Thursday, December 3, 2015

WHEN THE MEDIA BRANDS RELIGION AS VIOLENT AND EXTREME, A REVOLUTION OF TENDERNESS IS TIMELY

A new interview, maybe a few controversial statements but given the violence that is breaking out all over the world to include war and destruction not to mention death and mayhem, I think we have other things to be more concerned about. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta stated, "God writes with crooked lines" we can see this in each one of us and in our supreme leaders.

The Pope explains the motives and expectations of the Jubilee of Mercy

Vatican City, 2 December 2015 (VIS) – The Italian magazine “Credere” today published an interview with Pope Francis ahead of the imminent opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, in which the Holy Father explains the motives and expectations of this convocation. The following are extensive extracts from the interview:

“The theme of mercy has been strongly accentuated in the life of the Church, starting with Pope Paul VI. John Paul II underlined it firmly with Dives in Misericordia, the canonisation of St. Faustina and the institution of the feast of Divine Mercy on the Octave of Easter. In line with this, I felt that it was as if it was the Lord's wish to show His mercy to humanity. It was not something that came to my mind, but rather the relatively recent renewal of a tradition that has however always existed. … It is obvious that today's world is in need of mercy and compassion, or rather of the capacity for empathy. 
 
We are accustomed to bad news, cruel news and the worst atrocities that offend the name and the life of God. The world needs to discover that God is the Father, that there is mercy, that cruelty is not the way, that condemnation is not the way, because it is the Church herself who at times takes a hard line, and falls into the temptation to follow a hard line and to underline moral rules only; many people are excluded. The image of the Church as a field hospital after a battle comes to mind here: it is the truth, so many people are injured and destroyed! … I believe that this is the time for mercy. We are all sinners, all of us carry inner burdens. I felt that Jesus wanted to open the door to His heart, that the Father wants to show us his innate mercy, and for this reason he sends us the Spirit. … It is the year of reconciliation. On the one hand we see the weapons trade … the murder of innocent people in the cruelest ways possible, the exploitation of people, of children. There is currently a form of sacrilege against humanity, because man is sacred, he is the image of the living God. And the Father says, 'stop and come to me'”.

In response to the second question on the importance of divine mercy in the life of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly affirmed his awareness of being a sinner, he says:

“I am a sinner … I am sure of this. I am a sinner whom the Lord looked upon with mercy. I am, as I said to detainees in Bolivia, a forgiven man. … I still make mistakes and commit sins, and I confess every fifteen or twenty days. And if I confess it is because I need to feel that God's mercy is still upon me”. Francis recalled that he felt this sensation in a particular way on 21 September 1953, when he felt the need to enter a church and confess to a priest he did not know, and from then his life was changed; he decided to become a priest and his confessor, who was suffering from leukaemia, accompanied him for a year. “He died the following year”, said the Pope. “After the funeral I cried bitterly, I felt totally lost, as if with the fear that God had abandoned me. This was the moment in which I came across God's mercy, and it is closely linked to my episcopal motto: 21 September is the feast day of St. Matthew, and the Venerable Bede, when speaking of the conversion of St. Matthew, says that Jesus looked at him 'miserando atque eligendo'. … The literal translation would be 'pitying and choosing'”.

“Can the Jubilee of Mercy be an opportunity to rediscover God's 'maternity'? Is there an almost 'feminine' aspect of the Church that must be valued?” is the third question.

“Yes”, the Holy Father replies. “God Himself affirms this when He says in the Book of Isaiah that a mother could perhaps forget her child, even a mother can forget, but 'I will never forsake you'. Here we see the maternal dimension of God. Not everyone understands when we speak about God's maternity, it is not part of 'popular' language – in the good sense of the word – and may seem rather elitist; for this reason I prefer to speak about the tenderness, typical of a mother, God's tenderness that comes from his innate paternity. God is both father and mother”.

In response to a question on whether the discovery of a more merciful and emotional God, Who is moved to tenderness for mankind, should lead to a change of attitude towards others, Francis says: “Discovering this leads us to have a more tolerant, more patient, more tender attitude. In 1994 during the Synod, in a group meeting, I said that it was necessary to begin a revolution of tenderness … and I continue to say that today the revolution is that of tenderness, because justice derives from this. … The revolution of tenderness is what we must cultivate today as the fruit of this year of mercy: God's tenderness towards each one of us. Each one of us must say, 'I am a wretch, but God loves me as I am; so, I must love others in the same way'”.

The journalist recalls St. John XXIII's famous “Sermon to the moon”, in which greeting the faithful one night, he told them to give a caress to their children. “This image became an image of the Church's tenderness. In what way does the theme of mercy help our Christian communities to convert and renew themselves?”

“When I see the sick, the elderly, the caress comes to me spontaneously. … The caress is a gesture that can be interpreted ambiguously, but it is the first gesture that a mother and father offer a newborn child, this gesture that says 'I love you, I wish well to you'”.

Finally, “ is there a gesture you intend to make during the Jubilee to show God's mercy?”

“There will be many gestures, but one Friday each month I will make a different gesture”, the Holy Father concludes.

46 comments:

Gene said...

Maybe the Church could sell "tenderness" indulgences to go along with "carbon footprint" indulgences.

"Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfill,
The Pope completely missed the point,
And he always will."

Anonymous said...

He is going to make a specific gesture every Friday for a year. Oh god.

Ivan said...

Actually, one Friday each month, not every Friday.

Anonymous said...

Whether it's one Friday a month, one Friday a week,one Friday a year. My reaction is the same. Another bunch of calculated, public acts of "mercy". Let me make a prediction. It will include supposed acts of mercy on the part of Francis that don't demand repentance or amendment of life from anybody. Call me crazy but I'm almost certain we will NEVER hear the words "repent and believe in the Gospel" uttered from his mouth.

Gene said...

Fr. did not like my suggestions for a tenderness revolution. I though they were very, well...tender. LOL!

gob said...

Mercy is for wusses and losers. Real Catholics like eternal damnation and suffering. Right Newgene?

Jusadbellum said...

Gob, have you read the Acts of the Apostles? How did all the saints whose sermons are recorded therein, talk to the various groups of pagans, jews, and early believers?

They all start from the position that people are wounded by sin, hurt by the devil, and wallowing in error and hence need a savior to heal them. That they need to repent of their sinful ways and be forgiven by this same Savior.

The Church's past 40 years has been one of deafening silence with respect to sin except when it comes to poverty and social justice. There are precious few homilies on divorce, contraception, porn, fornication, living together, hookups etc. Prominent and scandalous politicians routinely rise to communion. Prominent nuns and priests routinely flout Church teaching on all manner of topics. The hammer of condemnation and excommunication is extremely rare.

So when the Pope chides us for not being merciful, not being sufficiently tender with sinners I wonder where in the world he's been? If by mercy he means giving people hugs and "ah shucks, it's OK, go ahead and have communion with your concubine" then we've been doing that for 40 years!

The church in Germany has not cratered on account of draconian disciplinarians fulminating from the pulpit like modern day Savonarolas. No, in the 1950s onward German bishops and clergy practiced the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of not telling anyone about sin and disease and the subsequent need to repent and accept the way of the Gospel before calling oneself "a disciple".

And see where that got us? Less than 10% of Germans going to Mass on Sunday. I guess they're so holy they don't need weekly Mass? But if they were saints wouldn't they be going daily?

Gene said...

Are those the only options, Gob?

Gene said...

Well, the Pope is gone and the Africans are back to shooting each other...in Africa and Chicago...Savannah, too. Notice how the gun grabbers are now lumping gang violence and terrorism into "mass shootings." Meanwhile, Obammy says everything is copacetic.

Jusadbellum said...

Gene,

I heard an advert on Rush today for a big training camp up in WVA Storm mountain something or other. I immediately thought of you. (how's that for associations).

But the fact that a civilian training center catering to civilians wanting to learn 'tactical' skills says a lot about our current culture. Obama is the world's greatest gun salesman in the history of the world. The more the Democrats and Media (but I repeat myself) cry for gun control, confiscation, etc. all while ALSO urging us to import millions of Muslims AND millions of Hispanics AND release thousands of criminals from prisons AND promote ethnic grievances AND promote a culture of overt hostility to free speech and religious liberty in college and across fortune 500 companies under the guise of "gay" rights..... why in the world would most people disenfranchised from these "protected groups" NOT feel the urge to rush to buy guns, ammo, and tactical gear and training?

If the wolves start talking about inviting you to dinner and you notice you're wearing wool, it's not irrational to look about for weapons.

Mark Thomas said...

I am excited about the Extraordinary Jubilee. But I wonder whether the Holy Year will prove "successful" in light of the poor quality of liturgy that is prevalent throughout the (Latin) Church.

Many people may go to Confession during the Holy Year. Many may return to Mass. But given the banal state of liturgy, dreadful music, ugly churches, uninspiring sermons, and so forth...how many people will return to that week after week?

That is why it's imperative, during the Holy Year and beyond, that Pope Francis tackle in dramatic fashion the liturgical crisis.

We have heard it all about climate change...had the prayer and worship visits to Protestant communities and mosques...in a few weeks, Pope Francis plans to visit Rome's synagogue...

...we've had the declarations as to how the Church is filled supposedly with fundamentalists (whatever that means), the Church is filled supposedly with unmerciful people...

Well, isn't it time for dramatic liturgical reform? The Divine Worship Missal is a good beginning along that line. But it's time to work on the Mass that pertains to the bulk of the Faithful — the Novus Ordo.

By the way, I agree that the Church is filled with unmerciful people...those folks who treat Traditionalists like dirt.

Anyway, I look forward to the Extraordinary Jubilee accompanied, I pray, by serious and tradition-oriented Latin Church liturgical reform.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Gene said...

Jusad, There are a number of neighborhoods where I live that have combat vets who have already formed groups and contingency plans to be prepared. Most of us go armed everywhere it is legal...my pistol holds 13 rounds, and I never used to carry a spare magazine, figuring 13 rounds should be plenty. Well, I just started carrying an extra mag. I never travel or go to a big city without the Mini 14 in the truck, unless a state's laws prohibit it. No state I would go to prohibits it. People, you had better arm yourselves and learn to shoot if you don't already know how.

Now, anybody here still think Islam is not the enemy? That savage, false religion breeds just the kind of stuff that happened in San Bernadino. Look for more of the same, and look for pitiful souls like Anon 2 to keep apologizing for Muzzies.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

“The more the Democrats and Media (but I repeat myself) cry for gun control, confiscation, etc. all while ALSO urging us to import millions of Muslims . . ."

What is the factual basis for the above assertion (I assume you are talking about refugees)? This from ABC news at

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/syrian-refugees-turn-us-mexico-border-35308407

“Between 2004 and 2013, some 1,449 Syrians were granted asylum in the United States, most in 2012 and 2013, and were not part of the 70,000 refugees from around the world that the U.S. accepts annually.

The Obama administration announced earlier this year that the number of people invited to move to the U.S. as refugees would be increased to 85,000 in the coming year, including about 10,000 Syrians. That program is now under scrutiny, and the U.S. House overwhelmingly approved GOP-backed legislation on Thursday that puts up new hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to come to the U.S.”

Millions of Muslims? Really? I do not deny that we must be very careful about whom to admit. And we ARE very careful under the overseas refugee program. As a knowledgeable observer I agree with those who point out that the real risk is not there but under the visa waiver program under which millions, yes millions (really), of nonimmigrant visitors for business or for pleasure are admitted to the United States each year, mostly from European countries, without having to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate just some computerized processing under the ESTA system. THAT is where the real vulnerability is. The refugee issue is for the most part a colossal red herring (and red meat for the Republican base), at least for the United States, as opposed to Europe (where the refugees apply for asylum not overseas resettlement). Sensibly, some attention is now being paid to the visa waiver program:

http://news.yahoo.com/visa-waiver-program-changes-amid-terrorism-concerns-151034635.html;_ylt=A0LEViTtumBWoiAAXqcnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGY3bmpvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--


gob said...

Newgene...the two options I mentioned are enough for me. I choose mercy. What do you say? I'm pretty sure that, in your opinion, I fall into the wuss/loser category. That opinion of me from you would give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

George W. Bush did not think Islam was the enemy, and he was correct, even if he didn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shi’a.

And I do not apologize for terrorists. In fact, as I have told you before, it makes me angry when you suggest such nonsense. We in Britain were dealing with foreign terrorists (the IRA) while you in the States lived in isolated blissful ignorance of this scourge (and some of you actually supported our terrorists). So, once again I say to you, how dare you suggest even indirectly that I apologize for terrorists? But I do make necessary distinctions, such as the distinction between Muslims who are radical and violent religious extremists, and Muslims who are not radical and violent religious extremists, and will continue to do so. You may think you are preaching to some kind of choir on this blog but I would not mind betting (if I were a betting man, which I am not) that most readers have better sense and can understand the difference.

The deeper game is a spiritual battle for the soul of Islam, and you are not helping those who are waging it on the side of the good and the right with your macho bravado. Comments like yours do not frighten people like ISIS but they do give them great ammunition to help them radicalize and recruit other Muslims to their cause. So, in your ignorance (at least I assume you are not doing it intentionally), you are helping the enemy, which is not very patriotic when you think about it. (Moreover, your comments, coming from a self-confessed Catholic who invokes the Old Testament God to justify your own violent inclinations, make Catholicism and more broadly Christianity also look like a savage religion.) Similarly, further propagating misinformation about the number of Syrian refugees being admitted into this country does not help either.








Flavius Hesychius said...

Eh, I don't believe in 'damnation'.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I do not give a damn about the "soul of Islam." Nothing frightens Muslims, that is why the only option is to declare them undesirables and get them out of the country. Condemning the enemy is not "helping" them because their minds are already set upon jihad. It is like saying that all the anti-Nazi propaganda in WW II helped Hitler. The only people lying about the number of refugees in this country are the government, which you worship and love. Yes, you are apologizing for Muslims...you spin it any way you like. You are aiding and abetting the enemy with your righteous liberal nonsense. The Muslims in San Bernadino were just like your friends, I'll bet. Quiet, educated like you, likable, totally appearing like good ol' regular people. The people they killed even gave them a wedding shower...I'll bet your Muzzie friends have had you over for dinner. How will you feel one day when the guns come out? What will your last thoughts be before you feel the impact if the bullets? BTW, if you hear the shots you are not dead yet...maybe you can crawl under a table and buy yourself a few more seconds....perhaps for an act of contrition...or maybe just a plain old "Oh, crap!"

Gene said...

Flavius, why don't you believe in Dalmatians? I have had one and can attest to their existence. What do you think about the perseverance of the Saint Bernards? Ah, Shitzu...maybe I misunderstood you...

JBS said...

Those who die unrepentant in a state of mortal sin will be damned. This is why the Church, uniquely empowered by the Holy Ghost, preaches repentance and administers God's mercy.

Those who take innocent life are murders.

Those who defend innocent life are heroes.

It all seems very simple to me.

gob said...

And you, JBS, have the ability and authority to decide innocence or guilt? I don't think so. Folks like you, who think it is all very simple, are part of the many problems we have in the world today. It is not "very simple".

Jusadbellum said...

Anon, as we see in the most recent example (there have been a dozen 'homegrown' cases of Muslim US citizens or refugees who got sudden Jihad syndrome), the only difference between a moderate, peaceful Muslim and a Jihadi is the Jihadi pulls the trigger. None of these guys went to "radical" mosques. None were known in their local communities as the obvious outlier, the obvious loner. Most came from prominent families who were fairly well off and well educated.

It's not the Muslim equivalent of red-neck Hill billies from trailer parks in the Ozarks who are committing these crimes and attacks. They're not card carrying members of ISIS goose stepping through towns before their attacks. If asked they'd claim to be moderates. So how are we to know by sight or by analysis who is who?

The more religious they are, the more seriously they take their commitment the more prone they are to act out in a way called for by their holy book. But again, as seen in Paris, some of these guys and women were fairly secular (i.e. moderate, i.e. not religious) within months of their sudden Jihad action. So one cannot take to the bank that moderation is a permanent state.

The big and unspoken difference between everyone and Muslims is precisely this: all our NRA, militiamen or good ol' boys with their contingency plans for an armed neighborhood watch don't subscribe to an ideology or religion that justifies the offensive use of force on non-aggressors. Even the IRA normally called in their bomb threats to reduce innocent civilian casualties - because as awful as the IRA was, it still operated within this Western template of morality that non-combatants, unarmed defenseless innocent civilians were not licit targets.

This is why despite there being 10 million pro-lifers there has been less than 1 dozen attacks in 40 years. Pro-lifers by definition do not believe in the privately sanctioned killing of unarmed, defenseless people. Abortion is the privately sanctioned intentional murder of the totally defenseless and innocent among us. So to be against that one cannot justify the assault against defenseless adults (even if they're not innocent).

Neither does the NRA, the militia movements or the armed neighborhood defense associations. None of these heavily armed and trained groups believe as a core part of their ideology or religion that they have a RIGHT to expect God's blessing should they shoot a non-aggressive civilian. Their entire ethos is one of self-defense against unjust aggressors actually aggressing. Thus there are no running gun battles with police from these groups. No ambushes. No pro-active assaults. Jus ad bellum for the Western Christian culture is closely defined, it's not a blank check.

Thus the dark muttering about race riots and what to do with an active shooter. None of these groups talk about genocide or going into the ghetto as death squads.

So while Islam does have major schools of theology and major ideological groups spanning the globe promoting a vision of violent Jihad, and their doctrine does in fact include the concept of holy war as justified, their enemies - the remnant Christian west - has no such ideological or theological basis on which to justify the private killing of civilians. There's no Christian, Catholic, or even secular western right-wing analogue to ISIS.

Thus all we have left is two options: the 2nd amendment and immigration policy. We can (and likely will) see far more militarization of police and the arming of civil society to 'deal' with the 7 million Muslims currently in the US. If we're smart, we'll limit this population to a minimum (as indeed we have done for White Europeans and other ethnicities - not granting many visas at all for lots of ethnicities and groups).

Jusadbellum said...

Take a good look at this crowd of some 4,000 Muslim men in Norway in 2013.

They are black, brown, and white. Most of them are young abled bodied men. They are at an international convention - akin to our World Meeting of Families or some big men's Eucharistic congress.

The questions are as one would expect - how to deal with a hostile culture that doesn't understand your religion and has a double standard against your values.

But the answer is chilling. These are "moderates". But the logic of the leader talking about the Koran being God's best plan for humanity, a truth that is higher than any secular law or culture (after all what is culture if not a human artifact?) explodes the notion that there is some sort of "wall" between a moderate and a radical. If the moderates are OK with using force against 'sinners' then the problem according to them is with the Western pagans, not with them.

Here's the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV710c1dgpU

Jusadbellum said...


One final youtube on the Catholic concept of Just war: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE7fJ3oOV9c#t=223

Note the point at the very end - how pogroms always accompanied the crusades in the West but not in the East...how the bishops always fought against such abuses in the west but didn't have to in the East because by and large in Palestine the crusaders were much less prone to lash out at anyone other than hostile armies.

In our tradition there is a mixture of horror/shame for the crusades' abuses and a somewhat conflicted view of their successes.

But in the Muslim tradition, they view the period from 1100 to 1700 as one of almost unbroken victories with at the most minor set backs and one genuine defeat (Spain). They're not at all conflicted about their involvement.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

Thank you for the link. I have watched the video.

And thank you for making my point even more forcefully. You are incorrect. These are not “moderate” Muslims, however much they may claim to represent the views of all Muslims. They are salafists and the organization that published the video, Islam Net, is a salafist organization. Here is a Wikipedia article discussing them, and indeed the very video you linked:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_Net

The salafist movement is an ultra-conservative and fundamentalist movement within contemporary Sunni Islam (not Shi’ism). It is growing in strength and indeed is central in the battle for the soul of Islam. Worldwide there are estimated to be about 50 million salafists out of a total Muslim population of 1.5 billion. So do the math. The vast majority of Muslims are not salafists. Salafists divide into three main trends: non-politcal purists, political activists, and violent jihadists. ISIS is associated with jihadi salafism. Read about all this and more at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement

But of course we continue in, and indeed wallow in, our ignorance about these things and therefore continue to do stupid things that will drive more and more Muslims into the salafist camp. And so we will lose the battle for the soul of Islam for which people like Gene “do not give a damn” (related, when I listen to the Republican candidates and their verbal swagger I ask myself: Is this the sort of thing that explains why the Republican Party is called the stupid party?).

The following 2012 New York Times article has more on all this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/dont-fear-all-islamists-fear-salafis.html?_r=0

For example:

“Salafis are only one slice of a rapidly evolving Islamist spectrum. The variety of Islamists in the early 21st century recalls socialism’s many shades in the 20th. Now, as then, some Islamists are more hazardous to Western interests and values than others. The Salafis are most averse to minority and women’s rights.

A common denominator among disparate Salafi groups is inspiration and support from Wahhabis, a puritanical strain of Sunni Islam from Saudi Arabia. Not all Saudis are Wahhabis. Not all Salafis are Wahhabis, either. But Wahhabis are basically all Salafis. And many Arabs, particularly outside the sparsely populated Gulf, suspect that Wahhabis are trying to seize the future by aiding and abetting the region’s newly politicized Salafis — as they did 30 years ago by funding the South Asian madrassas that produced Afghanistan’s Taliban.

Salafis go much further in restricting political and personal life than the larger and more modern Islamist parties that have won electoral pluralities in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco since October. For most Arabs, the rallying cry is justice, both economic and political. For Salafis, it is also about a virtue that is inflexible and enforceable. . .

The Salafis represent a painful long-term conundrum for the West. Their goals are the most anti-Western of any Islamist parties. They are trying to push both secularists and other Islamists into the not-always-virtuous past.”




Anonymous 2 said...

Jus:

“In our tradition there is a mixture of horror/shame for the crusades' abuses and a somewhat conflicted view of their successes.”

I don’t think Gene would agree with you.



Anonymous 2 said...

Jus:

“But in the Muslim tradition, they view the period from 1100 to 1700 as one of almost unbroken victories with at the most minor set backs and one genuine defeat (Spain). They're not at all conflicted about their involvement.”

Perhaps it is just possible, Jus, although we would have to research this point carefully, that the Muslims actually behaved better than we did. This is certainly the prevailing view, for example, regarding the recapturing of Jerusalem by the Crusaders and by Saladin respectively.

Anonymous 2 said...

For some reason this comment did not seem to make it through so I am sending it again:

JusadBellum:

Thank you for the link. I have watched the video.

And thank you for making my point even more forcefully. You are incorrect. These are not “moderate” Muslims, however much they may claim to represent the views of all Muslims. They are salafists and the organization that published the video, Islam Net, is a salafist organization. Here is a Wikipedia article discussing them, and indeed the very video you linked:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_Net

The salafist movement is an ultra-conservative and fundamentalist movement within contemporary Sunni Islam (not Shi’ism). It is growing in strength and indeed is central in the battle for the soul of Islam. Worldwide there are estimated to be about 50 million salafists out of a total Muslim population of 1.5 billion. So do the math. The vast majority of Muslims are not salafists. Salafists divide into three main trends: non-politcal purists, political activists, and violent jihadists. ISIS is associated with jihadi salafism. Read about all this and more at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement

But of course we continue in, and indeed wallow in, our ignorance about these things and therefore continue to do stupid things that will drive more and more Muslims into the salafist camp. And so we will lose the battle for the soul of Islam for which people like Gene “do not give a damn” (related, when I listen to the Republican candidates and their verbal swagger I ask myself: Is this the sort of thing that explains why the Republican Party is called the stupid party?).

The following 2012 New York Times article has more on all this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/dont-fear-all-islamists-fear-salafis.html?_r=0

For example:

“Salafis are only one slice of a rapidly evolving Islamist spectrum. The variety of Islamists in the early 21st century recalls socialism’s many shades in the 20th. Now, as then, some Islamists are more hazardous to Western interests and values than others. The Salafis are most averse to minority and women’s rights.

A common denominator among disparate Salafi groups is inspiration and support from Wahhabis, a puritanical strain of Sunni Islam from Saudi Arabia. Not all Saudis are Wahhabis. Not all Salafis are Wahhabis, either. But Wahhabis are basically all Salafis. And many Arabs, particularly outside the sparsely populated Gulf, suspect that Wahhabis are trying to seize the future by aiding and abetting the region’s newly politicized Salafis — as they did 30 years ago by funding the South Asian madrassas that produced Afghanistan’s Taliban.

Salafis go much further in restricting political and personal life than the larger and more modern Islamist parties that have won electoral pluralities in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco since October. For most Arabs, the rallying cry is justice, both economic and political. For Salafis, it is also about a virtue that is inflexible and enforceable. . .

The Salafis represent a painful long-term conundrum for the West. Their goals are the most anti-Western of any Islamist parties. They are trying to push both secularists and other Islamists into the not-always-virtuous past.”

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A2 for some odd reasons some of your comments go to the spam box and unless I check it I wouldn't know it was there. Don't know why because not all of yours go directly to spam.

Jusadbellum said...

A2 you will allow that the Salafists are growing?

Who among the so-called "overwhelming majority" of the 1.5 billion are actively standing in their way both domestically and globally?

You seem to be under the impression that us lumping the innocent in with the wolves will drive the innocent to become wolves rather than energize them to prove to us that they are innocent by destroying the wolves.

Is this how the secular left treats pro-lifers? Is it how they treated the institutional church after the scandals? No. The secular left accuses ALL pro-lifers and ALL clergy of evil and our reaction is to buckle down, tighten internal controls and work strenuously to convince them that we are no such thing.

The Tea Party was so sensitive to the charge of racism that they invited more and more minorities to speak and they posted watchers throughout the throngs to leap into action when racists with signs (and a media journalist) would show up "spontaneously" to join the crowd. The tea party came up with signs reading "not with us" to dispel any whisper of an idea that they were racists....not that it mattered since the Media's narrative was that one had to be racist to not want more taxes...

So despite how the establishment treats every OTHER GROUP, we are to believe that in this one case, Muslims must be coddled and imported and praised to the skies least these paragons of peace, these Arab Amish are driven insane and turned into violent terrorists by social critique?

If you are sincere in believing that Islam is "a religion of peace" and that consequently the more religious you are the more peaceful, and that "moderates" are religious, wouldn't it follow that external persecution by non-believers would increase their religiosity and hence produce MORE not less peaceful members?

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

We are not talking about how the secular left treats pro-lifers as compared with Muslims. We are talking about the prudent way of handling one of the central foreign policy challenges, perhaps even the most central challenge, of our generation (and associated domestic policy). This challenge_should_transcend political camps, as should the pro-life issue also. Instead both issues get politicized by one side or the other in our dreadfully debased politics (for which Trump set a new bar in indecency when he mocked a journalist with disability, and there is no denying that this is exactly what he was doing). If you want to have a conversation about how the secular left treats pro-lifers, I am happy to have that conversation but it is a different conversation. The same is true about the media’s handling of the Tea Party.

In your last paragraph you offer a very helpful way of framing the issue in a pithy and forceful way. Islam can be either a religion of peace or a religion of war. This, too, is central to the battle for its soul. Which side would you rather be on? Doesn’t the question answer itself? And what do_we_need to do to help those forces within Islam that tend towards this answer rather than the alternative one?

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Yes, of course I will allow that the salafists are growing. Haven’t I been talking all along about the battle for the soul of Islam? What do you think that battle is about if not this? Right now, we are losing the battle, and we will continue to lose unless and until we understand that many of our policies (including, by the way, French style fundamentalist secularism) are making matters worse, not better. The surest way to create a salafist, even a violent one, is to deny or denigrate the other person’s revered religion and sacred figures, for example by calling the religion savage. How would we feel, how_do_we feel, when Catholicism is attacked in ways that we regard as unjust? Don’t we become defensive, and rightfully so?

Gene said...

The Crusades were a well-intentioned mess. We need to start over and do them right this time.

Anon 2's remarks belong in spam.

George said...



"If you are sincere in believing that Islam is "a religion of peace" and that consequently the more religious you are the more peaceful, and that "moderates" are religious, wouldn't it follow that external persecution by non-believers would increase their religiosity and hence produce MORE not less peaceful members?"

No,it would not necessarily follow.

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald:

I am glad Gene reminded me about spam because I had intended to post that I understood the problem—I get quite a few very important and valuable emails that are diverted into the spam filter. Come to think of it, this is a sufficient response to Gene’s comment as well. =)

Gene said...

A retired FBI terrorism specialist said today that most of the mosques in the US are jihadist training centers. Anon 2, you insult God, the Church, and everyone else by comparing the Catholic Church to Islam. You really are an apologist for terrorism. You should be on Obama's staff. You, and people like you, are going to get us all killed.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

Your shameful and despicable calumnies of me (and others) do not improve with repetition. You know perfectly well that my comparison was an atttempt to understand the psychological response of defensiveness and not any actions that may flow from this response, yet you continue to utter these calumnies.

How is it that you are able to have a perfectly reasonable and civil conversation on a theological topic such as voluntarism versus intellectualism but when it comes to these political matters, you descend into the gutter? What is the psychology behind this? Help me understand because, right now, I don’t.

I am quite capable of besting you in any verbal contest of nastiness (you are a mere amateur by comparison) but I am not proud of this and therefore refuse to come down to your level, tempting though it may be. Instead I try to exercise self-restraint. However, I warned you once before that if you continue to address me in this manner I will simply post the following notice each time:

“Dear Fellow Bloggers:

Please note that, if Father McDonald fails to prevent posting of the comment in accordance with his stated policy, from now on I will respond to any uncivil and gratuitously insulting ad hominem comment that Gene directs at me by reposting this notice.

Thank you,

Anonymous 2”

I am very close to doing this again.

Now that we have got that out of the way, and in the interests of advancing constructive conversation, please give us a source for the former FBI terrorism specialist’s statement you reference. I have tried to find it in an internet search but without success. I hope you can back up your claim.








Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: Also in the interests of advancing constructive conversation I post again a comment directed to you on another thread that you may not have seen as it was well onto the second page by the time of posting:

Gene:

One very important reason I am so concerned with this issue of the nature of God and reason is because this issue is also central to the battle for the soul of Islam. This is, if you will, a spiritual jihad (to borrow the Islamic term) in which Christians, and especially Catholics, also have to become intelligently engaged by allying with moderating elements within Islam as argued in the following interview with Father Samir Khalil Samir, “Middle East Scholar: Islam Needs a Renewal of Reason”:

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/middle-east-scholar-islam-needs-a-renewal-of-reason/

It is not just a case of seeking to recapture the rational Mutazalite theological tradition within Islam. It is also a case of seeking to recapture the remaining rational elements stemming from that tradition and associated jurisprudential thought even after the competing, voluntarist tradition had become the prevailing theological tradition within Islam. Here is an extract from Father Samir’s article:

“If you go back 1,000 years ago and read a booklet on what Muslims expect in heaven, it’s different to today: The virgins, the fruits and the waters were then not seen as material, because there’s no body. This interpretation is no longer spread; instead, there is a literal interpretation of the Quran. So I think we’ve gone 1,000 years backwards, because the teaching in the faculties of Islamic theology, even in Al-Azhar, is not based on reason. The interpretation of the Quran and Islamic tradition is not based on reason, as it was in some schools in the Middle Ages. For many Muslim theologians, reason is seen as anti-revelation! By the way, this is precisely the criticism of Pope Benedict XVI in his famous lecture at Regensburg’s university on Sept. 12,, 2006, which provoked such a violent Muslim reaction. . . .

So an answer is to build real friendship with Muslims, to say we are together against extreme secularism. We agree with you on some issues, will help each other to be more spiritual and to have a more spiritual approach to God and religion.

And to become Catholic eventually?

Yes, certainly. The last sentences of Matthew: ‘Go, and proclaim the Gospel to the whole world’ is an obligation of love for each Christian. It’s not propaganda; it’s allowing the spiritual liberty that the Gospel, that Christ brought to the world. So it’s not simply optional; it’s an order, but an order for freedom, for life and for joy. With Muslims, as well as Christians, we have to re-evangelize Christians, Muslims and atheists and preach the Good News.

If the Gospel is the most beautiful treasure we have, how can we refuse to share it with others, especially if they are in crisis?”

There is much more in this article, which repays reading in full.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

One further thought: Islamic radicalism has its reactionary roots in twentieth century excesses by militant secularist dictators who suppressed Islam and engaged in various other abuses. Turkey and Iran are two striking examples. As I have done before, I recommend the book “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty” by Mustafa Akyöl (2011, 2013), which I also use in my course together with a book explicating the classical Shari’a:

http://www.amazon.com/Islam-without-Extremes-Muslim-Liberty/dp/0393347249

It is an easy and excellent read; and if you do read this book, you will finally understand the dynamics regarding what is at stake for the Islamic world and for the West, and how solutions can be found in the Islamic tradition itself. Will you have the humility and the courage to look?


Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and Others:

Imagine you are a peaceful Muslim living in the United States. You not want the full implementation of the Shari’a, with its harsh criminal law penalties, but want to be part of American society just like your fellow citizens and to abide by its norms, including its constitutional norms, and to enjoy the blessings of its liberty, in particular under the First Amendment. This includes being able to worship as your faith requires (the five pillars, including prayer five times a day, analogous to the divine office that we have) and, yes, to engage in moral conversation in the public square about matters such as abortion (Muslim views on this tend to be more restrictive than the mainstream position though probably not quite as restrictive as the Catholic position, depending on the school). There are millions of Muslims living here like this. And now suddenly you experience a “backlash” because some violent Islamic extremists, whose views in no way represent your own, commit heinous acts. Specifically, your fellow citizens who are (understandably perhaps) ignorant of your faith and who are becoming more afraid every day, especially with the continual hysteria whipped up on tribal blogs and the daily priming of the fear pump ever since 9/11 (including in the mainstream media), do this sort of thing:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/after-paris-and-california-attacks-us-muslims-feel-intense-backlash/2015/12/03/bcf8e480-9a09-11e5-94f0-9eeaff906ef3_story.html?tid=pm_national_pop_b

How would you feel? And the sad irony is that this is exactly what ISIS wants and why they are promoting these heinous acts in Western societies. They are trying to provoke precisely this sort of backlash reaction because it will make Muslims more fearful and more open to accepting the ISIS narrative that the West is declaring a war on Islam, which therefore must be defended by any means possible. And so many Americans, who are on average more ignorant about the world than the inhabitants of most other developed countries and also naïve almost beyond belief regarding propaganda techniques, play right along and follow the ISIS script. We can do better than this, and Catholics should be leading the way, both because it is our responsibility as faithful citizens, and because we should remember better than most what it is like to be a hated, despised, and feared religious minority.

So, we should not listen to the (perhaps well-intentioned) blogger extremists, or the power drunk politicians and presidential wannabes who seek to gain short term political advantage wherever it can be found. Instead we should listen to our hearts (and of course our priests and bishops)—but also keep our eyes open and be vigilant for genuine danger signs. This includes being aware of our surroundings and reporting anything suspicious to the authorities. It is better to be safe than sorry. In Britain we were trained to do this during the IRA bombing campaigns (and Jusad, yes, they may have called in some of the attacks but they didn’t do a very good job of it a lot of the time and sometimes they didn’t call them in, and therefore many people died in their cowardly and heinous attacks). But we didn’t become paranoid about every Irish person we encountered. Instead, if we saw something suspicious—for example, an unattended bag or package in a pub or other public place or a suspiciously parked vehicle—we reported it. I did so myself a couple of times. But heck, I also hung out with the Irish when I lived in Brussels. None of them was a terrorist. True, I was interviewed once by the Belgian security services about a co-worker under suspicion of terrorism, but he was from Italy (where terrorism was also occurring) and was, I am convinced, innocent of any suspicion. But again, it is better to be safe than sorry, and so I cooperated willingly.

In sum, we need to be cool, calm, collected, and Catholic, and use common sense—the cs cover it. =)




Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. I forgot one of the most important cs—quietly (not loudly and blusteringly) courageous—morally, spiritually, and physically.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think it is very bad form to broad brush any religious or ethnic group with the same attitude of contempt. We Catholics in the south know what that means as did the Irish who came here in the mid 1800's.

I despise the fact that so many say it is intrinsic to the celibate priesthood that children are molested by priests. It isn't but it is a hard thing to defend when the press for the past 20 years has gone after priests and the Church incessantly but all the while neglecting the very ones who molest children the most, married men and usually family members.

The problem with terrorism and molestation first begins with the fact that all of us are disordered in one way or another by Original Sin which leads to very grace actual sin. This extends to politicians who are very inadequate in how they handle violence and terrorists to bishops who mismanaged disordered priests or were callous about what they did to teenagers predominantly (and mostly boys) but also a small minority of young children.

So let's not stigmatize all Muslims but lets recognize that all people are disordered by original sin and act on their disorders with actual sin that really, really harm us! But God's grace is greater!

Gene said...

PS I am of Irish descent and feel no need to commit mass murder because of some presumed oppression that happened in the past or because of ethnic stereotypical comments in the present.

Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous, those of us who are less than trusting of our Communist, fascist, or Muslim neighbors are not uneducated hicks. It's not ignorance but education that drives us to consider drivel when a Politician assures us that "Islam means peace" or "Islam is a religion of peace".

One might say we also regard as drivel the Communist claim of being "for" the proletariat while invariably running strong-man oligarchic police-states that serve anyone but the common worker bee.

Islam is based on the Koran, the Suras and the Hadith. To be a Muslim you must accept as divinely inspired and beyond all question that the Koran superceeds the Bible and that Mohamed is God's final prophet (and not Jesus). Thus they cannot live and let live with Catholicism or any other religion or religious or ideological group. Implicit in their religion is a claim of superiority (which is fine, as we believe we're superior too as do Communists and anyone else worth their salt).

To call Mohammed "the prophet" means one must - like a Christian - at least theoretically believe that imitation is the safest bet to salvation. Thus the more you know about his life and words and the more you pattern yourself on his life and words, the better believer you are and the more assured of salvation.

So what DID he say and do? Was his life and times one of Peaceful co-existence with Jews, Christians and Pagans right to the end or an initial slow burn of co-existence followed by a dozen years of total war? I think it matters to know the answer.

It matters whether his life and times were about peaceful and harmonious existence with others or about a violent and rough handling of the weak and unbelieving. It matters if he smiled and spoke softly when out of power but then spoke with wrath and cruelty once in power. It matters how he treated women and children. How he respected (or not) treaties and peace oaths.

I get that many people are rightly terrified by the prospect of a war of civilizations and think that we must not poke the dragon - just as these same people or people like them thought we were the bad guys in the Cold War and that if only we didn't provoke the Russian Bear, all would be peace and love. But Communism like Islam is a totalitarian civilizational doctrine that cannot allow for anything but tactical peace treaties. Both explicitly call for global domination and promote an 'end justifies the means" reading of ethics and Jus ad bellum as well as Jus in bello.

Thus it's right to be afraid of such a clash, but it's wrong to deny it's coming and is inevitable until/unless we challenge and defeat the bedrock truth claims that undergird the entire ideology: that what they worship is most certainly not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - to say nothing of the God of Jesus, and that consequently, Mohammed is no prophet.

To defeat Soviet communism we had to show beyond reasonable doubt that communism did not and cannot work to produce a material paradise for the worker bee in whose name the oligarchy rules with an iron fist. To defeat Islam we need to show that the Koran, sura and Hadith lead not to holiness of life but grave depravity every time they are sincerely sought to be implemented.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

I do not much care what self-serving politicians say, whether they are on the left or on the right. Unless they are educated about Islam, or are well advised by those who are, why should I listen to them? The same is true of talking heads in the media or self-appointed experts in the Blogosphere, again whether on the left or the right.

I_am_interested in educating myself about the salient issues and continue to learn new things daily. How about you?

This I do know and have known from the beginning: There are two wars, one involving a war of arms against violent Islamic extremists in the field, and one involving a war of ideas, again against the same group as well as others who have radical (re)interpretations of the sacred texts. The two wars are connected. I am not sure we can ever win the first one (we fight not a snake but a hydra) without winning the second one, and we cannot win the second one, the fundamental one, unless we avoid doing stupid things regarding the first one. It is a simple, and as complicated, as that.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

Regarding the waging of the second war, the fundamental war of ideas, in my view the strategy you propose in your final two paragraphs of your 12:05 p.m. post is precisely the wrong one. We are not dealing with communism but with belief about God and the sacred texts. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more potent than this kind of belief. If we have learned nothing else from direct attacks on the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, surely we have learned that such attacks will only invite vigorous and even violent defense. No, on the contrary, we must be disarming and respectful. Yes, you heard right--respectful.

Following the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre regarding the conversation between competing moral traditions, but adapting it to the present context, in the necessary civilizational dialectic we must not, absolutely must not, seek to impose our own Western or Christian values on Muslims. Instead, we must engage in mutual critique that appeals to the_internal_standards of each civilizational moral tradition. Therefore, by all means let us provide information and insights but they must be filtered through the Islamic prism. I know this can be done because I am familiar with many of the internal standards of Islam and, more importantly, what moderating and reforming Muslims have to say about them. Moreover, let us be open to critique from Islam filtered through our own prisms. Perhaps there is something we can learn from Muslims too (I have already suggested that Catholics and Muslims share much common ground). Then we will see who has the better of the argument. But this will require humility, moral imagination (in particular the ability to see through the eyes of the Other), and faith in the working of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, the post-Vatican II Catholic Church “gets it.” I just wish more people did.

I am glad you mentioned the defeat of communism because it confirms the approach I am suggesting. I believe communism fell largely because those in communist societies saw, through the counter example of the West, that their god had failed them (by their own standards). I do not necessarily advocate attempting to defeat the Islamic tradition(s) in the same manner (that is for the Holy Spirit to decide) but a robust dialectic in which, it is to be hoped, Islam will reconstitute itself in the more benign forms (again, as measured by internal Islamic standards). For example, there are powerful warrants in the Islamic tradition for democracy, improving the treatment of women and for human rights more generally, and free market capitalism, just as there are for conceiving of God as a God of reason.




Jusadbellum said...

Anonymous 2, what you are proposing is what I've been on here proposing for 2 years at least but it's the role of the Church, not the state.

The USA is not equipped - in either political party - to commit to the generational struggle you and I envision is necessary. So what the US can do is what we're arguing about and it starts with being aware that Islam per se is not "a religion of peace". It may have hundreds of millions of more or less harmless followers but that's a different thing. The religious "qua" religion is not peaceful. It does not promote peaceful and enduring co-existence with non-believers as equals. So the Constitutional framework of the USA is not considered by any Muslim as a permanent situation but as something to overcome eventually via the ballot box as they can peacefully impose Shariah on everyone.

So the moderates want Shariah and hope to get there via demographics (birthrate and immigration). The radicals want violent jihad to cower us into Dhimmi status without needing to seize power politically. They've already accomplished this in the Cartoon wars - silencing all but a few stalwarts from lampooning Mohammed.

Now, how did they get there? By the radicals threatening bloodshed while the moderates complained that they couldn't help or stop the hot heads - classic good cop/bad cop strategy employed successfully.

Either way, the religion is about world domination.

To convert a Muslim you need more than kumbaya ecumenical efforts. You need to preach the Gospel, cast out evil spirits and heal the sick... that does mean preaching that Jesus is God incarnate and that ipso facto the Gospel and not the Koran is God's final message to humanity. It's unavoidable. We can't pull our punches here even as we avoid egregious actions.

Those Muslims who convert do so from person to person witness in an atmosphere where the clergy WANT to make converts. Instead we fall over ourselves trying not to 'offend' and so hide our crucifixes, hide our doctrine, etc. so as to meet them as secular humanists as though that's what will make them happy...it's woefully misguided and the track record of the past 40 years proves that it's foolish.

If your end game is to maintain the status quo politically or theologically, you will lose both. Instead we need to step off this defensive and timid couch we're in and go out, ad gentes, to the peripheries, and actually preach the Good News.

As Americans this would translate in not Kow towing to the Political Correct masters (PC being a Marxist concept) and being proud of classic American values and beliefs rather than afraid of our own shadow or hypersensitive of giving offense when many on the "PC" side do not reciprocate. If you are dealing with someone who has no empathy whatsoever, it's foolish to seek to ingratiate oneself via watering down own's position.