Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Humble and the Firm

No, it's not a new soap opera. But, then again, maybe it is! Anyhow, this is how Pope Benedict XVI would have Catholics engage with their Muslim brethren.

Pope urges 'firm, humble' dialogue with Muslims
Nov 10 2:16 PM US/Eastern

Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to engage in "firm and humble" dialogue with Muslims, in an address to bishops from Germany, which has a sizable Muslim minority.
Pope Benedict said Catholics should manifest their beliefs with the same conviction as Muslims, who "are attached with great seriousness to their convictions and their religious rites."

The pope, who will travel to mainly Muslim Turkey at the end of the month, said Muslims "have the right to our firm and humble witness for Jesus Christ."
Such dialogue "obviously presupposes a solid knowledge of one's own faith," he added.

Two thoughts immediately come to mind. The first is the utter futility of the strategy of dialogue for defending one's civilizational values from being eroded, usurped and trampled by another civilization. The Pope indicates the reason for this futility, unwittingly, in his speech when he notes that Muslims are attached to their convictions with great seriousness. It is becasue of the seriousness of their attachment that they despise Western civilizational norms, both Christian and secular. Their seriousness is the reason that dialogue is futile. And by telling Catholics to rachet up their seriousness, he would only be having them increase their resistance to dialogue.

Dialogue is possible between different denominational groups within Western Christendom only because of the way that Christians have greatly compromized a major facet of their Christian worldview, and devolved it to a separate, neutral sphere, that of the secular state. This state of affairs was not arrived at through dialogue, but through bloody confrontation, war and revolution. Muslims have not ceded that facet of their civilizational sovereignty yet.

The second thought that comes to mind is that the dialogue that the Pope would have his flock engage in with Muslims is not a dialogue from the standpoint of their Catholic faith, but from the standpoint of their status as free citizens of a secular state. That is the facet of Western civilization that is under immediate threat by the Muslim challenge to Europe. Muslims cannot defeat Catholicism without defeating the secular state first. Catholics cannot stand alone in this fight. This is not a clash of one religion against another, it is a clash of secular democracy against theocracy. The Pope claims that he is thankful for the accomplishments of the Enlightenment. While he is sharpening the religious seriousness of his humble flock, he'd better be getting serious about his support for those accomplishments of the Enlightenment as well. Any backsliding on that account to satisfy sensitive religious sensibilities should be as anathema to him as any religious heresy.


Blogger Harry Eagar said...


November 11, 2006 3:56 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I can imagine no more vicious torture device, nor more thoroughoing waste of time, then an interfaith dialog.

A more appropriate term would be "simultaneous monologing."

November 13, 2006 12:27 PM  

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