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Debate: The Question of Dialogue

December 7, 2006

Pope Benedict tells Muslim leaders dialogue not an option, but a necessity.

He [Pope Benedict] then went on to quote the Second Vatican Council document “Nostra Aetate,” which he called the “Magna Carta” for the Church’s position on Muslim-Christian dialogue, saying “The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God (NA, 3).”

Assuring them that the Vatican II statement was the “perspective” from which he viewed the dialogue, the Pope noted his efforts at continuing the dialogue from the beginning of his Pontificate.

Benedict specifically pointed out his comments at a meeting he had with some Muslim Leaders in Cologne at the very beginning of his Pontificate, last August.

“Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is, in fact, a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends,” the Pope said at that time.

Fr. Joseph Fessio asks “Is Dialogue with Islam Possible?”

“…Is this violence an aberration that is inconsistent with genuine Islam (as similar violence by Christians would be an aberration inconsistent with genuine Christianity)? Or is it justifiable on the basis of Islam’s image of God as absolutely transcending all human categories, even that of rationality? And if the response to this question is violence, then the question has been answered existentially, and rational dialogue has been repudiated.”

Serge Trifkovic says Islam is “not amenable to dialogue.”

“…Islam is not amenable to dialogue. Among non-Muslims it seeks converts or subjects, not partners. After two decades of “dialogue,” many Christians have made many concessions and uttered many apologies for their side’s supposed past misdeeds, without getting anything in return. They merely encouraged the other side in the belief that there is no need for any “dialogue” since the apparent lack of rock-solid faith and conviction on the Christian camp makes their ultimate embrace of Allah and his prophet a logical outcome.”

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