Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

My appearance in an essay in Sojourners

I make an appearance in this article from the left-wing religious magazine Sojourners. To provide greater context for the things I'm quoted as saying in the piece, here is what I said to the author in response to his request for my comments:

Dear Mr. Strong:

Thank you for your message.

I am a Catholic. I believe what the Catholic Church holds and teaches. So I believe the following, from the Declaration “Nostra Aetate” of the Second Vatican Council:

“The Church has also esteem for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God's plan, to whose faith Muslims link their own. Although not acknowledging Jesus as God, they revere him as a prophet; his virgin Mother they also honor, and even at times devoutly invoke. Further, they await the Day of Judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead. For this reason they highly esteem an upright life and worship God, especially by way of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. Over the centuries many quarrels and dissensions have arisen between Christians and Muslims. The sacred Council now pleads with all to forget the past, and urges that a sincere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding; for the benefit of all men, let them together preserve and promote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values.”

It has been my privilege and joy to work with dear Muslim friends, such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Suzy Ismail, and Ismail Royer to promote justice and moral values in standing up for the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, beginning with the life of the precious and vulnerable child in the womb; in defending religious freedom for people of all faiths and shades of belief; in arguing for a generous and compassionate policy of accepting refugees from persecution and terror; in fighting against the evils of pornography and human trafficking; and in standing up for marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Devout Christians would do well to remember that we do share much with our faithful Muslim brothers and sisters—the majority of whom, certainly here in the United States, want for their children what we want for ours: a peaceful society, a decent culture, a fair and flourishing economy, an excellent system of education, the freedom to worship and to bring our religiously-inspired convictions concerning justice and the common good into the public square and make our case, in freedom and peace, to our fellow citizens.

I do not know anything about these YouTube people you mention, nor did I bother to watch the video—which, from your description, sounds disgusting. There are all kinds of people out there claiming that they are true Catholics while utterly rejecting central, foundational Catholic moral teachings. Consider, for example, people like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, who support the killing of unborn children and would even force their fellow citizens to fund the slaughter with tax dollars. Just as the Catholic Church solemnly demands respect for the life of the child in the womb, the Church solemnly demands respect for the religious freedom of all—certainly including Muslims. The idea of forced conversion is antithetical to Catholicism. As the Church teaches in the declaration “Dignitatis Humane” of the Second Vatican Council, faith must be free and uncoerced. A compelled faith is no faith at all. Compulsion can produce only the outward forms of religious observance. It cannot produce the interior acts of intellect and will that are the substance of faith. Coercion in matters of faith is deeply opposed to the dignity of the human person.

Yours sincerely,

Robert George



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