A recent Parish Bulletin expressing thanks to parishioners who participated with our "Muslim Brothers and Sisters" in breaking the fast of the Holy Month of Ramadan, made me reflect on this expression.
The basis of "brotherhood" is faith. For a Muslim the basis of brotherhood is shared faith (Sura 9:10): "If they repent and take to prayer and render their alms levy, they shall become your brothers in the faith." Jesus himself did not describe everyone as his brothers and sisters, but only "whoever does the will of my Father in heaven" (Matt 12:48-50).
According to Pope Benedict, "the Christian is the brother of his fellow Christian, but not of the non-Christian. His commitment to love is independent of this, however, and is directed toward anyone in need whom he can help". And: "Christian brotherhood is ultimately founded on the faith that gives us our assurance of our real sonship in relation to the heavenly Father and of our brotherhood among one another. The church that fulfills herself in the celebration of the Eucharist is essentially a community of brothers."
The claim that a wonderful rapport has been established between the Muslim community and ourselves, hopefully will not lead to a certain legitimising of religious error. Truth demands that apart from our common values we also have to be mindful of our irrevocable doctrinal differences.
JOHN FREY (DR)