The beheadings continue. What will be the response of civilization?

ISIS LibyaThe beheadings continue. What will be the response of civilization?

“Rome” is a target for ISIS. What that means, we aren’t sure. It seems to be code for “Christians”, the lands which once comprised Christendom. It also probably means Rome itself.

From the Catholic Herald:

After beheading Coptic Christians, Islamists say they will ‘conquer Rome’ next

Islamist militants claiming loyalty to ISIS have released a video appearing to show the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians who were taken hostage in Libya several weeks ago.

The video shows men apparently being beheaded after being forced to kneel next to the Mediterranean Sea. A militant says they are sending a message “from the south of Rome”. At the end of the footage the same English-speaking fighter raises his knife to the water and says ISIS would “conquer Rome”.

This morning Egypt and the Libyan government said they had launched air strikes in retaliation against Islamic State targets.

Egypt said the strikes were intended “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers”, adding: “Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them.” Most of the victims are believed to be Egyptian.

Bishop Angaelos, leader of the Coptic Orthodox church in Britain, said the massacre showed “not only a disregard for life but a gross misunderstanding of its sanctity and equal value in every person”.

He said his prayers were with the victims’ families and also with the militants who carried out the atrocity. “We pray for an end to the dehumanisation of captives who become mere commodities to be bartered, traded and negotiated with,” the bishop said.

In the video released by the militants, an Islamist says in English: “All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together… The sea you have hidden Sheikh Usama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”

I am reading right now The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis by Robert R. Reilly, the same guy who wrote the must read Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything.

There was once a thriving Muslim, Islamic intellectual tradition.  Then it was simply snuffed out.  What happened?  And does what happened explain something of what is going on today?

Here are a couple passages from the book.  I looked in the body of the book to find some pithy moments, but I found that the book is so closely argued that you need, in almost every instance, the previous paragraph as well.  So, here is something from the forward:

There are two fundamental ways to close the mind. One is to deny reason’s capability of knowing anything. The other is to dismiss reality as unknowable. Reason cannot know, or there is nothing to be known. Either approach suffices in making reality irrelevant. In Sunni Islam, elements of both were employed in the Ash‘arite school. As a consequence, a fissure opened between man’s reason and reality—and, most importantly, between man’s reason and God. The fatal disconnect between the Creator and the mind of his creature is the source of Sunni Islam’s most profound woes. This bifurcation, located not in the Qur’an but in early Islamic theology, ultimately led to the closing of the Muslim mind.


The closure of the Muslim mind has created the crisis of which modern Islamist terrorism is only one manifestation. The problem is much broader and deeper. It enfolds Islam’s loss of science and of the prospect of indigenously developing democratic constitutional government. It is the key to unlocking such puzzles as why the Arab world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development; why scientific inquiry is nearly moribund in the Islamic world; why Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years; why some people in Saudi Arabia still refuse to believe man has been to the moon; and why some Muslim media present natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina as God’s direct retribution. Without understanding this story, we cannot grasp what is taking place in the Islamic world today, or the potential paths to recovery—paths many Muslims are pointing to with their rejection of the idea of God that produced this crisis in the first place. The closing of the Muslim mind is the direct if somewhat distant antecedent of today’s radical Islamist ideology, and this ideology cannot be understood without divining its roots in that closing. The ideas animating terrorist acts from September 11, to the bombings in London, Madrid, and Mumbai, to the attempted airline bombing in Detroit on Christmas 2009, and beyond have been loudly proclaimed by their perpetrators and their many sympathizers in every form of media. We know what they think; they tell us every day. But questions arise concerning the provenance of their ideas, which they claim are Islamic. Are they something new or a resurgence of something from the past? How much of this is Islam and how much is Islamism? Is Islamism a deformation of Islam? If so, in what way and from where has it come? And why is Islam susceptible to this kind of deformation? The latter part of the book will address these questions.


Note the term “Islamism”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Modern Martyrs, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fatherof7 says:

    I think the most powerful imagery of this issue is the Hagia Sofia. The conquering Turks had the power to seize the cathedral, but they did not have the technical know how to scrub the mosaics from a dome that was built 900 years earlier.

  2. Landless Laborer says:

    This is atrocious. My question is how are these men being continuously captured? Is there no way for them to defend themselves? Can they not stay in large groups? Can they not arm themselves, declare open war, can they not acquire weapons and die defending themselves? Is it wrong to think these thoughts?
    Yes the term Islamism gives Islamist as opposed to Muslim, which confuses the issue. According to divine law we have murderers and heretics or both.

  3. Gratias says:

    Islamists mean Rome itself. They understand St. Peter’s is the symbol of Christianity.

    It was a grave mistake for Obama to remove Ghaddafi in Lybia, as was the the famous Cairo speech, as is supporting the Muslim Brothers.

  4. mburn16 says:

    Well should we declare open war? Somehow I don’t see the Holy Father issuing a call to take up arms.

  5. Joseph-Mary says:

    What will the response be? Not much. Maybe some more ‘dialogue’ with some imam somewhere which will do nothing to stop the murderous barbaric hordes. And just who is supplying them with weapons??? Stopping them means that more than words are going to be needed. Prayers, of course but even our weakened Church cannot offer much in that way….I cannot imagine a rosary crusade these days. No, it is going to mean taking up weapons in response and the west is not caring enough to do that. But civil war is approaching many places that have allowed the wholesale influx of islam. Not just Europe either. We have a new mosque in our town for example—they are coming in by droves and often with either funding by Saudi or by taxpayers even.

  6. JesusFreak84 says:

    The Quaran states that later passages trump earlier whenever a conflict arises, and the pro-Jihadi passages are all later in the Quaran, after the “peaceful” passages so often cited in the media. It could reasonably be argued that the Jihadis are the ones most literally and correctly following their “holy” book.

  7. Robbie says:

    Civilization’s response? Sadly, probably not much more than a shrug of the shoulders.

  8. Priam1184 says:

    The response of ‘civilization’ will be to continue to rabidly encourage mothers to murder their own children in their own wombs and to fast track the enactment of the social idiocy of men marrying men and women marrying women.

    Will Rome ever fall to the Islamic State? Unlikely in the near future but if things with Russia get hot and Europe is weakened by war or some other calamity like the breakup of NATO (Putin’s goal here I think) then who knows?

  9. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    The sooner we accept that islam is at war with everyone and everything who is not islam (or not islam-enough) the sooner we can get to work freeing the souls held hostage by the incoherent ravings of that megalomaniacal, narcissistic, epileptic-seizure-suffering, misogynistic, pedophile, mass-murdering, assassinating-his-political-enemies-and-poets-and-artists-who-insult-him, and downright Evil lunatic who crawled out of that cave 1400 years ago.

    “Rome” is a target for ISIS. What that means, we aren’t sure. It seems to be code for “Christians”, the lands which once comprised Christendom. It also probably means Rome itself.

    It does mean “Rome”. The city itself. In Arabic it is referred to as “Rum”. The rest of Christendom (Or what was once Christendom) Will follow if they don’t get their acts together quickly.

    Beheading those Martyrs (there aren’t the first, and they won’t be the last.) on the beach was Intentional. It sent a message. Get on a boat from that beach, head north, and eventually you’ll run into Italy, and soon after that, Rome.

    What they did to Constantinople, where the severed heads of babies were used to extinguish the candles of the Hagia Sofia (Yes, just writing that was brutal, but it’s the truth, and everyone needs to know what kind of brutality is coming our way.) they will do to Rome, and eventually to a safe American Suburb near you.

    The only big difference today is that they’re video-taping their brutality, and posting online for the whole kafir-world to see, and terrorize us into submission.

    What we saw at Beslan (Look it up.) WILL one day happen to a high school that your children go to today. Imagine a young high school girl being raped, with her male teacher and male students piled in a heap with holes in their heads next to them. Now imagine that being broadcasted on FOX News or MSNBC before her throat is cut to an audience of millions across the globe. That’s coming our way.

    There was once a thriving Muslim, Islamic intellectual tradition. Then it was simply snuffed out. What happened? And does what happened explain something of what is going on today?

    No. There wasn’t.
    You can’t “snuff out” what was never alight to begin with.
    They took the qur’an literally, as they’re supposed to, and brutally killed those who disagreed with them.
    And yes it explains everything.

    What is commonly called “the Golden Age of Islam” was really the twilight of the civilizations they brutally conquered. North Africa gave us St. Augustine (and Tertullian). Today, not too many St.Augustines are coming from North Africa.

    Take the qur’an, the hadith, and the sirat-rasul-ullah, convince someone that the first one is directly from the mouth of Almighty God, and that a copy of it is in Heaven, and the second one is how “the perfect man” acted, and that the third one is about the life of “the perfect man”, what you’ll get on the other side is what we’re seeing right now.

  10. ProLifeMommy says:

    Fr., More importantly, what is the response from Rome? What is our Holy Father’s response to this humanitarian crisis? He told us in Evangelii Guadiuum: “Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” Here are just a few quotes from the Koran:
    “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216)
    “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4:89)
    “Fight the idolators utterly” (Koran 9:36)

    “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence,” the pope said.
    Did you notice, btw, how crazy things got after the Pope invited a top Muslim Imam to pray on Vatican property on June 8, 2014? A comprehensive interview with Maj. (ret.) Stephen Coughlin, who is one of the foremost non-Muslim American experts on Islamic law. Maj. Coughlin examines the context of what the imam’s prayer at the Vatican as it relates to Islamic law. He uses his explanatory material — from authoritative sources of Islamic law — to expose the strategy behind Muslim participation in the prayer event at the Vatican, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s exploitation of the “interfaith” movement to accomplish its own ends. It is a truly enlightening interview:

    And, how is my diocese (the Archdioces of Washington D.C.) responding? SILENCE. Just take a peak at their Twitter page. You’d think the world was all rainbows (no pun intended here…) and butterflies!! And when I asked my priest, “why the silence?” He said there exists a fear of offending peaceful muslims (a.k.a. = to “cafeteria catholics) as well as losing tax exempt status. “We have to be very, very, careful.” But, “the bishop has granted permission for individual parishes to pray for the Christian Persecution. Just keep requesting the prayers be included in the Prayers of the Faithful.”

    Words simply cannot express the sadness in my heart…..

    Do Catholics forget about Pope John X?

    How unbelievably disgusting.

  11. Kristyn says:

    Fr. Z, do you believe any of this ties into the references to the public beheadings and mentions of Rome in the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) in the Bible?

  12. Polycarpio says:

    “Rome” is a threat to be taken seriously. As far as I can tell, the IS has made very specific threats and followed through on them: we will execute this hostage next, etc.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    Being in Paris the day after the first shootings, and watching French television, it was clear that some Europeans are waking up to the reality of the evil violence which is in the “religion of peace”. Starting in 2003, I taught my students that they were in the Age of Martyrs and could choose to prepare for martyrdom or not.

    Too many Catholics forget the real business of the devil is to wipe out the one, true, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church on earth. Of course, although we shall be a very, very small remnant, this will not happen. Christ will find some faith when He returns.

    We should, as I did, all be preparing our children for martyrdom, either that of blood or that of being imprisoned, in the new gulags of America.

  14. gramma10 says:

    YoungLatinMassGuy has it right I believe.
    Robert Royal has spoken here at the Institute For Catholic Culture. He has lots to say. He had been on Raymond Arroyo’s show also.
    We better take these lunatics seriously.
    Where are all the military forces from all over the world who need to stop these atrocities?
    No one seems to be on the offense or also a defense!
    We must pray for these victims. Hell has broken loose and the devil is having a field day. Horrific. Enough is enough!

  15. pseudomodo says:

    I fear that this barbarism will continue ad infinitum and the nations of the world will do nothing as usual because ISIS has not commuted the ultimate atrocity yet.

    There is one atrocity that is certain to galvanize the world against them and they know that if they were to commit it, they would be attacked and immediately destroyed.

    So far, they haven’t beheaded a puppy.

  16. The Astronomer says:

    The much vaunted “Muslim intellectual tradition,” mathematics expertise, excellence in the arts…etc. are a misunderstood myth. Recent (post-1985 or so) academic research from Western and Muslim sources has determined MUCH of this did not spring sui generis from the Muslim mind, but rather was carried over from people and nations conquered by Muslims in the 7th, 8, 9th centuries…etc.

    The glorious “Muslim intellectual tradition” holds about as much intellectual honesty as people who defame His Holiness Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope” or who draw a moral equivalence between ISIS/ISIL brutality and any excesses of the First Crusade. The people who make these assertions trust that the combination of their confidence and hubris, along with smirking condescension towards people who dare challenge their specious arguments, will carry the day.

    Just do the research.

    Je Suis Charles Martel!!!!
    Je Suis Comte Raymond of Toulouse!!!!
    Je Suis Godfrey of Bouillon!!!!

  17. ChrisRawlings says:

    You really think that the same “civilization” that blithley sanctions the widespead practice of feticide will have a cogent response to the barbarism of ISIS? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  18. Grabski says:

    An interesting article published in The Atlantic by Graeme Wood goes through the ISIS ideology. He claims Rome could mean Byzantium.

  19. juergensen says:

    After decades of butchering babies in the womb, fornication, pornography, sodomy, and divorce, the West is too morally bankrupt to respond. Witness Obama, who can’t bring himself to call these demoniacs what they are, “Muslims”. Witness the Pope, saying “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence.”

  20. Jackie L says:

    The response will be to fight religious extremism…you know, like those people praying outside abortion mills, supporting the “ban” on ssm, and “denying” women contraception.

    The response should be some action taken toward Mecca, ie, the President ought to state that should there be another attack on the West, there will be 24 hours to get your people out of Mecca, then we begin bombing.

  21. Rushintuit says:

    It is common for Muslims to marry their first cousins. That explains the intellectual challenges of Islam. We need to realize that Islam is a political system just like Marxism masquerading as a religion.

  22. Priam1184 says:

    YoungLatinMassGuy is so right: there is zero intellectual tradition that a Catholic would recognize as such in Islam. Most of Islam’s intellectual effort has been dedicated to interpreting the various schools of Islamic law and jurisprudence. But it is all, like the rest of the religion, very worldly and not very deep. Every now and then during the Middle Ages one runs across the random and rare Muslim intellectual expounding on the ideas of Aristotle or Plato but here was never an Islamic Augustine, Ambrose, Athanasius, or Chrysostom. Certainly no Thomas Aquinas. In fact they never had anyone close to that level.

  23. Traductora says:

    There’s no Muslim intellectual tradition, because, as Pope Benedict pointed out, Islam starts with a fundamental rejection of the Logos, that is, the rationality of God and His expression to humankind. The Islamic god is unpredictable, unknowable, cannot be bound even by his own law, and might, on a whim, change anything at any moment. Thus the world created by this god is essentially irrational and unknowable – which pretty much eliminates the possibility of developing scientific or any other kind of knowledge. Islamic “scholarship” is limited entirely to poring over the laws of sharia and defending them, mostly simply by saying that this was how Mohammed (the “perfect man”) lived.

    The Middle Eastern cultures conquered by the Muslims were actually much more advanced than the Arabs, and pagan or mixed Christian/pagan places such as Baghdad or Persia had a long tradition of scientific and mathematical learning, as well as literature and poetry. The conquered cultures generally kept these things for about 50-100 years after conquest, and then Islam suffocated them. Places subsequently conquered by these new Muslims likewise continued for a while, and then fell silent.

    Only when Islam, for one reason or another, was weakened did these cultures actually do anything that involved thought; but then as now, every time Islam became more “moderate,” that is, less strictly practiced, another, more radical Muslim group would arise, attack the earlier group as “fallen away,” and once again bring down the curtain of ignorance and fear. We’re seeing this very vividly in our day.

    I think BXVI was right to challenge the Muslims on the very basis of Islam, and he was right that it is completely incompatible with reason or knowledge.

  24. donato2 says:

    I am quite pessimistic about the outcome of this conflict. The fundamental problem is that the Muslims waging this war believe in their own religion while the West no longer does. At this point the West is essentially fighting for the right to enjoy pornography, engage in sodomy and ridicule other people. It is not going to carry the day.

  25. Mike says:

    These guys are a danger. But please remember we have men who jump out of planes at 28,000 feet, who swim in frigid waters, whose precision marksmanship is nearly flawless, whose intel is the work of geniuses, who fight in the tradition of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Guam, and Okinawa, and Fallujah, just to name a few.

    We need to pray and sacrifice, sure. But we have the mettle to wipe these guys out.

  26. pfreddys says:

    Perhaps Pope Francis will take a moment or two away from condemning his own people and make mention of how naughty these few people (CERTAINLY NOT representing Islam) are being.

  27. Rodney Stark sums up well also in The Victory of Reason – the disintegration of the nascent Islamic intellectual traditon under the pressure of irrationality and mysticism in around the 12oos.

  28. Lynn Diane says:

    I think the reference to Rome relates to a prophecy in the Koran that Moslems would conquer both Byzantium and Rome. Mehmet the Conqueror took Byzantium in 1453, now Moslems expect another conqueror to take Rome, and ISIS would love to do it. Friends, please remember there are millions of Moslems who don’t support ISIS, whom ISIS would kill as “hypocrites” if they could. ISIS has killed more Moslems than Christians so far. Some of these Moslems are brave enough to speak out against ISIS and risk terrible retribution against them and their families. As for the Moslem “golden age,” remember St. Thomas Aquinas’ responses to Avicenna (Ali Ibn Sina) and Averroes (Ahmad Ibn Rushd). Educated men of that time learned Arabic so King Alfred the Great of England as a child was given an Arab tutor.

  29. Fr. Z, do you believe any of this ties into the references to the public beheadings and mentions of Rome in the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) in the Bible?

    I’m not Fr Z, but I do.

    Revelations 13:3-4: ‘In amazement the whole earth followed the beast. 4 They worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

    We are also told this force is given authority to defeat us: ‘Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.’

    I’ve often wondered if the second beast – the one with horns like a lamb that speaks like a dragon – is actually the mainstream media.

  30. Spade says:

    Just an FYI:

    You can get a “Deus Vult” engraved dust cover for your AR.

  31. Alanmac says:

    Next time you go out, look around. You will see obese people engaged in their iphones living totally humanistic secular lives. The most popular boys’ name in Holland is Mohammed. In the West, we aren’t even replacing ourselves.
    Maybe not next year, but soon, Muslims will over run us whether by war or sheer numbers. The Western pagans won’t stand a chance against these zealots.

  32. Charles E Flynn says:

    For quite a surprise about the worldview of the ISIS fighters, search on this page for the word “Jesus”:

    What ISIS Really Wants, by Graeme Wood, for the Atlantic Monthly.

  33. Kathleen10 says:

    Mike, I agree with you, and all. We have the capability along with the rest of the world, if determined, to take this on. Unfortunately, in Europe it is late, some nations are up to their eyeballs in Muslims and it is not going well now. Political correctness has made it difficult to speak directly, and it is going to take direct speech by many to address this problem.
    I would still be concerned, but not as worried, if we had a Republican president in the White House. I don’t know what we’ve got now, but whatever it is, it is apparently not interested in taking ISIS on.

  34. Kathleen10 says:

    And the only major leader in Christianity I see willing to discuss this directly is Rev. Franklin Graham, a Baptist. Within the Catholic church, as they say, crickets.

  35. Gail F says:

    The video was addressed to “The Nation of the Cross.” These folks, to use President Obama’s term, don’t seem too concerned with geography or the niceties of Christian sects. They do not care about Presbyterians, Four Square Gospel churches, or the storefront Front Street Universal Church of God Emmanuel. To them, Rome is the head of Christendom and all Christians are part of it — whatever the Christians think about it. We actually agree with this, though we don’t say it often. They want to take over the world and “Rome,” whether the actual Rome or just a vague idea of a big Christian city headed by the pope — symbolizes what they want to conquer. People had better wake up and take notice of what’s happening all around them; it’s not really all that hard.

  36. Those are some heroic Christians to have faced death so stoically for our Holy Religion.

  37. Dienekes says:

    “These guys are a danger. But please remember we have men who jump out of planes at 28,000 feet, who swim in frigid waters, whose precision marksmanship is nearly flawless, whose intel is the work of geniuses, who fight in the tradition of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Guam, and Okinawa, and Fallujah, just to name a few.

    We need to pray and sacrifice, sure. But we have the mettle to wipe these guys out.”

    Yes. But Winston Churchill is no longer with us; now we have Pee Wee Herman on the golf course.

  38. Dienekes says:

    “You can get a “Deus Vult” engraved dust cover for your AR.”

    I’m in.

  39. KaTeKu says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters. I live in central Europe. Last week I went to Paris just for a few days and the atmosphere there was very tense. On the surface it would almost seem that nothing happens but
    …when I and my friend wanted to enter cathedral of Notre Dame, there was rather huge queue and all the baggages and handbags were searched. We´ve met several groups of fully armed soldiers…on the airport, on the streets. On Sunday we went to Mass and there was a group of men on their patrol all through the ceremony. Just before I left I was involved in the luggage-left-under-bench-by-some-white-guy event and I really didn´t feel well. France is in war just as the Ukraine is. And it´s comming on us. France is not that far from where I live just as Ukraine is not. Up to now it´s still somewhat hidden yet it´s there..

    Should we go up to arms? I wonder. I´d like to present another view..a bit radical, certainly not welcomed. Please, take it as just a part of my internal/meditative searching for the answear, not a definite answear, nor a call..

    Facing all the events of the year passed I´ve often asked a simple question. Where does peace start? How can we reach it? The answear often comes from the monastic tradition. Peace starts at the deph of each one´s heart. We can´t reach peace unless everyone of us reached it within their own heart, life. Yes, it´s not the kind of answear one expects when facing a gun. And yet I wonder..

    Lord Jesus is the king of peace. What does he say? To show the other face to our enemies. To see in every and each one person the son of God for whon God gave His own Son and did not spare Him. What else does Jesus say? Whoever wants to save his life shall lose it and whoever shall lose it shall save it (sorry, don´t know the exact english translation). Well, maybe we should take it literally. And what else? The seed has to die first so that it may bring forth the fruits. Maybe the Church IS such a seed. And what else? That we should follow Him on the cross. Maybe The Church, as a whole, should follow Him on the Cross..that might mean to apparent destruction..But He has overcome death and has risen! Therefore we have hope that even if we gave our lives for him (and yes, even in brutal martyr death), we shall rise again with Him..

    I sometimes wonder if the first martyrs couldn´t just fight, couldn´t just defend themselves…there were not so few of them…and they did not. For violence causes only more violence. Shouldn ´t the christians be makers of the peace?

    The Church shall prevail and the gates of Hell shall not overcome Her. Yes, but maybe we could thing about it in terms of the Cross. First die and then be ressurected to Her final Glory…to the Glory of the Spouse of Christ.

    There lived in the first half of a century one woman, a mystic that received the stigmata,in our land (she is not commonly known – yet). Recently there has been started the process of her beatification. Many believe her to be a saint (including myself). She (among other things) in one of her extasies told: “I know that the white bride of the White Prince (Jesus) has to give Her life for her enemies”. It´s been on my mind ever since I´ve read those words..

    Well, I know most of you would not like what I´ve just writen, It´s only that sometimes I feel as if most of you were ready to take up arms without hesitation, without really considering the other option and I felt like presenting another view. Forgive me if I have offended you – that was not my intention.

  40. Mike says:

    . . . I sometimes wonder if the first martyrs couldn´t just fight, couldn´t just defend themselves…there were not so few of them…and they did not. . . .

    Well stated, KaTeKu. The problem is not that cowardice has impeded the deployment of infantry, bombers and battleships. It is that nominalism and political correctness have stifled the Church’s proclamation of the Truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whether about the salvation He won for us through His Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection, about His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist and the reverent worship due thereto, or about the evils of modernistic distortions of His Gospel that falsely equate solidarity with the poor to the outsourcing of the works of mercy to the unitary State.

    One hopes that Servant of God Dorothy Day, a sturdy, principled opponent both of monolithic, militaristic government and its apologists and of pusillanimous clerics and feckless laity, is smiling — and praying for us!

  41. rcg says:

    KsTeKu makes excellent points. The key to one of them is the choice the Christian makes to not follow the world into violence by making a choice contrary to his preferences. This is a key to the teachings of Christ: that the followers can correct their actions by referencing the teachings, and actions, of Christ. The human mind under the sway of Islam reverses this grace and acts irrationally and blames the Creator. The dilemma for the West is how we can refuse to join the civil war against itself in the name of Peace while not ignoring the plight of the weak, such as the raped children held by Boco Haram, in the same Name.

  42. Imrahil says:

    Dear Rushinuit,

    we need to realize that Islam is a political system just like Marxism masquerading as a religion.

    no offense, but I’ll be frank: That prejudice stems from the secularist prejudice (permeating modern culture and especially countries that pride themselves in their separation of Church and State, so, no offense please) that religion belongs to the sacristy and has no place in society and the State’s order. Which, as we Catholics know, is of course wrong.

    Or from the other, moderate-secularist, prejudice that religion (not specifying to “true religion”) is of course something just fine (in its due place). Which we know is wrong. Aztec religion was not fine.

    What Islam in the first place is is simply a religion. A false religion, of course: the “revelations” to Mahomet did not actually take place.

    After we made that clear, we can of course take a deeper look into all the things the religion called “Islam” teaches, and whether, apart from considering it wrong, we might also considering it dangerous.

    Marxism, for certain was anything but “a political system masquerading as a religion”. It was a political system and said so; if anything, it was a religion masquerading as a political system.

  43. frjim4321 says:

    From March, 2003:

    “Cardinal Laghi told Bush that three things would happen if the United States went to war, the source recalled. First, it would cause many deaths and injuries on both sides. Secondly, it would result in civil war. And, thirdly, the United States might know how to get into a war, but it would have great difficulty getting out of one.”

    Now we reap the whirlwind.

  44. FXR2 says:

    We have the mettle but not the will. Way back in 2002 or early 2003 I saw a USMC General speak on C-Span about armies of occupation. The General stated when dealing with occupations we should not speak in terms of years. We should speak in terms of generations. He reported that the more similar the cultures, language, religon, other cultural similarities the shorter the occupation. A similar culture with similar language and religion 1 to 2 generations read that 20 to 40 years best case scenario, The more different the culture, language, religion et al the longer the occupation. In a culture such as in the middle east he estimated 5 to 7 generations, read that 100 to 140 years. Yes this was in the G. W. Busch Administration prior to the invasion of Iraq.
    This Occupation plan was never mazde public and it is moot now. When the US pulled out of the Iraq theatre of operations the power vacuum made the rise ISIS or something like it a predictable event.

    Can I believe that I am actually in accord with FR. Jim?

    I believe the Crusades are a failed model. We do not (and should not) have the will to exterminate them. The only proper course of action is conversion. Prayer, fasting and missionaries. Remembering that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If the blood of the Martyrs could convert the Roman Empire that it can handle thses chumps.

    There will be no appropriate response from the Civil Authorities.


  45. ocalatrad says:

    Someone mentioned that Putin’s aim is to weaken Europe to the point to where they can’t defend themselves against this threat. I don’t see the basis of that argument. It is obvious that secular–read: modernist– European agitators stirred the pot in Kiev just as the democratically-elected government was attempting a rapprochement with (increasingly Christian) Russia. But that’s besides the point.

    In the event Rome had to defend itself–may God forbid–I think Putin would be more aggressive in wiping out this scourge than the Europeans would be. At least he sees the threat for what it is and doesn’t live in a secularist fairy land. And truly the fervor with which Europe’s godless leaders cling to the liberal agenda amidst clear signs that the ideology is bankrupt borders on absolute mania.

    And even if by some miracle all of Europe would rise up to fight these animals where they lurk, they have already let the enemy behind their lines. Europe is the modern-day Troy and the Greeks are already behind the gates and waiting to pounce. It is a disastrous situation.

  46. Matt Robare says:

    Time for the Knights of Malta to rearm.

  47. jlong says:


    If ISIS attack the Vatican during a consistory, and manage to gain a foothold, which results in the Pope and all the Cardinals (maybe one or two survivors) being killed, what is the Canonical process to elect a new Pope?

  48. Uncledan says:

    Why are we sitting around fretting about the response of civilization when WE are that civilization? We have the answers. Every Catholic here should pray, fast, read their bible often, do penance, and attend mass as much as possible.
    Want to make an immediate change?
    Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, 12:01 AM, we have a prayer rally. Preferably a rosary rally. Let’s start small – with five people. I’ll be the first so we only need four more. It doesn’t matter what time, as long as your rosary is tomorrow. In addition, you can read your bible, fast, attend a mass, and/or do penance.
    OK, let’s get going, we’ve got work to do!

  49. Patti Day says:

    I will join you in the rosary.

  50. Imrahil says:

    Dear jlong,

    I think in that case the decree of 1059 would be, of course, inexecutable, and hence we’d resort to previous practice.

    Which is, the suffragan bishops of Rome (by now distinct from the cardinals bearing their titles), the clergy of the diocese of Rome and the Catholic populace of Rome (by acclamation) elect a candidate.

    Dear FXR2,

    please do not repeat the fable that the Crusades were about exterminating anyone. They weren’t, they were just wars, and on the whole just ones at that.

  51. tzabiega says:

    The Assyrian Church (an orthodox Church) has started a militia in the north of Iraq which is training to cooperate with the Kurds in fighting ISIS. Supposedly there are several hundred volunteers, funded by Assyrian immigrant organizations in Europe. Maybe Catholics should think about helping organize something like this as well, as recourse to arms is a good thing when defending your livelihood–and frankly the Muslims think we are wimps and will only start backing down when Christians show there is nothing wrong with defending their faith with arms. Were all the resistance fighters against Nazis (with places like Poland having Catholic priests in the thick of the battles as chaplains) during WWII wrong if the Church wants only peaceful means to be used against barbarians? Unfortunately, this is the toll of America’s policy of defending Israel at all costs. So we are opposed to secular, anti-Islamist regimes like Assad, Saddam Hussein, and Qadafi and help attack them, and we also put sanctions against Iran which is opposed to these barbaric Islamists and fight against Hezbollah, which actually has been able to rule Lebanon peacefully along with the Marionite Catholics there. On the other hand, we are great friends with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who funds ISIS and Al-Qaida, with the Saudis making Osama Bin Ladin and the 9/11 terrorists. In Poland, there has been a small Tatar Muslim minority living there peacefully for the last 600 years, and it is only now with Saudis funding Islamist propaganda among Polish Muslims that they are starting to change into fanatics. So the U.S. is at fault. And like parents should tell their kids, if you make a mess, you have to clean it up. The same with the U.S.: if you made the mess in the Middle East, you have to clean it up with troops on the ground, even if it costs the lives of many American G.I.’s. That is the price you pay for causing chaos in the Middle East in order to protect Israel and Saudi Arabia.

  52. Supertradmum says:

    To be a Catholic does not mean to be a pacifist. We have two liturgical feasts surrounding victories over the Muslims.

    The problem is that too many Catholics have no “fire in the belly” for defending their Church, Western Civ. and even their own families.

    Recently, a young Englishman left his home to go fight these evil people in Syria. He took a Bible and a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Joined by one American, this man stated that if the governments were not going to fight evil, he would.

    Guys….where are the real men of these days? If you are not learning to use weapons, when this nation falls into chaos, civil war and barbarity, and you watch your family being slaughtered, you have only yourselves to blame.

    In order to be a martyr, one must be killed specifically for Christ, and not merely because one is a man or woman of the West.

  53. Eugene says:

    I have reached out to the pastor of a Coptic Orthodos Church and asked if I could make them a donation and be allowed to pray in their church as a sign of solidarity and support for our persecuted brothers and sisters of the Coptic Church in Egypt. May God help us and them and remove our apathy.

  54. Priam1184 says:

    @ocalatrad If you are talking about me I said that a long term aim of Vladimir Putin was to break up NATO. That should be obvious to anyone with the intelligence of your average horsefly, even if that excludes the current occupants of the White House and the heads of government in western Europe.

    My statement about Europe being more vulnerable to Islamic threats from the south and east was just to illuminate a consequence to that action. The breaking of NATO would have a devastating effect on Europe and the planet, and I don’t really think that we can be sure now what life would be like in that kind of world. But one of the knock on effects would surely be to weaken the European state system and make individual states vulnerable to an emerging Muslim threat from the south and east. Whether this is what Vladimir Putin intends I don’t know, but none of the guys who started WWI as far as I know had any desire for the Bolsheviks to take power in Russia or the NSDAP to take Germany either.

  55. Maria says:

    Dear ProLifeMommy says:
    16 February 2015 at 4:09 pm

    “Did you notice, btw, how crazy things got after the Pope invited a top Muslim Imam to pray on Vatican property on June 8, 2014? ” — I did noticed it. This was the first article I read after that prayer: “”. Two days after that prayer, Islam’s ferocity was unleashed even more.

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

  56. frjim4321 says:

    “God’s blessings of peace and joy!” – Maria

    How are we to read that non-sequitur?

  57. Theodore says:

    God give us the strength to see this trough but this is a multigenerational problem and will require a multigenerational solution. David Goldman, posting as Spengler, has written the following:

    “How does one handle wars of this sort? In 2008 I argued for a “Richelovian” foreign policy, that is, emulation of the evil genius who guided France to victory at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648. Wars of this sort end when two generations of fighters are killed. They last for decades (as did the Peloponnesian War, the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars of the 20th century) because one kills off the fathers die in the first half of the war, and the sons in the second.

    This new Thirty Years War has its origins in a demographic peak and an economic trough. There are nearly 30 million young men aged 15 to 24 in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, a bulge generation produced by pre-modern fertility rates that prevailed a generation ago. But the region’s economies cannot support them. Syria does not have enough water to support an agricultural population, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers into tent cities preceded its civil war. The West mistook the death spasms of a civilization for an “Arab Spring,” and its blunders channeled the youth bulge into a regional war.

    The way to win such a war is by attrition, that is, by feeding into the meat-grinder a quarter to a third of the enemy’s available manpower. Once a sufficient number of who wish to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so, the war stops because there are insufficient recruits to fill the ranks. That is how Generals Grant and Sherman fought the American Civil War, and that is the indicated strategy in the Middle East today.”

    Read more:

  58. frjim4321 says:

    test …. test

  59. The Astronomer says:

    Why do I get the feeling that when Fr. Jim posts, he’s doing so as Michael Sean Winters alter-ego?

  60. austrobrady says:

    How long will it be before the IS effects a full-on Roman-style crucifixion?

  61. Kathleen10 says:

    Apparitions have warned, scripture has warned, and now we see what appears to be a great chastisement on the horizon. What would it take to regain atheistic populations for God? It would take something extreme. We have many lesser extremes going on at the same time, the collapse of morality in cultures, the polarization among people, the vaporization of spiritual leadership, the capitulation to moral decay, political leadership that divides people by class, economics, increasing violence and hatred among our fellow citizens, and a totalitarian regime, in America. In the absence of real leadership and a determination that our Judeo-Christian ethos should go on, and a willingness to defend our nations, our people, our children, we are, too many, weak and unwilling to do battle. I read people’s comments every day and they disturb me, mostly because I know that these are the same people who will wail and scream for help if trouble comes to their neighborhood. Rather than screwing up their courage then, it would be far better to find it NOW. There are clearly many Americans who do have that “fire in the belly” to take on evil, and thank God for the rest of the world that thus far, we have. The world has largely benefited, although that is mostly forgotten. It is appalling now that so many in the world, even horribly, too many of our own citizens, now turn around and spit on the country that has been that benevolent giant who has tried to help wherever help was needed. The world is really hurting because right now, America has her hands tied behind her back by our own leaders. This has allowed evil to go unchecked and see what good that has done. The world is in chaos for lack of leadership. Europe’s leaders seem weak and only occasionally are words that sound remotely like leadership heard, but it seems too little, too late, and then there are some who want power but about whom we would have to worry. We have a real leadership vacuum and into it comes ISIS. What ISIS cannot do, political correctness will. They are beginning to use it to make gains everywhere, knowing our weakness.
    Like KaTeKu I wonder about the words of Jesus. I cannot reconcile that Jesus intended that we lie down and be slaughtered by those who will destroy everything and everyone in their path. Why does the church have Just War theory if that is true? No. We have been convinced by our cultures that to surrender is morally superior to fighting for a just cause, even the survival of our civilization. We are actually wondering if it would be morally superior to let Christianity be extinguished, and mightn’t God bless that.

  62. chantgirl says:

    I thought this was an interesting take on the goals of ISIS:

    ISIS really wants a fight. They are like taunting schoolyard bullies. I don’t pretend to know what the military response should be, but we definitely need a spiritual response. Now would be the time for a religious order with the charism of converting muslims to arise.

  63. Latin Mass Type says:

    My thought experiment for the question of “would Jesus intend that we lie down and be slaughtered by those who will destroy everything and everyone in their path” was imagining “them” coming to destroy my physical church, tearing the tabernacle from the altar and prying it open.

    If they are going to kill me anyway, it might as well be while I’m defending the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  64. kimberley jean says:

    Here’s the bottom line. The United States has already meddled badly in the Middle East and helped create this mess. The only way to deal with ISIS is to kill them all like roaches. Nobody in the US wants to go into another war and unless something happens to our 300 Marines in that Iraqi town that’s possibly going to be surrounded soon the public wont’ support any action. If you’re really worked up over ISIS get yourself over there to fight as a mercenary like the Communist leaning Americans who went to kill Spanish civilians in the Spanish Civil War.

  65. FXR2 says:

    Imrahil said:

    Dear FXR2,
    please do not repeat the fable that the Crusades were about exterminating anyone. They weren’t, they were just wars, and on the whole just ones at that.

    Please forgive my haste. I did not intend to equate the Crusades with extermination, my apologies. I agree the Crusades were just, just wars (Ha!). There were human excesses on both sides, but I digress.
    I believe that the use of force against Islam that results in less than extermination would be counter productive. Obviously extermination is off the table.
    I believe this is essentially a spiritual battle and prayer, fasting and witness are our chief weapons. After all they worked for the early Church!


  66. Bruce says:

    The West Wing, Season 4, Red Mass episode:

    What do I know? Shareef was a bad guy. Feels like he had money in the
    Bahji cell.

    He did. He was also behind the plot to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Bridges and tunnels. That’s my nightmare. What’s yours?

    Well, now it’s bridges and tunnels, Sam.

    Then my work here is done.

    It’s that I don’t know what winning looks like. What does it look like. Is
    it… I mean, is it
    honestly the U.S. flag flying over Mecca? Is that what’s going to straighten
    this out? And if
    that’s the case, why are we postponing that? What are we hoping is going
    happens in the meantime?

    That somebody will think of something before we have to do the unthinkable.

  67. Aquinas Gal says:

    Uncledan, I’m with you. I’m praying the rosary every day. If enough of us do that, the victory will come through Mary and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. Remember Lepanto.

    I also think that we are facing a chastisement due to our many sins, especially abortion. Hilaire Belloc wrote with great wisdom in his book “Survivals and New Arrivals” (around the 1920s) that Islam would rise up again. But Belloc saw it as an instrument God uses when needed to chastise his people, just as the Israelites had to go into exile. Get ready, it won’t be pretty.

  68. Bea says:

    Interesting quote:
    “There are two fundamental ways to close the mind. One is to deny reason’s capability of knowing anything. The other is to dismiss reality as unknowable.”

    This immediately brought to mind the Pope’s reply to that little girl in the Phillipines:

    Glyzelle asked: how could God allow children to descend into prostitution and drug addiction?
    The Holy Father had no answer and I believe we all have no answer to this penetrating question that plagues humankind.
    As the Holy Father said: “there are no answers.”

    But there IS an answer in one word:
    Through Original Sin and down through the ages through Actual Sin

  69. MouseTemplar says:

    While not a criticism of these poor men, I wonder that this looked so orderly. I wonder that a group of obviously capable males, even bound and probably under plenty of guns off-camera didn’t turn this into a brawl–better to be shot than butchered.

    Could the Islamist murderers have drugged these folks? Otherwise the struggle normal to any living being being killed would have ruined the video….

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