A conversation with Steve Kellmeyer on Cardinal Tauran’s statement that “We must not fear Islam”

I have mentioned Catholic apologist and adult educator Steve Kellmeyer on this blog before. You can access much of his material at Bridegroom Press, including books and podcasts.

Much of what Steve has to say is good and helpful, but in some areas he goes too far. One is in his statements about non-Catholic Christians. He does not properly appreciate the Church’s teaching and attitude toward our separated brothers and sisters. The other is in his statements about Muslims. His statements in this area match the level of vilification and misinformation displayed by Danny Nalliah and Catch the Fire Ministries and their ilk. In other words, he does not approach the subject of Muslims and Islam with the mind of the Church. He thinks he does. But he doesn’t. He ridicules and mocks Muslims and their faith in the sincere belief that he is acting with the mind of the Church.

I have been wanting to find an opportune moment to challenge him on this score, and it arose recently when Cardinal Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gave a speech in Spain in which he declared “We must not fear Islam”. Here is the guts of the speech as reported by Zenit (I am giving this in full so you can get the context):

“We must not fear Islam,.. but I would say more: Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to serve society, constitute a richness for the latter.”

He pointed out that “in these five years, the climate of dialogue with Muslims has improved, although contrasting elements still remain.” Islam is the religion with which the council maintains the most structured relations. Among these differences, the cardinal mentioned discrimination of women and freedom of worship, which is absolutely denied in Saudi Arabia. Cardinal Tauran said that each one of us must address a “triple challenge: that of identity — to have a clear idea of the content of our faith; that of difference — knowing that the other is not necessarily an enemy; and that of pluralism — acknowledging that God is working mysteriously in each one of his creatures.” He affirmed that “for a Westerner, Islam is difficult to understand.”

“It is at the same time a religion, a society and a state,” the prelate explained, “which brings together 1.2 billion people in one great worldwide entity, the ‘ummah’. The members of this community practice the same rites, have the same vision of the world and adopt the same conduct,” he noted. “Moreover, they do not distinguish between the private and public sphere.” “This religious visibility disturbs secularized societies,” the cardinal added. “However, the new fact is that in the Western world, Muslims and non-Muslims are obliged to live together. In Europe, for example, we live with third-generation Muslims.” He observed that “we find Muslims in everyday life,” which “does not impede Christians and Muslims many times being victims of prejudice, consequence of ignorance.” “It often happens that a Christian has never spoken with a Muslim, and vice versa,” he added.

The council president affirmed that “dialogue alone allows us to overcome fear, because it allows each one to experience the discovery of the other and to bring about a meeting, and this meeting is precisely what the interreligious dialogue is about in reality.” This happens “because it is not two religions that meet, but rather men and women that the vicissitudes of life, the circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, have made companions in humanity,” he added. The cardinal stressed the need to “make an effort, on both sides, to know the religious traditions of the other, to acknowledge what separates us and what brings us close and to collaborate for the common good,” which “is no easy task.”

It calls for “interior liberty that gives place to an attitude full of respect for the other: to be able to be silent so as to listen to the other, to give him the opportunity to express himself with all freedom, and not hide or sweeten one’s own spiritual identity,” he said. The prelate continued, “Once trust is established, both sides will be able to examine freely what separates us and what unites us.”

In regard to the differences between Christians and Muslims, the cardinal explained that we are separated by “our relation with the sacred books, the concept of revelation — Christianity is not a ‘religion of the book’ — the identity of Jesus and of Mohammed, the Trinity, the use of reason, the conception of prayer.” On the other hand, he affirmed that the two religions hold several things in common: “the oneness of God, the sacredness of life, the conviction that we must transmit moral values to young people, the value of the family for the emotional and moral growth of children and the importance of religion in education.”

Cardinal Tauran affirmed that “we, Catholics, are guided and animated by the luminous teaching of Benedict XVI, who has made interreligious dialogue one of the priorities of his pontificate.” He referred, for example, to the Holy Father’s interventions in Cologne, Germany, the United States, France and the Holy Land. The council president affirmed that his dicastery has been building relations with Islam, and since 1976 meetings have been held every two years with the World Islamic Call Society of Libya. Moreover, in 1995, the Comite de Liaison Islamo-Catholique was created and, since 1998, there has been a mixed committee for dialogue between the dicastery and Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, which meets every year. The council also collaborates with the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies of Amman, Jordan, the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization of Tehran, Iran and the Catholic-Muslim Forum, created in 2008.

“Thanks to these human and spiritual contacts,” Cardinal Tauran pointed out that there have been several achievements such as an interreligious conference held in July, 2008 in Madrid. It took place at the invitation of the king of Saudi Arabia, and participants made unanimous affirmations on common values. The prelate also recalled the first seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum, held in the Vatican in November 2008. Representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who signed an open letter to their Christian counterparts participated in this seminar. He listed among the recent advances the interreligious meeting organized last May by the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies in Jordan on the theme “Religion and Civil Society.” This meeting “enabled Christian and Muslim participants to state that religious liberty can be adequately exercised only in a democratic society,” the cardinal noted. He added that all this represents progress, although “the great problem for me is to know how to effect it so that this change will reach the base.”

Cardinal Tauran pointed out that pastors of the Catholic Church and professors of Catholic schools and universities still rarely take into account this new context of religious pluralism. He also lamented that “European Catholics have a very weak knowledge of their faith.” “Genuine interreligious dialogue cannot be established in ambiguity or when the interlocutors do not have a defined spiritual profile,” the prelate asserted. “Thus relativism and syncretism are born.” He noted that “thanks to Islam, or better said, to Muslims who live with us, we are called to deepen our faith and to renew our catechesis.” The cardinal explained that “to engage in interreligious dialogue is not to put our own faith in brackets but, on the contrary, to proclaim it with words and behavior.” “We proclaim that Jesus is the Light that illumines all men who live in this world,” he continued. “Hence, all the positive aspects that exist in religions are not darkness, but participate in this great Light which shines above all lights.” In the Church, Cardinal Tauran stated, “we do not say that all religions have the same value, but that all those that seek God have the same dignity.”

He quoted John Paul II, recalling that the formed Pontiff affirmed that “other religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church of today.” “In fact, they lead her to discover and recognize the signs of the presence of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit, and also to deepen her identity and to witness the integrity of revelation, of which she is trustee for the good of all,” the prelate affirmed. He said that “‘Dominus Iesus’ reminds us that we must keep two truths together: the possibility, for all men, to be saved by Christ, and the necessity of the Church for salvation.”

“For those who do not belong to the Church, Christ is accessible in virtue of a grace that illumines them mysteriously and that comes from Christ,” the cardinal said. He pointed out that “Lumen Gentium” affirms that “those who without fault are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and his Church but yet seek God sincerely and, with the help of grace, make an effort with their works to fulfill his will, known through the dictate of conscience, can obtain eternal salvation.” The cardinal affirmed that truth is proposed and not imposed, and “interreligious dialogue and the proclamation of Christ are not interchangeable.” Other participants in the congress included Archbishop Javier Martínez of Granada and Bishop Adolfo González Montes of Almeria, Spain, who delivered a lecture entitled “Christianity, Enlightenment, Laicism: Reason and Faith Before Transcendent Revelation.”

I sent this report to Steve and asked him how much of this article he can assent to. This was his reply. With his permission I reproduce it in full.

I can assent to everything in the article.

There is nothing for a Christian to fear from a Muslim, because a Muslim can only take the life of a Christian, he can’t take our salvation.

I absolutely LOVE and totally agree with this quote:
“We must not fear Islam,” the prelate affirmed, “but I would say more: Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to serve society, constitute a richness for the latter.”

That’s exactly right. Christianity provides a richness to the Muslim.
That’s the point of the dialogue – to bring the Muslim to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

Similarly, I found his remarks on other aspects of Islam to be dead-on accurate:
“…interior liberty that gives place to an attitude full of respect for the other: to be able to be silent so as to listen to the other, to give him the opportunity to express himself with all freedom, and not hide or sweeten one’s own spiritual identity.”

I am sure you are not accusing me of hiding or sweetening Catholic identity, nor do I hide or sweeten Muslim identity. Accurately representing another person’s position is the height of respect, and I work hard to accurately represent Muslim positions.

“Once trust is established, both sides will be able to examine freely what separates us and what unites us. …[we are separated by] our relation with the sacred books, the concept of revelation — Christianity is not a ‘religion of the book’ — the identity of Jesus and of Mohammed, the Trinity, the use of reason, the conception of prayer… [the two religions hold several things in common] the oneness of God, the sacredness of life, the conviction that we must transmit moral values to young people, the value of the family for the emotional and moral growth of children and the importance of religion in education.”

Exactly, exactly exactly.
Of course, in his list of similarities, the good cardinal doesn’t point out the differences – the subjugation of women, polygamy, the fact that women die at a very early age in Muslim countries as compared to non-Muslim countries (just check the demographics on that), but what he says is completely right.

He’s just being deliberately elliptical in what he says.
But so are the Muslims.

Take this, for instance:
This meeting “enabled Christian and Muslim participants to state that religious liberty can be adequately exercised only in a democratic society,” the cardinal noted.

Well, yes. But as the cardinal had just noted above, in the same set of remarks, Islam is a single social-political-religious package. Islam the religion is not democratic. So, what the cardinal notes, what Muslims and Christians agreed to, was that Islamic nations will never be democratic, and democratic nations cannot be Muslim. Democracy has to be overthrown as part of Islam making inroads into any country. There will never be religious freedom in Muslim countries. Both sides agreed on that. Why wouldn’t they? It’s true.

In the Church, Cardinal Tauran stated, “we do not say that all religions have the same value, but that all those that seek God have the same dignity.”

EXACTLY!
Islam is a lesser religion than Christianity.
So is Hinduism.
Pope Benedict recently said as much in his last encyclical letter.
But how nicely they put it!
You have to hand it to them.

I don’t believe I’ve said anything that disagrees with what the Cardinal said.
I don’t see why I would – I agree with them entirely.

Your problem is you read these documents and ASSUME they mean all kinds of things. You have to read the statements as a canon lawyer would

The rule in canon law is that words mean EXACTLY what the words say.
No more, no less.
You aren’t allowed to project meaning, implication or unsubtantiated opinion onto them. Read through the article again and tell me where I disagree with the Cardinal.

Steve

I was more than a little shocked at the way in which, it seemed to me, he was deliberately misreading the Cardinal’s statements. My reply to him gave two examples:

Dear Steve,
I find your reply more than a little surprising – I hardly think we are reading and talking about the same text. We are certainly not reading it in the same way.

You say “There is nothing for a Christian to fear from a Muslim, because a Muslim can only take the life of a Christian, he can’t take our salvation.” This is surely not what the Cardinal meant.

You say “I absolutely LOVE and totally agree with this quote: “We must not fear Islam,” the prelate affirmed, “but I would say more: Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to serve society, constitute a richness for the latter.” That’s exactly right. Christianity provides a richness to the Muslim.”

Again, you misinterpret the Cardinal and misread what he wrote. “The latter” in the sentence you quote refers to “society”, not to “Muslims”, so that the passage is to be read: “Christians and Muslims, …when they dialogue and make and effort to serve society, constitute a richness of the latter”, ie. for society.

Nevertheless, Steve persists in saying that I am the one misreading the text. His reply to me was:

“I find your reply more than a little surprising – I hardly think we are reading and talking about the same text. We are certainly not reading it in the same way. “There is nothing for a Christian to fear from a Muslim, because a Muslim can only take the life of a Christian, he can’t take our salvation.”
This is surely not what the Cardinal meant.

Really? How do you know this is not what he meant? Keep in mind that Rome has repeatedly asked for religious freedom in Muslim countries, and has repeatedly been denied. Churches cannot even be physically maintained in those countries, no external signs of Christianity are allowed, no open displays of the Bible, much less sale or availability, dozens of Christians killed every year by Muslim mobs in these same countries…

Rome is certainly very aware of all of this. She protests it constantly. So, how do you know this is not what he meant?

You said: “I absolutely LOVE and totally agree with this quote: “We must not fear Islam,” the prelate affirmed, “but I would say more: Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to serve society, constitute a richness for the latter.” That’s exactly right. Christianity provides a richness to the Muslim.”

Again, you misinterpret the Cardinal and misread what he wrote. “The latter” in the sentence you quote refers to “society”, not to “Muslims”, so that the passage is to be read: “Christians and Muslims, …when they dialogue and make and effort to serve society, constitute a richness of the latter”, ie. for society.

Really? Are you SURE??? Read through Benedict’s last encyclical, /*Charity in Truth*/, especially the following sections. My commentary is in red brackets:

#55 Some religious and cultural attitudes, however, do not fully
embrace the principle of love and truth and therefore end up
retarding or even obstructing authentic human development. There are
certain religious cultures in the world today thatdo not oblige men
and women to live in communion but rather cut them off from one
other in a search for individual well-being, limited to the
gratification of psychological desires. [Both Islam and Orthodox
Judaism forbid men and women from praying together – Islam is
especially harsh about segregating the sexes in all things through
purdah].
.. At the same time, some religious and cultural traditions
persist which ossify society in rigid social groupings, in magical
beliefs that fail to respect the dignity of the person, and in
attitudes of subjugation to occult powers. [“Rigid social
groupings”… hmmm… Hindu caste system, anyone?]
… Religious
freedom does not mean religious indifferentism, nor does it imply
that all religions are equal

#56 /Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith/: this
also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself
omnipotent. For its part,/ religion always needs to be purified by
reason /in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in
this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human
development. [Remember, “development” is a spiritual term. This is a
commentary on both Protestantism and Islam, both of which have
historically rejected the role of reason in faith.]

Islam specifically and explicitly rejects the idea that God is bound by rationality. Tell me how Benedict is NOT condemning Islam as inflicting “an enormous price to human development” here. Tell me how the Cardinal is not simply echoing Benedict’s position. …

So in the end I asked him whether we could put this discussion to public debate and see what you think. Am I misreading Cardinal Tauran’s speech or is Steve? Who of us is approaching Muslims with “the mind of the Church”?

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75 responses to “A conversation with Steve Kellmeyer on Cardinal Tauran’s statement that “We must not fear Islam”

  1. You know, David, one of the things you accused me of was totally mis-representing the Church’s teaching on Islam in my talk on Islam.

    Now, making such an assertion without providing evidence of any such failure is a logical fallacy known as “poisoning the well.”

    When I agreed to your proposal that we have a public discussion of my views versus the Church’s views, I assumed that you would bring forward your objections to elements of that original talk.

    So far, you have never done so, either in public or in private. Instead, you have brought forward this e-mail exchange.

    Will we EVER get a chance to examine your original assertions, or will those just slide down the memory-hole unexamined?

  2. My apologies, I should correct the record.

    You poisoned the well in regards to my representation of the history of Islam in my Church History series.

    However, my original question stands – will your original, completely unsubstantiated assertions about my characterization of Islam remain quietly unexamined?

  3. matthias

    Seems more Bible(sorry Barble) Belt views preached here .BUT if you want to get another perspective go to http://www.onceuponacross.blogspot.com and see what a Proddy missionary has written with an eye to history .Oh Steve this fellow,Dr Peter Hammond may have thought this out whilst in the dunny.
    But Schutz to be fair,let’s remember the recent demonstrations here and in Sydney by the Coptic community in protest at the treatment their co-religionists get in Egypt.

    • To which I am not blind, Matthias. The difficulty partly lies in Steve’s “us and them” mentality. Of course, through out the world and throughout history there have been Muslims and Islamic societies who have persecuted Christians. But in Australia, as in the US and elsewhere, we live with many faithful Muslims who have no desire to nor any intention to persecute Christians. By treating Muslims as a block (“them”) and Christians as a block (“us”) and making broad sweeping statements about both, Steve skews the real situation and also the real hope of harmonius coexistence and cooperation between Muslims and Christians. I might also add that he does not properly distinguish the “us” to whom he is referring. He often refers to the Crusaders as “us” against the Arab “them”. He sometimes calls European armies – or even US armed forces – “us”, sometimes “us” is the West (which “they” fight against and persecute). This makes out the relationship between Muslims and the West/Christianity to be one of fundamental opposition and hostility. It is true that there are very man instances of just this, but it is not true that this relationship must fundamentally characterise our relationships everywhere and for all time .

    • Matthias, your link took me to a blog that has as its current post “Why NT Wright is Wrong” – And you think THIS will encourage me to take anything this bloke says on Islam seriously? ROTFL!!!

  4. Schutz, you appear to have absolutely no acquaintance with Islam apart from having a few friends who claim to be Muslim.

    I absolutely agree that there are many Muslims who have no interest in violence whatsoever, just as there are many Catholics who don’t give a fig about about the Eucharist, many Protestants who have never read a page of Scripture, and many Jews who have never celebrated Pesach. Sure, I don’t argue that.

    I’m just pointing out that any Muslim who is interested in being serious about his faith is also eventually going to get serious about establishing sharia law within the country he inhabits.

    Sharia law has consequences which are inimical to Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faith.

    Insofar as you can’t make that distinction, you will never be taken seriously.

    • Schutz, you appear to have absolutely no acquaintance with Islam apart from having a few friends who claim to be Muslim.

      Well, Steve, having friends who are Muslim is a good way to learn about Islam. Do YOU have any Muslim friends?

      But I also read about Islam – just like you do, I expect – with a particular interest in the scholarly studies that are now appearing on the origins of Islam (I highly recommend Jonathan Berkey: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=mLV6lo4mvj0C&dq=Jonathan+berkey+islam+origins&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=LSGGS9GTA4OStgOkv_y-DQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBkQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Jonathan%20berkey%20islam%20origins&f=false).

      As far as international Islam goes, I have twice visited Turkey travelling with Muslims and visiting them in their homes and schools. I have also seen how Muslims live and are treated in Rome. Limited experience, I grant you, but still something.

      On top of that, I have worked with a number of Muslim academics and societies here in Australia, and hosted groups of Indonesian and Malaysian Muslims on study tours to Australia (the Indonesians are especially lovely people – we had a wonderful group of Indonesian Evangelical pastors and teachers travelling with their Muslim colleagues here in Victoria last year).

      I absolutely agree that there are many Muslims who have no interest in violence whatsoever, just as there are many Catholics who don’t give a fig about about the Eucharist, many Protestants who have never read a page of Scripture, and many Jews who have never celebrated Pesach. Sure, I don’t argue that.

      I’m just pointing out that any Muslim who is interested in being serious about his faith is also eventually going to get serious about establishing sharia law within the country he inhabits.

      But this is one of the most shocking aspects of your point of view. You seem to regard support for the universal implementation of sharia law and violent hostility toward non-Muslims as the mark of a faithful Muslim. This is simply false. It is a lie. You are wrong. You are bearing false witness. You are slandering your neighbour. Can I be any clearer?

  5. Peregrinus

    You are correct. Steve is being, at best, disingenuous.

    It starts right at the beginning. The Cardinal is reported as saying:

    “We must not fear Islam . . .”

    And Steve’s response is:

    “I can assent to everything in the article.

    There is nothing for a Christian to fear from a Muslim, because a Muslim can only take the life of a Christian, he can’t take our salvation.”

    If Steve “can assent” to everything the Cardinal says, why does he feel the need to start twisting it from the get-go? The Cardinal doesn’t say that we needn’t fear Muslims; he says that we needn’t fear Islam.

    This is a fundamentally different statement. I don’t fear Christianity, but there’s one or two Christians I’m distinctly leery of.

    So why does Steve ignore what the Cardinal says, and instead offer a radically different statement of his own? He does it so that he can throw in a non-sequitur about killing, the implication of which is that the salient character of Muslims is that they kill Christians. That is an implication which is wholly lacking in Cardinal Tauran’s address.

    And, as Steve’s response goes on, it doesn’t really rise much above that level. His reading of what Tauran’s “the latter” refers to flies in the face of elementary grammar and common sense. Tauran says:

    “Christians and Muslims, when they profess their own faith with integrity and credibility, when they dialogue and make an effort to serve society, constitute a richness for the latter.”

    And Steve want to read “the latter” as a reference back to “Muslims”. He says that he absolutely LOVES and totally agrees with the quote, but immediately spoils the impression that he is trying to create by going on to say:

    “That’s exactly right. Christianity provides a richness to the Muslim. That’s the point of the dialogue – to bring the Muslim to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.”

    So Tauran says that Christians and Muslims provide a richness in their professions of faith, and Steve, though claiming to LOVE this, changes it to a statement that Christianity provides a richness. He simply airbrushes out Tauran’s reference to Muslims because, if he left it it, in would expose as the arrant nonsense it is Steve’s claim that “the latter” is a reference back to “Muslims”, instead of what it unambiguously is; a reference to “society”. Muslims professing their Islamic faith with integrity and credibility are bringing themselves to the fullness of the Catholic faith?

    I could go on, but life is too short.

    To be honest, I think calling Steve’s response disingenuous is too kind. I’d have more respect for Steve if he openly and honestly said that, no, he doesn’t share the Cardinal’s position, he thinks the Cardinal has misunderstood the nature of Islam, is is missing important points, etc, etc. I might not agree with him, but at least I’d think his position had some integrity.

  6. Peregrinus, you are right – I spoke of Muslims instead of Islam. But if you’d like, I’ll rephrase it to match exactly the Cardinal’s words: Islam cannot take our salvation, but only our lives, so we have no reason to fear Islam.

    There, are you happy now?

    The Cardinal specifically insists in this same interview that Catholics must proclaim Christ the light of the world. What Muslim is going to agree with that?

    Thanks for the “poisoning the well” technique of “I could go on…”

    Actually, I don’t think you could.
    Indeed, in the next section you would be forced to deal with Pope Benedict’s most recent encyclical, which describes Islam’s segregation of sexes in no uncertain terms, follows by condemning Islam’s rejection of the idea that reason is always in intimate dialogue with faith, and ends by saying, “Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development.”

    Now, Islam explicitly teaches that God is not bound by reason. God can change. He can change his mind tomorrow, He can change the fabric of reality so that rape is a sacrament and charity is a sin. He can draw a square circle. He can violate the philosophical law of non-contradiction.

    So, are you saying the Pope disagrees with his own cardinal when he condemns this “breach in dialogue”?

    Peregrinus, taking my cue from you, I think calling your response disingenuous is too kind. I’d have more respect for you if you (1) used your real name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym and (2) actually named the problems you have instead of pretending you can find more when you can’t.

    I might not agree with you, but I’d at least think you had some integrity. But what kind of integrity can you expect from someone who can’t even sign his own name?

    • Peregrinus

      Peregrinus, you are right – I spoke of Muslims instead of Islam. But if you’d like, I’ll rephrase it to match exactly the Cardinal’s words: Islam cannot take our salvation, but only our lives, so we have no reason to fear Islam.

      There, are you happy now?

      No, not remotely.

      “Steve cannot take my salvation, but only my life, so I have no reason to fear Steve.”

      See what I did there, Steve? Your statement is a truism. You can insert almost any noun you like into your statement, and it will still be true – but trite. It makes no serious contribution to argument or reasoning. It is included only so that you can insert the implication that Muslims, as a group, are murderous, or that Islam is. That is emphatically not an inference that you are drawing from Cdl Tauran’s address. It’s an original contribution of your own, and in offering it you are in no sense “assenting” to anything Cdl Tauran is saying.

      The Cardinal specifically insists in this same interview that Catholics must proclaim Christ the light of the world. What Muslim is going to agree with that?

      No Muslim is going to agree with it. No Jew is going to agree with it. No Protestant is going to agree with it, if it implies that Catholics have a particular call to proclamation. The thing is, people of different religions disagree with one another; that’s pretty much why they are of different religions. What is your point?

      Thanks for the “poisoning the well” technique of “I could go on…”

      Actually, I don’t think you could.

      Regular readers of this blog, Steve, would think twice before throwing down a challenge like that. Believe me, I can always go on. I suspect others will attest to that, and they will not necessarily intend to compliment me.

      The reason I don’t go on, in this instance, is out of a regard for David. It’s his blog. He wants comments, not essays.

      And, if I’m honest, it’s partly because I’m not motivated to make the effort. When the first section of what I read is so poor, I kind of lose hope that I will profit greatly by engaging in depth with the rest. There are lots of things I disagree with that I enjoy reading, and that I learn from. What you have written, I fear, doesn’t strike me as likely to fall into that class.

      Indeed, in the next section you would be forced to deal with Pope Benedict’s most recent encyclical . . .

      No, I wouldn’t, I’d be forced to deal with your take on Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical. But given what I’ve seen of your take on Cdl Tauran’s address, I don’t have much reason to think that the effort would be profitable to me.

      . . . which describes Islam’s segregation of sexes in no uncertain terms, follows by condemning Islam’s rejection of the idea that reason is always in intimate dialogue with faith, and ends by saying, “Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development.”

      For the reaons given, Steve, I’m not going to get into this in detail. Reread the encyclical, and you’ll find that these are comments about secularism and fundamentalism, not about Islam as such. You’re choosing to read them as comments of general application to Islam, and this of course is based on your own view of Islam. I think, as an apologist, you should probably take greater care to distinguish between what Pope Benedict teaches, and what Steve teaches.

      Peregrinus, taking my cue from you, I think calling your response disingenuous is too kind. I’d have more respect for you if you (1) used your real name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym and (2) actually named the problems you have instead of pretending you can find more when you can’t.

      I might not agree with you, but I’d at least think you had some integrity. But what kind of integrity can you expect from someone who can’t even sign his own name?

      Ah, when argument fails, resort to ad hominem abuse. So much for your heartfelt paeans to reason.

      The truth, rationality or validity of what I say here, Steve, does not depend to any extent on what my name happens to be. I have always used a pseudonym precisely so that what I say will have to be dealt with on its own merits, without regard to who I am (not that I am anyone of any significance). David knows my real name, and more besides about me. If I engage in behaviour on his blog which he feels merits action against me, he is in a position to take it. You, for your part, can only engage with what I say, without worrying about the wholly irrelevant question of who I am. If you feel that that puts you somehow in an unfair position, you will have to ask yourself why you feel that.

      • Peregrinus, let me lay out my response more clearly.

        1) No matter what your name is, I am of the opinion that you are a liar. You can’t find any more problems with my answers than the ones you have already brought forward, and you can’t adequately defend even those “problems.”

        2) Regardless of whether you could theoretically support your arguments or not, you have no integrity because you do not put your identity and reputation on the line to stand behind your position, no matter how true and/or valid it might be.

        Now, it is possible to tell the truth and still be a coward. It is possible to be incompetent and still be an honest man.

        But, to put it as succinctly and as clearly as possible, (1) I’m calling you incompetent or a liar (take your pick on that) and (2) I am calling you a coward.

        As the good Cardinal said, I want to make absolutely clear where I stand.

        Even if you prove your point, you’re still a coward from where I stand, Oh Brave Anonymous (a name you badly mis-spelled, I might add – Anonymous doesn’t start with a “P”).

        • Peregrinus

          But, to put it as succinctly and as clearly as possible, (1) I’m calling you incompetent or a liar (take your pick on that) and (2) I am calling you a coward.

          This actually doesn’t bother me, Steve. What I’ve already read from you leads me to think that I need not attach too much weight to your opinions. Why, then, should I attach any weight to this one?

          If anything, what you say here reinforces the view I had already formed of your claims. Earlier in this thread you said that you “didn’t think” that I could engage further with what you wrote, because if I did I would be “be forced to deal with Pope Benedict’s most recent encyclical”, and you made some assertions about what that encyclical says. I replied explaining why I wasn’t engaging further, and also pointing out that you were reading rather more into the encyclical than is in fact there. Your reading of the encyclical was being formed by your view of Islam, rather than the other way around. You don’t contest anything of what I what I say, but are now sufficiently convinced of the rightness of your original thought on this subject that you feel justified in calling me a liar.

          Likewise, I give my reasons for using a pseudonym. You ignore my reasons – don’t comment on them at all – and call me a coward.

          These are the kind of reasoned opinions that you expect anyone to take seriously? I think that says rather more about you than it does about me, to be frank.

          You do, though, make a strong case for why people engaging in discussion on the internet should consider anonymity. You show that they are liable to be condemned as liars and cowards on the basis of no evidence and shockingly poor argument. It is always possible that these characterisations will be broadcast, and will reach the ears of people who have no idea that they originate from a source with such little credibility.

          As the good Cardinal said, I want to make absolutely clear where I stand. \

          That’s been pretty clear from the outset, actually!

          Even if you prove your point, you’re still a coward from where I stand, Oh Brave Anonymous (a name you badly mis-spelled, I might add – Anonymous doesn’t start with a “P”).

          If I’m not bothered by being called a coward and a liar, do you really think I’m likely to be bothered by having my careless typing pointed out? But I will concede that your accusation on this point is wholly justified.

          • Anonymous, if you looked a little farther down the page, you would see that I addressed your issues.

            But I’ll put them here AGAIN because you can’t seem to find them:

            “That’s right, Peregrinus. The Cardinal’s comment was a truism. And your point is… ?

            My point concerning Catholic dialogue with other faiths is that such dialogue is ALWAYS undertaken with a view of bringing the other side to convert to Catholic faith. There is only one Church. So, ultimately, while Islam may have wonderful things to say about God’s mercy, God’s justice, God’s one-ness, etc., and those things may indeed enrich society, the real enrichment in the Catholic-Muslim dialogue is one-sided. Muslims are enriched by the truths Catholics explain to them. Catholics are not enriched by the Muslim viewpoint, except insofar as it repeats what the Catholic Church already teaches.

            If you think the good Cardinal ultimately intended to say anything else, you don’t understand how romanita works.

            Peregrinus, I don’t doubt you can go on.
            I just don’t believe you can do it intelligently.”

            Now that it’s posted TWICE, I have to ask: can you read that?
            Do you need help with the big words?

            Now, to address your other points (and I’m being pretty generous to even call them “points”), how is your insistence on remaining anonymous evidence of anything other than cowardice and lack of integrity? What other evidence would you accept? I give my name, honey, why can’t you tell me yours?

            Oh – I remember now. It’s because I have integrity and am willing to put my name behind what I say, while you do not and are not. Or maybe you’re just congenitally incompetent and incapable of understanding what constitutes evidence of integrity.

            Worse, you call your screen name “Perigrinus” careless typing on your part and concede it is wholly justified?

            Do you understand that I am remarking on the fact that “Peregrinus” is substantially just a mis-spelling of “Anonymous”? That’s why “Anonymous” doesn’t start with a “P”?

            You DO understand that don’t you?
            Of course you don’t.

            Sigh… no wonder you follow Schutz around.

            Birds of a feather…. neither one of you understand what you read.

            • Peregrinus

              Anonymous, if you looked a little farther down the page, you would see that I addressed your issues.
              But I’ll put them here AGAIN because you can’t seem to find them . . .
              Now that it’s posted TWICE, I have to ask: can you read that?
              Do you need help with the big words?

              I read it the first time, Steve.

              As an explanation of your own position, it’s fine. As a representation of what the Cardinal was saying, it’s tripe. It’s a convoluted and wholly incredible attempt to deny that Cardinal Tauran’s words mean what they say; Catholics and Muslims, in openly professing their respective faiths, engaging in dialogue and seeking to serve society, enrich society. That’s what Cdl Tauran says; you’ve offered no reason at all for thinking that it’s not what he means.

              Now, to address your other points (and I’m being pretty generous to even call them “points”), how is your insistence on remaining anonymous evidence of anything other than cowardice and lack of integrity? What other evidence would you accept?

              You frame this rhetorical question as though to suggest that no other reason for anonymity were possible, when in fact I’ve offered my reasons already. You haven’t bothered to comment on them, or even to acknowledge them.

              Reality doesn’t change when you ignore it, Steve. There are reasons other than cowardice which could account for someone’s decision to be anonymous. I realise that your position collapses if you acknowledge that even as a possibility, and that this kind of bluster is your only alternative, but I cannot really help you there. This is a corner into which you have painted yourself.

              I give my name, honey, why can’t you tell me yours?

              Why should I? I’m having far too much fun watching you twisting in the wind on this!

              Worse, you call your screen name “Perigrinus” careless typing on your part and concede it is wholly justified?
              Do you understand that I am remarking on the fact that “Peregrinus” is substantially just a mis-spelling of “Anonymous”? That’s why “Anonymous” doesn’t start with a “P”?
              You DO understand that don’t you?
              Of course you don’t.

              No, I didn’t. My typing is generally lousy, so when you accused me of including a superfluous ‘p’ I assumed you were correct; I didn’t bother to check.

              Now I realise that you were just trying, in a rather heavy-handed way, to make the point that someone who uses the screen name “Peregrinus” is anonymous (or, if you want to be picky, pseudonymous, but that of course does start with a ‘p’, which makes it useless for your little witticism).

              There’s no need to make such a drama of it, Steve. Yes, I’m an anonymous contributor to this discussion. There are quite a few anonymous contributors to discussions on this blog. Deal with it. In this thread alone, matthias is pseudonymous, and Terry Maher was pseudonymous for a long time (as “Past Elder”). In general, on this blog, most contributions are pseudonymous.

              No other contributor who has named himself or herself has ever thought to castigate pseudonymous contributors participants as cowards; it took you to do that. Do you think we are likely to see this as a reflection on pseudonymous contributors, or on you?

              Take my advice; Steve. Given that you concede yourself that the implications of anonymity are irrelevant to the issues under discussion in this thread, perhaps this is a hole you should stop digging. If you don’t mention it again, I won’t either. Can’t say fairer than that.

              • Ok, anonymous, I’m going to ignore you now.

                You aren’t engaging in a discussion, you’re simply asking me to accept – on your own anonymous authority – that your statements are to be accepted and mine rejected.

                I’ve given you the reasons the Cardinal’s statements deserve a different reading then you give them: 1) the history of the theology of the Church and 2) the history of romanita, an indirect and sometimes evasive way of speaking about Church subjects used by bishops and cardinals when they are caught in a tight spot.

                Since you are clearly unfamiliar with both, you have no capacity to judge anything I have to say on these points.

                Goodbye.

        • (1) I’m calling you incompetent or a liar (take your pick on that) and (2) I am calling you a coward.

          That’s pretty low, Steve. I would find that grounds for dismissing a commentator in usual circs. But you are here because I have invited you to participate in this dialogue, and so I will extend you the courtesy of continuing to allow you to defend yourself. But please don’t accuse one of our oldest and most gentlemanly commentators on this blog of such a base lack of virtue – otherwise you might just find yourself denied the port bottle and being invited to step outside with your choice of weapon! 🙂

          • Schutz,

            Anonymous questioned my integrity.

            I pointed out that this is pretty rich, coming from a man who won’t sign his own name.

            Now you accuse ME of being “low.”

            If that’s low, then you have a problem dealing with reality.

            Personally, I think you have problems in this area yourself, since you didn’t initiate this conversation with me – I happened to stumble across your unsubstantiated accusations against me and commented on them.

            To this day, you still haven’t substantiated your scurrilous remarks about my Church history series – you simply poisoned the well. How many months have you let that poison fester, sir?

            So, your accusation that I am acting in a “low” way is simply ridiculous. If you mean to say that I am acting like you, I deny it most vociferously. I have made quite clear what my position is both in regards to your facts and your person and I’ve given my reasons for both. I will repeat them again, so there is no question:

            You are low because you attack others by poisoning the well without notifying them or attempting to engage them in conversation first. Even after the poisoning has been pointed out, you don’t rectify the situation by indicating where the faults lie, instead, you change the subject by attempting to point out NEW faults elsewhere. Your style of argument is contemptible. It is logically fallacious and has no place in scholarly debate.

            I am a public speaker and a writer who makes his living by putting his life’s reputation and ability to make an income behind his words. You may not like what I say, but you damn well know who said it.

            Anonymous, whether he be legion or no, takes the cowards’ route and snipes from behind the safety of a convenient pseudonym. He has no integrity, nor do you for defending him in this action.

            You need to shape up, Shutz.

      • Perry said:Regular readers of this blog, Steve, would think twice before throwing down a challenge like that. Believe me, I can always go on. I suspect others will attest to that, and they will not necessarily intend to compliment me.

        The reason I don’t go on, in this instance, is out of a regard for David. It’s his blog. He wants comments, not essays.

        ROTFL! You just go right ahead, Perry. I’m loving every minute of it!

    • The Cardinal specifically insists in this same interview that Catholics must proclaim Christ the light of the world. What Muslim is going to agree with that?

      In dialogue, Steve, each honestly speaks of their faith to the other. The other listens respectfully, even though they may not share the belief, for it enables them to better understand the person with whom they are dialoguing.

      I know that that is a big ask in many places in the world, but here in Australia, when I speak with my Muslim friends, I tell them of my categorical belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of the whole world. They do not cease being my friends or respecting me because of this belief.

      Remember that Cardinal Tauran is head of the office for Interreligious Dialogue. Ie. he is in the same business as me.

      • Well, you have different experiences, Schutz. I have friends who have been ostracized by Muslims simply because they pointed out that the Crusades were a defensive action.

        I have personally been publicly threatened with death by a Muslim and received constant harassing phone calls because I have pointed out documented aspects of Mohammed’s life and sharia law.

        So, as I say, we have different experiences. I do not understand why you would implicitly toss off the experiences of myself and people like me as unimportant or irrelevant while stressing that your experiences are the accurate and relevant ones.

        And before you protest that “you would never have knowingly made such a statement!”, why don’t you stuff that in a duffle bag and save it for someone stupid enough to buy it.

        You know, or should know, that Muslims are currently the cause of most of the violence occurring throughout the world today. You know perfectly well, and admitted above, that you know Christians are being tortured and killed by Muslims every day. Yet you insist that your experience is normative while the experience of those hundreds of thousands are not.

        You are full of crap, Schutz.
        You give lip service to recognizing the plight of the tortured, but in fact, you don’t care. Since it interferes with your pleasant self-delusion about how Islam “really” works, you discount all contrary evidence and cling to your illusions. Why look at the broken corpses when you have such a nice friend in Mohammed or Khalid?

        You disgust me.

    • Steve said: I’d have more respect for you if you (1) used your real name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym

      Steve, I know who Perry is, and that’s all that matters on this blog.

      • No, Schutz, you’re wrong.

        I don’t know who I am talking to.

        What kind of Star Chamber do you run here? You’re the kind of person who hates the Inquisition, where a man was accused of being guilty, wasn’t told the charges and wasn’t allowed to face his accusers. He simply had to defend himself by guessing what the charges were and who had brought them.

        I’m in exactly that situation here.

        You have poisoned the well by making un-named charges as to the accuracy of what I’ve said, and you’ve brought in a panel of anonymous accusers to pile on. This is an Inquisition, Schutzie, and you’re too stupid to recognize it or too venal to admit it.

        If this is your idea of being “ecumenical”, may God have mercy on the poor sods you converse with.

  7. Matthias,

    Thanks for the reference to the most excellent summary of the Crusades. He may be a proddy, he may even have been on the dunny, but his history is good. Maybe you could get Schutz to read him?

    Nah…. what are the chances of that?

    • matthias

      Probably more chances than Martin luther recanting. And stop being a sarcastic drongo

      • “Stop being a sarcastic drongo”! Good one, Matthias!

        • ROTFL!
          That’s right, Schutzie!
          Egg on your attack dogs!

          Why should august you dirty your hands when you can unleash your doggies!

          How’s that Nazi thing working for you, Schutz? You know, it’s people like you that make non-Catholics think that maybe Pius XII DID collaborate with Hitler – after all, look at the similarity in technique!
          LOL!

          As for you, Matthias, why should I stop being a sarcastic drongo when you were the one that brought up him being a proddy sitting on the dunny? Whatsamatter, Mattie? You can dish it but you don’t like seeing someone else dish it?

          My, you have a bunch of whining women on your site, don’t you? Here I thought Aussies were real men, and now I find out they’re just a bunch of red-eyed, sniffly little girls who cry when they get back what they hand out.

          There, there, Mattie, don’t cry. Big, bad Kellmeyer will live you alone for a bit. Go ask Schutzie to wipe your tears! Pantywaist.

          • matthias

            Strewth Steve you are a loud mouth mid western Yank ,and in fact the Proddy attack dog in me wants to give you a knuckle sandwich,like i use to give to the kids from st pauls catholic school around the corner ,when they called me a proddy dog,but then Steve i think it would be a waste of time on a mind like yours that’ still stuck with the inquisition.
            And for the record the Gates of Vienna still need defending against radical Islam and I am doing my hardest to draw the plight of the Coptics in Egypt to the attention of two Senators but they seem more interested in other things at the moment-yes one’s a pentecostal and the other is catholic. For Aussies they are Senator’s Fielding and Joyce.

            • That’s right, Aussie, I am a loudmouthed Yank, and damned rude besides.

              I don’t doubt that you could knock my teeth back into my throat if you had half a mind to, and I’m sorry we’re separated by half a world so you don’t have a fair chance to do it. It ain’t just.

              As for the Copts, they are a fine example of why I find Schutzie’s attitude disgusting. Those poor Christians have been living in hell for 1400 years, and we stand around with our fingers up our… nose… pretending Islam is sweet and fine at its heart.

              That, in Midwestern parlance, is cow puckey. Islam isn’t fine and sweet, the Copts know it, and I shudder to think what it will take to wake up people like Schutzie.

              Finally, in my experience, “Catholic politician” is a contradiction in terms.

  8. That’s right, Peregrinus. The Cardinal’s comment was a truism. And your point is… ?

    My point concerning Catholic dialogue with other faiths is that such dialogue is ALWAUS undertaken with a view of bringing the other side to convert to Catholic faith. There is only one Church. So, ultimately, while Islam may have wonderful things to say about God’s mercy, God’s justice, God’s one-ness, etc., and those things may indeed enrich society, the real enrichment in the Catholic-Muslim dialogue is one-sided. Muslims are enriched by the truths Catholics explain to them. Catholics are not enriched by the Muslim viewpoint, except insofar as it repeats what the Catholic Church already teaches.

    If you think the good Cardinal ultimately intended to say anything else, you don’t understand how romanita works.

    Peregrinus, I don’t doubt you can go on.
    I just don’t believe you can do it intelligently.

    And Peregrinus, if you’ll note, my remark about your anonymous posting was not in reference to your argument, but to your integrity.

    Indeed, an anonymous poster may well make important contributions to an argument. But he won’t do it with integrity because he refuses to stand behind his remarks with his identity on the line.

    My point is not an ad hominem attack on your points – I specifically made TWO points, one concerning your factual argument and the other concerning your integrity. You have none of the latter. If you had any, you wouldn’t be writing anonymously. That’s not ad hominem, my friend, it’s on point.

    But you aren’t able to see that, are you?

    • Peregrinus

      That’s right, Peregrinus. The Cardinal’s comment was a truism. And your point is… ?

      The comment was “There is nothing for a Christian to fear from a Muslim, because a Muslim can only take the life of a Christian, he can’t take our salvation.” It’s not the Cardinal’s comment. It’s yours.

      Hmm. One poster says what he thinks, but anonymously. Another gives his name, but attributes what he says to others – Cdl Tauran, Pope Benedict, whoever. Anyone other than himself. It’s not clear whether he does this to lend his statements a spurious authority, or simply because he doesn’t want to accept the responsibility of defending them. I wonder, though, is the second poster really all that well positioned to lecture the first about personal integrity?

      My point concerning Catholic dialogue with other faiths is that such dialogue is ALWAUS undertaken with a view of bringing the other side to convert to Catholic faith. There is only one Church. So, ultimately, while Islam may have wonderful things to say about God’s mercy, God’s justice, God’s one-ness, etc., and those things may indeed enrich society, the real enrichment in the Catholic-Muslim dialogue is one-sided. Muslims are enriched by the truths Catholics explain to them. Catholics are not enriched by the Muslim viewpoint, except insofar as it repeats what the Catholic Church already teaches.

      If you think the good Cardinal ultimately intended to say anything else, you don’t understand how romanita works.

      You know, it’s a funny thing, but earlier on in this thread you said:

      “I don’t believe I’ve said anything that disagrees with what the Cardinal said.
      I don’t see why I would – I agree with them entirely.

      Your problem is you read these documents and ASSUME they mean all kinds of things. You have to read the statements as a canon lawyer would

      The rule in canon law is that words mean EXACTLY what the words say.
      No more, no less. You aren’t allowed to project meaning, implication or unsubtantiated opinion onto them”

      So David and I aren’t allowed to project, but it’s fine for Steve? My, but the tyranny of relativism raises its head in the oddest of places, doesn’t it?

      And Peregrinus, if you’ll note, my remark about your anonymous posting was not in reference to your argument, but to your integrity.

      Indeed, an anonymous poster may well make important contributions to an argument. But he won’t do it with integrity because he refuses to stand behind his remarks with his identity on the line.

      My point is not an ad hominem attack on your points – I specifically made TWO points, one concerning your factual argument and the other concerning your integrity. You have none of the latter. If you had any, you wouldn’t be writing anonymously. That’s not ad hominem, my friend, it’s on point.

      But you aren’t able to see that, are you?

      I can see it perfectly well, I’ve explained my reasons for writing anonymously. You haven’t bothered to engage with them at all; certainly you make no attempt to refute them. You simply assert, without evidence or argument, that my anonymity arises out of cowardice. It does not reflect well on you to launch such an unsubstantiated personal attack on me, when you yourself admit that it is irrelevant to the issues under discussion. I am, however, unbothered by the attack, given that it is so completely unsubstantiated.

      All four evangelists wrote anonymously. Did they, too, lack integrity? Were they cowards? You need a bit more evidence than anonymity before you can credibly accuse somebody of cowardice, Steve.

    • Steve said:My point concerning Catholic dialogue with other faiths is that such dialogue is ALWAUS undertaken with a view of bringing the other side to convert to Catholic faith.

      You are wrong, Steve. And if you read the defining documents of the Cardinal’s Office (such as Dialogue and Mission and Dialogue and Proclamation – look them up on the internet) you would realise how little you know about interreligious dialogue.

      Interreligious dialogue is an authentic component of the Church’s Mission. The aim of interreligious dialogue is NOT to convert the dialogue partner, but to understand the other’s faith and belief. This understanding prepares us much better then for the proclamation of the Gospel (the aim of which IS to witness to Christ) in terms that the dialogue partner can understand and appreciate. But the dialogue process itself is NOT, in itself, about conversion. The documents of the Pontifical Council teach this.

      • Schutz, you mistake the means for the ends. Yes, the documents talk about the means by which the ends are accomplished – you listen to the opponent in order to understand the other’s faith and belief. Of course.

        But the point of understanding it is so that you can baptize as much as possible and bring him into the Faith. Now, in accordance with the rules of romanita, this end is not necessarily clearly spelled out in the public documents.

        But, if you have the impression that interreligious dialogue has any other final end than to bring others into the Church, you are dead wrong. In your defense, your mistake is quite common among your kind.

        Why do you think the Pope set up the Anglican provision and had all the dialogue go through the CDF instead of through the Interreligious people? It’s because the interreligious people have all become silly sods like yourself, and were actually standing in the way of Anglican conversion. Many still do, in fact. So the head of the Vatican’s interreligious commission wasn’t even told about the new Anglican provisions or the behind-the-scenes dialogue about entering the church, in order to keep his department from queering the deal.

        THAT’S how romanita works.
        The Church has an interreligious commission for one reason and one reason only: it is the means by which we learn what it takes to bring people into the Faith.

        The problem, Schutzie, is you can’t distinguish means from end. So you begin by telling me I’m wrong, then in your explanation, you explain why I’m right.

        You’re stupid and contemptible, but I like you anyway, little man. You do eventually get some dim idea of what it is you are doing, and it will serve you one day.

  9. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Which of you is approaching Muslims with the mind of the Church (that being, as always, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church)?

    Wow.

    It sure is nice to have a magisterium who can speak and everything is cleared up with voice of Christ, huh?

    • Terry, the problem comes when a Proddy thinks he understands Catholic doctrine better than a Catholic.

      Sure, it’s theoretically possible, but the only times I’ve seen it happen is when the proddy is on his way into the Church and the Catholic is on his way out.

      I ain’t leavin’, and I don’t think Mr. Schutz has the spine to come in. He prefers to hang around the edge of the dance floor and moon over the Bride of Christ without ever taking the plunge.

      It’s a lot like what the bashful teenage boy does at the dance. He sits inside his head and has this imaginary conversation in which he tells the guy with the beautiful date why the guy is no good for that girl. If HE were with the girl, he’d treat her right, yada, yada, yada.

      But he’s never had the courage to actually go GET the girl, so who really cares about his fantasies besides him and, perhaps, his geeky friends?

      • matthias

        Bit gutless Steve saying that Schutz has no spine when he in fact did take the plunge and became a Catholic ,at cost to himself.I know, i was a member of the Lutheran church when he did that . I would say that you are either a/ignorant or b/ being plain ornery and rude . So i don’t know where your smart alec comment comes from re”he’s never had the courage to actually go GET the girl” ,when he is one of your Mob-yes a catholic,a mickey finn, a left footer ,a good bloke .

  10. And, yes, I know Schutz is sacramentally Catholic, but he hasn’t got the mind of the Church yet. He’s still proddy in his thinking. It generally takes at least 5-10 years to figure out how the Church does things. Old intellectual habits die hard.

  11. matthias

    Bit late Steve to say “yes i know” but from my perspective as a Proddy ,he does have the mind of the Church. I suggest you click on to HWAET on the side to see the section under “catholic evangelicals” which to me describes Schutz to a tee.
    Yes and when you take aim at an Aussie you take aim at us all here.

    • You’re right, Matthias – it was a bit late to throw that in. I just realized, after I hit “Submit”, that you people probably don’t understand how conversion works, and don’t realize the lag time between entering the Church and changing your thought patterns.

      I ran RCIA for over a decade. I know lots of people, priests included, who sacramentally entered the Church as adults but have not substantially changed their thinking from their Protestant days. Oh, sure, they explicitly said they accepted what the Church taught, but you can’t break twenty or thirty years of thought habits in forty hours of instruction (nine months, one or two hours a week). They retain their old ways of thinking either through sheer force of habit or because they are still unsure, afraid, unclear on some doctrine(s).

      Schutzie’s conversational style matches that of someone who has not yet made the intellectual transition to his new habitat.

  12. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    You know, contrary as it is to my nature to jump right over the top rope and get into it, maybe just this once I’m gonna go for it.

    I understand your argument, Herr Kellmeyer, and if I were a “Catholic” of the postconciliar type often called “conservative”, as distinct from “traditional”, I might even buy it.

    Here is what I meant by what I wrote. The issue of which of you two thinks with the mind of the Church insofar as evidenced by correctly understanding the statements of Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran is not the issue at all and it does not matter which of you is “right”, because the Catholic Church itself, of which the Cardinal is representative, no longer thinks with the mind of the Catholic Church but an essentially Protestant mentality put in its place at Vatican II which to preserve its credibility as Catholicism must maintain a self-understanding of continuity.

    And that is why one sees an influx of Protestant converts such as Herr Schuetz, who see not the Catholic Church but the Brave New Church of the Protestant “Catholicism” of Vatican II in which a Protestant may find the visible institutional stability lacking in Protestantism yet remain essentially Protestant because the Brave New Church is essentially Protestant itself.

    One might say they have converted not at all, but simply found a better milieu — though certainly not a divine one (wink) — in which to be Protestant. They certainly sound nothing like converts did before Vatican II, but that is not because they have not fully converted or some such thing, but because that to which they have converted is no longer what it yet holds itself to be.

    Therefore that is no objection. In fact, Catholics don’t sound anything like they did before Vatican II either, the difference being that those on the conservative end of the Protestant nouvelle theologie which is now “Catholicism” have an interest in maintaining a veneer of continuity that the more liberal end does not for precisely the sake of the validity the word “Catholic” — oh hell yes it is too Catholic the Holy Spirit did the whole thing, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, it didn’t change because it cannot change and we know that because the Catholic Church which cannot change says it has not really changed. Utter madness.

    The irony being, the postconciliar conservative “Catholic” then recognises in the Protestant convert the very Protestantism he cannot and must not allow himself to see in himself, or the whole house of cards crumbles like the house of cards it truly is being neither truly Protestant nor Catholic (and certainly not “Lutheran”!).

    So the question is not which has the mind of the Church, a) Schuetz or b) Kellmeyer but more:

    Who has the mind of the (Catholic) Church?
    a) Schuetz,
    b) Kellmeyer,
    c) Tauran,
    d) Benedict,
    e) none of the above.

    The correct answer is e.

    • Ah, Terry, you’ve hit the nub of it!
      Very good!

      If you do a study of the councils of the Church, you’ll find that most of them were useless. That is to say, the heresies which caused the council to be called were, in most cases, NOT quashed by the council. Look just at the early ecumenical councils that dealt with Christology – we had major Christological heresies for at least the first seven hundred years. Nicaea caused at least as many problems as it purported to solve.

      The problem with a council is that everyone tries to twist it to their liking, orthodox and heretic.

      What you see is the Church in the throes of a major heresy, Modernism. It was recognized prior to Vatican I (that’s why Vatican I was called), but that council never completed. Vatican II took up the cudgel a hundred years later, but the fathers of that council didn’t clearly understand the problem, and the heretics have been very active, so their solutions were not clear to begin with and definitely not implemented in any case.

      For my money Vatican II will, in time, be numbered among the least important and least effective councils of the Church.

      But, the result is precisely what you say. Just as the Arians didn’t disappear just because Arius had been condemned – indeed, they waxed in power – so the Modernists have grown in power after Vatican II. As a result, we have the muddy thoughts of Schutzie and company, bishops who don’t understand the role created within them by their own ordination, etc.

      It’s a new form of Protestantism, and it will take a century or two, if not more like five or six, to straighten things out again.

  13. I think, in order to have mercy upon our friend Steve, that we might best ignore PE’s contribution at this point… I doubt if Steve could possibly comprehend the fact that PE is having a go at him as much as at me and Cardinal Tauran and Pope Benedict and the rest of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church…

  14. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    I forget that you guys are up as you should be, whereas I ought to be in bed. Oh hell yes, the only point I really have to make here is the one that absolutely must be ignored, not just by Herr K but by one and all, to allow the preposterous house of cards to stand at all and continue the endless “dialogue” therein.

    However, I’m actually having more of a go at him than you Davidula, and I will now say what I decided not to say in my immediately prior comment — I don’t know what in the hell else Herr Schuetz could possibly have done or do to jump in, take the plunge, ask the girl to dance, whatever may be my opinion of the “girl” in question (who shall remain nameless but her initials are WOB).

    Howzat?

  15. Christine

    I don’t know what in the hell else Herr Schuetz could possibly have done or do to jump in, take the plunge, ask the girl to dance, whatever may be my opinion of the “girl” in question (who shall remain nameless but her initials are WOB).

    By the waters of Babylon . . .

    🙂

    Although some might disagree!

  16. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Miserable WordPress with its interthreaded comments. I missed all the later fireworks embedded above. It’s like a packet transmission where the end user has to reassemble the packets in order himself here on miserable WordPress.

    Romanitas (sic)! Great Judas in the Forum, what next? I think I ought recuse myself several times over, so many times over I hardly know where to start.

    Except here — insofar as the term was frequently used by Archbishop Lefebvre, of blessed memory, wrt to authentic Catholic culture, I should hope that the religious emesis above would in no way be assumed to be characteristic of the archbishop or his heroic efforts on behalf of Romanitas.

    Then here — having myself having had what I have to say not addressed per se but routinely dismissed with various psychological and spiritual analyses of my supposed condition, ROTFLOL doesn’t even begin to express my reaction to this thread.

    If I were to say more, I should find myself in the unaccustomed position of tagging off to Herr Schuetz, Perry and matthias — although such turns are stock in trade for the scripts followed by the WWE (the RCC in tights).

    Gott hilf mir seitlich if I don’t end then where I began — isn’t it great to have a magisterium that can speak up with the voice of Christ and everything becomes clear. Great Caesar’s Ghost if we wouldn’t be better off with the bleeding Oracle of Delphi than this “magisterium”!

    Indeed, super flumina babylonis …

  17. Terry,

    I understand your disgust.

    As a Christian yourself, I am sure you know that Muslims often reject Christianity when they see the heated disagreements between Christians.

    So, you are absolutely right to reject Catholic faith when you see disagreements between Catholics.

    Right?

  18. Christine

    As a Christian yourself, I am sure you know that Muslims often reject Christianity when they see the heated disagreements between Christians.

    Oh, and the conflicts between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims tell us, what, they live in total harmony?

    Just ask the Sudanese about how well Muslims treat other Muslims.

    I’d be more troubled about Muslim rejection of Christianity if they actually understood what it is.

    Christine

  19. Christine, you are absolutely right.
    The Muslims hate each other as much as they hate us (where “us” is any non-Muslim, Schutzie).

    And I agree with your final point too.
    I would be more troubled by Terry’s rejection of the Catholic Church if he actually understood what it is.

    It’s an old problem.
    People saw God walk the streets and didn’t recognize Him. People see the Church and don’t recognize her.

    God explained Himself for three years, up-close and personal, and a lot of people still refused to buy the explanation.

    I’m infinitely less good at explaining things and I’m not even there in person – I’m just sitting at a keyboard typing on an LCD panel – so my results should be absolutely horrific compared to His.

    And they are!
    Who knew?

    • matthias

      I agree with the Kellmeister here( so i’ll out my Ian Paisley issue knuckledusters away) .
      a bloke at my church is Iranian convert from shia islam ,and his Shia Muslim brother in law comes over every year to visit and comes to our church . This bloke told me that :
      1/ Shia’s have more in common with Christianity than with Sunni’s ( surprised!?)

      2/ Sunni’s persecute Shia’s – as much as Christians – in iraq,afghanistan and bangladesh-and perhaps do so even more as they consider Shia’s heretics . He believed that the opium trade into iran has been fostered by the Taliban and AlQueda not only to fund their jihadist iniquities ,but to destabilise Iranian society specifically because of Shia islam

      And yes God walked the earth for three years and He was rejected and we arguing here- I must tone down and apologise for the rough language- do not help BUT at least we have the right to do so,considering that our Brethren udner Islam do not even get that right. It comes down to the practising of the purity of the Gospel and faith-ie having the Mind of Christ

      • Matthias, I agree with you 100%.

        BTW, your opium story is another reason we shouldn’t fear Islam too much. Even if they start getting the upper hand with us, they’ll fall back into knifing each other at the first opportunity, just like they did the minute Mohammed started to decompose.

        Orthodox Muslims are a pox on the face of the earth. There may be peace between different kinds of Christians, but there can be no peace between true Islam and Christianity.

        Islam won’t permit it.

        • matthias

          Steve access the today’s copy of Melbourne ‘s HERALD SUN-we call it the HUN here- and look up the column of one Andrew Bolt .very interesting .

          • Matthias,

            Dude! You da’ man!

            That’s right – Gadafi calls Switzerland apostate! It isn’t because Switzerland was once Islamic and now isn’t – Switzerland has NEVER been under the sway of Islam.

            Rather, it’s because every human being is born Muslim, and anyone who doesn’t accept that as an adult has to be treated as a second-class citizen at least, or forced to convert to the One True Faith.

            Since the Swiss banned minarets, they must be cowed into submission. Never mind that every Muslim country essentially bans Christian churches. Nothing may rule over Islam. Ever.

            Islam is the supreme religion.

            “Jihad against Switzerland, against Zionism, against foreign aggression is not terrorism,” Kadhafi said.

            Quite.

            That’s not abnormal Islam, that’s NORMATIVE Islam.

            But ecumenical types who have never heard of taqqiya don’t know anything about it. Pay close attention on those rare occasions when Muslims denounce terrorism. They’ll word the denouncement in such a way that it doesn’t affect their ability to continue to subjugate the unbeliever.

            “You can’t wage war on the innocent!” Sure! But anyone who rejects Islam is not innocent.

            “Everyone must be able to live together in peace!” Absolutely! But the House of Peace is Islam – so everyone must become Muslim.

            That’s how they spin the ecumenicists’ heads. Those poor sods never bother to get terms defined, so they THINK they’re making progress, when all they’re getting is empty promises.

        • Just so my readers understand, I would normally blackball a commentator who used language such as “Orthodox Muslims are a pox on the face of the earth.” I am allowing Steve to continue because I want you to see just where he is coming from. He is doing an admirable job of demonstrating this for all to see.

  20. Christine

    My apologies Steve, I misunderstood what you were saying in regards to the Catholic Church.

    It is difficult sometimes to accurately convey one’s thoughts in cyberspace!

    Christine

  21. Not a problem, Christine.
    I’m glad you brought up the Muslims love for each other. When you study Muslim theology, you quickly discover that charity is not considered a universal virtue. Muslims are required to be charitable to each other, but that’s as far as it goes.

    • Another generalisation, Steve. “Muslims are required to…”

      Who requires them, Steve? You know there is no centralised authority in Islam, no one authoritative interpreter of the Koran.

      So WHO “requires” them? And what if one Muslim, reading the Koran, decides that Allah DOES require him to be charitable towards all other human beings? Is he an “unfaithful” muslim? A bad muslim because he doesn’t want to kill non-Muslims?

      Please do not generalise about “them” or “us”.

      • Schutzie, why don’t you read something before you open your mouth and make a bigger fool of yourself than you already have?

        Have you ever heard of zakat?
        Of course you haven’t.

        It’s one of the five pillars of Islam, my friend. It refers to almsgiving. Every school of Islamic jurisprudence agrees that Muslims are required to perform zakat. As with any of the five pillars, denying zakat is equivalent to denying Muslim faith.

        While there hasn’t been a centralized authoritative interpreter of the Koran in several generations, you can’t find a Muslim scholar who doesn’t teach zakat.

        Your objection is just stupid. It’s something like saying, “What do you mean, Protestants deny the authority of the Pope? There is no centralized authority in Protestantism, no one authoritative interpreter of Scripture.”

        And for your information, a Muslim who does not accept that the sword is properly part of jihad is not in conformance with ANY of the schools of Muslim jurisprudence.

        Finally, because you don’t seem to understand this, Islam is NOT just based on the Koran, it is also based on the Hadith, the Sunnah, the life of Mohammed. Mohammed was sinless and kept the Koran perfectly, so when there is a question about Koranic interpretation, the first thing a Muslim does is see if there is a similar situation in Mohammed’s life and then follow Mohammed’s example.

        Mohammed assassinated his enemies and launched unprovoked war on them. So, all Islamic schools agree that this is virtuous action. Now, he was also nice and polite when he was in the minority, so there’s nothing wrong with talking and talking and talking if Muslims are in the minority and that’s what it takes to advance the agenda.

        But ultimately, there is no prohibition on unprovoked war to impose sharia. Indeed, doing that is virtuous, for Mohammed did it, and he was sinless.

        • Have you ever heard of zakat?
          Of course you haven’t.

          Of course I have. Doesn’t change anything of what I have said.

          • Well, if you know what zakat is and you can assert with a straight face that “no one requires” a Muslim to do it, then you definitely don’t have a strong grasp on reality.

            • Schutzie, you still haven’t come up with the list of supposed errors I’ve committed, and your comments, sparse and silly, are not worth dealing with. This conversation is going nowhere, and I think I’m done with you.

              Terry, Matthias, Christine, you have my respect and my heartfelt apologies if I angered any of you with my remarks. You three are honest. I very much respect and appreciate that. Even if we don’t agree, you at least had the spine to enter into discussion. That’s a rare gift, and I appreciate having received it from you.

              When Schutzie wanted to pillory me on his blog, I went along with it to see what he would do. I see now that he’s not much different from Peregrinus, except he’s more sly. He stays quiet and lets others put knives in. That way, he doesn’t have any fingerprints on the weapons, and he can pretend majestic disinterest.

              He has, indeed, been consorting with bishops. What a waste…

              In any case, I have work to do and a family to support. I don’t expect I’ll be back to this blog in my lifetime. Take care, have fun, and find someone safer to read than Schutzie.

              God bless!

  22. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    God bless me ten times, blow me out the door, roll me down the street, then sweep me up.

    I’ve hit the nub of it but do not understand what the Catholic Church is. Oy.

    This is not matter of disagreements among Catholics. (Between two, among more than two.)

    It is a matter of what in my lifetime were positions condemned as outside the proverbial mind of the church becoming normative of the mind of the church. This is not at all akin to the Arian crisis.

    It’s enough to make you fall down the stairs. I’d sooner be around Brian and company who make no bones about it, than this more conservative end you and Davula seem to be arguing over who properly occupies wherein there ought to be an Olympic Gold Medal given for the mental gymnastics necessary to maintain change which is not really a change, reform that needs now a reform of the reform (God grant me the years to see reform of the reform of the reform) und so weiter all with a straight face and no hallucinogens.

    • Hey, Terry, what’s the confusion here?

      Islam understands that God is One, Merciful, Just. They understand that the Blessed Virgin is sinless and that Jesus was a virgin birth. They know that Jesus will be the Judge on Dooms’ Day.

      They have hit the nub of the thing in those respects.
      But they do not understand the Catholic Church.

      You must be pretty unstable, if that’s enough to make you fall down stairs.

    • Tom

      PE, you are just the single best commentator on this forum. Hands down.

  23. Terry, I see I failed to address your other point.

    As to what was or was not condemned by the mind of the Church in your lifetime… you would have to have the mind of the Church to know that.

    If you aren’t Catholic, you don’t have the mind of the Church, by definition.

    Now, I would expect you to be able to correctly describe certain aspects of doctrine or certain problems the Church is currently experiencing, because you are, or attempt to be, rational. Everybody has at least something right when it comes God and Faith, and most people have quite a lot right.

    But you aren’t going to have a complete understanding of every nuance of Catholic Faith.

    So, don’t go thinking that you are an authority when it comes to understanding what the Catholic Church has or has not condemned in your lifetime.

    You may have lived in it and through it, but that doesn’t mean it was ever properly explained to you or that you understood it.

  24. If Steve and PE start getting into this, this WILL become interesting…

  25. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    “Ah, Terry, you’ve hit the nub of it!”
    “I would be more troubled by Terry’s rejection of the Catholic Church if he actually understood what it is.”

    “Hey, Terry, what’s the confusion here?
    Islam understands that God is One, Merciful, Just. They understand that the Blessed Virgin is sinless and that Jesus was a virgin birth. They know that Jesus will be the Judge on Dooms’ Day.
    They have hit the nub of the thing in those respects.
    But they do not understand the Catholic Church.”

    I’ll be died, go to hell, I did not know that Terry was another name for Islam.

    As to the mind of the church, that is a mind out of which I should be happy to be described.

    But as to knowing what it is, we appear to be once again before the Oracle of Delphi, or a Gnostic cult whose mysteries are clear only to initiates.

    Perhaps what the church does and does not condemn are not sufficiently clear, this despite anathemae, encyclicals, actions of orders or the church per se banning teaching and/or publishing, etc.

    Perhaps not understanding what things mean does happen, this despite being a veteran, as a Catholic, of a Catholic education from kindergarten through a bachelor’s degree. of one of the centres of the liturgical movement and having had up to and including periti from the Council as my explainers and having seen and heard the whole thing from a ringside seat so zu sagen.

    I am reminded of the passage from Rabelais, wherein the fellow bids his page to go outside and curse for him for half an hour, because he has not the time to do it for himself. Oh drag, I don’t have a page, excuse me but I have something to attend to.

  26. Well, no wonder you’re confused.

    If Vatican II periti explained it to you, you’ll have to take some kind of amnesiac drug to get all that crap out of your head.

    As to Catholic education, you have my sympathies.
    K through 12 Catholic education made me an atheist for a decade. I’ve written an entire book on THAT problem.

    So, yes, given your background, I have no doubt you are confused.

    • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

      K-12? Great mendicant Judas, that was entirely Franciscan, and if that were my entire experience I might accept your indictment. However, once escaped from those late mediaeval aberrants, and despite attempts from certain of the damn Jebbies, it was to the grand and glorious great and uproarious Benedictines I went, those single-handed saviours of Western civilisation itself, without whom the rest of you would be to this day falling down before the nearest oak tree or scanning the sky for chariots with warrior maidens in brass bras.

      In which latter endeavour I might join you, along with a few of the brothers, but that’s another story.

  27. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Judas H Priest at conclave, but I do believe it is a peritus from Vatican II who now sits on the throne of St Peter.

    • Yes, it is.
      But he’s Pope now.
      That changes a man.

      Although, in fairness, he was rejecting many of the positions he took as peritus long before his elevation.

      Indeed, that’s part of the reason he’s Pope and Hans Kung isn’t.

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

        Concilium, Communio — tweedledee and tweedledum. Urs von Balthasar, de Lubac etc were banned no less than the Concilium crowd, it’s nouvelle theologie and nouvelle theologie light and in neither case Catholicism.

        Too, I’d say his being JPII’s hatchet man and dean of the College of Cardinals might just have been among the reasons he’s pope and neither Kueng nor anyone else is.

      • Steve, can you list a few of the things that Ratzinger once held but later rejected? That’s typically a charge you hear from someone like Kung, but Ratzinger himself has always maintained that he has — in the main — been consistent throughout his theological career. And I agree with him.

        • And anyone who has ever read a significant amount of Ratzinger from his whole career would see that in his magisterium today he is simply consolidating the very things he has always taught. Just go and re-read 1968 “Introduction to Christianity” for proof.