Thursday, August 09, 2007

Willing As Lambs To Slaughter
Jesus? Jesus who?

Why am I not surprised that this fluff piece came from the official news organ of the USCCB? [Emphasis and comments mine]

New York Catholics visit mosque, learn about Islam

By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service


WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. (CNS) -- In late July, carloads of curious Catholics caravanned north from their church to a mosque in the next county. (But they're not going there to worship... right? Let's hope not. I'm sure they went just to learn.)

Three dozen Catholics who regularly attend Mass at the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement's Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison accepted a Muslim visitor's invitation to attend services at Masjid Al-Noor, his mosque in Wappingers Falls. ("Attend services". That blows my 'just to learn' theory straight to hell. By the way... what the hell's a "Spiritual Life Center"?)

Entering the two-story white frame building, the visitors placed their shoes alongside their host's on wire racks lining one wall of the foyer. The women, already modestly covered from chin to ankle, pulled on scarves to cover their hair. The men were directed through double doors to a large simple, rug-covered room on the first floor and the women were invited upstairs to a balcony overlooking the same prayer room. (Ahhh... but the Catholic tradition of having women wear a Mantilla is sexist. I see now.)

The walls of the prayer room were sparsely decorated with metal plaques proclaiming God's greatness in Arabic, a large clock and several bookshelves with various editions of the Quran and devotional books. The front of the room had a small, raised carpeted platform for the imam, the religious scholar who led the service. (Again with the word "service". Was it a learning service? Nahhh... it was a worship service.)

People greeted one another quietly and lined up, shoulder to shoulder, in rows that stretched across the room. Everyone faced east, the direction of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Islam's holy city. Folding chairs in the back of the two prayer areas were used by people who had difficulty sitting and kneeling on the floor, or accomplishing the deep bows that punctuated the prayers. (Sure sounds like a worship service.)

Muslims are required to pray five times a day and men are obliged to attend a communal service on Fridays. Women are not required to interrupt their routines to go to the mosque for Friday prayer. Three-quarters of the more than 200 people who attended one recent Friday service at Masjid Al-Noor were men. ("interrupt their routines"? You mean actually stop cooking and cleaning long enough to make it to the mosque? Nah, women aren't chattel. Suuuuuuuuuuure.)

The 45-minute service was conducted in spoken and intoned Arabic, with three portions in English: a short reflection on the reading from the Quran, intercessory prayers and communal announcements. At one Friday service, Imam Mohammed Asil Khan chose to speak on a Scripture passage, or "sura," that described the "Miracles of Jesus and the Miracles of Mohammed." He later explained that Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet, but not divine. (Just a minor point. Notice how it was glazed over? But don't let that get in the way of ecumenism.)

The Catholic visitors told Catholic News Service they were grateful for the opportunity to attend the services and speak with members of the congregation. "Our hosts were very welcoming and it was insightful to have casual conversation about being Muslim and learning about the diversity within their own community," said Ruth Ann McAndrews. (Said the spider to the fly...)

She was particularly interested in the discussion of the "challenge of instilling each religion's traditions and faith in the youth through Sunday school and after-school programs." (What good Catholic would even dream of "instilling" a damn thing about a belief system that denies the divinity of Christ, or the complete existence of the Holy Ghost to our youth? That's scandalous.)

"The thing that struck me," said Dan Donnelly, "was the commonality that pervades. We have significant doctrinal differences. They don't believe in the Trinity or in the divinity of Jesus, but we have a common father who created us and we should all love one another." (More brain-dead sappy sentimentality, courtesy of the 'Spirit' of Vatican II. Dan Donnelly seems to forget that we also have a common Savior and Paraclete... it's just that the moslems deny both. I don't know what 'god' Dan Donnelly worships, but my God is The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But like I said before... don't let that get in the way of ecumenism. By the way... the best way to "show your love", Dan, is to convert them. The Church has only taught that for... oh, I dunno... 2,000 years?)

He was also intrigued by the lack of a hierarchy and came to a better understanding of the role of the imam. ("Intrigued"? Seriously... what's so damn "intriguing" about that?)

"I thought of the imams as the priesthood," he said, "but I learned that they are religious scholars who are chosen by the community to be teachers. If an imam is not available, the people can choose another person to lead the service." (Golly gee, ain't that swell!!??)

Joyce Evans said, "I left there knowing for certain that our faiths could make us closer to each other. Praying with the Muslims can't take anything away from Catholicism. In fact, it enhances my Catholicism to honor them and work with them." (What made ya a better Catholic, Joyce? Learning how to go straight to The Father, and by-passing The Son? What was it that Jesus said about that? Something along the lines of "No man shall go to The Father, except through...." who was it again, Joyce?)

She continued, "You can read about Islam in a book, but to see the fervor of their devotion really touched me and I came away being a better Catholic." (People who usually have no problem with their own kind blowing up themselves, and everyone else in the blast radius, normally do have "a fervor in their devotion".)

Most of the worshippers at Masjid Al-Noor are Sunni Muslims, although Shiites are welcome and constitute a small percentage of the congregation, according to Imam Khan. There is no official membership roll, he said, so it is hard to estimate the size of the congregation. (Because many are here illegally? Terrorist cells don't normally keep membership rolls.)

The worship community represents 26 different countries and includes a small number of converts. Imam Khan is a Pakistani who holds master's degrees in Arabic and Islamic studies. He has a full-time association with the mosque. (I'll notify Homeland Security.)

Atonement Father James J. Gardiner, director of the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, organized the visits, which came out of a December 2006 event at the center. "At our Advent vespers, we invited people from different traditions to speak. We had Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Christian Missionary Alliance and Muslim speakers," he said. "At the time, Umar H. Ahmad was the president of the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association, which worships at Masjid Al-Noor. (The Orthodox, I can see... the rest? Who the hell cares? And that's some shepherd they have there. I reiterate... what the hell do we have to learn from those who deny 2/3's of The Holy Trinity, and in the case of the Protestants, those who deny some, if not most, of The Sacraments?)

"Dr. Ahmad spoke 'In Praise of Mary' and at the end of his talk he invited the participants to visit his mosque, attend services and enjoy fellowship with the imam and other members of the congregation," the priest said. So two visits were scheduled in July. (OH! But they mentioned Mary.... that makes everything okee-dokee now!)

Imam Khan expressed interest in making a reciprocal visit to Graymoor. "Quran tells us that how you deal with your neighbors is very important," he said.
(Yeah... we learned that on September 11th.)

18 Comments:

Blogger Anita Moore said...

"Dr. Ahmad spoke 'In Praise of Mary'...

Actually, this is encouraging, becuase it is the Blessed Mother who will touch the hearts of Muslims, especially those most sunk in hatred and violence. To the extent they venerate her, that is the chink in their armor.

Is it a coincidence that the Blessed Mother is described in the Apocalypse as having the moon beneath her feet, and that she is often depicted standing on a crescent moon?

6:09 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

And we hear so much today about how conversion is 'outdated', that we need more 'religios dialogue'. These Muslims skipped the whole conversion part and went right to getting these people to pray along with the 'service'.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

God bless you, Caveman, for keeping us informed about this stuff. And right-on-the-mark commentary!
The Poor Friars of the Atonement who started out so promising! When Imam Khan visits Graymoor, I doubt he will hear a sermon about why Catholics believe Jesus is God from God and Muhammed was a murderous lying rapist.

Meanwhile, if Muslim communities choose their imams, what does that tell us when their imams start preaching Jihad?

8:27 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

Folks please don't take this the wrong way but what were my fellow Odox doing participating at your Advent Vespers? It's very inappropriate to concelebrate with those not in your own communion. Then again the Greek Orthodox is mainly an ethnic ecumenicist group that also hides pervert priests, and IMHO Constantinople hasn't been relevent in 600 years. They should just move it like they did the Vatican for awhile.

Now back to the common enemy: Are these Catholics on crack?! Don't they study Church history, or at least talk to Maronite or Melkite Catholics? They'll tell you how "peaceful" "tolerant" Muslims are. And they, the Copts, the Syriacs and the Antiochian Orthodox experience their "fervor" everyday when their churches and homes are bombed. How does embracing those who deny the divinity of Christ, who's prophet had sex with children and murdered people and who's book demands the killing of non-muslims strengthen ones Catholic faith? I could go St. Nicholas on these idiots.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Alexander said...

If those Catholics actually participated in those services then they have incurred serious mortal sin.


Joyce Evans said, "I left there knowing for certain that our faiths could make us closer to each other. Praying with the Muslims can't take anything away from Catholicism. In fact, it enhances my Catholicism to honor them and work with them."

What a joke!
A religion that denies dogmas and the Divinity of Christ cannot enhance Catholicism! It takes away from it! But she is saying the exact opposite! What on EARTH is going on?!



BTW, this has nothing to do with ecumenism because ecumenism deals with non-Catholic Christians. This is more of inter-faith dialogue kind of junk.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Oh, sure they could learn better about their Catholicism from Islam:
1. Women should dress modestly in public and in church.
2. Worship should be conducted in a single worldwide languange.
3. Congregants should have respect for their celebrants.
4. Worship is for God, not for the entertainment of the populace.
5. All the worshipers should fact east, along with the celebrant.

But I do have a question about this cultural "exchange". Dr. Ahmad spoke at the Catholic place; did Fr. Gardiner likewise speak at the mosque? Or was all the "exchange" only one way, with Catholics learning about Islam, but no muslims troubling to learn about Catholicism?

6:21 AM  
Blogger Jay3gsm said...

I agree with you that ecumenism is a bad thing, when it involves making allowances of the Catholic faith to suit others. Real ecumenism happens when other faiths are brought into line with the Truths of the Catholic Church.

However, I think it is out of order to instantly label the Muslims as terrorist, just because of their faith. That's a narrow minded attitude.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Jay,
I didn't label them as terrorists... what I inferred was that moslems have "no problem with their own kind blowing up themselves, and everyone else in the blast radius". And that's exactly what I think. After all, when was the last time we saw thousands of moslems marching AGAINST suicide bombers?

As we use to say in The Corps... Silence Is Consent".

11:18 AM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

While kneelers are removed or not included in "modern" Catholic churches (too demeaning and subservient), these modernists will run to a mosque in order to kneel on a "prayer rug." And, while chapel veils or mantillas may be de rigeur at the classical Latin Mass, any woman wearing one to a "New Mass" would no doubt be mocked or shunned, yet those same mockers will think themselves so "in" and ecumenical if they can wear a scarf or entire veil at a mosque. It makes me want to puke.

11:32 AM  
Blogger PaulaB52 said...

FAB, I agree with you. How many of those "modestly dressed women" actually dress modestly while attending Mass on Sunday?

12:42 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Oh, sure they could learn better about their Catholicism from Islam:
1. Women should dress modestly in public and in church.
2. Worship should be conducted in a single worldwide languange.
3. Congregants should have respect for their celebrants.
4. Worship is for God, not for the entertainment of the populace.
5. All the worshipers should fact east, along with the celebrant.


You know, Paul... Catholicism had all those attributes universally. Until all the great and sweeping changes brought about courtesy of the "Spirit" of Vatican II.

The point I'm getting at is, we don't have to look to the moslems for lessons on how to conduct ourselves. We already know how. It's just that most chose to forget (or were never properly taught).

3:49 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

These Franciscans are dangerous people who seem to take muslims at their word when they claim to be descendants of Abraham. That MAY be true but if people take the time to read the Old Testament they would discover for themselves that ONLY Abraham's son Isaac(and his descendants) was the one actually BLESSED by God the Father.

The followers of islam claim to be from a later son of Abraham, Ismail.

Catholic clergy would do us all a favor if THEY took the time to read islam's vile koran. It teaches not LOVE or LIFE but destruction and DEATH. islam's evil mohammed and allah desire what belongs only to GOD.

We must all beware of the false prophet mohammed ant its evil allah. ALL RELIGIONS ARE NOT THE SAME!

Dominus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tuo!

6:23 PM  
Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Y'know Cavey, you jarhead, I'm just an old zoomie, not a combat veteran, but if I had to be in a fight, you know you'd be at the top of my list to have to fight beside me.

... we don't have to look to the moslems for lessons on how to conduct ourselves.

But you're usually more precise in your language than this (even when you use harsh language). I said "THEY" could learn more about their Catholicism. You and I know this stuff, but those folks in the piece you quoted evidently need to draw their lessons from wherever they can.

And since we both know it won't be from the old 1962 missal, they may as well learn to respect somebody who worships on their knees in an unfamiliar language while modestly dressed.

It rather reminds me of the university professor who discovered that pictures of naked Africans with body piercings were culture, but pictures of naked Americans with body piercings were pornography.

These people no doubt think that people requiring women to dress modestly and wear a veil to kneel and worship Allah in Arabic are interesting and have something important to teach us about our faith. But people who ask women to dress modestly and wear a veil to kneel and worship God in Latin -- as the saints and their grandmothers did -- are reactionary and stupid and shouldn't be "appeased".

That's how it struck me, anyhow.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

I said "THEY" could learn more about their Catholicism.

You're absolutely right, Paul. I should have realized that you would never lump everyone in with the actions of these mooks.

I overreacted. You're right... I'm wrong. Sorry, buddy.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Kasia said...

The followers of islam claim to be from a later son of Abraham, Ismail.
Actually, and this is a nitpicky point, but Ismail is the son of Hagar, Sarah's maidservant, whom Sarah gave to Abraham because she thought she could never bear him children. As I understand it, the reason Muslims claim that's significant is because (theoretically) it would make Ismail the heir of Abraham, not Isaac.

But more to the point, I got enough of this kind of one-sided, hippie-dippie "ecumenism" and "interfaith dialogue" when I was growing up in a secular humanist "religious" organization. I think it would be nice if the One True Church would refrain from engaging in it.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Kasia said...

Oh, and re: Anita's point, don't forget that Muhammad's daughter was named Fatima. Where did the Blessed Mother appear in Portugal again?...um...let me think... :-)

3:51 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

I don't understand going to a mosque to attend services when you're a Catholic. I've been in several mosques (as a tourist), but never for "services." Once the call to prayer began, we left and were expected to. This seems to be taking the idea of learning a wee bit too far.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

I'm right there with Anita Moore. Devotion to Our Lady is our best route to conversion of Muslims. We should encourage it in them, without any sort of reservation or qualification. After all, WE know that it's not possible to get closer to Mary without also getting closer to Jesus.

Our Lady of Guadalupe also stands upon the moon, and is clothed in the sun (shades of Revelation!). I've read that she's a remarkable piece of Aztec iconography, standing in front of the sun (their chief god) and on the moon (their #2 god), which makes her greater than both, while her gaze shows clearly that she is not divine herself, as Aztec gods >always< stare straight ahead.

11:18 PM  

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