We complain, and rightly so, about the sorry state of Catholicism in the West. We are, understandably, shocked at how much has changed in our lifetime; particularly if, like yours truly, your lifetime is not short and you grew up in a solidly Catholic Country.
It helps, at time, to put things in perspective. Look here, where 172 children have received First Communion. Not in Newcastle or Boston, but in Iraq.
These children are at high risk of suffering violent persecution in their lifetime. They likely know it, at some level, already, and will be fully aware of it by the time they are confirmed.
It is, of course, part and parcel of the deal. Most of us, I think, hope to be spared from persecution, but we are all called to endure whatever comes to us.
I was reflecting on these young souls and the path that stays in front of them, and what truly angered me was not only the persecution, but another unrelated, and utterly disgraced phenomenon.
If these children (now, or at some point in future) get massacred, you can bet your salary that there will be immediate calls to friendliness and solidarity with the religion that had them killed. You can, also, be assured that, prominent among these voices, would be a number of bishops.
Funny world, isn’t it? Knowing that if you get slaughtered together with 20 or 50 of your companions, your very bishops would invite the faithful to close their eyes, would assure the tribe of your murderers that the tribe’s thinking is not the problem, and would happily go on with their godless lives whilst your blood is still fresh on the ground.
After which, said bishops might well start teaching the survivors about Amoris Laetitia, or the dangers of homophobia.
And it came to pass the football match wanted by Francis to end the atrocities in the Middle East took place. It must have worked, because when I woke up this morning the birds were chirping with unusual energy, and, clearly, Love Was In The Air. Or not, as the case may be.
The Match To End All Wars took, then, place, and the stadium was half-empty.
How can this be, when Francis The Humble Black Shod Peacemaker was behind the initiative?
Where were all the non-judgmental Catholics so inspired by the “fresh, new approach” of the Unholy Father? The lovers of peace? The Sons Of The Age Of Mercy?
They were, apparently…. everywhere else.
The brutal truth is that the world does not care a straw for Francis, and never was disinterest more deserved. To them, Francis is light entertainment: a short headline on the morning paper, a momentary titillation of their most superficial feelings, a popular “celebrity” among thousands of others, somewhere between Rihanna and Simon Cowell, and in the end with no better standing than them.
The “F” factor is simply not there. What is there is a clown dressed in white, wearing a red nose even when he doesn’t, and riding a wave of popularity that is there only as long as it satisfies the desire of the urban masses to feel excited, and good with themselves. But let this alleged “Francismania” cost the price of a ticket, and all the interest will remain where the plauding masses were yesterday: outside.
Not only is Francis a third-class Pope; he appears well on his way to becoming a third-class “celebrity”, too. As the novelty of the “humble Pope who talks refreshing rubbish” wears out, what remains is a stupid old man who has divested his office of the authority and respect due to it, and now stands there, with a red nose on his face, begging you to look at him as he embraces a wheelchair.
Francis as Great Novelty is getting old fast. Unless he causes graver and graver scandal, even his present antics will soon look like the new normality, causing damage to the Church as they become unable to further the cause of the Destroyer.
At that point it will be probably be wisest to abdicate, playing the new game of Pope Cincinnatus.
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly”.
The “Catholic Herald” informs us that Francis has sent a “personal gift” of some consistence (“one million”) to the persecuted people in Iraq. Article not online yet, but the headlines on this morning’s CH were very big so this was the message.
One wonders what has happened of the Catholics of old, by whom the left hand did not know what the right hand did. This here reminds me, not for the first time, of the hypocrite who puts himself at a crossroad in order to be seen by everyone when he gives alms. The hypocrite, at least, did not have journalists to blow his trumpet.
Then there is the matter of the provenance of the money. Yes, the Pope is the absolute sovereign of the Vatican, and there is no distinction I know of between the bank accounts of the Vatican and his own patrimony. If it belongs to the Church, it’s his to give.
Still, every dog and cat know this is not money the man earned or inherited. It is not his money qua Jorge Bergoglio. It is “his money” because he is the Pope.
By every other man, it would be considered in extremely bad taste to let money acquired by way of the office appear as “his own money”, even if this happened to be the case. In the case of a Pope, it is in even worse taste. In the case of a Pope feigning poverty everytime is convenient, it is Francis-tasteless.
Do you think his predecessors did not send money away on such occasions? Why did they not let the world know about it, even selling it as “personal gift” of theirs?
And no, there are no excuses. The headline did not say “Francis orders help to be sent to Iraq”, as on other occasions a Government could order such measures. This is a personal gift of the oh so humble Pope.
Poor when it’s convenient.
Rich when it’s convenient.
The Obama administration wants to bomb the Syrian regime, and in that way unavoidably help its enemies to go to power. For the Obama administration the Government are the baddies, and the Muslim militants the “freedom fighters”. Happily, the military action does not take place; but the stupidity of a Middle East policy based on populism shows to every sensible person that a real idiot sits in the Oval Office.
Not too many months go by, and even the US administration is forced to realise what kind of mistake they were about to make.
It astonishes me that there is no huge uproar exposing the immense stupidity of this administration not only in Syria, but in countries like Libya and Egypt, where they have acted with the same immense stupidity. This US administration proved so stupid that the Egyptian government – a military regime born out of the sense of the Egyptian army and the exasperation of the Egyptian people, and against the will of Golfing Cretin – openly mocked them calling the US to “restraint” in Ferguson. And this, even if Egypt still receives help from the US to the tune of several billion bucks a year.
I would love to read more and harsher criticism of this bunch of amateurs. Only a systematically realistic approach, aimed at bringing all of the Middle East under the control of Western-friendly dictators willing to leave Christians in peace, can bring lasting peace to the region; and be it the peace of a bloody dictator, if the native do not – as they have abundantly showed – deserve anything better.
As it is now, the West will, in time, contain or destroy – more likely destroy at some point – the threat of the ISIS. But without a serious strategic intent of putting a solid lid over that boiling pot of madness that is the Arab world the Western powers will end up playing fire brigades as violent insurrections develop elsewhere, or keep reappearing at some point in those realities – like Iraq – where a democratic solution is stubbornly pursued after now many years of evidence that the recipe does not work.
The US must now start to actively look for a candidate that will – with their approval, support, and bribe money – take control of army and country, arrange things between Iraqi ethnic groups in a way considered fair by his Western masters, and start kicking a few ISIS asses.
The time for this parody of democracy is up, as the suffering of countless Christians abundantly proves. Now that high officers of the US armed forces start to officially expose the immense stupidity of a Middle East policy by popularity poll, the way might in time be opened for a more realistic approach to all things Arab; though I doubt that the current administration will ever see the light on this, rather preferring to continue to be very stupid first, and timidly right when it’s already very late.
Every time you read or hear news about Syria, think that Obama wanted to bomb Assad’s regime. And pray that 2016 may come in time to reverse the course in the Middle East.
This is not going to please many of you, but I think in these days of atrocious persecution of Christians in Muslim Countries there are a thing or two that must be said without half words.
The Arab democratic experiment – an experiment which I had initially greeted, considering the Iraqis far better than they proved to be – has failed. It has failed so appallingly, that we are now in front of an entire region utterly desirous to sink into a pit of bloody ferociousness, as clearly seen in those Countries where they managed to do so; whilst only clearly non democratic regimes – like in Egypt, or in Saudi Arabia – can still control the mob.
The question remains whether in those prevalently Muslim Middle east Countries people are Muslims because they are savages, or are savages because they are Muslims. I tend for the second, seen that the Christian minorities present in many of those Countries do not show the same, ahem, character traits. But in the end, the conclusion is the same: you can’t throw pearls before swines, or democracies before Arabs. I once thought it was possible. I saluted GWB’s attempt to change the world for the better, in deed for once rather than just with stupid rhetoric. But now I am cured.
I see, at this point, only three possible outcomes.
1. The Muslims keep massacring each other, and the worst among them keep massacring Christians like it’s Turkey Shooting Day. The West whines, and does nothing. The Pope, the President of the United States and the main Western leaders talk of peace in a tired manner, whilst the massacre goes on undisturbed.
2. The US and their allies decide to act, and start bombing the ISIS villages and installations like it’s Doomsday, making clear that anywhere near a possible ISIS target – real, potential, or simply suspected – is the wrong place to be and not conducive to a long life, and that the dear supporters of the Religion of Peace will have to extirpate the cancer from their midst with their own hands if they want the bombs to stop falling. Still: that in the end a definitive victory will not be possible without boots on the ground all those of you who have read three things about military strategy know all too well for me to bore them.
I really can’t see any other way, and question the grasp of reality of all those who think otherwise. Talking of peace with the ISIS is, if possible, even more senseless than talking of religion with Stalin. When they die, they will get the message. Not one second before.
But then we have to ask ourselves how the West – if the West is smart; which it isn’t – is to deal with the region.
My solution is not very idealistic, but very practical: bomb the bastards as needed, and then put in power a handful of your bastards. People who know what they must do to stay alive and enjoy a life of luxury and privilege.
Forget democracy, progress, civilisation. They clearly haven’t deserved it. They can’t deal with it. It is what it is.
Put there a handful of bastards able to speak the only language that counts in those parts – violence – and take care that they do not touch your own interests, starting from the safety and tranquility of the Christians. If they deliver, they will be allowed to live, and the West will close its rhetorical and democratic eye whenever necessary. If they don’t, they’ll end up as dead as Gaddafi whilst the next bastard gets his chance.
In the Middle East, Realpolitik is the only option, because every so little amount of practised idealism leads to suffering without end.
Violence, fear, and the constant threat of the Western wrath. This is what works with them. They react to it rather well (Saddam docet). Give it to them, then.
And please, don’t give me the next “give peace a chance” song whilst another Christian community is dispossessed. Diplomacy isn’t made in the kindergarten, and reality has a terrible way of reminding us what happens if we do. Obama’s support to the revolts in Egypt, Libya, even Syria is the epitome of diplomatic and humanitarian suicide for the sake of the kindergarten.
Let us get back to sound diplomacy. Our bastards everywhere, and woe to them if they touch our interests. This is what works.
Can’t you see with your eyes that this is the only way with these people? The “religion of peace” makes it impossible for them to avoid massacring each other and massacre other people, unless they are either united by a common enemy or under a man ferocious enough to keep them quiet.
Give war a chance. Give violence a chance. Give fear a chance.
In the Middle East, it is the only way.
As the ISIS keeps consolidating its grasp on vast parts of Syria and Iraq and Boko Haram continues on its path of ruthless Christian extermination, we are now informed the Saudi government has sent some 30,000 soldiers at the frontier with Iraq, after the latter government has decided they need all the inefficiency and corruption they can muster again the advancing menace; or put in a different way, they need as many soldier as possible fleeing in front on the enemy.
Now, Iraq is Shia in the majority, and the government is certainly very much Shia oriented, which causes many Sunnis to, rather stupidly, support the ISIS (let the poor idiots enjoy the ISIS for a few years, and then we'll see whether they keep enjoying them). It is, therefore, understandable the Shia see in the ISIS a real menace.
But you see, the very Sunni Saudis also fear them; very probably, they fear them not one bit less! The ISIS doesn't care how oppressive a freaking Sunni de facto dictatorship you already are. If you are not them you are conquest territory, period.
Now: the ISIS, in the optimism of their young existence and of their notable local military successes, brag that with allah's (small “a”) assistance they might get even to Rome. I do not think even the maddest of them thinks this realistic (although I am rather sure Pope Francis would welcome them in a spirit of dialogue and fraternity, inviting them to hold on to their Korans; and would be very surprised as they behead him); but boy, Mecca and Medina are a different matter altogether, and it is fair to say if ISIS manages the breakthrough in Iraq only the US military power can prevent them from going over Saudi Arabia with the steamroller.
It would be quite an irony, for one of the most stupidly repressive Muslim regimes of the planet, to go down in flames through the hands of Muslims even more “orthodox” than them; and to suffer countless episodes of atrocities and humiliation in the name of the very religion they so rigidly defend.
Quite the religion of peace, then…
As we are informed of the dramatic events in Northern Iraq, where Muslim extremists too mad even for Al Kaida have taken the old city of Mosul, forcing the Christians to flee to avoid a predictably atrocious treatment, we should fondly remember all those who, in these years, have denied, or minimised, or justified, or in any way masked the danger coming from what some people call, with remarkable witticism, the religion of peace. If there is anything Muslims do not lack, it is Westerners toadying to them.
The most influential among these willing or involuntary fifth columns of the religionists of blood-soaked peace is, of course, our very own Bishop of Rome.
Francis is truly persuaded there must be something really good in the religion of the Mohammedans. He sends a warm message to them for Ramadan, and invites them to spiritually fruitful heathenism. He invites illegal immigrants – because that’s what they are, the very moment you open your big Pollyanna eyes – to “hold on to their Korans”, evidently persuaded rich blessings will derive from such a blasphemous holding exercise. He then proceeds to invite Muslims in the Vatican, allowing at least one Muslim cleric to sully the place with his own heathenish prayers.
We should, in fact, be grateful to Francis. He teaches us tolerance, and understanding. The same understanding the ISIS now, in turn, show to the population they are so happily occupying.
Hold on to your Korans, ISIS rebels and terrorists! You will make Francis proud!
I have often noticed in the past that when Christians hurry to help Muslims, the latter are generally appreciative of the matter only for as long as the emergency goes on; but as soon as Christians have taken them out of the shite, the help received is soon forgotten.
Take Bosnia, where a coalition of – in his absolutely vast majority – Christian countries risks lives and material to save muslims from indiscriminate carnage, without this having any long-lasting effect on the prejudice of too many Muslims towards Christianity.
Or take Iraq, when (again) the armies of Christian countries free a 28-million people from an extremely cruel dictator, from whose heel the Iraqi themselves had never had the gut to free themselves. Here too, within 48 hours the jubilations had left place to complaints because, hey, electricity has not come back yet. After six months, complaining about the Americans had become more fashionable than a drug addicted poof stylist. The simple fact that just a handful of months before everyone would have died just for complaining had already been conveniently forgotten.
In the last days, we are assisting to a new episode of this new, three-tongued, arab-muslim little game. The intervention is good in principle, but of course the way it is being made has already been criticised by a very high ranking arab official with, oh what a coincidence, political ambitions in Egypt. Chap obviously says, one day after when the news has gone through the entire Arab world, that he has been misinterpreted, so he now has both sides hedged. Inevitably, he and the Arab countries in general will end up saying that no, they were certainly not for doing things as they have been done; it will be, as always, us being very bad, imperialists, & Co.; not before the backside of the inhabitants of Bengasi has been saved by the intervention of Christian countries, of course.
And now please raise his hand who believes that Muslim countries would have risked their men and material in a military operation meant to avoid Christians massacring each others.
There can be no doubt that the military superiority of the West (and in particular, of the Unites States) is overwhelming and few in Europe – where the press spreads so many lies that one is not even angry anymore – know that the Iraq campaign has been made without moving more than the little finger of the immense US-american war potential.
One is reminded of the Roman Empire and stands in awe in front of such supremacy.
Still, one is reminded of the Roman Empire also for another aspect: that its end could come because of internal weakness and degeneration rather than because of the objective strenght of its adversaries.
Today, a beautiful example of how this country (which many in Europe admire and continue to consider the light of the West) works against itself comes from a new example of judicial activism, a decision of a federal judge in California about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” politics used by the Army. I read here that the judge has decided, against the opinion of the army, that not to allow a soldier to discuss his sexuality is a discrimination, because heterosexual soldiers can discuss it.
To me this has the same logic as to say that as normal people can talk about their love for dogs, people with tendency to bestiality should be allowed to talk about their, ahem, love for dogs. It just doesn’t make sense in any other logic than in the logic of the pervert for whom perversion is normality, and its condemnation “oppression”.
This still extremely powerful country works on its self-destruction. It allows the corrosion of everything which has made it big, piece by piece; from the symbolic advance of Islam to the toleration of so-called same-sex marriages to the ruthless secular mentality of his abortionist “maybe even Christian but no one is so sure anymore”-President to the systematic attack to its Christian values.
It will be interesting, for us European, to see if and how the Army reacts to this in the courts, in Congress and Senate, and by taking influence on the Government. I do not know American politics so well, but I’d be extremely surprised if the Military didn’t dispose of a rather powerful lobby in Washington. I might be wrong, of course.
Still, one thing must be said clearly: it was wrong to allow homosexuals in the first place. This silent toleration was not good from day one, and it is in a sense not bad that its intrinsic absurdity is now exposed.
It is time to wake up to reality, start switching the brains on and reclaim the supremacy of reason and common sense.
Rome was not built on homos.
As every one of us, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I thought life as we know it would change. No safe flying anymore, periodic announcements of the next aeroplane gone down, things like that. It may seem stupid to say it now, but it wasn’t so much at the time.
I remembered the terrorist years in Italy: they had started slow and then had become a truly dramatic phase in the life of the Republic. I really thought it would get worse before it gets better.
Nine years later I pray, like everyone else, for the victims of this heinous act.
But I would also like to share some reflections:
1) Huge, huge kudos to the security services and information agencies of all Western countries. It is now nine years and Nine Eleven never repeated. This is a stunning success. Perhaps this was achieved at the price of some rendition flights, some harsh prison conditions and some waterboarding to boot. Fine with me. We’ll never know how many lives have been saved.
2) The declared aim of the terrorists was to change the way we live. To make us feel afraid of living our free way of life. The mission is, emphatically, not accomplished.
3) That terrible day has brought on the Arab world a series of humiliations. Two countries invaded as a result of the attack, several others (like Syria and Jordan) told to choose the right side, sharpish, or face war. The Arab/Mulsim history is full of humiliations from the West (from the First Crusade to the Reconquista, from Lepanto to the European colonisation), but this was a sudden awakening to their utter military and social inferiority, (the religious one goes without saying) on their own ground.
Every Arab now knows that a strike to the West brings back humiliations on a multiple scale of the offence caused. Not a good investment. I wonder how many of them admire those idiots. A very tiny minority, I think.
4) From 9/11, paradoxically, hope also sprang. In Afghanistan, things might become less savage in the next years and in Iraq a most cruel and dangerous dictatorship has been replaced by an uncertain democracy now trying to walk unassisted. If it works in Iraq, democracy might spread to other countries. It will depend on the locals of course, but even from the humiliation of a foreign invasion a new dawn and a new hope has arisen.
As an Italian, I see in this what has happened in my own Country.
5) Bin Laden is just ignored. Forgotten. More dead than Disco for the media, probably truly dead since 2001 or 2002 anyway. Nine years later, he doesn’t even help to sell newspapers anymore. In the meantime, his people continue to die like flies, hunted down all over the planet.
6) Nine years later, the West discovers that it is stronger than ever. Iraq is on the way to trying to become a half-decent country; Afghanistan trying not to become a Taliban state; people in the West are flying, holidaying, living as they did before.
Nine years later, Ronald Reagan’s slogan remains more valid than ever: we win, they lose.