Former Vatican head of doctrine: Christians ‘cannot pray like or with Muslims’
ROME, May 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in a recent interview that Christians “cannot pray like or with Muslims.”
Cardinal Müller, who held the position once occupied by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, gave a reflection in Verona on the theme “Prayer: A gift from God.” Speaking on May 17, he told hundreds of listeners that “the faithful of Islam are not adopted children of God by the grace of Christ, but only his subjects.” Therefore, he said, with regard to Christians, “We cannot pray like or with Muslims.”
Cardinal Müller reflected that this is because “their faith in God and his self-revelation is not only different from the Christian faith in God, but even denies its formula, claiming that God does not have a Son, who, as the eternal Word of the Father, is a divine person, and, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the One and Trinitarian God.”
The former archbishop of Regensburg, Germany, said Muslims “can only pray to a distant God, submitting to his will as an unknown destiny. Their prayer expresses the blind subordination to the dominant will of God. The Christian instead prays that the will of God be done, a will that we do in liberty and that does not make us slaves, but free children of God.”
Speaking at the Basilica of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus in the company of Bishop Giuseppe Zenti, Müller asserted that Christians, unlike the adherents of other religions, “do not view their neighbors, who do not want or cannot believe in God, as opponents or victims of the Zeitgeist to be pitied, but as brothers whose Creator and Father is the only God, the One who seeks them out.
“They [Christians] offer an honest dialogue regarding the question that determines the meaning of being in general and of human existence in particular, because they feel united to them in the search for a better world.”
For Müller, “even Islam has faith in the one God, but which is understood as a natural faith in the existence of God and not as faith as a virtue infused with hope and love, which makes us sharers in the life of God, ensuring that we remain in him and he in us.”
The cardinal recalled that “even some atheists pray,” but “their turn to themselves is typical of the atheistic prayer.” He said the latter is “the opposite of Christian prayer,” because “if man himself is a god to man [homo homini Deus], then he prays turning to himself in the form of a meditation that always revolves around himself: Man is both the subject and the object of prayer.”
Other theologians have pointed to similar essential differences between Christianity and Islam. For example, the late Rev. James Schall pointed out in On Islam: A Chronological Record, 2002-2008 that the book that Muslims revere is not from God. Christians misunderstand Muslims’ views is because they misunderstand Islam, Schall wrote.
To counter the spread of Islam and the migration of Muslims, Schall wrote, “The first step needed, then, is the affirmation, from the Christian side, that these views are as such false. They cannot be divine revelations.”
According to Schall, the problem with Islam is its “voluntarist metaphysics” that leads Muslim terrorists, for example, to wage war on the West. Theological voluntarism asserts that God’s essence is a form of will [voluntas] and whose decisions cannot be explained in terms of reason. Voluntarists believe, Schall writes, that “[w]hat is behind all reality is a will that can always be otherwise. It is not bound to any one truth.” Consequently, God [Allah] is not limited by the distinction.
Muslims, Schall writes, “affirm that evil should not be done. But sometimes it should be done. In that case, evil becomes good.”