The persecution of Christians by Muslims in the Middle East is not news. It is a continuous state of affairs, as much to be expected as unpleasant news is anywhere. It could even be said to be normal.
Among the few journalists who do not ignore it is Raymond Ibrahim. He reports on it frequently.
He recently wrote, at Canada Free Press, about a wave of attacks on Christians in Egypt:
Yet another murderous wave is taking Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority by storm, leading to yet another exodus from their homes.
Last week in al-Arish, Sinai, Islamic State affiliates killed a 65-year-old Christian man by shooting him in the head; they then abducted and tortured his 45-year-old son, before burning him alive and dumping his charred remains near a schoolyard.
The worshipers of “Allah the Merciful” gouged out his eyes, according to witnesses.
Perhaps because of its sensationalist nature — burning a human alive — this story was reported by some Western media. Yet the atrocities hardly begin or end there. Below is a list of Christians murdered in al-Arish in recent days and weeks:
- January 30: A 35-year-old Christian was in his small shop working with his wife and young son when three masked men walked in, opened fire on him, instantly killing the Copt. The murderers then sat around his table, eating chips and drinking soda, while the body lay in a pool of blood before the terrified wife and child.
- February 13: A 57-year-old Christian laborer was shot and killed as he tried to fight off masked men trying to kidnap his young son from off a crowded street in broad daylight. After murdering the father, they seized his young son and took him to an unknown location (where, per precedent, he is likely being tortured, possibly already killed, if a hefty ransom was not already paid).
- February 16: A 45-year-old Christian schoolteacher was moonlighting at his shoe shop with his wife, when masked men walked in the crowded shop and shot him dead.
- February 17: A 40-year-old medical doctor was killed by masked men who, after forcing him to stop his car, opened fire and killed him. He too leaves a widow and two children.
… This recent uptick in Christian persecution is believed to be in response to a video earlier released by the Islamic State in Sinai. In it, masked militants promise more attacks on the “worshipers of the cross”, a reference to the Copts of Egypt, whom they also referred to as their “favorite prey” and the “infidels who are empowering the West against Muslim nations”.
As a result of the recent slayings and threats of more to come, at least 300 Christians living in al-Arish have fled their homes, with nothing but their clothes on their backs and their children in their hands. Most have congregated in a Coptic church compound in neighboring Ismailia by the Suez Canal. …
Now here is a short list of measures NOT being taken to help Christian victims of religious persecution by Muslims:
The Pope is speaking out often, loud, and clear against the states that order, promote, sanction, allow, or tolerate the capture, rape, murder, enslavement and displacement of Christians.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is doing the same, and vigorously pressing the British government to demand that the governments of Islamic states put an end to this practice under threat of stopping financial aid. (Only 1% of Egypt’s aid comes from Britain, but the top recipients of British tax-payers’ money include the Islamic states of Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh. Nigeria is the country where Boko Haram – an affiliate of ISIS – has been burning, raping, abducting and mass-slaughtering Christians for years. We have posted often about Boko Haram. In particular, see here.)
The Evangelical Christians of America are pressing the US government to do likewise. (US aid to Egypt = $1.5 billion.)
The United Nations is passing resolutions against it, both in the General Assembly and the Security Council, and taking action to prevent and punish it wherever it is occurring.
Here’s a little more about what the Pope is doing in regard to this matter.
Robert Spencer writes at Jihad Watch:
AP reported … that Pope Francis “embraced the grand imam [Ahmed al-Tayeb] of Al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, reopening an important channel for Catholic-Muslim dialogue after a five-year lull and at a time of increased Islamic extremist attacks on Christians.” …
Muslims have massacred, exiled, forcibly converted or subjugated hundreds of thousands of Christians in Iraq and Syria. Have these “improved ties” [between the Vatican and the grand imam] saved even one Christian from suffering at the hands of Muslims? No, they haven’t. All they do is make the “dialogue” participants feel good about themselves, while the Middle Eastern Christians continue to suffer. In fact, the “dialogue” has actually harmed Middle Eastern Christians, by inducing Western Christian leaders to enforce silence about the persecution, for fear of offending their so-easily-offended Muslim “dialogue” partners.
Has the Pope welcomed any of the persecuted Christians to the Vatican? Or is that honor reserved only for this man, who will allow for “dialogue” only when his Christian “dialogue” partners maintain a respectful silence about Muslim massacres of Christians?
The Pope has not welcomed Christian refugees. He invited a pair of Syrian Christian refugee siblings to move to Rome, but changed his mind, disinvited them, and welcomed three Muslim families instead.
Agnese Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known as “Mother Teresa of Calcutta”, is now a Catholic saint, having been canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday September 4, 2016.
Here is Christopher Hitchens on the woman and her work.
Although we disagree with his passing criticism of President Reagan, and with his use of the word “conservative” as a pejorative (revealing a political bias which changed as he grew older), we think Hitchens makes a solid case against the saint.
Bernie Sanders, whether he likes it or not, is a Jew. And as he is a man of the Left, he doesn’t like it.
The Jews – UNIQUELY – are both a nation and a religion. Yet it is not only possible but common for Jews to be one OR the other. Converts to Judaism are obviously of the religion but not of the nation. Many Jews – probably a majority of Western Jews – who are of the nation by birth, are not religious.
Perhaps it would be better to speak of the Jews being “a people” rather than a nation, as a Jew’s legal nationality might be American, or British, or French etcetera.
Bernie Sanders is of the Jewish people. And for two millennia his people were despised, humiliated, robbed, tortured, murdered individually and en masse by the Christian powers – longest and most atrociously by the Catholic Church. (Except in America.)
For a while, between the early 19th century and the mid-to-late twentieth century, many of the educated Jews of Europe and Russia put their hopes for relief from persecution in the new religion of Communism, in which (its theorists claimed) there would be neither Jew nor Gentile, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, neither rich nor poor: for all would be one in the utopia of the Communist state.
But where Communist utopias were established in the twentieth century, Jews found they were not welcome. That should have told them that Communism would not save them. But many Jews who realized that the Lenins and Stalins of the Communist faith could not be relied on to treat them much better than had the Christians, were yet unwilling to give up the utopian Communist dream. Some Jews had realized this early on, so tried forming their own Communist party – the Bund. But as a separate group what could it achieve? A society in which there would be neither regrettably-still-sort-of -Jewish Jew nor absolutely-no-longer-Jewish Jew, neither bond Jew nor free Jew, neither male Jew nor female Jew, neither rich Jew nor poor Jew: for all would be one in the utopia of a Jewish Communist … What? Where?
Other Jews, who could think better, decided to work to regain the ancient Jewish homeland in the Eastern Mediterranean region of the Ottoman Empire, and establish an actual state on real territory. They were the Zionists. In 1948 they achieved their state, their safe haven at last, on real territory that had been part of their ancient homeland.
Those Jews who, despite being unwanted, remained faithful to the Communism imposed on Russia and Eastern Europe, stuck to their abjuration of their Jewishness, the peoplehood as well as the religion. So did – and do – most of the Communists of Jewish descent everywhere in the free world.
As Communists often object to being called Communists since the Leninist-Stalinist utopias of Russia and Eastern Europe collapsed in poverty and criminality, we will call them Leftists for the rest of this article. Bernie Sanders is a Leftist.
Meanwhile, the Jews’ ancient persecutor, the Catholic Church, has selected a leader, Pope Francis, who is also a Leftist. He has found it possible to join the new religion without leaving his old one. He owes this achievement to his fellow Latin American priests, who spun the antithetical dogmas of secular Communism and Triune-God-worshiping Catholicism together in such a whirl of words that they came out of the Synthesizer as one substance, inseparable. And the stuff, the thing, was named “Liberation Theology”.
It is Leftism. The Pope is a Leftist, like Bernie Sanders.
For Leftists, their Leftism trumps all. No appeal to loyalty, history, precedent, reason, logic, decency, or common sense can move them. They want there to be neither black man nor white man, neither civilized nor savage, neither citizen nor illegal alien, neither CEO nor minimum-wage-earner, neither one sex nor any of the others, but all to be one in the global Communist mystic egalitarian low-carbon-emission utopia ruled by themselves.
To acknowledge and strengthen their brotherhood in the Kingdom of Means-Justifying-Ends, Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis shook hands on April 16, 2016.
Seems it’s too late to stop fear by marching against it! Who would have thought?
The Belgians, being full of love for all mankind, planned to do it – and then realized it might not work. It might even attract more terrorism.
The Pope says use love to stop terrorism. But the Belgians are not totally convinced he is right.
Katie Hopkins writes at MailOnline:
So let’s just get this straight.
A peace march in Belgium was cancelled over fears ISIS could use it to launch another attack on Brussels.
Belgium security forces decided a March Against Fear, however topical, would be ill-advised because the fear is grounded in truth, and marching isn’t going to make it go away.
This is a bit like the people who say they are standing up to terror by continuing to use the underground. They are not actually standing up to anything. There is no real show of defiance. Everyone is scared to death.
In truth, they are gambling on the old adage lightning never strikes the same spot twice. Or for a more modern twist, suicide bombers never target the same subway twice in a week.
But if you live in jihadi central, that’s a pretty risky bet to place.
In place of the March Against Fear, a few pro-migrant groups turned up at the Old Stock Exchange in Brussels to watch mourners light candles for the dead, and shove a bit more leftie clap-trap down their throats, reminding them that irregular migrants are good people at heart and the last suicide bombers were actually home-grown, so not technically migrants at all. So that’s ok then.
In response, a group of anti-immigration protestors gathered at the Place de la Bourse to unfurl an anti-ISIS banner and vent their frustration at the direction in which the self-styled capital of Europe appears to be heading. …
The March Against Fear was cancelled because there was too much fear, and a riot broke out because the police objected to a peaceful protest.
There are a few things I notice around these incidents in Europe;
- Firstly, the anti-immigration protestors are always referred to as thugs. The language around them is universally ugly, despite the fact they are protesting against the very people who think it is acceptable to detonate themselves next to small babies wearing suicide vests filled with nails and shrapnel.
- They are called the far-right and lazy associations are made between them and Hitler. Even though in the UK it appears to be Labour supporters who have issues with Jews.
- Clearly Nazi salutes have no place in modern Europe. No one wants to see violence against the police, stones thrown or graffiti. But if you look carefully, trouble-making groups on the left such as No Borders build a far more subversive brand of trouble.
- The dreadlocked gangs of migrant-lovers, turning a blind eye to the destruction of Europe, are never referred to as the far-left. They are affectionately called anarchists, as if they are teenage boys, experimenting with Death Metal and living raw vegan.
- Despite absolutely no police response to terrorists … or marauding migrants … their rapid reaction to the presence of a handful of PEGIDA [Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West] overwhelming.
In Cologne, 150 officers were sent to police the migrant attacks on women on New Years Eve, resulting in 676 criminal complaints being filed. In comparison, 1700 riot police with water cannon were sent to stop a subsequent PEGIDA march through the city.
Whilst it seems perfectly acceptable to turn the water cannon on nationals, determined to stand up for their country and culture, it is never acceptable to criticise migrants, terrorists or extremists planning attacks.
It seems to me there is a yawning gulf between the treatment and reporting of the far-left and the far-right, and and even bigger chasm between nationals and migrant populations, who lack respect for the culture they have joined.
The left are so busy kowtowing to the rights of those who have chosen to join our culture, the right has lost the freedom to defend the culture they have chosen to join.
The police have an almost magnetic attraction to events which offer predictable policing – such as a PEGIDA March through a city centre, but are incapable of defending people from the actual threat of terror we all feel. …
People talk about the rise of the far-right. I fear the dominance of the smug, self-centred left … is far more threatening and far more real.
And the Pope is one of that company.
Judith Bergman’s article at Gatestone stresses the weakness of Christian leadership when Christians are being massacred. And for us, incidentally, it also vividly illustrates what’s wrong with Christian morality. It is sentimental. Sentimentality and cruelty are the two sides of the same coin.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was interviewed recently about the Paris attacks and asked about his reaction. “Like everyone else – first shock and horror and then a profound sadness …” he replied. “Saturday morning, I was out and as I was walking I was praying and saying: ‘God, why – why is this happening?'”
He does not say what answer he received.
Welby is the principal head of the Anglican Church and the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, which stands at around 85 million members worldwide and is the third largest communion in the world – after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is a man with an extremely high public profile, and millions of Christians looking to him for spiritual guidance.
But why is a man who is the symbolic head of 85 million Christians worldwide expressing shock at yet another terrorist attack perpetrated by the Islamic State? Had the Archbishop of Canterbury paid more than just fleeting attention to his fellow Christians in Iraq and Syria, he would know that the Islamic State has been slaughtering Christians in the Middle East since 2006. Between 2004 and 2006, before the Islamic State evolved out of Al Qaeda in Iraq, it hardly showed less zeal to root out Christianity even then.
The Archbishop had eleven years to get used to the idea of people being made homeless, exiled, tortured, raped, enslaved, beheaded and murdered for not being Muslims. How much more time did he need?
The Archbishop of Canterbury had more wisdom to offer in the interview. “The perversion of faith is one of the most desperate aspects of our world today,” he said, explaining that Islamic State terrorists have distorted their faith to the extent that they believe they are glorifying their God. But it is unclear how he is as qualified an expert in Islam as Islamic State “Caliph ” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who possesses a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Baghdad. Christians, Yazidis and persecuted Muslims in the Middle East can probably point to aspects of the world more desperate than “the perversion of faith,” but then again, the Archbishop does not seem too preoccupied with the situation on the ground.
Fortunately, others are. In a piece for The Atlantic, “What ISIS Really Wants,” Graeme Wood spent time researching the Islamic State and its ideology in depth. He spoke to members of the Islamic State and Islamic State recruiters; his conclusions were the following:
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology”, which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State … But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.
The West nevertheless continues to pretend that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and the Archbishop of Canterbury is apparently no different. It is noteworthy, however, that the Archbishop has no misgivings when it comes to Christians. “I cannot say that Christians who resort to violence are not Christians.,” he said to the Muslim Council of Wales two months ago. “At Srebrenica the perpetrators claimed Christian faith. I cannot deny their purported Christianity, but must acknowledge that event as yet another in the long history of Christian violence, and I must repudiate that what they did was in any way following the life and teaching of Jesus.”
During a debate in the House of Lords earlier this year, he also had no qualms in stating that “the church’s sporadic record of compelling obedience to its teachings through violence and coercion is a cause for humility and shame”.
If the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot deny the Christianity of Christian perpetrators who claim the Christian faith, how can he – not a Muslim scholar – deny the Islamic nature of Muslim perpetrators who claim the Muslim faith?
Just as mind-boggling is the refusal of Pope Francis I to speak the name of the perpetrators. In August 2014, when the Islamic State conquered the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar and began brutally to round up and murder Yazidis, and up to 100,000 Christians fled for their lives, Pope Francis could not make himself utter the name of the Islamic State. In his traditional Sunday blessing, he said the news from Iraq had left him “in dismay and disbelief’. As if every atrocity had happened for the first time! Christian Iraqis had at that point been persecuted by Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State for a full decade.Without referring by name to the Islamic State, and speaking as if some invisible force of nature were at play, the pope deplored “thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women kidnapped; people massacred; violence of every kind”.
A year later, in July 2015, he called the onslaught on Christians in the Middle East “a form of genocide”, but still without mentioning who exactly was committing it.
It is tragic that the Church has done so little to help its flock in the Middle East. Where, during the past decade, have the Archbishop of Canterbury and his colleagues from the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church been? Where now is their vocal and public outrage at the near extinction of this ancient Christian culture? Where are their forceful appeals to political leaders and military decision-makers to intervene on behalf of their suffering brethren?
The Pope, however, did find time last May to write a 180-page encyclical about climate change, and he has spoken passionately about the bizarre concept of the “rights of the environment”. In front of the UN and a joint session of the U.S. Congress, he again spoke of the persecution of Christians, as if it were a metaphysical event: “He expressed deep concern for the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, where they and other religious groups, have been ‘forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage’ and been forced to flee or face death or enslavement.”
Christians in the Middle East are suffering and dying, and the world hardly pays attention.
The post-Christian West evidently has no moment of charity for the plight of people with whom it might feel at least a slight solidarity.
But in 2016, Europe will be receiving another three million migrants, according to the European Union. So far, most of those who have arrived are Muslims, and there is little reason to expect that those who will arrive next year will be persecuted Christians. Most of the refugees come from refugee camps near Syria; Christians stay away from the refugee camps because they experience persecution in them too. It is no different with the Syrian refugees coming to the US.
The Christians in the Middle East are thus still left fending for themselves.
The Washington Post reports:
Thousands of Catholics poured onto the grass of Catholic University [today] to watch Pope Francis make a Spanish missionary a saint when he celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception … in Washington, the first canonization on U.S. soil.
During the Mass, Francis will canonize 18th century Franciscan theologian Junipero Serra, who is credited with spreading Christianity in California but is controversial among some for the treatment of Native Americans under his leadership.
So what sort of man was Junipero Serra?
Extracts from Wikipedia:
Junípero Serra Ferrer (1713 – 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California in the Province of Las Californias in New Spain. He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near the Presidio of Monterey, but soon moved a few miles south to establish Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in today’s Carmel, California.
The missions were primarily designed to bring the Catholic Christian faith to the native peoples.
Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, and Pope Francis expects to canonize him on September 23, 2015 during his first visit to the United States. This has been controversial with some Native Americans who criticize Serra’s treatment of their ancestors and associate him with the suppression of their culture.
During his 1752 visit to Mexico City, Serra sent a request from the college of San Fernando to the local headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. He asked that an inquisitor be appointed to preside over the Sierra Gorda. The next day, Inquisition officials appointed Serra himself as inquisitor for the whole region.
Serra made a habit of punishing himself physically, to purify his spirit. He wore a sackcloth spiked with bristles, or a coat interwoven with broken pieces of wire, under his gray friar’s outer garment. In his austere cell, Serra kept a chain of sharp pointed iron links hanging on the wall beside his bed, to whip himself at night when sinful thoughts ran through his mind. His nightly self-flagellations at the college of San Fernando caught the ears of some of his fellow friars. In his letters to his Franciscan companions, Serra often referred to himself as a “sinner” and a “most unworthy priest”.
A man who could do that to himself – what could he do to “heretics”? Wikipedia does not tell us how he dealt with them. But we do know how the Inquisition generally dealt with them. And we are given an example of how he inspired masochism – to the point of death – in others:
In one of his sermons in Mexico City, while exhorting his listeners to repent their sins, Serra took out his chain, bared his shoulders and started whipping himself. Many parishioners, roused by the spectacle, began sobbing. Finally, a man climbed to the pulpit, took the chain from Serra’s hand and began whipping himself, declaring: “I am the sinner who is ungrateful to God who ought to do penance for my many sins, and not the padre [Serra], who is a saint.” The man kept whipping himself until he collapsed. After receiving the last sacraments, he later died from the ordeal.
During other sermons on the theme of repentance, Serra would hoist a large stone in one hand and, while clutching a crucifix in the other, smash the stone against his chest. Many of his listeners feared that he would strike himself dead. Later, Serra suffered chest pains and shortness of breath … While preaching of hell and damnation, Serra would sear his flesh with a four-pronged candle flame …
A model for all mankind.
Pope Francis compulsively consumes the fashionable drivel that passes for thought among the reactionaries who call themselves “progresssives”, preaches it to the world, and hopes to persuade us all to return to the brutish ways by which our ancestors sustained their brief lives in the Middle Ages.
George Will writes at the Washington Post:
Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary.
They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.
Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: “People occasionally forgive, but nature never does.” The Vatican’s majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London’s air (see Page 1 of Dickens’s “Bleak House”) and other matters.
And the Earth is becoming “an immense pile of filth”? Hyperbole is a predictable precursor of yet another U.N. Climate Change Conference — the 21st since 1995. Fortunately, rhetorical exhibitionism increases as its effectiveness diminishes. In his June encyclical and elsewhere, Francis lectures about our responsibilities, but neglects the duty to be as intelligent as one can be.This man who says “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions” proceeds as though everything about which he declaims is settled, from imperiled plankton to air conditioning being among humanity’s “harmful habits”. The church that thought it was settled science that Galileo was heretical should be attentive to all evidence.
Francis deplores “compulsive consumerism”, a sin to which the 1.3 billion persons without even electricity can only aspire.
He leaves the Vatican to jet around praising subsistence farming, a romance best enjoyed from 30,000 feet above the realities that such farmers yearn to escape.
The saint who is Francis’s namesake supposedly lived in sweet harmony with nature. –
The son of a rich merchant, St. Francis of Assisi was an early prototype of the middle-class New Left rebel who goes off to live the “simple life” – root vegetables, moral hubris and all – in the name of his religion: Catholic Christianity then, Environmentalism now – the better to annoy his family. No surprise that this Pope chose to reign under his name.
– For most of mankind, however, nature has been, and remains, scarcity, disease and natural — note the adjective — disasters. Our flourishing requires affordable, abundant energy for the production of everything from food to pharmaceuticals. Poverty has probably decreased more in the past two centuries than in the preceding three millennia because of industrialization powered by fossil fuels. Only economic growth has ever produced broad amelioration of poverty, and since growth began in the late 18th century, it has depended on such fuels.
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, notes that coal supplanting wood fuel reversed deforestation, and that “fertilizer manufactured with gas halved the amount of land needed to produce a given amount of food”. The capitalist commerce that Francis disdains is the reason the portion of the planet’s population living in “absolute poverty” ($1.25 a day) declined from 53 percent to 17 percent in three decades after 1981. Even in low-income countries, writes economist Indur Goklany, life expectancy increased from between 25 to 30 years in 1900 to 62 years today. Sixty-three percent of fibers are synthetic and derived from fossil fuels; of the rest, 79 percent come from cotton, which requires synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. “Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides derived from fossil fuels,” he says, “are responsible for at least 60 percent of today’s global food supply.” Without fossil fuels, he says, global cropland would have to increase at least 150 percent — equal to the combined land areas of South America and the European Union — to meet current food demands.
Francis grew up around the rancid political culture of Peronist populism, the sterile redistributionism that has reduced his Argentina from the world’s 14th highest per-capita gross domestic product in 1900 to 63rd today. Francis’s agenda for the planet — “global regulatory norms” — would globalize Argentina’s downward mobility.
As the world spurns his church’s teachings about abortion, contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage and other matters, Francis jauntily makes his church congruent with the secular religion of “sustainability”. Because this is hostile to growth, it fits Francis’s seeming sympathy for medieval stasis, when his church ruled the roost, economic growth was essentially nonexistent and life expectancy was around 30. …
He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources.
Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises.
But when was logical consistency ever a bar to any faith they keep?
… or two.
The Washington Post reports:
On an official trip to this ancient city [Naples] in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, Pope Francis entered the local cathedral to pray to Januarius, the patron saint of Naples. Januarius’s 1,700-year-old dried blood is known to “spontaneously liquefy”, a phenomenon seen by true believers as a miraculous sign from above. Those gathered anxiously watched as Francis prayed before, then kissed, the ornate silver and glass reliquary containing the coagulated clot.
And lo and behold, the dark stain dissolved.
The cardinal of Naples, standing beside Francis, joyously heralded the sacred melting, bringing a round of gasps and applause. Then Francis himself acknowledged the mystery, in which the blood had only half liquefied. “It means the saint loves us halfway,” Francis said, according to accounts of those present that day five months ago. “We must all spread the word of God more, so that he loves us even more.” …
For some Neapolitans, the blood-melting made the recent papal visit all the more magical. Rita Santoro, a 69-year-old who sells prayer cards on the steps of the cathedral, was waiting just outside during Francis’s March visit. He touched her head as he left, “and after that, the stomach problems I had been having just disappeared”. … “For me, the blood liquefaction for the pope was a miracle,” she said. …
Far more than his predecessor, Francis has thrust himself into the contentious world of so-called popular devotions — including the mystical celebration of holy relics, such as the blood, bones and clothing of saints, as well as the adoration of the Virgin Mary through processions and other rites. By doing so, Vatican watchers say the pope is effectively endorsing a more ardent and mysterious brand of Catholicism that is popularly practiced — especially among the poor — in his native Latin America.
Critics, however, say the pope may be flirting with superstition.
May be? Otherwise there is nothing about religious belief in the supernatural which can be called superstitious?
Also citing his frequent mention of the devil and explicit backing of exorcisms, some say he risks undercutting his image as a 21st century moral leader in tune with the times. “The danger is that popular devotion becomes all too important, that we seek to elevate ourselves by touching a body part or a cloth touched by a saint,” said Vito Mancuso, a theologian and author based in Bologna, Italy. “We would be moving backwards, almost to idolatry.”
Almost? Worshiping a painted plaster “Virgin Mary” is not idolatry?
The incident in Naples, where Francis caused a stir with the blood of Saint Januarius, marked only one in a long list of recent papal devotions to relics and other mysterious artifacts. In June, for instance, the pope “venerated” the Shroud of Turin, praying before the cloth believed by some to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ despite disputed tests that have carbon-dated it to centuries after the crucifixion.
The pope made no official claim about the shroud’s authenticity. But his personal charity has sent at least two busloads of homeless Romans to visit the shroud, and the pope additionally taped a special video message celebrating it.
“Let us listen to what it wants to silently tell us, across death itself,” the pope says in the message. “The sole and ultimate word of God reaches us through the sacred shroud.”
And to millions and millions of sane people, that makes perfect sense?
The pope has recently requested that the remains of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, widely known in Italy simply as Padre Pio, be publicly exhibited in St. Peter’s Basilica next year. Six months after Francis became pope, the Vatican for the first time publicly displayed bone fragments said to belong to Saint Peter despite lingering doubts about their true origins.
What, we wonder, would ever make those doubts stop lingering and go away?
American Catholics anticipate a visit soon by the superstitious pope and a corpse.
Coinciding with the pope’s U.S. visit, the body of Saint Maria Goretti — an 11-year-old Italian girl stabbed to death in 1902 by a family friend — will also travel to the United States on a multi-city tour. In Nettuno, Italy, her sanctuary is filled with mementos of gratitude — wedding dresses, rosaries and statues — from those who claim to have been cured of ailments after praying to her.
But here too doubts are lingering:
Even among those who support the pope, his actions have raised red flags. Citing Francis’s affinity for popular devotion, the Catholic blogger and US-based author Taylor Marshall, for instance, wrote that he feared what “sophisticated non-Catholics” might make of the pope’s actions.
Such a person, Marshall wrote, “shakes his head and thinks to himself, ‘This Pope doesn’t get it. This isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is shanty town syncretism at best, or ignorant magic at worst’.”
And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about “ignorant magic”?
The Catholic Church is now officially, doctrinally, the Universal Church of Jesus Marxist.
Or the Universal Church of Jesus and Karl.
Which name will it choose? It needs to choose one or the other, or something along the same lines, to describe itself accurately.
It has a Pope who embraces International Communism. Which requires world government. Perhaps Pope Francis sees the Vatican as the Communist capital of the world – rather than the UN, as other world-government campaigners do.
Although as yet he and his fellow performance artists, costumed in their gorgeous gowns and priceless bling, do not allow any of these labels, they are nevertheless accurate.
This is from PowerLine by John Hinderaker:
Pope Francis has become a deeply problematic figure, all the more so after his encyclical on global warming was leaked to an Italian publication. The letter, some 129 pages long, is directed to Catholic bishops, but Francis grandly says that it is intended for every person in the world. The letter has not yet been translated into English in its entirety, but portions of it have been run through Google Translator. Even from these bits, some conclusions are obvious.
First, the Pope has no idea what he is talking about. His letter is full of factual errors. For example:
Scientific consensus exists indicating firmly that we are in the presence of a worrisome warming of the climate system.
This is false. There has been no net global warming for something like 18 years, according to satellite data, the most reliable that we have.
In recent decades, that the heating was accompanied by the constant rise in the sea level….
Sea level has been rising for approximately 12,000 years, first dramatically as the Earth warmed rapidly at the end of the last Ice Age, and much more slowly in recent millennia. Currently, the rate of rise of sea level is not increasing.
…and is also hard not to relate it to the increase in extreme weather events, regardless of the fact that we can not attribute a cause scientifically determined to each particular phenomenon.
Wrong again. Extreme weather events are not increasing. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact: there is no plausible empirical claim to the contrary. In fact, for what it is worth, the climate models that are the sole basis for warming hysteria predict fewer extreme weather events, not more, because the temperature differential between the equator and the poles will diminish.
It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanism, and the variations of the orbit of the Earth, the solar cycle), but numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other) issued mainly because of human activity.
Putting aside the fact that there hasn’t been any net warming during the last two decades, this is precisely the issue that is the subject of intense scientific debate–a debate that, it becomes increasingly clear, the realists are winning. For the Pope to wade into this controversy would be nearly inexplicable, absent some overriding motive.
That motive is, apparently, hostility toward free enterprise and the prosperity that it creates. Francis has manifested such hostility in previous statements, and it comes through again in his anti-global warming letter. Francis sounds like just another leftist: the solution to global warming is more state control to dictate how people live, and new international organizations to direct vast transfers of wealth and power.
The fact is that through human history, freedom has rarely been popular. That goes for the history of the papacy, too: John Paul II is the most notable exception in modern times. People offer various definitions of American exceptionalism. In my opinion, American exceptionalism resides chiefly in the fact that, for one brief shining moment, at least, a large majority of Americans really believed in freedom. I don’t think Pope Francis has much sympathy with that sentiment.
The Pope’s letter is full of concern for the poor, of course. But the poor would suffer most from any prohibition against efficient energy (i.e., fossil fuels). Francis’s suggestion that “rich” countries – that means us, how rich do you feel? – should subsidize the majority of the planet, apparently forever, is fatuous. … There is no prospect that leftist energy policies will help poor nations. The poor need, as much as anything, cheap energy, which frees resources for everything else. To deprive poor nations of cheap energy is to condemn them to long-lasting if not permanent poverty.
The Papal flag should be be changed to deepest red.
From A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, by Andrew D. White, 1896, pages 350-361:
Few errors have ever cost so much shedding of innocent blood over such a wide territory and during so many generations [as the theory of] evil agency in atmospheric phenomena … the belief that certain men, women, and children may secure infernal aid to produce whirlwinds, hail, frosts, floods and the like. …
In 1437, Pope Eugene IV, by virtue of the teaching power conferred on him by the Almighty, and under the divine guarantee against any possible error in the exercise of it, issued a bull exhorting the inquisitors of heresy and witchcraft to use greater diligence against the human agents of the Prince of Darkness, and especially against those who have the power to produce bad weather. … [And] on the 7th of December, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII sent forth his bull Summis Desiderantes. Of all documents ever issued from Rome, imperial or papal, this has doubtless, first and last, cost the greatest shredding of innocent blood. … Inspired by the scriptural commandment, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” Pope Innocent exhorted the clergy of Germany to leave no means untried to detect sorcerers, and especially those who by evil weather destroy vineyards, gardens, meadows, and growing crops. … [W]itch-finding inquisitors were authorized by the Pope to scour Europe, especially Germany, and a manual was prepared for their use – the Witch-Hammer, Malleus Meleficarum … revered for centuries, both in Catholic and Protestant countries …
With the application of torture to thousands of women, in accordance with the precept laid down in the Malleus, it was not difficult to extract masses of proof for this sacred theory of meteorology. The poor creatures, writhing on the rack, anxious only for death to relieve them of their sufferings, confessed to anything and everything that would satisfy the inquisitors and judges. All that was needed was that the inquisitors should ask leading questions and suggest satisfactory answers: the prisoners, to shorten the torture, were sooner or later to give the answer required, even though they knew this would send them to the stake or scaffold. …
Pathetic, indeed, are the records; and none more so than the confessions of these poor creatures, chiefly women and children, during hundreds of years, as to their manner of raising hailstorms and tempests. Such confessions, by tens of thousands, are still to be found in the judicial records of Germany, and indeed of all Europe. …
Throughout the later Middle Ages the Dominicans had been the main agents in extorting and promulgating these revelations, but in the centuries following the Reformation the Jesuits devoted themselves with even more keenness and vigour to the same task. … It was mooted among the orthodox authorities whether the damage done by storms should not be assessed upon the property of convicted witches. The theologians inclined decidedly to the affirmative; the jurists, on the whole, to the negative.
In spite of these tortures, lightning and tempests continued, and great men arose in the Church throughout Europe in every generation to point out new cruelties for this discovery of “weather-makers”, and new methods for bringing their machinations to naught. …
But here and there, as early as the sixteenth century, we begin to see thinkers endeavouring to modify or oppose these methods. … As to argument, these efforts were met especially by Jean Bodin in his famous book, Démonomanie des Sorciers, published in 1580. It was a work of great power by a man justly considered to be the leading thinker in France, and perhaps in Europe. All the learning of the time, divine and human, he marshaled in support of the prevailing theory. With inexorable logic he showed that both the veracity of sacred Scripture and the infallibility of a long line of pope and councils of the Church were pledged to it … In the last years of the sixteenth century the persecution for witchcraft and magic were therefore especially cruel …
Protestantism fell into the superstition as fully as Catholicism. … The Reformation had, indeed, deepened the superstition; the new Church being anxious to show itself equally orthodox and zealous with the old. …
Typical as to the attitude of both Scotch and English Protestants were the theory and practice of King James I, himself the author of a book on Demonology, and nothing if not a theologian. … [H]e applied his own knowledge to investigating the causes of the tempests which beset his bride on her voyage from Denmark. Skilful use of unlimited torture soon brought these causes to light. A Dr. Fian, while his legs were crushed in the “boots”, and wedges were driven under his finger nails, confessed that several hundred witches had gone to sea in a sieve from the port of Leith, and had raised storms and tempests to drive back the princess. …
With the coming in of the Puritans the persecution was even more largely, systematically, and cruelly developed. …
Torture was used far more freely [in Scotland] than in England, both in detecting witches and in punishing them. The natural argument developed in hundreds of pulpits was this: If the All-wise God punishes his creatures with tortures infinite in cruelty and duration, who should not his ministers, as far as they can, imitate him?
From the Daily Caller, March 17, 2014:
An assistant philosophy professor at Rochester Institute of Technology wants to send people who disagree with him about global warming to jail.
The professor is Lawrence Torcello. Last week, he published a 900-word-plus essay at an academic website called The Conversation.
His main complaint is his belief that certain nefarious, unidentified individuals have organized a “campaign funding misinformation”. Such a campaign, he argues, “ought to be considered criminally negligent”.
Torcello, who has a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, explains that there are times when criminal negligence and “science misinformation” must be linked. The threat of climate change, he says, is one of those times.
Throughout the piece, he refers to the bizarre political aftermath of an earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, which saw six scientists imprisoned for six years each because they failed to “clearly communicate risks to the public” about living in an earthquake zone.
“Consider cases in which science communication is intentionally undermined for political and financial gain,” the assistant professor urges.
“Imagine if in L’Aquila, scientists themselves had made every effort to communicate the risks of living in an earthquake zone,” Torcello argues, but evil “financiers” of a “denialist campaign funded and organized a campaign to discredit the consensus findings of seismology, and for that reason no preparations were made”.
“I submit that this is just what is happening with the current, well documented funding of global warming denialism,” Torcello asserts.
From the Washington Post, April 30, 2015:
[At the Vatican], the center of global Catholicism, church leaders joined with politicians, scientists and economists to draft a statement declaring not only that climate change is a “scientific reality” but also that there’s a moral and religious responsibility to do something about it. And an even more powerful statement is expected soon from Pope Francis himself, who is slated to release a major papal encyclical on the environment this summer.
All of this is enough to make environmentalists, members of a traditionally secular movement, nearly rhapsodic. After a history of being rather too technocratic and wonky, there seems to be a growing realization in green circles about the importance of an alliance with the world of faith.
This has been a long time coming. The effort to mobilize religious believers to worry about climate as part of a broader, biblically grounded “creation care” mandate has a long history (though it has traditionally focused more on evangelicals than Catholics). …
The reason … is that it makes the climate debate moral, not scientific or technocratic. And when issues are moralized, people feel before they think and refuse to compromise. It may not be what we strictly call “rational,” but it is politically powerful… The moral emotion that is probably most relevant to the environment is … what many of us would simply call compassion or empathy. Recent research suggests that this emotion drives people toward environmental causes. There seems to be a deep connection between caring about other humans and then extending that to nature.
Yup. We need to know history so we can repeat its mistakes.