Muslims in Vatican II

Here are two often used claims against Vatican II on the topic of Muslims and my responses that may provide you with some food for thought in your next debate.

Claim: Nostra Aetate #3 says that Muslims worship the creator of heaven and earth, but Muslims don’t worship the Trinity so this is wrong.

Response: It has been the position of the Church since the Apostles that the Jews worship God – the same God as the Catholics even though they do not recognize Jesus nor the Holy Spirit as God. The same logic here applies to Muslims who profess (i.e. does not necessarily mean do) to hold the faith of Abraham like the Jews. To deny this is to deny the link between the Old and New Testaments. This would destroy a basic tenant of Catholic thought resulting in a form of Gnosticism which held that the Old Testament God was not the same as the God of the New Testament. The Muslims get many things wrong. Yet, they get somethings right as well. Nostra Aetate clearly states in paragraph #2 that the Catholic Church holds the fullness of salvation. “Indeed, she [Church] proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.

In Fact, Pope St. Pius X goes even further than Vatican II in his Catechism Q12 under the communion of the saints section. All Vatican II says is that the Muslims worship God – that they are theists. St. Pius X’s catechism goes so far as to say that they worship the true God! That is something to recall when debating this issue. It was not something Vatican II came up with, and it never used the word true, just God as to point out that they are theists.

Claim: Lumen Gentium #16 says, “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims.” Makes it sound as if LG teaches Islam can save you or that we worship the same God.

Response: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-catechism-on-islam
Basically, you have to take this paragraph in context with paragraph 13 and the entire work. It would be odd to think Lumen Gentium (Light for the Nations) is actually teaching you can be saved outside the Catholic Church. –The Church would not be a light then would it? Paragraph 13 of Lumen Gentium starts with, “All women and men are called to belong to the new people of God” and ends with, “All are called to this catholic unity…” It clearly teaches that the Catholic Church is were all are called to be. Lumen Gentium then says people belong or relate in different ways to the Church. These ways are related in the subsequent paragraphs going from closely to distantly related.

Do Muslims worship the same God as Catholics? Muslims don’t get everything right because they don’t worship a Triune God, but they do profess (does not mean they actually do) to hold to the faith of Abraham. Thus, they worship imperfectly the one God just as the Jews do but do so imperfectly because of other wrong beliefs and misconceptions. Any quotations from previous Popes used to counter this claim should be read with the understanding that they also held that the Jews worship the same God, be it imperfectly, even though they did not believe in the Trinity. There would be little continuity between the New and Old testaments otherwise. To deny this would destroy a basic tenant of Catholic thought resulting in a form of Gnosticism which held that the Old Testament God was not the same as the God of the New Testament. In conclusion, Lumen Gentium teaches that the Catholic Church is for salvation but others only have limited connections to God and need to journey closer.

In Fact, Pope St. Pius X goes even further than Vatican II in his Catechism Q12 under the communion of the saints section. All Vatican II says is that the Muslims worship God – that they are theists. St. Pius X’s catechism goes so far as to say that they worship the true God! That is something to recall when debating this issue. It was not something Vatican II came up with, and it never used the word true, just God as to point out that they are theists.

Published by PromoteVaticanII

Protecting, Providing for and Promoting the message of Vatican II

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