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Traditional Catholic Reflections ^ | 10/5/01 | Patrick Lally

Posted on 10/05/2001 6:40:17 AM PDT by marshmallow

There was a time when the green flag of Islam came out of Arabia and swept across North Africa, destroying the diocese of Augustine and all of the great and vibrant Christian civilizations that had flourished there for centuries. Then the soldiers of the Prophet raged north into Spain, while in the east Islam invaded the Balkans, the heartland of the Slavic Church and surged toward the Holy Roman Empire itself. But the West arose and gave battle. It was a long and mighty struggle, for the two civilizations were equals in learning and the military arts. The outcome was in doubt as late as the High Middle Ages. In 1254 Constantinople fell and Orthodoxy was in peril. Indeed only a brief time ago as history is reckoned, Islam was at the gates of Vienna. The Empire, no longer holy or Roman turned them back because it was still suffused with the memory of its greatness and was sustained by a dogged and exhausted devotion to the Church which had shaped the West, had held up for the ages that Light which had first shone in the Judean hills, and which the West had claimed for its own

It was war for the soul of man and threatened the very existence of the whole culture that bore the heritage of the Judaeo-Christian world. Islam was a great and fighting religion, breathtaking in its simplicity and compelling in its power. But Catholicism was greater still, and the West stood upon that rock, the Rock of Peter.

And Islam was held on the high Spanish plains and mountain passes, and Islam was turned back in the grim and gaunt fastness where the South Slavs stood and held. And Islam streamed back, a great religion defeated by a true one. And the West flourished and thrived and forgot, forgot the challenge of the Crescent and then, incredibly, began to cast away the Cross, began to destroy itself what Islam could not. Theological liberalism, technology, and "science" inexorably and triumphantly spread over Christendom, and the West became a desert of greed and ease and economics and realpolitik. Slowly but remorselessly the foundations built upon the Rock were leached away, and the Rock itself, the very Church which had given life to Paris and Cracow, to Milan and the North German Plain, and to the New World, whose light Columbus first saw upon the quarterdeck of the Santa Maria after Compline, that very Mother of us all, was scorned and rejected.

Islam did not forget. It endured the incompetence and corruption of the Ottoman centuries.It suffered the humiliation of the colonial years, and it watched the power of the West increase. And the green flag spread where the West did not go, from Timor to the Pillars of Hercules, and from Madagascar to Central Asia. The soldiers of the Prophet reached out and used the technology of the enemy, but never turned away from Mecca, never bowed down in worship to turbines and blast furnaces and mainframes.

Then once again Islam marched to the old drums of war, for the West had finally lost all of its strength. The new glass and steel ziggaurats where the men of the West communicated and analyzed and decided and wrought and planned with the speed of gods were empty husks before the force of the spirit. The mosques of Alexandria and Algiers and and Teheran were full, and the cathedrals and country churches of Belgium and Maryland and Pennsylvania and even Warsaw were emptying, crumbling. Islam struck. It was the cruelest blow in the long, sad history of crimes done in God's name. This time it was not an assault upon the passes of the Pyrenees or a dagger thrust toward the sweep of the Danube and Vienna. History changes things, but the old warriors of Arabia would have understood immediately. There was no longer any need to destroy the gates of Rome, to pull down Chartres, or to level St. Stephen's Cathedral of Vienna. The new center was elsewhere, in that New World which had assumed the leadership of the West, in that country which above all others had seemed to embrace the the new gods of finance and industry and fiberoptics, in that country, begun by humble men of God which had come to see itself as godlike. So horrid was this crime that the Muslim world should have instantly destroyed or delivered to justice the guilty. Islam did not. It ignored the very tenets of the Koran, and did not. It mouthed words of sympathy while the West reeled, while America staggered. History happens very quickly now, so rapid and instantaneous is the sweep and perception of events. The long centuries of the former struggle have been compressed into short minutes of blood and fire and smoke and death in the present war. At one time Spanish swords flashed and desperate men wondered if the enemy would burst through, into the heart of the West. And for an instant last week it was possible that the new onslaught would crumble defences weakened by years of unbelief and error.

But incredibly, the West held. Heroes arose in great numbers, a whole nation stood up. It seems that, like Arthur of England, the West was only sleeping. For decades, lonely, steadfast men have stood under the old ensigns, withstanding even the attacks of other, traitor Westerners. But now they have been joined by whole armies in battle array. It seems that the West, for all its power and overweening self-admiration has found its roots again. The West held. The West arose.

In the Cathedral Church of St Peter and Paul the West came together, gathering for the struggle. Those there were mostly heedless that the great church thrusts upward only because of the genius of the Middle Ages. But the National Cathedral rests as surely on the Rock of Peter as does the Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame. They sang the heart wrenching lines of Isaac Watts, "O God our help in ages past." Watts was Anglican, but we know by faith that all truth rests ultimately on the Rock of the West. The West awakes, not knowing who has aroused it, but it rises. In that church was a splash of scarlet, where the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington knelt. The scarlet reminds us that cardinals must be prepared to shed their blood, and to the north a brother cardinal had knelt giving absolution to heroes, knowing that his own blood might be required of him. And from that battlefield, from the fire and death and smoke, heroes carried out the body of their slain chaplain priest and bore him throught the war-wracked streets and laid him upon the altar of a nearby Catholic church. Then these rough, tough firefighters, having made this great act of Faith, worthy of Joan of Arc or Louis IX, returned to the battle. Perhaps, just perhaps. Maybe, just maybe, the West has unconsciously discovered that it is impossible to forsake the Rock of the Church. That without Peter there would have been no West, there can be no West.

The Church is neither west or east or north or south. She views politics and states and the maelstrom of history with the same sharp and shrewd indifference as that Galilean countryman regarded Caesar and the coin of trubute. But Her love is not indifferent, and it has never slackened. And the engines of the coming crusade will be stoked by that fierce and inexhaustible love. Once again there is right and wrong upon the earth, and even MSNBC fears to object when God is named. And there is a quite unremarkable man who names Him, publicly, with neither pride or apology. He is a man who loves baseball and is not completely comfortable with English syntax. He is not a master of public speaking or oratory. He was never a candidate for a Rhodes scolarship. But slowly, we see emerging a will of iron and an enduring resolve, and most important, an assurance that all rests upon a Higher Power.

And it is to him that the sword of Arthur, and Roland, and El Cid and Louis IX has been passed, and in his own, ordinary American way, he has grasped it and holds it higher every day. The West has arisen and follows him. There will be more blood and iron and death, for we groan under the evil that has warred with man and the world always. But may this crusade be also a crusade to rediscover the treasures of our holy heritage, to find once more the true heart of the West, to rescue from the dust and debris of centuries of thoughtless error, the High Faith we so carelessly tossed aside.

Exsurgat Deus et dissipentur inimici eius

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News
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1 posted on 10/05/2001 6:40:17 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
3 posted on 10/05/2001 6:48:31 AM PDT by wordsofearnest
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To: USGrant
Not so fast. More people have been killed by state atheism than anything else. The "church" was fighting an invading army, not a religion. No one remembers the religion of Attila the Hun but he probably had one.
4 posted on 10/05/2001 6:51:58 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: marshmallow
Crusade!! Bump.
5 posted on 10/05/2001 6:57:08 AM PDT by Jacvin
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To: AppyPappy
Regarding what you said, Appy, this from a FR post some time ago:

"My point is not that Christians or religious people aren't vulnerable to committing terrible crimes. Certainly they are. But it is not religion that produces these things; it is the denial of Biblical religion that generally leads to these kinds of things. The statistics that are the result of irreligious genocide stagger the imagination.

My source is The Guinness Book of World Records . Look up the category "Judicial" and under the subject of "Crimes: Mass Killings," the greatest massacre ever imputed by the government of one sovereign against the government of another is 26.3 million Chinese during the regime of Mao Tse Tung between the years of 1949 and May 1965. The Walker Report published by the U.S. Senate Committee of the Judiciary in July 1971 placed the parameters of the total death toll in China since 1949 between 32 and 61.7 million people. An estimate of 63.7 million was published by Figaro magazine on November 5, 1978.

In the U.S.S.R. the Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn estimates the loss of life from state repression and terrorism from October 1917 to December 1959 under Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev at 66.7 million. Finally, in Cambodia (and this was close to me because I lived in Thailand in 1982 working with the broken pieces of the Cambodian holocaust from 1975 to 1979) "as a percentage of a nation's total population, the worst genocide appears to be that in Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea. According to the Khmer Rouge foreign minister, more than one third of the eight million Khmer were killed between April 17, 1975 and January 1979. One third of the entire country was put to death under the rule of Pol Pot, the founder of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. During that time towns, money and property were abolished. Economic execution by bayonet and club was introduced for such offenses as falling asleep during the day, asking too many questions, playing non-communist music, being old and feeble, being the offspring of an undesirable, or being too well educated. In fact, deaths in the Tuol Sleng interrogation center in Phnom Penh, which is the capitol of Kampuchea, reached 582 in a day."

Gotta go, I'll have to provide a link to the whole article later. V's wife.

6 posted on 10/05/2001 7:09:44 AM PDT by ventana
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To: marshmallow
7 posted on 10/05/2001 7:13:17 AM PDT by Alkhin
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To: marshmallow
9 posted on 10/05/2001 7:47:29 AM PDT by Mr. Thorne
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To: AppyPappy
No one remembers the religion of Attila the Hun but he probably had one.

The Huns were athiests.

10 posted on 10/05/2001 7:54:00 AM PDT by Rightwing Conspiratr1
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To: marshmallow
The author has a grasp of the significance of this conflict that is far greater than that demonstrated in most of the press.

It has often seemed to me over the last few weeks that there are many signs that this struggle is of greater menning than merely a conflict over terrorism.

11 posted on 10/05/2001 7:58:35 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: marshmallow
Strong stuff! But very impressive and true. Thanks for posting.
12 posted on 10/05/2001 8:06:38 AM PDT by livius
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To: marshmallow
Nice mouth-filling style, but the core truth's a simple enough statement: The Church is neither west or east or north or south.
13 posted on 10/05/2001 8:09:36 AM PDT by Romulus
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To: Rightwing Conspirator1
The Huns were animists. They believed in the spirits of trees and rocks. They worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator. They were in short much like the tree huggers of today.
15 posted on 10/05/2001 8:54:50 AM PDT by Deacon_m
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To: marshmallow

. . . "Islam did not forget." . . .

Good Post . . . bottomline . . . before it is all over . . . we (West) will be at WAR with all of Islam.

Through a retun to Islamic fundalmentalism, Arabic leaders are able to solidify power by kindling a hatred of the West. This hatred of the West is relatively easy to insight . . . (The Roots of Muslim Rage) . . . a very good read, BTW.

EXERPTS: "If the fighters in the war for Islam, the holy war "in the path of God," are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God. And since God is in principle the sovereign, the supreme head of the Islamic State -- and the Prophet and, after the Prophet, the caliphs are his vicegerents -- then God as sovereign commands the army."

"What is truly evil and unacceptable is the domination of infidels over true believers. For true believers to rule misbelievers is proper and natural, since this provides for the maintenance of the holy law, and gives the misbelievers both the opportunity and the incentive to embrace the true faith. But for misbelievers to rule over true believers is blasphemous and unnatural, since it leads to the corruption of religion and morality in society, and to the flouting or even the abrogation of God's law. This may help us to understand the current troubles in such diverse places as Ethiopian Eritrea, Indian Kashmir, Chinese Sinkiang, and Yugoslav Kossovo, in all of which Muslim populations are ruled by non-Muslim governments."

"For vast numbers of Middle Easterners, Western-style economic methods brought poverty, Western-style political institutions brought tyranny, even Western-style warfare brought defeat. It is hardly surprising that so many were willing to listen to voices telling them that the old Islamic ways were best and that their only salvation was to throw aside the pagan innovations of the reformers and return to the True Path that God had prescribed for his people".

"There is something in the religious culture of Islam which inspired, in even the humblest peasant or peddler, a dignity and a courtesy toward others never exceeded and rarely equalled in other civilizations. And yet, in moments of upheaval and disruption, when the deeper passions are stirred, this dignity and courtesy toward others can give way to an explosive mixture of rage and hatred which impels even the government of an ancient and civilized country -- even the spokesman of a great spiritual and ethical religion -- to espouse kidnapping and assassination, and try to find, in the life of their Prophet, approval and indeed precedent for such actions."

FReegards . . .

16 posted on 10/05/2001 9:25:06 AM PDT by gatorman
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To: Deacon_m
Old New Agers is what they were.
17 posted on 10/05/2001 9:36:26 AM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: gatorman
Something I ran across the other day

An Arab Moment of Truth
Which way the Islamist fantasy?
By David Pryce-Jones
From the October 15, 2001, issue of National Review

The conflict that has now erupted has been gathering for a long time. Its roots lie deep in history. To be brief and blunt, the Muslim world has never known exactly how to respond to the West, whether to adopt its values or to reject them. A logic arises: The West is powerful; power is arrogant; we are proud people; therefore we must overpower and humble the West. False as the logic is, it locks in high emotion. It also raises for Muslims an existential question of identity: What sort of people do we think we are?
For the past half century and more, the Muslim world has been free and independent, with every opportunity to organize as it wishes. And this is the heart of the issue: The Muslim world is a political and social disaster for all to see. With the arguable exception of Turkey, it consists of a series of despotisms, each with an absolute ruler whose ultimate justification is his strength and will. A family or a clique gathers around the ruler under the protection of the state apparatus of secret police and military repression. To the powerful, the spoils; to the weak, submission. No rights, no freedom of expression, no loyal opposition, no rule of law, no redress except through violence, conspiracy, a coup, and ultimate civil war.

Whose fault is this? The huge majority of Muslims understand that they are responsible for themselves. They know what they have to put up with. Describing the daily corruption and injustices of despotism, they ask the aching question, "What can we do?" Muhammad Haikal was once the spokesman of Gamal Abdul Nasser, the ruler who set Egypt back for decades. Haikal was no friend of the West either, but he could write: "The Arab and Muslim world is completely naked. [None of us] can claim any more that he is independent. We have proved we are not modern. We have proved that we are not religious in the real sense of the word. We have proved that we cannot afford democracy." Today Ahmad Bishara, a prominent Kuwaiti, says that Arabs and Muslims "should engage in deep soul-searching" about their institutions and culture.

To write like that requires protection at the highest level, as well as personal courage. There are such men, and women too. It is a moving experience to sit in rooms and cafés in Cairo or Beirut, and even Gaza and Ramallah, and listen to their clear and rational analyses of the faults of their society. They are the equivalent of Soviet dissidents in the old days, and if there is hope for the Muslim and Arab world, it lies in their example. Like Soviet dissidents, they are only saying what almost everyone knows to be the truth. For most Muslims have answered the existential question for themselves the way the populations under Soviet rule did: They want what those in the Free World have.

Muslims by the millions already live in the West, wherever they can find refuge and opportunity. This in itself defies the doctrine of Islam, whereby Muslims are prohibited from living among unbelievers. Muslim publications abroad make it clear that integration is under way, bringing with it problems — all soluble — concerning dating of non-Muslims, rejection of arranged marriages, correct manners in a multicultural society. The news reaching home countries confirms that life in the West is good. With the news comes money for medicine and education. Jamia'at Ulema-e-Islam is one of the most extreme Islamic movements in Pakistan, and its leader — a ferocious old man with a white beard — is currently summoning the faithful onto the streets to overthrow the government of President Musharraf and launch a holy war. But two of his sons are studying in the United States. He says that they will be better able to understand their enemy. This humbug reveals the inner ambiguity common to his kind. He knows, and we know, that he is supplying them with a brighter future, as any father would.

In the first months of 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran. He was a Muslim equivalent of Lenin. He gave a quite different answer to the existential question of Muslim identity. Muslim society was a failure, he concurred with secular critics like Haikal, and one cause of this was the people's abandonment of their faith. Islam had made its believers great and powerful in centuries past, and it would do so again. But there was another overriding cause of the general backsliding. Over the long term, Khomeini held, the West had had the cunning and deliberate intention of destroying Islam. Why the West would have such a wanton and malign ambition he did not explain. But he crystallized a mindset with revolutionary implications: Muslims were not responsible for their plight, it was all the fault of the West, to be rectified by war.

So mosques in Iran, and then elsewhere, began to resound with cries that America was the Great Satan, and crowds burned the Stars and Stripes. The emotional logic hardened into a series of syllogisms: Islam is righteous; America is imperialist; therefore unrighteous America is uprooting Islam. Or again: Good Muslims must kill Jews; America helps Jews; therefore America is killing good Muslims. Yet again: America is arrogant; Muslims are proud; therefore suicide bombers are giving America what she deserves.

A fantasy is loose in the world, the fantasy of an Islamic supremacy destined deservedly to triumph everywhere. Like Communism before it, this Islamic fantasy aims to impose its vision on others — and call it peace. In an unexpected form, here is another totalitarian movement with the usual murderous belief that the ends justify the means. Latching on to local or regional issues everywhere, Islamic supremacy has been developing its cause: condemning Salman Rushdie to death for supposed apostasy; holding Americans hostage in Teheran; killing Marines in Beirut; sponsoring suicide bombers; threatening pro-Western rulers in Muslim countries with assassination and civil war; preparing for the genocide of Jews in Israel. The false syllogisms of the Islamist mindset have hardened into axioms supporting one outrage after another. As in the old Soviet Union, everything political becomes a metaphor for war and apocalypse. If there is no room for Muslims, the extremists declare with passion, then there is no room for anybody else either. This failure of intellect could hardly be more complete.

Except for one thing: The Left throughout the West picks it up and fans it. Demonstrations against President Bush and his response to the suicide attacks have occurred in most major cities of Europe. In the media, even in the United States, people have jumped forward to blame the suicide attacks on America and its policies, rather than on the actual terrorist perpetrators. Here comes Susan Sontag, for example, to sneer that this attack on "the world's self-proclaimed superpower" was as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions." Barbara Foley of Rutgers University believes that America's "fascist foreign policy" over many decades is to blame for the attack. Harold Pinter, playwright of the absurd, writes to the press to say that it is President Bush who is fanning the flames of intolerance.

The Taliban exemplify the Islamist fantasy. They are tribalists of a medieval brutality. They forbid women to have an education or a job, and bury a woman suspected of adultery up to her shoulders before stoning her to death. They kill suspected homosexuals by collapsing walls onto them. They have driven millions of desperate fellow Afghans into exile, and leave the remainder to face destitution and starvation. Their honored accomplice is Osama bin Laden, who for the last ten years or so has been telling everyone who can listen that the United States is the source of all wickedness and he intends to destroy it.

The Left blamed the United States for the Cold War and the division of Europe, and for unrest in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere. Whatever happened, the Soviet Union was innocent and peace-loving. This same Left — in the Sontags and Pinters, these same people — follows an unbroken line in its attitude towards extremists in the Arab and Muslim world. Happy to leave millions at the mercy of Communism, they are happy to leave millions at the mercy of Islamist terror, so lining themselves up as ever on the side of oppression and lies. Their intellectual failure probably does not matter much here, where long exposure has shown that their opinions have foundations in psychopathology rather than reality. But it plays well in extremist circles, where assorted fanatics can now say, Look, the West is wicked, their intellectuals tell us so.

In the event of liberation from the general Islamist fantasy and the suicide bombers in particular, most of the Muslim world will feel a grateful relief that can only surprise and shock the Left as much as the joy of those liberated from Communism did. Should America fail to rescue them for whatever reason, though, Muslims will know that the Islamist fantasy is coming true, and they will have to endure it for a very long time to come.

18 posted on 10/05/2001 9:38:15 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin

. . . "A fantasy is loose in the world, the fantasy of an Islamic supremacy destined deservedly to triumph everywhere." . . .

Thanks, for posting your article. Lots of similar thinking about the Islamic mindset. What is really a problem for those of the Islamic faith that would like to re-examine their teachings and culture - "Today Ahmad Bishara, a prominent Kuwaiti, says that Arabs and Muslims "should engage in deep soul-searching" about their institutions and culture." - is that the Koran is believed to be the word of God by text and to question its authority is death. One of the main reasons you don't see a lot of literature published trying to interpret the Koran . . . just ask S. Rushidie

It will take a major idealogical reversal to get Muslims to engage in any kind of questioning of their culture. And, the extremeists will surely try to kill them if they do.

Another scary issue bothering me quite a bit . . . they are more than willing to committ suicide for their beliefs. They took great pains to live among us, inconspicuously, using our "open society" freedoms against us. We had a difficult time in 'Nam killing the suicide sappers, and, look what hell the Kamikazi pilots besieged upon us in WWII. In fact, they were largely responsible for the decision to use the nukes against mainland Japan. Will we be backed up into that corner again? ? ?

FReegards . . .

19 posted on 10/05/2001 10:06:16 AM PDT by gatorman
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To: Valin
Good article.

Khomeini was a hideous individual with the coldest, cruelest eyes I've ever seen. Bin Laden imitates him, even to his affected physical mannerisms. The quiet, almost inaudible voice, the eyes cast down, the slow almost effeminate hand gestures, the sitting on the floor and the long flowing robes, the sparsity of words.

Far from being a humble man, he's a fake, pretend holy-man wannabee. Except he has a bad habit which he can't kick. Mass-murder.

20 posted on 10/05/2001 10:07:51 AM PDT by marshmallow
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