Filed under: Culture and Catholicism, Muslim feminism, Vatican II | Tags: abortion, Catholic, Catholic values, ecumenism, feminism, Islam, koran, middle east, middle eastern synod of bishops, Muslim, religious freedom, secularism, SSPX, Vatican II
Although Benedict might have trouble spouting the old ‘springtime of Vatican II’ fable in the West now, without stirring further theological skepticism, he and his bishops are continuing to promote full-bore Vatican II religious modernism in, of all places, the Middle East, where the war between secularism and Islam is fierce. The results are not surprising. Muslims don’t like it, and, unlike Archbishop Lefebvre, they shoot back.
US author and expert on the Islamic world Stephen Schwartz has written that secularism (and its theological counterpart, “religious liberty”) fuels the most radical elements in islam by spreading “confusion” among Chistians, creating an opportunity for radicals to agitate for the practice of sharia law. Opposing the liberalization of divorce laws in formerly Catholic Malta, Schwartz, himself a so-called moderate muslim, stresses in an EWTN interview that radicals target secularized countries with islamic minorities, fully aware of secularism’s weakness against them.
Nevertheless, Rome continues to push the old script. Last October 10, Benedict XVI opened a special assembly in Rome with 177 bishops and about 70 priests, called “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.”
Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church summed up the liberal agenda for of the October meeting for Muslims present at a December follow-up at the 1st International Congress of the ‘Christian-Muslim Brotherhood,’ held in Damascus, Syria, thus:
“The following themes were the special subject of the Synod: living together, life together, citizenship, modernity, faithful laity, human rights, including those of women, religious freedom of worship and conscience, the construction of churches and places of worship, especially in Saudi Arabia, respect for others and their beliefs, plurality, diversity, rejection of fanaticism, violence, negative fundamentalism, extremism, terrorism, exploitation of others, especially weaker folk and minorities…”
The laundry list sorts into fewer categories, principally modernity and its opposite, fundamentalism or fanaticism. This is what the Synod said of modernity:
” ‘Modernity’ to most Muslim believers is perceived to be atheistic and immoral and a cultural invasion, threatening them and upsetting their value-system. Many do not know how to react to this phenomenon, while some fight against it with every fibre [sic] of their being. ‘Modernity’ has the power of attracting and repelling at one and the same time. [Only if your conscience is warped!] The Church’s role in schools and the media is to form persons who can distinguish the good from the bad in this area, in order to retain only what is the good.” (104).
So, it’s simple ignorance on the part of Muslims, that they protest when they see the ‘phenomenon’ of modernism coming down the street in the parade–they just don’t know how to react to it. Let’s teach them.
What must Muslims living side by side with middle eastern Catholics make of this statement, “The Church’s role in schools and the media is to form persons who can distinguish the good from the bad in this area, in order to retain only what is the good” when they can see with their own eyes the church’s ‘expertise’ in this area? If we were right in this approach, would not our Church be growing? But no. The church in the Middle East has no vocations, for example, and they admit it in the working document, like this:
“Despite these initiatives [to foster vocations], various factors have contributed to a vocation crisis: families emigrating; a declining birth rate; and a youth culture which is increasingly becoming devoid of Gospel values.” (Synod working document, op cit, p 14, # 22)
With that statement, the Church admits what any Muslim can witness daily: Catholics pushing ‘good’ modernism are unable to ‘form’ their own Catholic women from practicing birth control and abortion, and their numbers are being seriously affected. Modernist Catholicism cannot teach its own people to ‘distinguish the good from the bad’ in spite of the Church’s former consistent traditional teaching on this issue, and Catholic women abort as often as any other populations, and often more. Modernist bishops are unable to teach their youth to ‘distinguish the good from the bad’ in popular culture, they cannot convince them to become priests, brothers, and nuns, even where unemployment is high, they admit in the document their youth are losing the sense of the Gospel, but they can teach Muslims how to do it right. It is simply as if the bishops said, Hey, we’re losing our kids, why don’t you lose yours too?
Here’s what else Muslims hear: And if you don’t volunteer to let us teach you these ‘new Catholic truths,’ well, the US military is right behind us.
The lure of secular society is unspeakably strong, Church leaders would be the first to admit. Yet they insist that Muslims may not do the more intelligent thing and, using democracy and not violence, make practices contrary to Islam (and contrary as well to Catholic teaching) illegal in their own state, that is, where they are in the clear majority and exercise their democratic rights to select such a state. Here is what the bishops wrote at the Synod regarding the Islamicist religious state, and it should be noted at the outset that this has become the teaching of the Catholic Church only since the disputed Vatican II:
“Catholics, together with other Christian citizens and Muslim thinkers and reformers, ought to be able to support initiatives at examining thoroughly the concept of the “positive laicity” of the State. This could help eliminate the theocratic character of government and allow for greater Equality among citizens of different religions, thereby fostering the promotion of a sound democracy, positively secular in nature, which fully acknowledges the role of religion, also in public life, while completely respecting the distinction between the religious and civic orders.” (p. 15, item 25, op cit)
Here the bishops have rallied Catholics in the middle east to the public action of supporting concrete initiatives supporting secularism that the bishops know full well Muslims will “fight against” with “every fiber of their being.” The bishops prescribe the systematic and conscious elimination of the possibility of the government that has a theocratic character, just as Catholics did at Vatican II. This is to pit Catholics in the region against Muslims without ever demonstrating the truth of the assertion that Muslims have no right to a theocracy where they form the majority of citizens under the very rules of democracy that the West says it practices, and rarely does, and the church says it supports. The Church ignores the obvious contradiction, and the other in the comment that somehow a state that declares all religions equal will somehow ‘acknowledge the role of religion, even in public life.’ Where is that happening in any meaningful way in the secular world?
The Church also exhorts Muslims living in the West to stop rocking the boat, because they are making traffic jams and upsetting commerce. Father Samir Khali Samir, the Vatican’s mouthpiece to Islam, recently addressed the European problem of Muslims blocking streets surrounding mosques at Friday noon to pray together. They are aware that they are causing traffic problems and asked for the loan of Christian churches in the area. Here is Samir’s response: No, Islam must change its prayer requirement to fit in with secularism, like Catholics did. “The Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church authorized the anticipation of Sunday Mass to Saturday evening, contrary to the whole Tradition [he admits it!], to allow as many faithful as possible to participate in the Eucharist” and Islam should do the same. He continues: “I think the Muslim community must make a serious attempt to accept that the religious phenomenon remains, as far as possible, a private affair. The more Islam moves in this direction, the less opposition it will find. This does not mean being less Muslim, far from it, it means being Muslim in a different, more inner, way.” And that subjugation not under a just Catholic state, which Muslims could bear, but under a secular state, which they cannot.
That Muslims would prefer to live under a Catholic confessional state was passionately communicated on February 15, 2012, in an address by the Muslim Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a member of the current Conservative government led by David Cameron and head of the British delegation visiting the Vatican this week. In an address given to future Vatican diplomats at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, the Baroness said the entire continent was under threat from a “deeply intolerant militant secularisation,” and said that the danger lay in people diluting their faith and denying their religious heritages. She remarked that she sends her own daughter to a strict Anglican school because it is more consistent with her Muslim identify than a non-religious school. Vatican Insider, reporting her words, called her advice ‘original’ but they haven’t been listening. On all sides are voices calling for the Church to wake up from her long sleep. The Baroness may not know we actually relinquished our claim to a religious state even where Catholics form the majority of the population. That is what SSPX is fighting against, in the demand that Rome re-eximine Vatican II.
So, under the banner of the Council, we continue to push religious liberty, and secularism, on Muslims. They must think us daft, seeing how it has worked for us! Our churches were not empty Sunday mornings, and now they are, and Saturdays too. Our society had a model of reserving Sunday mornings for worship, now there is no observation of any kind, and workers are forced to work all seven days a week, and statistics show they do. Kids little league games are scheduled Sunday mornings, always. We lost our concept of a sacred day, and Muslims must lose it, too. Father Samir’s solution is purely liberal, that faith must always yield to secularism’s uninterrupted traffic flow, and yet this approach has emptied our churches as Catholics practice their ‘inner’ Catholicism. Islam is watching and listening, Islam sees the reality. If only Samir would challenge us to fill our churches with Catholics! But no, although he does alude to some kind of flowering of the Council ‘in the future.’ (Yeah, yeah, yeah, right.)
Some are caving in to this seduction. It really sharpens the debate. Liberalism is strengthening in Islam and using the Catholic church to do it. Islamic liberals are conscious of the liberal ascendency in the Catholic Church, are communicating with it, and are using it as a tool in their struggle against their own traditionalists, the ‘Islamicists.’ In January, influential liberal Muslim theologians released a document calling for Islam to move “toward modernity,” the same loaded term used by liberal Catholics, and the synod of middle eastern bishops, to avoid the term liberalism, already energetically condemned by the Church. The document called for twenty one points of modernization that might have come straight from the Vatican II playbook. Proposed was a truncated women’s lib platform, including more fraternization among the sexes, the elimination of those inconvenient prohibitions regarding charging interest, the rather strange demand that non-Muslims ought to be able to be at the very head of Muslim countries, and of course, always the center of it all, the disavowal of the religious state. This salvo directed toward Rome was cheered on by liberal Catholic AsiaNews, who noted and dismissed the fact that, of the comments blogged after the publication of the document online, eighty eight percent of respondents disagreed with the modernization document’s recommendations: ” This means that the path of renewal will be long and require much time and effort,” wrote (Father) Samir Khali Samir. (And bloody. And expensive. Largely American blood, largely American taxpayer money.)
The alignment of objectives between liberal Muslims and liberal Catholics only re-focuses traditional Islam’s fury on those Catholic communities in their midst which have, prior to Christianity’s capitulation to secularism, lived for centuries in peace, and generally, in spite of colonial residue, giving western faiths a heavier influence than their sheer numbers warranted, under the cultural and political dominance of Muslims whose faith is more or less unofficially represented in their respective governments, just as a pale Christianity was visible in the US constitution. Now Muslims want unambiguous religious states and are rejecting the quasi-democratic governments inherited from the break-up of the explicit colonial empires.
That muslims want religious states is not unknown to us, if we look. The Gallup Poll, Who Speaks for Islam, what a Billion Muslims Really Think from 2008, in which a billion Muslims in all countries were sampled, summarise their findings this way: the majority of those surveyed want religious leaders to have no direct role in crafting a constitution, yet favor religious law as a source of legislation.
And how do the liberal bishops answer them? With the received answer from Vatican II, as cited above: you have no right to this, you must learn to value a secular, pluralistic society like we do. Furthermore, we as Catholics will work against you politically in united action. Item 25, p 10, op cit, but it bears repeating:
“Catholics, together with other Christian citizens and Muslim thinkers and reformers, ought to be able to support initiatives at examining thoroughly the concept of the “positive laicity” of the State. This could help eliminate the theocratic character of government and allow for greater equality among citizens of different religions, thereby fostering the promotion of a sound democracy, positively secular in nature, which fully acknowledges the role of religion, also in public life, while completely respecting the distinction between the religious and civic orders.”
The western reader knows from experience that a state that is secular in nature will never acknowledge the role of religion in the life of the state, because it must preserve equality among all the religions is allows to operate ‘in the open,’ which is the meaning of “public life.” There is no ‘positive secularism’ anywhere in the world. The reader knows the court cases that one by one have taken down the crucifixes from the walls of our civic buildings. They know the most recent case in which a grandparently Christian couple were denied the role of foster caregivers by a fully-grown secular state, explicitly because they were Christians and thus inexorably poised against homosexuality. The number of ways Christians are marginalized in their secular cultures grows every day.
As a related aside: one must beware of the use of the Church as an accessory legitimizing secularism, as in the most recent ruling in northern Italy permitting the crucifix to remain on classroom walls . Rome expressed great ‘satisfaction’ at the decision, as the Vatican Information Services (March 19-21 digest) because the decision recognizes Christianity’s cultural, historic contribution to Europe,’ which is not a bit different than the old priest at the lovely (and empty) little mission church in Mascota, Mexico, telling the elder ladies they’d better be seen praying the rosary Saturday afternoons, because ‘the tourists expect it.’ It makes no difference–it is worse, in fact, a mutated fascism–that a cross is on the wall of a classroom where secular values are being taught. We know what those values are, self indulgent sexuality, professional, life-long agnosticism, indifference, and castration of religious fervor–spiritual death. How does it matter that the thug who mugs you is wearing a cross? That the Holy Father expresses his satisfation with such emptiness is heart-breaking.
Much more persuasive is the force of secularism, whatever icon is permitted in the decorating. The reader knows equally well also what happens to the public perception of the truth of any particular religion as a result of the forced equality in a secular state. If they are’ all equal,’ they are all equally unimportant, is how our children like to put it, just before moving in with the samesex boyfriend, or into concubinage, unencumbered by a single civic protest, thanks to our wonderful free society. (Next stop, hell.)
But here we have all trotted out again, in the liberal synod of bishops of the middle east, the same Vatican II language and solutions to modern problems which have not worked at all in the West. We have no peace, in the West. In the West, we never rest from our weary efforts at ‘forming consciences.’ And now, thanks to the fruits of an uncontrollable laicity, we have no economy either, having aborted all our future buyers and producers, over fifty million in the US alone. But let’s offer it anyway, that being the party line since–and only since–Vatican II.
And if the western reader knows this, have much more do Muslims know it? Because it is being offered to them on a bayonet, which does tend to bring out the sharpness of the focus on a subject.
A better solution? Just as the Church called back the traditional mass from oblivion, let us also call back the approval in principle of the religious state, with a new motu proprio that spells out the essentials regarding the True Faith’s primary right to the religious state, but acknowledges other religions’ legitimate desire for the order and security afforded by this civic form.. As with the traditional mass, let the religious state be a legitimate option in the eyes of the Church where the majority of the population wishes it. It was not only a legitimate option before the Council, it was the only option of choice for Catholics, if they had a choice in the matter. Hold as a requirement Islam’s own promises regarding tolerance of other faiths (here is a link that summarizes these explicit promises, which the synod acknowledges throughout the working document are already honored in most places in the middle east under the various ‘shades’ of ‘theocracy’ presently existing; basically one may worship but not evangelize, and a link below shows functioning, not fantasy, workarounds of evangelization at least as robust as those found in Western society in our ‘free societies.’).
In practice, this means the Church should stop criticizing ‘fundamentalism’ among Muslims, should stop calling for ‘religious freedom,’ should if pressed explain that they expect the religious state to be an option for Christianity wherever it may be attained. This is not to say that the Church should stop criticizing terrorism. The Church should begin to support Muslims’ struggle against practical secularism wherever these coincide with Catholicism’s, which are many: anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-pornography, generally pro-marriage although Islam tolerates divorce so that we would have to educate them by the fidelity of our marriages, an apt way to form consciences, if we really want to. In Pakistan one of the groups in the loose coalition that form the public opinion base (enabling the kind of assassinations suffered recently by the Catholic minister of government) the Catholic church in the area is not a supporter of the anti-pornography campaign being pressed forward by ‘fundamental’ Islam, and the Holy Father’s loud recent criticism of the principle of a blasphemy law (rather than the alternative, pleading for mercy in its strongest applications) is well known, just as well-known as his contradictory crocodile tears over the loss of respect for God in Europe. His comments have fueled enormous demonstrations in Pakistan in support of the law.
Such a policy, admittedly, would put the Church in a society dominated by another religion, one which might and probably will, now that hostilities have grown to the breaking point, restrict the Church’s evangelization. This fact should not make the alternative, war with Islam, a given. In terms of restriction of proselytism, there is some evidence (from the practices in the formally Islamic state of Kelantan in Malaysia) the Church would suffer little in an Islamic state with which She enjoys good relations, especially given that the Church’s own guidelines in place in the middle east and in the whole world, in fact, that nothing should ever be uttered or written that another religion might find ‘offensive’ [section on Ecumensim, working document op cit], and also that most evangelization should by principle be performed through deeds, not words, in service to one’s family and community. That self-imposed restriction is tighter than the Islamic practice in Kelantan, which formally forbides evangelization yet tolerates various initiatives. Here is a link as to how Buddhists manage to evangelize anyway, through means accepted by Islamic government state of Kelantan. Catholics there do not appear to participate in any of the opportunities afforded under the Islamic state to invite non-believers into the Faith.
Such a policy would force the Church to awaken from its dependence on the historical role of Christianity in Europe, and realize that St. Paul was not joking, it’s a horse-race, and we’d better be in it to win it. Are they praying in the streets and upsetting traffic because their mosques are so full that they’ve had the nerve to ask for the loan of an empty church or two? Better fill up those churches with Christians. And if we can’t, at least stop whining about Islam and admit the liberal policies of Vatican II are a failure and have come close to destroying our Faith.
Traditional Catholics in particular ought to be parsing the situation quite differently from our novus ordo compatriots, after a warning given by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais in an as-yet unpublished manuscript fortuitously available to the author.
“These two motives for condemnation [of rejection of the very concept of the religious state as discussed by Pius IX and Leo XIII] are absolutely general; they follow from the truth of Christ and of his Church, from the duty of the State to recognize it, and from its indirect duty to promote the eternal salvation of the citizens, not indeed by constraining them to believe in spite of themselves, but by protecting them against the influence of socially professed error, all things taught by Pius IX and Leo XIII.
“If today, circumstances having changed, religious plurality demands, in the name of political prudence, civil measures for tolerance, even of legal equality between diverse cults, religious liberty as a natural right of the person, in the name of justice, should not be invoked. It remains a condemned error.”
The author hopes by this incomplete post to raise the issue among traditional Catholics, which presently may be said to make of Islam an exception, just as the liberal Church does; for the liberal Vatican, Islam is the exception to their determined and idiotic ecumenism, and the proof of the lie, as DICI just pointed out; for traditional Catholicism, apparently Islam is the exception to the otherwise just principle of the horror of the secular state, the justice in principle of the religious state. No citations will be offered, but the evidence showing traditional Catholics promoting religious freedom as long as it is in Islamic territory is not too difficult to find on otherwise laudatory websites, including SSPX ones. One must wonder what enables this kind of approach to the problem. Is it racism, this automatic hatred of all things Islamic? More likely historic–the crusades! As if today’s secular crusades were for Christ and not chaos. If traditionalists yield principle in the drunken euphoria of sharing ‘one with the boys,’ this little crumb of common bond with Rome in the long exile, it will come back to haunt us.
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