The Slave of the Koran

2 07 2009

I am the slave of the Koran
While I still have life.
I am the dust on the path of Muhammad,
The Chosen One.
If anyone interprets my words
In any other way,
I deplore that person,
And I deplore his words.

-Jalalu’ddin Rumi

The above text came as a bit of a surprise to me when I found it. After all, this is Rumi we are talking about; well-loved by poetry fans, spiritual seekers, and agnostics everywhere. This is not some closed-minded mullah who demands obedience to religious precepts, but someone who talks about love, mysticisim, and the ultimate inability to know God through human knowledge.

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Exorcising the Ghost of Assisi

27 08 2008

For the devotee of the Lefebvrist movement, 1987 was a water shed year. The ecumenical prayer meeting at Assisi was cited by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as one of the events that led him to consecrate four bishops without the consent of the Pope of Rome a year later and thus incur the penalty of excommunication for all involved in that action. There was no excuse, according to his argument, for medicine men to practice their craft in the streets sanctified by the feet of St. Francis, or for idols to be put atop Catholic altars. Regardless of what side you happen to fall on in the debate, for the typical orthodox Catholic, Assisi just didn’t look right. And it is hard to argue that it was not exactly what it appeared to be. As a former adherent of that movement, these residual criticisms still linger in me.
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Ecumenism with a Spine

22 05 2008

I found this link on the Remnant Newspaper page on a group of Lutheran clergy in Latvia going on an Ignatian retreat with the Society of St. Pius X. It’s odd that many people regard the Lefebvrists as mean people who drown puppies in buckets and breath fire, but actually, they are all kinds of good people. A thing similar to this happened when I was living in an SSPX retreat house in the year 2000, as I have recounted in my post on the Russian Orthodox monk, Archimandrite Anastassy. He sent his spiritual daughter, an Orthodox abbess, on retreat with us for five days, and everyone, including the faithful, bent over backwards to make them feel welcomed.

Which brings me to my point: the most charitable way to act towards non-Catholics is to be yourself, that is, Catholic. If you try to hide your Catholic treasures under a bushel basket or be “diplomatic” about points of contention, no one in the end will trust you, though it all might lead to some civil banter. (Heads of ecumenism offices, take note.) The Lutheran pastors above just wanted to know what Catholics really believed, and they felt they had to go to a bunch of schismatic “integrists” to learn it.  I think this was the same attitude of our Russian Orthodox visitors, though Fr. Anastassy, as I have written, probably had other motives. (More cynical readers will probably say that the Protestants wanted to learn Catholicism from other “Protestants”, i.e. the schismatic Lefebvrists. I find such comparisons childish and unfounded.)

I do firmly believe that all faith traditions are pointed toward the truth since they long for it (heck, even rocks long for union with the One). The language of Catholicism is the most pure expression of the Incarnation, though everything, by its mere existence, hints at it. The way to truly seek unity is to continue on the road that our most perfect faith tradition has made for us. Perhaps it is only through this way, through holding fast to the letter and spirit of Catholic tradition, that we will truly discover and gather together the fragments of truth scattered throughout humanity, and in this way have a chance at real, profound unity.