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Cardinal Arinze Praises Buddhism–Again

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As the Catholic Church continues to suffer from the worst crisis of faith and discipline in her entire history, the Vatican continues to heap unstinting praise on the world’s false religions, in accordance with the new custom of “inter-religious dialogue” which was invented after Vatican II.

Vatican Information Service (April 30, 2001) reports that “Cardinal Francis Arinze, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, sends a message each year to Buddhists on the occasion of their most important annual feast, Vesakh, which commemorates the principal events in the life of Buddha.” This year’s message from Arinze informs us that “the United Nations designated 2001 as ‘The International Year of Dialogue between Civilizations. ... The dialogue of civilizations, the dialogue of cultures and 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.”

Since when is the Catholic Church called upon to promote a “dialogue between religions” in keeping with the aims of the United Nations? Whatever happened to Our Lord’s command to His Church 2,000 years ago: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded thee . . . He who believes not shall be condemned.”?

There is not a trace of the divine commission in Arinze’s remarks to the Buddhists. Instead, the Vatican Cardinal declares that “both Christianity and Buddhism have developed particular ways of expressing themselves in distinct cultural forms.”–You don’t say! He goes to make another of those enigmatic remarks so typical of post-conciliar Vatican pronouncements: “Without ignoring our differences, and with utmost respect for the demands of truth, let us recognize the treasures of each other's traditions.” Meaning what, exactly? It is impossible to discern from anything Cardinal Arinze says about other religions (in his current capacity) that other religions are false and that their adherents needed to be rescued from the errors of their false religions. No, other religions, according to him, are just filled with “treasures.”

Buddhism (in its myriad forms) and Catholicism are radically opposed to each other. Their gods and their concepts of the individual could not be more different. Unlike the one true religion founded by God Incarnate, Jesus Christ, Buddhism is a religion founded by a man, Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as Buddha, who is now worshiped as a quasi-divinity. Buddhism is filled with errors and superstitions, including the manifestly preposterous notion of reincarnation. These errors and superstitions lead men away from the light of Christ. This is why Pius XI, in his act of Consecration of the World to the Sacred Heart, directed the Church to pray as follows: “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry and Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God.”

That is, the Buddhists are not within the light and kingdom of God, and need to be brought there for their own salvation. That is how the Church always spoke before Vatican II. But now Cardinal Arinze declares that “in building the civilization of love, ... we need 'to overcome all ethnocentric selfishness'. This will make it possible 'to combine regard for one's own identity with understanding of others and respect for diversity'.” /

Respect for diversity? And what of respect for the eternal welfare of individual souls, which is supposed to be the primary mission of the Church? Does Cardinal Arinze even believe that Buddhists need to become Christians in order to save their souls? One has good reason to doubt it. Yet this man is touted as papabile, even though he routinely issues statements which Pope Saint Pius X would have viewed with absolute horror. Such is the current crisis in the Church.