It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Friday, September 29, 2006

Imagine Catholic-Orthodox Reunification

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Just stop and think about it for a second. Imagine what it would be like if the pope, and ecumenical patriarch signed an agreement ending the 1,000 year schism between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches -- effectively reuniting the two into what the Church once was a thousand years ago -- "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic." Literally overnight, 250,000,000 new members would be added to the Catholic Church as Eastern Rite Catholics, bringing the world Catholic population up from 1 billion to 1.25 billion -- nearly two-thirds of all Christians worldwide. The sign of Christian unity would be the most powerful thing seen in a millennium. The sign of charity would be undeniable and overwhelming. The reunited Catholic and Orthodox churches together, could literally change the face of Christianity overnight. Together they could prove to the world, that authentic Christianity overcomes all obstacles and barriers. Not even the bureaucratic institutions of a thousand years can stop true Christian charity from bringing together separated brethren. Literally overnight, the entire Protestant world would be left dumbfounded. So far the closest thing Protestants have come to ecumenical charity has been the 'World Council of Churches' -- a liberal umbrella organization that has done little to nothing to end denominational boundaries within the Protestant world. In an instant, Evangelicals and Traditional Protestants would be faced with the reality that their denominational and organizational divisions cause scandal to the Body of Christ. They would be forced to reckon with the fact that true Christian charity demands the overcoming of differences by the dispensing of pride, and the discovery of truth. A Catholic-Orthodox reunification would do nothing less than set the stage for Evangelicals and Protestants to begin their journey back toward Catholicism and Orthodoxy...
Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox leaders meeting for the first time in six years said they will continue their efforts to bridge the divide between their ancient branches of Christianity.

About 60 bishops, cardinals and metropolitans convened privately in the Serbian capital from Sept. 18 through Monday to restart the dialogue that broke off in 2000.

The previous talks ruptured over issues including papal authority and Orthodox complaints that Catholics were trying to poach followers in historically Orthodox territory, notably eastern Europe.

The latest meeting focused on writing a text that would serve as a basis to "seek the restoration of full communion" and close the nearly 1,000-year-old rift between the Catholic and the Orthodox, the leaders said in a statement...

read full story here

Europe's Last Hope

Pope Benedict XVI aspires toward the formation of "a renewed European identity," which could offer the world "a contribution of inestimable spiritual and culture heritage," the Vatican's new Secretary of State has told a group of academic figures.

In a message to the 5th European Symposium for university professors, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that the new European identity should be constructed on the basis of "a humanism that is rational and open to the revelation of Jesus Christ, tolerant but steadfast in its ethical principles."

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: All that remains to be seen now is if European youth will take the pope up on this challenge. The youth really are the key to Europe's future, as the older generations are all but lost to atheistic secularism. If the new EU is going to survive the 21st century, without a Muslim takeover, it's going to have to return to its Christian roots. The only way that's going to happen is if European youth do it on their own -- apart from parental guidance for the most part. It's sad but true.

Gay Activists Show Their True Colors

A family displaying signs opposing homosexuality on their front lawn have been the target of accelerating harassment by homosexual activists, culminating in a Klu Klux Klan type of blazing fire started in their front yard in the middle of the night, Focus on the Family’s Citizen Link reported yesterday.

Christina Sewall woke up about 2 a.m. in her Colorado Springs home to discover a large bonfire on her front lawn, started by a man caught clearly on a video camera set up in the window of the home. The police have called it a hate crime, the latest in a series of increasing threats and vandalism since the Sewalls first set up the innocuous images as part of an ad campaign by Focus on the Family Action.

The simple ads show a dog silhouette with the caption “woof” and the web address No-Moo-lies.com--the ads are intended to counter an ad campaign to raise support for homosexual domestic partnerships on the November ballot, according to Citizen Link, which show a dog with the caption “moo,” intended to represent the “difference” of homosexuality...

read full story here

Arnold Schwarzenegger Trying to Redeem Himself

The last two "sexual indoctrination" bills approved by the California Legislature that made up a "triple threat" to families have been vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Capitol Resource Institute confirmed last night.

The bills, AB 606 and AB 1056, were part of a trio pushed forward by homosexual activists in the state's lawmaking body this year, and would have forced a pro-'gay' agenda into all of the state's public schools, officials said.

"This is a victory for California families," said Karen England, chief of the CRI. "Due to the public outcry over these outrageous attacks on students with moral beliefs, the governor vetoed all three. This proves that when citizens who care about protecting their religious and moral beliefs speak out, we can make a huge difference."

read full story here

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Religious Rights Bill Moves To Senate

The passage of the Public Expression of Religion Act in the House yesterday makes one step closer toward ensuring fewer attacks on religious freedoms in the United States, religious-rights groups say. The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote.

“The bill would require that parties in establishment-clause cases take responsibility for their own legal fees, thus making it more difficult for the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and others to collect large sums of money in attorney’s fees when they win,” said Catholic League president Bill Donohue. “If the bill were to become law, it would go a long way towards ending the intimidation tactics of these bullies.”

Donohue also contrasted this effort to gain more religious rights for Christians and Jews with the success that accused Muslim terrorists have had in obtaining religious rights at Guantanamo....

read full story here

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Public Schools Are Unsafe For Our Children

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: With gang violence, drugs, alcohol, bullies, and school shootings threatening our children; we now have yet another predator to worry about. (And here you thought the sex-abuse cover-up episode in the Catholic Church was a scandal? You ain't seen nothing yet.) The mainstream media only reports the most bizarre cases of sex-abuse in our public schools. It's not even the tip of the iceberg. The government as unearthed a massive ongoing cover-up in school districts across the United States. Our public schools are beyond repair folks, and it's only going to get worse, not better. Can there be any doubt now that this nation needs a comprehensive school voucher program? How long will the American people continue to subject our children to this stuff? Our nation's education policy could accurately be described as nothing less than reckless child endangerment....

What's really behind today's epidemic of teacher-student sex?

The seemingly endless stream of reports of female school teachers having sex with their underage male students – a storyline titillating to some but profoundly disturbing to most – is one of today's most sensational news stories.

In fact, a recent, federally funded study concludes the problem of school teachers molesting students dwarfs in magnitude the clergy sex-abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.

Now, in a groundbreaking investigation, the newest edition of WND's elite monthly Whistleblower magazine – titled "PREDATORS: What's really behind today's epidemic of teacher-student sex?" – unveils what's really behind this troubling new phase in the "sexual revolution."

"This Whistleblower edition goes way beyond the sensationalism of these stories," says WND Managing Editor David Kupelian, author of "The Marketing of Evil." "Our report shines a thousand-watt spotlight on this sexual epidemic and reveals the real dynamics behind it. It's an amazing story full of mind-boggling information and insights."

For instance:

Did you know that some judges do not consider statutory rape a crime?

When 43-year-old teacher Pamela Diehl-Moore tearfully pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old male student, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Bruce A. Gaeta sentenced her to probation, saying: "I really don't see the harm that was done here and certainly society doesn't need to be worried. I do not believe she is a sexual predator. It's just something between two people that clicked beyond the teacher-student relationship. … And don't forget, this was mutual consent "

Did you know that many of the offending teachers don't see anything wrong with what they're doing, and that some actually end up being rewarded for their behavior?

Mary Kay Letourneau, after serving time in prison for "child rape," got a $200,000 advance on a book deal (titled "Only One Crime, Love"), had a TV movie made about her life, and received a reported $750,000 from a tabloid TV show for the video footage of her 2004 wedding to the schoolboy she had seduced years earlier.

Do you know how prevalent teacher sexual exploitation of students actually is, according to experts?

According to a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education – by far the most in-depth investigation to date – millions of children might be victims of sexual misconduct by teachers or other public school employees. In fact, says the study's author, Charol Shakeshaft, professor of educational administration at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., the figures suggest "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."

read full story here

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pope and Gandhi on Same Page About Islam

...Undaunted by the attack on Pope Benedict, the head of the Orthodox Church of Greece told the faithful in Athens that Christians in Africa were suffering from fanatic Islamists. He said Roman Catholic monks were being assassinated by Muslim fanatics.

But as I said earlier, none of this is new. Following the assassination of Swami Shraddhanand at the hands of a Muslim fanatic in December, 1926, Mahatma Gandhi had said: "Mussalmans have an ordeal to pass through. There can be no doubt that they are too free with the knife and the pistol. The sword is an emblem of Islam. But Islam was born in an environment where the sword was, and still remains, the supreme law. The message of Jesus has proved ineffective because the environment was unready to receive it. So with the message of the Prophet. The sword is yet too much in evidence among the Mussalmans. It must be sheathed if Islam is to be what it means - peace." This was 80 years ago.

Going by the statements of the Pope and many others, it appears as if time has stood still. Nothing has happened between 1926 and 2006 which would warrant us to say that Gandhi's view on Islam is now irrelevant. On the other hand, the cumulative effect of much of what has happened in the world and in our sub-continent in these intervening years has only reinforced this view...

read full story here

Monday, September 25, 2006

Conservative Christians Hope to Re-Energize Republican Base

"At the grass roots, among ordinary people, the enthusiasm is not there, and unless that changes in the next five or six weeks, the Republicans aren't going to make it." Conservative Christian organizers are reaching for ways to turn out voters this November, including arguing that recognizing same-sex marriage could also limit religious freedom....

read full story here

Islam Needs A 'Pope' Of Its Own

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Here we have a diagnosis of what's wrong with Islam. It's the best one I've seen in quite a while. I came to a similar conclusion myself about a year ago. The full article is well worth the read...

Mehmed VI: Last of the Sultans...What might be called the Muslim Protestant Reformation began with the demise of the closest thing the Muslim world had to a Catholic Church: the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately, unlike the church, which was strong enough to fight back, the "Sick Man of Europe" just up and died, ceding the battlefield to zealots. Without the push-and-pull that birthed Western social compromise, Islam simply replaced religious authoritarianism with religious totalitarianism. Tellingly, Lebanon, which endured years of religious civil war, is an exception to this dynamic in the Arab world.

Today, Islam is chockablock with Muslim Luthers claiming to have a monopoly on the Quran's true meaning. Murderers can shop around for a fatwa endorsing the most horrific — and technically un-Islamic — barbarism like junkies searching for a corrupt doctor with a prescription pad for hire.

No, what the Muslim world needs is a pope. Large, old institutions such as the Catholic Church have the "worldliness" to value flexibility and tolerance, and the moral and theological authority to clamp down on those who see compromise as heresy. Pope Clement XIV's famous, or infamous, suppression of Jesuits in 1773 might be an example of both qualities. The Ottoman Empire played a similar, if imperfect, role before its demise. In its absence, Islamic Lilliputians run amok. Ironically, Muslims don't want this divisiveness. The jihadists strive to restore the caliphate as an Islamist thousand-year Reich. But even the moderates long for unity among the Islamic nations. They might one day forge the sort of compromise we in the West reached, but the road map there isn't well illuminated by our past...

read full story here

The 'Apocalypse' Is Coming


...He [Mel Gibson] presented a work-in-progress screening of his Mayan adventure tale, and then took questions. About one-third of the full house gathered for the film gave him a standing ovation. The film is scheduled for a December 8 release via Disney.

In describing its portrait of a civilization in decline, Gibson said, "The precursors to a civilization that's going under are the same, time and time again," drawing parallels between the Mayan civilization on the brink of collapse and America's present situation. "What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"...

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: While I'm not sure if I agree with Mel's example, I do agree with his assertion. America is on the decline, and unless our society returns to its Christian roots, it cannot be revived. I predict 'Apocalypto' will be a box-office smash, similar to the "Passion." You can view trailers to 'Apocalypto' here: http://apocalypto.movies.go.com/

Pope Resets Christian-Muslim Dialog On His Own Terms

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: In a word, the pope's new term could be described as "reciprocity." Dialog simply isn't possible when Muslims insist on persecuting Christians in Islamic countries. Because there is no justification for violence in the name of religion. That being said, dialog MUST go forward, and in order to make that happen, Muslims MUST reform their faith...

Pope Benedict XVI told Muslim diplomats Monday that Christians and Muslims must work together to guard against intolerance and violence as he sought to soothe anger over his recent remarks about Islam.

The pontiff also quoted from his predecessor, John Paul II, who had close relations with the Muslim world, calling for "reciprocity in all fields," including religious freedom. Benedict spoke in French to diplomats from 21 countries and the Arab League in his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome...

..."The Holy Father stated his profound respect for Islam. This is what we were expecting," Iraqi envoy Albert Edward Ismail Yelda said as he left the 30 minute meeting. "It is now time to put what happened behind and build bridges."

Al-Jazeera, the Arab-language broadcaster, carried the pope's speech live...

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I think this who flap over the pope's comments in Germany was actually planned. Granted, I think the reactions were a little bigger than he expected, but nevertheless, they were anticipated. Benedict is trying to break open some new ground here, and he knows that can't happen unless things get shaken up a little. If Muslims had pounded the pope into submission, than we would have seen a direct apology for actually uttering the words he did. But Benedict has made no such apology. Instead he's apologized for "the reaction" and for "being misunderstood." Essentially he's apologizing for Muslim behavior, not for his comments that incited it. This is why some Muslims do not accept his "apology" because they know it isn't one, and even our mainstream media here in the west can see that.

Pope Benedict XVI is trying to provoke Muslims to change by chiding them a little. He knows perfectly well what the consequences of that will be. It's already cost the life of one nun in Somalia. Before it's over, the pope may pay with his own life. I think he knows this, and he's willing to die for the cause if necessary. Could it be that the Church will soon see its first papal martyr in over a millennium?

His remarks were necessary, and they were true. They don't have to be true, and only Muslims hold the power to make them untrue, but for now they are true. Islam and the West are currently set for a conflagration the likes of which the world has never seen. Some Islamic nations have set themselves on a course toward a conflict which they cannot win, and will only result in the slaughter of millions (perhaps tens of millions) of Muslim souls. The Muslims world is like a freight train steaming toward a cliff, while Benedict bravely stands on the tracks ahead of it, waving and flagging for it to stop before it's too late.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pope's Controversial Speech: Explaining the Real Message

As the furor over Benedict XVI and Islam died down, people started to realize that the Pope was a victim of phrases taken out of context and reactions deliberately inflamed. In fact, this was what many Church officials and prelates were saying from the start.

Rather than being an attack on Islam, "What emerges clearly from the Holy Father's discourses is a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom,'" noted Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi on Sept. 14. The Jesuit explained that the Pope was criticizing modern culture for trying to exclude religion.

"A reason which is deaf to the divine," concluded the Pontiff in his Sept. 12 address at the University of Regensburg, "and which relegates religion to the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."

Given this, the followers of an irreligious modern mentality had far more reason to be irritated with the Pope than anyone else, a fact that probably explains the extreme hostility of a New York Times editorial against the Holy Father published Sept. 16.

In a statement issued that same day, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone pointed out that Benedict XVI in his Regensburg address was speaking to a group of academics and was simply using a text by Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, which the Pope made clear was not his own opinion. The quotation was a way to introduce a series of reflections. This approach was not understood by many in a media culture that relies on 5-second sound bites to convey messages.

For that reason, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, recommended that people "read well" the Pope's text. Interviewed by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Sept. 15, the cardinal explained that if Muslims were to read and meditate on the text they would understand that, far from being an attack, it is rather "an outstretched hand." This is so because the Holy Father defended the value of religion for humanity, and Islam is one of the world's great religions.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the vicar of Rome, also insisted on the value of the Pope's discourse. His words came in the opening address Monday to a meeting of the Permanent Council of the Italian bishops' conference. A central point made by Pope during his trip to Bavaria, explained Cardinal Ruini, was that through faith in that God, man's reason and freedom find their higher and authentic fulfillment. In this context the Pope in his speech at Regensburg proposed a dialogue between cultures and religions -- a dialogue that is increasingly urgent.

Support for this dialogue also came from Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. bishops' conference. "Given the circumstances of the last week," he said in a statement published Wednesday, "it is clear that dialogue is essential between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue in which we respect, in the words of the Holy Father, 'what is sacred for others.'"'

read full story here

One More Reason To Keep Your Kids Out Of Public Schools

WASHINGTON – Even though student molestations seem to be reaching epidemic proportions in schools across America, the House of Representatives has approved a tough new anti-drug and anti-weapon law that would require local districts to develop search policies – including strip searches – with immunity against prosecution for teachers and staff.

Schools would have to develop policies for searching students, or face the loss of some federal funding, under the bill – HR 5295, approved by a voice vote Tuesday. It moves to the Senate, which does not have similar legislation pending at this time...

read full story here

Saturday, September 23, 2006

London Censors Free Speech

Evangelical detained for distributing Biblical passages that condemn homosexuality

London, Sep. 13, 2006 (CNA) - The national director the Evangelical organization Christian Voice, Stephen Green, was detained recently and charged with “threatening, abusive or insulting behavior” after allegedly refusing to stop handing out pamphlets with Biblical passages condemning homosexuality to people arriving at a gay "Mardi Gras" celebration.

The leaflets he was handing out were entitled "Same-sex love, same-sex sex: What does the Bible say?"

Police officials admitted the Evangelical leader had been detained for distributing the pamphlets which they said angered the Minority Support Unit of Wales...

read full story here

Friday, September 22, 2006

New Banner! Show Your Support For The Pope!

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Secret Archives Reveal W.W.II Pope Opposed Nazis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Documents now available from the Vatican Secret Archives will allow scholars to rewrite history and erase claims the church was not a staunch opponent of Nazism, fascism and other forms of totalitarianism, said a Jesuit historian.

Jesuit Father Giovanni Sale, historian of the Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica, said documents relating to the 1922-1939 pontificate of Pope Pius XI will have an impact on political and religious history.

What emerges is an even clearer picture of the church as being "steadfast in the fight against totalitarianism, against fascism, against Nazism, but also against communism," he said in a Sept. 18 interview with Vatican Radio...

read full story here

Democrats Propose 'Pro-Life' Legislation

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Just six days after a group of Democrats from the House of Representatives announced legislation aimed at reducing the number of abortions in the United States, a second bill with the same goal was presented by another House Democrat.

The proposed legislation, Pregnant Women Support Act, was unveiled during a Sept. 20 press conference on Capitol Hill by Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn.

The bill has the support of the U.S. Catholic bishops, unlike the similar legislative proposal, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act, announced Sept. 14 by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. The newest legislative proposal does not include expanded contraception access, a component of Ryan's proposal which drew objections from the U.S. bishops' pro-life spokeswoman...

read full story here

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Western Media Sees Wisdom in Pope's Controversial Speech

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Amazingly, it would seem the western world is starting to "get it" when it comes to understanding (and agreeing with) the pope's message of peace and reason to Islam. Even those liberal rags (called "newspapers") are publishing opinion editorials praising the pope for his courage and his clarity....

- From the L.A. Times, this peice by George Weigel
- From the Wall Street Journal, this column, and this one.
- From the Associated Press, we have this.
- From the New York Times we have this peice
- While the London Times has this to say

Former Anglican Head Agrees With Pope About Islam

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.

Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.

“We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.”

Lord Carey’s address came as the man who shot and wounded the last Pope wrote to Pope Benedict XVI to warn him that he was in danger. Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to murder John Paul II in 1981 and is now in prison in Turkey, urged the Pope not to visit the country in November....

read full story here

Muslims Vow Jihad Against All Christians

Muslims in Hamas-controlled Gaza have formed an ad hoc terrorist group promising to attack Christian targets to avenge the Pope’s choice of a quotation insinuating that Islam is prone to violence.

The group, which calls itself the “Army of guidance,” sent an announcement to news agencies based in Gaza saying that “every place relevant to Christians will be a target until the cursed infidel – the Vatican – apologizes to Muslims.”

Hardline Islamic groups were offended by the Pope’s citing of a Byzantine emperor who criticized Islam’s founder Mohammad’s command to spread Islamic faith by the sword...

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Translation from Muslim world to all Christians; "Because your pope insinuated our religion is violent, we will now prove you wrong by killing you." Meanwhile, so-called "moderate Muslims" remain silent across the globe, criticizing Christians for "anti-Muslim" behavior, rather than terrorists for violence within their own religion. The following is from the 'Council on American-Islamic Relations,' which is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group...

...In 2004, CAIR processed a total of 1,522 incident reports of civil rights cases compared to 1,019 cases reported to CAIR in 2003. This constitutes a 49 percent increase in the reported cases of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment from 2003 and marks the highest number of Muslim civil rights cases ever reported to CAIR in our eleven year history.

In addition, CAIR received 141 reports of actual and potential violent anti-Muslim hate crimes, a 52 percent increase from the 93 reports received in 2003...

...Although not a scientific study, there are several factors which may have contributed to the increase in total number of reports to CAIR over the past year. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. An ongoing and lingering atmosphere of fear since the September 11 attacks against American Muslims, Arabs and South Asians;
  2. The growing use of anti-Muslim rhetoric by some local and national opinion leaders;
  3. Local Muslim communities, through the opening of new CAIR chapters and regional offices, now have more mechanisms to monitor and report incidents to CAIR at the grassroots level;
  4. Following the infamous legacy of the USA PATRIOT Act, other federal legislation and policies which severely infringe on the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans continue to be passed;
  5. Increased public awareness about civil liberties and the impact of federal law enforcement initiatives on constitutional and civil rights.
In our conclusion, CAIR recommends that further congressional inquiries, inspector general reports from federal agencies and impact litigation continue to be used to ensure that the civil and legal rights of all Americans are never placed in jeopardy again.

read source here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:
Though the violence against Muslim Americans is reprehensible, and those responsible should be prosecuted, I think there might be another reason why things have allegedly gotten worse for Muslims in the USA. Might I suggest the reason is because of a perceived (albeit often erroneous) connection Muslim Americans have with Muslims worldwide? The increased incidences of terrorism, and anti-western riots, as well as acts of blatant aggression like the type seen in Lebanon, have all contributed to the carcinogenic view most Americans now have of Islam in general. Naturally, Muslim Americans will be the first to suffer from this perception.

Unfortunately, a lot of this is human nature, and cannot be avoided no matter how much pro-Muslim "education" or "propaganda" (depending on how you look at it) is put out on the streets. There is, however, a simple solution to this whole problem that could potentially change the perception of American Muslims in a positive way forever. The solution is for American Muslims to get radical themselves -- radical for peace! If American Muslims were to shift the focus of their religious efforts toward regular demonstrations promoting peace and tolerance of non-Muslims, and against the violent tendencies of jihad (terrorism), this would capture the attention of most Americans. Indeed, many Christians and Jews might even be inclined to join them in these rallies. (How about some American Muslim demonstrations supporting the pope?) If American Muslims got out in front of the problem, rather than complaining about it, they could change the world for the better. But alas, I don't think we should hold our breath. One of the reasons why the radicals have taken over the religion is because the moderates aren't as passionate about Islam as they are. The radicals are willing to kill and die for their understanding of Islam. While the moderates have difficulty coordinating their resources and even getting their message out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vatican Instructs Faithful Citizens to Dismantle The Welfare State

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Government is not God! At least that's the main message driving this principle (subsidiarity) of the Vatican's 'Compendium of the Social Doctrine.' All too often, people (including Catholics) confuse charity with socialism. The Vatican has called us all out on the carpet on this one. Massive government welfare programs, that cause people to become totally dependant on the system, are intrinsicly evil. They are immoral and violate the Church's social doctrine of "subsidiarity."

187. The principle of subsidiarity protects people from abuses by higher-level social authority and calls on these same authorities to help individuals and intermediate groups to fulfil their duties. This principle is imperative because every person, family and intermediate group has something original to offer to the community. Experience shows that the denial of subsidiarity, or its limitation in the name of an alleged democratization or equality of all members of society, limits and sometimes even destroys the spirit of freedom and initiative.

The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to certain forms of centralization, bureaucratization, and welfare assistance and to the unjustified and excessive presence of the State in public mechanisms. “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending”[400]. An absent or insufficient recognition of private initiative — in economic matters also — and the failure to recognize its public function, contribute to the undermining of the principle of subsidiarity, as monopolies do as well.

In order for the principle of subsidiarity to be put into practice there is a corresponding need for: respect and effective promotion of the human person and the family; ever greater appreciation of associations and intermediate organizations in their fundamental choices and in those that cannot be delegated to or exercised by others; the encouragement of private initiative so that every social entity remains at the service of the common good, each with its own distinctive characteristics; the presence of pluralism in society and due representation of its vital components; safeguarding human rights and the rights of minorities; bringing about bureaucratic and administrative decentralization; striking a balance between the public and private spheres, with the resulting recognition of the social function of the private sphere; appropriate methods for making citizens more responsible in actively “being a part” of the political and social reality of their country.

188. Various circumstances may make it advisable that the State step in to supply certain functions[401]. One may think, for example, of situations in which it is necessary for the State itself to stimulate the economy because it is impossible for civil society to support initiatives on its own. One may also envision the reality of serious social imbalance or injustice where only the intervention of the public authority can create conditions of greater equality, justice and peace. In light of the principle of subsidiarity, however, this institutional substitution must not continue any longer than is absolutely necessary, since justification for such intervention is found only in the exceptional nature of the situation. In any case, the common good correctly understood, the demands of which will never in any way be contrary to the defence and promotion of the primacy of the person and the way this is expressed in society, must remain the criteria for making decisions concerning the application of the principle of subsidiarity.

read full compendium of the social docrine

Top Catholic & Orthodox Clerics Discuss End To 1,000 Year Schism

Top Roman Catholic and Orthodox clerics declared Monday the time has come to heal the rifts between the two churches and to seek unity.

Sixty top Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox clerics gathered for a week in Belgrade, Serbia, to renew theological dialogue this week, after talks broke off six years ago.

"East and West have been estranged from each other since the 11th century," said Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas, according to The Associated Press. The schism of 1054 created the two churches of Rome and Constantinople - now Istanbul, Turkey.

"It is time to recover the ancient unity,” he reportedly said, adding that, because of the new political reality in Europe, East and West must now also meet on the political level...

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: This is truly great news. Let's hope and pray something substantial comes out of it this time. The Church needs unity, and the Eastern Orthodox are the most likely candidates for a reasonable reunification in the near future -- mainly because their beliefs and sacraments are virtually the same as ours. Satan's strategy has always been to divide and conquer, and one reason why Islam has had such success over the last millennium is precisely because of the division between eastern and western Christianity.

Catholic Church Sets New National Standard For Protection Of Children

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It's nice to get some good news on this topic for a change....
The U.S. Catholic Church's response to its child sexual abuse problem has raised the bar on sex abuse prevention for all U.S. organizations that serve children, said Monica Applewhite, an expert in abuse prevention strategies.

Writing in the Sept. 25 issue of America, a national Catholic magazine published by Jesuits, Applewhite said that when the U.S. bishops issued their "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" in June 2002 "the 'industry standards' for child protection changed."

"Formerly unwritten rules, like not allowing a sexual offender to work with children and defining specific boundaries for ministry relationships, were now clearly articulated -- not just for the Catholic Church, but for everyone," she wrote.

"Numerous churches, schools, camps and other child-serving organizations have implemented sexual abuse prevention programs since 2002, both in response to the publicity of the Catholic sexual abuse cases and in response to the solutions that were defined as a result," she said....

read full story here

Posting Comments Here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: After some consideration, I've decided to enact a rule change for this blog. From now on, only registered users of BLOGGER will be able to post comments here. Registration is free and simple. Just go to www.blogger.com and sign up. The amount of user information required for registration is minimal, and should be no problem.

The reason for this decision is simple. I've looked back over the last year of comments to THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT blog, and I've found that some of the dumbest and most inane comments are posted by users under the "Anonymous" identity feature. I speculate this feature gives some users enough of an illusion of privacy to feel they can write whatever they want, no matter how asinine. An example of this in the most recent blog entry was the last straw. So from now on, users must register with BLOGGER before posting here. I hope this will cut down on some of the stupidity.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ten Reasons Why The West Cannot Defeat The Islamic Threat

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Here is a good article that is sure to scare the hell out of you. If the West does defeat the Islamic threat, than it will only be due to one reason -- divine providence -- because in spite of our prideful arrogance, all the cards are stacked against us folks....

LET US SUPPOSE, for the sake of argument, that the war declared by al-Qaeda and other Islamists is under way. Let us further suppose that thousands of “terrorist” attacks carried out in Islam’s name during the past decades form part of this war; and that conflicts that have spread to 50 countries and more, taking the lives of millions — including in inter-Muslim blood-shedding — are the outcome of what Osama bin Laden has called “conducting jihad for the sake of Allah”.

If such war is under way, there are ten good reasons why, as things stand, Islam will not be defeated in it....

read full story here

So I guess the only thing we can do to help win this conflict is simply repent of our sins and pray hard -- every day.

Papa! Please Don't Go!

Istanbul, Sep. 18, 2006 (CNA) - According to parties on both sides, Pope Benedict XVI’s November trip to Turkey will continue as planned, despite violent reactions on the part of many Muslims to a speech he made last week.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that his government would not block the visit. “As far as we are concerned, there are no changes to the program,” Turkish news service Hürriyet reported...
read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Naturally, my concern is for the pope's safety. The major voices of Islam have made it very clear that they intend to kill him. Unless Turkey withdraws its invitation, I am absolutely sure he will go, simply because that's the kind of man he is. He'll have no regard for his own safety as he attempts to reach out to the Muslim world in peace and love. I just hope the "religion of peace" (Islam) doesn't repay the pope with a bullet to his chest.

Now English Muslims Want to Kill the Pope

A notorious Muslim extremist told a demonstration in London yesterday that the Pope should face execution.

Anjem Choudary said those who insulted Islam would be "subject to capital punishment".

His remarks came during a protest outside Westminster Cathedral on a day that worldwide anger among Muslim hardliners towards Pope Benedict XVI appeared to deepen....

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: For relevant Muslim leaders, no papal apology is good enough. These people are bent on violence, and all they need is an excuse to find a target. The recent Islamic furor over papal comments intended to criticize western secularism has given them the excuse they need to direct their hate toward him. But make no mistake about it. Pope Benedict has become a target of convenience. The real object of their jihad is the world's largest Christian Church -- the Roman Catholic Church. You see, relevant Muslims understand a little truth that alludes most Protestants and Evangelicals. They know if the Catholic Church falls, all the other churches will go down like dominoes. They know the Catholic Church is the "biggest boy on the block" of western Christianity. They know if you take down the "big boy" all the little boys will scatter. So their planned attack on western Christianity begins with Catholicism, and what luck, the pope just happened to make some comments they can twist to drive their Islamic hate machine.

Islamic Leaders Declare Total War On Catholics

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Ah yes, the "religion of peace" (Islam) sets the coarse for the new Millenium -- a thousand years of darkness...

Al Qaeda militants in Iraq vowed war on "worshippers of the cross" and protesters burned a papal effigy on Monday over Pope Benedict's comments on Islam, while Western churchmen and statesmen tried to calm passions.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei joined a chorus of Muslim criticism of the head of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, calling the Pope's remarks "the latest chain of the crusade against Islam started by America's (George W.) Bush."

The Pontiff said on Sunday he was deeply sorry Muslims had been offended by his use of a medieval quotation on Islam and holy war. But he stopped short of retracting a speech seen as portraying Islam as a religion tainted by violence....

read full story here

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Democrats Say "More Condoms = Less Abortions"

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced legislation Sept. 14 that they say will reduce the number of abortions in the country, but the bill's emphasis on expanded contraception access has already drawn objections from the U.S. bishops' pro-life spokeswoman.

The proposed Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act was announced during a news conference in the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, are the lead sponsors of the bill aiming to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and assist new parents.

Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information for the bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, told Catholic News Service Sept. 15 she objects to the legislation's emphasis on contraception.

She said it is "basically forcing taxpayers to pay for contraception" and said she was also concerned the legislation could "put more pressure on health care providers" to offer contraceptive measures...

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I suppose this is all part of the greater "bring back the Christian vote" campaign by the DNC. So as a solution to the abortion crisis in our nation, the Democrats have offered their own plan, which doesn't outlaw or even restrict abortion in this nation. Instead, the Democrats have offered to flood our public schools with condoms, and try to get every girl in the nation on the pill before she's thirteen -- all at the taxpayer's expense of course.

One good idea the Democrats offered was tax credits for adoptions. Now that's something I can agree with them on! Another good idea is state assistance aimed at helping unexpected parents in having their children without aborting them. Now I realize this would increase the tax burden some, but it would be a tax I would be willing to pay. If the government were to take the position of always leaning toward preserving unborn human life, than the government would inevitably have to pick up the bill for it. That in turn could provide a tremendous incentive for government to do everything within its power to reduce the episodes of unexpected pregnancies among unprepared parents. The problem is in the way the Democrats propose to do this.

The bill would promote a tool many people find unethical (artificial contraception), and most people understand that when you give a kid a condom, you've effectively told him to go out and use it. The bill fails to address the real sources of the problem, which are an over-emphasis on youth sexual activity in our nation, as well as a general cultural trend leading toward the devaluation of human life. In other words; our culture teaches kids to breed like a bunch of little minx, and then 'flush' whatever human life results from that activity. In effect, our national culture encourages a complete mental disconnect between the activity of sex, and the purpose of sex. It's a culture that values sex as an end to a means, rather than a means to an end. It's a culture where children are viewed more as a burden than a blessing.

The solution to the national abortion crisis is to codify the value of unborn human life into law, so that people will be forced to reckon with the fact that unborn babies are not disposable commodities. The solution is to teach young people that the ultimate purpose of sex is to propagate the species, and repeated engagement in this activity WILL result in that eventuality -- no matter what 'precautions' one takes to prevent it from happening. Mother Nature can find her way around ANY artificial birth control when she wants to. All she needs is enough opportunities to figure it out. Finally, young people need to be taught that unborn babies are real people, who deserve to have a real home, with real parents (a mother and a father) who can care for them and love them. If you can't provide that, then you're not fit to be parents. If you're not fit to be parents, than why are you having sex!?! Now a bill that offered sex-education like that would be a good place to start.

Former Democratic Chairman asks: "Can you be Catholic and a Democrat?"

...So, what is keeping Catholics in the Democratic party, and can they still reconcile their beliefs with the party line?

Carlin said that for the most part Catholics have simply not sat down and connected the dots. They refuse to recognize that Roosevelt and civil rights Democrats no longer have power and that the party has left them.

He also noted that this realization could have happened long ago if there was better clerical leadership, guiding the Catholic conscience a bit more.

As it is, much of the party’s traditional base is slowly eroding, he said. And as Catholics and Black Christians continue to recognize that being a Democrat is not what it used to be, the party will find it more and more difficult to win elections...

read full story here

Has Anything Good Come Out Of Islam?

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn't reflect his personal opinion.

"These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought," Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome.

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Well, those words from Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus may not express the pope's feelings about Islam, but after witnessing what I've just seen over this last week, they are beginning to express mine. So the message we got from the Muslim world this week was this. "You call us violent? Fine, we'll kill your nuns, threaten your pope with death, and vandalize your churches. That will teach you! How dare you call our peaceful religion 'violent!'"

The reactions of the Muslim world this week have demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus was on to something when he wrote: "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."

The 'moderate' Muslims we hear so much about; where are they? I'll tell you where they are. They've gone to the attic of irrelevancy! The radicals have taken over the institutions of their religion completely, and they are powerless to do anything about it. So long as the inmates are running the asylum, the religion of Islam is destined to spiral out of control into a downward cycle of violence and more violence.

I challenge anybody reading this to do just one thing to prove Emperor Paleologus wrong. Besides the excessive use of violence in the name of religion; can you name one thing, just one thing, Islam has given the world that hadn't already been invented by another religion prior to Mohammed? I really would like to know.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cleric Calls Upon Muslims To Kill The Pope

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Ah, the "religion of peace" has officially spoken...

A HARDLINE cleric linked to Somalia's powerful Islamist movement has called for Muslims to "hunt down" and kill Pope Benedict XVI for his controversial comments about Islam.

Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin urged Muslims to find the pontiff and punish him for insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Allah in a speech that he said was as offensive as author Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses.

"We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion," he said in Friday evening prayers....

read full story here

Let this serve as a word of wisdom to all Muslims. If this pope dies, or is harmed, by the hand of a Muslim at any time during his papacy, it will dash all hope of Islam ever being respected in the western world again. Every inch of progress Islam has made in the western world, will be lost in an instant, never to be recovered. This won't be the same as May 13, 1981, when Mehmet Ali Agca (a Muslim) tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II. Back then the violence seemed senseless and unexplainable, besides most people suspected Agca was nothing more than a Soviet patsy. (Those suspicions proved to be true as revealed by CWNews here.) This time, if anything happens, people will know it was the act of a Muslim directed by the religion of Islam. People will know the religion itself is responsible. People will never forget -- ever. It's just a word of wisdom folks, based on my understanding of human nature. If I were a Muslim, I would be praying to Allah five times a day that nothing ever happens to this pope.

"Religion of Peace" Responds with Violence

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Ah yes, the "religion of peace" (Islam) responds to the pope's appeal for peace with violence. Pope Benedict quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus writings which criticized religious violence and forced religious conversions. Within those writings the pope made mention of the following quote: "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." Muslims in Palestine have responded by doing just that. They now bring the "sword" into Christian houses of worship...

NABLUS, West Bank - Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many Muslims. No injuries were reported in the attacks, which left church doors charred and walls pockmarked with bullet holes and scorched by firebombs. Churches of various denominations were targeted...

read full story here

Nobody was hurt -- this time! But we all know what is coming. The "religion of peace" has now left its "sign of peace" on the Church's doorpost.

Papal Apology to Muslims - Well, Sort Of...

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Efforts by rioting Muslims to bully the "infidel" pope into a groveling apology have failed. The Vatican issued a statement that the pope is sorry his words were misunderstood in the Muslim world, but it stopped short of apologizing for the speech itself.

I say good for him! Why should the pope apologize for preaching the truth? His criticism was mainly of Secularism and not of Islam. The citation of an exchange between a Byzantine Emperor and a Persian scholar was simply for illustration sake. (Though I would add the Byzantine Emperor made a good point.) You can't very well expect the pope to apologize for something he didn't do. He never criticized Islam directly, the Byzantine Emperor did, and just because he quoted him doesn't mean he agrees with every single thing that Emperor wrote. If the rioting Muslims have a problem with the words of Emperor Manuel II Paleologus, perhaps they should dig up his skeleton and rattle his bones until they fall apart. At least then they'll be addressing the source of their contention. What are we to make of current protests and demonstrations against the pope? Is the Muslim world effectively telling us that in addition to not criticizing Islam, you can't even cite or quote a person who has criticized Islam in the past? I think that is EXACTLY what the Muslim world is telling us. "No Criticism Of Islam Allowed!" All history of criticism must be erased. You can't even mention the writings of somebody who criticized Islam, even if the author died some 600 years ago. Thus says the "religion of peace."

POPE “SINCERELY REGRETS” THAT HIS WORDS HAVE OFFENDED

Vatican City, Sep. 16, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI regrets that his recent comments have been misinterpreted in an offensive way, thus spurring outrage among many Muslims, according to the Vatican’s Secretary of State. On the second day in his job, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone released a statement clarifying that the Pontiff regards Muslims “respect and esteem,” and calling people to give his remarks a “complete and attentive” reading.

Bertone said that it was necessary to release a statement in addition to the one released by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, due to the reaction by many Muslims to a short passage in the Pope’s recent address at the University of Regensburg. The reaction of the Muslim world has moved from the expression of displeasure by Muslim clerics to the burning of effigies of the Pope and attacks on Christian churches in the Middle East.

The cardinal emphasized that Benedict holds the same position on Islam as the Church expressed in paragraph 3 of the Vatican II document “Nostra Aetate.”...

read full story here

Friday, September 15, 2006

Truth Hurts: Muslim Reaction Proves Pope Was Right


THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Yes, the truth hurts, doesn't it. Of course they're angry. Pope Benedict XVI hit a nerve, and apparently it was a bull’s-eye! The violent reaction to the pope’s appeal to Muslims for peace simply proves the point. Islam has offered nothing new to the world, that hasn't already been invented, except of course for unprecedented violence in the name of religion. If ever there was a time for moderate Muslims to consider a reformation, it is now, that is if moderate Muslims are even capable of sparking one. I seriously doubt it. For years they've stood idly by while their fellow Muslims (of the more radical persuasion) have kidnapped, murdered, terrorized and waged war in the name of Islam. Now they’ve been pushed aside completely, while radicals take over everything that’s left of the once great "religion of peace." So while the pope appeals to Islam for peace, Muslims riot in the streets and call for his death. Their reputation of carrying out their threats leads us to the following story...

The Vatican is seriously concerned at the possibility of acts of violence being staged against the tiny city state situated in the heart of Rome, after a barrage of criticism from Muslims in many countries against Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict's critical remarks earlier in the week about jihad, or Islamic holy war, have been the subject of hostile comment in many Islamic countries.

Security has been discreetly stepped up around and inside the walled Vatican City, although Pope Benedict himself is not in residence there at the moment.

He is resting after his recent trip to Germany at the Papal summer villa at Castelgandolfo, in the Alban Hills 30km (20 miles) from Rome.

The outrage expressed by Muslim clerics and commentators at the Pope's quotation from a 600-year-old book containing the sayings of a Christian emperor of ancient Byzantium appears to have taken Vatican officials by surprise.

The emperor spoke of "the Prophet Muhammad's command 'to spread by the sword the faith he preached'"....

read full story here

How long do we have to wait for the fatwa calling for the pope's assassination? Surly it won't be long now. Doesn't it speak volumes of modern Islam that we all expect it to come so certainly? Doesn't that just epitomize what we've all come to expect of this so-called "religion of peace." I dare say there is no more "religion" left in modern Islam -- only hatred, rage and violence. Oh sure, I know there are still some moderate Muslims left in the world, but seriously, what relevance are they anymore? They're not in control of the religion anymore -- the radicals are! Who's calling the shots these days? The moderates have been pushed aside completely. They are irrelevant. No longer do they have any control over the institutions of the religion. No longer do they make the rules. The reason why they don't stop this madness is plain and simple for all the world to see now. It's because they can't!

The pope was right, and he may not have even realized how profound his remarks were when he made them. (Though I suspect he did.) Exactly what did Pope Benedict say that was so awful, so horrible, that the whole Muslim world now equates him to Hitler? Read his comments for yourself and see...

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by professor Theodore Khoury (Muenster) of part of the dialogue carried on -- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara -- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.

It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Koran, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the "three Laws": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran.

In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point -- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself -- which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason," I found interesting and which can serve as the starting point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 2:256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion." It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under [threat]. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Koran, concerning holy war.

Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels," he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: "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."

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably ("syn logo") 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...."

read full papal address here

The remarks come in the greater context of a criticism against western Secularism -- not Islam. The illustration was made in passing, trying to convey a point. The topic of the address wasn't even about Islam. Yet in this criticism of western Secularism, the Muslim world is unable to tolerate even the mention of criticism (albeit ancient criticism) of the Islamic religion, not even as a passing illustration. The pope's citation of history struck a chord that is resonating with Muslims around the world for one reason and one reason only. It's true! All of it! And deep down inside Muslims know it, or their starting to realize it, and it frightens them. It fighters them enough to resort to violence, and thus fulfill the the very point made in the illustration. But let us not forget that it wasn't Pope Benedict who made this point. It was Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, and he made it some 615 years ago. Muslims aren't angry with the pope for daring to make such a point. They're angry at him for citing somebody else who did. In other words, according to the "peaceful" religion of Islam, a criticism against the religion isn't the only thing that will provoke Muslims to violence. But also the mere mention of somebody else who did the same.

I would like to close this post with a saying attributed to Jesus Christ himself: "all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) I wonder if this saying applies to religions as much as it does to individuals. We know that the fascist radicals who promote Islamic hatred will one day die by the very same kind of violence they spawn. We need look no further than the Taliban in Afghanistan to see an example of that. My question is this. When all this is over, what will become of the so-called "religion of peace" itself? Without violence to spread the faith, will it implode? Can it possibly survive without coercion? Only God knows the answer to that question.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Muslims Outraged At Pope

Muslim religious leaders have accused Pope Benedict XVI of quoting anti-Islamic remarks during a speech at a German university this week.

Questioning the concept of holy war, he quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who said Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things.

A senior Pakistani Islamic scholar, Javed Ahmed Gamdi, said jihad was not about spreading Islam with the sword.

Turkey's top religious official asked for an apology for the "hostile" words.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, police seized copies of newspapers which reported the Pope's comments to prevent any tension.

A Vatican spokesman, Father Frederico Lombardi, said he did not believe the Pope's comments were meant as a harsh criticism of Islam....

read full story here

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Turkey's ruling Islamic-rooted party joined a wave of criticism of Pope Benedict XVI on Friday, accusing him of trying to revive the spirit of the Crusades with remarks he made about the Muslim faith. A Turkish lawmaker said the pontiff would go down in history "in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini" for his words.

Muslim leaders elsewhere in the world also expressed dismay, with Pakistan's parliament unanimously condemning the pope.

The Vatican said the pope did not intend the remarks - made in Germany on Tuesday during an address at a university - to be offensive....

read full story here

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The furore over comments made by Pope Benedict about the Islamic concept of Holy War continues to grow. Today British Muslims joined in, fiercely criticising his remarks.

The pontiff was accused of falling into "the trap of bigots and racists" with the comments he made on a visit to Germany....

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: So they're angry at him for calling it like it is? Did they forget the pope also criticized Secularism in the same speech? Islam has a problem folks. I don't care what Muslims say to try to gloss it over. The Koran condones the killing of "infidels" -- that is non-Muslims -- and this is compounded by the fact that Islam has no central structure of authority to quell radical interpretations. As of late, radicals have been slowly taking over the religion while moderates are either unwilling, or unable, to do anything to stop it. The pope is simply calling a spade a spade, and I applaud him for coming out on the issue so clearly. He appealed to all Muslims, both moderate and radical alike, to reject violence in the name of religion. Now what's so bad about that? What is so horrible about demanding that a religion which calls itself "peaceful," actively work toward promoting peace? Sure, he quoted a medieval critic of Islam, and Islam needs to be criticized, but it's nothing in comparison to the criticism Islam offers to Christianity every day via the Koran and its clerics. If ever a religion should recognize its need for criticism, it is Islam, right here and right now at this juncture in history. Instead, we get outrage. We get anger and demands for apology. Should we really be surprised though? Remember the riots we got over cartoon depictions of Mohammed a few months ago? I saw those cartoons. They were not that bad. I've seen cartoon depictions of Jesus Christ far worse than that. Christians endure constant ridicule by the secular media and Hollywood all of the time. You don't see Christians rioting in the streets. So what does this prove? It proves that more and more, with each passing year, it seems that Islam is either unable, or unwilling, to tolerate any criticism of itself, of any sort, any time or anywhere. With each passing year, Muslims (moderate and radical alike) are viewing Islam with absolute incorruptibility, above reproach, without error, and completely beyond any criticism.

With such a view of Islam, is it any wonder that Muslims would react so viscerally toward anyone who would dare utter a word of criticism against the religion, or how it's practiced? This is the problem the pope is pointing out, but instead of pointing the finger of blame, he instead offers the hand of cooperation. He calls upon all Muslims to reject violence and join him in working for peace. But instead of taking him up on his offer, it seems that most Muslims would rather use rioting and demonstrations to bully the Vatican into an apology from the "infidel" pope who would dare speak a word against their "faultless" and "incorruptible" religion.

Of course, my question is this. What if the pope doesn't give them the apology they demand? What if the pope sticks to his words and holds his ground? Then what? What will the Muslim world do? Will there be riots in the streets? Will they issue a fatwa of jihad against Roman Catholics? Will they attempt to assassinate the pope himself? Who knows. But by the way Muslims have responded to criticism thus far, none of these possibilities seems unlikely. One thing remains certain though. If any harm comes to the pope, by a Muslim, because of these remarks, it will only solidify western opposition to Islam permanently. If I were a Muslim, I would be begging my fellow Muslims to put a sock in it, and I would be praying to Allah that nothing bad ever happens to this pope.

Hollywood to Smear Evangelicals - Again

..."Jesus Camp" shows children in camouflage and prayers about spiritual warfare, militarist imagery that Haggard said most Christian groups stopped using after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"It does represent a small portion of the charismatic movement, but I think it demonizes it," said Haggard, a charismatic Christian who does not usually speak in tongues from the pulpit. "Secularists are hoping that evangelical Christians and radicalized Muslims are essentially the same, which is why they will love this film."

Bob Kobielush, president of the Colorado Springs-based Christian Camp and Conference Association, said "Jesus Camp" distorts the typical Christian camp experience by emphasizing the political and showing little of the outdoors....

read full story here

watch movie clip here

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anglican Talks Yield No Consensus on Homosexuality


Episcopal and Anglican leaders were unable to come to a common agreement on how to move forward with the controversy over homosexuality in the church. A group of leaders had convened at an undisclosed location in New York for a closed meeting this week to address the liberal and conservative divide.

"We could not come to a consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight," read a statement issued this morning on the Anglican Communion News Service.

The three-day meeting, which began on Monday, was held to "review the current landscape of the church in view of the conflicts within the Episcopal Church.” The meeting came at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who had received requests from seven dioceses for a new overseer. The conservative dioceses had made the request in opposition to the increasing support for homosexuality in the U.S. Episcopal Church....

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It sounds like irreconcilable differences to me. Actually this was quite predictable. The head of the Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that position is mainly a figurehead role. He has no real authority to discipline Church leaders outside his own province. So in a very real sense, the Anglican Communion has no means of saving itself from this crisis. For conservative Anglicans here in the Episcopal Church USA, there really are only three options available now....
  1. Join a splinter group in the "Traditional Anglican Communion" (TAC)
  2. Leave Anglicanism altogether and go mainline Protestant, Evangelical or Eastern Orthodox.
  3. Reunify with Rome under the "Anglican Use" pastoral provision, thus preserving one's Anglican roots under the protection of the pope. Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wear Your Mantilla with Pride!


Why Wear the Veil?

In ancient traditions dating back even thousands of years, the “veil” represented purity and modesty in many religions and cultures. A veil, or head covering, is both a symbol and a mystical sacrifice that invites the woman wearing it to ascend the ladder of sanctity.

When a woman covers her head in the Catholic Church it symbolises her dignity and humility before God, not men. It is no surprise women of today have so easily abandoned the tradition of the chapel veil (head covering) when the two greatest meanings of the veil are purity and humility.

The woman who covers her head in the presence of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is reminding herself that she must be humble before God. As with all outward gestures, if it is practised enough it filters down into the heart and is translated into actions that speak volumes. The “veil” covers what the Lord calls, in Holy Scripture, “the glory of the woman”, her hair. Covering her hair is a gesture the woman makes spiritually to “show” God she recognises her beauty is less than His and His Glory is far above hers.

In doing this she is reminded that virtues cannot grow in the soul without a great measure of humility. So she wears the veil to please God and remind herself to practice virtue more ardently.

There is no other piece of clothing a woman may wear to serve this function. The veil symbolically motivates the woman to “bow” her head in prayer, to lower her eyes before the great and mysterious beauty and power of God in the Blessed Sacrament. By the bowing of her head and lowering of her eyes, she is more able to worship God in the interior chapel of her heart and soul.

The veil or head covering a woman wears gives a beautiful sense of dignity to a woman. When she wears it, she identifies herself with God’s greatest creation, the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God. There was none on earth that loved and loves the Lord Jesus more than the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her love, her humility breathed forth like sweet scented incense before God. The veil she wore symbolised her purity, modesty and of course her profound humility and submission before and to God Almighty.

Those women who love Jesus must come to realise the imitation of His Mother in wearing a chapel veil (head covering) and in other virtues is a small sacrifice to make in order to grow in spiritual understanding of purity, humility and love.

The covering of a woman’s head in Church is a striking reminder of modesty, something old but lost in the society of today. Modesty and purity walk hand in hand.

When a woman veils her head she is shielding her heart to be wooed by the love of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is a mystical ‘country’ that only the Eternal Father may enter. Her veil is like the lighted lamps of the virgins waiting for the Bridegroom, an indication that she is prepared to receive Him at a moment’s notice; an aureole of her spiritual love for the Bridegroom. Wearing the veil is an act of love of God.

Why should a woman wear a head covering or veil in church? Not to be praised, not to go along, not for tradition’s sake, not to stand out in the crowd, not because you say or I say or anybody says…But because she loves our Eucharistic Lord Jesus and it is another small sacrifice she may offer for her soul’s sake and for the sake of many souls who have no one to offer for them. Amen.

(Sr Patricia Therese, OPB)

Marylike Standards of Modesty in Dress

  1. Marylike is modesty without compromise, “like Mary”, Christ’s Mother.
  2. Marylike dresses have sleeves extending at least to the elbows (because of impossible market conditions quarter-length sleeves may be tolerated temporarily) and skirts reaching below the knees, even when seated.
  3. Marylike dresses require full coverage for the bodice, chest, shoulders and back, except for a cut-out about the neck not exceeding two inches below the neckline in front and in back, and a corresponding two inches on the shoulders.
  4. Marylike dresses do not admit as modest coverage transparent fabrics – laces, nets, organdy, nylons, etc. – unless sufficient backing is added. However, their moderate use as trimmings is acceptable.
  5. Marylike dresses avoid the improper use of flesh-coloured fabrics.
  6. Marylike dresses conceal rather than reveal the figure of the wearer; they do not emphasise, unduly, parts of the body.
  7. Marylike dresses provide full coverage, even after jacket, cape or stole are removed.

Marylike clothing is designed (as is inherent in the very definition) to clothe the body, not to reveal it. These guidelines, therefore, automatically exclude such fashions as tight sweaters and skirts, sheer blouses and sleeveless dresses. Note that, contrary to the vogue of the last fifty years, men’s attire is not appropriate for women and girls who emulate the modesty and purity of Our Blessed Mother in their dress and demeanour.

Marylike standards of dress are a guide to help instil in the hearts and souls of our youth a “sense of Christian modesty”, that beautiful fruit and flower of holy purity, the awareness of one’s integrity as a Child of God. A young woman who follows these guidelines, and who looks up to Our Lady as her ideal and model in all things, will have no problem with modesty in dress. She will never be an occasion of sin or source of embarrassment or shame to others. On the contrary, she will realise in herself the prayer of so many young women who have taken Our Lady for their model and mother: “May all who see me, see thee, O Mary!”

[Taken from the Latin Mass Society's November 2003 Newsletter.]
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