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8 days a weak

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 21, 2006

On September 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered the most controversial speech of his pontificate to date. You'd already noticed? Yes, I think maybe you had.

But as the Muslim world exploded in protests, maybe you were waiting...and waiting...and waiting... to see whether the US bishops would leap to the Pope's defense. So was I.

I was wondering: Would the US bishops agree that inter-religious dialouge can only be based on reason? Would they back the Holy Father's argument that the modern world is endangered both by an extreme form of religion that rejects all reason, and a secular form of reason that rejects all religion?

I kept wondering. On September 12 the US bishops' conference (USCCB) issued a statement on immigration. On September 15 there were new statements on stem-cell research, Darfur, and the treatment of prisoners. All interesting topics, no doubt. But what did the bishops think about the Pope's warnings on the "dehellenization" of Western culture?

Finally, on September 20-- 8 days after the Regensburg speech-- the USCCB president issued a statement. Bishop William Skylstand announced that the US bishops conference "enthusiastically supports the call for dialogue made by our Holy Father."

That's nice. But did you notice that this wasn't just another bland call to dialogue-- that this papal statement had a very distinct edge to it? Bishop Skylstad said:

Given the circumstances of the last week, it is clear that dialogue is essential between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue in which we respect, in the words of the Holy Father, ‘what is sacred for others.’

Aha. Then do you agree with the Pope that dialogue can be meaningful only if Islamic leaders renounce the use of violence?

In the United States, the bishops are participating in such a dialogue. We recognize, with Pope Benedict, that Catholics and Muslims `worship the one God.’

Uh-huh. Now are you saying that you agree with the Pope, and fully support the thrust of his speech?

Because of the events of the last five years, this dialogue is especially urgent so that Christians and Muslims are able to work together to promote ‘peace, liberty, social justice and moral values for the benefit of all humanity,’ as Pope Benedict has said.

No doubt. So then you would support the Pope's view on what conditions are required for meaningful dialogue?

We hope that the context of the talk which the Holy Father gave last week at the University of Regensburg in Germany, in which he described the right relationship between faith and reason, will be understood fully and correctly. That is, as the Holy Father said during his Angelus of Sunday, September 17, it is a talk ‘which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.’

Let me repeat the question.

It is this attitude of the Holy Father that deserves the world’s attention rather than the centuries-old words of another which express a point of view that we cannot deny existed but which no longer motivates the authentic Christian.

You didn't like the quote. OK, I've got that much. Now just one more time,...?

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Show 17 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Sep. 29, 2006 1:27 PM ET USA

    I hadn't realized Russia was converted. Sorry.

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Sep. 26, 2006 7:43 PM ET USA

    Please read all you can about Our Lady of Fatima so you know. You can even check the local newspaper archives October, 1917. Those reporters at the time weren't believers and even mocked the children until they witnessed the miracle of the sun.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 25, 2006 1:13 PM ET USA

    I no longer pay attention to USCCB press releases and read them only when I want a laugh. Hardly any sane thinking Catholic would endorse much of what they say. How did these men(?) reach the status of bishop?

  • Posted by: placidus - Sep. 24, 2006 11:16 PM ET USA

    As I live in Brazil, it is my duty to keep track of the press releases from the Brazilian CCB.They are not different from those of USCCB. They are more interested in their personal turfs, rather than going out boldly and inequivocally in defense of the Faith (which B16 did, in this case). In today's Gospel we learn how the 12 apostles were discussing their own rankings in the KIngdom they thought Jesus was about to set up, rather than hearing Him. That was Palestinian CCB in action, year 0 ...

  • Posted by: - Sep. 23, 2006 7:13 PM ET USA

    Arab Christians also call God Allah. Food for thought: Genesis 17:26, 25:5 & 18, and esp. 21:13 The Muslims claim Zamzam (right next to the Kaba) is the well in 21:19. As for Fatima, we may see the reunion of the churches in our lifetime. The pope's quoting a post-schism Orthodox Emporer theologian is not accidental. It's a sign to the East & they're listening. Moscow is warming, Constantinople is open, the Antiochian Arabs are already unofficially communing w/ Catholics. Pray for unity.

  • Posted by: SentimentalGent - Sep. 23, 2006 10:21 AM ET USA

    Agreed, RPP. I read the release and it does sound like a political one. But, then, I'm not surprised. I have attempted over the years to watch the semi-annual conferences of the bishops when broadcast on EWTN, but never could last long because after a short time I stopped seeing successors of the Apostles and began seeing politicians. And while Islam may be one of the three great monotheistic religions, the more I learn about it tells me we are not all worshipping the same God.

  • Posted by: Gino - Sep. 22, 2006 9:15 PM ET USA

    We never confused "Church Militant" with the USCCB!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 22, 2006 2:50 PM ET USA

    benedictusoblatus, Sr.Lucia said that Russia has been consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Gorbachev was elected premier within weeks of that event and the Iron Curtain began to crumble. Of course in the 70 years in between, Russia had time to spread her errors. The Friday fast was ordered to stop the spread of Islam. It worked. Saudi Arabia nationalized its oil wells shortly after the fast was lifted and Islam is on the move again. BTW, Allah <> Jesus. We do not worship the SAME one God.

  • Posted by: TYC127 - Sep. 22, 2006 11:11 AM ET USA

    So goes the support, the faith and the respect for the Holy Father. Would it have done any harm to the US Bishops to at least say in a strong united voice that they stand behind Benedict XVI? (or am I on the green waiting for the putt to go in?) The Holy Father deserves that much respect - he certainly would show it to them! That's my thought.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 22, 2006 9:02 AM ET USA

    I'm always appalled, but never surprised. I really am surprised by the lack of support from bishops I thought had some courage: Chaput, Burke, Vasa, etc. By the way, what on earth is consecrating Russia to Mary going to do with the current situation? Some of the Fatima believers are going a little far here.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Sep. 22, 2006 8:59 AM ET USA

    If there is rot at the top, there is rot in the ranks. The poison of relativism, reductionism, and neo-marxism runs through the veins of the Body of the church. But B16 has the remedy -the pure clear water of the truth.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 21, 2006 8:40 PM ET USA

    I doubt if the President had anything to do with the statement other than to say OK. No doubt it was written by a Sister XYZ who interrupted her composition of next week's homily to grind out the meaningless non-supportive statment that the good Presidente let her publish.

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Sep. 21, 2006 6:05 PM ET USA

    You can't expect much from dialogue with a screaming 2 year old or a rabid Muslim zealot who wants to kill you because you care more about speaking the truth than hurting his pathetic feelings. The universal appeasement in force throughout the world in the face of Islamic fundamentalism will lead to horrific violence and suffering in the long run - in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. Of course, the Pope could change all this ... consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Sep. 21, 2006 5:36 PM ET USA

    Crocodile 1 USCCB 0

  • Posted by: rpp - Sep. 21, 2006 5:35 PM ET USA

    I read the press release in it's entirety earlier today and frakly I forgot what I was reading. I got confused and thought I was reading some political thing from one the congressional candidates up for election this fall. Silly me. It wasn't a politician writing some drivel, these were the inspired words of the USCCB president Bishop Skylstand. Perhaps I should have had another cup of coffee this morning.

  • Posted by: juon36 - Sep. 21, 2006 5:21 PM ET USA

    From our "sheperds" same ol yada,yada,yada.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 21, 2006 4:13 PM ET USA

    Skylstad is as bankrupt intellectually as his diocese is financially. These kind of pewling, vacuous statements are the essence of the USCCB's modus operandi. These clowns wouldn't stand up for anyone or anything except disgraced priests and the desirability of admitting gays into the seminary.

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