Daily Archives: September 9, 2010
Terry Jones doesn’t know me. Not that this is a very rare evenience, or a particularly disgraceful one. But in this case knowing me might perhaps (just perhaps) have had some advantage.
He might have called me, for example, and asked me what he should do. He would have probably told me that he is terrified, that this thing has gone completely out of control, he has everyone against him from Obama to the Pope to Sarah Palin and not even paramilitary groups have wanted to be at his ceremony.
Well, if he had called I would have said to him: “Don’t panic, old boy. You made a very clever move and showed to the entire planet the danger represented by Islamic fanaticism, a religion with a lot people ready to start massacres just because you burn books they consider holy”.
“Yes, Mundabor” he would have said “but I now really, really want to get out of this. What shall I do?”
“Very simple, Terry, old boy” I would have answered. “Put your nicest face and your nicest suit on, go in front of the cameras, say that you have already reached your objective of showing how dangerous Muslim fanaticism is. Say that you do not want the eruption of this senseless violence to be linked with your name and announce the end of the initiative without the burning of the Korans. Then send your best greetings to the boys in Afghanistan and go away with the notoriety, the point well made, your face and an intact reputation”.
This is what I would have told him. But you see, he didn’t call me. Not only because he doesn’t know me but because he is a Protestant. Which makes things a bit weird.
Therefore, he retired in prayer with his community, waiting for a “sign”. Which is strange, isn’t it? If you are waiting for a sign why do you announce the initiative in the first place? Was there no sign then? Has God changed His mind?
Then he and his small community (all terrified, one supposes) decide that the sign can be, in fact, pretty much everything… a phone call and he is out, God must have told him. The President would be best, but really, pretty much everyone big in Washington would seal the deal.. and one wonders what a phone call would then change wouldn’t one…. what kind of difference can a phone call conceivably make…..
But he doesn’t get any call (that I know of, but I think also that I do not know of) and suddenly God gives, in His mercy, another sign: if they renounce to the mosque near Ground zero (can’t remember hearing him complaining about that; it must be me) then he has a deal. And if they don’t renounce, well ok it is fine if they move it. And if they don’t move it, well it’s still fine, these things take time, provided that there is an agreement…
And so he announces that there is going to be no bonfire, because he has an agreement with some strange Imam (not the owner of the real estate, mind) that they are going not to build anymore, ahem, to build elsewhere, ahem, to discuss about building elsewhere…
In the meantime, it appears the owners of the project have given no assent whatsoever to stop or move the project at all and frankly, this would have been surprising…. so one wonders what signal has God sent to the chap, after all……
I wonder whether this man will not appear as a drunken idiot tomorrow, when with a bit of common sense and political antennae he could have been, for a day at least, the darling of the nation.
But then I reflect that he is a Protestant. He talks to God. Receives signs. Several a day. With multiple choices. I imagine (I cannot imagine anything else, besides substance abuse) that this kind of “God has sent us a sign at 4pm and another sign at 5pm, but we have gone for the 8:15pm sign which is not even there”-mentality does have followers. It seems drunken nonsense to us but hey: he is the professional; he earns his livelihood out of that small community; he must know….. perhaps he just couldn’t have done purely what is most reasonable; perhaps he is supposed to be inspired….
Well, the entire matter has ended with a big laugh instead of violence. I still think that the message was brilliant and that it has been understood by most people. But this kind of disordered desperate search for the emergency exit and this idea of the broadband connection to Heaven will, I am afraid, gravely damage his credibility and the impact of the entire story.
Bonfires are best left to the Dominicans.
Interesting article from Daily Mail’s Stephen Glover.
Mr. Glover is the son of an Anglican vicar and, as such, not the least biased to consider everything Catholic. His deficiencies in matters of Catholicism are crudely shown by his assertion that the Anglican orders have been invalid since 1896 (which is obviously wrong: they have been invalid since the reign of the Bastard King, Edward VI; in 1896 it was merely repeated that they are invalid because many Anglicans were trying to pretend they weren’t) and that the Pope has been infallible since 1870 (obviously wrong for the same reason, the Pope having always been infallible and the Papal infallibility being merely declared dogmatically in 1870). He also gets it totally wrong when he says that Benedict was “slow to grasp” the extent of the homosexual priests’ child abuse problem, when the evidence shows that the man was uncommonly perceptive and decisive in his actions.
We can therefore see that this man has everything one needs to be virulently anti-Catholic: wrong religious background, erroneous conceptions about the Church and even what he thinks is, basically, an offence done to dad. (His comparison with a “witch doctor” in reference to his father is again totally irrational and wrongly emotional: the comparison with a lay preacher, albeit one in grave error, is the more appropriate one).
Still, even a person with such a biased background can reason and point out to some interesting facts:
1) there has been so much talk about the costs of the visit but I can’t remember (nor can he) the same kind of talk by the visit of African dictators, or the like. It is only when the Pope comes that suddenly everyone is interested in the costs. That the British government doesn’t pay for the cost of the pastoral visits and the £10m mentioned are largely forked by Catholic faithful also seems not to interest anyone. In fact, Mr. Glover also seems to have overlooked this simple fact;
2) Even an Anglican like Glover admits that “Pope Benedict expounds what he believes is Christian doctrine in a courageous way” and “does not bend to fashionable secular trends, and holds fast to beliefs which are those of the traditional Church”. Once again we see that unless one is completely blinded by his ideological hatred (Dawkins, C. Hitchens) or, probably more often, by his sexual perversions (Tatchell, Fry) one is naturally inclined to show proper respect to those who have ideals bigger than their own existence and fight for them. “Isn’t it admirable?” is the rhetorical question Glover asks his readers and we all know the answer.
3) He criticises the fanaticism of the hard-core atheists and more importantly the space given to them by the media, in primis by the BBC . If even biased Anglicans start to see that the BBC is truly crossing a line, perhaps there’s hope that something will change. Mr. Glover explicitly agrees with Cardinal Keith O’Brien on the matter, about which I have already reported here.
Let me conclude with the beautiful words of Mr. Glover:
Notwithstanding all the hatchet jobs that have been executed and others that are planned, Pope Benedict’s visit will probably make a deep impression on many people, including non-Christians.
We may not agree with everything he says, or even with his most fundamental beliefs. But his visit should be welcome because he is something rare in the modern world. A decent man of principle.
The excellent Domine, da mihi hanc aquam blog has a truly wonderful quotation from the “Dominican Legend Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange”.
“The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.”
This is so brilliant that I had to re-post it here.