The Bible, the Qur'an, and Fatima

After lunch, I went over to Westminster Cathedral and then into the CTS bookshop. I picked up a copy of Hillaire Belloc's The Crusades which I have not read before. Also John Olin's Catholic Reform. From Cardinal Ximenes to the Council of Trent which is worth a post on its own. The train journey gave me the opportunity to finish Jacques Jomier's The Bible and the Qur'an, republished in 2002 by Ignatius Press. I recommend it: Jomier was a French Dominican and the book was originally published in French in 1956. It is rather brief but gives an overview of the subject and left me wanting to chase up some of the points further.

A bonus in the Ignatius edition is the collection of appendices. These include an address by Cardinal Arinze on Dialogue with Muslims, and two speeches by pope John Paul II. But the real gem, in my view, is the article by Fulton Sheen "Mary and the Muslims". Sheen tells of the history of Fatima: a Catholic boy fell in love with one Fatima, the daughter of the last Muslim chief left at the end of the reconquista. He married her, she embraced the faith, and he changed the name of the town where he lived to "Fatima".

The Archbishop sees it as providential that Our Lady should have appeared in this place. He recalls the devotion of Muslims in many places to Our Lady (several instances are recounted also by Jomier) and says that devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is the key to the missionary apostolate among Muslims:
"Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Muslims will be successful n the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In any apologetic endeavour, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Muslims have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realisation that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims the rest of the way to her Divine Son. She is forever a "traitor" in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her Divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief."
Opening today's post on my return, there is a notice for the next Study Seminar for the Priests of St John Fisher over at Clapham Park. The topic is "Can one ever expect Muslims to convert to Christianity?" Fr Chris Basden will be introducing the topic and there are various other speakers, including a convert from Islam.

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