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27 comments on “on the Pope and faithfulness to Christ

  1. Wow. Not too long ago I made a post in a couple Catholic communities about that very issue… it stems from the catechism. I don’t have the Catholic community links anymore, but here’s one I posted in : http://www.livejournal.com/community/sacred_opinion/43514.html I wish I had the Catholic community links, but the threads were horribly long, anyway. I was amazed at the willingness of a lot of people to compromise and rationalize.

  2. I think that when a man dies there is a sense that we should praise him, if at all possible, for the good that he has done. And the pope did much good and he upheld very important truths.

    But we must be careful not to cover over or distort critical theological issues in our rush to praise. Billy Graham did this by calling the pope a “great evangelist.”

    My main concern is and always has been the the Gospel. “Neither is there salvation in any other….”

    • I hope Billy Graham is right. I hope the pope was a great evangelist. However, it’s hard to imagine that the Muslims benefited from that action of kissing the Koran. It’s one thing to allow someone to believe what they will, but that was nothing but pure flattery.

      1TH 2:1 You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed–God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

      No one’s perfect, but such a world leader should be so much more careful. What’s done is done, but I hope the new pope will sincerely ask God about that part of the catechism that states that Catholics have the same God as the Muslims and change it… though there is one God, that part of the catechism makes it confusing for everyone. I don’t believe Jesus would have ever kissed the Koran.

      • I hope the pope was a great evangelist.

        Well, the Catholic Church’s membership numbers are way up.

        However, it’s hard to imagine that the Muslims benefited from that action of kissing the Koran.

        You may well be right. I know I wouldn’t have done it were I in his place.

        But ask yourself this: will Muslims be more inclined to become Christians, or to treat Christians well, if we lead with “Allah and the Qu’ran are false, as a Christian I will have nothing to do with them”?

        • Catholic numbers may be up, but like I said to Shawn the night we watched the pope’s funeral — “I wonder how many Catholics got saved after watching this.” 😉 I thought the service was awesome and the gospel was told beautifully.

          But ask yourself this: will Muslims be more inclined to become Christians, or to treat Christians well, if we lead with “Allah and the Qu’ran are false, as a Christian I will have nothing to do with them”?

          I would never suggest a world leader such as the pope make waves like that, however, Muslims know that the Koran doesn’t support Christian beliefs. Some of them may have taken the gesture of the kiss as an insult to their intelligence. I wonder how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would have taken that. Or Mordecai.

        • True, the Catholic Church’s membership numbers are way up, especially in the Third World.

          But IMHO very little of the growth in the past 50 years is attributable to the preaching of the gospel–most is due to biological growth, i.e., human reproduction.

        • I doubt that Muslims who actually read the Quran and who are praying would be inclined to be Christians at all no matter what the pope said or did for a number of reasons. The first is that the very idea that Jesus is god or divine or however his status is explained is/would be so in the bones wrong as to require a complete scrubbing and deprograming at almost the cellular level. To a Muslim, God is God and everything else is creation. Believing anything else would be blasphemy. The Muslims that are open to conversion at all are small “m” muslims. People who do not really know theire faith, who are cultural muslims. A second hurdle for a muslim to be converted is just the history of the Christian wests past dealing with the people of Islam. I can think of one way that the image of the pope kissing the Quran played out. It could have been interpreted as ‘even the pope sees the righteousness of the noble Quran.’

  3. Some of us believe that attempts to create peace and brotherhood are more important than being right about God. I’m even enough of a heretic to suggest that peace and brotherhood are more important to God, too.

    • Heh, that’s a funny statement. I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with attempts to create peace, but not at the expense of the integrity of the gospel. I don’t think Jesus ever did that.

      • [Matthew 22:34] Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.
        [35] One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
        [36] “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
        [37] Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
        [38] This is the first and greatest commandment.
        [39] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
        [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

        [Romans 13:9] The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
        [10] Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

        I’ve elaborated on this thought here:
        http://www.livejournal.com/users/sophiaserpentia/355495.html

        But even though I feel there is a strong scriptural argument to back up what I wrote, my reason for saying this is not that this is how I read scripture, but that this is how I read reality. I believe that a greater good can be served by focusing first on making sure that people are good to one another, and THEN trying to believe alike. IOW I believe that good behavior is more important than right belief, and I’m convinced that Jesus and Paul thought so too.

        • I believe that good behavior is more important than right belief, and I’m convinced that Jesus and Paul thought so too.

          I would whole-heartedly agree, which is exactly why the pope shouldn’t have kissed the Koran. It wasn’t good behavior.

          • IMO fostering peace and understanding between Christians and Muslims produces a good greater than any evil that might be represented in kissing a copy of a book. The Vatican has never given the message saying that people should be Muslim, quite the opposite. (cf. for example Cardinal Ratzinger’s document Dominus Iesus, which calls other religions “gravely deficient.”) But considering the role that Popes have played in ages past, calling for crusades against Muslims, what he did was a courageous act of humility.

            • I think, though, to be fair; to take that line is to ignore some pretty central tenets of the Christian faith.

              The Muslim religion specifically rejects the deity of Christ, the central figure of Christianity. It’s not, then, humility to kiss the Koran; it’s seen by many as a fatal undermining of Christian belief.

              now, it is true that the Pope has showed a commendable humility and generosity to many religions, but that doesn’t require of him the actions which we are discussing.

              • Without a gesture like that, it’s easy to imagine that his efforts to reach out to Muslims might not have had nearly the same effect. I read that Muslims were praying for the Pope as he neared death. Muslims, praying for a Roman Pope. I think too that it probably made many Muslims more likely to take another look at Christianity than they would have been before.

                I think this is comparable to the episode where Jesus asked a Samaritan woman to draw water from him. In Galilee the Samaritans were considered unclean. His act of breaking the cleanliness rules made it more likely that he’d be able to reach out to her and through her to her whole village. So in one sense he was unfaithful to the letter of the Law, but in another sense he was more faithful to the spirit of it.

                I think, too, of Jesus quoting the prophet Hosea who wrote that the Lord demands mercy, not sacrifice. If “sacrifice” refers to the outward trappings of religion, then it may be that an act of faith in the goodness of fellow human beings is a more holy act than upholding those religious concepts at the expense of peace and understanding.

                  • Hehe, funny typo. 🙂

                    I can see your line of thinking and I find it to be compelling, but not for this. The Koran goes against the gospel of Christ, which is different than what Jesus was actually doing, which was breaking through the barriers of racism. This would be important since salvation would be for the gentile, as well as the Jew.

                    Again, I don’t believe Jesus ever sacrificed the integrity of the gospel. The pope did not have to kiss the Koran to show faith in his fellow man. He also didn’t have to be overtly anti-Muslim. He should have maitained integrity.

                    Also, I believe that God can take anything and make it into something good and that He would do the same in this case.

                • but the action itself is too much.
                  Look, I’m not saying that the Pope can’t go to Moslems and be conciliatory. Of course he can, but there’s many ways of showing respect that don’t require one to embrace something so opposed to Christ.

                  For example, I’ve sat in Indian villages with village leaders and done a number of things that I would not normally do (including drinking tea that i was convinced would give me cholera!) in order to build bridges. I didn’t need to affirm Hindu sacred objects in order to do it.

                  Bridge-building is about building the bridge, not building a home over the other side of the river.

              • I see the Pope kissing the Koran much like a Protestant eulogizing the Pope. In either case, it doesn’t mean total agreement, simply respect, and acknowledge of the many good aspects (of the Pope’s life, or of the Koran).

  4. The post that you link to is just malarky. Islam, the Quran tells Muslims that Christians are the closest to them of all the people of the book. If he wants to point to folks exterminating the other then he really needs to look in his religious cultural mirror at his own path. If one is going to pitch a fit over someone elses path then the least they can do is honestly look at that path.

    As far as the Pope kissing the Quran. Well, he was a politician. That book was probably a whole lot cleaner than some of the babies he kissed. It’s not like the man renounced Christ and then brought the Catholic Church into the fold of Islam. Now THAT I would have paid to see.

    • the Quran tells Muslims that Christians are the closest to them of all the people of the book
      Reference? (not that I don’t think it is there…I read the Quran sooo long ago.)

      As far as the Pope kissing the Quran. Well, he was a politician.
      And yet, he was to be more than a politician. No mature individual is going to blame him for doing anything wrong…but let’s call a spade, “a spade.” Kissing the Quran is not the best way to communicate respect for a book/religion because it can imply so much more. Do you know what I mean?

      • Al Maida 82 “Strongest among men in enmity to the believers you will find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers will you find are those who say “We are Christians,” because amongst these are men who are devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world and they are not arrogant.

        As far as the pope kissing the Quran and other things goes, now that we have gone through the “oh what a swell guy he was, a light, a beacon, a paragon” phase and the proverbial dirt has been thrown on his face, we will really start to begin to see the other face of the pope. People will begin to pick at things he did or didn’t do, or was alledged to have done or not done. It is the way of human beings to be vultures on the corpse of dead folks reputations. I think he was pretty consistant that Jesus was the way the truth and the light or whatever. He never strayed from the belief that the Catholic church was the vehicle that folks really needed to ride to the big party in the sky, that other vehicles might look nice but that they were essentially flawed. To imply that he was a traitor to his team because he kissed a Quran is pretty small minded in my opinion. It is like ramorra fish compaining about the shark’s dining habits.

        • Thanks for the reference. Should it be Al Maida 5:82 ?

          As for the Pope, I suppose that I have seen both blessing and cursing in the actions of others… the “beat up the Pope phase” isn’t coming any more than it has always been. In any case, all men make mistakes…kissing the Quran might be one of them…I think it was…but if this action and other “sinful” actions are my only focus, something is wrong. On the flipside, to ignore or refuse to discuss something that he did on a basis of “look at all the good he did,” is also comprably wrong.

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