“Spencer’s treatment at the hands of the Diocese of Worcester provides some insights into the problems that the bishops are creating for themselves by not acknowledging the substantial differences between Islam and Christianity”

Here is an insightful analysis into the immense problems with the Catholic Church’s stance toward Islam, as epitomized by the cancellation (after mainstream media and Islamic supremacist pressure on the bishop) of my scheduled talk at a Catholic Men’s Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts next week. “Wise As Serpents?,” by William Kilpatrick in FrontPage, March 12:

…Spencer’s treatment at the hands of the Diocese of Worcester provides some insights into the problems that the bishops are creating for themselves by not acknowledging the substantial differences between Islam and Christianity. Spencer, a Catholic and a leading authority on Islam, was invited to speak to a Catholic men’s conference in Worcester, Massachusetts, on March 16; however, when Muslim groups protested that Spencer was a “hatemonger,” Bishop Robert McManus withdrew the invitation. Moreover, he failed to respond to Spencer’s request for a meeting to answer the charges against him.

Spencer also says he has received several reports that part of the pressure applied to the diocese came from a Boston Globe reporter, Lisa Wangsness, who, says Spencer, was working behind the scenes to engineer a cancellation. Although the bishop denies having bowed to pressure, the Boston Globe“s interest in the lecture may have weighed as heavily on his mind as the complaints from Muslim organizations. It was the Boston Globe, after all, that broke the sex abuse story in 2002. With the long shadow of that earlier scandal still looming, Catholic leaders in Massachusetts might understandably want to avoid the kind of media publicity that would ensue should they invite a “hatemonger” and “Islamophobe” to speak about Islam.

In a letter to the diocese defending his action, the bishop quotes the brief statement in Lumen Gentium which, he writes, “speaks about the special relationship that Christianity has for Islam.” He continues:

As a result of such a theologically salient statement, the Catholic Church has engaged herself in inter-religious dialogue with Muslims. This dialogue has   produced a harvest of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation throughout the world and here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Bishop then goes on to say that his decision to disinvite Spencer was based “solely on the concern that Mr. Spencer’s talk would impact negatively on the Church’s increasingly constructive dialogue with Muslims.” So, in sum, Lumen Gentium made possible a fruitful dialogue which Spencer’s appearance might undermine. But in light of the fact that persecution of Christians by Muslims has increased dramatically in the last decade””a decade in which dialogue with Muslims has multiplied””it is difficult to imagine just what this “harvest of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation” might consist of. The bishop doesn’t say.

In deciding not to scandalize Muslims, however, the bishop may only end up scandalizing his own flock””or, at least, some of them. While not a member of the Worcester Diocese, Doctor Archietto Ashraf Ramelah is a member of the worldwide community of Christians and president of the Coptic human rights organization Voice of the Copts. He is familiar with Spencer’s work and he is scandalized at the cancellation. On hearing of the Worcester incident, he sent a letter to the pope voicing his concern. In his letter, he expresses his bewilderment at how often Catholic and Coptic Orthodox churches seemed “uninterested in offering us opportunities to speak out on the dangers of what lies behind the persecution of Christians and Jews.” He attributes the indifference to an unwillingness to hear any facts about Islam that conflict with the received narrative or that might jeopardize dialogue. And he pleads with the pope to take action to lift the curtain of silence that shelters Islam from honest examination.

According to a Newsweek story, about 200,000 Christian Copts were forced to flee their homes during the year of the “Arab Spring” in Egypt. For someone like Dr. Ramelah, the discrepancy between what Church leaders say about Islam and the reality in North Africa is painfully apparent. But even ordinary Catholics in ordinary places like Worcester are sooner or later going to come to the conclusion””if only from watching the streaming headlines at the bottom of their TV screens””that Islam is not a peaceful religion and that it is not at all like the Catholic faith. When the chasm that divides Islam and Christianity becomes more evident to these ordinary Catholics, the credibility of the Church may once again come into question. As I wrote in my recent book on the subject:

As the threat from a resurgent Islam becomes more apparent, Catholics may well begin to feel that they have been misled on an issue vital to their security. The complaint against the Church will shift from “Why didn’t Church officials do more to protect children?” to “Why didn’t they tell us the rest of the story about Islam?”

Scandal in the strict sense is an attitude or behavior which leads another into a grave offense. We usually think of it in terms of licentious behavior, but according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, scandal can also be provoked by “fashion or opinion.” The Catechism notes that “Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others.” In the wake of the abuse scandals in Massachusetts, many Catholics lost their faith, or, at least, stopped attending Mass. This occurred not only because of the scandalous behavior of some priests but also and primarily because these Catholics came to the conclusion that the Church was untrustworthy. The Church in Ireland experienced a similar fall-off. Eighty-two percent of Irish Catholics attended Mass weekly in 1981; by 2012 the figure was 35 percent. A good chunk of this decline had to do with the rapid secularization of Ireland in the last few decades, but the revelations of abuse cover-ups seem to have accelerated the trend.

As more Catholics become aware of the realities of Islamic teachings and practices, it will surely test their faith to hear the bishops persist in speaking of our “special relationship” with Islam. For many, this will be not merely a matter of anger but also of despair at the thought that Church leaders are enabling the spread of a system that has always subjugated Christians whenever it had the power to do so.

Indeed, the very dialogue which Bishop McManus sees as so promising may turn out to be simply one of many stepping stones that Muslim activists use to secure dominance in the West. Consider a recent series of Catholic-Muslim dialogues sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops” dialogue partners were all prominent figures in Muslim activists groups with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and with other questionable associations. One of the bishops” counterparts was Sayyid Syeed, the National Director for the Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)””a group that was designated in 2008 as an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive terrorist funding case. One of the two keynote speakers was Jamal Badawi, also a member of ISNA, and a defender of suicide bombers, whom he has described as “martyrs.” The co-chair with Bishop Carlos Sevilla was Muzammil Siddiqi, a member of the Fiqh Council on North America, an organization which numbers among its original trustees one Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now serving a twenty three-year sentence for financing an assassination attempt on the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Another of the bishops” dialogue partners was Talat Sultan of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In October, Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal announced that it would bring war crimes charges against Ashrafuzzam Khan, a formed president and secretary general of the ICNA.

So, on the one hand, the Bishop of Worcester deems Robert Spencer to be unfit to speak to Catholic men, but on the other hand, at the USCCB plenary session in Chicago, the bishops were “sharing stories, praying, and enjoying meals together” with representatives of organizations whose ties to radical groups have been established by U.S. courts. It may be that the representatives of these political activist groups are pursuing dialogue with Catholics because they sincerely desire that “harvest of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation” that Bishop McManus speaks of. But another possibility should be considered, namely that the Muslims are using the dialogues primarily for legitimizing themselves and Islam. In other words, the dialogues provide a sort of cover for the Islamists. Muslim activists can plausibly point to their warm relations with the bishops as proof that they cannot be the agents of subversion that others say they are. Moreover, cultivating dialogue with Catholic leaders is a handy way of keeping the majority of Catholics off their guard. As long as prominent Catholic leaders are enthusiastic about their dialogues with Muslims, the average Catholic is likely to conclude that the Church is okay with Islam and that, therefore, there really isn’t any cause for worry….

Read it all.

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Comments

  1. says

    dhimmi church

    watching the procession of the cardinals on TV this morning, I thought all form no substnce..

    hundreds of thousands of Catholics slaughted by muslims and the church is too timid to do anything

    while these self styled prelates in comic costumes massage each other

  2. says

    Mahoundians are not going to have positive interactions with filthy kufar unless it benefits Allah and Mahoundians…Allah does not play second fiddle to anyone and Mahoundians are well aware of that…If they want to get in Paradise when they die, they better know it…
    The Church is a country rube buying a used car from ‘Honest Mahound’s’ used car lot…One of Mahound’s motto’s is, ‘always give the sucker a chance to be a sucker’…I tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen…

  3. says

    It is Odd.

    Is the Church in a hard place?

    The Church is heavily critisized for the Crusades.

    Now the Church is critisized for being too aquiescent.

    Remember, the last time Pope Benedict spoke boldly a nun was executed.

    Maybe cut the Church some slack.

  4. says

    Scandal? Yes!

    Profound differences? Yes! The chief difference? Koran 48.29 ‘Those who are with (Mohammed) are VIOLENT to the blasphemers (kafirs), but compassionate between one another.’

    Mistreating Christians is a normative part of Islam meant to pressure them to join Islam where they will be spared persecution. Every Muslim knows this.

  5. says

    My guess is, the Catholic Church operates with a disadvantage compared to evangelical Christians, because the Catholic Church always has to protect itself as an institution. This makes the Church susceptible to institutional pressures. The Evangelicals are much less bound by the constraints of incorporation. It’s true the United Methodist Church is unflaggingly open to Islam
    http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4951419&ct=6869435&notoc=1

    but there are multiple non-Catholic Christian denominations, and not too difficult to migrate from one to another.

    I don’t think the Catholic Church as a sociological entity will ever take any leading role in the defensive maneuvering against Islam.

    I think it’s probably all to the benefit of the Evangelicals that they cannot form an alliance with the Catholics against the Muslims and the secularists. All they would have succeeded in doing was to water down their own philosophical basis in the search for institutional validity.

    As a secular atheist, I would find it far more interesting to debate a knowledgeable Evangelical unafraid to politely offend my beliefs than to debate a coalition representative.

    There is no contradiction between atheists and Evangelicals seeing a common interest in maintaining freedom. There is, however, a contradiction in attempting to find any other common ground, and a positive danger in trying to pretend that a fundamental philosophical incompatibility does not exist.

    However, free men don’t settle debates with violence, and sometimes have to be satisfied with peaceful coexistence. This is the common interest we have to oppose Islam. We have to stop papering over fundamental differences and pretending they don’t exist.

    We can live with the differences between secularists and believers. We can’t live with the difference between free men and slaves of Islam.

  6. says

    http://islamversuseurope.blogspot.com/2013/03/france-catholic-charities-refusing-to.html

    “…….. French society was “retreating” in the face of the demands of an “Islamic fundamentalism”, citing a refusal by NGOs to accept donations of food that contained pork.”

    the unfortunate thing is that the only groups pushing back against islam in Europe are almost if not overtly nazis

    genetically Jew haters

    hate the Jews for existing, and hate the muslims for their behavior

    huge difference

  7. says

    Unfortunately, this article is being used in anti-Catholic bigotry. Divided we fall. The Ecumenical Movement, started with Vatican II, embraced this insidious Masonic doctrine of equality of religions which is NOT the doctrine of the Catholic faith.

  8. says

    regarding:

    The Bishop then goes on to say that his decision to disinvite Spencer was based “solely on the concern that Mr. Spencer’s talk would impact negatively on the Church’s increasingly constructive dialogue with Muslims.” So, in sum, Lumen Gentium made possible a fruitful dialogue which Spencer’s appearance might undermine. But in light of the fact that persecution of Christians by Muslims has increased dramatically in the last decade”a decade in which dialogue with Muslims has multiplied”it is difficult to imagine just what this “harvest of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation” might consist of. The bishop doesn’t say.

    cooperation is, the Catholics are teaching their congregations about islam-while Christians and the Church are being persecuted and silenced in all muslim majority countries

    and the muslims are encouraging this free and convincing dawah

    BY CATHOLICS

    un believable

  9. says

    there are the righteous in spite of overwhelming cultural contempt for Jews

    you are among them

    as is Robert

    wonderful exceptions

  10. says

    Now the Church is critisized for being too aquiescent.

    The Church, if it knew what was good for them in this case, would not touch Islam with a ten foot pole…It is the ‘kiss of death’…If you play with snakes, expect to get bit…I tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen…

  11. says

    one nun was executed?

    I said hundreds of thousand Christians slaughtered by muslims

    I am not a Christian

    if Christians are satisfied with this hypocricy
    who am I to complain

    like mohammed said…..silence means consent

    but if the church wants to know why people are leaving the church, they may wish to examine their priorities

    overwhelmingly pomp and ceremony, hiding corruption and self service

  12. says

    You see ‘Europeans’ as ‘*genetically* Jew haters’???

    Do you really mean to imply that from conception, from birth, every person in Europe – or, for that matter, every person descended from the tribes of Europe – western/ northern/ southern/ central-eastern? all four? – is somehow *programmed*, pre-determined, to feel hatred as soon as they come into contact with a Jew?

    That any ‘European’ person’s antisemitism is not a deplorable *choice*, not memetic, not produced by culture/ ideology/ propaganda, not something *taught* to them, but …innate, genetic, written into their dna???

    Sorry, but if that’s what you mean, I think you’re wrong.

    Because: here I am: a genetic descendant of Germans, Danes, Scots, English and Irish, with cultural/ religious input at some level from all five, at varying degrees, as the various immigrant family lines came together in Australia. And my own personal experience is that in the course of my life, as I have come to know Jewish people, in this forum and elsewhere, I have come to *like* and admire them (except for the self-hating idiots, like Ilan Pappe) and to feel – as a Christian, yes, *as* a Christian, not *in spite of* my being a Christian – a huge debt of gratitude for what Tom Cahill called ‘The Gifts of the Jews’. I am *glad* the Jews exist. I am overjoyed that the Jewish state of Israel has risen out of the ashes of time and history and lives, like the phoenix, like the burning bush.

    If your theory were right, I would have no choice: the moment I met a Jew my ‘european’ genes would have caused me to hate him or her.

    But that has not been my experience at all.