Vatican warns about Islam—uh, haven’t we been through this before?

(Note: this entry contains a list of my articles about John Paul II and Benedict XVI.)

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea….

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock”

Pope Benedict’s private secretary is quoted in a German magazine warning about the Islamization of Europe and stressing the need to protect the continent’s Christian roots. “Attempts to Islamise the West cannot be denied,” Monsignor Georg Gaenswein is quoted as saying. Gaenswein even defends the pope’s Regensburg speech with its profound criticisms of Islam as based on violence, a theme which, of course, the pope himself effectively recanted shortly after he gave the speech last year, first, when he stood in St. Peter’s Square quoting the Vatican II documents calling Muslims fellow adorers with Christians of the one God, and, second, when he went like a suppliant to Turkey and told the Turkish prime minister that though the Vatican does not take stands on political issues, the Vatican favors Turkish admission into the European Union. (Vatican spokesmen later denied that the pope had said that, without actually denying it, as I have shown.)

For the pope (through his secretary) to pick up the theme of the abandoned Regensburg address has as much credibility at this point as if George W. Bush suddenly reiterated his June 2002 speech saying he would have no dealings with the Palestinians unless they decisively renounced and uprooted terror—a “bold” position that Bush himself has repeatedly violated since 2002. Once you’ve taken all the air out of an issue the way the pope has done, you can’t rev it up again by repeating the very same position you’ve already betrayed.

The source of the problem is that the pope is caught between two stools: his genuine fear of Islamization, and his equally genuine commitment to the Vatican II doctrine that Muslims are the spiritual brothers of Christians. It’s like a liberal instinctively wanting to defend his country from Muslim terrorism, but always being stopped from effective action on that front by his principled opposition to racial and religious profiling.

When the pope has decisively renounced the Vatican II doctrine that embraces and approves Islam, then I’ll attend to his “warnings” about Islam. Until then, any Islamo-critical statements coming from him or his subordinates are worth very little.

- end of initial entry -

Brandon writes:

The comparison between the Pope’s position on Islam and a liberal’s fear of profiling is both accurate and incredibly insightful.

The truth you speak naturally keeps you from a Coulter-like pop-prominence. The masses cannot swallow bitter pills.

“For the crowd is untruth.”—Kierkegaard.

Vincent Chiarello writes:

While it would be perfectly understandable for you to remain skeptical of Pope Benedict XVI’s commitment to deal firmly with the Islamic threat, I, for one, am now more inclined to the view that this pontiff may be less constrained in doing so than his predecessor. Maybe that is not saying all that much at this time, but part of my “optimism” is based on your words: “When the pope has decisively renounced the Vatican II doctrine that embraces and approves Islam, then I’ll attend to his ‘warning’ about Islam.”

For those who have followed the events within the Church over the past several weeks, the issuance of the pontiff’s “Summorum Pontificum,” allows the Tridentine Mass, aka as “the Mass of Pope Pius V,” to be celebrated in a far more generous manner than previously. Those who call ourselves “Traditional” (as opposed to “conservative”) Catholics see this development as one of singular importance because the document is a major step away from the liberalizing liturgical trend of Vatican II. In short, signs of a change in Church direction are visible, and the warning (essentially to European leaders) by Msgr. Georg Gaenswein is another indicator. I betray no inside information when I state that the honorable monsignor did not, and would not, ever have issued such a statement on his own, and his words of warning must be interpreted as having come from his boss.

Further, Benedict XVI took another huge step away from “Nostra Aetate,” the document which revolutionized the Church’s previous teaching on ecumenism, when he, to the dismay of as many “progressive” Catholics, as well as many Protestants, stated that “the one true Church” can only be found in Rome. Now that kind of talk does not fit in well with many who have sought to erase the differences within Christianity. Still, my question, which may have broader implications, is this: are we seeing a situation that, at least to me, has some parallels to the election of Pius IX, who surprised everyone, including his electors, when he became a lion of unyielding orthodoxy? Will this pontiff, after having moved the Church in a different direction, stop that motion when it comes to dealing with Islam?

I do not pretend to have an answer, but I believe that, pray God, there are positive signs. It is written that God writes straight in crooked lines, and they, too, require time to understand.

Edward G. writes:

To assume that the Pope is about to take a strong stand against Islam because his secretary dropped a hint is ridiculous. If the Pope is serious he should come out openly and forcefully and speak the truth. The Vatican has its own newspaper, if the pope was serious he would have articles daily or weekly calling for a defense of Europe against Islam. He can’t speak out himself and can’t order his newspaper to “cry out an alarm,” so how serious is he? The Church has a failed leadership and is in a death spiral. The prior Pope was a failure and this Pope is a disappointment. I recently read a copy of “America,” a Jesuit magazine. It is nothing more than a socialist/liberal propaganda piece. If the Jesuits have converted to liberalism, than what hope does the Church have?

LA replies:

Very well said, and I agree. To put it crudely, the Church hierarchy keeps jerking us around and they have no credibility left. Over and over, they play head games, they flirt with the Islam issue, they leak indirect statements, then retract them, they show a bit of bare leg, then cover it up again. It’s not honest or honorable.

Mark Jaws forwards this e-mail from a reader in Cincinatti:


Here’s my perspective:

1. Starting at the bottom—the Pope CANNOT ‘renouce Vatican II’ or we will not be the One True Church, but rather like all the ‘other sects’ with no authority. Just because we don’t like what a Council says OR we don’t implement it well, does NOT mean it’s not TRUE.

2. My own study of Vatican II and its implementation shows that the Bishops/Cardinals were naive both to the world situation as well as under currents within the Church by those who wanted to make BIG changes (whether they meant well or really had evil motives). For example, Vatican II says that we want more ecuminism and openess. Dandy—don’t disagree, BUT I think the underlying assumption was that if the Church—who has all this beauty and Truth—just shows it to the world—they will be so overwhelmed and overjoyed that they will come home to the Church. Well, I think that is naive and what really happened is that instead of pulling the world up—the world has pulled the church—that is the visible institution—down. (Hence much lower Mass attendance, lower knowledge, etc.)

3. TRUTH matters and SOULS matter. So—if something is TRUE or some part of it is TRUE—then I know that part came from God—because HE is TRUTH. Therefore, the American Indians—pagans—who worshiped a bevy of gods but had one ‘big dog’ god—that was over all the Gods—I can say had a bit of TRUTH. There is a supreme being (but only one—they didnt’ get that part right) AND He should be WORSHIPED by his creatures! That is TRUTH and we accept that and begin there when they were being evangelized.

Muslims have a bit more—One God—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob etc. That is TRUTH. It goes DOWN HILL from there—I’ll give you that—not just in the teachings (a less steep decline) BUT especially in the execution and in the philosophy of what do these teachings and this understanding of who God is—transfer into actions in the every day world. How do we treat people—etc.

4. Finally, SOULS matter. So beating someone over the head with TRUTH is just as bad as ignoring the TRUTH because we disagree or it will be uncomforable. So—where is the balance between speaking the truth and speaking it with love so that souls can be saved. No one—the Church included—said that the Pope is infallible in the right balance. Even if I agree that he should have done it a bit different here or there—it DOES NOT remove all of his moral authority.

It does seem a bit arrogant (ok—a lot) that a man who is a member of the Episcopal Church—with no authority—is claiming that he thinks the Pope is all wrong and must denounce Vatican II!!!

LA replies:

I have no standing or authority in the Catholic Church. But I have normal reasoning ability and I can read the statements of the Church and grasp their meaning and tendency and see when they are hopelessly in contradiction with each other and when they are leading to Western suicide. I can also see when an important Western leader takes a bold position and then cowardly abandons it, and the effect that has on Western morale as well as on that leader’s credibility. Insofar as the pope acts on the political stage of the world, his statements are subject to the same criticism as any other leader’s. Since Catholics themselves won’t criticze the pope, Catholics who don’t want the pope to be criticized by non-Cathlics are saying they don’t want the pope criticized at all. They’re almost as bad as Bush followers.

And here’s something that I and anyone can see: When the Church has a dogmatic document, Nostra Aetate, which states that Muslims must be honored and embraced because along with Catholics “they adore the one God,” AND when the pope also delivers a lecture saying that Islam is deeply problematic and threatening to non-Muslims because at its core it is based on violence, I can see that the pope is not going to be able to maintain the second position, but will give it up because of his prior and higher commitment to the first position. I don’t know that only from pure reasoning. I know it because I saw it happen with my own eyes, along with the rest of the world, less than a year ago.

I can also see that the only way the pope could stay true to the second position, is that if he and the Church somehow downplay or recant the first position. And why shouldn’t they recant it? That document is a formula for suicide. It is an expression of the deepest ignorance about the mortally threatening doctrines and history of Islam. It tells Catholics and others that they should “forget” the history of Islamic-Christian conflict, which means to forget the nature of Islam and so open ourselves to the Muslim conquest of the West .

What the reader from Cincinatti doesn’t like is serious intellectual criticism of the pope and the Church authorities. Not being a Catholic, I am not subject to that restraint. I am concerned about the survival of the West, and of Christendom. And I have written freely about the pope and his predecessor from that perspective. Some Catholics see my statements about the popes as arrogant. Others welcome them as a breath of fresh air.

Below are things I wrote about John Paul II and about Benedict XVI. Most of the below items about JPII were written at the time of his death. Apart from a tiny handful of Catholic traditionalists I was the only person dissenting from the world wide worship of the great man and great “conservative.” My indignation in those posts is directed at least as much at the ignorance and folly of the people who believed that JPII was a “conservative” and “traditionalist” as at the late pope himself.

Do I say these things because I am anti-Catholic? No. I say them because, as Thomas Molnar wrote in 1969 in this book The Counterrevolution, the two most important institutions in Western civilization are the United States of America and the Roman Catholic Church—and that is why the left has targeted both of them. For example, look at all the “perv priests,” which are gleefully covered daily in the New York Post. That is a product of the culture of the Sixties and Seventies taking over the Church from within. The spiritual and cultural and political survival of the West depends on the Church being true to its calling, and when it turns left, as it has since the 1960s, then the West is doomed as well.

John Paul II

The proof that Pope John Paul II was calling for open borders

The Pope’s call for Western cultural suicide

The Pope is dead

Was it wrong to criticize the Pope?

The “neoconization” of the Church

A staunch conservative?

The benign and humane pope who opened Europe to, uh, barbaric and nihilistic jihadists

Yes, JPII was great—when he went to Poland in 1979

Moslems and the Pope of dhimmitude

Correct evaluations

More support for VFR’s stand against JPII

A native Pole tries to come to grips with Karol Wojtyla

A surgeon afraid of the sight of blood

Anti-Communist and pro-Islam

John Paul II and the worship of secular man

The really important things JPII failed to do

The conflicting strands of modernism and traditionalism in the mind of JPII

Betraying with a kiss

Times misconstrues John Paul II’s Gospel quote

Am I too disrespectful, part II

John Paul II as philosopher of culture

Pope said Christianity is facing “gravest threat in its history.” And what did he do about that threat?

The disastrous legacy of John Paul II

Why everyone’s wild about John Paul

Fr. McBrien and the Pope

Vatican II and the Church’s more tolerant attitude toward Jews

How Europe, led by the Church, disarmed itself against Islam

Surprise! There are Catholics to the right of JPII

More brainless praise for JPII

Does the Church want a liberal crowd-pleaser, or a conservative rock?

Benedict’s lecture on Islam and aftermath

The pope has (as of now) thrown down the gauntlet

Is the pope ready to cause a civilizational war?

It’s not so bad—the pope’s critique of Islam still stands

Benedict does a Larry Summers

The ongoing career of Larry Ratzinger, aka Joseph Summers

Benedict—I mean John Paul—I mean John Lennon—calls for a world without barriers and prejudices

Before there was Eurabia, there was Vatican II

Benedict trip to Turkey, Nov 2006

As bad as it gets

Benedict goes where no pope has gone before

Benedict as mental dhimmi

A person chosen at random from the Rome telephone book would do better than this

Another worse than useless Western leader

Vincent Chiarello writes:

I actually received a note encouraging me to respond to the various comments centering around Edward G’s and your skepticism about the Church’s role in slowing down or stopping Islam’s on-going march throughout the West. ‘Tis not an easy task, for implicit in both of your criticisms is a mindset that tends to look at the immediate, rather than a longer, perspective, and religiously driven change—for better or worse—takes time, often a long time. I am reminded of the last paragraph of Eamon Duffy’s, The Stripping of the Altars, in which he describes the disappearance of Catholic England and its symbols, but only after 35 years of Elizabethan rule, and that period included some serious criminal penalties for being a priest. [LA comments: That is a most odd comparison for Vincent to make to back up his idea that the pope is moving slowly toward a positive change! The change Duffy describes is the tragic and final disappearance of Catholic England, through the official suppression of Catholicism, and the appearance of a new generation in an England that knows not the Church.]

Edward G’s comment that it is “ridiculous” to divine from Msgr. Gaeswein’s remarks that the pontiff will strike a hard position vis-a-vis Islam betrays a serious lack of understanding of papal politics. The Holy See, aka “The Vatican,” is a separate political and religious state, albeit the smallest amongst nations—and heads of state, including the Pontifex Maximus, usually announce their intentions through intermediaries. Secondly, although there is a supposed oversight by the Vatican of their newspaper, Osservatore Romano, that, in fact, is not quite the case, for the secularization of the Vatican since the Council of 1962-65 has proceeded along more than one line. Further, if Edward is only now aware that the Jesuit magazine, America, is “Liberal,” then he has little understanding of the depth of change that has afflicted the Church, especially within the order whose General-Director was once called, “the Black Pope,” because of his influence and the color of his garment. Finally, and here I cannot mince words: the Holy See and its religious head, for better or for worse, is all that is left within Christianity to confront the otherwise certainty of a Eurabia and worse within this century. The pontiff is, if only be default, the only religious—should I add political also?—leader for that matter who has the prestige and influence to move the situation, and I defy anyone to nominate another religious candidate. The Dalai Lama may win the Nobel Peace Prize, but I fear such tactics would be useless in dealing with Islam. I’m afraid that Edward G. and LA will not be always happy with the Vatican’s actions, but the pope may be our best hope. I’ll let Churchill have the last word on this subject:

Once again, it will be shown that, though the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceedingly small.

As for the Cincinnati correspondent, there are untold millions of Catholics, your humble scribe included, who have sharply criticized Vatican II’s baleful effect on the Church: in its liturgy, in its changes in priestly ordinations, in the disastrous folly of trumpeting “the Spirit of Vatican II,” whatever that is, the decline of the priesthood, as well as the loss of the grandeur and majesty that one previously sensed in its Churches. It is precisely those factors which lead me to believe that Benedict XVI has begun the torturous task of slowly changing the direction of the Church. I, for one, wish him God speed!

LA does not need my words in his defense, but he is neither “arrogant” nor unfair in his judgments of the Church. We disagree on what we see as the effectiveness of the Church’s role, but his integrity requires that he hear all sides of the debate.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 27, 2007 01:16 AM | Send

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