25.12.2007 Christmas Day

American Bishops have a message for Al-Qaeda

Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, believes Pope Benedict XVI “insulted Islam and Muslims" .So he criticised King Abdullah's meeting with the Holy Father last month. The Vatican rejected the condemnation by al Qaeda and the militants interpretation of the popes Regensburg address. The Vatican’s spokesman said the militants seemed afraid of inter-religious dialogue and the   historic meeting between Pope Benedict and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi commented on Zawahri's video-taped comments, posted on the Internet. (Pope's talks with Muslims scares al Qaeda -Vatican VATICAN CITY, Dec 18 .Reuters).

Meanwhile the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Doctrine Committee a few weeks earlier has clearly said officially that Islam is not a path to salvation. They have repeated what Al Zawahri again can mistake as an insult to Islam.

The USCCB has issued a  media statement on the book Father Peter C. Phan Being Religious Intereligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue. They have indicated that Islam and other religions are not paths to salvation. (USCCB Doctrine Committee faults book by Father Peter Phan Dec.10, 2007).  The great religions (Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam) have good things but are not paths to avoid Hell, for their followers. They need Catholic Faith. The statement was signed by Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, and the six other committee member-bishops.

(See full text www.usccb.org/dpp/StatementonBeingReligiousInterreligiously.pdf. )

The American Bishops are saying that the Catholic Church teaches that Ayman al-Zawahri needs Catholic Faith to avoid Hell and enter Paradise. So does Bin Laden.

The American Bishops affirmed Redemptoris Missio (N.55).It said that the Church is the ordinary way of salvation. Islam is not the normal, ordinary way to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

 In the Notification on the book by Fr. Jacques Dupuis S.j, (2001) the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (N.8),Vatican  wrote that there is no theology which can say that Islam is a  path to salvation. The Prefect was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  So Islam is not an ordinary way of salvation. Neither is it even a way of salvation.

 The Catholic Church is the ordinary way of salvation. So Vatican Council II’s Nostra Aetate N.2 and the Decree on Ecumenism N.3 do not refer to the ordinary way of salvation. This is assuming they refer to salvation all.

They refer to the extraordinary way of going to heaven since the ordinary way of salvation, according to the Teaching Authority of the Church, is Jesus in His Mystical Body. Scripture tells us that the Mystical Body of Jesus is the Church. If Nostra Aetate referred to the ordinary way of salvation then Islam would be the ordinary way of salvation.

 All religions are not equal paths to salvation for the American Bishops. The late Fr. Jacques Dupuis S.j could wrongly suggest otherwise. So does Fr. Phan. The Bishops have corrected him.

Mission to Muslims was important for the Bishops. The aim of mission is to save souls. This was highlighted in their document. Everyone needs to be oriented into the Catholic Church. This was also the teaching in the CDF Notification on Fr. Dupuis. It said all people need to be oriented into the Catholic Church (N.7). We find it also there in the Catechism of the Catholic Church N.845. God the Father wants all people to be united in the Catholic Church. Everyone! (Ad Gentes 7, Dominus Iesus 3, 7, 20)

The Church is compared to the Ark of Noah that saves in the flood. It is the Door in which all must enter. It is the only Door.

 The Letter of the Holy Office to Cardinal Cushing (1949) relative to Fr. Leonard Feeney said that baptism was needed for all people in general for salvation. There were exceptions. These were exceptions to the rule that explicit Catholic Faith and the baptism of water are needed for all people. The exceptions include martyrdom, a perfect desire, and invincible ignorance. Muslims who are in invincible ignorance can be saved. However with the present means of communications Muslims know about Jesus Christ the only Saviour of the world. They know their obligation before God.

Who are the exceptions, specifically, only Jesus knows. The USCCB today is saying, like Fr. Leonard Feeney, that all people need to enter the Catholic Church in general. The Baptism of Water is needed for all. In this sense, there are no exceptions. Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Explicit Catholic faith is the priority and norm.

Vatican Council II Ad Gentes 7 also holds that 'all people' need to be baptized. This would mean the Baptism of water with Catholic Faith. Catholics do not give adults Baptism without Catholic Faith.

Non-Catholics however can be saved within their religion. They are saved by Christ and the Church. So in this sense too, outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.

Fr. Phan could suggest that the exceptional was the ordinary way. The exceptions made the rule and so there was no need for conversion to the Catholic Faith. Lumen Gentium N.14 is clear. Those non-Catholics who, know they should be in the Catholic Church, have had the Gospel preached to them, and yet do not ask to enter, will go to Hell. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II refer to these non-Catholics going to Hell, definitely. Al Qaeda’s leadership is in this category. They know!

It is never specified that a particular person is in Hell. The Catholic Church does not say that any specific person is in Hell. However it does say that certain sins orient a person to damnation forever. Mortal sins include sins of morals. It is a mortal sin to plant bombs among innocent people for political ends.

Mortal sins also include grave sins against Faith. A sin against faith is a Muslim knowing the Gospel and yet rejecting the one, true faith. He rejects his conscience, which is being inspired by the Holy Spirit. Barring the extraordinary; the last- second -repentance, this Muslim’s soul in mortal sin is oriented to Hell-fires at the time of death.

We love Muslims just as we love homosexuals and abortionists who are oriented to Hell.

We do not know who really is in partial communion or full communion with Jesus and the Catholic Church. Neither do we know who is in invincible ignorance or has perfect contrition or has a good conscience-only Jesus does. When we meet a Muslim we assume that he or she is not saved. This is not because we know personally but because the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit tells us so. This is the teaching of Jesus, the Apostles, the Church Fathers, the Church Councils including Vatican Council II, and the Magisterium of the present times. This is the teaching of Jesus in the Great Commission. He said those who believe will be saved. Those who do not believe in Him, choose eternal death. So he urged us to go out and proclaim the Good News of how to get to heaven, to all people.

Everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven; but who ever disowns Me before men, I in turn will disown him before My Father in heaven.. .-Matt 10:32-33.

 

˜The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: ˜We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard .And they invite people of every era to enter to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ-# 425, CCC.

The Bishops ecumenical statement on Fr. Phan is in accord with the Orthodox Churches who also believe that Islam is not a path to salvation. This is also part of the preaching of Protestants and evangelicals. Fr. Phan held the Theosophist, Freemason and New Age position regarding Islam. For the Catholic Church however, there are many paths on the mountain but only one gets you to the mountain-top.

 A Muslim, Hindu or Jew is not saved through his or her religion. However he or she can be saved within his or her religion. When he or she is saved it is through the extraordinary way. The exception. The ordinary, obligatory way and the only way to go to Heaven and avoid Hell is the Catholic Church, Jesus’ Mystical Body.

Ayman al-Zahwari is educated. He has an obligation to enter the Catholic Church, which teaches that suicide is evil and leads to Hell. The Catholic Church also teaches that those who die for Jesus are martyrs, as the numerous ex-Muslim Catholics, killed by Muslims. Those who kill them self are not martyrs. They are suicide cases. An example of a Catholic martyr killed at Auschwitz in the Holocaust is St. Maximillian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest and friar.

Kolbe taught outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation and the baptism of water is needed for all people. There are no exceptions. This is still the teaching of the Catholic Church. The secular media in the USA distorts this message. It continues with misinformation about Vatican Council II and Fr. Leonard Feeney. They repeat that Fr. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for his teaching on outside the church there is no salvation. This is an error. Fr. Leonard Feeney’s excommunication was not doctrinal but disciplinary. The excommunication against him was lifted during his life time. The priest conducting the negotiations with Fr. Leonard Feeney on behalf of the Church said in a press statement that Fr. Leonard Feeney, a former editor of the Jesuit magazine America, was not required to change his belief in no salvation outside the Church. (Outside the Church No Salvation, by Fr. Frank Sullivan S.J, Paulist Press. Also see the website of the community Fr. Leonard Feeney founded and which still exists and is approved by the Catholic diocese: St. Benedict Center).

 In Jesus, we love all Muslims, including Al Zahwari and his leader-in hiding. Catholics acknowledge the good and holy things in Islam which has no central authority as does the Catholic Faith. Catholics respect Muslims and treat them with dignity. This is an aspect of love that Jesus asks us to have for all people. We love even those who threaten our Holy Father, who represents Jesus, as did St. Peter the first pope.

 Al Zahwari’s sect does not represent the Ahmadi Muslims who consider themselves the fasting growing Muslim sect. They also need to convert to the Catholic Faith since this is the means God the Father has chosen to save all people from Satan.

Al-Zahwari and his Muslim sect are considered Mohammedans as distinguished from Ahmadis (Mirzaites/Qadianis/Ahmediyyas). The Ahmadis believe in Mohammad as a Prophet and call themselves Muslims. However they do not believe that Mohammad was the last prophet of God. There are also the Bohri Muslims and Aga Khani Muslims who are not followers of Al-Zahwaris understanding of the teachings of Muhammad.

 Numerous Ahmadi Muslims are in Pakistani jails under the Blasphemy Law .Since they claim they are Muslims and profess their religion publicly.

According to a Muslim website, which holds that Mohammad is the last prophet of God:

A group of people, namely the Qadianis (Ahmadiyya / Lahori) missionaries, are very active in spreading misinterpretation of the Quranic message.  The Qadianis do so by proclaiming to be believers in Islam and Quran. However, they believe in Quran under the direction of their misguided and false prophet, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.  Therefore, they translate and interpret the Holy Quran as told to them by Mirza Ghulam Qadiani and not in accordance to Arabic text and historical records.

In Pakistan the Ahmediyya Muslim community have announced their decision to boycott the January national elections set by President Musharaf. Since, the Election Commission in Pakistan does not consider them Muslims but will allow them to vote along with the Minority non-Muslims, in a separate electorate system. In Rome when an Ahmadi Pakistani goes to the Pakistan Embassy to renew his passport he has to deny his belief in the founder of his religion. Every Pakistani has to state his religion on the passport form. There is a separate section for Muslims to affirm that they do not believe in the religious leader of the Ahmadis.

Presently the Mohammedans; Sunnis and Ahmadis are debating on Youtube.com when the real video they need to see is 6 million Muslims Convert to Christianity-Al Jazeerah. This is not mentioned out of superiority or triumphalism. I see this as an expression of the love of God. What good are large numbers of members in a religion, if they are not going to Heaven? Every year an estimated six million Africans know that God is telling them in their heart that he loves them. He is pure love. When love comes before you in its purity and intensity Satan in man has to step aside. Ex-Imams have websites. One website is titled from Jihad to Jesus. There are video clips of long queues for baptism. Interviews are being given by ex-Muslims without covering their face. It seems as  if  we are in the end times of St. Louis di Montfort who predicted such a  phenomenon.

 To paraphrase the Rabbi Gamaliel, who converted to the new Catholic Church after the Crucifixion of Jesus (See The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta), if, this is the work of God who can stop it?

Lionel Andrades

        Catholic layman in Rome

E-mail: landrades@tiscali.it