“Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism….”

At First Things George Weigel has a short piece about how Benedict XVI was right in his memorable, controversial Regensburg Lecture in 2006.  He has prompted me to go back to review what Benedict said.  Weigel gives a précis:

Eight years later, the Regensburg Lecture looks a lot different [i.e., it doesn’t look like Benedict committed a “gaffe”]. Indeed, those who actually read it in 2006 understood that, far from making a “gaffe,” Benedict XVI was exploring with scholarly precision two key questions, the answers to which would profoundly influence the civil war raging within Islam—a war whose outcome will determine whether 21st-century Islam is safe for its own adherents and safe for the world.

The first question was about religious freedom: [Q:] Could Muslims find, within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Islamic arguments for religious tolerance (including tolerance of those who convert to other faiths)? That desirable development, the pope suggested, might lead over time (meaning centuries) to a more complete Islamic theory of religious freedom.

The second question was about the structuring of Islamic societies: [Q:] Could Muslims find, again from within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Islamic arguments for distinguishing between religious and political authority in a just state? That equally desirable development might make Muslim societies more humane in themselves and less dangerous to their neighbors, especially if it were linked to an emerging Islamic case for religious tolerance.

Pope Benedict went on to suggest that inter-religious dialogue between Catholics and Muslims might focus on these two linked questions. The Catholic Church, the pope freely conceded, had had its own struggles developing a Catholic case for religious freedom in a constitutionally-governed polity in which the Church played a key role in civil society, but not directly in governance. But Catholicism had finally done so: not by surrendering to secular political philosophy, but by using what it had learned from political modernity in order to reach back into its own tradition, rediscover elements of its thinking about faith, religion, and society that had gotten lost over time, and develop its teaching about the just society for the future.

Was such a process of retrieval-and-development possible in Islam? That was the Big Question posed by Benedict XVI in the Regensburg Lecture. It is a tragedy of historic proportions [NB] that the question was, first, misunderstood, and then ignored. The results of that misunderstanding and that ignorance—and a lot of other misunderstanding and ignorance—are now on grisly display throughout the Middle East: in the decimation of ancient Christian communities; in barbarities that have shocked a seemingly-unshockable West, like the crucifixion and beheading of Christians; in tottering states; in the shattered hopes that the 21st- century Middle East might recover from its various cultural and political illnesses and find a path to a more humane future.

Benedict XVI, I am sure, takes no pleasure in history’s vindication of his Regensburg Lecture. [No “I told you so!” will be forthcoming.] But his critics in 2006 might well examine their consciences about the opprobrium they heaped on him eight years ago. Admitting that they got it wrong in 2006 would be a useful first step in addressing their ignorance of the intra-Islamic civil war that gravely threatens peace in the 21st-century world.

As for the conversation about Islam’s future that Benedict XVI proposed, well, it now seems rather unlikely. But if it’s to take place, Christian leaders must prepare the way by naming, forthrightly, the pathologies of Islamism and jihadism; by ending their ahistorical apologies for 20th-century colonialism (lamely imitating the worst of western academic blather about the Arab Islamic world); and by stating publicly that, when confronted by bloody-minded fanatics like those responsible for the reign of terror that has beset Syria and Iraq this summer, armed force, deployed prudently and purposefully by those with the will and the means to defend innocents, is morally justified.

Is this jihadism and “Islamism” inherent in Islam?

Finally, I note that pundits these days are using more often the term “Islamism” in distinction from “Islam”, I suppose on the theory that “-isms” are bad iterations of a better, pure paradigm.

There comes to mind, therefore, is the traditional prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII recited before the Blessed Sacrament on the Last Sunday of October in the traditional Roman calendar, the Feast of Christ the King followed by a Litany and Benediction. This was established by Pius XI in 1925 in his encyclical Quas primas. Let’s see the prayer:

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thine altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy most Sacred Heart.

Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to Thy Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: “Praise be to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever.” Amen.

This prayer has fallen out of favor. It doesn’t pull any punches.  But I like very much the reference to Islamism.

This prayer was also recited at my home parish St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN, every Tuesday evening after the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  It was great to hear the clauses roll along, recited by the whole congregation, most of whom knew it by heart, as I came to in those days.   These prayers become part of you.  They shape identity.

If you are interested in learning more, I have a 2009 PODCAzT about the prayer and Leo XIII’s Annum sacrum HERE.


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  1. Emilio says:

    With all due respect to His Holiness Pope Francis, but were public comments severely critical about Pope Benedict’s now prophetic Regensburg Lecture not made many years ago by the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires?? Perhaps the reigning Pope could now deign to thank the Pope Emeritus for the lecture, and publicly acknowledge its wisdom and clarity, especially now since the enemies of Pope Benedict are working overtime to undermine the legacy of his Pontificate.

  2. Clinton R. says:

    “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.” Pope Pius XI

    It is stunning that in a relatively short period of time the Supreme Pontiff of the Church went from this statement regarding Islam to “May Saint John Baptist protect Islam…” Pope John Paul II, March 2000.

    You could fill a book with all the praise heaped upon Islam by the popes post Vatican II. It is not surprising then that ISIS has the goal of planting it’s flag in Rome, among other places. The Church Militant has become the Church Milquetoast. I am not suggesting the Pope or anyone else should make inflammatory comments regarding Islam, but it would be disingenuous to say the overreaching attempts at dialogue over the last several decades has not reached the level of syncretism.

  3. Unwilling says:

    No religion condones the killing of innocents” Obama
    “Islam is a religion of peace. [ISIS] are not Muslims.” Cameron

    Obama never heard that the worship of the Hindu goddess, Kali, is fulfilled precisely in mayhem and murder (though, online, you find “theological development” focused on her nurturing breasts rather than on her necklace of skulls).

    But it is disconcerting to have heads of state, who have power over us, proclaiming to us as fact propositions of the most doubtful and empirically contradicted kind and that (as Fr Z’s post reviews) Islam is still struggling to determine.

    I believe that ISIS and all the Muslim terrorists must be an embarrassment to thinking Muslims in free countries — as the IRA was to most Catholics during The Troubles. But that social, emotional fact does not solve the theological question about the basis of Islam.

  4. amenamen says:

    “Islamism” is a recently coined word, not one that would have been used in 1899 by Pope Leo XIII.
    The Vatican website translation of Annum sacrum refers to the “infidels”:

    Is there a Latin version of this prayer?

  5. Imrahil says:

    Around here, the prayer, where held in its traditional form, does not say “Islamism” but “Islam”.

  6. marcelus says:


    AS soon as I saw the name REGENBURG I knew posts such as this were bound to come along.Many times I’ve had the same argument on the internet over this same “alleged” comment or crtiticism fromeither somebody close to the Pope or the Pope himself

    Crdl Bergoglio did not say a thing. I’ve been here a long time . It’s comes from wikipedia , that’s where it’s being picked up from,. and the english version, since in the spanish version it does not even appear, mentions that Bergoglio “allowed” an aide to speak to the press being critical of Benedict.

    The quoted sources names are, before anyone goes further , are:

    Horacio Verbisky:

    Verbistsky, a former Montonero guerilla officer in the 70’s, and MURDERER of many.His opinion (Verbistsky”s) is worth nothing here.

    Bishop Pïña,

    Not Archbishop, passed away in 2013, was a “colourful” figure to put it simple-. Bishop of Misiones, a northeastern Argentine province,was by 2006,retired,and dedicated to politics, In fact by mid 2006 (time of the lecture) he led a coalition which won the election that in a word, banned the then Kirchnerist governor’s attempt at perpetual reelection., as I said, by that time he was almost retired, fully into politics and ‘outside’ of church life.

    There are and were many bishops in Argentina…

    Reason he left the church is because he went into politics


    Funny thing is, the article says that ” the Leftwing Kirchrner government claims that due to their pressure on the Vatican, retirement for the bishop was finally granted” (He was running against a leftwing Kirchner governor in Misiones). and bellow says that “in reality it was a move by Crdl Bergoglio to stop the left (Kirchner) from perpetuating itself in power in Misiones”

    Begoglio boycotting the Pope?? I can not blame you, since neither Argentina nor Bergoglio were “relevant” so to speak and nobody was familiar with us. So it is not mandatory for the world to have read him or heard him. but I would say noyhing nothing at all could be further from the good Cardinal. Just look at his videos, Quoting Benedict and so.

    Finally, I know I’m gonna get burned at the stake for this, but kindly remember that BXVI had a wider wiew of Islam other than the mentioned lecture.

  7. Lynn Diane says:

    The retired Turkish imam, Fethullah Gulen, who resides in Pennsylvania, took out an ad on Sept. 17 in 6 major American newspapers to say, “As a practicing Muslim deeply influenced by tenets of my faith, I strongly condemn the brutal atrocities of the ISIS terrorist group. Their actions are a disgrace to the faith they proclaim and are crimes against humanity. Religion provides a foundation upon which to establish peace, human rights, freedoms and the rule of law. Any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to fuel conflicts, are simply wrong and deceitful.
    ISIS is not the first group to use religious rhetoric to mask its cruelty – Al Qaeda did so 13 years ago and Boko Haram more recently. What they all have in common is a totalitarian mentality that denies human beings their dignity. Any form of violence against innocent civilians or prosecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Qur’an and the traditions of our Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings). ISIS members are either completely ignorant about the faith they proclaim or their actions are designed to serve individual interests or those of their political masters. Regardless, their actions represent those of a terrorist group and, as such, they should be brought to justice and compelled to answer for their horrific crimes.” See his website http://www.afsv.org for the complete statement and others.

  8. trespinos says:

    I suppose the term “Islamism” will come to serve in the months and years ahead, but I can’t help but think “Islamofascism” is the superior term.

  9. JustaSinner says:

    I say NO to both questions…now bring on the Eight Crusade, now, while the West still has military supremacy.
    Okay Fr. Z., I know that is VERY un-Christ like, both then again the warriors in Romania and Hungary in the early 16th century that SAVED Christendom, DID NOT HAVE SUPERIORITY on the battlefield, and I’m sure would affirm my sentiments!

  10. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Is this jihadism and “Islamism” inherent in Islam?


    [This should be demonstrated with texts, etc., just so that people can’t say “Prove it!” and you are left with nothing more to say.]

  11. Cordelio says:

    This also prompted me to read the text of the lecture on the Vatican website, and it left me with two distinct impressions: 1) Pope Benedict has extraordinarily broad knowledge and is capable of very deep and profound thought; 2) that I must not have been reading the same lecture as Weigel. Where does the Pope raise either of those questions? Or say anything remotely approaching:

    “The Catholic Church, the pope freely conceded, had had its own struggles developing a Catholic case for religious freedom in a constitutionally-governed polity in which the Church played a key role in civil society, but not directly in governance. But Catholicism had finally done so: not by surrendering to secular political philosophy, but by using what it had learned from political modernity in order to reach back into its own tradition, rediscover elements of its thinking about faith, religion, and society that had gotten lost over time, and develop its teaching about the just society for the future.”

    Maybe I am reading the wrong Regensburg lecture?

  12. Imrahil says:

    Dear Unwilling,

    indeed, indeed. Or take the Moloch-worship of antiquity, or the Aztec religion until our conquistadores made an end of it. People always complain about bigotry. In my view, to assume that religion per se (in the sense as popularly understood, i. e. including false religions) would be good and making decent, behaving citizens is bigotry of the highest kind.

    That said, Islam does not condone the killing of innocents – largely (let’s assume that arguendo, there might be some deviations even here). What it does say is that people are guilty if they reject Islam. I’m very much simplifying. So, Islam does not aim to kill monotheists willing to accept dhimmitude, and certainly not those willing under pressure to convert to Islam. (Both of which ISIS has done, so there may be some truth about the claim that misunderstanding their religion is a problem too.)

    To say that Islam does not want to kill those in its own opinion innocent may, thus, perhaps even be true (for all I know); but the information is terribly incomplete. What we cannot tolerate is what constitutes guiltiness in their standard.

  13. Andrew says:

    “Islamism” is a recently coined word, not one that would have been used in 1899 by Pope Leo XIII. [] Is there a Latin version of this prayer?

    The Latin reads as follows:

    “Rex esto eorum omnium, qui in tenebris idololatriae aut islamismi adhuc versantur, eosque in lumen regnumque tuum vindicare ne renuas.”

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I arrived at the comments with amenamen’s question in mind, too.

    Can someone internet-saavier than I, easily provide the Latin original?

    Internet Archive does have a scan of The Latin Poems of Leo XIII: Done Into English Verse (1886) (with the Latin text on the facing pages).

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I only saw your comment after I sent my first one into moderation.

    Could you provide the text of the whole of the prayer?

    Interesting: ‘islamismus’ – a neo-Latin technical term? Where can we find its history?

  16. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Note, among other passages, footnote 7, and the later passage to which it refers, which in discussing developments of voluntarism in late medieval Christian theology includes “This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazm and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness.”

    But Islam need not equal, for example, the thought of Ibn Hazm.

    And note, in the last paragraph, “Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions.” And, “For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding.”

    Looking at the whole history of ‘Islam’/self-describing ‘Muslims’, he is not (I think) categorically excluding it and them from among “the world’s profoundly religious cultures” and “religious traditions of humanity” which not only can, but have historically, and do sometimes at present refuse “this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason”. While, for example, both baptized Christians and various mutually antagonistic Muslims can be wackily voluntaristic, they have no logical, exegetical, traditional, practical necessity to be and act that way. I think he sees Islamic ‘religious culture(s) and tradition(s)’ having other and better resources within – which does not mean they will do better, but that they can do better even distinct from and prior to conversion to Christianity.

  17. fib09002 says:

    “But Catholicism had finally done so: not by surrendering to secular political philosophy, but by using what it had learned from political modernity in order to reach back into its own tradition, rediscover elements of its thinking about faith, religion, and society that had gotten lost over time, and develop its teaching about the just society for the future.”

    But this isn’t true. The Catholic Church DID surrender to secular political philosophy. Indeed, it surrendered to secularism in its entirety. Now, it is easy to say that members of groups like the ISIS are all just a bunch of fanatics, who are exclusively intent on causing as much mayhem and spilling as much blood as they possibly can, because they adhere to some intrinsically violent religion or whatever. But my quarrel with those people is simply that they aren’t Christian–that’s it. I don’t think fighting and spilling blood for one’s religion, when it is under attack, is necessarily a bad thing. The point though is that that religion be the true religion, i.e. the Catholic religion. But of course Catholics don’t even believe this anymore, and among those that do, they for the most part wouldn’t act on it as they used to in the past, indeed, even in the recent past. Catholics don’t refuse to fight for their Faith because they are pacifists, but rather because they, unlike these so-called Islamists, don’t believe in their religion anymore. Just 80 years ago or thereabouts, Catholics from all over the world, kind of how Muslims from the West travel to fight in Syria and Iraq, went to Spain to fight the Communists and the Liberals who were intent on imposing secularism on Spain and on oppressing the Catholic Church. But today, self-professed “conservative” Catholics like Weigel wrongly claim that the Church “has learned from political modernity” and to distinguish “between religious and political authority in a just state”. This is absurd. I won’t even go into why this is absurd, because its absurdity is self-evident.

    In any case, it is instructive to turn around the questions Weigel says Pope Benedict asked away from Islam and towards Catholicism: Could Catholics find, within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Catholic arguments for religious tolerance (including tolerance of those who convert to other faiths)? Could Catholics find, again from within their own spiritual and intellectual resources, Catholic arguments for distinguishing between religious and political authority in a just state? To the former question, I would answer with a very qualified yes, at least in so far as Catholics aren’t necessarily obliged as far as I know to kill those who convert from Catholicism to other faiths, although plenty of these have been burned at the stake in the past. Of course, Muslims could answer the same (that is, with a very qualified yes) by saying that while they are obliged to kill apostates, non-Muslims would be welcome to live peacefully in Islamic societies so long as they paid a tax. To the latter, the answer is obviously, emphatically No.

  18. anna 6 says:

    You have to wonder if Benedict had the support from not only the secular press, but Vatican Radio and much of the Curia that Pope Francis enjoys, if the distortions of his profound speech would have exploded as they did causing great suffering and misunderstanding.

  19. KateD says:

    ISIS has banned the study of math, among other things, in the areas of Syria and Iraq that it controls? Given the history of mathematics on the one hand and their stated intentions on the other, that seems kind of ironic.

  20. Unwilling says:

    The fact that in Latin we read islamismus does not imply that the correct English translation is “Islamism” instead of “Islam”. I side with Fr. Z [who thinks that “Islamism” is just right] in suspicion that the addition of “-ism” is politically rather than linguistically motivated. Each language has its own conventions for creation of terms. “Christianity” in French is Christianisme and in Latin christianismus (though christianitas is avaialable).

  21. Susan M says:

    Peace for Islam means world domination, that is, when all people on earth convert to islam and are Muslims living under Sharia law, there will at last be universal peace….so the answer is “No” to both questions.

  22. bourgja says:

    The Raccolta, 1951, contains this prayer in both English and Latin, but the paragraph referring to Islamism is omitted.

  23. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    Several people have asked for a Latin version of this prayer. I found this one at Liturgia Latina dot Org:


    Jesu Dulcissime, Redemptor humani generis, respice nos ad altare tuum humillime provolutos. Tui sumus, tui esse volumus; quo autem tibi conjuncti firmius esse possimus, en hodie sacratissimo Cordi tuo se quisque nostrum sponte dedicat. Te quidem multi novere numquam; te, spretis mandatis tuis, multi repudiarunt. Miserere utrorumque, benignissime Jesu, atque ad sanctum Cor tuum rape universos.

    Rex esto, Domine, nec fidelium tantum qui nullo tempore discessere a te, sed etiam prodigorum filiorum qui te reliquerunt: fac hos, ut domum paternam cito repetant, ne miseria et fame pereant. Rex esto eorum, quos aut opinionum error deceptos habet, aut discordia separatos, eosque ad portum veritatis atque ad unitatem fidei revoca, ut brevi fiat unum ovile et unus pastor.

    Rex esto eorum omnium, qui in tenebris idololatriae aut islamismi adhuc versantur, eosque in lumen regnumque tuum vindicare ne renuas. Respice denique misericordiae oculis illius gentis filios, quae tamdiu populus electus fuit: et Sanguis, qui olim super eos invocatus est, nunc in illos quoque redemptionis vitaeque lavacrum descendat.

    Largire, Domine, Ecclesiae tuae securam cum incolumitate libertatem; largire cunctis gentibus tranquillitatem ordinis; perfice, ut ab utroque terrae vertice una resonet vox: Sit laus divino Cordi, per quod nobis parta salus: ipsi gloria et honor in saecula. Amen.

  24. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    Venerator Sti Lot asks about the history of “islamismus”. I have no history to provide, but his question prompts me to speculate.

    Many writers of Latin (though not all) shy away from using a bare foreign word as an indeclinable noun. One easy way to deal with foreign words in Latin is provide them with a declinable suffix. This is especially common with place names, e.g., “Urbs Nanchinensis” for Nanking, however other nouns can come in for the same treatment. For the problem of how to Latinize “Islam”, the addition of the second declension suffix “-ismus” (or its third declension version, “-isma”) seems an obvious way to go.

    Unwilling points out that the Latin word “Islamismus” is not an exact equivalent of the English word “Islamism”. I don’t know what “Islamism” means in English, so I will not comment on that, but it is obviously true that the English trifecta “-ism”, “-ize”, and “-ist” are not generally exact equivalents of the Latin “-ismus”, “-izare”, and “-ista”. In some cases, the English and Latin match up pretty well, e.g., baptism, baptize, baptist. In other cases, the English words have strayed far from their Latin origins. We have “rapist”, but not “rapism” or “rapize”. We have “racist” and “racism”, but not “racize” (but cf. racialist, racialize, and racialism). We have “socialize”, but it has nothing to do with socialism or socialist. We have “scientism”, but it has nothing to do with scientist, and there is no “scientize”.

    In Latin, on the other hand, we have “christianizare” which means to live as a Christian, and “christianismus” which means the act of living as a Christian. I’ve never seen “christianista”, but that is probably because it would just be a long sysnonym for “christianus”. From this one might extrapolate that “Islamismus” and “Islamista” are just Latin words for “Islam” and “Moslem”.

    For what it’s worth, I prefer “Islamistae” to “musulmani” and “muslimi” as a word for Moslems.

  25. donadrian says:

    Further to Unwilling’s comment, a quick trawl through the most obvious Vatican documents indicates a tendency to refer to Muslims rather than Islam: Mahometani (Ecclesiam Suam), Musulmani (Lumen Gentium 16), Muslimos (Nostra Aetate 3). The one reference I did find, in Nostra Aetate, speaks of ‘fides Islamica’ – ‘the Islamic faith’. My fairly untutored guess is that, faced with the need to make a declinable noun out of ‘Islam’, the ‘-ismus’ ending presented itself as the obvious answer, so it carries no particular political resonance, as does the English neologism ‘Islamism’.

  26. jhayes says:

    Francis will visit Albania on Sunday. The headline on Fox News is “Pope to highlight case study of religious harmony in Albania: Muslims help rebuild church”

    Albania is a predominantly Muslim nation [60%], with smaller Catholic [16%] and Orthodox communities. All of them suffered gravely under Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, who declared Albania the world’s first atheist state in 1967. Religious authorities of all faiths were killed, tortured, imprisoned or sent to labor camps.

    But even during the 23 years that religion was banned, “we always celebrated each others’ religious festivities with visits and small hidden celebrations,” said Cypi, adding that there are mixed marriages and close family ties among Muslims and Catholics today.

    The Rev. Carmine Leuzzi, a 63-year-old Italian who is the parish priest for Shen Koll, said Francis’ visit to Albania would show the world what religious harmony can look like. It’s the second papal visit to Albania after St. John Paul II visited in 1993, three years after the communist regime fell.

    “This small Catholic praying site has been destroyed three times and rebuilt three times,” Leuzzi said, sitting inside the small chapel, neat rows of chairs extending down the aisle in pairs. “This time it will be the strongest, as all the people living around, including Muslims, have contributed.”


  27. excalibur says:

    Islam is on the march, the Church is in retreat in too many areas. Turning Chicago over to a compromiser is just another example of that retreat. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, unless it is the faithful that is.

  28. The Cobbler says:

    For what it’s worth, on the word “Islamism”, I have noticed that older writers — and by “older” I mean writers as recent as G.K. Chesterton — didn’t use the term Islam (or the term Muslim) often either. They seemed to refer typically to Mohammedans and Mohammedanism, if I recall correct. I’m not sure when that changed, although if I had to guess the why I’d suppose Muslims themselves don’t use those terms — though whether such changes were merely to respect how they identify themselves, or to avoid potentially offensive reference to their founder, I couldn’t say.

  29. The Cobbler says:

    Venerator Sti Lot’s comment on voluntarism is well worth noting. In my layman’s opinion, voluntarism (or at least the fundamental error at the heart of it) is the root of more heresies than most people realize. The voluntarist thinks that his idea of God is of a, so to speak, “bigger” God because in his ideas God is too big not only for His essence to fit in the finite human mind but for any consistent and reliable knowledge about Him to fit in the finite human mind. The problem with this (beyond the self-contradiction/arbitrariness in claiming to know the fact about God that we can’t know facts about God) is that it plainly rejects one of the most fundamental doctrines of Judaism and Christianity: God created man in His image and likeness. God, of course, is all-knowing; so what is His image and likeness if we are not knowing in any way relevant to Him? The simple answer to voluntarism is that it denies His omnipotence; you can’t make God bigger by making His creation smaller.

    I say that the fundamental error at the heart of voluntarism is the root of other heresies because this is the exact same simple answer to most doctrines specific to Protestantism. Protestantism generally views grace as covering up man’s sins rather than making man free from sin and/or as substituting for his free will rather than enabling it — nominally because “no one is good save God alone”, but without regard for “be holy as I am holy” and “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”, which seeming contradiction Catholicism resolves simply by pointing out that grace itself is participation in the life of the only one Who is good. Protestantism also generally views prayer to God’s Saints as somehow at odds with us and them serving Him despite St. Paul’s comments that he would be able to help his fellow Christians better once he is with God — nominally because “no one comes to the Father except through Christ”, but that does not logically imply that no one can help another follow Christ — unless our having any of His goodness must detract that from Him. It’s all based in fear of offending God by failing to be sufficiently unlike Him, which, with all due respect to the Protestants I know (they’re generally some of the more well-meaning people I’ve ever met), is about the silliest view one could possibly take of a God who not only has but is supposed to have used the power to create us in His image and likeness.

    fib09002, forgive me if I’ve misunderstood your point, but while I will refrain myself from judgement as to whether our present shepherds have assessed or acted on the matter correctly (certainly those I know have refrained from taking a strong stance against an objectively objectionable secularism that considers religion only valid inasmuch as it is subjective and without public authority — but the best have been careful not to endorse it and often enough say things that are logically incompatible with it, so it seems to be a matter of prudence in when and how strongly to speak out), I would say that Catholicism must (and historically has managed to) *distinguish* between political and religious authority in a just state *without entirely separating* them. For example: the king cannot appoint the bishop. Saints have been martyred for that claim, but it makes no sense if the king’s authority and the Church’s authority are not distinct. Likewise, letting the bishop amass worldly power and riches has never been good for him as a shepherd, but at least one or the other of worldly riches and power is necessary for political authority to be enforced, so the bishop cannot be free of such temptations except by leaving temporal affairs to the king. Yet for all that, on the other hand, countless theologians have been made Saints who argued that the king is bound by justice to follow the natural law laid out by the Church, which means that the Church can never resign herself to being entirely out of the political picture. I would argue that these doctrines and histories suggest the Catholic answer is not so much that political authority and religious authority are necessarily intertwined so much as that political authority, while somewhat independent in the orders of practicality and prudence, is under religious authority in the order of morality itself; a just state must determine what justice is in any given circumstance, but it has no choice to decide what are the principles of justice itself that must be applied to those circumstances, as those come to man from God through natural law and His Church and the state should (if its leaders are themselves following objective truth) recognise this. Indeed, if there is any reason ultimately that we must as Catholics believe in the distinction — not necessarily separation — between spiritual and temporal authorities, it would be that the latter ultimately needs to be subordinate to the former.

    For what it’s worth, and to put my understanding of Catholicism’s relationship to the state in perspective, I also prefer the Catholic limitations on civil law based on logic about the nature of law — “an unjust law is no law at all”, but more thoroughly, law must (if I understand correctly) be in the lawmaker’s competence and must not directly and explicitly contradict or violate justice, natural law or the common good — over the nominally flexible but theoretically fuzzy and practically arbitrary American limitations on law based on vague freedoms and court-discovered rights. I hope they’ll still let me be an American having said that, but if it comes down to it, I’m a Catholic first and, quite frankly, think it’s more reasonable that way. Besides which, the Church, at least as the Body of Christ, will last beyond when the Earth is burned and Time as we know her is rent asunder; America and the work of her thinkers will not be; there’s not much to worry about in the grand scheme of things, save that I fail to tell the truth myself.

  30. Unwilling says:

    Two points may be of interest to some thinking about Latin and English terminology of Islam.
    1. Semitic languages such as Arabic (and Hebrew) regularly form their vocabularies from a consonantal tri-literal root that carries the semantic core, adding prefixes, infixes, and suffixes to determine the part of speech (noun, verb, etc.) or grammatical role (tense, mood, subject, object, etc.). The root in “Islam” and “Muslim” is SLM (iSLaM, Muslim) — with the core meaning of “submission”, “surrender” (to the authority of God). The “m” beginning “Muslim” (like the “m” beginning “maDRaSah” from DRS “learned”) here indicates a person. Note that, although major changes in verbal function are produced by vowel changes, in ordinary printed Arabic not all the vowels are given.

    2. The gradual move away from referring to this religion with words deriving from the name of its founder, e.g. “Mohammedanism” seems to have been due in the first place to the objections of Muslims who say they worship God not his Prophet, and, in the second place, to the bewildering array of defensible transliterations possible from Arabic into European languages.

  31. Gratias says:

    Having been very vocal about human trafficking Pope Francis should come out strongly against Christian girls being sold as sex slaves by Caliph Ibrahim of the Islamic state. In Albania he mentioned discrimination and persecution of all religions but I did not hear the Pope or the assembled Imams come out against Slavery.

    I think female slavery is a moral issue we can use to our great moral advantage in the confrontation with our enemies. Shame them for what they are, uncivilized.

  32. The Cobbler says:

    (Footnote to my more recent comment: I may be misremembering St. Paul. I thought I recalled someone in one of the epistles of the New Testament saying something to the effect that he will be a better intercessor for the rest of the disciples once he is done with the trials of this earthly life, and I tend to attribute most epistle content to Paul unless something specific about it reminds me it was one of the few by Peter or James, but I’m having a hard time finding the part I thought I remembered by skimming through the epistles. At this point I’m not sure if I just don’t remember where to look for it, or if my memory played a trick on me thinking there was any such passage at all or even perhaps getting some comment backwards or mixing up something Paul said with some other part. If anyone could confirm or deny it, whether St. Paul or not, and point us to the epistle in question if I wasn’t completely misremembering, I for one would appreciate it. I wish I’d had more time this morning to edit that post, I might have caught that and thought of a way to address it given the lack of time to double-check my memory.

    Now, the rest of what I wrote, I think I’ll stand by… but I’m probably taking my own commentary too seriously in any case. ;^) )

  33. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Robertus Pittsburghensis,

    Thank you for the Latin text – and, with others, for the discussion of terminology!

    The Cobbler,

    Thanks, further, for your reflections on voluntarism and political and religious authority!

  34. fib09002 says:

    The Cobbler:
    Your points are well-taken, although I must note that bishops have been appointed by monarchs in the past. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but that was the point of Gallicanism, right? That the Pope would not be able to consecrate any bishops for France without securing the French monarch’s prior approval? In any case though, while I accept that there was a regrettable lack of nuance in my initial post, I should say that what I was particularly reacting to wasn’t so much the statement itself, as I was reacting to that warmongering neo-con, Weigel, who I consider a revolting, despicable character, and the sight of whose name in print makes me sick. When he talks about distinguishing between religious and political authority, I know precisely what he means, he means basically the first amendment, which I think all of us can agree contradicts the Catholic understanding of the proper role of government (i.e. that it be subservient in some sense to religious authority, at least in the important matters). Moreover, I just wanted to emphasize my disagreement with those truly misguided Catholics who criticize Islam–which by itself is fine–but who do so for all of the wrong reasons. The problem with Islam is that it isn’t Catholicism, and that’s it. But to hear many Catholics talk, one hears them going further and criticizing Muslims for basically being insufficiently liberal, for rejecting feminism, opposing democracy, etc., not taking heed of the fact that the Catholic religion too is opposed to feminism, to democracy, etc.. For myself, I think there is much more to be said about Islam that is good than there is that is bad. It certainly is a virile religion, no one can take that away from it. It, like Catholicism (although some of us seem to have forgotten this), prohibits usury. I can go on. But for the most part, while I’m appalled at the violence in places like Iraq, I’m also impressed at the fact that the great majority of Muslims seem to really believe in their religion, whereas Catholics (at least in the West) for the most part don’t, but either see as it as something which needs to be subverted and made more in line with the desires of modern post-modern nihilistic liberalism, or else as an institution to which they can claim affiliation with to somehow lend some moral credibility to their vile, shameless, incorrigible neo-connery.

  35. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The Cobbler,

    I could not immediately place your reference to “St. Paul’s comments that he would be able to help his fellow Christians better once he is with God”, though one passage it reminded me of was Philippians 1:20-26. But I am still not sure of any exact reference, either. St. James 5:15-18 may be generally relevant, though more implicitly than explicitly – since St. James saw St. Elias (and, for that matter, St. Moses) conversing with our Lord at the Transfiguration, though St. Elias is certainly exceptional in his circumstances (and the Transfiguration took place before the Passion and Resurrection).

  36. Marissa says:

    Any form of violence against innocent civilians or prosecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Qur’an and the traditions of our Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings).

    You mean the polygamist pedophile who consummated one of his marriages to 9-year-old Aisha? Who declared adopted sons to have no rights so he could steal his adopted son’s wife, Zainab?

    Surah 9:5: So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

    Surah 47:4: So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.

    There’s also that whole awkward part of history where Mohammed and his followers slaughter Jew, Christian, Hindu, and non-Islamic Arab alike in the name of their religion, conquering Mecca, etc.

    Any religion which rejects Christ will not be a religion of peace. But this one really takes the cake.

  37. Andrew says:

    “ism” (in Greek, Latin and many modern languages) is added to words in order to create nouns describing some propensity based on an action (criticize – criticism) or to describe a theory based on someone or something (Calvin – Calvinism) or a following based on some concept (atheist – atheism) or an ideology based on some characteristic (race – racism) or a medical condition based on something (dwarf – dwarfism).
    Thus there is a difference between Islam and Islamism, just as there is a difference between Calvin and Calvinism, or a female and feminism.

  38. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    To add another ending to those under consideration: “-ite” which my old COD says is the equivalent of French “-ite: from Latin “- ita”. There certainly are old Latin group names with “-ita” forms. (For instance, Genesis 37:28 reads “Et praetereuntibus Madianitis negotiatoribus, extrahentes eum de cisterna, vendiderunt eum Ismaelitis, viginti argenteis: qui duxerunt eum in Aegyptum.”) And, just as English has ‘Islamite’ (though I do not know how common it is or was: I have found two examples in the old Catholic Encyclopedia – from around the time of Pope Leo XIII), so Italian and Spanish have ‘Islamita’: but is there a Latin ‘Islamita’, and if so, how old is it, I wonder?

    If there was, in common use, a century or so ago, would it perhaps be noteworthy that the prayer speaks in terms of “eorum omnium, qui in tenebris idololatriae aut islamismi” and does not have some sort of construction like ‘tenebris islamitarum’? In any case, they are distinguished both from those “in tenebris idololatriae” and (to quote ungrammatically) “illius gentis filios, quae tamdiu populus electus fuit”.

    But was there a distinct Latin word for ‘Islam’ around a century ago?

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