Vatican says Pope cannot sign collective response to Muslims

October 23, 2007

popesigns.jpgA new twist has appeared in the back-and-forth between the Vatican and the Muslim scholars calling for a Christian-Islamic dialogue.

It seems Vatican protocol may partly be responsible for holding up an official Catholic response. “I’m favourable to a quick response to the letter,” said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, adding the Vatican still had “to study what kind of response to make and with whom”.

Then the head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue explained one of the problems to be solved.

“The Pope cannot respond and sign a collective letter,” he told the French Catholic news service I.Media. He gave no reason why, but Vatican protocal can be baroque and contain strict guidelines about what a pope can and cannot do.

Tauran said he might end up being the Vatican signatory if a collective response is agreed. Several non-Catholic churches have already reacted positively, especially the Anglicans and Lutherans, and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said he was consulting his counterparts at the Naples meeting to see if they could respond with one voice.

Discussing the latest letter from Muslim scholars calling his responses to date negative, Tauran told I.Media that the original appeal was “a positive signal, with quotes from the Bible, but some questions remain. When we speak of the love of God, are we speaking about the same love?”

Do readers have an opinion about this? Does the Muslim appeal rate a quick reply? Is the Catholic Church slowing down what other Christian Churches want to make progress on?


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I believe that the Muslim missive deserves a detailed and careful response. Haste will not be beneficial.

I am firmly convinced that any response should be made in full consideration of al-taqeyya & kitman which were artfully employed in the Muslim Missive.

My own response is #7 in the list of “Nay Sayers” published on the missive’s web site under the Media Response button.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Does it deserve a quick response from the Pope?
It most certainly does…correction: did. He should have welcomed its tone and intention immediately….What clearly came from a God- given inspiration deserved a godly response.
It did not get it.
Presumably the Vatican is having to make all sorts of calculations before it commits itself. A complete failing in enlightenment.

As for Tauran’s comment:”When we speak about the love of God are we speaking about the same love?” What a narrow-minded reaction. Words fail me to describe how inappropriate such a comment is.
It makes me think that Tauran has a purely academic experience and outlook on the warm, vibrant, positive, all-embracing love of God as illlustrated by Jesus Christ.
A question that comes straight from the barren heart of Spirit-less academic theologising.

The Vatican will slow everything down – and continue doing so – until it is bowled over, turned inside out, purified and renewed by a living passionate devotion and obedience to the Holy Spirit – to Whom it pledges obedience only in words.
The Vatican has not yet taken Pope John XXIII’s call to holiness seriously.

It is this dullness of heart that led Pope Benedict into his awful gafe with that speech of his, that aroused the ire of many Muslims. What an opportunity he missed. Instead of delivering a learned academic lecture – which only satisfies ego – he had the opportunity to reach, in love, to his Muslim brethren everywhere, calling for co-operation, healing of past hurts, work for world peace and prosperity.
His heart, clearly, was not functioning.
That is why the Vatican slows things down. Because in its heart, where the love of God should be, is only dry, non-life giving theologising.

I know there are exceptions in the Vatican. By the law of averages there must be. Men genuinely alive to the living God. But they are not in the driving seats. They are not the determiners of policy which should mean, in Christian leadership groups, words and actions inspired by the Spirit of God.

John Abrami

Posted by john abrami | Report as abusive

” Does the Muslim appeal rate a quick reply? ”

but not in the way that you might think…

The letter
(available here; g=en&page=downloads

begins and ends with the call for the respect of the Unity of God.
This has often served as a veiled attack upon the Trinity, and as such, cannot be signed without a clarification that the Trinity represents a Unity,
and that it is expected that Muslim scholars will respect that, and refrain from further criticisms of it.

The letter is an excellent platform for the Pope to call for the Muslim scholars to condemn any and all attacks upon Christians and Churches in all Muslim countries; to condemn violence against converts to Christianity; to allow new Churches to be built as the worshipers feel a need to do so; and to treat Christians in Muslim lands with TRUE equality.
Let us see the Muslim example of how they vie with us in ‘good works’ in how they treat the people in their own countries.

I would love to see the Pope call them on it!


Posted by exdemexlib | Report as abusive

” Does the Muslim appeal rate a quick reply? ”

Absolutely. In fact, it is too late for “quick” now. The care, concern, respect & efforts made by the Muslim writers deserves the same in return. The Pope had a rare & very precious opportunity here – one which he completely threw away. I am deeply disappointed.
Sadly, I also hear, in some of the comments, continued discrimination and ignorance about Islam and average Muslims. These responses are not about either, but are aimed towards the Islamacists (& if you don’t know the difference, this means “you”.) Both Christianity and Islam were founded on the very same texts of the Old Testament, and thus have the same foundations & basic precepts. The difference is in the change in Christian belief in the New Testament. Moderate Muslims do respect that Christians believe in the Trinity, just as they ask for understanding and respect that they do not. Surely equal respect is required.
According to the evidence, and other situations that have arisen during this Pope’s term, I do believe that he, and thus the Church, is slowing down an opportunity for all – both Muslim & Christian – to reach an understanding, to gain education and to resolve the nonsensical divisiveness and hostility that only men – not God – create.

Posted by Shelley | Report as abusive

” Does the Muslim appeal rate a quick reply? ”

Yes, the delay by the Vatican will only reinforce that which we know, that, the Vatican does not under any circumestances want to hold talks or recognise the Islamic Faith as do Muslims recognise the People of the Scriptures.

The deserts will turn green before the Vatican will spend its ink on paper replying to Muslims unless it is to scorn.

The Kingdom of God is Copy righted by the Vatican and none shall enter yet alone knoch on it’s gates.

The impossible may still happen!

Posted by Basil Alya | Report as abusive

” Does the Muslim appeal rate a quick reply? ”

The Pope had a rare & very precious opportunity here – one which he completely threw away. I am deeply disappointed.

Posted by Don Wyatt | Report as abusive

The Pope is right to take his time and question the word’love’. As I understand it love for Islam only means love for muslims as we are in the ‘house of war’ and they are ‘the house of peace’.

Posted by M Manning | Report as abusive

The Vatican will act one day to this “Common Word.” In a way, it already has. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about Muslims:

The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” – CCC 841

Of course, I know that Muslims deny the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement for sins by His shed blood on the cross. They deny He is God in flesh, who died and was raised for our justification. Muslims and Catholics do not worship God. Catholics worship a piece of bread (the Eucharist) and Muslims worship the god of this world. The Quran is not holy, not inspired by God. As for this Jesus they adore, they believe he will come back to marry, have children and then die. They also believe this Jesus (Isa or the Antichrist) will come to unite the world’s religions and will form one-world government.

Posted by Kenneth M. Daugherty | Report as abusive