108 – Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence. The Quran is a prophetic book of peace

If someone who is asleep is in perfect physical and mental health, he enjoys a tranquility which is the result of the order that prevails in his interior. On the other hand, a person who has fainted may seem tranquil but his lethargy is the consequence of an organic or psychic disorder, and consequently, it may not be considered peace. In a similar way, the silence of a tomb may not be considered peace, for there, the decomposition of a body is in process.

The Muslims say that Islam is a religion of peace, however, its peace is the tranquility of those who are subject to the laws of Allah and there is no peace for those who do not submit to them. They wish to impose this so-called peace on everyone… ‘by the sword’!! As Tacitus had expressed: ‘Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant’ ‘to robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace’ (Tacitus. Agricola, Ch. 30).
This is what predominates in the Koran, with its Hadith, both filled with precepts inculcating violence, as for example book 52 of al-Bukhari that contains no less than 285 incentives to jihad, the ‘holy war’, in order to implant the false religion of the prophet everywhere.

Now, peace is built upon order, and is the fruit of charity and justice, which has its roots in human nature itself, being founded on the fulfilling of the natural law. And it is only the religion of Christ that entirely satisfies these criteria, thus being the only religion that can effectively establish peace among men. On the contrary, the Islamic belief is nothing other than the systematic violation of justice and, consequently, of peace. Only in the Sacred Scriptures can we find the way of righteousness and of peace — the Church teaches: ‘If anyone either believes that other scriptures, apart from the ones that the Catholic Church has received, should be regarded as authoritative or has venerated them, let him be anathema’ (Denzinger-Hünermann 32. Symbolum Toletanum I) — whereby only in the practice of the evangelical precepts will peace be brought to humanity: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’ (Mt 5:9). Given the timeliness of this topic, with its tremendous significance and its multiple dimensions, it is vital to know what peace really is, and also to be acquainted with the falsified notion of peace that the Islamic visualization offers. Therefore, this study is divided into various parts with the objective of presenting the matter progressively and profoundly – above all, since we are convinced that this is one of the fundamental points of the spiritual battles of the Church within the next decades. In the first part, we shall enter into a doctrinal explanation regarding authentic peace; in the second part, we shall see where true peace may be found on earth; and in the third and final part, we will expose the supposed peace of Islam.

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsI – Introductory doctrinal note: what is peace?II – Christ is the Prince of PeaceIII – Islam and peaceAnnex 1: The peace in Islam is only for those who are under the dominion of AllahAnnex 2: The Koran incites violence against all unbelievers, that is, non-MuslimsAnnex 3: There is no one better than the Muslims themselves to interpret their own book, the Koran. Some news items demonstrate how they interpret it…
I – Introductory doctrinal note: what is peace?
1 – What is peace?
2 – Peace is the work of justice and fruit of charity, for it is stimulated by the Holy Spirit
3 – Peace comes from the practice of fulfilling the natural law, which is the Decalogue that God engraved in man’s heart
4 – After original sin, it is impossible to practice the divine law in a stable manner without the help of grace
5 – Sin expels grace and destroys peace
II – Christ is the Prince of Peace
1 – Peace came to the earth from Christ
2 True and stable peace is only found in Christ and the Religion He founded
3 The Catholic Religion, dispenser of grace through the Sacraments, is the only one who guarantees peace
III – Islam and peace
1 – Islam systematically violates the Natural Law in diverse manners
2 –
Islam may not be compared with the Catholic Church, for just as other religions, Islamism does not possess infused grace
3 –
Documents of the Church testify the non-pacific state of Islam
Annex 1: The peace in Islam is only for those who are under the dominion of Allah
Annex 2: The Koran incites violence against all unbelievers, that is, non-Muslims
Annex 3:
There is no one better than the Muslims themselves to interpret their own book, the Koran. Some news items demonstrate how they interpret it…

I – Introductory doctrinal note: what is peace?

1 – What is peace?
2 – Peace is the work of justice and fruit of charity, for it is stimulated by the Holy Spirit
3 – Peace comes from the practice of fulfilling the natural law, which is the Decalogue that God engraved in man’s heart
4 – After original sin, it is impossible to practice the divine law in a stable manner without the help of grace
5 – Sin expels grace and destroys peace


1 – What is peace?


Saint Augustine of Hippo

Nothing is so greatly desired as peace

For peace is a good so great, that even in this earthly and mortal life there is no word we hear with such pleasure, nothing we desire with such zest, or find to be more thoroughly gratifying. So that if we dwell for a little longer on this subject, we shall not, in my opinion, be wearisome to our readers, who will attend both for the sake of understanding what is the end of this city of which we speak, and for the sake of the sweetness of peace which is dear to all. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 11)

Every man seeks peace, even those who wage war…

Every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace. For even they who intentionally interrupt the peace in which they are living have no hatred of peace, but only wish it changed into a peace that suits them better. They do not, therefore, wish to have no peace, but only one more to their mind. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 12)

The peace of all things is the tranquility of order, which is the distribution that allots to each being its own place

The peace of the body then consists in the duly proportioned arrangement of its parts. The peace of the irrational soul is the harmonious repose of the appetites, and that of the rational soul the harmony of knowledge and action. The peace of body and soul is the well-ordered and harmonious life and health of the living creature. Peace between man and God is the well-ordered obedience of faith to eternal law. Peace between man and man is well-ordered concord. Domestic peace is the well-ordered concord between those of the family who rule and those who obey. Civil peace is a similar concord among the citizens. The peace of the celestial city is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. The peace of all things is the tranquility of order. Order is the distribution which allots things equal and unequal, each to its own place. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 13)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Concord is the union of appetites among various persons; while, in addition to this, peace is the union of the appetites even each man

Peace includes concord and adds something thereto. Hence wherever peace is, there is concord, but there is not peace, wherever there is concord, if we give peace its proper meaning. For concord, properly speaking, is between one man and another, in so far as the wills of various hearts agree together in consenting to the same thing. Now the heart of one man may happen to tend to diverse things, and this in two ways. First, in respect of the diverse appetitive powers: thus the sensitive appetite tends sometimes to that which is opposed to the rational appetite, according to Gal 5:17: ‘The flesh lusteth against the spirit.’ Secondly, in so far as one and the same appetitive power tends to diverse objects of appetite, which it cannot obtain all at the same time: so that there must needs be a clashing of the movements of the appetite. Now the union of such movements is essential to peace, because man’s heart is not at peace, so long as he has not what he wants, or if, having what he wants, there still remains something for him to want, and which he cannot have at the same time. On the other hand this union is not essential to concord: wherefore concord denotes union of appetites among various persons, while peace denotes, in addition to this union, the union of the appetites even in one man. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a.1)

To peace is opposed dissension - between a man and himself, or with others

If one man consent to the same thing together with another man, his consent is nevertheless not perfectly united to himself, unless at the same time all his appetitive movements be in agreement. A twofold dissension is opposed to peace, namely dissension between a man and himself, and dissension between one man and another. The latter alone is opposed to concord. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a.1, ad. 2-3)

John Paul II

There is no peace without a true change of heart

The re-establishment of peace would itself be of short duration and quite illusory if there were not a true change of heart. (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XVII World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 1984)


2. Peace is the work of justice and fruit of charity for it is stimulated by the Holy Spirit


Saint Thomas Aquinas

True peace is only in the perfect enjoyment of the sovereign good, which unites and puts to rest all one’s desires

Peace gives calm and unity to the appetite. Now just as the appetite may tend to what is good simply, or to what is good apparently, so too, peace may be either true or apparent. There can be no true peace except where the appetite is directed to what is truly good, since every evil, though it may appear good in a way, so as to calm the appetite in some respect, has, nevertheless many defects, which cause the appetite to remain restless and disturbed. Hence true peace is only in good men and about good things. The peace of the wicked is not a true peace but a semblance thereof, wherefore it is written (Wis 14:22): ‘Whereas they lived in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and so great evils peace.’ Since true peace is only about good things, as the true good is possessed in two ways, perfectly and imperfectly, so there is a twofold true peace. One is perfect peace. It consists in the perfect enjoyment of the sovereign good, and unites all one’s desires by giving them rest in one object. This is the last end of the rational creature, according to Psalm 147:3: ‘Who hath placed peace in thy borders.’ The other is imperfect peace, which may be had in this world, for though the chief movement of the soul finds rest in God, yet there are certain things within and without which disturb the peace. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a. 2, ad 3-4)

Peace is an important element of friendship

Peace implies a twofold union, as stated above. The first is the result of one’s own appetites being directed to one object; while the other results from one’s own appetite being united with the appetite of another: and each of these unions is effected by charity—the first, in so far as man loves God with his whole heart, by referring all things to Him, so that all his desires tend to one object—the second, in so far as we love our neighbor as ourselves, the result being that we wish to fulfil our neighbor’s will as though it were ours: hence it is reckoned a sign of friendship if people ‘make choice of the same things’ (Ethic. ix, 4), and Tully says (De Amicitia) that friends ‘like and dislike the same things’ (Sallust, Catilin.) (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a. 3)

Peace is the work of charity and justice

Peace is the ‘work of justice’ indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace: but it is the work of charity directly, since charity, according to its very nature, causes peace. For love is ‘a unitive force’ as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): and peace is the union of the appetite’s inclinations. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a.3, ad. 3)

To cause peace is proper to the virtue of charity

Since then charity causes peace precisely because it is love of God and of our neighbor, as shown above, there is no other virtue except charity whose proper act is peace, as we have also said in reference to joy (q. 28, a. 4). (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a. 4)

Peace: an act of charity, and its fruit

We are commanded to keep peace because it is an act of charity; and for this reason too it is a meritorious act. Hence it is placed among the beatitudes, which are acts of perfect virtue, as stated above (q. 69, a. 1-3). It is also numbered among the fruits, in so far as it is a final good, having spiritual sweetness. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a. 4, ad. 1)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Joy, peace, and mercy: the fruits of charity

The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1829)

Charity and peace: fruits of the Holy Spirit

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: ‘charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.’ (Gal 5:22-23). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1832)

Benedict XVI

There is no peace without justice

You know, as I do, that authentic peace is only possible when justice reigns. Our world is thirsting for peace and justice. (Benedict XVI. Address to the new ambassadors to the Holy See, December 18, 2008)


3 – Peace comes from the practice of fulfilling the natural law, which is the Decalogue that God engraved in man’s heart


Sacred Scripture

Great peace have those who love thy Law

Great peace have those who love thy Law; nothing can make them stumble. (Ps 119:165)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

God administers the peace of the universe and His laws are strictly observed

Yet throughout this process the laws of the most high Creator and Governor are strictly observed, for it is by Him the peace of the universe is administered. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. The City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 12)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The divine and natural law shows man the way to practice the good and attain his end

The ‘divine and natural’ law (GS 89) shows man the way to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end. the natural law states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life. It hinges upon the desire for God and submission to him, who is the source and judge of all that is good, as well as upon the sense that the other is one’s equal. Its principal precepts are expressed in the Decalogue. This law is called ‘natural’, not in reference to the nature of irrational beings, but because reason which decrees it properly belongs to human nature. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1955)

The natural law expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties

The natural law, present in the heart of each man and established by reason, is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties: (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1956)

The natural law cannot be removed from the heart of man, and it is permanent throughout history

The natural law is immutable and permanent throughout the variations of history; it subsists under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1958)

No one is ignorant of the principles of the moral law, written in the conscience of every man

Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1860)

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

The Decalogue is a privileged expression of the natural law, and expresses the indispensable rules of all social life

The Ten Commandments, which constitute an extraordinary path of life and indicate the surest way for living in freedom from slavery to sin, contain a privileged expression of the natural law. They ‘teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2070). They describe universal human morality. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the rich young man that the Ten Commandments (cf. Mt 19:18) ‘constitute the indispensable rules of all social life’ (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 97). (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 22)

Benedict XVI

Peace is a heavenly gift and a divine grace that demands conforming human history to the divine order

Seen in this way, peace appears as a heavenly gift and a divine grace which demands at every level the exercise of the highest responsibility: that of conforming human history–in truth, justice, freedom and love–to the divine order. Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that ‘grammar’ of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts, whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing. Saint Augustine described peace as tranquillitas Ordinis (De Civitate Dei, XIX, 13) the tranquillity of order. By this, he meant a situation which ultimately enables the truth about man to be fully respected and realized. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 4, January 1, 2006)

Peace also demands of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan – according to the ‘grammar’ written on human hearts

The transcendent ‘grammar’, that is to say the body of rules for individual action and the reciprocal relationships of persons in accordance with justice and solidarity, is inscribed on human consciences, in which the wise plan of God is reflected. As I recently had occasion to reaffirm: ‘we believe that at the beginning of everything is the Eternal Word, Reason and not Unreason’ (Homily at Regensburg, 12 September 2006). Peace is thus also a task demanding of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan. The criterion inspiring this response can only be respect for the ‘grammar’ written on human hearts by the divine Creator. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

Recognition and respect for natural law: fundamental presupposition for authentic peace

Recognition and respect for natural law represents the foundation for a dialogue between the followers of the different religions and between believers and non-believers. As a great point of convergence, this is also a fundamental presupposition for authentic peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 2007)

Peace on earth cannot be found without reconciliation with God

Peace on earth cannot be found without reconciliation with God, without harmony between Heaven and earth. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Roman Curia, December 22. 2006)

John XXIII

Peace can never be established except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order

Peace on Earth–which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after–can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order. (John XXIII. Encyclical Pacem in Terris, no. 1, April 11, 1963)

The world will never have peace till peace has found a home in the heart of each and every man

The world will never be the dwelling place of peace, till peace has found a home in the heart of each and every man, till every man preserves in himself the order ordained by God to be preserved. That is why Saint Augustine asks the question: ‘Does your mind desire the strength to gain the mastery over your passions? Let it submit to a greater power, and it will conquer all beneath it. And peace will be in you–true, sure, most ordered peace. What is that order? God as ruler of the mind; the mind as ruler of the body. Nothing could be more orderly’ (Miscellanea Augustiniana Saint Augustine, Sermones post Maurinos reperti, Rome, 1930, p. 633). (John XXIII. Encyclical Pacem in Terris, no. 165, April 11, 1963)

John Paul II

Those who do not live in peace with God will not easily live in peace with their neighbor

To give the world the peace that humanity desires, the conferences of the politicians are not sufficient; nor the agreements, nor the politics of détente that men pursue, no matter how important or necessary these may be. The world afflicted by discord needs above all the peace of Christ. And this is more than pure and simple political peace. The peace of Christ may assert itself only where men are disposed to flee from sin. The most profound cause of all conflict in the world is the abandonment of God on the part of man. Those who do not live in peace with God can only live with difficulty in peace with his neighbor. (John Paul II. Homily in Kevelaer, no. 5, May 2, 1987)

Pius XII

Peace is the happy inheritance of those who observe the law of God

Peace, the font of true happiness, cannot come except from God, cannot be found anywhere but in God: ‘Oh Lord, we were made only for Thee and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee’. Consequently, absolute tranquility, complete and perfect happiness will not be except in heaven, in the vision of the divine essence. But also during this earthly life the fundamental condition of true peace and healthy happiness is the loving and filial dependence on the will of God: all of that which weakens, ruptures and breaks this conformity and union of will, is in opposition to peace: first of all, and above all, sin. Sin is rupture and disunion, disorder and perturbation, remorse and fear, and those who resist the will of God do not have, cannot have, peace: Quis restitit ei et pacem habuit? (Job 9: 4), while peace is the happy inheritance of those who observe the law of God: Pax multa diligentibus legem tuam (Ps 118: 165). (Pius XII. General audience, July 19, 1939)


4 – After original sin, it is impossible to practice the divine law in a stable manner without the help of grace


Catechism of the Catholic Church

Original sin weakened human nature

As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called ‘concupiscence’). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 418)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

To love God, the natural qualities alone are insufficient

Man cannot, with his purely natural endowments, fulfil the precept of the love of God, as stated above (a.3). (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica I-II, q. 109, a. 4, ad. 3)

Man needs the Divine help, that he may be moved to act well

And thus in the state of perfect nature man needs a gratuitous strength superadded to natural strength for one reason, viz. in order to do and wish supernatural good; but for two reasons, in the state of corrupt nature, viz. in order to be healed, and furthermore in order to carry out works of supernatural virtue, which are meritorious. Beyond this, in both states man needs the Divine help, that he may be moved to act well. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 109, a. 2)

In the state of corrupt nature, man must be cured by God’s grace

But in the state of corrupt nature man falls short of this in the appetite of his rational will, which, unless it is cured by God’s grace, follows its private good, on account of the corruption of nature. And hence we must say that in the state of perfect nature man did not need the gift of grace added to his natural endowments, in order to love God above all things naturally, although he needed God’s help to move him to it; but in the state of corrupt nature man needs, even for this, the help of grace to heal his nature. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 109, a. 3)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Only with the help of God’s grace can humans achieve their own integrity

For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested. Caught in this conflict, man is obliged to wrestle constantly if he is to cling to what is good, nor can he achieve his own integrity without great efforts and the help of God’s grace. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 37, December 7, 1965)

Damaged by sin, the human relationship with God may flower only by the aid of grace

Since man’s freedom has been damaged by sin, only by the aid of God’s grace can he bring such a relationship with God into full flower. Before the judgement seat of God each man must render an account of his own life, whether he has done good or evil. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 17, December 7. 1965)

John Paul II

The rich young man of the Gospel is incapable of moral growth by himself alone - he requires God’s gift of grace

We do not know how clearly the young man in the Gospel understood the profound and challenging import of Jesus’ first reply: ‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments’. But it is certain that the young man’s commitment to respect all the moral demands of the commandments represents the absolutely essential ground in which the desire for perfection can take root and mature, the desire, that is, for the meaning of the commandments to be completely fulfilled in following Christ. Jesus’ conversation with the young man helps us to grasp the conditions for the moral growth of man, who has been called to perfection: the young man, having observed all the commandments, shows that he is incapable of taking the next step by himself alone. To do so requires mature human freedom (‘If you wish to be perfect’) and God’s gift of grace (‘Come, follow me’). (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, no. 17, August 8, 1993)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Grace heals and is the source of the work of sanctification

The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification (cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1999)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Man cannot fulfill all the Divine commandments without healing grace

But in the state of corrupted nature man cannot fulfill all the Divine commandments without healing grace. Secondly, the commandments of the law can be fulfilled, not merely as regards the substance of the act, but also as regards the mode of acting, i.e. their being done out of charity. And in this way, neither in the state of perfect nature, nor in the state of corrupt nature can man fulfil the commandments of the law without grace. Hence, Augustine (De Corrupt. et Grat. ii) having stated that ‘without grace men can do no good whatever’, adds: ‘Not only do they know by its light what to do, but by its help they do lovingly what they know.’ Beyond this, in both states they need the help of God’s motion in order to fulfil the commandments, as stated above (a. 2,3). (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 109, a. 4)

The written law is given for the correction of the perversion of the human heart, due to which humans esteem as good those things which are naturally evil

The written law is said to be given for the correction of the natural law, either because it supplies what was wanting to the natural law; or because the natural law was perverted in the hearts of some men, as to certain matters, so that they esteemed those things good which are naturally evil; which perversion stood in need of correction. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 109, a. 3)

The secondary precepts of the natural law can be blotted out from the human heart by evil persuasions or by vicious customs and corrupt habits

As stated above (a. 4,5), there belong to the natural law, first, certain most general precepts, that are known to all; and secondly, certain secondary and more detailed precepts, which are, as it were, conclusions following closely from first principles. As to those general principles, the natural law, in the abstract, can nowise be blotted out from men’s hearts. But it is blotted out in the case of a particular action, in so far as reason is hindered from applying the general principle to a particular point of practice, on account of concupiscence or some other passion, as stated above (q. 77, a. 2). But as to the other, i.e. the secondary precepts, the natural law can be blotted out from the human heart, either by evil persuasions, just as in speculative matters errors occur in respect of necessary conclusions; or by vicious customs and corrupt habits, as among some men, theft, and even unnatural vices, as the Apostle states (Rom 1), were not esteemed sinful. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 109, a. 6)

Sacred Scripture

Sin introduces lawlessness into the human heart

Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. (1Jn 3: 4)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Social structures flawed by the consequences of sin, provide humans with newer inducements to sin

When the structure of affairs is flawed by the consequences of sin, man, already born with a bent toward evil, finds there new inducements to sin, which cannot be overcome without strenuous efforts and the assistance of grace. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 25, December 7, 1965)


5 – Sin expels grace and destroys peace


Saint Thomas Aquinas

Sin banishes sanctifying grace, without which peace is not real but merely apparent

Without sin no one falls from a state of sanctifying grace, for it turns man away from his due end by making him place his end in something undue: so that his appetite does not cleave chiefly to the true final good, but to some apparent good. Hence, without sanctifying grace, peace is not real but merely apparent. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, q. 29, a. 3, ad. 1)

The good of virtue and grace is entirely taken away by sin

Again, there is the good of virtue and grace: this too has its mode, species and order, and is entirely taken away by sin. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 85, a. 4)

After sin, the soul suffers the privation of union with the Divine light

Nothing positive remains in the soul after the act of sin, except the disposition or habit; but there does remain something private, viz. the privation of union with the Divine light. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 86, a. 2, ad. 1)

Benedict XVI

Sin: a progressive rejection of peace

Mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLVI World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1. 2013)

John Paul II

Peace on earth is always a challenge, because of the presence of sin in man’s heart

For Christians, peace on earth is always a challenge, because of the presence of sin in man’s heart. (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XV World Day of Peace, January 1, 1982)

War is born from the sinful heart of man

Yes, war is born from the sinful heart of man, ever since the jealousy and violence that filled the heart of Cain when he met his brother Abel, according to the ancient biblical narrative. Is it not a question really of an even more profound rupture, when people become incapable of agreeing on what is good and evil, on the values of life of which God is the source and guarantor? Does not this explain the drifting of man’s ‘heart’, when he fails to make peace with his fellowman on the basis of truth, with uprightness of spirit and goodness of heart? (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XVII World Day for Peace, January 1, 1984)

Benedict XVI

It is only through the Redemption that man can overcome the progressive rejection of peace, and be an authentic peacemaker

To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by his only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLVI World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1. 2013)


1 – Peace came to the earth from Christ
2 True and stable peace is only found in Christ and the Religion He founded
3 The Catholic Religion, dispenser of grace through the Sacraments, is the only one who guarantees peace

In the first part of the study, we saw how the Redemption gave to man an abundance of grace, liberating him from sin, which is the true demolisher of peace. It was Christ, therefore, who brought peace to the earth and it is only within the religion He founded – the only dispenser of grace – that true peace is found, since peace is always a fruit of justice and charity. Christ is peace and his Church is the only element that guarantees it. Pius XII affirmed: “How far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church”….. which is precisely what Islam does!!!


II – Christ is the Prince of Peace


1 – Peace came to the earth from Christ


Sacred Scripture

A son is given us: the Prince of Peace

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. (Is 9:5)

From on high He will visit to guide our feet into the path of peace

Because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Lk 1:78 – 79)

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ (Lk 2:13 – 14)

Saint Jerome

Those of ‘good will’ are those who acknowledge the birth of Christ

Notice what the Gospel says. In Heaven, where there is no discord, glory rules; on earth, where every day is warfare, peace prevails. On earth peace. Peace among whom? Among men. Why are the Gentiles without peace; why, too, the Jews? That is exactly the reason for the qualification: Peace among those of good will, among those who acknowledge the birth of Christ. (Saint Jerome. Homily 88: on the Nativity of Our Lord)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Christ is both our Peace and Goodwill

But we, wretched beings, by having set up our own lusts in opposition to the will of our Lord, had put ourselves into the position of enemies unto Him. But by Christ this has been done away: for He is our peace; for He has united us by Himself unto God the Father, having taken away from the middle the cause of the enmity, even sin, and so justifies us by faith, and makes us holy and without blame, and calls near unto Him those who were afar off: and besides this, He has created the two people into one new man, so making peace, and reconciling both in one body to the Father. For it pleased God the Father to form into one new whole all things in Him, and to bind together things below and things above, and to make those in heaven and those on earth into one flock. Christ therefore has been made for us both Peace and Goodwill. (Saint Cyril of Alexandria. Commentary upon the Gospel of Saint Luke, Sermon II, 2:8 – 18)

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

A child who holds the plenitude of the divinity: here peace exists

Behold peace, not promised but sent, not deferred but conferred, not prophesied but presented. Behold, God the Father has sent to the earth, as it were, a sack filled with his mercy; a sack that must be cut to pieces in the passion so that it can pour out what is concealed in it for our ransom; a small sack, indeed, but stuffed full. A child has been given us, but in him dwells the whole fullness of divinity. When the plenitude of time arrived, the plenitude of divinity came also. (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Sermon I on the Epiphany of Our Lord: PL 183, 142 – 143English)

Benedict XVI

True peace comes from Christ

True peace comes from Christ (cf. Jn 14:27). It cannot be compared with the peace that the world gives. It is not the fruit of negotiations and diplomatic agreements based on particular interests. It is the peace of a humanity reconciled with itself in God, a peace of which the Church is the sacrament. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Africae munus, no. 30, November 30, 2011)

Wherever Christ is welcomed, islands of peace develop

Et erit iste pax’ – this will be peace, the Prophet Micah says (Mic 5:4) about the future ruler of Israel, whose birth in Bethlehem he announces. The Angels said to the shepherds grazing their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem: ‘on earth peace among men’, the expected One has arrived (Lk 2:14). He himself, Christ, the Lord, said to his disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’ (Jn 14:27). It is from these words that the liturgical greeting developed: ‘Peace be with you’. This peace that is communicated in the liturgy is Christ himself. He gives himself to us as peace, as reconciliation beyond all frontiers. Wherever he is welcomed, islands of peace develop. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

Peace in this world always remains weak and fragile for it implies opening our hearts to God

We human beings would have liked Christ to banish all wars once and for all, to destroy weapons and establish universal peace. But we have to learn that peace cannot be attained only from the outside with structures, and that the attempt to establish it with violence leads only to ever new violence. We must learn that peace – as the Angel of Bethlehem said – is connected with eudokia, with the opening of our hearts to God. We must learn that peace can only exist if hatred and selfishness are overcome from within. The human being must be renewed from within, must become new and different. Thus, peace in this world always remains weak and fragile. We suffer from this. For this very reason we are called especially to let ourselves be penetrated within by God’s peace and to take his power into the world. All that was wrought in and through the Sacrament of Baptism must be fulfilled in our lives: the dying of the former self, hence, the rebirth of the new. And we will pray to the Lord insistently over and over again: Please move hearts! Make us new people! Help the reason of peace to overcome the irrationality of violence! Make us bearers of your peace! (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

Sacred Scripture

Christ made peace by the Blood of his cross

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven. (Col 1:19 – 20)

The peace of Christ is not of the world

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. (Jn 14:27)

John Paul II

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the price of peace, with victory over sin

Christ is our peace (cf. Eph 2:14): it is He who has reconciled us with the Father; it is He who, re-pacifying man of all times with God, has reconciled humanity, marked with the inheritance of original sin. Assuming the guilt of the first Adam, through his death on the Cross, Jesus has abolished the ancient sin and, in this way, ‘where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more’ (Rom 5:20). His sacrifice is the price of this peace. (John Paul II. Homily for the World Day of Prayer for Peace in the Balkans, no. 3, January 23, 1994)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

To have peace it is necessary to be in accord with Christ, and not with the world

But when the Lord proceeded to say, ‘Not as the world gives, give I unto you’, what else does He mean but, Not as those give who love the world, give I unto you? For their aim in giving themselves peace is that, exempt from the annoyance of lawsuits and wars, they may find enjoyment, not in God, but in the friendship of the world; and although they give the righteous peace, in ceasing to persecute them, there can be no true peace where there is no real harmony, because their hearts are at variance. For as one is called a consort who unites his lot (sortem) with another, so may he be termed concordant whose heart has entered into a similar union. Let us, therefore, beloved, with whom Christ leaves peace, and to whom He gives His own peace, not after the world’s way, but in a way worthy of Him by whom the world was made, that we should be of one heart with Himself, having our hearts run into one, that this one heart, set on that which is above, may escape the corruption of the earth. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of Saint John, Tractate 77, no. 5)

Origen

Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings

Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings; where He is, there is peace and all good things. (Origen quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea in Mt 27:15 – 26)

Sacred Scripture

The fruit of the Spirit is peace

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

Christ is our peace: he who broke down the dividing wall of enmity

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh. (Eph 2:13-14)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

If we have Christ as peace, let us kill the enemy in ourselves – when the flesh’s prudence is subject to the divine law, we are transformed into a new peaceful man

By understanding Christ as peace we will manifest the true name of Christian if we show Christ in our life by his peace: he destroyed the enemy, as the Apostle says (Eph 2.14). Let none of us hand over life to this enemy; rather, let us exhibit his death in our lives. Let us never incite to our soul’s detriment what God has slain for our salvation through anger and the recollection of injuries. If we followed this path, we would bring about a bad resurrection of what has been put to death. But if we have Christ who is peace, let us kill the enemy in ourselves; by believing in him we will follow him in our lives. Christ destroyed the intervening wall and formed one man in himself out of two, thereby making peace (Eph 2.14). Let us hasten to reconcile not only those fighting outside us but those rebelling within, that the flesh may no longer lust against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh (Gal 5.17). With the flesh’s prudence subjected to the divine law, we may enjoy peace within, having been transformed into one new peaceful man and with the two becoming one. The definition of peace is harmony of discordant elements. When the civil war in our nature is destroyed, we become peace by cultivating it and by showing the true, proper name of Christ. By understanding Christ as the true light (Jn 1.9) which has no part in falsehood, we learn that the rays of the true light must enlighten our lives. Virtues are the rays of the sun of righteousness emanating for our illumination. They banish works of darkness enabling us to walk becomingly in the day (Rom 13.12-13) after having renounced hidden, shameful works. With all our actions done in the light we become light itself so that we may illumine others about what befits the light. (Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Treaty on the perfect model of a Christian: PG 46, 259-262)

Saint Bede the Venerable

The perturbations on this earth show that the foundations of peace are constructed over sand

True peace, the only peace of souls in this world consists in being full of the love of God and encouraged by the hope of heaven, to the point of considering a small thing the success or losses of this world. […] They are mistaken who imagine that they may find peace in the enjoyment of the goods of this world and its riches. The frequent perturbations on this earth, and the end of this world should convince man that he has constructed his foundations of peace over sand. (Saint Bede the Venerable. Homilies, Book II. Homily 11, on the vigil of Pentecost: ML 94, 196-197)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

When men vanquish sin by a union of love, they vanquish violence as well

Insofar as men are sinful, the threat of war hangs over them, and hang over them it will until the return of Christ. But insofar as men vanquish sin by a union of love, they will vanquish violence as well and make these words come true: ‘They shall turn their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into sickles. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Is 2:4). (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 78, December 7, 1965)

That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor is a symbol of and results from the peace of Christ

That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor symbolizes and results from the peace of Christ which radiates from God the Father. For by the cross the incarnate Son, the prince of peace reconciled all men with God. By thus restoring all men to the unity of one people and one body, He slew hatred in His own flesh; and, after being lifted on high by His resurrection, He poured forth the spirit of love into the hearts of men. For this reason, all Christians are urgently summoned to do in love what the truth requires, and to join with all true peacemakers in pleading for peace and bringing it about. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 78, December 7, 1965)

CELAM – Document of Medellin

Human solidarity comes about only in Christ, who gives Peace that the world cannot give

Finally, peace is the fruit of love. It is the expression of true fraternity among men, a fraternity given by Christ, Prince of Peace, in reconciling all men with the Father. Human solidarity cannot truly take effect unless it is done in Christ, who gives Peace that the world cannot give. (Second Conference of the Episcopate of Latin American and the Caribbean. Medellin Document, II, 14, c, September 6, 1968)


2 – True and stable peace is only found in Christ and the Religion He founded


Sacred Scripture

The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6 – 7)

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. (Rom 5:1 – 2)

Benedict XVI

Jesus builds the great new community of new men who place their will in his

The stable becomes a palace – and setting out from this starting-point, Jesus builds the great new community, whose key-word the angels sing at the hour of his birth: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves’ – those who place their will in his, in this way becoming men of God, new men, a new world. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, December 25, 2007)

Christ is our true peace: in him there is but one family reconciled in love

‘Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity’. We Christians believe that Christ is our true peace: in him, by his Cross, God has reconciled the world to himself and has broken down the walls of division that separated us from one another (cf. Eph 2:14 – 18); in him, there is but one family, reconciled in love. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLV World Day of Peace, no. 5, January 1, 2012)

Paul VI

The reconciliation with God by Christ, and our peace coincide - one is the cause of the other

For it reminds us all that the first and indispensable reconciliation to be achieved is reconciliation with God. For us believers there can be no other way to Peace than this. Indeed, in the definition of our salvation, reconciliation with God and our Peace coincide; one is the cause of the other. This is the work of Christ. He has repaired the break which sin produces in our vital relationship with God. We recall, among many, one of the phrases of Saint Paul in this regard: ‘It is all God’s work. It was God who reconciled us .to himself through Christ’ (2Cor 5:18). (Paul VI. Message for the celebration of the VIII World Day of Peace, January 1, 1975)

Saint Gregory Nazianzus

Peace is a blessing commended by all, but observed by few – those who do not know God do not have peace

Let us then reverence the gift of peace, which Christ when He departed hence left to us. Peace both in name and reality is sweet, which also we have heard to be of God, as it is said, The peace of God; and that God is of it, as He is our peace. Peace is a blessing commended by all, but observed by few. What then is the cause? Perhaps the desire of dominion or riches, or the envy or hatred of our neighbor, or some one of those vices into which we see men fall who know not God. For peace is peculiarly of God, who binds all things together in one, to whom nothing so much belongs as the unity of nature, and a peaceful condition. It is borrowed indeed by angels and divine powers, which are peacefully disposed towards God and one another. It is diffused through the whole creation, whose glory is tranquillity. But in us it abides in our souls indeed by the following and imparting of the virtues, in our bodies by the harmony of our members and organs, of which the one is called beauty, the other health. (Saint Gregory Nazianzus quoted by Saint Thomas Aquinas. Catena Aurea in Lk 24:36 – 40)

Pius XI

The remedy for the ills which afflict society is the true peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ

Is it to be wondered at then that, with the widespread refusal to accept the principles of true Christian wisdom, the seeds of discord sown everywhere should find a kindly soil in which to grow and should come to fruit in that most tremendous struggle, the Great War, which unfortunately did not serve to lessen but increased, by its acts of violence and of bloodshed, the international and social animosities which already existed? Up to this We have analyzed briefly the causes of the ills which afflict present-day society, the recital of which however, Venerable Brothers, should not cause us to lose hope of finding their appropriate remedy, since the evils themselves seem to suggest a way out of these difficulties.
First, and most important of all, for mankind is the need of spiritual peace. We do not need a peace that will consist merely in acts of external or formal courtesy, but a peace which will penetrate the souls of men and which will unite, heal, and reopen their hearts to that mutual affection which is born of brotherly love. The peace of Christ is the only peace answering this description: ‘let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts’ (Col 3:15). Nor is there any other peace possible than that which Christ gave to His disciples (Jn 14:27) for since He is God, He ‘beholdeth the heart’ (1Kings 16:7) and in our hearts His kingdom is set up. Again, Jesus Christ is perfectly justified when He calls this peace of soul His own for He was the first Who said to men, ‘all you are brethren’ (Mt 23:8). He gave likewise to us, sealing it with His own life’s blood, the law of brotherly love, of mutual forbearance – ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you’ (Jn 15:12). ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ’ (Gal 6:2). From this it follows, as an immediate consequence, that the peace of Christ can only be a peace of justice according to the words of the prophet ‘the work of justice shall be peace’ (Is 22:17) for he is God ‘who judgest justice’ (Ps 9:5). But peace does not consist merely in a hard inflexible justice. It must be made acceptable and easy by being compounded almost equally of charity and a sincere desire for reconciliation. […] It is, therefore, a fact which cannot be questioned that the true peace of Christ can only exist in the Kingdom of Christ – ‘the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ’. It is no less unquestionable that, in doing all we can to bring about the re-establishment of Christ’s kingdom, we will be working most effectively toward a lasting world peace. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei consilio, no. 31 – 34.49, December 23, 1922)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

The Church strengthens peace among men for the glory of God

The Church herself makes use of temporal things insofar as her own mission requires it. She, for her part, does not place her trust in the privileges offered by civil authority. She will even give up the exercise of certain rights which have been legitimately acquired, if it becomes clear that their use will cast doubt on the sincerity of her witness or that new ways of life demand new methods. It is only right, however, that at all times and in all places, the Church should have true freedom to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine, to exercise her role freely among men, and also to pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of a person or the salvation of souls require it. In this, she should make use of all the means – but only those – which accord with the Gospel and which correspond to the general good according to the diversity of times and circumstances. While faithfully adhering to the Gospel and fulfilling her mission to the world, the Church, whose duty it is to foster and elevate all that is found to be true, good and beautiful in the human community, strengthens peace among men for the glory of God. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 76, December 7, 1965)

Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder

Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice. The common good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning in the eternal law. But since the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 78, December 7, 1965)

The Church is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see

The Church, then, is God’s only flock; it is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see it: for it serves all mankind through the Gospel of peace as it makes its pilgrim way in hope toward the goal of the fatherland above. This is the sacred mystery of the unity of the Church, in Christ and through Christ, the Holy Spirit energizing its various functions. It is a mystery that finds its highest exemplar and source in the unity of the Persons of the Trinity: the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit, one God. (Vatican Council II. Decree Unitatis redintegratio, no. 2, November 21, 1964)

Benedict XVI

If peace is to be authentic and lasting it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man

For her part, the Church, in fidelity to the mission she has received from her Founder, is committed to proclaiming everywhere ‘the Gospel of peace’. In the firm conviction that she offers an indispensable service to all those who strive to promote peace, she reminds everyone that, if peace is to be authentic and lasting, it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man. This truth alone can create a sensitivity to justice and openness to love and solidarity, while encouraging everyone to work for a truly free and harmonious human family. The foundations of authentic peace rest on the truth about God and man. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 15, January 1, 2006)


3 – The Catholic Religion, dispenser of grace through the Sacraments, is the only one who guarantees peace


Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

The Church preaches the Gospel to all men and dispenses the treasures of grace ensuring peace

Since, in virtue of her mission received from God, the Church preaches the Gospel to all men and dispenses the treasures of grace, she contributes to the ensuring of peace everywhere on earth and to the placing of the fraternal exchange between men on solid ground by imparting knowledge of the divine and natural law. Therefore, to encourage and stimulate cooperation among men, the Church must be clearly present in the midst of the community of nations both through her official channels and through the full and sincere collaboration of all Christians – a collaboration motivated solely by the desire to be of service to all. (Vatican Council II. Pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 89, December 7, 1965)

The mission of the Church is to lead to the peace of Christ by the Sacraments and other means of grace

The mission of the Church, therefore, is fulfilled by that activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ; that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full participation in the mystery of Christ. (Vatican Council II. Decree Ad gentes, no. 5, December 7, 1965)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

A Sacrament signifies the grace it communicates

A sacrament properly speaking is that which is ordained to signify our sanctification. In which three things may be considered; viz. the very cause of our sanctification, which is Christ’s passion; the form of our sanctification, which is grace and the virtues; and the ultimate end of our sanctification, which is eternal life. And all these are signified by the sacraments. Consequently a sacrament is a sign that is both a reminder of the past, i.e. the passion of Christ; and an indication of that which is effected in us by Christ’s passion, i.e. grace; and a prognostic, that is, a foretelling of future glory. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, III, q. 60, a. 3)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Sacraments are ‘of the Church’ in the double sense: they are ‘by her’ and ‘for her’

The sacraments are ‘of the Church’ in the double sense that they are ‘by her’ and ‘for her.’ They are ‘by the Church,’ for she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are ‘for the Church’ in the sense that ‘the sacraments make the Church’ (Saint Augustine, De civ. Dei 22, 17; cf. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Sth III, 64, 2 ad 3) since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1118)

The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace

The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1131)

John Paul II

When an interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, the way toward the ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened

The Church has continually remembered that the Gospel of peace will arrive at the institutions passing through the hearts of the people; and that society will not be pacified if consciences have not been pacified first, liberating them from sin and from its social consequences. When this interior transformation is achieved in the soul of each one, there will be created, with the strength of life itself, new forms of social and cultural relations, and the way toward a ‘civilization of peace’ will be opened to the world. (John Paul II. Homily in Mendoza, Argentina, April 7, 1987)

Pius XI

Christian peace dominates sinful passions and promotes the dignity of human life

Of this peace of Christ, which dwells in our hearts and is, in effect, the love of God, We can repeat what the Apostle has said of the kingdom of God which also rules by love – ‘the kingdom of Christ is not meat and drink’ (Rom 14:17). In other words, the peace of Christ is not nourished on the things of earth, but on those of heaven. […] This does not mean that the peace of Christ, which is the only true peace, exacts of us that we give up all worldly possessions. On the contrary, every earthly good is promised in so many words by Christ to those who seek His peace: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you’ (Mt 6:33; Lk 7:31). This peace of Christ, however, surpasses all human understanding – ‘the peace of God which surpasseth all understanding’ (Phil 4:7), and for this very reason dominates our sinful passions and renders such evils as division, strife, and discord, which result solely from the unrestrained desire for earthly possessions, impossible. If the desire for worldly possessions were kept within bounds and the place of honor in our affections given to the things of the spirit, which place undoubtedly they deserve, the peace of Christ would follow immediately, to which would be joined in a natural and happy union, as it were, a higher regard for the value and dignity of human life. Human personality, too, would be raised to a higher level, for man has been ennobled by the Blood of Christ and made kin to God Himself by means of holiness and the bond of brotherly love which unites us closely with Christ, by prayer and by the reception of the Sacraments. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi arcano Dei consilio, no. 37 – 38, December 23, 1922)

Only the Church, confided with Christ’s doctrine and the promise of His assistance, can bring about true peace today and secure it for the future

If we stop to reflect for a moment that these ideals and doctrines of Jesus Christ, for example, his teachings on the necessity and value of the spiritual life, on the dignity and sanctity of human life, on the duty of obedience, on the divine basis of human government, on the sacramental character of matrimony and by consequence the sanctity of family life – if we stop to reflect, let Us repeat, that these ideals and doctrines of Christ (which are in fact but a portion of the treasury of truth which He left to mankind) were confided by Him to His Church and to her alone for safekeeping, and that He has promised that His aid will never fail her at any time for she is the infallible teacher of His doctrines in every century and before all nations, there is no one who cannot clearly see what a singularly important role the Catholic Church is able to play, and is even called upon to assume, in providing a remedy for the ills which afflict the world today and in leading mankind toward a universal peace. […] Since the Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, for to her safe-keeping alone there has been confided the doctrines and the promise of the assistance of Christ, she is able not only to bring about at the present hour a peace that is truly the peace of Christ, but can, better than any other agency which We know of, contribute greatly to the securing of the same peace for the future, to the making impossible of war in the future. […] An attempt in this direction has already and is now being made; its results, however, are almost negligible and, especially so, as far as they can be said to affect those major questions which divide seriously and serve to arouse nations one against the other. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei consilio, no. 41. 44. 45, December 23, 1922)

True peace is impossible unless humans willingly accept the teachings and obey the law of Christ, divinely commissioned to the Church

No merely human institution of today can be as successful in devising a set of international laws which will be in harmony with world conditions […] There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail. It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results there from, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations. (Pius XI. Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei consilio, no. 45, 46 – 47, December 23, 1922)

Pius XII

Peace can only be obtained from the principles and norms dictated by Christ and put into practice with sincere piety

However, realizing that ‘every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights’ (Jas 1:17), We consider it opportune, Venerable Brothers, to call once again for public prayers and supplications to implore concord among peoples. It will be the care of your pastoral zeal not only to urge the souls committed to you to raise fervent prayers to God, but also to encourage them to works of penance and expiation, by which the Divine Majesty, which has been offended by so many grievous public and private crimes, can be appeased. Meanwhile, in accordance with your office, give notice to the faithful of this our paternal invitation; recall to them once more from what principles a just and lasting peace may issue and by what means it must be sought. Indeed, as you well know, it can only be obtained from the principles and norms dictated by Christ and put into practice with sincere piety. Such principles and norms, in fact, recall men to truth, justice and charity; they put a restraint on their unruly desires; they force the senses to be obedient to reason; they move the reason to obey God; they produce this effect, that all men, even those who are rulers of the peoples, may recognize the freedom that is due to religion, which, beyond its primary purpose of leading souls to eternal salvation, has also another, of safeguarding and protecting the very foundations of the State. (Pius XII. Encyclical Summi maeroris, no. 7 – 9, July 19, 1950)

How far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church

From what We have said so far, it is easy to conclude, Venerable Brothers, how far removed from procuring a secure peace are those who trample underfoot the sacred rights of the Catholic Church. They forbid her ministers the free exercise of religious worship. They even condemn them to exile and to prison. They impede or directly proscribe and destroy schools and institutes of education which are conducted according to Christian norms and principles. Through errors, calumnies and every kind of indecency, they draw the people, especially the tender youth, away from integrity of morals, from virtue and innocence, to the allurements of vice and corruption. […] You must teach all this with frankness; because only when the Christian commandments inform private and public life, only then may we rightly hope that, after human dissensions have been composed, the various classes of citizens, peoples and nations will live together in brotherly concord. (Pius XII. Encyclical Summi maeroris, no. 10, 13, July 19, 1950)

1 – Islam systematically violates the Natural Law in diverse manners
2 –
Islam may not be compared with the Catholic Church, for just as other religions, Islamism does not possess infused grace
3 –
Documents of the Church testify the non-pacific state of Islam

In the previous parts of our study, we have clearly observed that peace is a work of justice and a fruit of charity. It results from the practice of what is good, which is taught by the natural and divine law and accomplished with the help of grace. We now arrive at the point where we might ask – especially considering the declarations of Francis that we are analyzing: Is peace possible in Islam without the concept of an objective good or the natural law and above all without the indispensable aid of supernatural grace?

As we have seen in another study (On whether Allah is the same as God), in Islam goodness and the law are absolutely conditioned to Allah’s will – and he may change as he pleases, or even contradict himself! Neither is it possible to speak of an objective and immutable Natural Law that is accepted by Muslims; and, consequently, even less of an objective good or justice. The licit (halal) or the illicit (be it detestable, makruh, or emphatically prohibited, haram) depend upon the – often unreasonable – will of Allah, the Legislator, who is so transcendante that he is above all human categories (even what humans consider the most basic logic or morality): ‘Allah orders what He desires’. (Koran 5.2) ‘(High is He) above what they attribute to Him’ (Koran 21.22)!

Further, Muslims do not take into account what we call ‘human nature’ as a point of reference, nor even a rational good. Rather, man and his goodness are according to the teachings of the Koran, and depend on the caprice of Allah. And, as he taught that the unfaithful, ‘the idolaters are nothing but unclean’ (Koran 9. 28), ‘the vilest animals in Allah’s sight’ (Koran 8.55; 98. 6), as animals they ‘have no sense’ (Koran 8.22) – there is no way of considering humans as beings in Allah’s likeness.

Most importantly, as Muslims do not possess grace, they are incapable of steadily practicing justice or charity – and consequently, they do not have true peace.


1 – Islam systematically violates the Natural Law in diverse manners


Within Muslim society, family customs are far from fulfilling the natural law, for they include polygamy (Koran 4.3; 33. 49-52) – ‘that they should be pleased, all of them with what you give them, and Allah knows what is in your hearts’ (Koran 33.52) –divorce (Koran 2. 230), the juridical inferiority of the woman (Koran 2, 282; 4, 11), or the duty of the husband to strike those of his women he fears may rebel: ‘these are the limits of Allah’ (Koran 2: 230). Lies and falsity are thus normal toward non-Muslims; for the takyia orders that the alliances with them be made in a manner that Muslims ‘guard yourselves against them’ (Koran 3. 28). And no differences or spiritual liberty is tolerated, because for the non-Muslims the Koran teaches that ‘we declare ourselves to be clear of you, and enmity and hatred have appeared between us and you forever until you believe in Allah alone’ (Koran 60.4). Social pressure, coercion and denunciation of those who do not submit to the laws of Islam are ways in which respect as citizens of Islamic society is denied to unbelievers by those among whom they may live; and they can only continue alive if they pay a tax (jyzaia) for the right of survival, and entirely live in subjection: ‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection’ (Koran 9. 29). These are the laws that rule Islamic national and even international relations, when they migrate to other countries and wish to impose their laws.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Forced concord, by fear, is not really peace

For if one man concord with another, not of his own accord, but through being forced, as it were, by the fear of some evil that besets him, such concord is not really peace, because the order of each concordant is not observed, but is disturbed by some fear-inspiring cause. For this reason he premises that ‘peace is tranquillity of order,’ which tranquillity consists in all the appetitive movements in one man being set at rest together. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 29, a. 1, ad 1)

John XXIII

Relations between States must be regulated by the principle of freedom

Furthermore, relations between States must be regulated by the principle of freedom. This means that no country has the right to take any action that would constitute an unjust oppression of other countries, or an unwarranted interference in their affairs. (John XXIII. Encyclical Pacem in terris, no. 120, April 11, 1963)

Pius XII

In the field of a new order founded over moral principles there is no place for the persecution of religion and of the Church

We consequently make use of our right, or better said, we fulfill our duty, when today, on Christmas Eve – divine aurora of hope and peace for the world – with the authority of our apostolic ministry and the ardent stimulus of our heart, we once again call attention and the consideration of the entire universe regarding the dangers that undermine and threaten a peace, which may be the firm basis of a truly new order and replies to the hope and the desires of all people for a more tranquil future. […] In the field of a new order founded over moral principles there is no place for the injury of liberty, the integrity and the security of other nations, regardless of its territorial extension or its defensive capacity. […] In the field of a new order founded over moral principles there is no place for the persecution of religion and of the Church. From a living faith in a personal and transcendent God there necessarily arises a forthright and resistant moral energy that informs the entire course of life; because faith is not only a virtue, but the divine door through which all of the virtues enter into the temple of the soul, and form that strong and tenacious character that never vacillates in the foundations of reason and justice. (Pius XII. Radio message for Christmas, no. 16.19.25, December 24, 1941)

Benedict XVI

Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman

Who and what, then, can prevent the coming of peace? Sacred Scripture, in its very first book, Genesis, points to the lie told at the very beginning of history by the animal with a forked tongue, whom the Evangelist John calls ‘the father of lies’ (Jn 8:44). Lying is also one of the sins spoken of in the final chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, which bars liars from the heavenly Jerusalem: ‘outside are… all who love falsehood’ (Jn 22:15). Lying is linked to the tragedy of sin and its perverse consequences, which have had, and continue to have, devastating effects on the lives of individuals and nations. […] Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the peaceful future of our planet. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, January 1, 2006)

A fundamental presupposition for authentic peace: respect for the Natural Law– to carry out the divine plan inscribed in the nature of human beings

From this standpoint, the norms of the natural law should not be viewed as externally imposed decrees, as restraints upon human freedom. Rather, they should be welcomed as a call to carry out faithfully the universal divine plan inscribed in the nature of human beings. Guided by these norms, all peoples – within their respective cultures – can draw near to the greatest mystery, which is the mystery of God. Today too, recognition and respect for natural law represents the foundation for a dialogue between the followers of the different religions and between believers and non-believers. As a great point of convergence, this is also a fundamental presupposition for authentic peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1, 2007)


2 –Islam may not be compared with the Catholic Church, for just as other religions, Islam does not possess infused grace


Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ established his holy Church through which he communicates truth and grace to all men

The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men. (Lumen Gentium 8 #1) (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 771)

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

Those who stand firm in the faith remember that they have obtained grace in the Church

The greater and better part of the confessors stand firm in the strength of their faith, and in the truth of the law and discipline of the Lord; neither do they depart from the peace of the Church, who remember that they have obtained grace in the Church by the condescension of God. (Saint Cyprian of Carthage. On the Unity of the Church, no. 22)

Origen

Even if some points of doctrine in the Scriptures are found among pagans, they do not possess the power of grace

‘And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God’ (1Cor 2:4-5). For the word of God declares that the preaching (although in itself true and most worthy of belief) is not sufficient to reach the human heart, unless a certain power be imparted to the speaker from God, and a grace appear upon his words; and it is only by the divine agency that this takes place in those who speak effectually. The prophet says in the sixty-seventh Psalm, that ‘the Lord will give a word with great power to them who preach.’ (Such is the reading of the Septuagint version. The Masoretic text has: ‘The Lord gave a word; of them who published it there was a great host’ (Cf. Ps 68:11). If, then, it should be granted with respect to certain points, that the same doctrines are found among the Greeks as in our own Scriptures, yet they do not possess the same power of attracting and disposing the souls of men to follow them. And therefore the disciples of Jesus, men ignorant so far as regards Grecian philosophy, yet traversed many countries of the world, impressing, agreeably to the desire of the Logos, each one of their hearers according to his deserts, so that they received a moral ameliorationin proportion to the inclination of their will to accept of that which is good. (Origen. Origen Against Cesus, Book VII, Ch. 2)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

The Church is necessary for salvation; through baptism men enter it

This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism (Cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. (Vatican Council II. Dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, no. 14, November 21, 1964)

Pius IX

Comparing the religion revealed by God with other religions is to pretend agreement between Christ and Belial

You already know well, venerable brothers, the other portentous errors and deceits by which the sons of this world try most bitterly to attack the Catholic religion. […] Also perverse is the shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs, a theory which is greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Belial. (Pius IX. Encyclical Qui pluribus, no. 13.14, November 9, 1846)

Those who live separated from the true faith cannot attain eternal life

And here, beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, We should mention again and censure a very grave error in which some Catholics are unhappily engaged, who believe that men living in error, and separated from the true faith and from Catholic unity, can attain eternal life. Indeed, this is certainly quite contrary to Catholic teaching. (Denzinger-Hünermann 2865. Pius IX. Encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863)

John Paul II

Other communities do not possess the fullness of the Catholic Church

The elements of this already-given Church exist, found in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other Communities. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no. 14, May 25, 1995)


 3 –Documents of the Church testify the non-pacific condition of Islam


Saint Bede, the Venerable

The Saracens occupy a great part of Africa, Asia and of Europe, with hatred and opposition to all

“The Lord’s messenger said to her: ‘You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the Lord has heard you, God has answered you. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp’” (Gen 16: 11-12). This means that his descendents would live in the wilderness, that is, the roaming Saracens, and without fixed settlements, uniting themselves with all of the warring peoples in the dessert, they are combated by all, and this since the beginning. Now, great is their hand against all, and the hands of all against them, for they impose their dominion throughout Africa, occupying even a great part of Asia and of Europe, holding hatred and opposition to all. (Saint Bede the Venerable. Hexameron in principium Genesis, Commentary on Genesis, Book IV: PL 91, 159)

Gaul was laid waste by the Saracens with cruel bloodshed

In the year of our Lord 729, two comets appeared about the sun, to the great terror of the beholders. One of them went before the sun in the morning at his rising, the other followed him when he set in the evening, as it were presaging dire disaster to both east and west; or without doubt one was the forerunner of the day, and the other of the night, to signify that mortals were threatened with calamities at both times. They carried their flaming brands towards the north, as it were ready to kindle a conflagration. They appeared in January, and continued nearly a fortnight. At which time a grievous blight fell upon Gaul, in that it was laid waste by the Saracens with cruel bloodshed; but not long after in that country they received the due reward of their Unbelief. (Saint Bede the Venerable. Ecclesiastical History of England, Book 5, Ch. 23)

Urban II

A convocation in legitimate defense against the violence of the Muslim occupation: they kill and capture, destroy churches and devastate the empire

For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of Saint George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. (Urban II. Address for the Council of Clermont, 1095)

A barbaric fury has laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient

Your brotherhood, we believe, has long since learned from many accounts that a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient. More than this, blasphemous to say, it has even grasped in intolerable servitude its churches and the Holy City of Christ, glorified by His passion and resurrection. Grieving with pious concern at this calamity, we visited the regions of Gaul and devoted ourselves largely to urging the princes of the land and their subjects to free the churches of the East. (Urban II. Letter of instruction to the Crusader in Flanders, December 1095)

Saint Francis of Assisi

The Franciscan rule includes sending religious to evangelize the regions of the Muslims, foreseeing persecutions for the confession of being Christian

Of those who go among the Saracens and the infidels the Lord says: ‘Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves’ (Mt 10:16). Wherefore, whoever of the brothers may wish, by divine inspiration, to go among the Saracens and other infidels, let them go with the permission of their minister and servant. But let the minister give them leave and not refuse them, if he sees they are fit to be sent; he will be held to render an account to the Lord if in this or in other things he acts indiscreetly. The brothers, however, who go may conduct themselves in two ways spiritually among them. One way is not to make disputes or contentions; but let them be ‘subject to every human creature for God’s sake’ (1Pet 2:13), yet confessing themselves to be Christians. The other way is that when they see it is pleasing to God, they announce the Word of God, that they may believe in Almighty God, – Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, the Creator of all, our Lord the Redeemer and Saviour the Son, and that they should be baptized and be made Christians, because, ‘unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ (Jn 3:5). These and other things which please God they may say to them, for the Lord says in the Gospel: ‘Everyone that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 10:32); and ‘he that shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man shall be ashamed, when He shall come in His majesty and that of His Father, and of the holy angels’ (Lk 9:26). And let all the brothers, wherever they may be, remember that they have given themselves, and have relinquished their bodies to our Lord Jesus Christ; and for love of Him they ought to expose themselves to enemies both visible and invisible, for the Lord says: ‘Whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, shall save it’ (Mk 8:35; Lk 9:24) in eternal life. ‘Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 5:10). ‘If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you’ (Jn 15:20). If however they should persecute you in one city, flee to another (cf Mt10:23). ‘Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake’ (Mt 5:11-12). ‘Be glad in that day and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven’ (Lk 6:23). ‘I say to you, my friends, be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do’ (Lk 12:4). ‘See that ye are not troubled’ (Mt 24:6). ‘In your patience you shall possess your souls’ (Lk 21:19). ‘But he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved’ (Mt 10:22). (Saint Francis of Assisi, Writings, Rule of the Friars Minor, Ch. 16)

Benedict XVI

Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. […] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three ‘Laws’ or ‘rules of life’: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. […] In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the ‘Book’ and the ‘infidels’, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’ The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ‘God’, he says, ‘is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…’. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this; not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practice idolatry. (Benedict XVI. Address in the University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

Sufferings of the Christian community in Iraq

Sadly, the year now ending has again been marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance. My thoughts turn in a special way to the beloved country of Iraq, which continues to be a theatre of violence and strife as it makes its way towards a future of stability and reconciliation. I think of the recent sufferings of the Christian community, and in particular the reprehensible attack on the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baghdad, where on 31 October two priests and over fifty faithful were killed as they gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass. In the days that followed, other attacks ensued, even on private homes, spreading fear within the Christian community and a desire on the part of many to emigrate in search of a better life. I assure them of my own closeness and that of the entire Church, a closeness which found concrete expression in the recent Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod encouraged the Catholic communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East to live in communion and to continue to offer a courageous witness of faith in those lands. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLIV World Day of Peace, no. 1, January 1, 2011)

Numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East

Consequently, if the glorification of God and earthly peace are closely linked, it seems evident that peace is both God’s gift and a human task, one which demands our free and conscious response. For this reason, I wished my annual Message for the World Day of Peace to bear the title: Blessed are the Peacemakers. Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins. Your Excellencies, allow me to ask you to continue to make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be made available to face this grave humanitarian situation. I now turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine’s recognition as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!
As I turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for which they long.
In Lebanon, where last September I met the various groups which make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with all men and women of good will!
In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when new institutions are being set in place.
Turning to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace, especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes, families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division. I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil war. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, January 7, 2013)

International Theological Commission

The worrisome phenomenon of ‘religious violence’ is not devoid of connections with the politics of ethnic subversion and of terrorist strategy

We can understand the astonishment of Christians in seeing that a religious vocation of violence toward the faithful of other religions or also to the propagandists of criticism of religion is attributed to them: above all if we consider that, in many parts of the world, Christians are battered with intimidation and violence, simply because they belong to the Christian community. Even in the democratic and lay societies, the bond of belonging to a Christian community is often pointed out as a threat to social peace and free cultural comparison, even when the argumentations presented, in the support of the opinions that refer to the public sphere, appeal to the recourses of the common rationality. It certainly may not be denied that there exists a reawakening, on an international scale, of the worrisome phenomenon of ‘religious violence’ not devoid of significant connections with politics of ethnic subversion and of terrorist strategy. (International Theological Commission. God the Trinity and the unity of humanity, Ch. 1, no. 6-7, December 6, 2013)

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

What makes the crimes against ethnic and religious communities even more heinous is the tentative of justifying them in the name of religion

For some of you and also for others from other religious communities, the joy of the feast is shadowed by the memory of the dear ones who lost their life or goods, or suffered physically, mentally and even spiritually because of violence. Ethnic and religious communities in a number of countries of the world went through various and enormous unjust sufferings: killing of some of their members, destruction of their religious and cultural heritages, forced emigration from their homes and cities, molestation and raping of their women, enslavement of some of their members, trafficking of persons, commerce of organs, and even selling of cadavers! We are all aware of the gravity of these crimes in themselves. However, what makes them even more heinous is the tentative of justifying them in the name of religion. (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Message for the month of Ramadan, no. 2-3, June 12, 2015)

John XXIII

Thousands of Our sons and brothers suffering years of bitter persecution in many lands, even those of an ancient Christian culture

Let men make all the technical and economic progress they can, there will be no peace nor justice in the world until they return to a sense of their dignity as creatures and sons of God, who is the first and final cause of all created being. Separated from God a man is but a monster, in himself and toward others; for the right ordering of human society presupposes the right ordering of man’s conscience with God, who is Himself the source of all justice, truth and love. Here is a spectacle for all the world to see: thousands of Our sons and brothers, whom We love so dearly, suffering years of bitter persecution in many lands, even those of an ancient Christian culture. And will not men who see clearly and compare the superior dignity of the persecuted with that refined barbarity of their oppressors, soon return to their senses, if indeed they have not already done so? (John XXIII. Encyclical Mater et Magistra, no. 215-216, May 15, 1961)

John Paul II

Every violation of religious freedom does fundamental damage to the cause of peace

Moreover, every violation of religious freedom, whether open or hidden, does fundamental damage to the cause of peace, like violations of the other fundamental rights of the human person. Forty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to be commemorated next December, we have to admit that millions of people in various parts of the world are still suffering for their religious convictions: they are victims of repressive and oppressive legislation, victims sometimes of open persecution, but more often of subtle forms of discrimination aimed at believers and communities. This state of affairs, in itself intolerable, is also a bad omen for peace. (John Paul II. Message for the celebration of the XXI World Day of Peace, January 1, 1988)

Synod of Bishops: Special Assembly for the Middle East

The situation of Christians in Arab countries

In Iraq, the war has unleashed evil forces within the country, religious confessions and political movements, making all Iraqis victims. However, because Christians represent the smallest and weakest part of Iraqi communities, they are among the principal victims, with world politics taking no notice. In Lebanon, Christians are deeply divided at a political and confessional level, without a commonly acceptable plan of action. In Egypt, the rise of political Islam, on the one hand, and the disengagement of Christians from civil society on the other, lead to intolerance, inequality and injustice in their lives. Moreover, this Islamisation also penetrates families through the media and school, leading to an unconscious change in attitudes which is Islamic in character. In many countries, authoritarianism or dictatorships force the population – Christians included – to bear everything in silence so as to safeguard what is essential. In Turkey, the idea of ‘secularity’ is currently posing more problems for full religious freedom in the country. This situation of Christians in various Arab countries has been described in paragraph 13 of the Catholic Patriarchs’ 10th Pastoral Letter (2009). Its conclusion disapproves a defeatist attitude: ‘Confronted by these different realities, some remain strong in their faith and their commitment in society, sharing common sacrifices and contributing to the overall social plan. Others, in contrast, are discouraged and have lost all confidence in their society and in its capacity to accord them the same equal status as other citizens, leading to their abandoning all engagement, withdrawing into their Churches and institutions, and living in isolation and devoid of interaction with society’ (Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East, 10th Pastoral Letter on Arab Christians Facing Today’s Challenges: ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us’ (Rom 5:5), General Secretariat, Bkerké, 2009, § 13 ff). (Synod of Bishops. Special Assembly for the Middle East, Lineamenta, no. 19 – 21, December 8, 2009)

Conversions of Christians to Islam under pressure, to free themselves from the obligations of non-Muslims

In the Middle East, freedom of religion customarily means freedom of worship and not freedom of conscience, i.e., the freedom to change one’s religion for belief in another. Generally speaking, religion in the Middle East is a social and even a national choice, and not an individual one. To change religion is perceived as betraying a society, culture and nation, founded largely on a religious tradition.

Conversion is seen as the fruit of a proselytism with personal interests attached and not arising from authentic religious conviction. Oftentimes, the conversion of Jews and Muslims is forbidden by State laws. Christians, though also subjected to pressure and opposition from families and tribes – even if less severely – remain free to change their religion. Many times, the conversion of Christians results not from religious conviction but personal interests or under pressure from Muslim proselytism, particularly to be relieved from obligations related to family difficulties. (Synod of Bishops. Special Assembly for the Middle East, Lineamenta, no. 22 – 23, December 8, 2009)

Imposition of an Islamic lifestyle within society

In their previous Pastoral Letter, the Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East said: ‘The rise of political Islam, from the 1970’s onwards, is a prominent phenomenon which affects the region and the situation of Christians in the Arab world. This political Islam includes different religious currents which seek to impose an Islamic way of life on Arab, Turkish and Iranian societies and on all those who live in them, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. For them, the cause of all ills is the neglect of Islam. The solution is therefore a return to original Islam. Hence the slogan: Islam is the answer… In pursuit of this goal, some do not hesitate to resort to violence’ (Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East, 10th Pastoral Letter on Arab Christians Facing Today’s Challenges: ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us’ (Rom 5:5), General Secretariat, Bkerké, 2009, § 7). (Synod of Bishops. Special Assembly for the Middle East, Lineamenta, no. 24, December 8, 2009)

Exploitation of immigrant workers in the Middle East

Hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers come to the Middle East from the world over: Africans, from Ethiopia and those primarily from Sudan, and Asians, especially from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and India. Generally speaking, these immigrants are women engaged in work as domestic servants so they can give their children an education and a better life. Oftentimes, these women (and men also) are subject to social injustice, exploitation and sexual abuse, either by the State which receives them, the agencies which provide passage for them or their employers. (Synod of Bishops. Special Assembly for the Middle East, Lineamenta, no. 28, December 8, 2009)

Muslims frequently mix religion and politics, putting Christians in a precarious situation of being considered as non-citizens

Relations between Christians and Muslims have to be based on two principles. On the one hand, both must be seen to be citizens of the same country and homeland, sharing the same language and culture, not to mention the same fortunes and misfortunes of our countries. On the other, Christians must see themselves as members of the society in which they live and working on its behalf as witnesses of Christ and the Gospel. Oftentimes, relations can be difficult, mainly because Muslims frequently mix religion and politics, putting Christians in a precarious situation of being considered as non-citizens. (Synod of Bishops. Special Assembly for the Middle East, Lineamenta, no. 68, December 8, 2009)

Application of Shariah law is discrimination and a violation of a person’s human rights: with the rise of Islamism, incidents against Christians are increasing almost everywhere

With the exception of Turkey, secularism is not a part of Islam. Normally, Islam is the State religion. The principal source of legislation is Islam, inspired by Shariah law. For personal law (family and inheritance in some countries), there are particular regulations for Christian communities whose ecclesiastical tribunals are recognised and their decisions enacted. The constitutions of every country affirms the equality of citizens before the State. Religious education is compulsory in private and public schools, but is not always guaranteed for Christians. Certain countries are Islamic States, where Shariah law is applied in both private and public life, including the lives of non-Muslims, which always constitutes discrimination and, therefore, a violation of a person’s human rights. Religious freedom and freedom of conscience are foreign to a Muslim mentality, which recognises freedom of worship, but does not permit the profession of a religion other than Islam, still less the abandonment of Islam. With the rise of Islamism, incidents against Christians are increasing almost everywhere. (Synod of Bishops. Special Assembly for the Middle East, Lineamenta, no. 83-84, December 8, 2009)


Annex 1: The peace in Islam is only for those who are under the dominion of Allah


Condensed to its most pure expression, Islam is in total obedience to its God, as revealed in the sacred book (the Koran) and in the sunna (conduct of the Prophet), as it was transmitted by tradition, or, when tradition lacked, by the consensus of the community of faithful, expressed by the mouth of the caliph. A ‘right’ is understood as the right of the community, not of the person. Islam does not know the word ‘person’, its synonym is fard (individuo). The fard is an integral part and dependent upon the great Islamic society (umma). Within it he has rights and duties. If he abandons the religion he loses all of his rights, and is even liable to death for treason. The Islamic Council of Europe, motivated surely by the demands of its new cultural and social ambience, has promulgated its ‘Declaration on Human Rights of man in Islam’. This specification ‘in Islam’ is not merely a manner of speaking, but rather it is essential: these are the rights of the Muslim man. Note: These are the ‘peaceful’ Muslims who are capable of sitting at a table and elaborating a document – not the crazy blood-drenched fanatics.

It is worthwhile to discover some points of the ‘Declaration’, approved in the Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Organization of the Islamic Conference, (OIC).

ARTICLE 1:

(a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by their subordination to Allah and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. The true religion is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human integrity.
(b) All human beings are Allah’s subjects, and the most loved by Him are those who are most beneficial to His subjects, and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.

ARTICLE 2:

(a) Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and states to safeguard this right against any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a Shari’ah prescribed reason.
(b) It is forbidden to resort to any means which could result in the genocidal annihilation of mankind.
(c) The preservation of human life throughout the term of time willed by Allah is a duty prescribed by Shari’ah.
(d) Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Shari’ah-prescribed reason.

ARTICLE 10:

Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to force him to change his religion to another religion or to atheism.

ARTICLE 22:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.
(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.


Annex 2: The Koran incites violence against all unbelievers, that is, non-Muslims


Having understood what peace is, can Islam be considered a religion of peace? May the Koran be called a Prophetic book of peace?

Let some of the texts from the Koran, presented below, speak for themselves…

Surah 2 – Al Baqara (The Cow)

And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers.

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.

Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 3 – Al Imram (The Family of Imran, The House of ‘Imrán)

10. (As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire.
151. We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 4 – An-Nisa’ (The Women)

Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward.

They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.

Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 5 – Al-Ma’idah (The Food, The Repast, The Table)

And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, therefore We excited among them enmity and hatred to the day of resurrection; and Allah will inform them of what they did.

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,

O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

O you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, they shall strive hard in Allah’s way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer; this is Allah’s Face, He gives it to whom He pleases, and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 8 – Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War, Booty)

And when Allah promised you one of the two parties that it shall be yours and you loved that the one not armed should he yours and Allah desired to manifest the truth of what was true by His words and to cut off the root of the unbelievers.

When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

39. And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.

Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe.

Those with whom you make an agreement, then they break their agreement every time and they do not guard (against punishment).

Therefore if you overtake them in fighting, then scatter by (making an example of) them those who are in their rear, that they may be mindful.

And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, then throw back to them on terms of equality; surely Allah does not love the treacherous.

And let not those who disbelieve think that they shall come in first; surely they will not escape.

And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.

O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 9 – At-Tawbah (The Repentance)

And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve.

So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people.

15. And remove the rage of their hearts; and Allah turns (mercifully) to whom He pleases, and Allah is Knowing, Wise.

And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!

They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One Allah. There is no Allah save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!

O you who believe! What (excuse) have you that when it is said to you: Go forth in Allah’s way, you should incline heavily to earth; are you contented with this world’s life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world’s life compared with the hereafter is but little.

If you do not go forth, He will chastise you with a painful chastisement and bring in your place a people other than you, and you will do Him no harm; and Allah has power over all things.

If you will not aid him, Allah certainly aided him when those who disbelieved expelled him, he being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: Grieve not, surely Allah is with us. So Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see, and made lowest the word of those who disbelieved; and the word of Allah, that is the highest; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.

O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.

O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 22 - Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage)

Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabena’s and the Christians and the Malians and those who associate (others with Allah) surely Allah will decide between them on the day of resurrection; surely Allah is a witness over all things.

Do you not see that Allah is He, Whom obeys whoever is in the heavens and whoever is in the earth, and the sun and the moon and the stars, and the mountains and the trees, and the animals and many of the people; and many there are against whom chastisement has become necessary; and whomsoever Allah abases, there is none who can make him honorable; surely Allah does what He pleases.

These are two adversaries who dispute about their Lord; then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, boiling water shall be poured over their heads.

With it will be scalded what is within their bodies, as well as (their) skins.

And for them are whips of iron.

Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 25 – Al Furqn (The Criterion, The Standard of True and False)

So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them herewith with a great endeavour.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 47 – Muhammad

So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.

Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost: for Allah is with you, and will never put you in loss for your (good) deeds.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 48 – Al Fath (The Victory, Conquest)

He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness.

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 60 – Al Mumtahanah (The Examined One, She that is to be)

O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 61 – As-Saff (The Ranks, Battle Array)

Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.

And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One [One of Allah’s names]. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.

Who doth greater wrong than one who invents falsehood against Allah, even as he is being invited to Islam? And Allah guides not those who do.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Surah 66 – At-Tahrim (The Prohibition)

 O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be hard against them; and their abode is hell; and evil is the resort.

 Source: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html


Annex 3: There is no one better than the Muslims themselves to interpret their own book, the Koran. Some news items demonstrate how they interpret it…


We have chosen a few recent news items, from among innumerable, found in media regarding the Islam, not of terrorism or fundamentalism, but rather the countries whose governments are part of the ‘peaceful’ Islamic community…

Religious freedom in the Islamic world: the example of Pakistan

In these last years, the Muslims have frequently taken the law into their own hands, imposing their version of ‘justice’ against ‘blasphemers’. As a consequence, Christian churches, homes, hospitals, and schools have been destroyed. Few people of the Pakistani Christian community will ever be able to forget what happened at Sangla Hill. A furious mob of about 2,000 Muslims destroyed a whole town, incited by a false accusation of blasphemy made against one of the inhabitants. After the attack, followed by others, the Christian leaders wrote to the President Musharraf to ask him to do something, ‘because fanaticism will end up destroying the country from within’. (Source: La Libertad religiosa en el mundo islamico – religious liberty in the Islamic world)

More news from Pakistan

Christians in Pakistan are suffering because of the abuse of the blasphemy law. Also, when a Christian is accused, the entire community suffers serious consequences’: says to Fides Dominican Father James Channan, director of the ‘Peace Center’ in Lahore, who constantly works for interreligious dialogue, broadening the reflection on the case of Asia Bibi and all other Pakistani citizens, Christians and Muslims, innocent victims of the blasphemy law. Fr. Channan explains: ‘Christian minorities, such as Hindus and members of other minority faiths in Pakistan are often subject to discrimination and persecution. Being a non-Muslim in Pakistan is sometimes dangerous, especially because of the blasphemy laws’. (Souce: Fides)

In Palestine, Gaza: They teach Muslim children to hate Jews and Christians

Palestinian children as young as 5 are being taught to hate Jews, glorify martyrs and support jihad, and a U.S.-funded United Nations agency is helping to underwrite the effort, according to a controversial new documentary.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency hosts summer camps in which Palestinian children are allegedly being indoctrinated, in scenes captured in ‘Camp Jihad: Inside UNRWA Summer Camp Season 2013’. In addition to learning hateful phrases, the children are taught that Israel belongs to them by birthright, according to the film by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
‘The children learn the names of many villages – not just the names of big cities like Jerusalem’ says Amina Hinawi, identified in the documentary as a UNRWA camp director in Gaza. ‘This way every child will be motivated to return to their village. UNRWA finances this summer camp. I’m very, very appreciative of UNRWA because the children of Palestine and Gaza need this’.
Indoctrination of young Palestinian children is nothing new, but the documentary has raised the ire of Israelis largely because of the UN role. According to UNRWA’s own website, the United States is the single-largest contributor to its work and in 2012 gave more than $232 million, ahead of the European Commission ($204 million), and the United Kingdom ($68 million).
Interspersed with sack races, arts and crafts and snack time, are scenes of instructors imparting the message that Israel belongs to Palestinians, and they must take it back by force.
The 19-minute film shows Tayma, a West Bank girl of about 8, being asked who the Jews are. ‘They are a gang of Infidels and Christians’, she replies. ‘They don’t like Allah and do not worship Allah. They hate us’.
Another West Bank camper, Mesam Abu Hindi, has been taught to advocate violence against Israel. “For those who are older than me, weapons will accelerate the Right of Return,” the girl states.
“When we die as martyrs, we go up to heaven,” says a young girl.
And in one scene, a camp instructor tells children they will help overthrow Israel. “With God’s help and our own strength, we will wage war,” she says. “And with education and jihad, we will return.” (Source: Foxnews)

The persecution of Christians in Islamic countries

The persecution of Christians has intensified in at least four countries worldwide, increasing the number of nations where believers endure harsh suffering from six to 10 in just two years, according to the Christian persecution watchdog organization Aid to the Church in Need U.K. The organization has released a report titled ‘Persecuted and Forgotten? A report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-2015’ that reveals the rapid growth of Christian persecution in nations such as China, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia within the last two years. […] ‘Over [the] last 48 months the situation [for Christians] has become worse in countries including, China and Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria. These are countries that show a massive deterioration of the position for Christians and indeed other minorities’, said Pontifex, who discussed the document with Vatican radio last week. ‘In fact, the number of countries which seem to be extreme in terms of persecution of Christians rose from six to 10 within this time frame of the last two years. What this report seeks to set out is the extent to which Christians have been forced from their homelands as a result of what we are describing as religiously motivated ethnic cleansing of Christians’, he added. (Source: CPWorld)

An Iranian man, converted from Islam to Christianity, was sentenced to ten years in prison for ‘crimes against state security’: the defendant is guilty of distributing copies of the Gospel in the country.

Tehran (Agenzia Fides) – An Iranian man, converted from Islam to Christianity, was sentenced to ten years in prison for ‘crimes against state security’: the defendant is guilty of distributing copies of the Gospel in the country. Mohammad-Hadi Bordbar, known as Mostafa, a native of the city of Rasht, was accused of conspiracy and sentenced. As reported to Fides Agency, the court documents show that the man confessed to ‘having abandoned Islam to follow Christianity’, and ‘considering evangelization his duty, he distributed 12,000 pocket gospels’.
After having received baptism, Mostafa had set up a ‘house church’, an assembly of home worship, with prayer meetings at home, which are considered ‘illegal’. Mostafa was arrested in Tehran on December 27, 2012, after a police raid at his house. The security officers detained and interrogated all those present at the meeting for hours, about 50 Iranian Christians. In his home the police found material and Christian publications, such as movies, books, CDs and over 6,000 copies of the Gospel. Mostafa had already been arrested in 2009 for conversion to Christianity, found guilty of apostasy, then released on bail.
In another recent case, reported to Fides by the Iranian Christian Agency ‘Mohabat News’, a court in the city of Robat-Karim, south of Tehran, sentenced the young Ebrahim Firouzi, another Iranian Christian to one year in prison and two years of exile, for ‘evangelization activities and distribution of Bibles’, considered ‘in opposition to the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran’. In the ruling, the judge describes Ebrahim Firouzi of being ‘guilty of criminal acts for holding prayer meetings at home and for having spread among the young doubts on Islamic principles’. The young man was arrested in March 2013.
As recalled by the NGO ‘Barnabas team’ and ‘Christian Solidarity Worldwide’, committed to the defense of Christians in the world, in recent years the interest of young Iranians towards Christianity has made conversion to Christianity a disturbing problem for the Iranian authorities. Many churches of Farsi-language have been closed in Tehran and in other cities, while the pressure on Christian converts from Islam is on the rise. The new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, spoke of a possible ‘reform of civil rights’ recently asking Islamic religious clergy to ‘stop state interference in the private lives of people’ (PA) (Souce: Agenzia Fides 20/08/2013).

In Turkey: Non-Islamic religions are not recognized by civil law, and they are not permitted to own anything

In Turkey, respect for religious minorities continues to be completely unsatisfactory’, the report affirms. Christians are effectively denied access to civil institutional and military positions, and it is practically impossible for them to build churches. Also, the non-Islamic religions are not recognized by civil law, and they are not permitted to own anything. (Source: Catholic.net)

In Turkey Christians are seen as second-class citizens

‘Turkey has almost 80 million inhabitants,’ he said. ‘There are only around 120,000 Christians, which is less than 1 percent of the population. Christians are certainly seen as second-class citizens. A real citizen is Muslim, and those who aren’t Muslim are seen as suspicious.’ […] Sadly, Turkey, a NATO member since 1952 and reportedly a candidate for membership in the European Union, has largely succeeded in destroying the entire Christian cultural heritage of Asia Minor. (Source: Gatestone institute)


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