A few facts everybody should know about the history of the Church.
There are two basic dogmas of Christianity, meaning teachings to be accepted if one wants to belong to the Church.
The first one was proclaimed in the year 325 in Nicaea, where was held the first ecumenical council. It declares that God is one substance in three persons.
The second one was proclaimed in the council held in Calcedonia more than hundred years later, in 451. It declares that Christ is utterly human and utterly divine, one person with a double nature.
I could be legitimately asked what do they mean. Especially the first in fact is hard to understand. But it is not to expound about them that I recalled the two dogmas. I could even try do to it, but it would take some room. I keep satisfied therefore with suggesting to have a look at Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity, or, more simply, to read the first part of Benedict XVI' encyclical Deus caritas est. There one could discover the basic import the teaching of the Church has on our understanding of man.
Notice: I didn't say "on our religious understanding", but simply on our "understanding of man". If anyone didn't get it, this means that it isn't as if we had a religion, which could differ, side by side with an identical self-understanding.
Now, here it is the trouble that plagues us today: those two basic dogmas were explicitly rejected by Muhammad in the Qur'an.
They are not stated as such in other traditions, with no previous notion of Christianity. So Christianity, in its effort at catholicity, could tray to show how the truth of its teaching was already inchoative in them. But what to do when they are explicitly rejected?
I can't but marvel when I hear a cardinal of the Holy Catholic Church, the archbishop of Milan, express his concern about the right of Muslims to have a place of cult, therefore soliciting the public authorities to let them build a mosque. What kind of message does he give this way to his flock? A flock, by the way, in need of reinforcement, with church attendance dwindling. It is so perhaps also because of the contradictory message it is given: on one side the affirmation of the truth of the Church teaching, on the other the reduction of this teaching to a religion among other, that people have a right to practice.
If there is such a right, it belongs to the secular authorities to guarantee it, while defining the conditions for it. It is no concern of a cardinal, who otherwise can look, by defending it, to be granting the superiority of the State as creator of a public space in which also the Church finds her rights.
I marvel less when I hear POTUS state, to calm the waters agitated by the threat of reverend Jones to burn the Qur'an, that the enemy is not Islam, but Bin Laden (what about Achmadinejad and so many other Islamic tyrants?). He is speaking the language of diplomacy. For what concerns the truth of the statement, however, my comment would be, in scholastic style, sic et non. But about this to a next post.