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And a Happy Ramadan To All!

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Sometime after Vatican II the Church began to engage in something called "interreligious dialogue." What "interreligious dialogue" means, exactly, is anybody's guess. Not even the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue can tell us. In the 1991 document Dialogue and Proclamation, the Pontifical Council admitted that "Interreligious dialogue between Christians and followers of other religions as envisaged by the Second Vatican Council is only gradually coming to be understood."

But the fact that no one really knows what "interreligious dialogue" means does not stop the Vatican bureaucracy from insisting that the Church engage in it. After all, we have also been engaging in "ecumenism" for the past forty years, even though that term is impossible to define with any precision.

Thus, every year Cardinal Arinze, head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issues greetings to the various religions, telling them how wonderful they are, and assuring them that "interreligious dialogue" will continue  —  even if the Church has yet to understand it! This year, in his greeting to the Muslims at the start of their Ramadan observances, the Cardinal declared: "Together with the other religious practices which accompany it, such as prayer and almsgiving, Ramadan is a time for assessing relationships with God and with one's fellow human beings, a time for turning back to God and towards one's brothers and sisters."

There is not the slightest hint here that Islam is a false religion whose followers need conversion to Christ, as every Pope taught before Vatican II  —  including Pius XI, who commanded the Church to pray that Christ would "be King of those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry and Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and the kingdom of God." Will the Vatican of today declare that the Muslims are in darkness? Forget it! Not even the events of 9/11 can stop the bandwagon of "interreligious dialogue."

The Cardinal's message goes on to say: "The Year 2001 has been proclaimed by the United Nations as 'The International Year of Dialogue Between Civilizations'. This gives an opportunity to reflect on the bases of dialogue, on its consequences, and on the fruit that humanity may harvest from it. The dialogue of civilizations, the dialogue of cultures, the dialogue between religions, are nothing less than human encounters whose purpose is to build up a civilization of love and peace. We are all called to promote such dialogue according to its distinctive forms, as a way of bringing about appreciation of other cultures and religions."

Does anyone have any idea what this means, besides yet another pinch of incense on the altar of the United Nations and yet another reference to the utopian slogan "civilization of love and peace"? Who cares that the godless, pro-abortion United Nations proclaims the Year 2001 to be the year of "dialogue between civilizations"? And why is a Vatican Cardinal promoting U.N. slogans in the first place, instead of calling upon the world to repent and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Particularly disturbing is the following remark in the Cardinal's message: "All who are concerned with the education of youth are certainly conscious of the need of educating for dialogue. In accompanying young people along the highways of life, attention has to be given to the preparation required for living in a society marked by ethnic, cultural, and religious plurality. Such education implies, first of all, that we broaden our vision to an ever wider horizon, and become capable of looking beyond our own country, our own ethnic group, our own cultural tradition, so that we can see humanity as a single family in both its diversity and its common aspirations. This is education in the fundamental values of human dignity, peace, freedom and solidarity."

How is the Cardinal's program of "education in dialogue" for children any different from "multicultural" education in the atheistic public high schools? Next thing we know, Catholic school children will be learning all about Ramadan and Kwanzaa, just like the public school kids. Oops. They already are. But how many Catholic school children today could answer correctly ten basic questions about their own faith? How many know the definition of grace, mortal sin, venial sin, or what happens to the bread and wine at the moment of the Consecration? How many even know what the Consecration is?

Hel-loooo? Is anybody home at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue? The Church is in crisis. Forget about Ramadan and the United Nations. Most of those who call themselves Catholic no longer follow the Catholic faith.

But Cardinal Arinze's message for Ramadan is all too typical of what Vatican Cardinals are now preaching in place of: "Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded thee." The Church makes disciples of all nations no more. She teaches the world no more. Instead, she engages in "interreligious dialogue"  —  which the Church is only gradually coming to understand! No longer, it seems, are we to regard Muslims as souls in need of the light of Christ to lead them away from hell. Our Lord's command to make disciples of all nations has been replaced by interreligious dialogue and "the dialogue of civilizations" under U.N. auspices.

So, a happy Ramadan to all.

Truly we are in the midst of the greatest confusion in the Church since the Arian crisis. And we should have seen it coming. Pius XII, when he was still Monsignor Pacelli, made an astonishing prophesy about the current state of the Church, which he tied to the Message of Fatima:

"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy ... A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God ... In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them, like Mary Magdalene weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?’"

(see pages 52-53 in the book Pie XII Devant l’Histoire,
in English the title is Pope Pius XII Before the Bar
of History

The prophecy of Pius XII has come to pass. Our Lady of Fatima, pray of us!