Several disasters were averted here. For Catholics, the instruction in Redemptionis Sacramentum, quoted below, prevented a serious liturgical abuse. Then, there are all the reasons that Mark Durie ably described that Islamic prayers, and also spectacles such as this, are distasteful in any Christian house of worship.
Thankfully, these rules also prevented the pulpit from being used to mislead and intimidate parishioners by conflating a highly politicized exercise in combating “Islamophobia” with established Church teachings.
Glossing over the truth to keep the peace at any cost is not exactly an act of charity; indeed, several of the Church’s Spiritual Works of Mercy involve potentially telling people things they do not want to hear (“admonish sinners,” “instruct the ignorant,” “counsel the doubtful”). And while the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes beliefs Islam holds in common with Christianity (841), that in no way rules out the right to acknowledge the many things it does not, or that Islamic teachings have been a source of great suffering and persecution for Christians and other non-Muslims, even to this very day.
The Catechism’s acknowledgement of a few overlapping tenets must be taken in the context of what comes immediately after it: a discussion of the imperative to evangelize (848-49), which Sharia absolutely forbids. Would the faithful have heard that at the planned Qur’an reading? Would they have heard the full range of what the Qur’an has to say about Christians, Jews, and non-Muslims in general?
Since the whole purpose of this exercise was to make a congregation a captive audience to indoctrination about “Islamophobia,” that is most unlikely. Here, the “common ground” angle would have been used in its worst way: to imply that the existence of “common ground” rules out any rational concerns about differences. And the implication would have gone further here, giving the impression that anyone who dissented was a bad Catholic for doing so.
“Jesuit parish cancels Qur’an reading,” from Catholic Culture, June 10 (thanks to Twostellas):
A Jesuit parish in Charlotte has canceled plans to read the Qur’an from the pulpit on June 26, the feast of Corpus Christi.
“Just having something public is not going to be a big, big deal here, but to have someone come in and read from the Qur’an and to recognize publicly the existence of Islam and to reverence and respect is a good thing for the Church to do,” Father Patrick Earl, SJ, said on May 27. “I”ve heard from Muslim imams about what they and their congregations have suffered just from the fear, the fear of what they call Islamophobia.”
On June 7, Father Earl announced the cancellation of the event; he said that he had been unaware that 2004 Vatican instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum forbade such readings. The document states that “it is strictly to be considered an abuse to introduce into the celebration of Holy Mass elements that are contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books and taken from the rites of other religions.”