28 September 2006

Gandhi Says...

Yusuf Islam joined in the criticism of Pope Benedict this past weekend. For those who don't know who Yusuf Islam is, he is the singer who was known as Cat Stevens before his conversion to Islam in 1977. Islam said the following in a BBC interview.

"At one point I used to believe that the Pope was infallible," Islam said, referring to teachings he received while attending a Catholic school as a boy.

The Pope should familiarize himself with more peaceful interpretation of the religion, such as the writings of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, the singer said.

The pontiff "should have looked elsewhere if he wanted to quote, but we respect the Pope and his position. I do believe he has retracted, in a way, that statement and that's all to the good," he said.

Islam says that the Pope's speech in Germany proves that the Pontiff is not infallible. Islam must not have been paying close enough attention when papal infallibility was taught in the Catholic school he attended.

The pope is infallible when he speaks ex cathedra -- that is, when, as pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church. Hence, there are four conditions for the exercise of papal infallibility, which we may summarize under the headings of (1) office, or subject of infallibility; (2) mode, or act of speaking infallibly; (3) content, or object of infallibility; and (4) recipient.
The Catholic Magisterium by Father Peter Joseph

More appropriately stated, the Pope is not always infallible. Could the Pope's speech in Germany have been fallible? Yes, but that would have no bearing on the instances when the Pope, who possesses the charism of infallibility, speaks ex cathedra or from the Sacred Deposit of Faith.

Islam may not have ever known the Catholic Faith well, or he might just be being disingenuous in order to attack the Pope because it hurts to hear the truth about his new religion.

That bit aside, there is another part of what Islam said that needs to be addressed. He suggested that the "Pope should familiarize himself with more peaceful interpretation of the religion, such as the writings of Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi." The reason that I looked back on this today is because I saw a post over at The Catholic Knight which had a quote by Gandhi regarding Islam.

Following the assassination of Swami Shraddhanand at the hands of a Muslim fanatic in December, 1926, Mahatma Gandhi had said: "Mussalmans have an ordeal to pass through. There can be no doubt that they are too free with the knife and the pistol. The sword is an emblem of Islam. But Islam was born in an environment where the sword was, and still remains, the supreme law. The message of Jesus has proved ineffective because the environment was unready to receive it. So with the message of the Prophet. The sword is yet too much in evidence among the Mussalmans. It must be sheathed if Islam is to be what it means - peace."

Yes, that certainly is a more peaceful interpretation of Islam.


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