In any conflict reasoned discourse is the best route forward but when one side takes up arms your side needs to do so as well. Why is it OK for for there to be a muslim brotherhood but not a Christian brotherhood? Why is it ok for there to be a jewish defense league but not a catholic defense league? Why is it ok for there to be “democratic karen Buddhist Army” in southeast Asia (heirs to the fanatical Budhhist monks who inflicted horrific violence against the Catholic regime in the early 60s in Viet Nam) but not a catholic army in the USA? Why is Hindu militancy OK but catholic militancy not ok?
I have looked around for militant catholic organizations or brotherhoods but there are none. The Knights of Columbus are too busy conducting pancake breakfasts. The “This man is YOU” trainings that has captured the attention of catholic male laity is too busy trying to be holy to notice that the church is sinking and is under attack. The ancient military orders of the catholic church have all become mere charities -some of them assisting the very enemies out to destroy the church. The so-called “Church Militant” media group in the midewest USA at least has the honor of being labeled a hate group by the totalitarians at Southern Poverty law Center but they are merely an informational and agitprop group-not a disciplined brotherhood organizing active and militant resistance.
its no use looking to the bishops for guidance on militancy. The old Irish bishops that once ruled whole cities with an iron dictatorial hand in the USA have all died away and their congregations with them. The present crop of bishops with one or two exceptions (perhaps Chaput) are all effeminate servile sops.
Can we look to the popes? In some ages we cannot. Recall the period of the Avignon captivity which ended with three popes all excommunicating one another? At that point the laity could not look to the popes for guidance so the military orders organized themselves and protected Europe against the muslim turks without papal help during that period. The monarchs were too concerned with battling one another to worry about christendom itself. Indeed some of them actively connived with the ottoman turks in hopes of gaining advantage in their internecine struggles.
The church is always in crisis and christendom is always divided. In past ages we have always had local organized militant brotherhoods that protected the inheritance. Today I can find no such brotherhoods.
We all know by now that groups of the alt right along with leftist neo-Nazis and assorted white identitarian groups attempted to march in Charlottesville to support retaining statues honoring soldiers of the confederacy. They were met with fanatical “anti-fa” marchers who were protesting and challenging the right of the marchers to be there at all. The leftist anti-fa position is that the alt right marchers are “hate groups” and therefore should have no right at all to march or express their opinions. “Hate speech” should result in jail time for these people. tragically, these anti-fa protesters began to bash in the windows of a car whose driver apparently panicked and rammed into some marchers–several of whom were seriously injured and one of whom died. the press claimed that this was deliberate killing and called it domestic terrorism.
But the fundamental premise of the anti-fa marchers is totalitarian. Once you start to claim that some speech should be banned you go down the slippery slope of totalitarian thought police. Who defines what is hate speech? You? The mob? The government? A group of “experts”?
free speech is fundamental to free men and a free polity. Without it we are no better than slaves.
The courageous priest at my local parish who I mentioned in a previous post a few months ago has done it again! Despite opposition from the parish vicar he has put on a Latin mass for the feast of the assumption. It was not the tridentine mass but the novus ordo but as Pope Benedict has said the two forms are one rite and both are valid. In addition to the beautiful latin a schola contorum sung and chant. As he always does this courageous priest said the mass ad orientam. All in all a blessed experience! I thank God that I landed at a parish with a real priest.
The main dangers to the church today are a resurgent Islam and the modernist heresy taking over the church from within. How to deal with these dangers? This year is the hundredth anniversary of the appearance of the blessed Virgin Mary to the three children in Fatima Portugal. The official position of the Catholic Church is that that Fatima apparition was worthy of belief–that it was real. Therefore we have to take the apparition seriously. The children claimed that the Blessed Virgin wanted us all to pray the rosary daily…but whom among us do so? In addition, Mary asked (through the children) for the church, in the person of the Pope and the Bishops, to consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart. That was done I believe by John Paul II and confirmed by the last surviving Fatima child. Shortly thereafter communist Russia was transformed into a renewed Russia that is now a haven for orthodox Christians of all kinds–though it remains to be seen the extent to which Russia starts appeasing its muslim populations. The third secret or request was more vague and concerned a vision of the Pope and bishops and other servants of God being martyred.
Bishop Fulton Sheen suggested in his 1952 “The world’s first love: Mary, Mother of God” that Islam was likely to rise again and threaten the West and Christendom. His prophecy has come true. Sheen suggested that muslims could be converted to Christianity via their love and veneration of Mary. They defend her immaculate conception, her virginity, and her closeness to God. She is according to the Koran the greatest woman in heaven. Sheen asks why did Mary appear to three children in a town called Fatima? Fatima was the daughter of Mohammed. Muslims believe she is the greatest woman in heaven–after Mary.
The third Fatima secret is often thought to refer to the destruction of the church from within via the modernist heresy but it is equally likely to refer to the martyrdom of Catholics by muslim terrorists and jihadists. The thirs secret is about a resurgent Islam that needs to be militarily opposed while simultaneously converting as many as possible via their love of Mary.
The Popes against Islam
Up until 30 years ago, the Popes have been the most consistent, most implacable and most effective enemies of Islam in history. The ancient Zoroastrian Persian emperors who had ruled most of the world until the advent of Islam folded under the onslaught of Islamic armies. The Byzantine emperors fought valiantly but failed. The Emperors of the western Holy Roman Empire, particularly the Hapsburg emperors, were consistently anti-Islam and led several successful struggles against Islamic armies—but they too were too often distracted with rivalries with other European powers to play a central role in the defeat of Islamic aggression against Europe. The Mongols battered Islam but they were weak ideologically and spiritually and so were ultimately either converted to Islam and just faded away into the mists of history. The Confucian Emperors of China were consistently anti-Islam but they were less threatened by Islamic armies than the rest of the world so they never had to confront Islam ideologically as did the rest of the world. The Hindu and Buddhist emperors in India have for centuries fought Islam but were too divided to prevent conquest and forced conversions of population in the North of India.
The only enemies Islam has never defeated are the Popes…at least until now.
Papal enmity against Islam began with the birth of Islam. They right at the beginning branded Islam a heresy and that has been the church’s position ever since. Gregory III (731-741) convinced Charles Martel to fight against invading Muslims at Tours (732). Without that victory Islam may have conquered France. Leo IV (847-855) himself fought at the battle of Ostia, saving Italy from Islam. Alexander II (1061-1073) funded the beginning of the reconquest of Spain. Urban II called for the crusade for the Holy Land at Clermont in 1095. Two hundred years of crusades would follow with many conquests by the West in the Holy Land but ultimate defeat due to internal divisions among European powers. There followed, from the 1300s to the 1800s, 500 years of repeated assaults of Islamic armies against Christendom. The climax of Islamic destruction of Christianity came with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The Popes had worked feverishly to awaken Europe to come to the defense of the Byzantines –all to no avail. Nevertheless, the Popes began again to chalk up victories against Islam. Pius V (1566-1577) organized the resistance at the great naval battle of Lepanto and Innocent XI both funded and organized resistance at the great siege of Vienna (1683) and Innocent XIII did the same for the battle of Malta (1726-24). These 3 battles, Lepanto, Vienna and Malta literally saved Europe from becoming Muslim as the Ottomans finally began to decline militarily and ideologically.
The post Vatican II Popes have attempted to emphasize the good things about Islam (they venerate Mary for example) and to cultivate cordial relations with Islam. I think this is a terrible mistake. We all need to awaken to the mortal threat to Christianity that is Islam
The latest savagery by muslim fanatics beggers belief. The deliberate murder with nail bombs of kids at a concert and then a few days later taking a knife and walking up to a random girl on London bridge and stabbing her 15 times. But that was not enough blood; then the animals went and did the same to several others. When will Europe wake up?
The West fell in the 1960s. This is both good and bad. To the extent that the Church is the West and the West is the Church the fall of the 1960s has meant that the church has been in crisis since then. Westerners, as a consequence, have been lost spiritually since then. On the other hand the Church never was only Europe and the West. Europe and the West kept the Church alive during the first 1500 years of the faith and then helped to spread the faith throughout the world. In the beginning the faith was strong in the near east-even outside of the Roman Empire. But Islam virtually, but not entirely, wiped out the eastern Church. After the schism between the orthodox and Roman rites Christianity flowered in the West and then spread globally with the rise of the West. that rise was due mainly to science and technology. The West developed science and technology and the rest of the world did not. In any case, between 1500 and 1800 westerners spread the faith to the new world and parts of Asia and Africa. thus, the church was no longer identified only with Europe. Islam was in decline, the Asian religions like Buddhism and Hinduism were stagnant like the cultures they inhabited and everywhere Europe and Christianity were in the ascendant. But then the 20th century dawned and with it the great European-centered World wars that lasted for some 50 years and tore Europe apart. The great bloodletting, and the resultant annihilation in the space of a minute of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the domination now of Russia and the eastern European countries by totalitarian and atheistic communism and finally the horrors of the holocaust led the best Europeans to stop and think about what went wrong!
Part of that great reflection on what went wrong was Vatican II which was convened after the period of the World wars. The children of the parents who fought in the world wars defined themselves in opposition to everything that they believed created the world wars. You cannot go through a conflagration that violently slaughtered some 50 million people without some period of penance and conversion. The 1960s was a period of violent repudiation of what went before and that was its healthy element. But it threw the baby out with the bathwater. it failed to do its homework on what exactly went wrong.
The 1960s was an attempt to identify what went wrong but it was a failed attempt. Vatican II did not attempt to identify what went wrong but it divined the need of the faithful to attempt to open up to a world in need and pain and disorientation. That was the positive element in Vatican II. It was a pastoral council seeking to engage the world now prostrated by the world wars.
But who was trying to understand what went wrong? Some religious philosophers and theologians tried. The Jewish philosophers tended toward the view that God had absented himself from humanity. The protestant theologians did the same. Orthodox theologians fell silent under the heel of the Soviets and Roman Catholic theologians through up a wild range of theories–none of them at all convincing as most of them settled on the evil is a mystery meme.
Secular philosophers and scholars also tried to figure out what went wrong and each of them identified one piece of the elephant…imperial competition for markets; growth of science and technology, population and demographic trends, ethnic tensions and so forth.
The fact that the world wars began and centered in Europe suggests that the rise of science and technology had something to do with it. My own feeling is that science and technology has made huge population increases possible. the world went from several hundred million in 1800 to 6 billion just two centuries later. These huge rises in population numbers place wild demands on fallible, scared, opportunistic political actors and governments who then make stupid decisions and pull the world into irrational wars.
Science is the great disruptor and the Church still refuses to come to terms with it.
Although I do not think America is a democracy (where democracy = rule by the people), I think most American’s believe it is a flawed democracy. Most Americans furthermore very likely believe that democracy is the best possible political system. To the extent to which democracy unleashes the prodigious, manic, ever-changing, restless, searching, questing, striving, dynamic energies of ordinary people then I can endorse democracy. But I think the evidence will show that these energies of the people unleashed by democracy pale by comparison to those unleashed by the classical monarchies (not the absolutist monarchies that came into play after the protestant reformation and the rise of the state). In general, ordinary people fare better under monarchies than under republics or democracies.
The United States’ founding documents, the constitution, declaration of independence, the federalist papers and the bill of rights etc rightfully sought to produce a series of checks against popular mob rule and were influenced primarily by the English legal and political systems. Thus the founding documents and mores of the USA are steeped in Anglican and Puritan-Calvinist background assumptions. How then can a Catholic endorse this kind of legacy?
The USA and America more broadly was created by far more than the English colonists on the east coast. Spanish colonists and Catholic missionaries explored and colonized vast tracks of lands in the south and southwest of what is now the USA. That Spanish colonial history is filled with thinkers and men of action every bit as wise as the men who are traditionally considered the founding fathers of the USA. For example, the Dominican friar, administrator and colonizer de las Casas (died 1566) created much of the institutional, philosophical and theologic bases for considering natives of the americas as full human beings who should be converted to catholicism and not slaughtered. Fr Junipeiro Serra (died 1784) is considered the founding father of California and most of the southwest states. He not only missionized all of these states and their natives, he also set up their institutional structures that set them on a posperous path for the next centuries.
French Catholic missionaries (including many Jesuits) explored and settled Canada and the mississippi river basin right down to New Orleans. The great Catholic man of action Champlain established many of the cultural and political institutions for this vast region and of course for French Canada. There were many other great Catholic founders, organizers and intellectuals that contributed to the rise of the USA-none of whom are studied in the history books.
If we studied history correctly the USA would be considered a country founded by Catholics and Protestants -not just Protestants.
The great German writer Martin Mosebach wrote an essay on the tridentine rite a couple of years ago and that essay is now reprinted in First Things. See https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/04/return-to-form
Mosebach points out that the second Vatican Council did NOT proscribe the old tridentine rite but instead instructed and prescribed continued use of Latin and never assumed that ad orientam worship would change. Still less did the council fathers envision a new “iconoclasm of the altars” that took place after Paul VI endorsed use of a new missal. The smashing of the altars and the destruction of traditional catholic imagery and statuary in numberless churches across the world was every bit as destructive as the protestant smashing of the altars that took place centuries earlier in the wake of the furies of the protestant revolution. The fact that these iconoclastic outrages were occurring from within the church itself must have made non-Catholic onlookers believe that the protestant revolution had been right after all. Perhaps the Bishops that promoted this iconoclastic spasm were thinking that this second protestant revolution would convince our protestant brothers and sisters that catholics were serious about dialogue with them and then protestants would flock back to the one true church and we would be united again!
But alas; the envisioned rapproachement between catholics and protestants has not happened. Instead the numerous protestant sects have continued their inevitable dissolution into Unitarianism and the catholic church has slowly begun to follow the same, disastrous “liberalizing” path as the protestants. That path we all now know leads to heresy…a kind of no-offense-to-anyone doctrine that ends in Unitarian pablum where Jesus is depicted as a milquetoast and perhaps interesting ancient rabble rouser and moral leader but certainly not a divine being who demands obedience.
Mosebach argues that an organizational change in the catholic church abetted the protestantizing of church since 1968: namely the organization of the Bishops into national Bishop conferences which directly contradicts ancient canon law on Bishops rules and procedures. Nationalism inevitably begins to rule the conferences rather than the universal church.
In any case I highly recommend Mosebach’s book and this essay.
Perhaps the defining, most pressing issue for the Catholic Church in the first half of this century will be, or IS how to think of, and respond to Islam. The Jewish response to Islam has largely been defensive, or outright war. Buddhist responses to Islam have been ad hoc depending on local traditions but they have not been non-violent. Buddhist monks regularly attack and burn down Islamic mosques in SouthAsian countries. Same with the Hindu reactions to Moslem attempts to eradicate their religious practices. Most religious people will violently resist their oppressors if the oppressors attempt to annihilate those religious practices as Islam regularly does where it gains the political upper hand.
Islam’s attacks on Christendom since Islam’s birth roughly 1500 years ago tell us everything we need to know about Islam’s intentions toward Christianity; its aim has always and always will be to annihilate Christianity. There is no use denying this fundamental fact or wishing it were otherwise. Its in the DNA of Islam to be at war with other religious traditions and this is as it should be. Unlike its effeminate counterparts in the mainline Christian traditions, Islam’s leaders, whether Sunni or Shia, actually believe they have the truth, the definitive revelation from God and that therefore other religions are false and falsehoods have no rights. Therefore Islam’s leaders are doing what their doctrines require them to do: give the rest of the world a choice: convert or die. Most of the time Islam promotes the death of other religions simply by restricting these religions freedom to operate and curtailing their ability to grow (see Zorastrianism as a case in point). The point here is that Christianity is doomed if Islam gains the political upper hand in any given country. It may take centuries but it will die out.
So how should the Christian church respond to Islam? Except for the brief interlude of the crusades, Christianity has always taken a defensive posture vis a vis Islam. that defensive posture is no longer possible. We have to seize the initiative and confront Islam. Our political and military leaders oscillate back and forth between military confrontation and denial when it comes to Islam. I recommend a steady, clear-headed compassionate response to the adherents of Islam: conversion to the true faith Catholicism. We need to evangelize them. It would be leaving people subjugated by Islam in the hands of a heresy were we to just ignore Islam or merely militarily confront it.
The neoliberal global elite thought they could convert the adherents of Islam to “democracy” and modernity but that project has failed. The great mission of the Church in the 21ist century is the conversion not of the modern barbarians (the left liberals who are self-destructing and dying out because they hate marriage and children) but the conversion of Islam.