Under another entry a commentator said:
It’s also about time that Catholics start repudiating those sections of Nostra Aetate referring to Muslims.
Let’s have a look at the relevant paragraph of Nostra aetate.
3. Ecclesia cum aestimatione quoque Muslimos respicit qui unicum Deum adorant, viventem et subsistentem, misericordem et omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae, homines allocutum, cuius occultis etiam decretis toto animo se submittere student, sicut Deo se submisit Abraham ad quem fides islamica libenter sese refert. Iesum, quem quidem ut Deum non agnoscunt, ut prophetam tamen venerantur, matremque eius virginalem honorant Mariam et aliquando eam devote etiam invocant. Diem insuper iudicii expectant cum Deus omnes homines resuscitatos remunerabit. Exinde vitam moralem aestimant et Deum maxime in oratione, eleemosynis et ieiunio colunt.
Quodsi in decursu saeculorum inter Christianos et Muslimos non paucae dissensiones et inimicitiae exortae sint, Sacrosancta Synodus omnes exhortatur, ut, praeterita obliviscentes, se ad comprehensionem mutuam sincere exerceant et pro omnibus hominibus iustitiam socialem, bona moralia necnon pacem et libertatem communiter tueantur et promoveant.
3. The Church regards with esteem (aestimatio: "an estimation of a thing according to its intrinsic worth") also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they (tamen … ?) revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past (praeterita obliviscentes) and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.
I wonder if the English translation here, from the Vatican website, is a good reflection of the Latin.
My initial reading gave me the impression that the English is slightly rosier than the Latin.
Also, I wonder about a few things.
First, I wonder if we can truly – nay rather – reasonably "forget things that have occurred in the past". On the face of it, that is not either wise or possible. However, the intent of this is surely meant to be "not be embittered by what has happened in the past". Fine. But my initial comment stands: we cannot, should not, forget the past. Rather, the past should be a spur and a check on our choices today.
Secondly, the document states that Muslims worship "the one, only God" (unicus Deus).
We often hear that Christians and Muslims (and Jews) worship the same God, the God of Abraham.
Is this indeed the case?
I don’t know enough about the Muslim understanding of God to be able to embrace that assertion without hesitation.
It would be helpful to have the help of some experts on Islam on this question.
I know that this is very complicated, and leaves us open to all sorts of bickering, but perhaps we could drill at this question a bit… calmly and intelligently.
I know, for example, that it is said that the God Muslims refer to as "Allah" (among the many other names) is personal, omnipotent, and is said to be compassionate. There is some agreement (to what extent I am not sure) that the Muslim’s Allah is the same God that entered into a covenant with Abraham. St. Augustine says that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. The Koran says that Allah is closer to us than our own jugular vein… which is an unsettling image.
Christians obviously believe that God is Triune. But, "O People of the Scripture! Do not speak lies against Allah, but speak the Truth. That Jesus Christ, son of Mary, was a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not ‘Trinity.’ Desist! It is better for you. For Allah is one God." (An-Nisa 4:17)
Sometimes a contrast is made between the God of the Old and New Testament and Allah, who seems to act in a more "capricious" manner. Christians tend to think of God in terms of Logos while, as I understand it, Muslims tend to think of Allah as "Will", which brings us back to the notion of "capricious", that such a God would not be bound even by his own word. Certainly Pope Benedict raised some interesting questions at Regensburg, in 2006.
Let’s see if we can have a discussion about some of these points without being boors.