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NewsReal Sunday: What Vatican II Did and Did Not Say about Muslims, Christians and Jews

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Posted on August 15 2010 11:00 am
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog LisaGraas.com since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.

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In response to my recent article Why Catholics Should Oppose the Building of a Mosque at Ground Zero, some Catholics on the Left took issue with what they call “intolerance” on my part. The Second Vatican Council is frequently cited as proof of my “intolerance“, so it’s important to take a look at what Vatican II said — and what it did not say — in regard to Catholicism’s relationship to non-Christian religions, but specifically Islam and Judaism, in order to shed some light.

Islam Mentioned Only Once, and In a Negative Tone

While Islam makes war on a global level against the non-Muslim world, there are unfortunately many who keep their heads comfortably (for now) buried in the sand or, worse, become apologists for Islam by maintaining that Vatican II recognized it as a legitimate religion. It may come as a surprise to the Left that within all of the documents promulgated in Vatican II, including Nostra Aetate, the word “Judaism” is never mentioned and the word “Islam” is mentioned only once,

…[Muslims] 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.

In stating that the “faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself” to Abraham, the Catholic Church has issued a hopeful denouncement. It’s helpful in seeking to understand this if one envisions the entire Ecumenical Council looking directly at Islam itself as a system and saying one thing only — “You take pleasure in linking yourself to Abraham” — then turning to address Muslims as individuals and indicating the beliefs we share in common with them. That is what happened in Nostra Aestate. Hence, the only mention of the word “Islam” in all of the documents of the Second Vatican Council has quite a negative tone. In pronouncing that Islam “takes pleasure in linking itself” to Abraham, while intentionally omitting any acknowledgement of a valid link, the Church has shown Islam to be claiming something that would be a good thing if it were actually true, but it’s not.

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