ASK FATHER: We can eat halal meat?

For some reason the issue of idols keeps coming up.

Pope Francis had a meal catered for 1500 poor people.  He served them lasagne alla bolognese, lasagne in the style of Bologna.  Sort of.

By the way… it’s lasagne, plural, just as it’s spaghetti, plural.  Lasagna is from Latin laganum or Greek laganon, for rectangular sheets of pasta. There is a 14th c cookbook, Liber de coquina which has a recipe that is moving in the direction of more modern lasagne.  I digress.

Italians have their traditional recipes which have come even to be codified by commissions. The Accademia Italiana della Cucina informed the Camera di Commercio di Bologna that they identified the traditional recipe. The sauce for the dish, ragù, includes both beef and pancetta, that is, salt cured pork belly.

Il Messaggero reports that Francis served lasagne alla bolognese made without pancetta!    HERE

Oh the humanity! 

Okay.  Perhaps the world won’t fall apart if something that is not lasagne alla bolognese is called lasagne alla bolognese.  

The point is that the recipe, the meal – according to the report – was “rigorosamente halal” so that Muslims could eat it.   That obviously requires the omission of pork.

However, it also includes halal meat in the lasagne!

(One of my correspondents quipped to me that the only religious prescriptions he seems to respect are the non-Catholic ones.  Also, we must leave aside that Francis had served tortellini made with – I can hardly bring myself to write – chicken.  The newish Archbp. of Bologna, Zuppi, thought this was a good idea for the annual feast of San Petroniothus sparking polemics and even comments from politicians about undermining tradition for the sake of illegal immigrants.  Yes, tortellini are important.)

This brings up another question.  Many people over the last few years have asked me if it is okay for us to eat halal meat.  

This is complicated.   And, again, we are into a discussion of the worship of idols and the possible involvement of demons.

Halal meat. What is it?

I am not an expert on Islam, nor do I play one on TV.  What follows is a sketch.  There are variations according to the Islamic group, but the framework seems to be the same across the board.

Interpreters within Islam are themselves divided over how animals for food are to be ritually slaughtered (dhabihah). Suffice to say that there are Islamic certifications for meat slaughtered in a way they deem acceptable.

Regardless of the method, there is always a prayer pronounced over the animal while killing it.  The prayer to be recited is “Bismillah allahu akbar… In the name of allah; allah is the greatest.”  If the name “allah” is accidentally omitted the meat might permissible. If purposely omitted it is haram, forbidden.  Slaughtering in the name of any other god is forbidden.  Different communities differ on the admissibility of meat ritually slaughtered by Jews (shechita) or slaughtered by Christians in whatever manner.

Muslims are obliged to eat only halal meat.  (Therefore the papal lasagne had halal beef.  If it didn’t they massively offended the Muslims to whom they were catering.)

Many groceries are caving into this and provide only halal meat.  Some tell their customers and some, apparently, don’t readily admit it.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:

Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Is halal meat the same as the meat offered to idols against which St. Paul inveighs?  I’ll get to that.  Are Christians permitted or forbidden from eating halal meat?

Going on.let’s consider what else Paul says in 1 Cor 10:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market [including meat sacrificed to false idols] without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”  If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.  (But if some one says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then out of consideration for the man who informed you, and for conscience’ sake— I mean his conscience, not yours—do not eat it.) For why should my liberty be determined by another man’s scruples? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

One can argue that the animal slaughtered in the Islamic way, is a kind of sacrifice to a false god.

Must Catholics automatically accept that the God of Jews and Christians and the god of Islam are the same?  LG 16 and CCC 841 pretty much say so.  According to Islam – again, I am not an expert on Islam – Mohammed was visited by an angel, supposedly Gabriel.  However, what Gabriel told Mohammed contradicts what we know the Archangel Gabriel told Mary.  Hence, we must conclude that a false “gabriel”, a fallen angel visited Mohammed.  In that case is “allah” the same as a the Christian/Jewish God?

The 1st Commandment of the Decalogue forbids us to partake in false religions.  As a Christian, I contend that Islam is a false religion.

So, if “allah” really is a false god and not, in fact, the same God of the Jews and Christians, then eating halal meat, ritually slaughtered in the name of a false god, violates what Paul said in 1 Corinthians.

In the case Paul brings up, the person tells the other explicitly that the meat was sacrificed to an idol, hence, its eating is intended to be an extension of participation in the worship of the false god/idol.   If the idol meat is simply meat that was once sacrificed to an idol but now who cares?  That distances the consumer from the act of worship.   Nitpicking?  No.  That’s making distinctions.  As Paul did.

Many places serve halal meat without obviously notifying the customer.

Peter, in Acts 10, receives a vision of all sort of animals including those forbidden in the Law. He hears God’s voice to “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” God explains, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  This is repeated three times, just in case Peter doesn’t get it. Three seems to be Peter’s thing.  There are no animals which are, by their nature, impure.  However, as Paul said, food should be avoided if eating it would be a participation in false worship.

Apparently food sacrificed to idols is still a thing.

Does the prayer to “allah” pronounced in dhabihah ritual slaughter tantamount to sacrificing the animal to an idol?

Frankly, the manner in which the animal is slaughtered and the prayer which is pronounced, make it seem very much like a sacrifice to rather than just a invocation of blessing.

So, the slaughter is one thing.  Let’s say for the sake of this post that halal slaughter is the same as sacrifice to a false god.  That’s debatable, but let’s say that it is.

I have in mind a scenario of a barbecue.  Lots of stuff on the grill.  Some of the meat is halal.  The grillmaster says, “Come and get it!”  A prayer is said, “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts…”.  Everyone digs in.  Acceptable?   I am leaning towards ‘yes’.

Alternatively, the grillmaster says, “This is halal meat, which was killed in the name of Allah.”   Nope. Sorry.  That seems to me to be, by intention, an extension of participation in a false religion.

To be on the strict side, avoid halal meat if possible.

NO MATTER WHAT, always ask God’s blessing on anything you purchase and what you cook and what you eat.  As Paul says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

There is nothing wrong and everything right with asking God to bless foodstuffs

  • after you buy them,
  • while you are preparing and cooking them, and
  • before you eat them.

Pious Jews say their blessing prayers – beautiful prayers – even for different categories of foods as they eat.

Again, I am not an expert on how Muslims kill animals for food or how they pray.  I am happy to be corrected if I have put my foot wrong.   However, I suspect that I am on the right track.

I close this post with a reminder of the nice little booklets published by a monastic community in France, Èditions Pax Inter Spinas, that is, Benedictiones Mensae, or “table/meal blessings” with Gregorian chant notation.  These are the traditional meal blessings used in the Roman Rite, especially in communities like seminaries and monasteries.  I think it would be great for even families to have these booklets and learn how, as a family, to sing these prayers.

I posted a podcast about this.  HERE

PODCAzT 176: How to sing Table Prayers in Latin

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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28 Responses to ASK FATHER: We can eat halal meat?

  1. brasscow says:

    So… making distinctions. Is that like distinctions between ministries and offices?

  2. carndt says:

    brasscow,
    I was thinking the same thoughts while reading this…

  3. cengime says:

    Even if I thought you were right that the Arabic word Allah names a god of the gentiles despite the history of use of this name by Jews and Catholics and despite Muhammad’s own express intention to refer to the same God worshipped by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ, I would have to disagree with you. If we needed to avoid such meat “if possible,” Paul wouldn’t tell us not to inquire about the provenance of meat in circumstances where it is possible.

    Paul says you shouldn’t worry about whether meat has been sacrificed to an idol or not, because it belongs to the Lord despite having been “offered” to a god that doesn’t exist. The reason for sometimes abstaining is not that eating such meat would be participation in false worship just because it has been sacrificed, but so as not to give scandal to the scrupulous person who does not understand Christian liberty, and whose conscience is defiled by eating meat as if it were “really offered” to an idol (1 Co 8:7).

    If anything, the more important biblical text here is Acts 15, where the Council of Jerusalem sends a letter to the Gentile believers telling them to “abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled”. But the Council of Florence, in the Bull of Union with the Copts, defined that this threefold dietary command was suited to that time and meant to prevent the Gentiles from reverting to idolatry, but that the command’s effect came to an end when its cause did. (Denzinger 713/DS 1350)

  4. Ages says:

    If contamination of food offered to idols wasn’t a problem, why did St. Theodore appear to the Christians of Constantinople and bid them to eat koliva (boiled wheat) instead of meat secretly offered to idols by Julian the Apostate?

    The Christians didn’t know that the meat in the marketplace was cursed, so this episode makes clear that we can unwittingly participate in demonic worship and be spiritually injured by this.

    Reminder that we are not to eat blood also.

  5. I’ve actually watched halal slaughter–of goats–by a halal butcher in Front Royal, VA. I was writing an article about goat meat, which is beloved in Third World countries but not so much in the U.S. The slaughterhouse would import a halal butcher for the goats in order to sell the meat in markets catering to Muslims. The procedure went as follows: a couple of guys would hang the animal on a moving rack and the butcher would promptly say a prayer and then slit the goat’s throat in a lightening-fast move. The entire procedure took about a minute. It has been called inhumane, but the goats did die promptly (to be moved along the rack for gutting and skinning), so I don’t think they suffered much pain.

    So, halal slaughter involved two elements: 1) the prayer; 2) the killing. But was it a sacrifice (which would make eating the meat unlawful for Christians)? I’m no expert on Islam, but it seems to me that in order for there to be a sacrifice to God or any other god there has to be a third element: the intention that the killing actually be a sacrifice of the animal to the deity–in contrast to merely a killing blessed by a prayer to the deity.

    Is that third element actually present in a halal slaughter? The simplest version of the required prayer seems to be the simple word Bismallah (“In the name of Allah”), although there seem to be slight variations.

    Does that prayer indicate an intent to sacrifice–or merely to invoke Allah’s blessing for the killing? I’d argue the latter. Not only is the prayer itself brief and ambiguous, but there is an actual Muslim ritual of sacrifice of animals during the pilgrimage to Mecca in celebration of Eid al-Adha, which means “Feast of Sacrifice” in Arabic (it celebrates Abraham’s willingness to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice). In fact, ritual animal sacrifice on that feast day seems to be a common practice in Islamic countries. That would indicate that Muslims themselves don’t regard ordinary, day-to-day halal slaughtering as a ritual of sacrifice.

    So I’d concluded that it is all right for Christians to eat halal meat produced by ordinary, day-to-day halal slaughtering. But I’m no expert on Islam, and it would be good to hear from a canon lawyer on this subject.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    When we look at the Gospels, there are two questions that St. Paul is dealing with on this issue:
    1.) Can Christians participate in the pagan ritualized meals where animals are ritually slaughtered, the bone and fat offered to the gods, and everyone then feasts on the BBQ? Generally speaking, these are civic festivals and a good way to get free food, especially for the poor. St. Paul says no, Christians cannot participate. (This leads to the Greco-Romans finding Christians to be anti-social, atheists, anarchists, and generally disturbers of the public good and civil society, as these festivals were seen as necessary to appease the gods and bring about well-being for the city-state.)
    2.) Can Christians eat meat sold in the market that has been slaughtered and sacrificed in one way or another with the meat ending up in the market one way or another? St. Paul says not to worry about the issue, but only refrain if it is brought to the attention of the Christian in such a way that it would scandalize other Christians.

    This allows us to see the distinction. 1.) Is a case where there is direct participation in the pagan liturgical rites, thus idolatry, even if one doesn’t believe in gods of the idols (thus the lie of “the action doesn’t count as idolatry if that was not the full intention”). 2.) Is a case where there is not direct participation but a benefiting from pagan liturgical rites (making straight out of the crooked).

    So with picking up a package of halal beef from the local grocery store. This falls under #2 and whether or not it is a reason for scandal is going to be very locally and culturally specific. That said, even given that there can be variance in the methodology, I would find some other meat strictly due to the methodology of slaughter. Let me recommend some nice pork as that will always be non-halal and you won’t have to worry about that.

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    The point is that the recipe, the meal – according to the report – was “rigorosamente halal” so that Muslims could eat it. That obviously requires the omission of pork.

    ipso facto it was NOT alla bolognese, as the recipe for the ragú in the Bologna manner absolutely requires a mix of minced beef and pork, as I’m sure that dear Father Z is already quite perfectly aware … [Which is why I wrote that it wasn’t.]

    (though I have no ideological aversion to tortellini with chicken filling)

    https://www.gamberorosso.it/notizie/storie/tortellino-di-pollo-la-storia-ricetta-originaria/

    Nei ricettari medievali e rinascimentali si contano un gran numero di tortelletti, annolini e ravioletti, ma i primi tortellini alla bolognese vengono descritti solo alla fine del Settecento da Francesco Leonardi all’interno della sua monumentale opera “L’Apicio moderno”. Non un cuoco qualsiasi, si badi bene, ma uno star chef dell’epoca che si era licenziato da cuoco personale di Caterina II di Russia perché non sopportava il freddo di San Pietroburgo.

    Questo grande cuoco, che riportò l’ago della bilancia della gastronomia sull’Italia dopo la lunga parentesi francese, annota una ricetta che non lascia spazio alle interpretazioni: “Pestate nel mortajo del petto di pollo arrosto, aggiungetemi midollo di manzo ben pulito, parmigiano grattato, un pezzetto di butirro, sale, noce moscata, cannella fina, e due rossi d’uova crudi”. Con questo ripieno si farciscono i tortellini alla bolognese e di maiale nemmeno l’ombra.

  8. Lurker 59 says:

    Forgot to mention that if one is concerned about halal meat, it would be wise to educate oneself by searching Google for

    halal meat in fast food chains

  9. cengime says:

    @Ages: St Theodore warned the Christians not to buy food at the market because Julian had blood sprinkled over all the food, rendering it unsuitable for Lent when the vision occurred, which is sufficient reason for it to have been shunned. Besides, it is contrary to the discipline of the Eastern Church, which still observes the dietary prohibitions of the Council of Jerusalem, so that a Byzantine Christian would not eat blood sausage at any time, though a Latin Christian can. Besides, though the Christians did not need to be saved from unwittingly eating trace amounts of blood, the vision served the purpose of humiliating Julian, who did not understand this, and foiling his evil intention. Besides, even if the Apostolic prohibition of meat sacrificed to idols was still necessary in the days of Julian the Apostate, it had passed away by the time of the Council of Florence.

  10. JEF5570 says:

    Once upon a time I worked as a butcher in a processing plant. I can tell you that there are many things in that world that look one way on paper and another way in reality. Most places that do halal slaughter just have a “tape” somewhere on the kill floor playing the song, and nobody even hears it. No Muslim need be present, or offer anything. Often a processing plant will certify as kosher and then also market the meat as halal, since a kosher kill is also considered halal. I honestly think most of the cultural concern about halal for Muslims comes down to blood. It’s a big no, no to eat it across the Middle East whether you’re Christian, Jew or Muslim, and I think it produces in them the same feeling of revulsion Americans would eating a dog or a cat even if one were in East Asia. I once slaughtered some goats for a Muslim family. I killed them according to the method prescribed, but I did not pray to allah or say anything while doing so. The carcasses were thoroughly bled out. They were happy with the end product and considered it halal. I was happy to be paid a premium for our livestock.

  11. veritas vincit says:

    I have heard that Arabic Christians call God “Allah” and that “Allah” is simply the Arabic for God.

    I also heard, many years ago, a teaching (perhaps from a Protestant minister), that there were 2 forms of idolatry: worshipping a false god, and worshipping the true God in a false way.

    There is no question that the worship of Muslims is a false worship, since they deny the Trinity and the Incarnation, and worship according to a false prophet. But it seems possible that the “Allah” they worship is the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews, even if their conception of that God is flawed and their worship idolatrous.

    If I were ever offered meat that I knew was halal, most likely I would eat it, unless my Muslim host made a point of telling me it was halal in a way that suggested I would be agreeing with his beliefs if I ate the meat. Perhaps conspicuously saying Christian grace over the meat might “baptize” it?

  12. JEF5570 says:

    @cengime, I think eating blood is more of a cultural thing rather than strictly ecclesiastical, since most Byzantines (Orthodox and Catholic) from Slavic lands have plenty of examples of blood sausages in their culinary heritage that no one seems to get worked up over. The same cannot be said of Melkite or Antiochian Byzantines or those belonging to the various other Churches centered in the Middle East (ie Copts, Assyrian, Maronites, etc, etc).

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    Interesting, relevant topic, thank you Fr. Z and all.

  14. Simon_GNR says:

    veritas vincit:
    “I have heard that Arabic Christians call God “Allah” and that “Allah” is simply the Arabic for God.”

    I’ve heard the same: if you ask an Arab Palestinian Christian whom he worships when he goes to Church on Sundays he would say “Allah” if he answered in his mother tongue. I’m convinced that Muslims’ God is the same as the Judeo-Christian God. The Muslims hold many false beliefs about the nature of God and His revelation to mankind, but it is still the same God. To me, there is a kind of hierarchy of proximity to the truth about God:
    1. Catholic
    2. Orthodox
    3. Anglican
    4. Other Trinitarian Protestant sects
    5. Unitarian
    6. Judaism
    7. Islam
    etc.

  15. ChesterFrank says:

    Oh I don’t know. I wish the article was more about the intricacies of lasagne alla bolognese and less about the other stuff. The lasagne makes my mouth water, the other stuff gives me a headache. I still don’t know if the answer is yes or no. Perhaps the pope should have prepared Pasta Fagioli or Pasta Con Sarde and avoided the whole debacle. I know that during one of the Muslim feast days they slaughter a goat for distribution to the poor. Would it be wrong for a hungry homeless Christian to accept that act of hospitality? I do think the pope was correct in trying to be understanding of the dietary restrictions of the people he was feeding. I think it commendable that he knew enough about them to understand that many were Muslim. I wonder how an Orthodox Rabbi would answer that question if someone Jewish had asked it.

  16. ChiaraDiAssisi says:

    ….so what about our Eastern brothers and sisters who live in Muslim dominated population that own or run mom and pop restaurants, food stands or just have neighbors over for dinner, celebrations..etc.? My point mainly is, that they have been employing halal butchers for centuries so all can partake of the food. It happens, that not everyone slaughters their own meat and the stores may only sell halal meat. Which, granted one may still live without the meat but, the argument is whether it is permitted.

    The Muslim ritual of killing an animal for the sake of human survival is to do this killing, in the name of God. I do speak Arabic and halal, meaning what is permitted, as in the way animal or food and drink is prepared and whether or not it is lawful under Muslim law is just that, whether it is permitted. Killing an animal in the name of ( Bismilllah, “Bi” = in “(i)sm”= In the name of, “Allah”= the name ” God”) ” Allah, when joined to Bism best I explain it takes on the vowel sound of kasra which is a small ( i ) sound in English. When the words are joined together quite simply, the slaughtering is* done in the name of God.

    Yes, the word Allah, does mean God and Christian’s were using it before Muslins and still do, to speak of the one true God, the Holy and undivided Trinty of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    Whether or not, reciting the words, Bismillah, in light of the knowledge of intention, means that it is an actual sacrifice to a false God, I am not qualified to say. I do know, folks more pious and learned than I, have not had a scruoke about eating or selling halal meat.

    Interesting topic to say the least. Would really like to hear from experts on this matter. Has there been a thing written forbidding Christian’s from eating halal meat in the past since Christian’s have been long been living in Muslim majority and occupied lands since the 700s!

  17. ChiaraDiAssisi says:

    ….so what about our Eastern brothers and sisters who live in Muslim dominated population that own or run mom and pop restaurants, food stands or just have neighbors over for dinner, celebrations..etc.? My point mainly is, that they have been employing halal butchers for centuries so all can partake of the food. It happens, that not everyone slaughters their own meat and the stores may only sell halal meat. Which, granted one may still live without the meat but, the argument is whether it is permitted.

    The Muslim ritual of killing an animal for the sake of human survival is to do this killing, in the name of God. I do speak Arabic and halal, meaning what is permitted, as in the way animal or food and drink is prepared and whether or not it is lawful under Muslim law is just that, whether it is permitted. Killing an animal in the name of God, ( Bismilllah, “Bi” = in “(i)sm”= In the name of, “Allah”= the name ” God” ) is what the entire halal ritual. Besides form (permitted substance) and matter, (utensils etc.). Allah, when joined to Bism best I explain it takes on the vowel sound of kasra which is a small ( i ) sound in English. When the words are joined together quite simply, the slaughtering is* done in the name of God.

    Yes, the word Allah, does mean God and Christian’s were using it before Muslims and still do, to speak of the one true God, the Holy and undivided Trinty of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    Whether or not, reciting the words, Bismillah, in light of the knowledge of intention, means that it is an actual sacrifice to a false God, I am not qualified to say. I do know, folks more pious and learned than I, have not had a scruple about eating or selling halal meat.

    Interesting topic to say the least. Would really like to hear from experts on this matter. Has there been a thing written forbidding Christian’s from eating halal meat in the past since Christian’s have been long been living in Muslim majority and occupied lands since the 700s!

  18. ArthurH says:

    Question: Is not Halal meat just the Islamic version of Kosher meat…. he says as a guy who grew up in the Bronx and ate all manner of Kosher meats? And since it is rabbi-authenticated I am sure there are prayers involved.

    Kosher is how the animals are killed, leaving the meat (at least in the Kosher style) bloodless. And it does change the flavor (and texture) to a degree compared with the bullet/nail in the brain or similar western style of dispatching food-meat to your ovens and grills.

  19. Just Some Guy says:

    “If the name “allah” is accidentally omitted the meat might [be] permissible.”
    Islamic Liturgy Science Theater 3000? ?
    Which makes me wonder, what if there’s a Muslim equivalent to Fr. Z’s Blog?
    “Imam Zeeshan’s Blog (Formerly What did Mohammad really say)” wherein, Imam Z rants about Muslims not correctly following the rubrics of the halal preparation and bad English translations of the Arabic prayers. Okay, I’ll stop now.

  20. TRW says:

    Many good points made by those who have already commented. When it comes to halal meat, I think Charlotte Allen described it well. It’s a blessing, not a sacrifice. There are many practices in Islam that relate to “ritual purity”. The various rules and proscriptions have some similarity to Jewish kosher laws or the various means of maintaining ritual purity that we see mentioned in the Old Testament. There were various populations of Jews settled in the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammed; the Jewish customs pertaining to ritual purity most certainly influenced the development of similar practices in Islam. Most of these Islamic customs are extra-quranic and are found in the hadith(collections of sayings and teachings attributed to Muhammed). As far as whether Muslims worship the same God as Christians, that is a difficult subject. The Quran explicitly denies Christ’s divine nature as well as the Trinity. Although modern-day Jews reject Christ’s Divinity, the Trinity and Our Lord’s Sonship as the promised Messiah, they can be said to worship the One True God because their worship of Yaweh predated the coming of our Lord. Their covenant was with the One True God, the God of Israel.
    The name Allah is a generic Arabic rendering of God and is used also by Arabic-speaking Christians. Are the attributes that Islam ascribes to Allah consonant with how the Church understands the nature of God? Even without entering into a discussion of the Incarnation, it seems that Islamic metaphysics and traditional Christian (Catholic) metaphysics regarding the nature of God are at odds with each other. The Aristotelian law of non-contradiction is not something that most Muslim theologians would even be comfortable employing as a useful means of describing God’s nature. They rely only on revelation…their FALSE revelation(the Quran). Christian revelation tells us what God’s Will is. He wills our Salvation in Christ! The will of Allah in Islam is in no way similar to what our God wills for us. Allah doesn’t will our redemption through the Sacrifice of Christ. It’s hard to work around that fact. Do those Christians who espouse a heretical Christology worship the same Christ? This is the deeper problem at issue with ecumenism.

  21. TonyO says:

    To my ears, the idea that the Muslim words recited over the killing of the animal is more a prayer and blessing than in the manner of a sacrifice is more probable. As far as I understand it, normally speaking a “sacrifice” means a “setting aside” for God’s sake. When the ancient Israelites (and before them, Noah, and Abel) offered sacrifice, either the whole animal, or at least a portion of it, was burned for God and not consumed by us; it was specially for God’s sake, which means not for mens’ sake. When the Greeks and Romans offered wine in sacrifice, they poured a libation out onto the ground or onto a stone, so it could not be had by men. If no part of the animal is reserved to God, in what way is it “sacrificed”? If ALL animals that they eat have had this ritual, then doesn’t this say that these animals are not “set aside” specially for God?

    That said, am I the only one puzzled and dismayed by the degree to which halal meats are making inroads in the US? There are approx. 3 million Muslims in the US, so roughly 1 out of every hundred in the country. But of course, they live in families and tend to live around other Muslims, so there are certainly MUCH higher concentrations in some places … which also implies that there are MUCH lower concentrations (than 1 in a hundred) in much of the US. Completely aside from being willing to satisfy Muslim sensibilities, I would think that the monetary cost-benefit ratio is hard to satisfy for most meat markets. It costs money to do the preparation, and to certify it, and to maintain it as a regular thing. Why and how are so many markets finding it cost effective and profitable to do this? Are they just taking a loss in order to get the Muslim business on other goods? That too seems improbable as a marketing plan – given the low ratio of Muslims in the population in most areas. What I fear is that our culture is so degraded, and so given to throwing off Christianity, that market managers are actually choosing to be halal-preferential, at an actual (monetary) lost and inconvenience, in order to be kindly and helpful to Muslims, in a way that they would REJECT doing for Christians (and, in at least some places, would especially reject doing for Catholics). That is to say, people are going out of their way to welcome Muslims and to repudiate Christians. I can’t prove this, I merely suspect it.

  22. Imrahil says:

    With all due respect, I think the reasoning on this question would go like this:

    Must Catholics automatically accept that the God of Jews and Christians and the god of Islam are the same?

    The question is immaterial. I do not know whether Catholic must accept this as a teaching of the Church; but first and foremost it is true as a matter of fact that Islam, while a false religion, is a false religion worshipping the True God.

    (“But Muslims are hostile to us!” – Well, so were Protestants in the 17th century. The idea that the more you are alike the more you are at peace with each other is not really in concord with history and human experience. Often, the worst enemies are the almost but not quite alike. – Now I know that our reverend host and most commentators come from a country which has the peculiar history of being founded with “syncretism of the Christian denominations”, but emphatically only the Christian denominations, for the civil religion which the law says they officially don’t have… but that is, while not worse than other arrangements, certainly not the natural state of affairs all over the world.)

    – Then, note that St. Paul (writing probably from a time before the decree of the Apostles’ Council, or to a region where it did not apply to) goes out of his way to say that in itself eating meat sacrificed to idols (even to real idols) is not wrong – unless, of course (as I might add), if you intend to take part in the sacrifice. He does add we should not do it for the weak brethren’s consciences’ sake (who might conclude that idolatry is okay to Christians).

    And then we have the decree of the Apostles’ Counil, whose primary aim was not to admonish against sin (though they do include fornication) but to formulate a compromise between the opposite dangers of Judaizing on the one hand and appearing to Jews as having utterly fallen into heathenry on the other, and enacting this compromise as a positive law. Hence, no meat sacrificed to idols, nothing suffocated (which does no longer bind), no blood (which does no longer bind), and – “by the way”, as it were – “don’t fornicate” (the only thing in the list that is really intrinsically a sin).

    So, a person who eats halal meat eats meat which would be unadvisable for charity (but not wrong in itself) according to St. Paul and which would be forbidden by decree of the Apostles’ Council (not unlike the blood sausage we all eat without committing sins) if it had been sacrificed (which is debatable but not sure) to an actual idol (which Allah is not). Need I say more?

    —–

    Of course, someone who chooses halal meat specifically, because of the Islamic rite, would be participating in a false religion (though not, specifically, idolatry). And of course I quite agree with the dear TonyO that the trend is deplorable… but there’s no worry that not resisting it here would be specifically sinful; and that’s one burden less on the faithful, hence a good thing.

  23. Pingback: THVRSDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  24. Hidden One says:

    I once spoke with a conservative imam about halal food.

    The imam explained that (permissible) animals slaughtered by “people of the book” are halal, however we Christians and Jews do the slaughtering. (He did note that there is some internal dispute about whether today’s Christians and Jews actually are people of the book, however.) He noted, among other things, that Muslims will buy kosher meat and other kosher stuff because it is all halal… as in fact is most non-meat food in a secular grocery store, whether marked as such or not.

  25. MrsAnchor says:

    This is Interesting timing: The HEK-293 is rearing its head again…

    “Aborted cells are used in the development of artificial flavor enhancers by biotech company Senomyx, with which PepsiCo signed a four-year, $30 million agreement in 2010 for research and development. No Pepsi products containing Senonymx flavor enhancers should be expected until 2013.
    Senomyx’s disputed cell line is HEK-293, derived from the kidney cells of an aborted baby.”

    Per LifeSiteNews: https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/confused-about-the-pepsi-fetal-cell-issue-here-are-the-facts

    So is this a matter of boycotting/calling in? Or Because it is done under the Radar and not explicitly stated we should leave it alone?
    Im wondering as many others even Non Christians/Christian Denominations have chimed in saying it IS a Form of Cannibalism. The new Baal/Molach Worship for Modern Times. Is this something to be aware of or just sensationalism and not to be given notice?

    Thanksgiving is nearing and hashing this out would be helpful..
    Thank You to Anyone who can sort this out. Much appreciated

  26. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    One thing to remember is allah is the word Arabic for god. Bibles in Arabic use the word allah for god even if the Egyptians don’t like it. So if the prayer/blessing is said in Arabic you would have to use the word allah.
    Personally, I would not assume anything when one says it is Halal. In NJ, places are allowed to use a halal symbol by issue of the State not a private institution like Kosher is. So different places allow different things.
    If this was a sacrifice, I doubt that Kosher places would allow there symbol to be used on item that have been sacrificed to another god. There are many items that have both halal and kosher symbols on it.

  27. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’m not trying to hagan lio toward our gracious host Fr. Z or other commentators here, but it occurs to me that lasagne could never be kosher as the dish contains both meat and dairy. Curious that this event was solicitous of Moslems, but not of Jews.

  28. dallenl says:

    I lived in the Muslim area of the southern Philippines for 10 years and none of our pastors or bishops said anything about not eating halal meat. To be sure, many of the Muslims were not exactly true believers in observing all the tenants of their religion but the markets and restaurants had signs up when they provided halal meat and most Christians that I knew did not give it a second thought.