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I am Catholic but because I am convinced

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on December 10, 2009

I am Catholic but because I am convinced

By: jeoff
jtl716@yahoo.com
203.177.73.190

I just happened to surf this site.I’m also a Catholic and believed that it is the true Church not because I was born a Catholic but because I am convinced.

The basis of catholic faith is the Holy bible and Holy Tradition(i.e.,teachings of the apostles, passed by word of mouth,from the earliest times up to now). Before the bible was written, there was already the tradition. Then they (the apostles and later their successors-you may search on the works of the fathers of the Church)thought that it would be better to write those teachings,so it won’t be forgotten..then came the bible.
And so, the answer to your question is YES…What the Church does (The Magisterium)is to expand those teachings (both in the bible and tradition).The Church does not make new doctrines.God’s revelation ended with the death of St. John The Apostle..And as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit guides the Church so it won’t go astray from the teachings laid down by Christ.
Thank you.

Posted in Converts | 7 Comments »

An INC to Be Baptized tomorrow

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on April 13, 2009

An INC to Be Baptized tomorrow

From:

A convert to Catholicism was baptized and confirmed last year in the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy’s Tridentine Easter Vigil. My mother also helped an Aglipayan to be formally received into the Church last year (with conditional baptism, not just confirmation) . So, yes, there are converts here and there. Now, if only they could articulate their reasons for conversion

I’m glad to see that some priests are willing to err on the side of prudence, and so confer conditional baptism even for Protestants and Aglipayans coming into the Church. The opposite practice — that of not conditionally baptizing people with doubtfully valid baptisms — is fraught with consequences that may be spiritually unpleasant. Given that so many non-Catholic churches like to fudge, or get creative with, their baptismal rites, one can never be too sure!


From: Filipino Catholic
To: apologia Navarro, Pinoy Defensores
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 9:32:29 PM
Subject: [apologia-ph] An INC to Be Baptized tomorrow

Hello everyone!

I watched Servant of God Fr. Patrick Peton’s Family Rosary Crusade at ABC 5 this 12:00 noon, and Fr. Eric Santos announced that there will be an Iglesia Ni Cristo to be baptized tomorrow Easter in Tondo. Anybody here who knows somebody from that show? We are surely interested to know the conversion story of this person.

God bless you all!

FC

Posted in Converts, Iglesia ni Cristo-Manalo | 6 Comments »

The Conversion to the Catholic Church of the Former Atheist Jennifer Fulwiler

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 20, 2009

The Conversion to the Catholic Church of the Former Atheist Jennifer Fulwiler

Link: http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2009/03/conversion-to-catholic-church-of-former.html

The Lord Jesus as the All-Powerful God [Pantokrator], King of the Universe and Teacher of All.

From Atheist to Catholic

‘Unshakable’ Rationalist Blogged Her Way Into the Church
BY Nona Aguilar

March 22-28, 2009 Issue Posted 3/13/09 at 8:04 AM
‘Unshakable’ Rationalist Blogged Her Way Into the Church
Jennifer Fulwiler “always thought it was obvious that God did not exist.”

Fulwiler grew up a content atheist. Having a profound respect for knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge, Fulwiler was convinced that religion and reason were incompatible. Not surprisingly, she was also emphatically anti-Christian and, especially, anti-Catholic. “Catholic beliefs seemed bizarre and weird,” she says.

Fulwiler would have been astonished to know that she and Joe Fulwiler, her husband, would come to embrace those “bizarre,” “weird” beliefs. On Easter 2007, they entered the Catholic Church with deep joy and a sense of coming home — and a blog aided their conversion.

Register correspondent Nona Aguilar spoke to Jennifer Fulwiler about the couple’s unexpected journey.

There is always a first step that leads to belief in God. What was yours?

Thanks to meeting and knowing my husband, I learned that belief in God is not fundamentally unreasonable. We met at the high-tech company where we both worked. Joe believed in God — something that, fortunately, I didn’t know for a while.

Why was that fortunate?

To me, belief in God was so unreasonable that, by definition, no reasonable person could believe in such a thing. I felt I could never be compatible with someone that unreasonable. Had I known that Joe believed in God, I would never have dated him.

What was your reaction when you found out?

It gave me pause. Joe is too smart — brilliant, really, with degrees from Yale, Columbia and Stanford — to believe in something nonsensical. I also met many of his friends. They, too, are highly intelligent — some with M.D.s and Ph.D.s from schools like Harvard and Princeton — and believed.

None of this made me believe in God, of course, but I could no longer say that only unreasonable or unintelligent people believe.

What caused you to consider the question more seriously?

I have always been a truth-seeker, which is why I was an atheist. But I had a prideful, arrogant way of approaching questions about life and meaning. I now realize that pride is the most effective way to block out God so that one doesn’t see him at all. Certainly, I didn’t.

The birth of our first child motivated me to seek the truth with humility. I can’t emphasize this point enough: Humility, true humility, is crucial to the conversion process.

Most atheists are unchanged after their children’s births. Why were you so affected?

First, I had already begun thinking about the possibility of God’s existence. After our son’s birth, I wanted to know the truth about life’s great questions — for his sake. For the first time, I was motivated to seek truth with true humility. For example, I began reading, studying, and thinking about the great minds. Most, if not the majority, believed in some other world, some higher power, a god or gods — something. Even the great pre-Christian thinkers like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates believed.

Another avenue of exploration: I always revered the great scientists, including the founders of the significant branches of science. Very few were atheists. Indeed, some of the greatest were profoundly believing Christians.

It could be argued this was because they were steeped in the Christian culture and beliefs of their times.

That ignores a larger question I began asking myself: Is it really likely that great minds like Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Descartes and others didn’t know how to ask tough questions? Do these people seem to be men who didn’t know how to question assumptions and fearlessly seek truth? Of course not.

Was your husband a help in this process?

Eventually, but not at first. Religion wasn’t something we talked about. Joe was a non-churchgoing Baptist, which was fine by me. In fact, since I was an atheist, I considered not talking about God to be a good compromise. Our lives were completely secular — just like our wedding.

No church wedding?

Definitely not! I wore a purple dress; we married in a theater with a friend officiating, using vows we wrote ourselves. The ceremony took seven minutes, then we all partied all night long. In fact, we didn’t even technically get married at our wedding: We did that at city hall a few days before.

Was there ever an aha moment that finally made you abandon atheism?

Several, but one in particular actually shocked me.

I asked myself two questions: What is information? And: Can information ever come from a non-intelligent source?

It was a shocking moment for me because I had to confront the fact that DNA is information. If I remained an atheist, I would have to believe that all the intricate, detailed, complex information contained in DNA comes out of nowhere and nothing.

But I also knew that idea did not make sense. After all, I don’t look at billboards — which contain much simpler information than DNA — and think that wind and erosion created them. That wouldn’t be rational. Suddenly, I found that I was a very discomfited atheist.

Is that the point at which you began to believe in God?

No. But now I was a reluctant atheist. I had lots of questions but knew no one who might have answers: I had always consciously, deliberately distanced myself from believers. So, coming from the high-tech world, where did I go for answers? I put up a blog, of course! I started posting tough questions on my blog.

One matter stood out from the beginning: The best, most thoughtful responses came from Catholics. Incidentally, their answers were consistently better than the ones from atheists. It intrigued me that Catholics could handle anything I threw at them. Also, their responses reflected such an eminently reasonable worldview that I kept asking myself: How is it that Catholics have so much of this all figured out?

Was your husband helpful to you at this point?

As I started telling Joe some of the answers that I was getting, especially from Catholics, his own interest in religion — and Catholicism — was piqued. We have always been a great team, so it was wonderful that we were exploring these issues and questions together, especially since we were so anti-Catholic.
Both of you?

Yes. I thought the Church’s views on most things, but especially marriage, contraception and abortion (since I was then ardently pro-choice), were simply crazy. Joe’s anti-Catholicism, while different, was stronger and more settled. He didn’t understand any Catholic doctrine or apologetics, so he fell into a stereotyped view of Catholics, thinking that they made idols of the pope and Mary, etc. Also, it never really occurred to him to take seriously the idea that Jesus founded one Church. He just assumed the way to pick a church is to find one that fits your personality.

Your conversion has impacted your daily life. What change, in particular, stands out in your mind?

Community! There is nothing like it in atheism. I never understood what people meant by members of the Church being part of the body of Christ, but now I really get it. By being part of the one, holy Catholic Church, there is a palpable connection I now have with other Catholics, even people I don’t know. It’s been amazing to experience that connection and community.

Nona Aguilar writes
from New York City.

Posted in Converts | 1 Comment »

THE BEREANS ARE NEITHER HERE NOR THERE by Atty. Marwil Llasos

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 9, 2009

THE BEREANS ARE NEITHER HERE NOR THERE

by Atty. Marwil Llasos

Link:http://marwil-n-llasos.blogspot.com/

http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2009/03/bereans-are-neither-here-nor-there-by.html

Madonna and Child with Prayer Book

BEREANS ARE NEITHER HERE NOR THERE!!!
A perennial source of embarrassment for many modern-day Protestants, evangelicals included, is when they are confronted with a question on how come they do not believe the same doctrines that the reformers taught, asserted and defended.

One such doctrine is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Catholics defend this belief in solidarity with the early church and virtually the whole of orthodox Christendom throughout the ages. Mary’s perpetual virginity is held by the Eastern Orthodox, many Anglicans and Lutherans. Moreover, the founding fathers of Protestantism like Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, among others.

In my reply to the blog of a faceless, anonymous and amateur “apologist” from a rag-tag aggrupation of evangelicals from various “faith traditions” – the so-called “Bereans Apologetics and Research Ministry” – I raised the following:
“Why did the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, teach the heretics the truth which He did not teach mainstream and orthodox Christians?”
Even the Reformers believed the “concocted spurious theory” of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

Martin Luther (1483-1546): It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. … Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact. (Weimer’s The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 11, pp. 319-320; v. 6. p. 510.)

This immaculate and perpetual virginity forms, therefore, the just theme of our eulogy. Such was the work of the Holy Ghost, who at the Conception and birth of the Son so favoured the Virgin Mother as to impart to her fecundity while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity.

In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such great good things were given her that no one can grasp them. … Not only was Mary the mother of him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God. (Weimer’s The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 7, p. 572.)

John Calvin (1509-1564): It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. … Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary as at the same time the eternal God. (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, v. 45, p. 348, 35.)
Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531):
I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, p. 424.)

These Reformers read the same Bible as RODIMUS and other evangelicals read. How come they had a different conclusion? In fact, my question to modern day Protestants is why they do not anymore believe in the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, a doctrine which was asserted and defended even by their very own founders. The contradiction it seems lies in the position of the Reformers and modern evangelicals.

In believing Mary’s perpetual virginity, were the Reformers heretics? If so, Protestantism (and all its offshoots) was founded by heretics. If they were wrong on Mary’s perpetual virginity, they can be wrong on so many things.

If the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is not heresy, then what is my good friend and brother RODIMUS crowing about?

The answer that I got from the Bereans is neither here nor there. Their somewhat discombobulated reply miserably failed to answer the issues head-on. As is typical of their argumentation, the Bereans skirted the issue. This is the evasive reply of Rodimus of the Bereans –

Now, Atty. Llasos presented historical evidences that the Perpetual Virginity of Mary was believed even by the Reformers Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. While it may be true that these Reformers believed Mary’s perpetual virginity, one has to consider their circumstances during their time. These men were reforming a 1,200 year old church from which they came (I say 1,200 year old church because I believe that the Church of Rome was founded only after 300AD and the reformation occurred after 1500AD). The focus of the Reformers was on the Lord Jesus Christ. They made sure that Christ was the one deified and not Mary. The process of changing wasn’t overnight and the task of reforming may have been extended to their successors.

Excuse me? This response is no response at all. It is simply not responsive to the questions I squarely raised. It’s like asking Rodimus “How are you?” and his reply is “I’m seven years old.” Can you beat that?

Before we analyze the totally flawed rationalization of the Bereans, let me remind you that I brought up issue of the reformers’ belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity in the light of Rodimus sweeping and unfounded accusation. He said: “the Roman Catholics are desperate that they concoct some spurious theories to obscure the truth without realizing it backfires on them.” So, my challenge to him was to identify who are these desperate Roman Catholics who concocted the “spurious theory” of Mary’s perpetual virginity and when did these desperate Roman Catholics concoct the “spurious theory” of Mary’s perpetual virginity. These questions were sadly not answered. The accountant cannot account for an answer.

Thus, if indeed it is true that “desperate Roman Catholics” concocted the spurious theory of the perpetual virginity of Mary, as Rodimus would have us believe, how come the early church fathers believed in it (to think that, according to Rodimus, there was no “Roman Church” before 300AD)? More so, the Protestant reformers also believed and defended it. Can Rodimus account for that?

He can’t. Notice the evasive answer that he gave. I also raised these questions:

These Reformers read the same Bible as Rodimus and other evangelicals read. How come they had a different conclusion?

Why do modern day Protestants do not anymore believe in the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, a doctrine which was asserted and defended even by their very own founders?

Why is there contradiction between the position of the Reformers and modern evangelicals?

In believing Mary’s perpetual virginity, were the Reformers heretics? If so, Protestantism (and all its offshoots) was founded by heretics. If they were wrong on Mary’s perpetual virginity, they can be wrong on so many things.

If the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is not heresy, then what is Rodimus crowing about?

The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind… Let us now analyze the ratiocination of the Bereans:

Now, Atty. Llasos presented historical evidences (sic) that the Perpetual Virginity of Mary was believed even by the Reformers Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin.

Notice how Rodimus misappreciated the issues I raised. I did not merely raise historical evidence (which Rodimus by the way did not refute), I raised categorical questions. These were not answered.

While it may be true that these Reformers believed Mary’s perpetual virginity, one has to consider their circumstances during their time.

This is also not responsive to any of the questions. Rodimus skirted the issues. Note that Rodimus tried to explain away the faith of the reformers by appealing to the “circumstances during their time.” What were these circumstances? Rodimus said:

These men were reforming a 1,200 year old church from which they came (I say 1,200 year old church because I believe that the Church of Rome was founded only after 300AD and the reformation occurred after 1500AD).

This is where the Bereans display their utmost ignorance of church history. What 1,2000 year old church? Notice that Rodimus merely expressed his “belief” that the “Church of Rome” was founded only after 300AD. Hello? What’s your proof? The Bereans call themselves the Bereans “Apologetics and Research Ministry.” Is this the quality of their research? Is this the best that the Bereans have to offer? Pure guesswork!

Let’s press the Bereans to back up their unfounded assertions with solid and credible evidence. Can Rodimus tell us who founded the Church of Rome and when exactly the Church of Rome founded?

The focus of the Reformers was on the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is again an unfounded allegation. Aside from the bare assertion, Rodimus offered no exact quotes from the Reformers that their focus in teaching the perpetual virginity was on the Lord Jesus Christ (see: my quotes above).
Nevertheless, the Bereans’ ignorance of Catholic teaching is all too apparent. For us Catholics, Mary’s perpetual virginity is not much about her but about Him.
Rodimus is woefully incompetent to tell us Catholics what we believe. As a cradle evangelical, Rodimus is unqualified by any to pose as an expert on the Catholic faith.

As a Catholic apologist and Marian lecturer, I think that I am in a much better position than Rodimus or any of the Bereans to state what we Catholics believe regarding Mary’s perpetual virginity and why. I have consistently pointed out in my writings and lectures that: “The Catholic Church emphatically affirms the truth of Mary’s perpetual virginity because it is a corollary truth to the Virgin Birth of Our Lord. It is intended to safeguard the virginal conception of Jesus Christ which is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity. The Virgin Birth points out the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mary’s perpetual virginity is a sign of that uniqueness. Hence, God’s wisdom decreed Mary’s perpetual virginity to safeguard the Virgin Birth of Our Lord. An only child was unusual during the time of Christ. If Jesus were not the only child of Mary, His birth would not appear miraculous. If Jesus had brothers and sisters, the people of His time would always suspect that He was born the normal way.”

Likewise, I had occasion to state: “Jesus’ unique Sonship from Mary reflects His unique Sonship in eternity. Christ is the only-begotten Son of the Father, who begets Him eternally without the help of a mother. He is also the only Son of Mary, who conceives Him in time without the help of a man. It is also further affirmation of the holiness and Deity of Jesus. It would not have been fitting for the womb which bore the Savior to bring sinners into the world (which any hypothetical child of Joseph and Mary would have been). As the ancient Ark of the Covenant was consecrated for sacred use, so the New Ark could not be defiled by common usage.

Moreover:Jesus’ unique Sonship from Mary reflects His unique Sonship in eternity. Christ is the only-begotten Son of the Father, who begets Him eternally without the help of a mother. He is also the only Son of Mary, who conceives Him in time without the help of a man.

An early church father, Theodotus of Ancyra (d. before 446 AD), saw the perpetual virginity of Mary as proof of the divinity of her Son. He said:

No mother of a man has ever remained a virgin. Have you seen how this birth offers us a twofold consideration regarding the One who is born? If he had been born like us, he would have been a man, but if he kept his Mother a virgin, it is clear, for those who know how to think, that the One who is born is God” [Theodotus of Ancyra, Homily 2, cited in Luigi Gambero, S.M., Mary and the Fathers of the Church (San Francisco, California: Ignatius, 1999) pp. 262-263].

Simply, the focus of the Catholic Church in teaching Mary’s perpetual virginity is on Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, and not on Mary herself. They made sure that Christ was the one deified and not Mary.

This is an old, old regurgitated lie! Catholics don’t deify Mary, period. Rodimus again did not bother to present proof that in teaching Mary’s perpetual virginity, we are making her a goddess. I challenge Rodimus to give us some quotes from official Catholic sources that teach that Mary’s perpetual virginity makes her a goddess.

Evangelical Prof. Tim Perry, in assessing the patristic teaching on Mary’s perpetual virginity, states: “It is in these christological and soteriological contexts that Mary’s virginity – whether ante partum, in partu or post partum – arises” [Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2006) p. 150].

Pope Leo the Great (ca. 400-461) affirmed Mary’s perpetual virginity in its incarnational context in his letter to the Bishop of Constantinople:

He was truly conceived of the Holy Spirit within the womb of his Virgin Mother, who bore him while preserving her virginity just as, preserving her virginity, she conceived him … Fecundity was given to the Virgin by the Holy Spirit, but the reality was taken from her body … He was born in a “new type of birth” in that undefiled virginity experienced no concupiscence, yet supplied the material for the flesh. From the Mother the Lord took his nature, but no fault; and the Lord Jesus Christ, born from a virgins womb, does not have a nature different from ours just because his birth was an unusual one” [Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon 22: 25 December 441; quoted in Tim Perry, Mary for Evangelicals (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2006) p. 159].

In the quotation I gave above, Theodotus of Ancyra underscored the Lord’s divinity when he defended Mary’s perpetual virginity. In no way did he deify Mary. That’s our Catholic faith. Sadly, the Bereans are like ostriches who bury their heads in the sand. They don’t see the real score. Their anti-Catholic prejudice and bias have blinded them no end. I pray for God’s grace alone to penetrate their opaque minds.

MORE: I asked Rodimus the question that if in believing Mary’s perpetual virginity, were the Reformers heretics? If so, Protestantism (and all its offshoots) was founded by heretics. If they were wrong on Mary’s perpetual virginity, they can be wrong on so many things. Rodimus cannot categorically say if the Reformers were heretics in believing the perpetual virginity of Mary. All Rodimus could say is that the focus of the reformers was on Christ and not on Mary and they made sure that Christ was “deified” and not Mary.

It is thus clear that for Rodimus and the Bereans, the issue is not Mary’s perpetual virginity per se but the motive, reason or intent for such a belief. It would thus seem that for Rodimus, it is alright for you to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity as long as you focus on Christ and not on Mary and as long as you deify Christ and not Mary.

So why is Rodimus especially hard on us Catholics who believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity when, as I have explained, the focus of our belief that Mary is ever-virgin is her Son Jesus Christ. In teaching and believing the perpetual virginity of Mary, we Catholics in no way make her a goddess or a member of the Godhead.

Rodimus’ and the Bereans double standard explains their implacable hatred for Catholicism. Their hardcore hatred for all things Catholic has clouded their rational judgment.

If the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity per se is not heresy, Rodimus has absolutely nothing to crow about Catholics who believe that teaching.
The process of changing wasn’t overnight and the task of reforming may have been extended to their successors.

That’s not reform. It is a REGRESSION! The belief that Mary had other children, which modern evangelicals now believe contrary to the unanimous voice of Christianity up until the reformation, is a drawback to the belief of heretical individuals and sects like Helvidius, Jovinian, the Antidicomarianites, Ebionites, certain Arians, Eudocius and Eunomius [Cf. Luigi Gambero, S.M., Mary and the Fathers of the Church [San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press, 1999] pp. 122-123].

And so, my question remains hanging in the air: “Why did the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, teach the heretics the truth which He did not teach mainstream and orthodox Christians?”

May I add: “Why did the Holy Spirit teach to the evangelicals of today what He taught to the heretics of yesterday?”

And by the way, of the THOUSANDS of Protestant groups’ who are the successors of the reformers? Many Lutherans (Martin Luther’s successors) and Anglicans believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity. Were they not touched by the so-called on-going reform?

The accountant miserably failed to account for the following:

1. The Reformers read the same Bible as Rodimus and other evangelicals read. How come they had a different conclusion?

2. Why do modern day Protestants do not anymore believe in the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, a doctrine which was asserted and defended even by their very own founders?

3. Why is there contradiction between the position of the Reformers and modern evangelicals?

4. In believing Mary’s perpetual virginity, were the Reformers heretics? If so, Protestantism (and all its offshoots) was founded by heretics. If they were wrong on Mary’s perpetual virginity, they can be wrong on so many things.

5. If the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is not heresy, then what is Rodimus crowing about?

The accountant has clearly settled for something unbalanced. The “apologetics auditor,” after having been audited, has been weighed but found wanting.

[Note: more on the other issues]

Posted in Bereans, Converts, Doctrinal Comparison, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS THE ANSWER, Virgin Mary | Leave a Comment »

Gingrich to Convert to Catholicism

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on March 4, 2009

Gingrich to Convert to Catholicism
Sarah Pulliam

Buried in an large New York Times Magazine profile of Newt Gingrich is a little nugget of information: A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich said he will soon convert to Catholicism, his wife’s faith.

Gingrich.jpg

At a moment when the role of religious fundamentalism in the party is a central question for reformers, Gingrich, rather than making any kind of case for a new enlightenment, has in fact gone to great lengths to placate Christian conservatives. The family-values crowd has never completely embraced Newt, probably because he has been married three times, most recently to a former Hill staff member, Callista Bisek. In 2006, though, Gingrich wrote a book called “Rediscovering God in America” — part of a new canon of work he has done reaffirming the role of religion in public life. The following year, he went on radio with the evangelical minister James Dobson to apologize for having been unfaithful to his second wife.

The Rev. G. Avery Lee, a longtime pastor of St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans who died earlier this year, wrote to The Times-Picayune about Gingrich’s faith.

“He was not a member of any church,” Pastor Lee wrote in a 1994 letter to The Times-Picayune. “He said that in his study of political theory he noted how much influence the church had had on political theory and asked if I could explain.”

After their initial conversation, “We talked often. Newt began coming to church. To make it short, I baptized him (by immersion) into the membership of the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church.

“He found there a liberal approach to both theology and sociology. . . . Whether our teachings had any effect or not, he was at least exposed to the basic Baptist principle of freedom: personal freedom before God, an open mind before an open Bible, the separation of church and state, and compassion toward other people as sinners saved by the grace of God.

“He also may have learned that we Baptists fuss and fight a lot with each other. It has been suggested by some that in baptizing him, I didn’t hold him under long enough.”

Photo of Newt Gingrich in 2007 at Family Research Center Action’s Values Voters conference in Washington, DC from Wikimedia Commons.

Posted in Converts | 3 Comments »

Pope Benedict to baptize California convert at Easter Vigil

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on February 27, 2009

Pope Benedict to baptize California convert at Easter Vigil

Link: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=15196

.- A convert to Catholicism who lives in California will be one of seven people baptized by Pope Benedict XVI during the Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Ceres, California resident Heidi Sierras, 29, completed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) at St. Joseph’s parish in Modesto last year. But through a series of connections—a parishioner who knew a nun at the Vatican—Sierras was chosen for an open spot for a North American to be baptized by the Pope at the 2009 vigil.

Sierras told the Modesto Bee there was never any question whether she would make the trip to Rome.

“It’s incredible,” she commented. “I feel like, ‘Why me?’ I felt undeserving. But how could I say no to that? It’s an incredible opportunity.”

“It’s almost like I’m going to be baptized by Jesus himself. It’s an incredible feeling,” said Serras, who will also receive her First Communion from Pope Benedict.

Her husband Dan was also enthusiastic.

“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” he told the Modesto Bee. “It’s unbelievable that she’s going to be baptized by the Pope, considering there are only seven people selected in the world. I’m extremely happy because it’s a true blessing, what she’s going to experience.

Sierras reported that she did not attend church as a child, but her husband Dan was raised as a Catholic. He began attending Mass more frequently about three years ago, with Mrs. Sierras accompanying him.

She decided she wanted to know more about the Catholic faith and signed up for RCIA classes.

Serras will be accompanied to Rome by St. Joseph’s pastor Fr. Joseph Illo, RCIA instructor Stacy Phillips and about 40 other parishioners.

The seven people whom the Pope baptizes every Easter in Rome are chosen to represent the seven continents of the globe and the universality of the Church.

Posted in Converts | Leave a Comment »

From Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) Back to the True Church- The Catholic Church

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on February 25, 2009

From Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) Back to the True Church- The Catholic Church


Former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) – Francis Raymund Gonzales back to the true church-the Catholic Church.

Francis Raymund Gonzales former Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) interviewed by Cielbert A. Dondoyano, Sr., CFA (known as veritas899) in RMN_ Sep. 28, 2008..

Brother Cielbert A. Dondoyano, Sr is a member of Catholic Faith Defender in Mindanao.  Brother veritas899 is excellent in apologetics and debate.  This is the blog of brother veritas899: http://veritas899.weebly.com/


Former Iglesia ni Cristo INC Francis Raymund Gonzales in MP3

Please follow this link:

http://www.catholicnetwork.tv/media/293/Former_Iglesia_ni_Cristo_INC_-_Francis_Raymund_Gonzales_Cebuano/


Posted in Apologetics-Visayan, Converts, Doctrinal Comparison, Iglesia ni Cristo-Manalo, MP3 Visayan Apologetics | 10 Comments »

“Executive Minister of Iglesia Ni Cristo Back to the True Church”

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on January 30, 2009

“Executive Minister of Iglesia Ni Cristo Back to the True Church”

By Bro. G-one Paisones

May nabasa po akong isang aklat na maganda at magagamit sa mga evangelization at apologetics purposes ng mga Catholic Apologist at lahat ng mga Katoliko. Ang aklat na ito ay ang “Paano Ninyo Sasagutin” ni Fr. Ben Carreon (Unang Aklat). Ang naturang aklat ay naglalaman ng mga sagot at information na dapat mabasa ng lahat ng mga Katoliko sa boung Pilipinas. Ang aklat na ito ay mabibili sa mga St. Paul stores.

Madalas na nating naririnig at nababasa na may mga Katoliko na winaksi ang kanilang pananampalataya bilang Katoliko na hindi man lang nila nalalaman ang stand ng doctina ng Santa Iglesia Catolica; ika nga ignoranting mga Katoliko. Ang ilan sa kanila ay umanib sa Iglesia ni Cristo na itinatag ni Felix Manalo noong 1914. Ang isa sa mga information na nakuha ko sa aklat (“Paano Ninyo Sasagutin”) ay makatutulong upang tatagan ang paniniwalang Katoliko at malaman ang Doctrina ng Santa Iglesia Catolica basi narin sa Biblia, Apostolic Tradition at sa Banal na Santa Iglesia Catolica; at maging sa mga karagdagang standard references ay narito:

Paano Ninyo Sasagutin

St. Paul Publication

7708 St. Paul Road, ASV

Makati, Metro Manila

Tel.:88-97-70* 85-50-82

(1st Printing, 1966)

(Revised Edition, 1986)

Pahina 128-129

Sino ang Humirang kay Manalo?

Ni Fr. Ben Carreon

(Emphasis Added)

Totoo ang iyong (Quirico Porras) sinasabing ang ginawa ng mga Kapatid nating nahihiwalay sa mga sektang Saksi ni Jehova at Iglesia ni Kristo ay pulos panlilinlang sa mga Katolikong alanganin ang paniniwala at kulang ng kaalaman sa relihyon. Una: malaking kasinungalingan ang sinasabi ng mga iglesya (Iglesia ni Cristo) na sila ang pinakauna sa lahat ng relihyon. Sang-ayon sa Encyclopedia of the Philippines, Vol. 10, 1936 edition, pahina 432-433, sinulat ni Zoila Galang, ang Iglesya ay itinatag noong 1914, sa Punta, Sta. Ana, Maynila ni Felix Manalo.

Isa rito sa 18 “hinirang ng Diyos” ay si Mr. Igmidio Zabala, dating Superintendente ng mga Iglesya sa Central Luzon, na ngayon ay nagbalik na sa pagka-Katoliko at ang sabi niya’y hindi totoo na sila’y hinirang ng Diyos. Ang humirang sa kanila ay si G. Manalo. Sa “katunayan,” sudlong pa ni Mr. Zabala, “ano mang oras ay naiaalis ni Manalo ang sino man sa amin. Siya ang nag turo sa aming kung ano ang ituturo namin sa mga kaanib sa sariling pakahulugan niya sa mga talata ng Bibliya. Siya ang nagbibigay ng sweldo sa amin.” Bakit sasabihing Diyos ang humirang sa 18 ito?

Samaktwid, sang-ayon na rin sa tinatawag ni Manalong “hinirang ng Diyos” na si Mr. Zabala, hindi totoong Diyos ang humirag sa mga ministro ng Iglesia, at gayon din hindi totoong Diyos ang humirang kay Felix Manalo. Mayroon bang Diyos na pabagu-bago ng patakaran?

At samakatwid, sang-ayon na rin kay Manalo, ang Iglesya ay natayo sa Punta, Ata. Ana, Maynila noong 1914 at hinirang ng Diyos ang kanyang mga ministro noon ding mga petsang yaon. Paano itong magiging “pinakauna” sa lahat ng relihyon? Mahina yata sa arithmetic ang ating mga kapatid na iyan.

Pahina 135

Ang Tunay na Sugo

We are very haapy to have Mr. Igmidio Zabala as a guest columnist in Paano Ninyo Sasagutin. A well-known figure in Manila, he broadcast in DZST as one of the Tinig ni Mang Huwan and writes a column in Sentinel. Mr. Zabala’s name is in the Philippines Encyclopedia as one of the original 18 Ministers of the Iglesya ni Kristo, in which sect he labored for over twenty years, rising to executive position in Luzon until he came back to the Catholic Church a few years ago. A small autobiography has been published: “Ako ay naging Ministro ng Igleya ni Kristo” in which he traced his many years with Felix Manalo and his later disillusionment. The small book has been sold out and no copy is available. We wrote the publishers to request. If they don’t we are planning to serialize it here in the Mindanao Cross.

Posted in Books (Products), Converts, How to Help others become Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo-Manalo, What is the History of Your Church? | Leave a Comment »

Akala Ko Aral ng Demonyo – Aral Pala ni JesuCristo

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on August 4, 2008

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral


Akala Ko Aral ng Demonyo – Aral Pala ni JesuCristo

Ako po si Cirilo Estampa; 47 taong gulang; ipinanganak ako sa Batoan Bohol; ang ama ko ay si Favian Estampa at ang ina ko ay si Valintina Estampa pawang mga Katoliko. Akoy nabinyagan sa simbahang Katoliko noong sanggol palang po ako.
Ako poy lumaki na ang alam ko lang sa pagiging Katoliko ay ang pagpanguros (Sign of the Cross) at kaunting aral nito sapagkat ang mga magulang ko ay hindi relihiyoso o hindi pala simba. At hindi rin ako pala simba noong Katoliko palang po ako.

-PAGIGING KASAPI NG IGLESIA NI CRISTO (MANALO)-

Sa gulang po na isa hanggang sa dalawampu’t anim ako po ay isnag Katoliko na walang alam sa mga toro ng Biblia o sa madaling salita ignorante po ako sa aral ng Katoliko maliban po sa kaunting aral nito tulad ng pagpanguros (Sign of the Cross).
Taong 1986-1987 ako poy nag-aral ng Auto Mechanics and Driving Course (AMD) sa paaralan ng Bohol Institute of Technology doon po sa Tagbilaran Bohol. Ito poy isang one-year course lang kasi ito lang po ang kaya ng mga magulang ko.

Sa kapanahunan ng pag-aaral ko sa kolehiyo ako poy nanirahan sa kamag-anak namin sa Tagbilaran Bohol. Ang kaanak na natirhan ko ay isang masugid na kaanib ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo). Doon po sa kanila ay especial po akong pinag doctrina sa kanilang ministro.
Sa totoo lang po ako po’y sinsero at siryoso sa pakikinig sa mga aral at turo ng ministro sa akin dahil gusto kong matutunan ang aral ng Dios at nais kong matugonan ang mga pagkukulang ng simbahang Katoliko sa akin. Bukas loob ko pong tinanggap ang mga aral ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) dahil napagtanto ko pong ito’y tunay, biblical at logical po.
Pagkatapos kong madoctrinahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) nagpabinyag po ako para maging kasapi ng samahang animo ko nooy sugo ng Dios para sa sanlibutan. Doon po kami nagpabinyag sa Graham Avenue sa simbahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) at natatandaan ko pa po noong araw na mahigit 30 kaming bininyagan. At mula noon aktibo po akong nagsimba sa simbahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo).
Sa awa ng May Kapal natapos ko ang pag-aaral ko at sa taon ding yon (1987) pumunta ako sa Suba Masulog Lapu-lapu city para magtrabaho. Nakapasok po ako bilang isang driver sa motorsiklo. At doon sa Lapu-lapu city naghanap ako ng simbahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) para mapakain kopo ang kaluluwa ko ng mga aral ng Dios. At sa awa ng Dios nakakita ako ng simbahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) sa may Karahay Gun-ob Lapu-lapu City. At doon na ako nagsisimba sa may Karahay Gun-ob sapagkat ito lang ang pinakamalapit na simbahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) sa aming lugar.

Bilang kasapi po ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) na itanim ko po sa puso’t isipan ko na ang mga aral ng Katoliko ay aral ng Demonyo at kontra po ang mga aral Katoliko sa Biblia.
Sa taong 1989 nakita ko ang babaeng nagpatibok sa aking puso. Ang pangalan po niya ay si Fedela Angana, isa pong Katoliko. Dahil sa sinsiro po ang pag-ibig ko kay Fedila hiningi ko po ang kanyang kamay at sa awa ng Dios pumayag sya sa mga mithiin ko sa kanyang maging isang kabiyak.
Ang malaki ko pong problema ay ang mga magulang ni Fedila dahil gusto nila na sa Simbahang Katoliko kami ikasal. Dahil nga po sa mataas kung pag-mamahal kay Fedela nagpakasal po ako sa akala ko noo’y simbahan ng demonyo para lang maangkin ang babaeng tinitibok ng aking puso. Kinasal po kami noong May 6, 1989 sa Sambuwan Cebu City sa simbahan Katoliko.
Nanirahan po kami sa bahay ng aking ina sa Suba Masulog Lapu-lapu City. Nang sa unang mga linggo ng aming pagsasama hinayaan ko munang nag simba si Fedila sa simbahang Katoliko sa Virgin dela Regla Parish. Peru ang pagkabagabag sa loob ko ay nandyan at parating kumakatok upang himukin ko ang asawa ko na wag nang sumaba sa mga dios-diosan at tuwirang talikoran ang pagiging Katoliko na puno ng aral ng mga demonyo.
July 1989 sinimulan kung himukin ang asawa ko sa pag-asang maligtas ko sya sa kapahamakan at maisalba ang kaligtasan nito. Pina doctrinahan ko kaagad si Fedila sa mga aral ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) para mahimok syang iwanan ang kanyang pagiging Katoliko. Personal ko talagang kinukuha ang ministro para mapa rating ng mabilis ang magandang balita sa asawa ko (Kay Fedela) at para kasuklaman niya ang kanyang pagiging Katoliko na nag totoro ng mga aral ng demonyo. Subalit hindi kaagad naniwala ang asawa ko sa mga aral ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo), at halos gabi-gabi kaming nag-aaway para lang mahimok ko sya (Fedela) sa inaakala ko nooy katutuhanan. Nang lumaon, (siguro sawa na ang asawa ko sa pag-aaway namin) iniwan rin niya ang kanyang pananampalatayang Katoliko at ang pagka Katoliko mismo!
Nang matapos ni Fedila ang mga doctrina ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) nag pabautismo siya noong August 25, 1989 sa simbahan na Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) sa Gen. Maxilum Avenue, Cebu City.
Walong taon po kami bilang kasapi ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) at aktibo po kami sa pagsimba. Sa loob ng walong taon natutunan kong kasuklaman ang mga aral ng Katoliko sapagkat ang mga ministro ay parating nagpapaalala sa amin sa mga maling aral ng Iglisia Catolica, maling doctrina, ang santo Papa ay 666, mga pinatay ng mga paring Katoliko, maling relihiyon at pinagtibay nilang si Cristo ay tao lamang at hindi Dios.
Marami po kami noong mga Pasugo Magazine para mag sibling gabay sa mga pambabasang mga babasahing moral, espirtuwal at doctrinal. Sa Pasugo rin nakasaad ang maraming pang-aataki at pag-aalipusta sa mga aral Katoliko na akala ko nooy aral ng demonyo.

-PAGIGING KASAPI NG SAMAHANG ANG DATING DAAN-

Sa taong 2003 nang binuksan ko ang T.V. nakita ko si Elesio Soriano na nagsasagot sa lahat ng mga tanong itinatanong sa kanya ng mga panauhin. Lahat ng mga tanong ay masasagut nya at pawang mga biblical lahat ang kanyang mga sagot. Humanga ako sa mga aral ni Eli Soriano at nakita ko na may mga maling aral pala ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo). Dahil sa paghanga ko kay Eli Soriano at pag diskobre ng bagong katotohanan ng kaligtasan na mali pala ang Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) iniwan ko ang ang pagiging kasapi ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo). Dala ang pamilya ko, pumunta ako sa meeting place ng samahang Ang Dating Daan (Members Church of God) sa Basak Lapu-lapu City. Mula noon hindi na ako pumupunta sa simbahan ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) para mag samba.

Sa kadahilanang hindi na ako nag sisimba sa Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) pinuntahan po kami ng pamilya ko sa punong ministro ng Central ng Cebu na si Rizalito Ocampo para himukin akong manood sa kanilang programa sa T.V. ngunit sa kadahilanang hindi na ako kombinsido sa aral ng Iglesia ni Cristo (Manalo) hindi ako na nood sa kanilang programa. Mga limang buwan rin akong aktibo sa samahang Ang Dating Daan hanggang naka debate ko ang isang kasapi ng Catholic Faith Defender na kasama ko sa pagiging driver ng motorsiklo.

-Akala Ko Aral ng Demonyo – Aral Pala ni JesuCristo-

Kasama ko si Vicente Ochea (isang kasapi ng Catholic Faith Defenders) bilang isang driver ng motorsiklo. Sa mga oras na wala kaming gaanong pasahiro nag uusap kami ni Vicente patungkol sa relihiyon at mga aral ng Katolisismo. Noong una gusto kung ma e share sa kanya ang nalalaman ko patungkol sa mga maling doctrina ng Katoliko ngunit nang lumaon halos si brad Vicente na ang mag share sa nalalaman nya sa doctrina ng Katoliko bilang isang Catholic Faith Defender.

Paminsan minsan ang pag uusap namin ni brad Vicente ay humahantong sa debate, subalit malogod syang sumasagot sa mga ataki at tanong ko sa kanya-sagot lahat! Pag siya na ang nag tatanong sa akin karamihan sa mga tanong nya hindi ko masasagot. Dito napag tanto ko na kailangan talaga ako mag-aral dahil parati akong natatalo sa aming discussion.
Hanggang dumating si brad Flori Soterol na bago palang graduate ng apologetics course ng Catholic Faith Defenders nakipag usap ng masinsin sa akin upang himokin ako na mali ang stand ko at relihiyong kinaaniban ko. Itong anak ni brad Fluri na si Julius Soterol at ang anak ko nasi Reynald Estampa ay mag kaklasi sa elementarya hanggang sa high school. Sa kadahilanang kaibigan ang mga anak namin, naging magkaibigan rin kami ni brad Fluri. Tulad rin ni brad Vicente si brad Fluri na magiliw sumasagot sa mga tanong ko at hinahambing namin ang mga aral ng Katoliko at ang Dating Daan na bago palang naitatag na relihiyon.
Sa kadahilanang logical at biblical ang kanilang mga sagot sa mga tanong ko, binuksan ko ang puso ko sa aral ng Katoliko at nag attain ako sa isang Bible Study ng Catholic Faith Defenders. Pagkatapos kong marinig ang mga stand ng Catholic at ang kanilang doctrina ipinasya kong pabinyagan ang mga anak ko sa Simbahang tunay na itinatag ni Cristo sa 33 A.D.
Salamat sa mga Katekista na tumulong sa pagpabinyag sa mga anak ko para maging kasapi na sila sa tunay na iglisiang itinatag ni Cristo-ang Simbahang Katoliko! Ang bunso kong anak ang unang nabinyagan namay limang taong gulang. Ang mga anak ko na sina Reynald (16 taong gulang), Loui (14 taong gulang) at si Gladies (11 taong gulang) ay nagsiminar muna sa mga Katekista upang toroan sa mga dasal, doctrina at gawaing moral bilang isang Katoliko. Pag katapos nila ng siminar nagpabinyag ang mga anak ko sa tunay na Iglisia itinatag ni Cristo-ang Igilisia Catolica.
Bumalik ako sa pagiging Katoliko hindi sa dahilang akoy natalo sa debate kundi iwinaksi ko ang pride ko at tinimbang maiigi ang mga argumento ng bawat panig. Sa pamamagitan ng maintim na pagdasal itiniro ng Espirito Santo sa aking kaluluwa kung sino ang nasa katotohanan. Ang akala ko nooy aral ng demonyo- aral pala ni Jesu Cristo!
Mga kapatid hindi ako nagsasabing tularan ninyo ako. Hindi ako nakikialam sa mga gawain ninyo ano man ito at hindi ako nagsasabing mali kayo at ako’y tama. Karapatan ninyong husgahan ang pananampalatayang Katoliko, karapatan ninyong kasuklaman ang aral Katoliko at karapatan ninyong himukin ang iba na sumama sa inyo katulad ng ginawa ko noon. Subalit karapat-dapat na timbangin n’yo muna ang mga paghuhusga ninyo, maging bukas ang inyong puso at ang pagdarasal ng taimtim–natitiyak ko pong kayo’y gagaya rin sa akin.
Sa kasalukoyan akoy nakikinig parin sa mga bible study ng Catholic Faith Defenders sa (VDR) Lapu-lapu Chapter sa pangunguna ni brad Fernando Ybañez at sa lahat ng kanyang kasamahan. Nawa’y dadami ang Catholic Faith Defenders na magdadala sa mga kapatid nating hindi Katoliko sa tamang landas at para matoroan ang mga Katolikong walang alam sa kanilang Doctrina.

Salamat.

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Benedict’s Muslim Convert

Posted by catholicfaithdefender on April 4, 2008

Benedict’s Muslim Convert

EDWARD PENTIN

Journalist says his was a personal journey, not a political act.

Pope Benedict XVI had a surprise guest at the Easter Vigil: A prominent Italian Muslim who had spent a year preparing to enter the Catholic Church.

Magdi Allam, 56, was baptized March 22 in the globally televised Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica.

In the tense dialogue between Christians and Muslims, his personal statement of faith was misinterpreted by some as a provocative political maneuver.

But Allam told the Register that he, not the co-religionists he left behind, knows best why he converted to the Catholic faith.

Allam was born in Cairo and attended Catholic schools. He says he remembers being interested in the Catholic faith as early in his life as age 4. Though they didn’t try to convert him, he said, the formation by the Salesians and Comboni sisters helped him “become aware of the reality of religion, it allowed me to share in the lives of Catholic religious and lay figures, to read the Bible and the Gospels, to attend Mass.”

He moved to Italy in 1972 at age 20 and has lived there since. In recent years, he said, “two experiences accelerated my path” to conversion.

“The first was five years ago when I found myself escorted under armed guard because of threats from extremists and Islamic terrorists,” said Allam. “This situation forced me to reflect not only on the reality of Islamic extremism, but also Islam as a religion.”

The second experience was the opportunity to encounter ordinary Catholics — and one extraordinary one, Pope Benedict XVI himself.

“I am proud to have been one of the few Muslims in Italy working for a national newspaper who stood firm in defending the Pope after his discourse in Regensburg on Sept. 12, 2006,” said Allam. “I didn’t only defend him in the name of freedom of expression, I also defended the content of what he said, believing that it corresponded to the truth on a historical and scientific level.”

The Holy Father’s speech stressed the importance of reason and opposed violence in religion. He said his plans to be baptized by the Pope coalesced about a year ago when he began a preparation course with Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University.


He said in Europe, there are thousands who have converted to Islam and “no one says anything. No one is allowed to criticize them, or threaten them, but if just one Muslim converts to Christianity, immediately he is sentenced to death for apostasy.


Aref Ali Nayed is a spokesman for the 138 Muslim scholars who initiated the Common Word dialogue project in October and who established the Catholic-Muslim Forum for dialogue with the Vatican in early March.

Nayed questioned Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to baptize Allam in such a public way.

“It is sad that the intimate and personal act of a religious conversion is made into a triumphalist tool for scoring points,” Nayed said. “It is sad that the particular person chosen for such a highly public gesture has a history of generating, and continues to generate, hateful discourse.”

Allam says that this is far from the truth.

“I wasn’t sought out,” he said, “that wouldn’t have been possible. No, and I never thought for a moment when I decided to become a Catholic that such a positive thing could happen. “

To Allam, the controversy about his conversion reveals a deadly double standard.

“I am really baffled that they consider the baptism of a Muslim to Christianity a provocation, and that the image of the Pope baptizing a Muslim should make this fact even more serious,” he said. “It’s as if some think the baptism of a Muslim is something shameful, so much so that they’d have preferred it if I was baptized in a distant parish, away from the people, because it’s better that people don’t know about it. I am proud to be a convert to Catholicism and to have publicly affirmed it in a solemn way.”

He said in Europe, there are thousands who have converted to Islam and “no one says anything. No one is allowed to criticize them, or threaten them, but if just one Muslim converts to Christianity, immediately he is sentenced to death for apostasy. That’s happening now in Europe — not in Saudi Arabia. If we in Europe are not at the stage of defending religious liberty, including the right of a Muslim to convert to the Christian religion or any other faith, then I’d say we have lost our battle for civilization and liberty.”

Moderate Islam

Allam is in a unique position to see the Muslim-Christian conflict. On the one hand, he was until recently known as a voice within Islam calling for moderation. On the other, he now must take security precautions because he feels threatened by Muslims angry at him for converting.

“I am convinced there are moderate Muslims, that there are Muslims who share rules that allow for coexistence,” he said. “People are not automatic products of the dogmas of their faith; they’re not like fruits of a tree. In reality, people are more complex. Each person is different, has his own particular relationship with his religion that can be more or less intense.”

“We have to distinguish between persons and religions” he said.

“Islam is a religion that has always been plural because it’s had within it a myriad of souls. But as a religion it’s never been pluralistic, it’s not been democratic.”


He said “war is internal to Islam. … It’s enough to think that three of the four successors of Muhammad were assassinated by Muslims because they were contrary to the way they considered Islam, their way of exercising power.”


He said “war is internal to Islam. … It’s enough to think that three of the four successors of Muhammad were assassinated by Muslims because they were contrary to the way they considered Islam, their way of exercising power.”

But is Islam doomed to repeat that future? Can it change?

“I don’t want to put limits on Providence, but as a Muslim of 56 years, I couldn’t be sure of the possibility of internal reform in Islam, that it could fully render itself compatible with the values and principles that I consider inalienable and inviolable.”

The best hope, he said, is for coexistence.

Allam must now deal with one consequence of his action: Anger by people who share his concerns about Islamic extremism but nonetheless fear that by being baptized in the way he was, he will provoke attacks on Christians.

But Allam said that this attitude is based in part on a misunderstanding.

“We should free ourselves from the common assumption that the violence of extremism and Islamic terrorism is reactive, that is to say, it’s due to provocation and is incited,” he said.

He cited the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to characterize Islamic terrorism as “aggressive” rather than defensive. Osama Bin Laden acted without provocation.

“It was an act of war, an act of aggression against the United States,” he said. “Today, Christians in the Middle East, Muslim countries, in Iraq, are being slaughtered. They’re being persecuted in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan and Lebanon. All of these things haven’t happened because they were provoked by the Pope. They kill them because they consider the use of violence to be legitimate against all those who do not resemble them.”

Rather than reacting to events, terrorists strike where they will and make up reasons as they wish, he said.

“They manipulate events to say: ‘It’s the fault of the Pope, it’s the fault of Magdi Allam,’ and because of that, we can behave in a certain way. But they’re already doing it: Since 1945, around 10 million Christians abandoned the Middle East. In the countries on the southern shores of the eastern Mediterranean, there were 1 million Jews; today there are about 1,000. All this happened because of the reality of intolerance and violence towards those who are not Muslim.”

Osama Bin Laden released a threatening message that mentioned the Pope a few days before Easter. Will the coincidence make his conversion look like part of a crusade?

Allam refused to even consider the question.

“Bin Laden is the ideological head of a globalized Islamic terrorist network,” he said. “We are talking about a criminal, the most hunted man on earth, who has massacred thousands of people, a man who legitimized the indiscriminate killing of all people who do not submit to his power. We cannot in any way legitimize such a person and consider him in negotiations. The Pope hasn’t launched a crusade.”

To Allam, the baptism says something quite different about Pope Benedict.

“He has put faith and reason before other diplomatic and political considerations,” said Allam. “I believe the Pope in this circumstance has shown himself to be a great Pope because he has set himself above the fray.”

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Edward Pentin. “Benedict’s Muslim Convert.” National Catholic Register (April 6-12, 2008).

This article is reprinted with permission from National Catholic Register. To subscribe to the National Catholic Register call 1-800-421-3230.

THE AUTHOR

Edward Pentin writes from Rome.Copyright © 2008 National Catholic Register

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