Today's Guest: Recently, a new visitor to The Forgotten Street sent a very insightful commentary in response to J.C.'s November 29 column on Pope Benedict's fight against radical Islam (It can be found in The Forgotten Street Archives under the Table of Contents of the Navigation Bar). As it turns out, Stanley Mularz is a newly-discovered cousin in J. C.'s wife's family.
Mr. Mularz is an 84-year old retired businessman, with a very distinguished business career including service as the president of the Union Tank Car Company in Chicago. From 1981 to 1985, he served on the Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Board. A very learned man, Mr. Mularz earned a master's degree in philosophy and classical languages from St. Louis University, an MBA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D from Loyola University of Chicago. Here is what he has to share with The Forgotten Street:
Our enemies in the Middle East aren't fighting about ideas or politics. They are fighting over fundamental issues of faith, identity and ethnicity--and they have been doing this since the fifth century. And their motivations have made them more determined and even crueler than in the past centuries.
The major mission of Islam is to convert the world to Islam with an Islamic government and, quote, "Allah is eternal and time is of no essence. It is Allah's will and command that we carry out this mission, no matter how long it takes." The full text also cries out for a "call to arms" in order to accomplish this mission. It's the "call to arms" that bothers me.
I liked your comments about Pope Benedict and agree completely with what you said about him. Perhaps, the reaction and repercussions from the Islamic world would have been even more severe if Pope Benedict quoted from the philosophical and theological works of one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Doctors of the Church, namely, St. Thomas Aquinas.
The following is an excerpt from "Summa Contra Gentiles", Book One, Chapter Six, section (4):
"On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this. (To give assent to the truths of faith is not foolishness even though they are above reason. This is my summary statement of what preceded that which St. Thomas says about Mohammed.)
“The case is clear in the case of Mohammed. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and gave free reign to carnal pleasures. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proof of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a modest wisdom.
“Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can only be divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth.
“On the contrary, Mohammed said that he was sent in the power of his arms--which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.
“Those who believe in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of divine teaching through whose numbers Mohammed forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms. Nor do divine pronouncements on the part of preceding prophets offer him any witness.
“On the contrary, he perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law. It was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity. It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly."
I just thought that I would share with you what St. Thomas had to say about the founder of Islamic teaching back in the 13th century. It would be "politically incorrect” to bring this to the attention of the Muslim world lest we would create another climate for even worse retaliatory action.