POPE FRANCIS’ DEVOTION ON BEHALF OF RELIGION.
By Paul Merkley.
On July 26, two Muslims slit the throat of a French Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, while he was saying Mass before a typically small group of locals in his village church.
“I Do Not Like to Speak of Islamic Violence.
The assailants were well-known to police as Islamic radicals with connections to ISIS; in fact, one of the two, born in Algeria, was required to wear an electronic surveillance device intended to thwart anything along the line of what he accomplished that day.
A journalist working for a French Catholic news agency sought the insight of the Pope. (Who better, after all, to explain definitively what an assault upon a Catholic priest must mean?) “Four days ago,” the reporter noted, “you told us once again that all religions want peace… When you speak of these violent acts, why do you always speak of terrorists but not of Islam?”
The Pope replied:
“I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence because every day when I open the newspapers I see acts of violence, here in Italy, someone kills his girlfriends, someone else his mother-in-law… If I spoke about Islamic violence I would also have to speak about Catholic violence …. Terrorism is everywhere…Terrorism increases whenever there is no other option, when the global economy is centred on the god of money and not the human person, men and women. This is already a first form of terrorism. You’ve driven out the marvel of creation, man and woman, and put money in their place. This is a basic act of terrorism against all humanity. We should think about it.”
It is certainly an inventive argument — that “terrorism increases whenever there is no other option” — but it builds (dare I say it) on a desperate, bottom-dragging morality.
A Devotion to RELIGION in a Time of War.
“The world is at war,” the Pope has recently noted, “but it’s a real war, not a religious war. It’s a war of interests, a war for money, a war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples.” It cannot be a “religious war, you see, because “Every religion wants peace” QED: This is not a religious war. (“Pope Francis Says ‘World Is at War,’ Decries Terrorist attack on French Church,” Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2016; “Pope Francis and the Decline of the West,” Truth Revolt, truthrevolt.org., August 9, 2016; “Francis Says Invoking God in terrorist attacks is blasphemy,” Crux, November 13, 2016.)
This twisted thinking follows from the Pope’s devotion to the honour of RELIGION. How and where this devotion touches upon his devotion to Christian Faith, I cannot say, but he clearly believes that RELIGION is always and everywhere a good thing. Individuals and movements who use religious language to justify evil behaviour simply cannot be counted as religious people, he says; such people either do not really belong to the Religion that they profess , or they simply do not understand the axiomatic bottom line to all RELIGION – that it is an instrument for peace.
Our elected politicians have to throw around this whitewash – that every religion wants peace – and for honorable reasons; but they are not expected to believe it. Likewise, children in kindergarten are taught these things — that every religion wants peace. But there is no excuse for any grownup believing this pish-tush. No one who has ever read a newspaper, and a fortiori none of us who once took History of Western Civilization 101, could possibly believe such a thing. How could anyone having any responsibility to teach or preach the Christian faith – let alone the Pope! — possibly believe what this Pope says he believes on this matter – that ISIS’s war against humanity is “a war for money?”
Throughout both the Old Testament and New Testament we find that RELIGION is portrayed as causing the very worst human behaviour. It was RELIGION that inspired normal human beings to sacrifice first-born sons on smoking altars. St. Paul makes a memorable point about the deepest thinkers of his own day being “superstitious” (Acts 17:22) – simply another way of saying RELIGIOUS – and he set about trying to convert them to TRUTH .
Nothing in any declaration by Pope Francis so much as hints at what every plain man can see: that the RELIGION of Islam is the inspirational source of the overwhelming majority of actual terrorist deeds today. (The website www.thereligionofpeace.com maintains a complete, daily-updated tally of “acts of Islamic terror.”) The Pope uses a shabby shell-and-pea trick to disguise this reality, warning his audience to “avoid extremism” – as though “extremism” were a generic, free-floating commodity, existing apart from the ideology in which it is embedded.
Why does the Pope strain so hard to justify the behaviour of radical Muslims as a response to economic circumstances? Such talk ignores the generally-recognized fact that the perpetrators are typically not victims of “the system,” not the oppressed poor. In our part of the world, typically, they are well-off and where they do lack personal wealth they are sustained in a life-without-a-job by wealthy Muslim “philanthropists.”
This devotion to the vindication of RELIGION is not something that Pope Francis has in common with his immediate predecessors. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI made creditable efforts to achieve dialogue with Muslim authorities, but they never changed their conviction that Islam has to answer for the evil deeds of those who claim allegiance to Islam. Pope John Paul II saw profound differences between Islam and Christianity/Judaism on the most important matters of faith.
In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the ld and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside. Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but he is ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of Redemption.” [John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (Toronto: Knopf, 1994), p.92. All emphasis in the original.]
“Christ Led Me to Marx.”
Still, Pope Francis’ eccentric diagnosis regarding the cause of all wars will make sense to anyone familiar with the record of modern Latin American Roman Catholic theology. His own graduate-level philosophical studies from 1960, and later his own University teaching in Philosophy, were done in Catholic colleges in Chile and Brazil. In 1980, just as “Liberation Theology” was taking hold as the dominant theological fashion in Latin America, he was named the Rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel in Buenos Aires.
“Liberation Theology” emerged from the Nairobi Assembly of the WCC (1975) and drew upon Marxist-Leninist, Maoist and so-called neo-Marxist vocabulary, devised by fashionable left-wing commentators such as Franz Fanon, and from Roman Catholic Liberation theologians. The most widely-admired of these were residents of Latin America, such as Gustavo Gutierrez, Jon Sobrino, Leonardo Boff, and Jose Miquez Bonino. Jose Miguez Bonino, author of Christians and Marxists, 1976, appealed to Marx to explain “the obvious political motifs and undertones in the life of Jesus.” Following this scriptural clue, Bonino wrote that the Resurrection stands for “the death of the monopolies” and as proof that “a world revolution is necessary.”
Unlike the atheist philosophers from whom they drew their primary insights, Liberation Theologians (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) make frequent use of short biblical passages. But, like the secularists, they make no reference whatever to historic schools of theology. Pope Paul VI expressed his disappointment over the Church’s “loss of confidence in the great masters of Christian thought [which leaves a vacuum] too often filled by a superficial and almost servile acceptance of the currently fashionable philosophies.”
“Christ led me to Marx ….” was the motto of Ernesto Cardenal, a priest and a Minister in Nicaragua’s Sandinisti government who was publicly chastised for this kind of talk by Pope John Paul II. The response of Father Cardenal was: “ I do not think the Pope [that is, John Paul II] understands Marxism. For me, the four Gospels are all equally Communist. I’m a Marxist who believes in God, follows Christ and is a revolutionary for the sake of His kingdom.”
In 1992, Pope John Paul II banned the Brazilian Liberationist Theologian Leonardo Boff from teaching in Catholic seminaries. Boff flourishes all the more, of course, teaching theology, ethics and philosophy at secular universities all over the world. It therefore makes sense that Boffo celebrated the newly-inducted Pope Francis as “a pope of change.”
Expert Testimony on the Motives of Good Muslims.
In the most recent issue of Dabiq, an official magazine of the Islamic State, ISIS criticizes Pope Francis for his naïveté in claiming that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence.” In saying such things, says the voice of ISIS, “Francis continues to hide behind a deceptive veil of ‘good will,’ covering his actual intentions of pacifying the Muslim nation.” Pope Francis “has struggled against reality” in his efforts to portray Islam as a religion of peace. In fact, says ISIS, “to to take up the sword of jihad is the greatest obligation of a true Muslim.”
Many people in Crusader countries express shock and even disgust that Islamic State leadership ‘uses religion to justify violence.’ Indeed, waging jihad – spreading the rule of Allah by the sword – is an obligation found in the Quran, the word of our Lord. The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, ‘Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them.’”
As for Pope Francis’s characterization of recent acts of Islamic terror as “senseless violence,”
The gist of the matter is that there is indeed a rhyme to our terrorism, warfare, ruthlessness, and brutality… The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you. (“Islamic State Answers Pope Francis: Ours is a Religious War and we hate you,” Breitbart.com, August 2, 2016.)
Are there any questions?