OCTOBER 16, 2016 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER
The Catholic Church’s supine and pollyannish stance in the face of the advancing jihad, and active campaign to mislead Catholics about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, is a moral failure the likes of which have seldom been seen in history, and poses a severe challenge to any claim it makes to moral authority.
“We have to understand that totalitarianism based on Islamic creed is the worst among all systems of government. Yes, my friends, the very survival of Christians in the cradle of Christianity is quite in danger.” So said the patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, Ignatius Joseph III Younan.
Yet the Church as a whole is silent. Why? Why are Church leaders in the West so uniformly silent about the Muslim persecution of Christians? Jean-Clément Jeanbart, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, gave an interview to a French reporter in which he was highly critical of the mainstream media and even of his fellow bishops for ignoring the Muslim persecution of Middle Eastern Christians. “The European media,” he charged, “have not ceased to suppress the daily news of those who are suffering in Syria and they have even justified what is happening in our country by using information without taking the trouble to verify it.” And as for his brother bishops in France, “the conference of French bishops should have trusted us, it would have been better informed. Why are your bishops silent on a threat that is yours today as well? Because the bishops are like you, raised in political correctness. But Jesus was never politically correct, he was politically just!”
Archbishop Jeanbart was not the first to say this. “Why, we ask the western world, why not raise one’s voice over so much ferocity and injustice?” asked Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI). Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan himself has in the past appealed to the West “not to forget the Christians in the Middle East.” The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III has also said: “I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.”
But the Patriarch should have understood, since he is a major part of the problem. After all, he recently said: “No one defends Islam like Arab Christians.” It is to defend Islam that Western clerics do not raise their voice against such acts of brutality. It is to pursue a fruitless and chimerical “dialogue” that bishops in the U.S. and Europe keep silent about Muslim persecution of Christians, and enforce that silence upon others. Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, said it on February 8, 2013 as he was suppressing a planned talk at a Catholic conference on that persecution: “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.”
Remember that Mohamed Atta, about the plane he had hijacked on September 11, 2001, told passengers over the intercom: “Stay quiet and you’ll be OK.” The Catholic Church appears to have adopted that statement as its policy regarding Muslim persecution of Christians. When will Pope Francis canonize Atta?
“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
“The Vatican Submits to Islam (2006-2016),” by Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, October 16, 2016:
If 9/11 was the declaration of jihad against the West, 9/12 will be remembered as one of the most dramatic knee-bends of the Western cultural submission to Islam.
On September 12th 2006, Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) landed in Bavaria, Germany, where he was born and first taught theology. He was expected to deliver a lecture in front of the academic community at the University of Regensburg. That lesson would go down to history as the most controversial papal speech of the last half-century.
On this, the 10th anniversary of the speech, the Western world and the Islamic world both owe Benedict an apology, but unfortunately, the opposite happened: the Vatican has apologized to the Muslims.
In his lecture, Pope Benedict clarified the internal contradictions of contemporary Islam, but he also offered a terrain of dialogue with Christianity and Western culture. The Pope spoke of the Jewish, Greek and Christian roots of Europe’s faith, explaining why these are different from Islamic monotheism. His talk contained a quote from the Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman”.
This keg of dynamite was softened by a quotation from a Koranic sura of Mohammed’s youth, Benedict noted, “when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat”, and which says: “There is no compulsion in religion.”
Pope Benedict’s talk was not a surprise. “It is no secret that the Pope worried about Islam”, Christopher Caldwell noted in the Financial Times.
“He has doubted publicly that it can be accommodated in a pluralistic society. He has demoted one of John Paul II’s leading advisers on the Islamic world and tempered his support for a programme of inter-religious dialogue run by Franciscan monks at Assisi. He has embraced the view of Italian moderates and conservatives that the guiding principle of inter-religious dialogue must be reciprocità. That is, he finds it naive to permit the building of a Saudi-funded mosque, Europe’s largest, in Rome, while Muslim countries forbid the construction of churches and missions”.
In Regensburg, Benedict staged the drama of our time and for the first time in the Catholic Church’s history — a Pope talked about Islam without recycling platitudes. In that lecture, the Pope did what in the Islamic world is forbidden: freely discussing faith. He said that God is different from Allah. We never heard that again.
The quotation of Manuel II Palaeologus bounced around the world, shaking the Muslim umma [community], which reacted violently. Even the international press was unanimous in a chorus of condemnation of the “Pope’s aggression on Islam.”
The reaction to Pope’s speech proved that he was right. From Muslim leaders to the New York Times, everybody demanded the Pope’s apologies and submission. The mainstream media turned him into an incendiary proponent of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations.” In the Palestinian Authority area, Christian churches were burned and Christians targeted. British Islamists called to “kill” the Pope, but Benedict defied them.
At the same time, in Somalia, an Italian nun was shot. In Iraq, a Syrian Orthodox priest was beheaded by al-Qaeda and mutilated after the terrorists demanded that the Catholic Church to apologize for the speech. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood pledged retaliations against the Pope. A Pakistani leader, Shahid Shamsi, accused the Vatican of supporting “the Zionist entity.” Salih Kapusuz, number two in the party of the Turkey’s then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, compared Pope Benedict XVI to Hitler and Mussolini. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisted that the words of the Pope belong to “the chain of US-Israeli conspiracy,” and accused Benedict of being part of the “Crusader conspiracy.”
Security around Pope Benedict was soon massively increased. Two years later, the Pope had been barred from speaking at Rome’s most important university, La Sapienza. After the Regensburg affair, Benedict would not be the same anymore. Islamists and Western appeasers had been able to close his mouth.
A few days after the lecture, exhausted and frightened, Pope Benedict apologized. I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address … which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims,” the Pope told pilgrims at his Castelgandolfo summer residence. The quote did not “in any way express my personal thoughts. I hope this serves to appease hearts.”
The Pope may have said that to stop further violence. But since then, apologies to the Islamic world have become the official Vatican policy.
“The default positions vis-à-vis militant Islam are now unhappily reminiscent of Vatican diplomacy’s default positions vis-à-vis communism during the last 25 years of the Cold War,” wrote George Weigel, a US leading scholar. The Vatican’s new agenda seeks “to reach political accommodations with Islamic states and foreswear forceful public condemnation of Islamist and jihadist ideology.”
Ten years since the Regensburg lecture, relevant as ever after ISIS’s attacks on European soil, another Pope, Francis I, has tried in many ways to separate Muslims and violence and always avoided mentioning that forbidden word: Islam. As Sandro Magister, one of Italy’s most important journalists on Catholic issues, wrote: “In the face of the offensive of radical Islam, Francis’s idea is that ‘we must soothe the conflict’. And forget Regensburg.”
The entire Vatican’s diplomatic body today carefully avoids the words “Islam” and “Muslims,” and instead embraces a denial that a clash of civilization exists. Returning from World Youth Day in Poland last August, Pope Francis denied that Islam itself is violent and claimed that the potential for violence lies within every religion, including Catholicism. Previously, Pope Francis said there is “a world war,” but denied that Islam has any role in it.
In May, Pope Francis explained that the “idea of conquest” is integral to Islam as a religion, but he quickly added that some might interpret Christianity, the religion of turning the other cheek, in the same way. “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” the Pope claimed in 2013. A year later, Francis declared that “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence.” He claimed that it is the ills of global economy, and not Islam, that inspire terrorism. And a few days ago, the Pope said that “people who call themselves Christians but do not want refugees at their door are hypocrites.”
Pope Francis’s pontificate has been marked by this moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam, which also obfuscates the crimes of Muslims against their own people, Eastern Christians and the West….
Pope Francis is still awaited for a visit at the church of St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where Father Jacques Hamel was murdered by Islamists this summer. That killing, ten years after the Regensburg lecture, is the most tragic proof that Benedict was right and Francis wrong.