Monday, August 15, 2016

Spencer v. Mgr Swetland: Papal Authority in Question?

There are several mid-length essays linked to the lead item.  All of them should be read.

In brief:  Robert Spencer, a Catholic deacon and proprietor of the JihadWatch site, debated Mgr. Swetland.  Following the debate, Mgr. Swetland issued a warning to Spencer, saying that statements of the Pope (which in this case include JPII, B-16, and Francis, not to mention VII's Nostra Aetate) affirming that Mohammedanism is a 'religion of peace' demand 'religious assent of mind and will' from Catholics.

In so doing, Mgr. Swetland elevated this question to one which is far more important to Catholics than a disagreement about the weather or presidential politics--in effect, he has told Spencer that Spencer's disagreement is a grave threat to the salvation of Spencer's soul, tantamount to denying the doctrine of the Assumption.


I think Spencer has the better of the argument here:

...Msgr. Swetland seems to think that affirming that Islam is a religion of peace is a matter of morals, as that is what the bulk of his quotations below are about....But is the affirmation that Islam is a religion of peace really a matter of Catholic faith or morals? I don’t see how: it’s a statement about the teachings of a different religion altogether. Is the content of the Buddhist or Hindu faith also a matter of Catholic morals? My contention is that the statements about Islam by the Second Vatican Council and recent Popes are not matters of faith or morals, and so do not fall within the realm of those matters upon which Catholics must assent to the statements of Popes and bishops....

It is one thing for the Pope to define Catholic faith and morals.  It is another thing entirely for a Pope to define Moslem faith and morals.  Spencer maintains that no Pope has the ability--or authority--to define Muslim belief, thus none of them can bind Catholics to believe an assertion that Mohammedanism is a 'religion of peace.'

This bears watching.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you think the problem about the peacefulness of Islam is a matter of Islamic theology or doctrine, and not Catholic magisterial teaching. Someone has not thought deeply about this all.

GOR said...

That anyone can claim that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ beggars belief. Anyone with a modicum of historical knowledge knows the contrary is true – From.Day.One…!

I studied history and didn’t need Vatican II, assorted Popes, CAIR or other useful idiots to try and convince me that Islam is anything but a warring movement bent on world domination.

It has been bent on conquest – by the sword - from the beginning. Anyone who thinks otherwise is willfully blind, an idiot or is whistling past the graveyard.

Any Monsignor – or Pope – who tries to teach people otherwise should turn in his collar and resign. They have lost all credibility.

Dad29 said...

you think the problem about the peacefulness of Islam is a matter of Islamic theology or doctrine

Well, yes, the Muslim problem results from Muslim theo/doctrine. It cannot come from anything else. Cult precedes culture.

Anonymous said...

If Islam is a Christian heresy, then the Church has the prerogative to define that heresy and the responsibility to correct it. That's a point lost on many.

And again if it is a Christian heresy then its definition cannot be left to its adherents, since the definition of heresy requires concomitant knowledge of the truth. That's a point lost on many.

The politicization of that heresy in history has little to nothing to do with the essence of Islam. We don't say that the Catholic Church essentially abuses women because some Catholic men exploit and manipulate Humanae Vitae to mask their lack of sexual virtue.

I'd back off from the Glenn Beck and try to think theologically as a Catholic.

Dad29 said...

OK, I'm familiar with Belloc.

Yet the WRITTEN WORD of Islam contradicts the 'religion of peace' definition.

I do not confuse (nor does Spencer) the individuals with the religion. But if theology is to be based on the facts at hand, then there is a disconnect here.

Belloc identified the heresy simply: Islam's Allah is NOT a Trinity. So in that fashion, "Allah" is also not the same God as the One of Christianity or Judaism. That happens to be the reason for the written--and practiced--bellicosity of Islam. (It would be nice--in addition--if the Pope(s) would clearly state that Islam IS a heresy, which is certainly within their competence.)

By the way, I have little use for Boeckh.

Aged parent said...

The problem with Robert Spencer, the toady of not-so-ex Trotskyite David Horowitz, is that he is first an ignoramus and, second: he will not see the causes behind this current flareup of Islamic fanaticism. The same holds true of provocateur Pamela Geller and that reliable stooge of the Shillman Foundation, William Kilpatrick. All of these clowns are hell-bent on stirring up Muslim rage....for what? So they can sit back and enjoy the fireworks? So they can count on good press from the neocon establishment? Does it matter to them that people are getting killed?

Apparently not. The Shillmans, Horowitz' and Gellers have two things in common. One of the two is that they wish to stir up trouble so that Uncle Sam can go merrily into the Mideast and blow up some more innocent Muslims AND CHRISTIANS and exterminate any opposition to their favorite little country over there.

I did not read what Swetland had to say but if he is a typically clueless indifferentist when it comes to religion his opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Ergo, a debate between an ignorant rabble-rouser and an ecumaniacal cleric cannot but be depressing in the extreme.

The other thing they have in common I will leave to your imagination.