This popular post was first published on Dec. 4, 2011.
Google these two words — catholic islam — and the #1 search result is a page from AmericanCatholic.org entitled “Islam: What Catholics Should Know.” Instead of telling readers what reasonable Catholics (like the Pope?) understand to be true — that Islam is a violent political system married to a religion – the site paints quite a rosy picture. AmericanCatholic.org seems to be more “lip-service Muslim” than Catholic in its exposition of Islam. I’ll demonstrate that fact.
In order to see how far off base AmericanCatholic.org is, it is helpful to first look at other top Catholic sites. Many of them address Islam only superficially and with what seems to be a mind toward convincing individual Muslims of shared beliefs, very likely in the hope that they might be converted to Christianity. The #1 Catholic site in America, EWTN, covers Islam along those lines. Included in their online articles is a story explaining the importance of the Virgin Mary to “Mahomet” (Mohammed). There are some unfortunate pieces, like a claim by Fr. Mitch Pacwa that Muslim riots in response to cartoons of Mohammed were actually incited by governments, but there is nothing to suggest that there is a concerted effort to promote Islam at EWTN.
National Catholic Register (NCR) is nearly silent about Islam with the exception of reports on Pope Benedict XVI when he makes news on the matter. A recent article, for instance, included a quote from the Pope which expresses his understanding that Islam rejects reason, that individual Christians on the ground are going to have to try to reason with individual Muslims who are willing to do so, and that we need to explain that Christianity is non-violent if there is going to be any hope for Christians in Muslim majority countries. If you pay attention to the Vatican‘s public statements on Islam as I do, you would understand that this is the basic game plan, but it is not expounded upon at all by NCR.
True theology uses the essential tool of intelligence, combined with prayer and a sense of Church communion, [the Pope] said.
The Pope said God’s love also dictates how to approach relations with others who believe in one God; Christians know they must love those whom God loves.
What the Pope says above is the plan for Catholics in Muslim-majority countries. After all, what else is there for us to do? The use of reason by individuals in “daily life“, with the Vatican making continual calls for religious freedom, is what we are about these days. NCR generally merely reports his words without any commentary on that game plan, but again, there is clearly no agenda there to promote Islam.
Catholic.org (Catholic Online) covers Muslim violence fairly extensively, including coverage of Asia Bibi’s death sentence for blasphemy and a story about the Islamization of Europe which includes information on Geert Wilders with a photo. In like manner, Catholic Exchange offers such information as a reasoned debate on “moderate Islam” and the shocking news, at least to Catholics, that “the Qur’anic account leaves out Mary’s freely given consent” to be the mother of Jesus.
At AmericanCatholic.org, however, the message about Islam is decidedly different. Here are some quotes from two pages on Islam, complete with my translations which I’m sure regular NRB readers will find easy to understand:
Islam has been unjustly portrayed as a religion that fosters violent and extremist behavior. (The Real Islam)