

All of you are a bunch of racists. You all think that your religion is the only religion. The funny thing is that Judaism does not recognize Christianity or Islam. While Christianity recognizes Judaism but not Islam. The same goes for Islam. Islam recognizes and embraces both Christianity and Judaism yet neither Judaism nor Christianity recognize Islam. It seems that the former never respects and/or acknowledges the latter. Pope John Paul II was the first Pope who actually acknowledged and embraced Islam. The Catholic Church has long been controlled by fanatics, racists, and hypocrites not to mention it has always been plagued by corruption. Finally, when an intelliigent, open-minded, and fair Pope comes they question and/or criticize his actions. Before you go on criticizing the Qur’an maybe you should actually read it. Islam recognizes Jesus and the fact that Mary was a virgin. I do not see how that is false teachings unless you think that Catholocism is false. You are all plagued by ignorance you judged the book without even reading it. Pope John Paul II knew what he was doing when he kissed the Qur’an because he knows it teaches the same things that both the Old and New Testaments teach. Pope John Paul II knew that the Qur’an was a true revelation from God and for that reason he kissed it. Likewise, Muslims respect the Holy Books of Jews and Christians making sure they are clean before touching the books and kissing them for they know that The Scriptures like The Qur’an are revelations from God. To all you biggots out there I encourage you to actually read the Qur’an before condemning it maybe you might end up kissing for the same reason John Paul II kissed it; because it is the source for “TRUTH & JUSTICE” just as The Scriptures.

bill912 November 30, 2006 at 9:51 am

The above was brought to you by “The Voice of Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Esau November 30, 2006 at 10:02 am

You are all plagued by ignorance you judged the book without even reading it.
Mohammed is NOT a prophet. Look in the Quran, in Sura 9 verse 29 in the Quran, a very famous text where Mohammed has some words about Christians in particular. He says: ‘Fight against those who say that God is the Messiah, the Son of Mary and Fight against those who say God is one of Three.’ Of course, the 2nd part of that is incorrect. We don’t say ‘God is one of three’ as if there were 3 gods. Would a true prophet say anything like that and spur folks to violence?
When you read the Quran, it’s obvious that Mohammed didn’t even understand Christianity itself; he misrepresented what we really teach and so in that respect, he was condemning what we don’t teach. But, at any rate, that text, when you look at the Arabic, it’s much stronger than it is in the English translation. It doesn’t just say fight against them; it says kill them, so sometimes the English translations are actually watered-down and they’re not quite right. It’s helpful to go to someone who knows Arabic.
Just reading the Quran sometime is positively mind-pummeling. Mohammed – some honest Muslims will frequently point out – Mohammed was illiterate, he didn’t know how to write, he just dictated the Quran. And the fact that he didn’t know how to write really shows. If you go through the Quran, it is incredibly repetitious; it makes claims that are contradicted by other historical sources frequently, and some of the revelations that Mohammed allegedly received are amazingly self-serving. I mean, they get down to things like ‘do not…’ – this is allegedly God talking to the Muslim believers – ‘do not raise your voice too loud when you are outside calling for the prophet to come out of his house’ and ‘do not stay too long after dinner when you’re eating with the prophet because he may have other stuff he wants to do’ and ‘do not try to stand in the back and sneak out of meetings with the prophet because the Lord sees what you do’. There’s just a lot of stuff in it that just doesn’t sound consistent with the majesty of God; it sounds more like this is a guy who is trying to keep his gravy train rolling rather than a prophet.

Johnny Malcolm January 10, 2007 at 10:35 am

Shut up Tim J…And ESAU, What Do You Mean Muhammad Was Not A Prophet…? He Is To Muslims And You Do Not Condemn Him…
What Will You Say If SOmeone COmes Straight to your face and says Jesus wasnt GOD… It Was All A COVER UP…??
You would be angered too right?? so, its not advisable too say such rash nonsense in a public area like this…
You Do Not Know Anything About Islam…
Neither are you probably a Muslim…
So, my guess is, you are biased… and refuse to see the fact that the pope kissed the Quran because he knows that the Quran is true and is not false…The Bible has gone through many changes from The Old Testament to The New Testament whereas the Quran has never changed…
this shows clearly that the Bible is a compilation of words of MAN!!! and not entirely the word of GOD…
I may be believer of neither but i RESPECT the QURAN and the Pope did so too…
Oh, And Why He Said the believers of the GOD of three is, You Catholics Do Acknowledge in your prayers,
1)GOD
2)Father
3)the holy spirit
you wouldnt put the other two side by side with GOD do YOU??
unless they are equivalent…
so, there u have it, 3 Gods…
Face it,
YOU ARE BIASED!!!!!

bill912 January 10, 2007 at 10:38 am

“…its(sic) not advisable too(sic) say such rash nonsense…”
Obviously.

bill912 January 10, 2007 at 10:40 am

“…there u(sic) have it, 3 Gods…”
Face it, YOU ARE IGNORANT!!!!!

Tim J. January 10, 2007 at 11:30 am

“You would be angered too right?? so, its not advisable too say such rash nonsense in a public area like this… ”
Umm, you ARE aware that this is a Catholic blog, right? Or are you just against the idea of free speech?
I have read the Koran. I found nothing of value in it. I found it problematic in many areas. It seemed to me like a desperate, plagiaristic attempt to invent an Arab religion to compete with the great monotheistic faiths, Christianity and Judaism.

bill912 January 10, 2007 at 11:43 am

“What Will You Say If SOmeone COmes Straight to your face and says Jesus wasnt God…”
I’d ask him to logically explain Jesus on the premise that He is *not* God.
“You would be angered too right?”
No.

David B. January 10, 2007 at 12:21 pm

“Oh, And Why He Said the believers of the GOD of three is, You Catholics Do Acknowledge in your prayers,
1)GOD
2)Father
3)the holy spirit”
First off, you have a misunderstanding of the Holy Trinity. Christians believe that there are three persons in one God:
1)God the Father, Who created the whole universe and everything in it,
2)God the Son, Who became incarnate in the womb of Mary for the salvation of many,
3)And God the Holy Spirit, Who is the Love of the Father and the Son, and Who sanctifies those who desire to be saved.
Secondly, regarding the Islamic belief that Jesus wasn’t God, but merely a Prophet, please explain how someone who claimed to be God can be excepted as a mere Prophet by those who do not believe in him?
He was either evil and a liar, and therefore not a Prophet, or a lunatic, and therefore not a Prophet, or He told the truth, and therefore was not a Prophet, But truly God!

Esau January 10, 2007 at 1:57 pm

He was either evil and a liar, and therefore not a Prophet, or a lunatic, and therefore not a Prophet, or He told the truth, and therefore was not a Prophet, But truly God!
David B.:
Nice C.S. Lewisian-like argument there!

David B. January 10, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Thanks, Esau. :-)

Timur January 10, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Christians believe in 3 Gods and 1 wife.
Muslims believe in 1 God and 4 wives

Esau January 10, 2007 at 8:55 pm

Tumor:
Actually, did you know Christians believe in Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hades, Hephaestus, Hera, Hestia, and Poseidon as well???
Anywayz….

Jared January 10, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Esau: Sure we believe in them, or rather we believe in the fallen angels that inspired the stories about them.

bill912 January 11, 2007 at 3:29 am

Timur, there’s an old saying: “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” It goes for posting, too.

David B. January 12, 2007 at 10:08 am

Timur believes in one god. He/she calls him/her “Timur.”

Rosemarie January 12, 2007 at 1:49 pm

+J.M.J+
Granted, this won’t convince the trolls, but here goes:
The Athanasian Creed begins as follows:
1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith;
2. Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
3. And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords…. (emphasis mine)
FWIW
In Jesu et Maria,

David B. January 13, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Rosemarie,
Even if they aren’t convinced, your post was worth reading. Thanks.

Anonymous January 13, 2007 at 12:30 pm

The number of the stupid is infinite

Anonymous January 13, 2007 at 12:30 pm

The number of the stupid is infinite

Anonymous January 13, 2007 at 12:32 pm

And anyhow, not all the Pope’s actions are infallible. He could bet that the Saints are going to the Superbowl and declare it so, and the Eagles can go right ahead and retire Reggie Bush.

Anonymous January 13, 2007 at 12:32 pm

And anyhow, not all the Pope’s actions are infallible. He could bet that the Saints are going to the Superbowl and declare it so, and the Eagles can go right ahead and retire Reggie Bush.

Rosemarie January 13, 2007 at 1:14 pm

+J.M.J+
>>>The number of the stupid is infinite
???
>>>And anyhow, not all the Pope’s actions are infallible.
Are any of the Pope’s “actions” infallible? I thought only his official, ex cathedra DECLARATIONS on matters of faith and morals are infallible (and perhaps canonizations as well), but not the things he does during a papal visit. Besides, who here is claiming that the Koran-kissing incident fell under papal infallibility? Most of us said it was probably a mistake on his part.
>>>He could bet that the Saints are going to the Superbowl and declare it so, and the Eagles can go right ahead and retire Reggie Bush.
Don’t know whether the Pope is a gambler, but infallibility certainly wouldn’t cover games of chance anyway.
In Jesu et Maria,

bill912 January 20, 2007 at 8:43 am

“The number of the stupid is infinite.”
To allege that is to reveal a belief that there are an infinite number of people in the world. Now that belief *is* stupid.

Karolus January 23, 2007 at 7:34 am

Maybe he was the type of person who decided that
symbols and rituals weren’t as important as people and the relationships formed thereof. Thus a man worthy to follow after Christ, perhaps?
Man, it must be really tough to be the focus of so much attention – you just couldn’t win EVERYONE’s agreement – especially when most of these prying eyes belong to conservatives who have forgotten the use of reason because they’ve convinced themselves that they, and they alone, hold the completely right answer.
Then again, it is a fact that most people in this world, some admittedly grudgingly, acknowledge that as a person, JP2 was a cool guy, and he consciously tried to do the right thing.
How many other leaders, popes included, have risked the public ridicule of their erstwhile supporters, to do what one believes to be right?
Hey, I’m a practicing Catholic, but I don’t buy the concept of infallibility. That’s a tool of political expediency if there ever was one -
not that it is a bad thing in itself. I don’t think that even God would take away the right of Humanity (The right to choose one’s own path, for good or ill) from the pope. He’s as human as the rest of us – which makes him all the more a worthy role-model, if you ask me.
I think that so long as the Church clings to this mortal world, it will be constituted by things of this world (all-too-human desires and fallibilities) as well as things not of this world : aka the Spirit).
SO if it operates simultaneously as both, then Caesar’s dues and our Spiritual obligations Both have to be met. The How’s and Why’s, however, I’ve yet to decide in my own mind.

bill912 January 23, 2007 at 7:54 am

Hey, I’m a practicing Catholic, but I don’t buy the concept of infallibility.”
What do you understand “the concept of infallibility” to be?

Tim J. January 23, 2007 at 8:14 am

“Hey, I’m a practicing Catholic, but I don’t buy the concept of infallibility… I don’t think that even God would take away the right of Humanity (The right to choose one’s own path, for good or ill) from the pope.”
Ewwwww! I smell failed catechesis!

AK KHAN February 9, 2007 at 11:03 am

” HE(JP2) KNOWS WHAT THAT(QURAN) MEANS, SO HE HAD KISSED IN RESPECT TO IT”

Jared February 9, 2007 at 11:28 am

And what’s that Ak Khan? It’s a book of half truths and outright lies. The Pope knew that. That’s why he wrote as he did about it.

Jared February 9, 2007 at 11:28 am

And what’s that Ak Khan? It’s a book of half truths and outright lies. The Pope knew that. That’s why he wrote as he did about it.

alessia mascia calendario 2005 February 22, 2007 at 10:32 am

alessia mascia calendario 2005

JP2 And The Quran

Johnny Malcolm February 23, 2007 at 2:25 am

Damn!!! You People Are Really Ignorant…May All Of You Perish In The After World And Realise What Sins You Have Committed By Your Allegations On Islam And Your “Beliefs”… Oh, And Tim J, You Are The Devil And You Know It Because The Bible HAS NO Real Value And You Know It…You Are Just Afraid That The Religion You Have Come To Know All This While Is Not The True Religion Of The World And You Are Just Afraid To Admit That…Oh, And Did this Particular Site State That This Is A Catholic Blog?? Well, I Do Not See Anything…So, Up Yours… May The Fire Spirit Burn All You Damned Souls And The Water Spirit Drown You The Deep Oceans Of The After World…

bill912 February 23, 2007 at 6:13 am

Do your mommy and daddy know you’re posting bad words on their computer, little boy?

Mary Kay February 23, 2007 at 7:08 am

Who let the trolls out?

bill912 February 23, 2007 at 7:41 am

“May The Fire Spirit Burn..You…And The Water Spirit Drown You…”
Won’t that put out the fire?

Maiya February 24, 2007 at 6:39 pm

So you guys don’t know me but I found this thing through wikipedia and the comments interested me enough to read all the way through them. Since I bothered doing that I figure I might as well post something…
Anyhoo,as a Catholic and a Christian one of the 1st things I learned was DO NOT JUDGE. Not all of you are judging JPII but some of you are and you have no right to do so. He was human, he made mistakes, so do I and so does everyone. We shouldn’t have to make excuses for him kissing the Quran, we should trust him enough to know that whatever his specific reasons were it was in no way betrayal.
To generalize a little more…like I said, he made mistakes. But have some respect, he was certainly a far better man than any of us will probably be. (I’m generalizing, I don’t know any of you so I can’t say that for sure and most of you are being respectfull.) How many people would give their trust over to the man who nearly killed them and call him brother? How many people would have the humility to finally apologize for the crimes their people comitted centuries ago? (Yes, I’m talking about the Jewish.) Stop tearing apart every little thing he did like the politicians do to eachother, he deserves better than that.
And you can go ahead and call me part of the “Preservation of the Karol Wojtyla Personality Cult From All Legitimate Criticism.”
One more thing, to mr. troll up there…check your grammar…
God bless all.

A.Williams February 24, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Many good points up there Maiya!
Hope you decide to comment on other topics on this site.
We can never get enough of humble and honest opinion that seeks to state the truth in a simple and concise way, even as Jesus taught and preached!
May God Bless You!

Maiya February 24, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Lot’s of thanks! So far I like the looks of this site, so you’ll probably see me around…God bless!
“We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Maiya February 24, 2007 at 8:42 pm

the quote isn’t directed at anything/one btw…

kamal April 2, 2007 at 12:15 pm

This is a few ‘poop’ from the koran for all of the biased ones on this site for not understanding Islam and its relationship with Christianity in that part of the world.
“And you will find the closes to you among them, those who call themselves ‘The Christians’ for when they hear the word of God you would see tears rush down their cheeks!”
I bet a few of you know what is devine when they read it. Just because it diiferes from your thinking it doesn’t become poop, does it? Otherwise I can list a few from the bible that may make everyone start vomiting.
here’s more good ‘poop’ from the Koran for you out there who have hearts filled with hate and prejudice. I say review what’s in your hearts because I have not seen any good Christian preaching what he learns from the words of Jesus. You just mention his words but you hardly act upon their meanings .. Here to you:
“And do not (argue) with the Christians except in goodness..”
We are a peace loving people, just because there are a few screwed up people out there doing things in the name of whatthey have learned it doesn’t mean that Islam and the koran are twisted. Your christianity is full of similar examples throughout history. Need I mention a few?
Not worth the argument. I doubt I will come back to read your replies because it just happen that I ended up here without knowing how and I wont bookmark this site. It’s better for me, you and for the goodness of everyone’s heart.
PEACE Unto The Nation of GOD!
Peace brothers and sisters…
Salam
kc

bill912 April 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm

“…I ended up here without knowing how…”
Your post was just as wandering as your internet journey.

Dr. Eric April 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm

I for one think that Islam is a fine religion, except for the part where it is said that Jesus is not God.

.... April 19, 2007 at 11:42 pm

hello everybody:)….let me tell u alittle somthing…Ohhh u who call ur selfs believers i call u rasists….why?…becuase if the påve was black…would u love him this way?…never:)….why do u follow a man?…u should not follow a man..or believe in a man jesus or what u call him was a man thats why they are trying to find his tomb…u hate islam …u despise it…the bibel says thy shall love thy enemy…u talk about peace…and love…but where is it in all of u?…all i see is hate ….a muslim believes in 4books one of them is the bible….new testament …:)…CHRISTIANITY …christian…?come’on people…if a ma from afganistan comes to the west and his name is jibril…will u call him gabriel or jibril?…what is the right name?hmm…let me guess…he’s name is isaa…;)..u call him christ…hehe ur making fun of him everytime u say christ logicly speaking it means hanged man…on a cross :( im sad becuase u follow a man…and the cross…u follow the religon of abraham…:)didnt abe mention somthing about being muslim…hmm ohhi guess
they riped that page up too :) ..now to the question everybody want’s ill tell u why he kissed it…becuase the påve loves that book…he is so loving he is wanna be isaa…The prophet…u all follow n forgett about god…he is drawn to the quran…the book of light…:)i was a catholik but i only followed my ego n judged people..who spoke to me in different laungueges.
judgment day is soon to come…be warned 3000years of bloodshed my people sufferd n still do :) …n u talk to me about the påve…emperor constantine of byzentinum started the wars on jerusalem;)…SAY WITH HUMBLENESS THANK U LORD FOR ALL THE BLESSINGS THAT U GIVE ME FOR MY HEALTH,FOR MY FAMILY,FOR MY CHILDREN, FOR MY WORK , MY FRIENDS MY EVERYTHING,GOD!!!GIVE THE OPPORTUNITY TOO THOSE WHO FORGOT YOU AND THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW U, TO KNOW U AND GET A SHARE OF YOUR KINDNESS AND MERCY… AMEENTO ALLAH WE BELONG AND TO HIM WE SHALL RETURN…BY THE WAY READ CARFULLY ABOUT UR RELIGON ;) ..IN THE TRUE BIBEL IT SAIDS ELAH ELOH IS SAME AS ALLAH :) …GLAD TIDINGS MY FRIENDS DONT JUDGE ME…CUZ U ARE BEING JUDGE THIS MOMEMNT AS WE SPEAK OF:)

J.R. Stoodley April 20, 2007 at 12:47 am

Is that a dishonest attempt to make Muslims look stupid and ignorant and racist? If so it worked.
I have to go to bed, so rather than pick apart that tangled mess I’ll just give you this. Jesus’ original name was not Jesus or Isa, it was Yeshua. Also Christ does not mean one hanged on a cross but “annointed one”.

Jared April 20, 2007 at 5:00 am

But then, lo, there didst spring forth an illiterate troll, who spake (nay, typed, it must be stated) in a most annoying and nigh unreadable manner.
The troll didst fashion for himself an unpronouncable psuedonym, points of elispes, with an additional period at the end, as if he didst wish to trail his foul verbiage ad infinitum.
And, by my troth (I, being but the humble Narrator of this loathsome tale), the troll didst approach nigh unto success in this, for his fetid ineloquence didst try my patience and found said lacking, too weary was I to wade into the abyss of his dim-witted assertions, abominable allegations … not to mention at-row-shus grahm-mer and spellleng.
“Good travellers!” spake the Narrator. “Pay yon troll no heed, and feed ye him not. His fustian, feckless foolishness is but a cry for attention, of what sort, I know me not, but doubtless his progenitors have failed yet again to keep him from the keyboard without his physic or fetters, and this has proven a most baleful failing. For he is run amuck and his finger-tips do dribble most malodorously, like unto … well, thou catchest my drift.”

Brian May 9, 2007 at 12:30 pm

claiming that John Paul didn’t know the meaning of the Qur’an is one of the most offensive things i’ve ever heard a supposed religious catholic say. He is supposed to be the most wise and devout religious being in our faith. To claim that he didn’t know the importance of the most important book in the second largest religion in the world is not only offensive, but one of the most idiotic statements i’ve ever heard. He respects the book who shares the same ancestor and early history as the catholic faith and as a sign to our muslim brothers who also believe in the SAME god we do, he kissed it. He has repeatedly preached that if someone is a good and faithful person who believed in the one true god, he is a brother in faith. Muslims, though differing in practice, believe in the same one true god that we do and thus deserve his respect.

J.R. Stoodley May 9, 2007 at 12:47 pm

While no doubt JPII was wise and devout, being Pope does not make you wise and devout, much less the wisest and most devout being in the world.
Certainly the Pope did not mean anything heretical by kissing the Quran but I think it was a mistake. Pretty much I agree with Jimmy’s analysis above so I’ll leave it at that, except to say that while Muslims worship one God who the Church has repeatedly identified as the true one, still they deny Christ and so lack salvific faith. They are not brothers in faith but rather unbelievers in need of evangelization.

moslim May 20, 2007 at 10:40 pm

moslims does not denny jessus .as a matter of fact ,he is one of the highiest and most respected humans. you cant be a moslem without beleiveing in him, but moslims recognize him as a prophet and a messenger of god. they belive that his mother is a virgin. she is also one of the highly respected humans. and i think the pop kissed the quran to show the world that we are all humans and we have respect each other . and because the quran is full of stories about jessus. sorry about my spilling and take care :)

Tim J. May 21, 2007 at 5:49 am

“i think the pop kissed the quran to show the world that we are all humans and we have respect each other”
I agree.

John May 21, 2007 at 6:24 am

Tim posted:
“i think the pop kissed the quran to show the world that we are all humans and we have respect each other”
I agree.”
Well then why did not the Imam in respect as we are human as well as Catholics kiss the Bible or pray to Jesus in return?
Praying with false faiths and showing adoration of these falsities (their Quran) is like drugs, one can not just “dabble” in it and still expect to remain pure to the faith, and for the Vicar of Christ to do so is heresy at its worst
Can someone show me an example of such before Vatican II’s papacies?

Tim J. May 21, 2007 at 6:37 am

“Well then why did not the Imam in respect as we are human as well as Catholics kiss the Bible or pray to Jesus”
You would have to ask him that.
“showing adoration of these falsities (their Quran) is like drugs”
John, as much as I know your ears are closed to this… the Pope was showing ordinary human respect and gratitude for a gift that was given him. We can’t even say that he knew it WAS a copy of the Q’uran.
We all know you think you are more Catholic than the Pope. Move along, folks…

bill912 May 21, 2007 at 9:04 pm

John: WE GET IT.
Vatican II was bad. Everything since Vatican II was bad. Paul VI was bad. John Paul II was very bad.
We get it. Really. You have made your point.
You seem to be incapable of making any other kind of point. You come across as one who is obsessed. Obsession is a mental illness. Please seek treatment.

moussaid May 27, 2007 at 4:03 am

the pope kissed the Qur’an knowing it is Qur’an. nobody shoved lots of books in his hands whaotsoever. he just can’t say delibrately that he believes Islam is a true religion because he was the head of chirstians, and as you mentioned: he wouldn’t be worthy to be the head of chirstians, and he didnt want you to think that.
as for those who said there Islam is pretty much alike with Mormonism, help yourself to a statistics book, how come you compare a religion in Utah with something all over the world. besides there is absolutely noway to compare someone reading a book out of a hat(joseph smith) with Prophet Mohammad.
Muslims respect christianity to be a previous religion from God and that Jesus was born to his will . i see you respect Jews more whereas they believe Jesus was born as a result to Mary having some relation with some guy. so i don’t understand why you don’t respect Muslims, you don’t have to believe Islam is a true religion, just don’t be insulting. whatever you believe in. just stop insulting Others. and Yes the previous pope did kiss qur’an . and he never and wouldn’t have kissed the book of mormons or anything that’s fake to his knowledge.

bill912 May 27, 2007 at 4:13 am

“…just don’t be insulting.”
After the way you insulted Pope John Paul II by implying that he secretly believes Islam to be the true religion, but “just can’t say deliberately”, your aabove words are incredibly ironic.

waffle June 25, 2007 at 9:00 am

Aiee. The pope, out of respect, kisses a holy book from another monotheistic faith—which is sort of like the theological equivalent of standing during a fellow nation’s national anthem, really—and everyone’s suddenly crying “heresy”? I would find it amusing if whole religious wars weren’t started for pettier reasons…

Faten June 25, 2007 at 10:22 am

Maybe he did it out of respect.
I doubt if Pope John Paul the Great was a heretic, or a Muslim.
I think he did it as a cultural sign of respect–nothing more/nothing less.
Get over it. This is really overanalyzed.

John July 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Check this website out- many interesting facts about the unity that makes us human, regardless of religion, and how Islam helps us enhance that feeling – I hope you find the resources in this website informative and educational….
http://www.harunyahya.com/m_about_site.php

MIKE September 16, 2007 at 4:31 am

[CONTENT DELETED FOR RULE #1 VIOLATIONS. PLEASE FOLLOW DA RULZ OR YOU WILL BE DISINVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BLOG.]

SomeSome September 16, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Pope kissed the Koran because he knew what was the true religion. ISLAM.

BILL912 September 16, 2007 at 7:39 pm

We’re dying to see your evidence?

LarryD September 16, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Come on, Bill – doncha know that there’s no need for evidence when you have “faith”?…

SDG September 17, 2007 at 7:26 am

TSTWAR (too stupid to warrant a response)
Some trollery is better ignored.

Ubah September 17, 2007 at 11:33 am

That’s because there is no true religion and that will stay for ever and true in afterhere except “ISLAM.”

bill912 September 19, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Y’wanna provide us with a translation, Ubah?

Ehsan October 28, 2007 at 2:34 am

Hello all,
when I read what happened in a Mosque,and when I immersed in thoughts of the highly noble action the Pope have had done in a Muslem Mosque,I could not contain myself for both joy and tears(of joy also!)
in fact it was an action of great importance to all the followers of Abrahamic religions.
you know…I have to make somethings clear for you :
I saw here was written that Pope did not know the nature of the book he kissed ..and he did not know Arabic
I have to say that when I read this sentence I laughed in my heart for a while!so you probably think that if you are a native of Latin America and love Shakespeare , you ought to be eighter fluent in English or be a native of England?!
So I think with the exception of what languages Pope could speake and read…I dare say that he would live in 20th century not in middle ages.and the point is clear:
He must have read the Holy Koran in translations (in English,Latin,French etc,)
whatever he was and whatever he did , he was a good man.
may Almighty bless his soul

justaguess November 12, 2007 at 8:24 pm

why don’t you just ask the pope why he kissed the book?
or you could focus on more important things like getting along.

H December 2, 2007 at 4:02 pm

What the hell whats wrong with kissin a koran as a sign of respect you dont have to make a big deal out of it its good that we have some peace now why cant we get along and respect each other its not like he is saying i am becoming muslim its not threat its just a sign of peace.

Andy Simonelli January 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm

The Holy Father is not subject to the same types of things the under him are. The Holy Father is responsible for encouraging world harmony at any cost, because that was (and remains) what Jesus and Mary are ALL about. Kissing a Qu’ran in the quest toward less killing sounds like the exact opposite of blasphemy. Nay, it proves the ecumenism reached for by the greatest institution that has ever existed, th Roman Catholic Church.

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Loftie March 7, 2008 at 3:01 pm

He was doing it as a sign of respect towards the leader dude. Other wise, he could of made a real good foe of the dude. I’m a protestant talk-giver, and seriously, I would of done the same thing, it was an act of respect, not worship, would you have that dude behead you or something? No…I don’t think anyone would want that. So, keep your head on strait. BTW-No way are you James Akin…

David B. March 7, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Well, right. He’s Jimmy Akin…
(Cue the Emperor’s throneroom theme from ‘Star Wars’ VI)

Jim Carroll April 7, 2008 at 9:18 am

Shalom! I’m kinda surprised to see this thread still going after two years (then again, maybe not). I don’t know if my reply will be read after all this time, but here goes.
One thing no one seems to have brought up is the idea of “protocol.” I was taught many years ago that it is protocol for His Holiness to kiss gifts given to him, as a sign of respect to the giver. Given the nature of the meeting, if he had NOT kissed the Koran (but had kissed other gifts), that would have been a serious breech of protocol and an insult against the people giving the gift and against the Iraqi people (in whose name the gift was being given.)

Deusdonat April 7, 2008 at 10:49 am

I have tried and tried to give JP II the benefit of the doubt here. But the fact is, now after his death, the subject persists and no explanation from the Vatican has been given. Meaning: most likely it DID happen, was a snafu and an error on JPII’s part to which even the loftiest spin-doctors of the Vatican can find no remedy. Any/all speculation as to his motives are just that, since we will now never know.
Regardless, it damaged JPII’s credibility (either by his action or omission of explanation/denial of same) and hurt the church on so many levels.
God Bless Pope Benedict!!!

Michael April 20, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Hi Jim,
Do you know where a reference to the Koran’s blaspheme of the (followers of) the Eucharist is? The comparison to excrement? I’ve heard people said the Koran is compatible with the Bible.

Donut June 16, 2008 at 10:01 am

At one point of time, this blog was very focused on the topic in hand.
I guess its just out of hand now. However, there were some credible arguments. Well, that Johnny Malcolm chap sure was a hit. He must be pagan or something. To come up with such bad comments and the spirits thingy, just priceless… What if GOD was one of us~ Gosh, i would not want him to be GOD.

True Religion Billy Big T In Dark Chalk July 4, 2008 at 12:10 pm

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As a reminder, you can buy printed mode magazines if you wish to do so, but you may want to

Vocatio Diaconate July 25, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Is this to be used as evidence for Orhtodoxy? I think not. When does the Pope speak infallibly? That’s a hint.

gina July 25, 2008 at 10:56 pm

I THINK THE POPE KISSED THE BOOK (WHATEVER IT IS) AS A SIGN OF RESPECT TO A GIFT AND TO THE PEOPLE WHOM THIS BOOK (WHATEVER IT IS) REPRESENTS. IT’S LIKE SAYING..”I LOVE AND RESPECT ALL HUMANKIND” I THINK,BY KISSING THE BOOK HE WAS JUST EXTENDING HIS LOVE TO ALL ISLAM…
I WONDER THOUGH WHAT WOULD POPE BENEDICT THINK….

David July 26, 2008 at 2:09 am

Another thing to bear in mind is that, at the time JPII was in Iraq, Iraq was under the neo-Marxist Baath party regime, led by Saddam Hussein. Although Saddam’s government was nominally Muslim, they were not (contrary to what some ‘War on Terror’ conspiracy theorists think) an Islamic government, but a secular military dictatorship.
All religious groups, Christians, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, were under threat from Saddam and his Soviet backers (whom JPII was particularly opposed to, and highly successful in that opposition). Perhaps the Pope kissed the Quran as a sign of his support for all religious groups and their right to freedom of worship, and as a call for solidarity among people of faith to overcome Saddam.

Deb July 26, 2008 at 4:39 am

I think it was a sign of respect, I loved John Paul II and he helped in my “reversion” back to the faith.He was full of love for all man kind. I don’t know why it wasn’t given attention then or why he wasn’t asked then? He had interviews, etc. from that point until he died…must have not seemed like such a big deal.
If you act like everyone else’s religion is “evil”you wont make great strides in ecumenism. I love reading stories of his friendships with Jewish children and his great example of being a Chirstian to others.

Hans Schulte-Albert, M.I. July 26, 2008 at 5:05 am

Give our beloved JPII a break. Jimmy did a great job in qualifying what might have been a rather touchy – let alone controversial gesture. But it was just a gesture. I practice judo with a lot of Muslims and you know they are OK. I know, I know – there are some yahoo extremists, but I know some Catholics who have rubbed me the wrong way too. Bottom line: I think the John Paul II is a very kind man and wanted to show the genuine kindness to our arabic friends. Let’s face he was old and being pope is a tough job. Benedict didn’t want the post… poor fellow, but he’s doing his best too. At the end of the day, all we can say to the Good God is “I tried my best Jesus.”
Over and out

Mike July 27, 2008 at 6:45 am

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody go through such gymnastics to defend an indefensible act.
John Paul was a flaming heretic and this is just more evidence.

dalton ilano July 27, 2008 at 6:50 am

i just wanna support someone’s comment that , kissing the Quran was just a sign of respect…that’s all

bill912 July 27, 2008 at 7:13 am

“John Paul was a flaming heretic…”
Well, I suppose many non-Catholics might think that. For Catholics, though, the Church’s theology is quite clear: Jesus guaranteed us that the Holy Spirit would never allow a pope to lead the Church into error.

abdul_azeez October 5, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Surah 2:62 – “Verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians – all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds – shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.”
christians need to be more open about other religions. unlike whatever you guys want to believe, islam is religiously tolerant. the actions of so called “muslim” terrorists , are not acts of REAL muslims. the moors controlled spain for 800 years, never once did they convert by force, or else that country would have been muslim, and all historians would agree that spain is the country who had the strongest bond with the vatican throughout the last 1500 years. islam accepts the other faiths, were not pompous to the belief that theres only salvation through islam. because in reality, NOBODY knows what true salvation is. a lot of the stuff goes through the hands of human beings which err. god has no religion, abraham and moses were not christians. i accept my jewish and christian bretheren, never once will i tell them theyre not going to be saved, for i myself dont know where the balance will tilt on judgement day. so people need to stop worrying about others and worry aboutthemselves.

Anonymous October 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

“NOBODY knows what true salvation is.”
Jesus claimed that He knew. He claimed to be “the Way and the Truth and the Life”.

bill912 October 5, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Whoops! That was me.

John Damascus October 5, 2008 at 5:06 pm

the moors controlled spain for 800 years, never once did they convert by force
Martyrs of Córdoba – Wikipedia introduction
Christian Martyrs in Muslim Spain – book
Christians were second-class citizens in Muslim Spain
BBC Religion
abdul_azeez
I sure you would join me in condemning any act by a government or individual which does not respect freedom of religion eg the right to change or renounce one’s religion without civil penalty or community intimidation. Even today many Muslim-majority countries have the death penalty for converting from Islam. I’m sure you would condemn such laws.
Would you agree that today Muslims enjoy more freedom of religion in “Christian” and post-Christian countries that in any Muslim-majority country?

Nomore December 16, 2008 at 2:51 pm

This is the best act in his life !
he knows that the Quran is the only book that he was never edited , his still and he will forever the true .

number4 December 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm

number 4 is the good answer

Anonymous January 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

The Harlot in Revelation 17th Chapter that rides the back of this Beast is not going to be America. There are very many reasons why I can honestly say this, but one will be enough. The Islamic nations hate and despise America as much as they hate Israel. They would never shame themselves by becoming our ally in any way. The Harlot will become an ally giving the Islamic nations their support. It is very easy to see who the Harlot is and very easy to see why they join up with the anti-Christ. The Harlot is a religion that will not mix with the religion of Islam. The Catholic religion in that part of the world will be the Harlot that rides the back of the Beast and they are also the iron that is in the feet of the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The feet also contain clay. This clay is also a religion; it is the religion of Islam. These two religions will work together for a season until the Islamic religion turns on the Catholic religion and destroys them along with their other enemies. I do not believe that the Catholics in America or other parts of the world will be involved in this. Only those who are intimidated by the presence of the Islamic power that rises in that part of the world. It is easy to see how they can join up with them from fear of their own destruction along with a deception that will come from their very own Pope. Pope John Paul II had no problem kissing the Quran a few years ago just for the sake of peace between the Catholics and the Muslims. I do not know how he could have allowed himself to do that, but he did. Just as Pope John Paul II kissed the Quran the new Pope did a similar thing while recently visiting Turkey. While there in order to try and establish renewed relationships between Muslim and Christians, the Pope went into a Mosque took off his shoes and prayed toward Mecca. All of Islam saw this happen and so did millions of Christians. Even though he just bowed to a false God he seemed to be able to justify his actions for world peace. The behavior of these Popes is very deceptive because it teaches the Catholics and other Christians in the world to embrace Allah and the Quran as being acceptable doctrine. But just like these Popes, whoever is Pope at the time that these events happen, will fall right in line

bill912 January 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm

You’ve got the tinfoil wrapped too tight.

person April 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

So you are the arabic speaker !???? open your mind !!!!!!!

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