The White Lily Blog

One Two Three What’re We Dyin’ For?

 The pictures from Baghdad are unbearably hard to view. Catholics on the steps of their altar, the blood pooled around them. Killed in the very act of worship. Killed ironically during the holy sacrifice of the Mass, in which the Body and Blood of Christ are offered once again to His Father for the salvation of the world. This time they, too, were sacrificed. The attack on 31 October comes after many months of increased violence against Catholics, generally perpetuated by Muslims, but also by Hindus.

 When one uses the term ‘increased’ one indicates that there was a preceding period in which there was less violence, and it is true that there preceded this period one in which Catholics and Muslims, and Catholics and Hindus, lived in a state of mutual tolerance occasionally punctuated by breaks in that norm. This escalation is recent. It is new, and it is well to ask ourselves why.

 The reason is Vatican II. Don’t sigh! Read on!

 At Vatican II, we abandoned the traditional teaching that the state and the Church had a mutual interest in agreeing upon a shared framework of values covering not only morals, but also economics. The Western world, torn by protestant heresy, had abandoned the model in sections long before Vatican II, but the Church had never explicitly renounced what had been Her goal since Henry VIII destroyed England with his lust and pride.  It was not an illusary goal, even in the 1960’s; there were still Catholic states living and thriving when Vatican II hit–the Church voluntarily dissolved them in favor of the secular model! The traditional goal in the sixteenth century had been the restoration of the Church as the official and only recognized church in England. Later, a certain section of the British priesthood, weary of martyrdoms and suckers for a good cigar, opted for a novel solution that would enable them to return to their comfortable lives; they wisely called it ‘freedom of religion,’ knowing what suckers we are for the term.  That has been a banner of liberal political and religious groups ever since. But the Church had held on, and not only had never adopted ‘freedom of religion,’ many popes wrote passionate encyclicals warning against it. At Vatican II it became almost by slight of hand the banner of the Catholic Church.  

Freedom of religion is not the same thing as tolerance, it’s important to note. The Western world tolerated other religions within its borders when the Catholic Church was officially the one Church with which the state fully cooperated in their single mission of making the best of living a full life and getting to heaven. There were periods, it is true, when under extreme deformation by political pressures, in certain sections of the world, tolerance was violated. But there is no historian who argues that the pax romana Christiana was illusionary. It was a rich, amiable, durable civilization. Freedom of religion on the other hand, means that no matter how crazy the spiritualist or cannibalist or terrorist “the faith” is, it’s allowed. That’s secularism. It is not sustainable, and we are caught in its death agony. Islam rightly rejects secularism and the chaos-causing, society-destroying, faith-killing idiocacy of “freedom of religion.”

In Pakistan, the Taliban has issued a fatwa against a Catholic cabinet minister, according to Catholiculture. The minister, Shabhaz Bhatti, is leading an effort to change the strict blasphemy law in place there. “My life mission is to protect religious freedom, minority rights, justice and equality,” Bhatti told the Fides news agency in the interview cited.  That mission derives from Vatican II, not from Catholicism. It carries a cultural message: we will make evil equal, just as it is in the West. We will make all religions equal–equally meaningless. That is what secularism does, according to, not the Taliban, but Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII. The Taliban agrees. What Muslims hear when they hear “religious freedom” is “religious riot” and eventually, in reaction, an atheistic society, as in the West,  and who are we, with our falling religious populations and our flailing doctrines, to disagree?  Let us observe the blasphemy law, not dismantle it so that Pakistani art exhibits can feature ants crawling over Mohammad as ours feature them crawling over Christ.  Let us enact a few of our own!  Bhatti is representing liberalism’s agenda, not the traditional Faith’s. But his Church pinned him to it with the changes that clicked into place in Vatican II.

Before Vatican II, Christianity  tolerated Islam.  And Islam tolerated Christians. Saddam Hussein tolerated Christians. Those Christians never called for ‘religious freedom’ there.  It is a bitter cliché that things were better for Catholics in Iraq before Bush’s war. (If it’s fair to call it a cliché now with the spilled blood in Baghdad still wet.  What shall we call it now?) 

Islam rejects freedom of religion. They also reject the notion of ‘free market’. Very many behaviors come under those two broad categories – family life and financial life, but we know more about the one.  We are all aware of the ‘horror’ of veiled women, but less of the financial practices that our war is waged to change. Lending money at interest is forbidden under sharia law,  only one policy that Western banks can’t wait to undo.  The war’s not just “about oil.” It’s about an entire market that heretofore has been closed to the West. The Western financial world calls the economics of Islam primitive,’ and primitive means there are just too many little capitalists selling their roles and spices and fabrics from too many little stores. By God, they need a Walmart or two. But that’s not Catholic economic policy–up until Vatican II, that is. Catholics also prefer (used to prefer) lots of little capitalists selling their locally made products from lots of little stores.

Referencing last year’s Gallup poll of 1 billion Muslims from around the world, hatred of the religious points of other faiths was not the perceived reason among Muslims for Islam’s war on the West. The Gallup poll designers managed to ask enough of the right kind of questions for us to be able to say that Islam is not rejecting Catholicism, it is rejecting secularism, but Catholics put themselves entirely in that camp with Vatican II. Islam’s contentions with Catholicism over theological points of the Faith, which are very important to us both, are not on the table, it is the tenets of secularism – democracy, liberalism, loosened morals, family planning, ruinous lending practices, concentration of ownership, oligarchy style and a hundred more indicators – with which Islam is at war. The Church itself influenced the state, in the heyday when the two cooperated, to forbid lending at interest in Europe. That was the standard economic practice during medievalism and it amounts to the Catholic economic preference, along with other policies loosely grouped under the heading of distributism. One thing for sure: traditional Catholicism never supported the free market philosophy that is driving our war now by both parties. It is simply a protestant philosophy. But Vatican II bewitched us. We’ve been had.

The best the Vatican has to offer now is the kind of advice the Holy Father recently offered to the leaders of the G 20 summit in Seoul: “Some countries should not be favored at the expense of others,” not very helpful, since absolute equality is infinitely harder to achieve than developing a list of solid indicators based on those abandoned Catholic economic principles (they were abandoned when secularism was embraced, because they do not work in a secularist state, because the valueless secularist state is as dangerous as a loaded gun, as every 20th-century pope taught until the hippie era) that would give us a basis for a wise discrimination in the allocation of whatever assets will be left after the shooting is over.

 But they are killing Catholics. They are killing Catholics at the foot of the altar. The Vatican is talking martyrdom, for the cause of ‘freedom of religion.’ And that would be accurate. But that is not our cause. Our cause is Christ, the Alpha and the Omega. Before Vatican II, we would  have died for that cause. Now we are expected to die for a consortium of gods in the name of religious freedom. And had Vatican II left the traditional teaching in place, which was the clear rejection of liberalism and specifically of freedom of religion, as it was charged to do, the Church could now persuasively plead with Islam for the lives of Her people, and vow Her stateless neutrality in the struggle between Islam and the West. The Vatican could have called for the tolerance it demonstrates toward Islam to be reciprocated.

 We closed our cause with secularism’s, at Vatican II, when the americanist term “religious freedom” replaced “religious tolerance.”  And thus those Catholics, those Iraqi Catholics  (lying there in their blood with their rosaries still clutched in their hands, looking like somebody’s nice uncles and aunties) died for the West’s cause. They died so that homosexuals can be ‘free’ in Iraq. They died so that women can be ‘free’ there to dress like the poor whores here at home.  Those Iraqi Catholics died for abortion rights. They died so that raw porn can greet the shopper at the door at the local magazine store, as it does here, right off the busy Metra stop in Evanston in the center of town. They died so that religious chaos can reign in Iraq as it does here. They died so that their children can as easily desert their faith and lose their immoral souls there as they do here at home– because an’ equal faith’ is a useless and disposable one, as the popes warned. They died so that banks can engage in predatory lending practices, and so that an incoherent political “democracy” can prevail, a democracy that is as great a mockery of democracy as calling what we have a “free market”  when compared to the true free market of broad small ownership. They died so that Planned Parenthood can come in and wreck Iraq like it’s wrecked South Korea, among others. It is secondary that these men and women and children are Catholic. They did not die because they are Catholic; they died because they represent ‘religious freedom’ to Islam  when they should represent if anything only the tolerance that worked far better than the absolute right that secularism makes of it.

Except their Church sold them out. And now will sell them out again, some elements among us using them to whip up more hatred,  possibly to support horrible actions. Their deaths may lead to the last cataclysm.

We must pray again that the policies of Vatican II are completely clarified and its evil spirit banished once and for all. We must pray again that the reasoned protests of so many good theologians prevails. We must pray for the Holy Father, that the good in him wins. We might pray also for a third political party that offers Catholics the traditional Faith’s moral and financial alternatives to secularism, including the restoration of small capitalism.  If we were working on that, rather than throwing ourselves into the soft dead arms of secularism, at least we’d be dying well. Now? Not so much.

6 Comments so far
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Can you provide a link on the Vatican stating the Iraqi Catholics killed by terrorists died for the cause of religious freedom? I have not seen that; it would be a very strange thing to say.

It’s an interesting viewpoint to posit, that the Vatican should barter with Islam, when for over 1000 years Catholics typically regarded Islam as an implacable enemy. I suppose the Latin Kingdoms of Crusader times did strike deals with the pagans Saracens. But if the desired goal is a return, in Western society, to government in line with Catholic Doctrine and a society very closely coupled with the Church (which I think is a laudable goal), is it advisable to withdraw the Church from this existential conflict and seek to engage with Islam on almost a pacifist basis? The West is, I believe, locked in a mortal struggle with Islam, for Islam has always taken advantage of decaying societies to advance. The health of Western society is also coupled with its adherence to Church doctrine. So how does the Church pulling back and engaging with Islam advance the cause of either? If Islam becomes more ascendent, does that help the Church? It’s almost using the Church as a further enabler of Islamic expansionism.

I agree with you that Dignitatus Humanae is a disastrously worded document, and that this notion of “the primacy of the individual conscience” is as invidious a concept as there has ever been promulgated by the Church. I agree with Msgr. Gherardini’s analysis of Vatican II very much, and I pray his concerns are seriously studied, and not just swept under a rug. But I do not feel that those muslim maniacs in Iraq attacked the Iraqi Catholics due to their being tied to some notion of religious indifferentism coming from Vatican II – that’s a huge stretch. The terrorists like to pick symbolic targets, but not that symbolic. They were attacked because they are infidels, they reject the idea that “There is one god, allah, and mohammad is his messenger.” They were attacked because of the sickness that is Wahhabi islam, a simplistic religion oriented towards simple minds, who view any other as an implacable enemy to be destroyed.

I think the illusory, destructive “spirit of Vatican II” has wreaked havoc on the Church. I think we are living in a time of mass apostasy, greater than all previous apostasies excepting perhaps Arianism. But I think it’s a stretch to blame islamic terrorism against Catholics on Vatican II.

Comment by tantamergo

Tantum ergo, I’ll have to look for the link (I should have put it when I had it)–it was one of the first press reports. I wrote the piece after reading it, it made me mad. I’ll put it later, and hope you checked the box to be updated. But of course they said it. They say it about the martyrs in Reformation England.

Look, I know I didn’t make my point well. I’ve been re-writing this piece ever since I posted it. But it’s like this: Islam abhores religious freedom. (Just the way we ought to.) In abandoning that position ourselves, at Vatican II, we put ourselves in the cross hairs, in line with secularism. We are there in their country, practicing our religion, in the name of absolute freedom to do so. They cannot allow that. It is completely inconsistent with what they are fighting for, and what we should be fighting for. If we stood for tolerance, they could quite easily permit it. And the Holy Father could request it. Instead, he, too is asking for what we declared at Vatican II, you know those quotes well enough I don’t have to put it. He cannot ask for tolerance, which Islam could grant. We gave it up. So I do not think it is a stretch at all to say these deaths show the serious nature of the distinction between those two principles and the results of our siding with secularism. By the way, I am reading Henri Fesquet’s The drama of Vatican II. He is a liberal writing on the council, from a ringside seat. He describes the tension in the room when the topic of religious freedom was first raised and the open mouthed shock that the term used was ‘religious freedom’ rather than ‘religious tolerance,’ and then the explosion of approval by the liberal majority. And I would like to reiterate–although their heresy has been the same since their beginning, did we not manage to live in peace with them? Have they not managed to live in peace with us? We could do so again, although, I think this is paradoxical, not under the banner of religious freedom, only of tolerance.

Whom do you think is our greater enemy right now, secularism or Islam? That’s a separate topic, but it’s what caused me to question more than that.

I have to go make supper. I will find that link.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

This is the Reuters article quoting from his sermon. I could find it on the Vatican website but they are harder to search at.

Reuters) – Pope Benedict called on Islamic countries in the Middle East on Sunday to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims and said peace in the region was the best remedy for a worrying exodus of Christians.

He made his a appeal at a solemn mass in St Peter’s Basilica ending a two week Vatican summit of bishops from the Middle East, whose final document criticized Israel and urged the Jewish state to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

In his sermon at the gathering’s ceremonial end, the pope said freedom of religion was “one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect.”

Tantum ergo, the comment below is related, could you please read it?

Thanks for your comment.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

The plain thesis of this post is this: peace for Catholics in the Middle East will only begin to be safe when the Church fixes what Vatican II messed up in endorsing the secular policy of ‘freedom of religion’ rather than the traditional, reasonable, sustainable Catholic position of ‘tolerance when possible.’ We are presently pinned to the secular West, with all its values, which Islam totally and rightly rejects, by our theological, formal concurrence with secularism on this issue.

And that was the choice facing Catholics as soon as the Reformation smashed the world. And it hurt patriotic English Catholics to the soles of their feet. But suddenly and irrevocably their interests were no longer those of the English state. Much as they tried to escape that fate. So very many opted for the ‘Appellate choice,’ peace with the English state, an end to the martyrdoms, peace at any price, even polite and oh so refined apostasy. The very concept of “religious freedom” came from this period and struggle.

We also struggle also to escape the same fate. The inescapable fact is, since the Reformation, we are a stateless people–but not by choice! And the Restoration could fix it. And only the Restoration can fix it. We are the irrevocable enemies of secularism. It hurts. We were born in bad times. Nevertheless, it is our way to heaven. Let’s give thanks for it.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

“Nevertheless, it is our way to heaven. Let’s give thanks for it.”

It may perhaps be better for the state of one’s soul to live in challenging times than to live in a time of comfort. Materially, we in the West are very comfortable, but spiritually we’re either dead (the vast majority), or feeling rather lost, or at least surrounded by hostility.

I don’t know, WL, I see the Pope’s call for religious freedom, which I’m sure he means to help Christians worship, but there is more of that muddle-headed aggiornamento (sp?) that has helped shape the culture. So, I’m in the middle of reading The Ratzinger Report. I had been feeling this way for a while, but reading this previous “book length interview” of then Cardinal Ratzinger, I can’t help but feel that he is a tragic figure. He, von Balthasar, Schillebeekx (whatever its spelled), Rahner, etc, were all driving forces for the “razing of the bastions” that had defended the Church for centuries. They……no, HE, thought he could control the forces that would be unleashed. I think he still thinks he can at least shape them, but it’s impossible. Once you tear down carefully constructed ramparts and let the protected population mingle, heck, party like crazy, with the pagans outside, that cultured society you had managed to construct is going to go away in a hurry. He just can’t see that. He sees the Council as a wonderful thing, and of course he would because not becoming Pope, but that, the “razing the bastions,” that is the accomplishment of what he is most proud. I have seen the arguments in favor of that razing, and I, with the benefit of 50 years hindsight, find them facile, almost juvenile – certainly the practical impact has been millions of souls lost and a Church….the Church.. gutted. And so even as he gives us Summorum Pontificum and rails against the collapse of liturgy, formation, everything, he cannot see the fact that the ultimate cause (in my opinion) was that very razing the bastions.

I’m probably not making any sense, but I think I see what you’re getting at, now, although I don’t think the Church is in a position to push back on Islam right now, because She is in such disarray. “Try not to get run over” might be the best position…..Benedict’s idea of trying to preserve a flower for the future, which the Lord will surely do, at the very least.

It’s going to take the dying of those generations that constructed Vatican II, and then those who were formed in that first burst of the mass apostasy, at a minimum, to begin to correct the situation.

Comment by tantamergo

Hi, Tantamergo. Your comment kept me up last night, thinking all about it, for example about the church not getting run over. I am very surprised I am not on anti-depressants. (But I have the Eucharist, after all.) One thing that is guaranteed to raise my blood pressure is when he rails against the collapse of liturgy and formation and EVERYTHING, as you point out, and then defends the same old same old same old apostasy that the Council was. I got a liberal commentator’s book on the Council–I hope I haven’t mentioned this already–that reveals a new dimension in the workings of the Council. The Drama of the Council. Look, you seem to have this down way better than me, but I think in my perception of what is happening internationally (I’ll just call it that) I might have stumbled on to a connection that no one else has made and that is true. For my own sake, let me try to say it bare bones: the Church changed the teaching on religious freedom/Church relation to the state at Vatican II. The previous position HAD been a simple adjective, always put thus, and put thus in the schemas they rejected: “the unfortunate separation of Church and state.” An American bishop was quoted, that to call the separation of Church and state ‘unfortunate’ was antiquated, that the Council ought to put the ‘fortunate separation of Church and state,’ as practiced with such great success in the US (I’d look up his name for you if you want it, I just read it last night). That’s the position the Church ultimately took at VII. What has that got to do with anything? Because it put us on a collision course with Islam. I am speaking politically. Theologically it’s a reversal of the teaching of the Church since the Reformation, that the Church and State separated when Henry VIII made his move, and that was a bad thing that needs to be undone. That’s the worst part, of course, the doctrinal apostasy. But in my thinking on it, politically, it put us on a collision course with Islam. I have been following as much as I can find on their take on what is happening, I mean why they are at war. I read the Gallop poll, worth it, and some particular web sites (can’t go to many! too dangerous! I mean from our own government!), and I think it’s very safe to say that one big element in Islam’s present assault on the West is the issue of religious freedom. They are not trying to push it on us, but they are very much about protecting their own societies from the insanity of secularism, which is making moves on them. Not necessarily military moves, but cultural moves via the UN, via ubiquitous satellite television, via the pressure that emmigration puts on the home country in terms of imported culture. They see the dangers of secularism, and their leadership, and even many ordinary people, want no separation of Church and state. They want a unified culture. (You know, Isreal itself just went back to it, causing big uproar.) So, in short, they are prepared to go to war over it. So our abandoning our independent Catholic position which also supported Church state unity put us on a collision course with them. It united us with the secular politics of the West. (It’s just as if the Church told Catholics after the Restoration, you may not help the Spanish overthrow this brutal government.) So your point is my point: we ought to restore simply the adjective, simply the adjective “unfortunate” before the noun phrase “separation of Church and state” because in practice we haven’t much we can do to actually restore a unity of Church and state, to help us try not to get run over in the great war between secularism and Islam. And yet the restoration of that adjective would enable the Holy Father to say with all –no, let me put it another way–with no contradiction: we also do not support what they are trying to force on you. Then he might be able to plead for the Catholics in their territories, like Catholics in nazi countries were actually pleaded for, as hostages.

Does that make sense to you?

You know, a big billboard for Vatican II’s church/state policy is slowly coming into focus in China. You do know he called for the dissolution of the Underground Church there, only like six months ago (that’s VII talking) and now he’s wringing his hands, they’ve consecrated another bishop against the rules he thought they agreed to (that’s common sense talking). He just has no idea of the murderous capability of secularism. (I mean to always follow a statement like that by saying, and I’ll fast and pray for him today.)

I don’t think the Ratzinger Report is focused enough for you on the issues on the table: secularism, colligiality, religious freedom, ecumenism.

Comment by thewhitelilyblog

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