A Tale of Two [Nay, Three] Atrocities

A Tale of Two Atrocities

[“Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him them that can destroy both soul and body …” (Matthew 10:28 slightly paraphrased – as indicated); thus, there were three atrocities: one in Egypt where most (if not all) those on the way to a monastery were destroyed only in body, and the other in Manchester where most (if not all) of those at a porno-rock concert were destroyed first in soul by the performers and then many in body by the Muslim terrorist. This is the “tamest” but frank analysis of the immoral ethos surrounding the Manchester Arena bombing that I could find; for more frank and graphic analysis, Google “Ann Barnhardt” and “Ariana Grande”.]

Fr. Mark A. Pilon
MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2017

Two recent Islamic terrorist attacks, which killed a number of children, occurred just a few days apart: one in England and another in Egypt. (Both before this weekend’s further carnage on London Bridge.) Civilized people, regardless of their religious belief or unbelief, are horrified at all these acts by uncivilized, neo-barbaric individuals.

People who deliberately target innocent men, women, and children in a terrorist attack cannot be considered civilized in any meaningful sense. Whatever their education, upbringing, or religion, they have descended into barbarism, and they need to be firmly dealt with. Their crimes against humanity are as offensive as the crimes of the Nazi war criminals condemned at Nuremberg. And there are good arguments why they should suffer the same fate.

But while there are obvious similarities between these two acts of terrorism, there are important differences of context. All were innocent victims. But the venues were quite different relative to the moral order.

The women and children murdered in Egypt were on their way to a monastery during a spiritual pilgrimage. The innocent victims in Manchester were attending a pop musical event where the star was Ariana Grande, a young woman who is anything but innocent. Her dress, dancing, and song lyrics are deliberately decadent and immodest, to say the least.

Mourning . . . in Manchester

One writer recently published the filthy lyrics that this pop star spews out to teenagers and little children. Some of these lyrics can only be described as pornographic, and most of them evidently contain some form of titillating sexual innuendo aimed at her typical audience: very young girls. A cursory look at her videos reveals a young woman whose costumes, gyrations, and dancing are sickeningly erotic. She’s the latest Madonna or Lady Gaga wannabe, who tries to imitate and even outdo their pornographic style.

So, there were two sets of victims in Manchester that night: the kids who were being morally corrupted inside the arena and those who were victimized bodily as they left the arena. The media, of course, only recognized the horrific evil outside the arena. Our society has so degenerated that the kind of moral attacks perpetrated by the likes of Miss Grande or Madonna or Lady Gaga, or numerous other purveyors of public immorality, are now taken as perfectly normal and acceptable.

Compare that with what happened in Egypt a few days later. A bus full of Coptic Christians was not traveling to a prurient pop concert but was on a pilgrimage to an ancient monastery in the Egyptian desert. Those kids were on a spiritual trip, perhaps singing religious hymns as they traveled.

Suddenly, they were attacked by a number of ISIS barbarians who chose to prove their virility and religious fervor by how many innocent people they could kill. A number of those killed, including some little children, were forced off the bus and told that they must renounce their Christianity and submit to Islam – or die. They all chose to die, including the children. They are now added to the list of Christian martyrs the 21st century, almost all of whom have been killed by Islamic fanatics conducting jihad.

In the West, there is far less interest in the fate of these innocent Christians than the fate of the innocent secular victims. After all, most Westerners today would have a hard time understanding what these Christians were doing out there in the desert in the first place. For many in the West, these Christian martyrs would themselves be seen as religious fanatics, people who put their lives in danger. And for what? To visit a monastery? What could be so valuable about that to make it worth risking your life traveling through territory where it’s much more likely that you will be attacked than in Manchester, England?

Mourning . . . in Egypt

When I heard about the terrorist attack in Manchester, I was of course quite horrified. But, when I learned about who Ariana Grande is and the kind of “entertainment” she provides for very young people, I was also horrified. I wondered whether the parents really understood the lyrics or have even ever taken the time to listen to them.

Evidently many parents simply dropped their youngsters off at the arena and left them on their own until they returned to pick them up later. It’s really a new kind of child abuse, not physical in character, but spiritual and moral. It’s not just the performers who are guilty of this abuse; it’s also the parents and guardians who are charged with their children’s well-being. But then the notion of moral well-being is obviously an empty category for many modern parents.

The parents who were taking their little children to a monastery are of a radically different cultural and spiritual background. Their first concern is precisely the moral and spiritual well-being of their children. The Coptic Christians in Egypt are terribly discriminated against in their homeland, even though they have been there far longer than have their religious persecutors. Material poverty is, as a result, a way of life for many of them, especially those who belong to the Zabaleen, a minority Coptic Christian community who work as the garbage collectors of Cairo.

But they suffer through all this discrimination, poverty, and persecution for the sake of their beloved children, in order to raise them as good Christians and good citizens, and give them a hope for a better life. Few of them would even have the resources to send their children to the kind of pop concert that took place in Manchester.

Blessed are the poor. Yet they suffered the same fate, although for a very different motive. They suffered simply because they were Christians. The children of Manchester suffered simply because they were Westerners. Today, those are two very different categories. The Christian Copts at least understand this, partly through their faith. The secularized West can only view it as “senseless violence.”

Get AQ Email Updates

6 comments on “A Tale of Two [Nay, Three] Atrocities

  1. As horrific as the slaughter of the Copts was, they are not martyrs because they died outside the Church. (We can hope that some of the children had not embraced the heresy and schism of the Orthodox, and hence, their baptism will be their salvation.) The proof: they were about to visit a St. Samuel Monastery, which is clearly not Catholic.

    • Objectively, schismatics are in fact outside the pale of the Church, yes. However, also objectively, the Church has always maintained the validity of their sacraments, despite schism. (Of which, I truly doubt many Orthodox believers are more than remotely aware, anyway, if at all.)
      Canon Hesse, STD, STL of most felicitous memory made a statement regarding Orthodox believers who never had an opportunity to learn about the Catholic religion but who acted in good faith based on what they did know about God and religion. As Canon Hesse pointed out, we may not ever SUBJECTIVELY “judge” the state of their soul insofar as God alone makes that determination, not His Church. Praying for these tragic victims is most certainly an act of charity for them and an act of religion before God, as best as I can tell.
      As to martyrdom, per se, I suppose technically the argument Cyprian offered could be upheld. But I add, since the Saints themselves could care less about whether they won “extra credit” once they have attained the Beatific Vision, titles don’t matter all that much.
      The older I get, the less I find myself interested in “pious sentimentalities”, a point I saw that even a great Thomist like Msgr. Fenton, peritus to the Holy Office’s Cd. Ottaviani at Vatican II was wont to make, as well, in his diaries from those terrible days in Rome in the 50s and 60s.
      The Catechism of the Council of Trent offers doctrinal clarity on who is more likely to win salvation and, since I’m no expert, I would have to go study it to make any more specific comments than I already have spoken to in a general way.

  2. [A Bowdlerized version of Ann Barnhardt’s analysis of Ariana Grande and the others at the Manchester Arena bombing]

    Posted by Oakes Spalding on TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2017

    Saying that Ariana Grande is a Prostitute is an Insult to Prostitutes

    What would you think of a prostitute who recognized what she was doing was wrong, went to confession intermittently (assume that she was a baptized and semi-practicing Catholic), and tried (sort of) to get out of it, without a lot of initial success.

    I would call her a human being and a Catholic, arguably not a “good” one, but no worse than some, and better than many.

    Now, what would you call a prostitute who actively recruited children – say, eight-year-old girls – to imitate her and become involved in her lifestyle, including exposing them to pornography and explicitly teaching them about various sexual “permutations,” all to make more money, and with no apologies or guilt whatsoever?

    I would call her Ariana Grande.

    One of the girls who died at Manchester was eight-years-old.

    I was initially alerted to this by reading a post by the Catholic blogger Ann Barnhardt. I had never heard of Ariana Grande before the Manchester bombing, and even after, I simply assumed that she was a sort of vacuous “pop” singer, responsible at the most for wasting the time of girls and young women with silly music and dumb pop music idol stuff.

    I was wrong. Ariana Grande is actually a sort of monster. I say that not because she’s using sexuality to sell records (which wouldn’t exactly be new) but because she’s intentionally profiting from selling sex to young girls.

    Here is an excerpt of lyrics from one of her hit songs, “Side to Side,” performed at the Manchester concert. In the “official” recording and video, some of these words are actually sung by a collaborator Nicki Minaj, but they’re part of the song. Keep in mind that much of Grande’s audience is pre-pubescent:

    I’ve been here all night
    I’ve been here all day
    And boy, got me walkin’ side to side
    (Let them hoes know)

    I’m talkin’ to ya
    See you standing over there with your body
    Feeling like I wanna rock with your body
    And we don’t gotta think ’bout nothin’ (‘Bout nothin’)
    I’m comin’ at ya
    ‘Cause I know you got a bad reputation
    Doesn’t matter, ’cause you give me temptation
    And we don’t gotta think ’bout nothin’ (‘Bout nothin’) . . .

    ‘Cause tonight I’m making deals with the devil
    And I know it’s gonna get me in trouble
    Just as long as you know you got me

    This the new style with the fresh type of flow
    Wrist icicle, ride d*ck bicycle
    Come true yo, get you this type of blow
    If you wanna menage I got a tricycle

    All these bitches, flows is my mini-me
    Body smoking, so they call me young Nicki chimney
    Rappers in they feelings cause they feelin’ me
    Uh, I-I give zero f*cks and I got zero chill in me
    Kissing me, copped the blue box that say Tiffany
    Curry with the shot, just tell ’em to call me Stephanie
    Gun pop and I make my gum pop
    I’m the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop

    Now, I’m sure that if anyone reading this doesn’t understand what the lyrics mean, it’s because you would never think that they would be sung by someone whose audience was composed largely of children. But here’s a quick primer. All of it has been confirmed by Grande herself or is understood by every commenter:

    ~Walking side to side (having so much sex that one cannot walk straight)
    ~Wrist icicle (masturbatory sex)
    ~Ride d*ck bicycle (self-explanatory)
    ~Get you this type of blow (oral sex)
    ~If you wanna menage I got a tricycle (self-explanatory)

    In fairness, if you heard the song for the first time or in passing, you might miss half of the words. However, just in case you didn’t get it, the central theme of the video for “Side to Side” features the dancers/models riding exercise bikes.

    Is this, in and of itself, the worst thing in the world? Of course not.

    But when it’s pushed on eight-year-old girls, it comes pretty close.

    And, no, this is not an anomaly. Here are some lyrics from her “encore” song, “Dangerous Woman,” at Manchester, sung only seconds before the bomb went off:

    Oh yeah
    Don’t need permission
    Made my decision to test my limits
    ‘Cause it’s my business
    God as my witness
    Start what I finished
    Don’t need no hold up
    Taking control of this kind of moment
    I’m locked and loaded
    Completely focused my mind is open

    All that you got, skin to skin, oh my God
    Don’t ya stop, boy . . .

    All girls wanna be like that
    Bad girls underneath like that
    You know how I’m feeling inside
    Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout
    All girls wanna be like that
    Bad girls underneath like that . . .

    God as my witness.

    Okay: people, sex, rock music. Nothing new. Even some traditionalist Catholics that I know might have something like this on their iPod while they work out. It’s a bit mischievous or whatever, but many of us laugh and wink at secular culture while still occasionally getting into the beat . . .

    Except that:

    Eight-year-old girls.

    I simply cannot imagine any mother or father allowing or encouraging their daughter to listen to or embrace this stuff.

    I don’t believe that the parents who sent their children to die (it turned out) at that Ariana Grande concert were responsible for their child’s physical deaths.

    A Muslim did that.

    But those parents were responsible for promoting the deaths of their children’s souls.

    There’s something horrifically ironic about that most pornographic of all religions – Islam – which embraces the corruption of children (marrying them off to some middle-aged imam or whatever), warring against Ariana Grande, a pornographer profiting off of the corruption of children.

    Saying that Ariana Grande is a prostitute is an insult to prostitutes.

    What does that make the parents?

  3. Tom,
    All of this is lost on this society, where they hold memorial concerts to those who have died, missing the spiritual death that the original concert itself was causing.
    As far as I am concerned Ariana Grande is as evil as the man who blew the children up.

  4. Yeah. I Agree with Miss Barnhardt 95%. I just don’t think we can blame the parents for their children’s deaths. But we can blame them for their children’s potential spiritual corruption. As is often the case, there’s a fair amount of ambiguity about what the parents knew or understood and what the children knew or understood. On the other hand, it’s the parents’ job to be wise about things like this.

    That said, the more I learn about Grande and her collaborators, the more horrified I am at what they are doing. Even the innocent seeming “rabbit ears” appear to be part of a latex bondage getup.

    It’s like something out of a science fiction movie, descriptions of classical history, or even more accurately, the Old Testament. Thousands or millions of people, literally dancing to welcome a malign entity that revels in their sin. That many are children who are only half aware, only makes it more tragic.

Leave a Reply