For most of this weekend I have privately tried to get a grip on a sense of rage over a great abomination. I will not deal with that until the last bit in this column. Let me tell you I have struggled with whether or not to put up the image that will appear at the bottom of this page. It shocked me and I suspect may be offensive to many readers here. So that you may be prepared, it is a picture of young girls stripped and crucified by Muslims during the Armenian Genocide a century ago – for being Christian. There is nothing prurient that you can see, so that is not what is offensive, but that these were real children, murdered solely for being Christian. It is a reality that we face – or that we try to turn away from. I will speak of it at the bottom.
First, the headlines today are ablaze with reports of Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley coming out in support of ordaining women. Well…that is not exactly what he said on “60 Minutes” last night…in fact, by some editorial and rhetorical acrobatics, it turns what he really DID say about the subject completely on its head. Interviewer Nora Roberts was pressing him on the matter. With his Irish slyness, O’Malley said that if he were founding a church he would love to have women priests, but that Christ founded it and He had a different idea on it. It was a gentle affirmation that this is not a decision for the people involved, that God made the decision.
Some have said that O’Malley should have known his remarks would be garbled so as to make the opposite point of what he was actually saying. Perhaps, but I am not much persuaded by the modern notion that we must dumb everything down, eliminate all wit and subtlety, so as not to be savaged by modern cultural barbarians. I reckon we will get skinned up a time or two, but it is the barbarians who are going to have the walls collapse on their heads. In the meantime, I do not want to let them rob us of all literary wit and joy.
George Weigel is, perhaps, the most insightful public Catholic intellectual of this generation. He was author of the profound biography of Pope St. John Paul, “Witness to Hope.” He has a piece of great depth and insight in the current National Review. I urge you to pay particular attention to Page three of the article. Things are shaping themselves in ways, barely noted yet, for a great unification. The Russian Orthodox Church is discrediting itself for its penchant of acting as a tool for the Russian state. Westerners could scarcely conceive of a Christian Church behaving in the deceptive, temporal ways that officials, including Bishops, of the Russian Orthodox Church do. Some were active KGB Agents – and before that some were active Tsarist Agents. Now the brilliant Metropolitan Hilarion degrades himself as a cheap agent of fleeting state power. It is disgusting – and it is noticed by Russians. Equally important, the Ukranian Catholic Church, eastern in liturgy but obedient to the Pope, has covered itself in honor and nobility throughout the crisis. So much so that eastern Ukranians – and some Russians – have taken note of it, too. No person wants their Church to be an instrument of their oppression by the state. The Russian Orthodox Church has been all too willing – even eager – to play that role for several centuries. Even its allies have figured out you can only count on the Russian Orthodox Church if you are already in power. That bodes ill for the Russian Orthodox Church and very well for the Ukranian Catholic Church long-term.
I have added a link for George Weigel. It goes to the Opinion Page of the Denver Catholic Register. This is not out of parochialism, but because that is where Weigel is syndicated from. His column appears weekly.
As regular readers know, while I am passionately Catholic, I am an ecumenical kind of guy. I love the joint services and the welcomes that have been made by my Catholic Church with Orthodox, Protestants, Jews and even Muslims over the last few decades. Outreach is the beginning of unity. When I am visiting a House of Worship of another faith, I believe in respecting their protocols. When they are in mine, I expect them to respect my faith’s protocols.
I respect the use of interfaith chapels in situations such as the military where several faiths must use the same space. I even respect those situations where, because of a lack of adequate facilities, Catholic or Protestant Churches have allowed each other to use each other’s space. Hey, we may have some disagreements about what He means, but we worship the one and same God. No biggie here.
For the first time since I converted, I was profoundly grateful last week that the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. is Episcopal rather than Catholic. The Christian officials who run the Cathedral invited Muslims to come and use it for a day of worship. Not, mind you, to come worship with Episcopalians in a joint service to foster ecumenism. No, they invited Muslims to turn it into a Mosque for a day. They banished Christ from a building which had been permanently consecrated to Him, in order that the murderous death-cult of Allah could worship there for a day. Astonishingly, the day that was set aside for this desecration was the 100th Anniversary of the last Caliph’s call for Jihad against all non-Muslims. This led to the Armenian Genocide, in which Muslims from the Ottoman Empire sought to murder all Christians in what is now Turkey, including children. I honestly hope that the Dean of the National Cathedral was ignorant of the significance of this day when he let out a Cathedral consecrated to Christ so that Muslims could celebrate the mass murder of Christians 100 years ago.
But whether he knew or not, the significance of banishing Christ from a Cathedral dedicated to Him in order to give it over to people who treat all who follow Christ as infidel dogs who ought to be killed if they won’t convert is the single most blasphemous voluntary desecration of my lifetime. It made me think of the prophecy of the “abomination which makes desolate” from the 11th Chapter of Daniel, which is referenced in all three synoptic Gospels, as a sign of the beginning of apocalyptic events. What could be more desolate than for Christian leaders to evict Christ from a National Cathedral dedicated to Him so that Muslim opponents can take over and celebrate the centennial anniversary of a call to genocidal Jihad against Christians?
Breitbart News pressed Hall on the matter, and he ended by calling the reporter an extremist and a McCarthyite. He apparently thinks those who say a Cathedral consecrated to Christ should unceasingly proclaim Christ is the despicable moral equivalent of murderous thugs who rape, torture and kill others for their faith. I have been vibrating with outrage since it happened – and even more when I saw Dean Hall’s ignorant, condescending response to those who objected to the blasphemous desecration.
I know that not all Muslim states participate in every Islamic atrocity. But I have yet to hear such a state condemn such things in unambiguous terms. Idiot pseudo-intellectuals pretend that Muslims only act as they do because of American offenses. Well, folks, America had not yet emerged as the dominant power 100 years ago when Islam launched the Armenian Genocide. They are quite capable of atrocity when we mind our own business – and when we were too insignificant to be a factor in their calculations.
In most Muslim lands it is a criminal offense (sometimes punishable by death) to have a Bible in your possession. Islam teaches that once any territory has been under Islamic control, it must always be under Islamic control and that war can – and should be – raised to eject any infidels that occupy it (something that ought to terrify Dean Hall if he had seriously considered the consequences of giving control of the Cathedral over to Muslims for even a day). The feeble objections occasionally raised by some Muslims to Islamic atrocities are not a moral expression of people of God: they are the moral equivalent of a street gang defense. They will not unambiguously condemn the atrocity and its perpetrators; rather, like a street gang, they simply say it was “not them” – at least this time.
The picture at the top of this segment shows what happens when Christian Quislings conspire with Muslims to desecrate consecrated Christian space. The picture at the bottom shows what happens all too often to Christians who merely attempt to live peacefully in unoccupied space in Muslim lands. If I have been a little off my feed the last few days, it is because I continue to try to digest this blasphemous outrage.
If I should ever have anything to say about it, Muslims and Muslim countries would have to renounce violence, actively help in rooting out the murderous thugs in their midst, make room for religious minorities in their countries and protect the freedom of conscience of those minorities. If they refuse that, I would only give them two other choices: convert or be utterly conquered, root and branch.