THE ASSISI MEETING WAS A SIGN OF FRIENDSHIP AND FRATERNITY

VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received representatives of various religions, and of non-believers, who yesterday participated in the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, celebrated in the Italian town of Assisi under the theme: “Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace”.

Addressing the group in English he thanked them for having taken part in yesterday’s event. “In a certain sense”, he said, “this gathering is representative of the billions of men and women throughout our world who are actively engaged in promoting justice and peace. It is also a sign of the friendship and fraternity which has flourished as the fruit of the efforts of so many pioneers in this kind of dialogue. May this friendship continue to grow among all the followers of the world’s religions and with men and
women of good will everywhere”.

“Looking back, we can appreciate the foresight of the late Pope John Paul II in convening the first Assisi meeting. … Meetings of this sort are necessarily exceptional and infrequent, yet they are a vivid expression of the fact that every day, throughout our world, people of different religious traditions live and work together in harmony. It is surely significant for the cause of peace that so many men and women, inspired by their deepest convictions, are committed to working for the good of the human family.

“In this way”, Benedict XVI added, “I am sure that yesterday’s meeting has given us a sense of how genuine is our desire to contribute to the good of all our fellow human beings and how much we have to share with one another.

“As we go our separate ways, let us draw strength from this experience and, wherever we may be, let us continue refreshed on the journey that leads to truth, the pilgrimage that leads to peace. I thank all of you from my heart”.
AC/ VIS

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About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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45 Responses to THE ASSISI MEETING WAS A SIGN OF FRIENDSHIP AND FRATERNITY

  1. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    These are excellent words from the Pope in his meeting with believers and non believers. When he refers to “going our separate ways”, I applaud his liberalism, his tolerance and his catholicity on “the pilgrimage that leads to peace”. This is a wise (and far seeing) approach to society today, born of 2000 years of history.

  2. Paul Flynn says:

    What a sad day for our church, and for all the Christian churches represented at this meeting. What an insult to the God who sent his only Son among us to shed his Blood for our salvation. What a defeatist gesture, to praise those who still reject God’s gift of himself in his Son and to tell them they have no need of him, they can carry on without him.
    They can’t. ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be damned’ (Mark 16:16). Jesus said this and no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth has any authority to deny it. Least of all the leaders of our Christian churches.

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    Surely it is better to preach to non-Christians than not to preach to them ?

    Also, I cannot see that anyone has been praised for rejecting the Son of God ; nor that anyone has been told they have no need of Him ; nor that carrying on without Him has been described as a worthy approach.

  4. Paul Flynn says:

    JabbaPappa, you are speaking weasel words. The non Judaeo Christian attendees were told that in practising religion that does not honour Jesus they are cooperating with the Holy Spirit and contributing to peace. This is utterly contrary to what we learn in Scripture. See, eg, 1 John 2:22-24.

    There are no weasel words in the Bible. I thank God from my heart that there are no weasel words in the Bible and I am thereby protected when our leaders fail to pass on the truth to us.

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    oh dear, here we go again ….

    Paul no, I’m not speaking “weasel words”, thank you very much.

    How can contributing to peace outside Christianity be described as wrongful in some way, as you seem to be saying ?? Are you saying that only Christians can contribute to peace, or something ?

    There is only one God, and all rightful action comes from God or from inspiration by God ; and it is a very thorny philosophical question that theologians have been considering since the earliest centuries of Christianity, to what extent does God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit extend His desire for the Salvation of Mankind outside of Israel and Christianity ?

    Certainly God can act outside of the Church, and through those who do not belong to Christianity, for there are no human limits that can be set against His omnipotence nor His divinity — just as the Christian message can be given outside of the sole contents of Scripture.

    I for one will not attempt to set up my own imperfect conceptions of how the Holy Spirit may take action in this imperfect world, and I will instead listen to the preaching of the Pope as a meditation on the salvific power of God through the Holy Spirit, a power that extends throughout all of mankind and for all of the sinners, rather than being constrained within the limits of our own conceptions.

    This is not to deny any part of the Christian Faith, but it is instead to reaffirm the deeper Catholicism of our heartfelt belief in the Christ.

  6. JabbaPapa says:

    Clarification for any agnostics in the audience : all rightful action comes from God or from inspiration by God

    (no matter how directly or indirectly, as the Holy Father has alluded to theologically in this address)

  7. Paul Flynn says:

    JabbaPappa, I agree that it is not for us to tell God who he is or what he is to do. He is sovereign. However, he has introduced himself to us in his word, in Scripture, and as Jesus said, Scripture cannot be broken.
    I have read through Scripture from beginning to end quite a few times and the more I read it the more I find a single, central message running through it: He is always introducing himself as the only One. He is extremely jealous. Worship the living God alone and your every moment will be blessed; turn aside to other gods on the other hand, even to the smallest degree, and you lose his blessings and you fall under the authority of those useless spirits who have nothing to offer us except destruction. Believe me, I have tried it. Influenced by sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate, I became fascinated with Asian religion in my early years. I will not begin to describe to you the destruction it brought into my life. After decades of trouble I was recalled to the truth we find in Scripture by – believe it or not – evangelical Christians who, because they take the word of God as their foundation, were already wise to the error our church fell into when we began flirting with other gods.

    In case it is of interest, since I began proclaiming the biblical message about the only God and his only Son, I have been astonished to see some of my listeners receiving baptism not very long afterward, an outcome I could never even dream of achieving as long as I remained in the two minded state I was in formerly. To the only God be the praise.

  8. Paul Flynn says:

    JabbaPappa, – your earlier question, ‘Are you saying that only Christians can contribute to peace, or something?’

    I am saying what the apostle John said in 1 John 4:1-4. and in 1 John 5:9,10: Those spiritual authorities that persist in resisting the truth about Jesus are not good; the Holy Spirit does not testify in their favour.

    I fully respect the Pope’s position as the Successor of Peter, the holder of the keys of the kingdom, the infallible teacher of truth. However, the Pope does not have the authority to set aside the word of God. He does not have the authority to lead the people of God in honouring other gods.

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    The Pope has not attempted to set aside the word of God, nor has he led the people of God towards honouring any false divinities.

    The meetings at Assisi may have gone too far under the previous Pope ; but then again, who are we to truly judge the exceptional charisms of blessed JP2 ? Some of his actions during that time I cannot agree with, but Pope Benedict’s reinterpretation of the event in a more traditional, and more theologically conservative, light simply does not shock me in the same way.

    I have read your descriptions of your spiritual journey so far with interest, and they are deserving of a more specifically personal response… 🙂

  10. Paul Flynn says:

    Giving the leaders of the world’s occultic religions free promotion on the most high prestige of platforms, setting them shoulder to shoulder with Christian leaders at the very highest level, flattering them by using the biblical word ‘faith’ to characterize what they do, declaring that the Holy Spirit is in their practices …. and the Pope has not led the people of God in honouring other gods? I am not sure if you are serious.

    That this Pope resisted some of the excesses of his predecessor does not justify what was done. This meeting was in disobedience to the will of God declared in Scripture.

  11. JabbaPapa says:

    Some more general, and some more personal, response, then :

    as Jesus said, Scripture cannot be broken

    Actually, that statement is contained in a secondary clause introduced by the conjunction “if” — what Jesus is saying is that his _critics_ are claiming that “Scripture cannot be broken”. He does not deny that claim, certainly — but it’s a bad textual analysis to claim that as a straightforward lesson from the Christ. In any case, Jesus is responding in that passage to some (false) claims made by some OT literalists, by referring to some meanings contained in OT that those literalists were denying.

    Same old, same old … and it carries on today, in the interwebs forums…

    (Christ’s theology in this passage is, BTW, excellent !!) 🙂

    I have read through Scripture from beginning to end quite a few times and the more I read it the more I find a single, central message running through it: He is always introducing himself as the only One. He is extremely jealous.

    I’ve read through it from beginning to end once only so far ; albeit in the excellent 5th century Latin version of Jerome and his team of translators (with some reference to the Koine Greek of the original NT texts).

    I did not find that the central message is as you describe it.

    The central message is that God is asking us to reciprocate His own infinite Love for us ; having provided us with the Free Will to either reciprocate or reject.

    Some Biblical authors have certainly interpreted this as a jealousy ; but Christ Himself should be our guide here, and He taught nothing of the sort !!!

    There is only one God.

    But there are multiple Bible authors !!!

    I have no idea which translation you are using, but in my studies I have found that most modern translations, including the Holy See’s own “Nova Vulgata” translation, most of them attempt to present a version of the Bible having a kind of literary cohesion as a singularly monolithic work, which is contrary to its very nature as a compendium of multiple texts by multiple authors.

    Where the Bible is at its greatest, it provides more questions than answers — though answers are most certainly provided as well.

    The Christ does not, anyway, teach us of God’s “jealousy” — Jesus teaches us of God’s nearly unconditional love ; and “nearly” only because we, of our own Free Will, have the power within us to reject that love.

    Describing God as “jealous” is simply to ascribe one of the Seven Deadly Sins to the Godhood Itself. This is an inherently wrongful claim to be making, and probably blasphemous.

    Worship the living God alone and your every moment will be blessed

    If only that were true !! 🙂

    But in fact, we are all of us quite sinful creatures by our very nature … 😦

    turn aside to other gods on the other hand, even to the smallest degree, and you lose his blessings and you fall under the authority of those useless spirits who have nothing to offer us except destruction. Believe me, I have tried it. Influenced by sections 2&3 of Nostra Aetate, I became fascinated with Asian religion in my early years. I will not begin to describe to you the destruction it brought into my life.

    I’m not sure if you are referring to a flirt with Hinduism or Buddhism …

    Concerning Nostra Aetate specifically : jeepers, the English translation of that document is fairly awful …

    For example, it removes the focus in the Latin in one place from “cum prudentia et caritate” (with care(fulness) and Charity), and replaces that focus with the secondary concern for “dialogue and collaboration”.

    But yes, just as Nostra Aetate actually teaches, we must take care with the non-Christian religions, and we must always consider them in the light that there is only One God and that the Christ is His only Son and our only perfect Priest, Prophet and King.

    From a more technical point of view, it must be noted that Nostra Aetate does not present itself as being a doctrinal document, but it appears instead to be a pastoral one — it seems to constitute a moral teaching of the Council, rather than in any way expecting that it should doctrinally affect our Faith in the teachings of the Holy Church in any truly significant manner (a pointed lack of expectation that the more extremist liberals in the Church appear to be unaware of ;)).

    It ascribes most of the opinions expressed in its contents neither to the Holy Father, nor to the Council, nor even to the Magisterium — but instead, to the Most Holy Synod — which is to say, the V2 Council.

    Given that this document seems, in its very caginess that these are not teachings of the Church but of that particular Council, to be provided with no fully doctrinal mandate (except in some of its more specifically technical detail work), there is no requirement whatsoever that Catholics should consider it otherwise than as fallible advice concerning a proper Christian attitude towards the members of the other Religions and towards those Religions themselves.

    One can nevertheless express some deep regrets that Nostra Aetate is such a poorly written document … 😦

    Concerning your own flirtation with the destructiveness of the non-Christian ideas, I can only sympathise – having come to my own Christianity via agnosticism.

    I am saddened if this flirtation was in any way motivated by the dubious English translation of that Vatican II document, and its poor interpretation by any of your teachers 😦

    In its Latin nevertheless, it by no means encourages anyone to consider any other religions as being properly comparable to Christianity, except in the more abstractly expressed sense that God always seeks to save Mankind by whichever means of His own choice and Mystery.

    Admittedly, the more conservative doctrinal meanings of the document are quite poorly served by such curious Latin as “valores socio-culturales”…

    After decades of trouble I was recalled to the truth we find in Scripture by – believe it or not – evangelical Christians who, because they take the word of God as their foundation, were already wise to the error our church fell into when we began flirting with other gods.

    I’ll believe it — unorthodox though they may be, not all evangelical Christians are divorced from the Faith.

    Ironically enough, this is one of the exact teachings of Nostra Aetate !!!

    Their focus on Biblical literalism and sola scriptura is OTOH not to be trusted in the slightest !!!

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    at the very highest level

    In NO WAY is this “the very highest level” …

  13. Paul Flynn says:

    The nub of our disagreement seems to be about the biblical jealousy of God. It is described throughout Scripture as a protective jealousy, akin to a husband’s reaction when his wife throws herself at men who have only a flippant interest in her.

    The jealousy of God does not come to an end in the New Testament. Jesus tells us, ‘You will die in your sins if you do not believe that I am He’ (John 8:24). He condemns ‘the woman Jezebel who is luring my servants away to commit the adultery of eating food which has been sacrificed to idols’ (Revelation 2:20). The Holy Spirit warns us against yoking ourselves up ‘in an uneven team with unbelievers … for what concord has Christ with Belial? … get away from them, purify yourselves, do not touch anything unclean, and then I shall welcome you …’ (2 Cor 6:14-18).

    The Bible is much, much more than a collection of writings by different authors. It has a single author, the Holy Spirit. I hope we are agreed on that.

    Thanks a lot for continuing the discussion this far.

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    No, the nub of our disagreement seems to be that you are confusing political issues with religious ones.

  15. Paul Flynn says:

    The Bible places power in our hands. Modern theology has robbed millions of that power.

    As soon as we start flirting with other gods we are no longer able to declare that Jesus is the only Saviour of the world. When that happens, we can pray for healing until the cows come home. The sick will not heal. We can command demons to leave. They only laugh at us.

    Having lost its power, we call in the theologians and pay them millions of dollars to teach us the Bad News gospel: God doesn’t mean what he says; he doesn’t even say it; he doesn’t want to heal the sick; he doesn’t want to save us in affliction; he doesn’t want to deliver the demonized he doesn’t want to release the addicted; he has called us to a life of misery and defeat and disease, it is our divinely appointed vocation ….

    With great respect to theology, this is the exact antithesis of the God of Love who reveals himself in Christ. The Bible is wonderfully good news and I defy anyone to teach otherwise in the name of the church founded by the Lord.

    What are you going to tell the young person who wishes to stand in the holy place, to have his own experience of the presence of the living God in prayer? I can assure that young person that if he recognizes that the God who reveals himself in his word is the only God worth praying to, he will be greatly blessed in prayer. If he gives even the slightest credit to the demon spirits who seek to rival God, he will not discover the gift of prayer.

    I can give you countless examples of seriously sick people who began to heal when they renounced everything occult and unclean and turned to the only Saviour for their healing.

    That is the power of the word of God. You cannot access it through theology. You can only access it through pure faith.

    I think at this stage it is clear why so many Christians think that the Assisi meetings were a betrayal by Christian pastors of their duty of care to the people of God.

    I would like to say a sincere thanks again for carrying the discussion thus far. I usually receive a gagging order after the first sentence or two 🙂

  16. Paul Flynn says:

    PS – Your comments on the status of Nostra Aetate are very enlightening indeed. I think your clarifications should be made known much more widely, because NA is very often treated as an authoritative teaching document, even being referred to as such in later authoritative teaching documents.

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    Nostra Aetate remains authoritative, but it does not have the kind of authority that the more radically minded of whichever persuasion have ascribed to it.

    It is an essentially pastoral authority, not a doctrinal one — but a pastoral authority remains an authority of the Church.

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    The Bible places power in our hands. Modern theology has robbed millions of that power.

    I’m not sure that you’re qualified enough to make the second of these statements ; and in any case it’s a false generality.

    As for the first, well, while I agree with its more general truthfulness, it is hard to agree with the conclusions that you seem to be taking from it ; because a good premise marred by a faulty analysis will provide false conclusions.

    Your attack against “modern theology” is poorly conceived, and seems to be inspired by various Protestant notions ; evangelical protestantism specifically. Which is, of course, precisely “modern theology”, wherein you are contradicting your own positions.

    I am not going to counter your generalisations with some opposing generalisations, because they would end up being just as imperfect, and for the same ultimate reasons — which are that not only are we all personally unable to have a fully global understanding of every aspect of Christianity, but also that we each have our own particular gifts and defects which define the very nature of our personal relationship with the Divine.

    The purpose of theology is to try and make sense of this complexity ; but your claim that theology can somehow be generally opposed to Scripture is nonsense.

    Having lost its power, we call in the theologians and pay them millions of dollars to teach us the Bad News gospel: God doesn’t mean what he says; he doesn’t even say it; he doesn’t want to heal the sick; he doesn’t want to save us in affliction; he doesn’t want to deliver the demonized he doesn’t want to release the addicted; he has called us to a life of misery and defeat and disease, it is our divinely appointed vocation ….

    I’ve no idea who’s been putting these ideas into your head, but you really shouldn’t listen.

    That is a frankly erroneous presentation of the very nature and purpose of theology ; actually no, that’s not strong enough.

    It’s a caricature.

    That is the power of the word of God. You cannot access it through theology. You can only access it through pure faith.

    You lack the theological training to realise that this statement is rubbish ; you are assuming that your own experience of the Divine is the only valid one, but I can assure you that the Presence of God is also to be found in good theology… 🙂

    Problems start when those that are incompetent in theology start to dabble in it ; Richard Dawkins being a very public example of this.

    But also sola scriptura Evangelicalism, such sects as the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have all of them set aside the truths that are to be found in good theology, and they have replaced them with ignorance and pride.

    Not to mention typically replacing Scripture with some dubious translations of it made in modern times…

  19. Paul Flynn says:

    Sections 2&3 of NA is heresy. I call it an informal heresy or a heresy in practice because it is, as you say, not defined teaching of the church. (I don’t have a problem with sections 4&5.)

  20. JabbaPapa says:

    Sections 2&3 of NA is heresy. I call it an informal heresy or a heresy in practice because it is, as you say, not defined teaching of the church.

    You are unqualified to make any such statements, and they are both doctrinally and theologically false ones. Technically your words are heretical statements, except that given your clear lack of theological training we can just describe them as “errors” instead…

    Nostra Aetate most certainly *is* a teaching of the Church ; and you are making the very basic error of considering that all teachings of the Church must be doctrinal in nature ; which is to simply ignore that there are both disciplinary teachings, and pastoral teachings.

    The Church teaches that priests may not marry ; but this is by no means a doctrinal question, and there is no doctrine declaring that they may not do so.

    Sections 2 and 3 of NA are descriptive of non-Christian religions, and I can see nothing in those sections which could be described as “heretical”.

    This is what it says in Section 2 : Annuntiat vero et annuntiare tenetur indesinenter Christum, qui est “via, veritas et vita” (Io. 14,6), in quo homines plenitudinem vitae religiosae inveniunt, in quo Deus omnia Sibi reconciliavit. Which part of this extremely clear statement, that the only fully truthful religion is Christianity, did you fail to understand ?

    You seem to have taken some negative statements in NA about the other religions as if they were positive ones.

    The fault seems to lie, not in the document itself, but in your own bad reading of it, motivated by your apparent lack of understanding of its theology.

    The poor English translation that you must be using cannot be helpful either, in your defense…

  21. Paul Flynn says:

    I am grateful for your response on my sceptical attitude to theology.

    I never cease to give thanks to God for giving me his word, and not only me, but all those who wish to hear and keep it. The word of God is my constant companion. It gives me counsel and strength in every circumstance.

    And it gives me the ability to see through all the garbage thinking that the world throws at me. JabbPappa, you have been proving my point throughout this discussion. Every time I offer you something from the word of God, you reply with something of the wisdom that comes from man and that is very specifically directed at discrediting the word of God and obscuring its truth and its power.

    I don’t blame you. You have yourself been robbed of the power and the joy and the victory and the understanding that God gives us in his word. Perhaps it is too simplistic to lump all the garbage thinking I refer to under the umbrella term ‘theology.’ But to be honest I don’t think it is far from the truth.

    St Paul came to the Athenians with an attempt at elegant language to impress them, with scant results. By the time he got to the Corinthians he had changed his mind. ‘Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come with any brilliance of oratory or wise argument … I was resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus, and him crucified … to demonstrate the convincing power of the Spirit, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God’ (1 Cor 2:1-5).

    Let me put it this way. I and many many others are under constant attack by demons, demons of sickness, demons of temptation, demons of discouragement, demons of anger. JabbaPappa, the theology that you are exeptionally good at producing has no power over those demons. A single phrase from the word of God, however, is so powerful against them that the moment I declare it those demons are falling over themselves to get away from me. Jesus gave us the example. The devil came at him from three directions. Three times he answered with a scripture. The devil went away. He had no choice. He and his angels study the word of God like the demons they are because they know that the moment we fall foul of it, they have a way in. They know their rights. And believe you me the best thing we can do is to study it better than they do because then we always have the sword of the word in our hand to get rid of them.

    The translation I use – I always work with two translations, the New Jerusalem and the King James Version. When one looks dodgy, the other is usually coherent. I regard neither as superior to the other.

  22. JabbaPapa says:

    You’re talking absolute nonsense, based on your ignorance both of theology itself in general, and of my own personal spirituality in particular.

    This in particular : And it gives me the ability to see through all the garbage thinking that the world throws at me. JabbPappa, you have been proving my point throughout this discussion. Every time I offer you something from the word of God, you reply with something of the wisdom that comes from man and that is very specifically directed at discrediting the word of God and obscuring its truth and its power.

    I don’t blame you. You have yourself been robbed of the power and the joy and the victory and the understanding that God gives us in his word. Perhaps it is too simplistic to lump all the garbage thinking I refer to under the umbrella term ‘theology.’ But to be honest I don’t think it is far from the truth.

    … is of very little value indeed.

    Your cherry-picking from I Corinthians is a typical tactic, that I’m well used to seeing —

    6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

    7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

    8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    9 However, as it is written:
    “What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
    and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

    10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

    11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

    12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

    13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

    14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

    15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,

    16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
    But we have the mind of Christ.

    In other words, even though this translation is a poor one — far from being a denunciation of theology, as you are attempting to show — here is a strong affirmation of the value of theology, and a description of how and why good theology comes from the Christ. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. Exactly !!

    But in your view, this is “garbage thinking”…

    You are not a theologian Paul, you do not have even the slightest real understanding of it ; you are not qualified to express any sort of educated opinion about it, nor its nature, nor its qualities and defects and its limitations.

    You just haven’t the foggiest clue what you’re talking about here, and your continued reference to these or those charisms of the Faith as if they could somehow “disprove” theology are powerfully demonstrative of your lack of understanding of the very nature of theology.

    It’s not just your analysis of Nostra Aetate which is utterly flawed, but it’s your entire approach towards orthodox intellectuality which is failing you.

  23. Paul Flynn says:

    JabbaPappa – re your second last entry.

    Section 2 of Nostra Aetate states that the practices of Buddhism are capable of leading people to ‘perfect liberation’ and ‘through their own efforts or by higher help,’ to ‘supreme illumination.’

    Are you telling me that this statement is consistent with Scripture, and with Catholic teaching up to 31 October 1965? Or do you apply some linguistic or theological sleight of hand to argue that the NA2 doesn’t say this at all?

  24. JabbaPapa says:

    Section 2 of Nostra Aetate states that the practices of Buddhism are capable of leading people to ‘perfect liberation’ and ‘through their own efforts or by higher help,’ to ‘supreme illumination.’

    No it doesn’t — it says that that is what Buddhism teaches.

    In Buddhismo secundum varias eius formas radicalis insufficientia mundi huius mutabilis agnoscitur et via docetur qua homines, animo devoto et confidente, sive statum perfectae liberationis acquirere, sive, vel propriis conatibus vel superiore auxilio innixi, ad summam illuminationem pertingere valeant.

  25. Paul Flynn says:

    Yes, but the Pope was the one speaking, and he was eulogizing both Buddhism and the other occultic religions of the world, and telling the people of God to treat them with reverence (!!) and to ‘cooperate’ with them.
    You are telling me that this was consistent with Scripture, and the teaching Tradition prior to 31 October 1965, are you?

  26. Paul Flynn says:

    Actually I think you are speaking weasel words again. NA2 goes beyond characterizing what Buddhism teaches. It presents the teaching as capable of doing what it claims. And it indicates that these religions contain what is ‘true and holy.’

  27. JabbaPapa says:

    Who’s the one engaging in linguistic or theological sleight of hand now, then ?

    We are only asked to recognise and agree with the beliefs of the other religions wherever but only wherever they may happen to coincide with those of Christianity.

    And to be charitable and kind and respectful towards the religionaries of the other Faiths, exactly following the teachings of Christ and the New Testament authors as to how we should deal with others.

    And none of this nonsense that you keep on repeating in here…

  28. JabbaPapa says:

    Actually I think you are speaking weasel words again. NA2 goes beyond characterizing what Buddhism teaches. It presents the teaching as capable of doing what it claims. And it indicates that these religions contain what is ‘true and holy.’

    This is completely untrue, and I am getting quite sick and tired of your constant accusations that I might be telling lies.

  29. Paul Flynn says:

    Would you mind not referring to the occultic religions of the world as ‘Faiths.’ There is no manner of comparison whatsoever between biblical faith in the Lord Jesus and anything in these occultic religions. You couldn’t offer a worse insult to the Blood of Jesus or to the faith of Christians.

    Don’t you learn that in theology?

  30. JabbaPapa says:

    Shouldn’t have capitalised the word when I used it in that sentence, which was unintentional ; but you’re clearly uninterested either in addressing any of my actual points, nor in admitting that your reading of that document is wrong (as it quite clearly is).

    Oh well, can’t say that I didn’t do my best with you … 😦

  31. Paul Flynn says:

    I appreciate very much your rolling out such impressively big guns against me. It hasn’t happened before and I have benefited greatly. Can’t say I have changed my mind though. I will not cease thanking God for his word, and regarding theology as a very mixed benefit.

    The teaching in NA23 is perfidious. You may not have been alive when it was published. I was, and I have not failed to notice its consequences. Within weeks our priests began falling like flies; our seminaries began emptying; homosexuality and pedophilia in the holy places exploded into an epidemic that is still with us. No surprise in any of this if you take your cue from the word of God. Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy among many other scriptures tells us precisely what follows when we begin flirting with the spirits who are the implacable enemies of God. May he protect us from the consequences of the Assisi meetings.

    You can theologize as much as you like. The word of God will put you right eventually. I just hope you don’t have to learn it the hard way as I did.

  32. teresa says:

    Paul Flynn, I didn’t read everything you read carefully, I shall do it later, (as I have to go away for a while). But for this moment just a quick note, I remember SSPX speaking full of respect of a Buddhist monk and even Muslims. I shall try to find the source and show it to you, but on one SSPX site I did read, and this I remember very clearly, that they praised the piety of a Buddhist monk. We are Christians, but we are not fundamentalists. How to encounter people with other religions and convictions is a question we should explore with care and prudence. Pax.

  33. Paul Flynn says:

    Teresa, Thanks a lot for your comment. I am not close to the SSPX.

    I totally agree that we should treat our fellow human beings with great respect even where we do not approve of their beliefs. But respect for people does not require us to respect the spirits they worship. If it did we would have to respect Satan because some people worship him.

    The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only Saviour of the world, the only way to the Father in heaven. It also teaches (see, for example 1 John 4:1-4) that all those spiritual beings who reject Jesus are not to be trusted. They are not the friends of God and if we show them any reverence at all they will separate us from God, because the Holy Spirit of God only gives testimony to Jesus, never to his rivals.

    Of course we respect others, but do not be fooled into following any gods other than Jesus.

  34. teresa says:

    Paul, I don’t think anyone is fooled in this sense. But you forget that God is the Creator of the Universe, so everything, which is good, can be attributed to God. The pagans have also virtues and whence do these virtues come? They come from the imagine of God which is engraved on our heart, not I but the Apostle Paul says so:

    “So, when gentiles, not having the Law, still through their own innate sense behave as the Law commands, then, even though they have no Law, they are a law for themselves. They can demonstrate the effect of the Law engraved on their hearts, to which their own conscience bears witness; since they are aware of various considerations, some of which accuse them, while others provide them with a defence . . . on the day when,” (Romans 2, 14-15).

    So to know that the whole creation which embraces all creatures and thus also both pagans and Christians has God as its origin, and that in every man there is goodness, that is from God, is not to appreciate evil spirit, quite in opposite, if you appreciate the goodness even in your enemy, you are praising God.

    St. Thomas Aquinas wrote once also that righteous pagans, if it is not their fault not to know Jesus Christ, can be saved.

  35. Paul Flynn says:

    Teresa, – the other religions are good religions if – and only if – those religions bring their followers to recognize the true Light when it comes. This is the point of the Three Wise Men in Matthew 2. These three men were star gazers, something forbidden to worshippers of the true God. And yet when the New Light appeared, they followed it diligently until it led them to the stable in Bethlehem. When they arrived at the stable, they went in and worshipped him, worshipped Jesus.

    That is what the other religions are for. If they bring people to Jesus they are good.

    However, the religions that were honoured at the Assisi meetings are not like that. Two thousand years after the True Light of Christ came into the world they are still resisting the truth about Jesus. We do not hate the followers of these religions. We love them as we love ourselves. But the religions themselves and the spiritual authorities that lead them are not good. If they were good they would do what the Holy Spirit always does: they would lead their followers to Jesus.

    Check 1 John 4:1-4 and 1 John 5:9-12 and see if I am telling you the truth as the Holy Spirit gives it to us.

  36. teresa says:

    Paul, it is a decision of God whether someone will received the Grace so that he will believe, without this Grace, nobody can believe, what we can do is to proclaim the Gospel to the world, but whether the pagans see the light, depends on God’s decision.

    People are born into a different culture, into a different faith, some of them will find Jesus Christ as the Saviour and be baptised, that is why we should make dialogue with other religions. See the great numbers of converts who come to the Lord from all kind of religions, you might be living in a region where you don’t have to converse with people of other religions, but try living in a different region of the world, say Thailand, and there you should try to proclaim the Word of the Lord to the local people, and then, you will feel the need to understand their cultural backgrounds.

    Just ask the great missionaries, they know.

  37. Paul Flynn says:

    Many of the great missionaries were martyred rather than do what we see being done today, pretending that other gods are good when we know well that they are not. May God give Christians the strength never to lie to anyone in this way.

  38. teresa says:

    Many of them are martyred, but many others brought thousands of pagans to the Lord. There are these and these people, Paul, and everything has its time and place, it is always easy to judge and give advices from an arm chair, isn’t it. The world is not just in our heads, it is outside us. Look at Mother Teresa, her bore witness to the world and moved the heart of many an atheist and pagan. And no, she was not martyred, neither was Matteo Ricci martyred.
    Many were martyred not because they tried to rant before the doors of the pagans that they were evil, many were martyred because they didn’t change their faith when threatened with death.
    Some French missionaries were killed by Tibetan Monks, but not because they ranted before the temple, they did nothing provocative. They were killed because they converted pagans who were earlier slaves of the Lamaism Temple, and thus the monks lost some surfs. That was the reason why the French missionaries were killed, along with several converts who stood steadfast to their newly accepted faith.

    Reading through the stories of the Martyrs, most of them didn’t provoke.

  39. Paul Flynn says:

    PS – Teresa, I live in Asia and am surrounded by non Christians all the time. When the subject of religion comes up I tell them without hesitation that there is only one way to spiritual power and healing and salvation. His name is Jesus. They never take offence, even though I never even discuss their religion or mention the names of their gods. And I have been astonished to see some of them baptized not long after hearing what I had to say.

    That is what I love about the Bible. It works. It really does. When you obey the word of God, the Holy Spirit steps in and supports you very powerfully.

  40. teresa says:

    Paul, of course they never take offence, if you treat them civilly, and that is my point as well.
    If we come to others and say how evil they are only because they are born as pagan, it won’t work. But if you try to proclaim Gospel to them in a friendly way, I do find it good. But then, wherein do we disagree?

  41. Paul Flynn says:

    We don’t need to disagree at all. No need to tell people how evil they are. Keep off the subject of other religions altogether. They have no power. Make Jesus the theme, trust in the Holy Spirit for success and you will see it.

    It is awesome what happens when people begin taking God at his word.

  42. teresa says:

    Indeed, Paul, the Word of God has a much higher power than our own words. Pope Benedict made his speech at Assisi and conveyed a Christian message to the religious leaders. Let us hope that the Word of God will spread out to every region of the world.

    Here is what he says:

    “Others in their turn will object: is there such a thing as a common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions and is therefore applicable to them all? We must ask ourselves these questions, if we wish to argue realistically and credibly against religiously motivated violence. Herein lies a fundamental task for interreligious dialogue – an exercise which is to receive renewed emphasis through this meeting. As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature. The God in whom we Christians believe is the Creator and Father of all, and from him all people are brothers and sisters and form one single family. For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put “suffering-with” (compassion) and “loving-with” in place of force. His name is “God of love and peace” (2 Cor 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans”.

  43. Paul Flynn says:

    The interreligious dialogue is wrongly conceived on a European obsession with apologizing for the past. We don’t need to apologize on Christ’s behalf. We don’t need to pretend that the other religions and gods are good for the sake of a sham dialogue.

    Teresa, I am on the other side of the globe here and it is long past my bedtime. I will say good night to you, or good morning as the case may be there. Thanks a lot again for the discussion.

  44. teresa says:

    Well, Paul, there is where we disagree, as Catholics and Christians we do repent our past sins, so the Church should also reflect upon the past wrongs done by sinners in the Church. But of course there is nothing to apologize for Christ’s behalf, but what did Christ teach us? Peace and love, as the Pope quoted above. Any way, we can continue the discussion later, I wish you a good night. Thank you as well for the discussion.

  45. Toadspittle says:

    .

    Well, during Toad’s brief vacation, some Grade-A loonies have emerged from the woodwork, have they not?

    We might have to get nasty.

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