Joseph D’Hippolito provides an excellent summation of how the Catholic Church, at least at the official level, has thus far failed to come up with even a remotely adequate response to the challenge of modern-day Islamic jihad. In the article, also, he quotes a perceptive, sad but true remark made here at Jihad Watch by poster “IHSoter.” From the Jerusalem Post:
In the face of Islam’s infatuation with terror and religious imperialism – perhaps the biggest threat to Western civilization since World War II – Catholic prelates seem afflicted with a severe case of moral confusion, as recent statements demonstrate.
On April 10, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, told Britain’s GMTV that he agreed with Lord Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, who criticized moderate Muslims for failing to condemn terrorism in Allah’s name.
At the same time O’Connor said the West must confront what he believes to be terrorism’s root causes: poverty and inequality.
Apparently, O’Connor forgot that Yasser Arafat, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Muhammad Atta came from the professional classes – and that Osama bin Laden is a multimillionaire.
On April 8, Vatican Cardinal Renato Martino – who expressed sympathy for Saddam Hussein upon his capture – told Italy’s La Stampa that a United Nations peacekeeping force should replace the current coalition force in Iraq led by the United States.
Martino, the Vatican’s observer at the UN for 12 years before becoming president of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, believes the UN can repeat its master stroke in resolving Kosovo, as well as its stunning success in the Middle East.
On April 5, Bishop Javier Echevarria, the prelate of Opus Dei – an organization fervently loyal to the papacy – told the Zenit news service that Christians should love terrorists by praying for their conversion and redemption.
Echevarria follows the example of Pope John Paul II, who commemorated the anniversary of the September 11 attacks two years ago by asking God to show mercy to the perpetrators as well as to the victims.
In his enthusiasm the pope apparently forgot that repentance comes before forgiveness, that the dead cannot repent, and that Atta and his fellow shahids would likely view repentance for their barbarism as apostasy.
ON THE same day Echevarria spoke to Zenit, Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci released her latest book The Strength of Reason, which bluntly describes the threat of Islamic influence in Europe.
Fallaci not only calls Europe “a province of Islam” and “Eurabia;” she condemns the Catholic Church for its silence “even when its symbols are offended by Muslims and before such practices as polygamy and torture,” an Associated Press report stated.
Civilita Cattolica, the official magazine of the Vatican’s secretariat of state, perfectly reflects the intellectual schizophrenia among Rome’s elite.
For most of 2003 Civilita Cattolica condemned the war in Iraq. Then, in October, it published equally scathing criticisms of jihad and of Islam’s historical behavior from the senior editor, Fr. Giuseppe De Rosa.
“In all of its history, Islam has shown a warlike face and a conquering spirit for the glory of Allah,” De Rosa wrote. “In all the places where Islam imposed itself by military force, which has few parallels for its rapidity and breath, Christianity practically disappeared or was reduced to tiny islands in an endless Islamic sea.
“For almost 1,000 years, Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger.”
Christians and Jews living in Muslim societies “belong to an inferior social order,” De Rosa wrote. They must pay special taxes and cannot build new houses of worship, marry the daughters of Muslims, testify in trials between Muslims or inherit from Muslims.
Yet in February, Civilita Cattolica’s vice-director and political commentator, Fr. Michele Simone, condemned efforts to teach Muslims democracy as “particularly offensive to the Muslim community.”
For Simone, invading Iraq “lent support to the impression that the West… intends a new colonization of Islamic countries, aimed at taking control of their oil, on the pretext of wanting to bring ‘democracy’… without realizing that, at least for Islamic fundamentalism, ‘democracy’ takes the sovereignty away from Allah and transfers it to the ‘people,’ which for a Muslim believer is an act of ‘impiety.’ ”
Some may defend this balancing act as nuance dictated by diplomatic and ecumenical considerations. But John Paul II did not display such nuance during his courageous struggle against communism. His forthright intensity endeared him to many in the West – many who are now disappointed with him.
“It was the Holy Father’s heroic leadership in the fight against Communism that inspired me,” said a correspondent named “IHSoter” to Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch Web log. “So it is extremely painful to have to criticize him. It is as if the Church, after spending a century of trying to make the faith palatable to the effete and nihilistic people of Europe, has lost the ability to confront a truly evil adversary.
“The Church has lost a profound opportunity to be an inspiration for the people in this present crisis. No Solidarity will rise up this time to show the world what a boon the Church is in regards to human liberty. The Vatican has made itself into a stumbling stone.”