U.S. Catholics ( the OFS?) and Islam

REPORT FINDS U.S. CATHOLICS (the OFS?) HAVE MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT ISLAM             (America Magazine Oct 28 2016/Michael O’Loughlin/Sept 12 2016)

“That could be the takeaway from a new report released on Monday that found fewer than two in 10 U.S. Catholics hold favorable view of Muslims, with many possessing little understanding when it comes to the beliefs of the world’s second largest religion.
When asked, “What is your overall impression of Muslims?” 30 percent of those Catholics polled said they held unfavorable views, 14 percent said favorable and 45 percent said they held neither favorable nor unfavorable views.”

The report was released by Georgetown’s The Bridge Initiative, a program at the Washington, D.C. Jesuit university aimed at improving public understanding of Islam while racking the public discourse on Islam and Muslim life……

The survey also asked about religion and violence. Forty-five percent of Catholics said that Islam encourages violence more than other relations while 24 percent said it encourages violence as much as other religions.”

Sadly today  we are witnessing a rise in islamophobia and anti-semitism. What responsibility do we have  to recognize and respond to what is happening in our communities? How can we do anything if we have little or no knowledge of these faith traditions?

Sisters and brothers,

Excerpts from our Rule and General Constitutions (paraphrased):

  • Let us individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of our human lives and our courageous initiatives (Rule, Article 15)
  • Make our own contribution, … towards a civilization in which the dignity of the human person, shared responsibility, and love may be living realities (General Constitutions, Article 18.1),
  • Create  a spirit of welcome and an atmosphere of fraternity everywhere (Rule, Article 13; General Constitutions, Article 18.2)
  • They should firmly commit themselves to oppose every form of exploitation, discrimination, and exclusion and against every attitude of indifference in relation to others. (Rule, Article 13, General Constitutions Article 18.2)
  • Work together with movements which promote the building of fraternity among peoples: (Rule, Article 13, General Constitutions Article 18.3)
  • Committed to “create worthy conditions of life” for all and to work for the freedom of all people. (Rule, Article 13, General Constitutions Article 18.3)
  • “Be in the forefront…in the field of public life”. (Rule, Article 15, General Constitutions  Article 22.1)
  • They should collaborate as much as possible for the passage of just laws and ordinances. (Rule, Article 15, General Constitutions Article 22.1)
  • Engage ourselves through courageous initiatives,…  in the field of human development and justice. (General Constitutions Article 22.2)
  • They should take clear positions whenever human dignity is attacked by any form of oppression or indifference (General Constitutions Article 22.2)
  • They should offer our fraternal service to the victims of injustice (General Constitutions Article 22.2)
  • Renounce the use of violence, (General Constitutions Article 22.3)
  • Take care that our interventions are always inspired by Christian love. (General Constitutions Article 22.3)

Let us pray to the Spirit for guidance as to how we individually and collectively should respond, remembering that a response is expected of us.

Where can we begin? Find out where the Mosque or Synagogue is located nearest to you. Reach out and make contact, offering your prayers and support. Participate with them in their ecumenical / interfaith efforts.  How about a fraternity day away to a holocaust museum. Or take a tour of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.   Write letters to or call your local, state, and federal representatives in support of our sisters and brothers.

If you are in need of any help, please call on me. Resources and additional information can be found on the national web site  www.ofsusaecumenicalinterfaith.org.

If you are interested in working with us  in our  Ecumenical / Interfaith ministry, please let me know.

Peace and every good

Mike Carsten, OFS,

Minister, Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity

NAFRA Ecumenical / Interfaith Committee Chair

Author: Mike Carsten OFS

Member of the Secular Franciscan Order; National Fraternity (NAFRA) Ecumenical and Interfaith Chair Minister, Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity; President, Franciscan Ministries Inc., Serving the poor in Southeast Michigan;

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