Friday, September 22, 2006

All Virtue ought to be prudent.

Omnis virtus moralis debet esse prudens: all virtue is necessarily prudent. Only someone who is silent is listening. And only the invisible is transparent. To be sure, a deeper silence than mere abstention from speech and utterance is required. There is also interior speech which must also become mute, so things might find their proper utterance.
Since reason is nothing else than the power to understand reality, then all reasonable, sensible, sound, clear, and heart-stirring talk stems from listening silence. Thus all discourse requires a foundation in the motherly depth of silence. Otherwise speech is sourceless: it turns into chatter, noise, and deception.
We lose our speech not only when we are forced down below the threshold of our being but also when we are raised up above our capacities. (Josef Pieper)
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. (St. James, Apostle)

True Christianity

As reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency:
Qom's Friday prayers leader, Ayatollah Abdullah Javadi Amoli, condemned recent vilifying and anti-Islamic claims of the world Catholic church leader Pope Benedict XVI.
"Pope should know that had it not been for Islam and its divine book, nothing would have been left of Christianity and Judaism," said Ayatollah Amoli in his Friday prayers sermons.
Amoli noted that had the brilliant and refreshing Quranic verses on the life of such great prophets as Jesus (AS), Moses (AS) as well as Saint Mary (SA) not been revealed to holy Prophet of Islam Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH), the American Christianity and the Zionists would not left anything of the divine Christianity and Judaism.
Of course, this means that present day Christians and Jews are at best misinformed about the true faith, or are, at worst, deliberately at enmity with God because they have not become muslims. This is so laughable that I wish that I had some recorded laughs that you could listen to while you read that. I simply must repeat that all public revelation from God ended with the death of the last apostle. Therefore, any other suposedly new or further revelations from God, e.g., the Koran (Big Mo) Book of Mormon (Joseph Smith) or the ravings of Ellen G. White (7th Day Adventists) or Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Scientists) or Charles Taze Russel (Jehovah's Witnesses) are only merely human words, and in no way the Word of God.
As Christians, our hearts go out to the poor members of these sects that are benighted by these false revelations. We must continue to try to reach them by prayer, sacrifice, evangelism, as well as the example of lives lived in God's grace. With St. Paul, we must constantly reaffirm that there is only one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism, one God, who is Father.

Bonfire of the Vanities: The true history of the spread of Islam#links

This is an ironic but very insightful piece by Father Fox. Check it out, please. Frl Gregory

Bonfire of the Vanities: The true history of the spread of Islam#links

Well Worth Reading

Can We Talk? Hosni Mubarak should call Benedict XVI.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER Friday, September 22, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Who says the world lacks leaders? After again expressing his "respect" for Islam, Pope Benedict XVI at his weekly Vatican audience two days ago moved one of his knights forward on the global chessboard of Islamic politics.
Amid amped-up security in St. Peter's Square, the pope said: "I trust that after the initial reaction, my words at the University of Regensburg can constitute an impulse and encouragement toward positive, even self-critical dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith."
Setting aside the impeccable understatement of "the initial reaction"--churches torched world-wide--it is close to thrilling in a world of persistent confusion about the intentions of contemporary Islam to see the pope step forward, not back, and speak without apology on behalf of "modern reason."
(Click on the title to read the whole article.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Benedict the Brave

This appeared in the Wall Street Journal today.
(Click on the title to see the article in the WSJ)
Benedict the Brave
The pope said things Muslims need to hear about faith and reason.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

It's a familiar spectacle: furious demands for an apology, threats, riots, violence. Anything can trigger so-called Muslim fury: a novel by a British-Indian writer, newspaper cartoons in a small Nordic country or, this past week, a talk on theology by the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
In a lecture on "Faith and Reason" at the University of Regensburg in Germany, Benedict XVI cited one of the last emperors of Byzantium, Manuel II Paleologus. Stressing the 14th-century emperor's "startling brusqueness," the pope quoted him as saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Taken alone, these are strong words. However, the pope didn't endorse the comment that he twice emphasized was not his own. No matter. As with Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses," which millions of outraged Muslims didn't bother to read (including Ayatollah Khomeini, who put the bounty on the novelist's life), what Benedict XVI meant or even said isn't the issue. Once again, many Muslim leaders are inciting their faithful against perceived slights and trying to proscribe how free societies discuss one of the world's major religions.
Several Iraqi terrorist groups called for attacks on the Vatican. A cleric linked to Somalia's ruling Islamist movement urged Muslims to "hunt down" and kill the pope. In an apparently linked attack Sunday in Mogadishu, a nun was gunned down in a children's hospital. Pakistan's parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the pontiff and demanding an apology.

Under pressure and no doubt to stop any further violence, the pope on Sunday did so. "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address . . . which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," he told pilgrims at his Castelgandolfo summer residence. The quote doesn't "in any way express my personal thought. I hope this serves to appease hearts."
It was a gracious gesture on the pope's part, especially because his original argument deserves to be heard, not least by Muslims. The offending quotation was a small part in a chain of argument that led to his main thesis about the close relationship between reason and belief. Without the right balance between the two, the pontiff said, mankind is condemned to the "pathologies and life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason"--in short, political and religious fanaticism.
In Christianity, God is inseparable from reason. "In the beginning was the Word," the pope quotes from the Gospel according to John. "God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word," he explained. "The inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of history of religions, but also from that of world history. . . . This convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe."
The question raised by the pope is whether this convergence has taken place in Islam as well. He quotes the Lebanese Catholic theologist Theodore Khoury, who said that "for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent, his will is not bound up with any of our categories." If this is true, can there be dialogue at all between Islam and the West? For the pope, the precondition for any meaningful interfaith discussions is a religion tempered by reason: "It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures," he concluded.

This is not an invitation to the usual feel-good interfaith round-tables. It is a request for dialogue with one condition--that everyone at the table reject the irrationality of religiously motivated violence. The pope isn't condemning Islam; he is inviting it to join rather than reject the modern world.
By their reaction to the pope's speech, some Muslim leaders showed again that Islam has a problem with modernity that is going to have to be solved by a debate within Islam. The day Muslims condemn Islamic terror with the same vehemence they condemn those who criticize Islam, an attempt at dialogue--and at improving relations between the Western and Islamic worlds--can begin.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria and the Copts

(This article is from Dhimmiwatch. Click the title to read the whole article.)

Fitzgerald: The Coptic Pope is held hostage.

The Coptic Pope -- the one held hostage by the Muslims of Egypt, subject to their pressures, aware of the potential for mayhem and murder visited upon the Copts by Muslims at any time -- has denounced the Pope of Rome. We understand this. We understand that he is held hostage, and we dismiss these remarks even as we now dismiss the Michel Sabbaghs and Naim Ateeks and other "Palestinian" islamochristians who speak out of internalized fear, and also in some cases out of a misplaced identification of "Uruba" or "Arabness" with Islam. (That is an identification that Muslim Arabs insist on forcing on everyone who uses Arabic, and only the Maronites and the Copts, and not even all of them, have refused to fall for this aggrandizing and false definition of "Arab").
But here's the point. What if the world remains too fearful and confused ever to confront the truth? After all, those whose duty it is to instruct us remain unable to instruct us out of the fear and confusion from which Pope Shenouda is suffering. Or, still worse, they remain silent out of a diseased sympathy for Muslims, a belief that we should not tell the truth about Islam but try only to "win hearts and minds" of Muslims by lying to ourselves, as well as to them, about the nature of Islam. Yet the evidence is not only in the texts, not only in the 1350 years of Jihad-conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims, but in the behavior of Muslims, mobs and rulers, clerics and generals and political figures and so-called "intellectuals" alike, all over the world. (Click on the title to read the rest of the article.)

The Need for Sacrifice

I don't wish this, but perhaps it's time for Catholics to realize that we, as the representative Christian Church in the world, will have to sacrifice for the sake of unmasking Islam. As the articles below have shown (as well as recent history), Islam is not a religion of peace unless it has silenced all criticism and dissent from it. I say that Catholics are the representatives of Christian religion because when the riots after the pope's speach started, the first two churches that were attacked were a Greek Orthodox and and Anglican church. Their minds are too weak to discern any difference among Christians, and neither of those two churches are in union with Rome. (As you can see from the photo, the Gaza muslims are ready to dialog.)
Perhaps when the Pope goes to Turkey they will try to assassinate him. If they don't, that's good. If they do, then a murder of such cold-bloodedness and disgusting evil would be something that could shake the Christian West out of its sleep and awaken it to the present evil.
I'm not advocating the death of our Holy Father, but I am suggesting that there will have to be sacrifices if we are to continue our Christian way of life. The evil of Islam is not retreating. They are the enemies of Christ and our holy Faith.

Al Qaeda threat to 'slit throats of worshippers of the cross'

Click on the title and it will take you to the site of this article. Once again, Islam proves itself to be the "religion of peace." And if you don't believe that, then they'll be happy to kill you in order for you to understand.

Was the Pope Wrong?

I'm publishing this with permission of the History News Network---Fr. Gregory
Was the Pope Wrong?
By Timothy R. Furnish

Mr. Furnish, Ph.D (Islamic History), is Assistant Professor, History, Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody, GA 30338. Mr. Furnish is the author of Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads and Osama bin Laden (Praeger, 2005).
Back when it was still amusing, “Saturday Night Live” had a skit called “Bizarro World” in which conventional wisdom was turned upside down (my favorite—humorously, not politically—was one in which Ronald Reagan, far from being the somnolent buffoon of liberal legend, actually ran Cabinet meetings till others fell asleep and spoke on the phone in Arabic to Qadhafi).
But nowadays it seems that reality is imitating art (okay, popular culture) as Muslims engage in violence if anyone dares suggest…that Islam has a violent strain! Last spring it was attacks on Christians for the Danish newspaper cartoons caricaturizing Muhammad; now Muslims are burning churches in the Palestinian territories and India because the pope made a reference to Islam’s martial past. At his best, Al Franken could not have come up with such skits (not that he’d have had the courage to do so).

Last week Pope Benedict XVI lectured at the University of Regensburg, in Germany.1 His address is largely a continuation of the efforts by his predecessor, John Paul II, to bridge the gap between faith and reason that has developed since the Enlightenment in Western and, indeed, world society.2 Benedict believes that Greek philosophy is an integral part of the articulation of Christian revelation, especially its emphasis on reason. He spells out three phases in the attempted “dehellenization of Christianity:” the Reformation, liberal 19th and 20th century theology and modern “cultural pluralism” which wants to “return to the simple message of the New Testament…in order to inculturate it anew….”3 Each of these movements, argues Benedict, is dangerous because each threatens to jettison reason. On the other hand, “reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.” Faith and reason are two sides of the coin of Christianity, Benedict in essence is saying.
So why are churches burning in Palestine? Because of the example the pope used to illustrate his point. He quotes the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (d. 1425) who, in a debate with a Muslim, said
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached….God is not pleased by blood—and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death….
Benedict goes on to gloss this passage, noting that the Islamic view of God’s absolute transcendence put Him above even the necessity for acting reasonably (by human standards)—a view foreign to Christianity, imbued as it is with the Greek respect for rationality. The pope concludes his lecture with “it is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.”
One might think that Muslims would be offended because the head of the world’s largest Christian denomination considers them, well, unreasonable. But the rent-a-mobs in Gaza and Kashmir are proving the truth of his assertion in that regard. As for the numerous statements by Muslim spokesmen that the pope is “ignorant” of Islam and Islamic history—well, the reality is that they simply can’t handle the truth.
First, Muhammad was not just a man claiming that God spoke through him; he was also a political and military leader. Driven out of Mecca and taking the reins of power in Medina, Muhammad and the Muslims spread their faith not just via da`is (missionaries), but by the sword; in fact, Jews in Medina who refused to accept Muhammad’s prophethood (and who, to be accurate, were accused of plotting against King Muhammad) were killed or enslaved. The conquest of Mecca in 630 CE was accomplished at swordpoint, not by persuasion. The creation of a huge Islamic Empire by the first four caliphs, the Umayyads and the Abbasids (between 632 and the end of the first millennium CE) was carried out via conquest—not by handing out brochures. Granted, Jews and Christians within the Muslim-ruled territories from the Pyrenees to the Indus were not all forced to convert—but the relegation to second-class status known as dhimmah led, eventually, to the majority of people in North Africa and the Middle East converting to Islam.
The initial phase of Islamic conquests resulted in about half the territory of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire switching hands. For several centuries the borders stabilized and the Byzantines ruled a state pushed back into Anatolia and the Balkan Peninsula. But in the 14th century CE a new wave of Muslim jihadists, the Ottoman Turks, were again moving on Byzantine lands. This was the situation facing Manuel II, and no doubt his view of Islam as “evil and inhuman” was in no small measure influenced by watching what was left of his empire disintegrating. (Indeed, less than three decades after his death Constantinople would fall to the Ottoman ruler Mehmet II.) One might ask how many Muslims setting fire to Christian churches, or to effigies of the pope, are even aware of this? I suspect that even if they were, it would make no difference.
For, in the view of some Muslims, it is not unreasonable to spread their religion by violence, for two reasons: 1) it is the final revelation of God to humanity and 2) the Qur’an enjoins it. To paraphrase Dr. Henry Jones (Indiana’s father): “goose-stepping morons like yourselves should be reading your holy book instead of burning churches.” If they did, they would discover that: Surah Muhammad [47]:3 says “When you meet the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads….
Surah Anfal [8]:12 says “I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the tips of their fingers.”
Surah al-Nisa’[4]:74 says “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of God….”
Surah al-Nisa’[4]:56 says “The true believer fights for the cause of God, but the infidel fights for the devil.”
Surah al-Nisa’[4]:101 says “The unbelievers are your inveterate enemies.”
Surah al-Ma’idah [5]:51 says “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.”
Only in a truly Bizarro world can those passages NOT be an incitement for some to violence, to “evil and inhuman” acts. Are there other passages in the Qur’an mitigating these? Yes.
4 But many of these more benevolent passages are also considered by many Muslims to have been abrogated by the more martial ones.
Many, Muslim and non-Muslim, try to make the counter-argument that “all religions have violent passages.” Let us take one prominent example: the New Testament. There is really only ONE passage in the entire New Testament that can be construed as promoting violence—Matthew 10:34: “[Jesus said] Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” But, the following verses explain that Jesus was speaking metaphorically and not advocating a quick trip to the local Jewish armorer: “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” The belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God will divide even families. Also, Jesus explicitly told his followers to turn the other cheek when struck (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29) and, for those of you who may not have heard the story, voluntarily allowed himself to be crucified by the Romans. Did his teaching later get twisted into a state ideology—beginning with the Roman Emperor Constantine? Indeed. But that is the point: Jesus’ teachings had to be forced to fit into a Roman (and later Carolingian, Crusader, etc.) suit of armor—whereas the chain mail of Islamic armies was fashioned directly out of Muhammad’s revelations.
Pope Benedict XVI is too smart a man not to have known what would be the repercussions of quoting an exasperated Byzantine emperor on Islam. By doing so the pope has thrown down the gauntlet to the Islamic world, subtly insisting that true “dialogue” between the world’s largest (Christianity) and second-largest (Islam) religions demands that the latter own up to its historical misdeeds every bit as much as the former has had to do for at least a century. Unfortunately, honest historical and theological reflection in the Islamic world would seem to be far too “unreasonable” to contemplate for many of the world’s Muslims
1 Available at,,1873277,00.html
2 John Paul II, Fides et Ratio (Boston: Pauline Books, 1996).
3 Interestingly, regarding this last point Benedict XVI seems to contradict his predecessor, who in Fides et Ratio, p. 91, said “In preaching the Gospel, Christianity first encountered Greek philosophy, but this does not mean at all that other approaches are precluded.”
4 Surah al-Furqan [25]:65ff says Allah will be merciful to those who do good works; Surah al-Baqarah [2]:256 says “there shall be no compulsion in religion” (although the kidnappers of those two Fox newsmen seem not to have read this); and Surah al-Nisa’ [4]:19ff commands Muslim men to provide for wives and ex-wives.