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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent out an e-mail alert today following the events in Paris. Titled 'Dialogue and Encounter Combat Extremism,' the message began
"Recent events remind Catholics of our commitment to engage in dialogue, not just with Muslims, but with all people of differing religious beliefs. In this 50th anniversary year of the Vatican II Declaration Nostra Aetate, we remember our call to "recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values" found in other religions (Nostra Aetate, no. 2). In the wake of violence, Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco reminds us that "we continue to labor for greater understanding and mutual commitment to peace and religious freedom."
The Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs affirmed the teachings of Nostra Aetate in the document 'Dialogue with Muslims,' released in August 2014. The bishops expressed their conviction that "encounter and dialogue with persons different than ourselves offers the best opportunity for fraternal growth, enrichment, witness, and ultimately peace." As the world mourns violence under the guise of religious fundamentalism, it's important to remember our teaching and recommit ourselves to the transforming power of dialogue and encounter.
Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
In 'Two - but only two -cheers for blasphemy,' Matthew Yglesias at Vox wrote "Unforgivable acts of slaughter imbue merely rude acts of publication with a glittering nobility. To blaspheme the Prophet transforms the publication of these cartoons from a pointless act to a courageous and even necessary one, while the observation that the world would do well without such provocations becomes a form of appeasement. And the infection quickly spreads."
The New York Times published The Blasphemy We Need by Ross Douthat, who wrote "In the wake of the vicious murders at the offices of the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo today, let me offer three tentative premises about blasphemy in a free society. 1) The right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order..."
Assange: The world must now avenge Charlie Hebdo by swiftly republishing all their cartoons. Censorship attacks are a losing move.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 7, 2015
Salman Rushdie tweeted "Here's my brief statement about the awful events in Paris. Vive Charlie Hebdo!" and retweted three of his own quotes:
On 11/2/11, TIME Magazine ran an article which asked "Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by "majority sections" of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that "they" aren�t going to tell "us" what can and can�t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction? ... We, by contrast, have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for your loss, Charlie, and there�s no justification of such an illegitimate response to your current edition. But do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of "because we can" was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring."
In 2014, Pope Francis told Bishops "I think it is important that the clergy receive a more structured training in the seminary in order to carry out a constructive dialogue with Muslims, a dialogue ever more necessary to live a peaceful coexistence with them," which drew the irw of right wing neoconservatives such as here.
Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what is sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and where are we going?
...The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.
"The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.
A pressing question people often ask about interreligious dialogue is: "Why?" Why is it valuable for Catholics to venture outside the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church to seek friendship and understanding with Muslims, Jews or members of other religious traditions? The answer comes directly from the Second Vatican Council, when the Church wrote a document about other religions called Nostra Aetate.
At the National Muslim-Catholic Plenary in October 2012 - the first-ever joint gathering of the organizations that participate in Catholic-Muslim dialogues with the USCCB - Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J. talked about Nostra Aetate and its implications. You can read the full text but here is an excerpt:
"The Council envisions nothing less than a shared mission in our world for Muslims and Christians. It is a partnership in which the two communities should work together for the common good in four key areas of modern life: to build peace, to establish justice in our societies, to defend moral values, and to promote true human freedom."
By listening, sharing stories, praying and enjoying meals together during the National Plenary, Muslim and Catholic leaders answered the call of Nostra Aetate. Their work continues through regular dialogues held during the year. Visit our Islam page to learn more about these dialogues.
The U.S. Bishops also present an extremely extensive and lengthy Vatican Council and Papal Statements on Islam.
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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, TargetLiberty.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, AmericanFreePress.net, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, HenryMakow.com, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, TexeMarrs.com, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, Pasadena Weekly, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, SaveTheMales.ca, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, FromTheTrenchesWorldReport.com, BeforeItsNews.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.