Death in the Streets of Nice, and You.

Yet again we have cause to mourn the murdered.  Yet again, in France.

We have serious decisions to make about our future.  This is a war.

I strongly urge you to consider that this, friends, is coming our way, courtesy of terrorists of the Islamic State and practitioners of the Religion of Peace.


Deus, qui conteris bella, et impugnatores in te sperantium potentia tuae defensionis expugnas: auxiliare famulis tuis, implorantibus misericordiam tuam; ut, inimicorum suorum feritate depressa, incessabili et gratiarum actione laudemus.

O God, who bringest wars to nought and shieldest by Thy power all who hope in Thee, overthrowing those that assail them; help Thy servants who implore Thy mercy; so that the fierce might of their enemies may be brought low, and we may never cease to praise and thank Thee.

Please, everyone, give thought to what I have constantly asked: situational awareness.

Earlier today I posted about this Pokemon Go thing, which results in noses glued to screens and oblivion to surroundings.  That is an exaggerated example of recklessness.  But many people wander about with hardly less thought about their circumstances.  One of the things I have suggested in the past is to seek out some training which might include situational awareness elements.  Concealed carry weapon license training includes that, whether you would ever be interested in carrying a weapon or not, one way or another.  That’s not the main point.  The important thing is to learn to watch and to think and to react, to evade, to deescalate, to survive.  If CCW training is the easiest way to start this process, then do it.  It’s helpful.  Will it prevent an attack with a truck on a street?  It might help you to notice that it’s coming before it’s too late for you and those around you.

Also, GO TO CONFESSION.  We don’t know when it will be our turn, no matter how situationally aware we are.  Ask God to preserve us from a sudden and unprovided death.

A subitanea et improvisa morte… From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”

A sudden death can be a blessing. A sudden and unprovided death – unprovided in the sense of having no recourse to the sacraments when you are not in the state of grace – is a horrifying prospect. Make plans for, provide for, the needs of both body and soul for yourselves and those in your charge. You don’t know when your death will come, natural or not.

A while back I read a book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka. (UK HERE)

In this book, Gorka describes one of the reasons why these people choose terror.

According to the Pakistani general, there is only one target of importance in war: the soul of the enemy. The infidel foe must be converted to Islam or crushed. Lastly, since the only target that matters in war is the soul of the infidel, Malik concludes that the most effective weapon in war is terror. Here we see the relevance of his book to groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. The enemy’s belief system must be utterly destroyed, and terror is the most effective way to do that. That is why 9/ 11 was so important. It is the highly symbolic suicide attacks, the crucifixions, the beheadings, the bombings of civilian crowds, and the videos of immolations that will destroy the will of the infidel to go on.

According to the Quranic concept of war, and because these terrorists are inspired to bring about the eschatological fulfillment of their religion, they wage war on the souls of the non-Muslim or, in their view, insufficient-Muslim.  Their war has an eschatological view.  They must destroy the spirit of their enemy.  This is why they use terror and why they commit atrocities which they record and broadcast.

Gorka says that we have to discredit their “brand“, or this will go on and on.

Again, I ask you to kneel on those increasingly calloused knees and pray for the souls of the murdered and their poor families.  Also, pray for our leaders – around the world – to find their RESOLVE.

This is war.

Do not lose heart.  Do not be afraid.  We might not know how our part in this story ends, but we do already know how the story ends.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
St. Lawrence of Brindiso, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Heartbroken and angry! My prayers and thoughts with the people of France today. Some very hard decisions have to be made for the defense of our free Judeo-Christian culture and way of life. These decisions have been made before in the face of severe and constant onslaught by the Religion of Peace (La Reconquista, Crusades, Lepanto, Vienna, etc…) Being a Spaniard in SoCal I have to constantly hear from the Liberal Intelligentsia about all “evils” and “ruthlessness” of the Spaniards in their conquest of an empire… From the wars against the Muslims, expulsion from Spain, Inquisition, colonizing of the New World, and more. While I admit not everyone was a saint in the process the things that needed to be done were done. And they were decisions made in the light of the battles of that era (Spain had been conquered and subjugated for centuries) and it’s not fully fair to criticize those decisions. Perhaps as our modern world and its dealings with the Middle East come to reflect more and more the circumstances of that time long ago maybe some of decisions made will be at least a little more understandable. Do we have the courage and the strength to do what needs to be done now?

  2. excalibur says:

    Plea to the Pope for doctrinal clarity.


    ROME, July 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In a spirit of love, humility, and faithfulness, 16 international life and family advocates are asking Pope Francis in a powerful new video to unambiguously speak the truth of the Catholic faith, to end doctrinal confusion, to restore clarity, and to be the Holy Father that Catholics need.

    “We are living in a very special time of a deep crisis of faith inside the Church,” said Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the Auxiliary in the diocese of Maria Santissima in Kazakhstan, who opens the video, produced by LifeSiteNews.

    “It is not a secret. It is very evident. A lot of people, the simple faithful, are suffering because of the situation of confusion,” he added.

    The 30-minute film, titled Plea to the Pope, comes in the wake of confusion caused by the pope’s April release of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in which he made a number of concerning statements about marriage, divorce, sin, reception of Holy Communion, and sex education for children. The Exhortation has generated numerous contradictory interpretations from various theologians as well as cardinals and bishops.

    Bishop Schneider called it “very urgent” that the pope “states more clearly, in a very unambiguous manner — in such a manner which will not leave any space for misinterpretations — [on] the issues of family and the sacredness of marriage.”

    The film contains an impressive lineup of international life and family advocates who decided that the time had come to voice their concerns for the good of the Church, of souls, and of nations.

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    The attack took place about 10 miles from where I live. There have been several attempted attacks in Nice since 2014, one (much smaller) carried out in February 2015, and multiple terrorist cells have been dismantled here over the past five years or so.

    The Ariane arab ghetto in Nice is a hive of violence and sectarianism, including such ghastly stuff as attempts to murder people by throwing fridges at them over balconies on top of their heads. Pray for Fr Patrick Bruzzone who is doing excellent missionary and charity work in what’s functionally an arab enclave on the French mainland.

    Had it not been for the police and armed forces present as a standard counter-terrorism measure in France’s state of emergency, this attack could have been even more horrid than it was. Pray for them too, and all the victims and their families and friends.

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    A strange thing is that yesterday I was listening to the talk of some neighbours who were thinking of going to Nice last night, and for some reason I suggested they go to Menton instead. I hope they’re all right …

  5. Tony Phillips says:

    I certainly am NOT in any way trying to DEFEND what these terrorists are doing. But I must admit that to some extent I feel I UNDERSTAND how second- or third-generation French (or English) Moslems can act this way. Western society has become so sick and depraved that, even if they can’t articulate it or even recognise it, these young people recoil from it. Where do they turn? To their roots, their tradition, or something that claims to speak for their tradition, something that allows and indeed encourages them to strike a blow against the evils of the West. After all, what alternatives are we giving them? The churches don’t proseletyse to their own, let alone to the Moslems among us.

  6. JabbaPapa says:

    My neighbours are safe. Everyone I know in Nice is safe.

    A friend’s young daughter was caught in the midst of it, and he walked along the whole of the Promenade past the corpses looking for her. She is safe, having taken refuge on the beach.

  7. Ellen says:

    I’m going to confession today. I am beyond horrified at this terrorism and I fear it will only get worse. ISIS has talked about attacking Rome.

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The major problem here is that, in a crowd, there’s nowhere to go if a car or truck plows into you. That’s why cities usually block off areas where people are having a big sidewalk party. Of course, temporary barriers are meant more for instruction than prevention and protection. So if someone is determined to run a truck through that kind of barrier, they could easily get through it.

    Sadly, “car jihad” is starting to get more common, and we can expect this “success” to make it more popular.

    On the bright side, there was an unarmed ordinary guy who jumped into the truck and wrestled away the driver’s gun, while he was shooting at police! That man’s flank attack allowed the gendarmes to stop the rampage.

  9. kimberley jean says:

    I just hope there is no stupid peace march, no flowers, candles, teddy bears and crying while listening to John Lennon. And please no grotesque memorial like the one in Dallas.That stuff is like an aphrodisiac to the bad guys.

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    Should one pronounce the word — name of the beautiful city of Nice as we do in English rather than as it is in French, there is further depth present in this hideous event.
    Time to rouse from toper, Church and state. Feigned virtue, nor will blinders longer do. But where is fortitude to be found when truths central to our identity are so easily trampled, not by the Adversary, but by ourselves?

  11. JackintheVox says:

    Nice, France gets its name from the Greeks, who called the place ??????.

    On the other side of the Mediterranean was another ??????, or Nicaea, the city in which Constantine gathered the bishops of the First Ecumenical Council.

    I wonder if the association in name played any role in the terrorist’s choice of attack?

  12. MWindsor says:

    Theoden: I will not risk open war.
    Aragorn: Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.

  13. lmgilbert says:

    Yes, it is war, but with whom? If we do not know who is the enemy, how can we fight? As the Twin Towers were under attack in 2001, I remember saying, “This is an act of war!” And who was the enemy then? Al Queda, Osama bin Laden . . . . Now it is ISIS. Or is it? In Nigeria it is Boko Haram. Is there a pattern here someplace? There are besides other terrorist organizations throughout the world, among them Hamas, Hezbollah, most of them Mohammedan.

    There are many commentators now who are irritated with Obama that he does not use the phrase, “Islamic terrorist,” but even this is not up to the mark. “Mohammedan” would be better, because all these groups are only pushing his demonic program just as we have our Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Carmelites all advancing the cause of Jesus Christ. “ISIS,” “Boko Haram” etc are only variations on a theme, but the theme is “apostles of Islam.”

    Islam is the problem, and it is a classic instance of St. Paul’s saying, “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities and powers of darkness.” The West has hitherto held it back with steel and gunpowder, but these weapons were wielded by men animated by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, so ultimately the battle was between Christ and Belial. Now we are trying to hold Islam at bay with a variety of weapons and methods not wielded by Christians nor with with Christian motives. It is not working, nor can it. We simply cannot stop this thing with mere bullets, etc. It is not that kind of war. When you have practically an infinite source of young men willing and eager to die in the cause of Mohammed, it is clear that death will always be completely insufficient deterrent. As a matter of fact, for them death is a motive. Our martyrs do not run toward martyrdom, but theirs do.

    Ultimately the battle is spiritual, and for that reason the only really effective weaponry must be spiritual. Nothing else can work. Of these Truth is primary and this points in the direction of our becoming skilled apologists for the Trinity, for the Incarnation, and other controverted points and towards suffusing the Muslim world with the Gospel and supporting those who are doing so.

    I wonder how many even well educated Catholics, including those with advanced degrees in theology, could give a complete and accurate breakdown of where Catholicism differs from Islam, what are their main objections to it. That is a real weakness in the apostles of Jesus Christ given the onslaught we are under, an onslaught 13 centuries in duration!

  14. JustaSinner says:

    By your logic, a woman that drank too much at the bar was asking to be raped. A child killed in the ghetto by a drive by should have known better than to be on her front porch selling candy to have spending money on her trip the next day to Disney World. YOUR LOGIC IS AN ABSOLUTE WRONG. None of the victims of Nice did anything wrong that required their death. And there is no MITIGATING the evil of the Islamic-terrorist that drove through the crowd. Me hopes that his 72 virgins are well endowed imps of the dark one…but I am just a sinner, so take that with a grain of salt; God’s will be done…

  15. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Atrocities like this will continue until those who would commit them become convinced that the consequences to their cause are intolerable. To date there have been only tepid and sporadic oppositions to their jihad and the few who have the will to oppose jihad seem not to have the means to do much.

  16. RichR says:

    Is the “Listening Church” hearing the message from the Jihadists? It says, “If you won’t stand up for your dogma, we’ll be happy to shove our dogma down your throat….or slice it if you resist.”

  17. Traductora says:

    I was flying back from London when this happened, and when we got to the Sky Club in Atlanta, the first reports were coming in. I guess that was a good thing for us, since whenever these things happen in Europe, all the airports get locked down – even if the attack had nothing to do with airports.

    The Muslims will be attacking us from every side and we have to realize this. Sebastian Gorka was absolutely right: they want our souls, and by terrorizing an easily terrorized population, it won’t be very hard for them to get our souls. Nobody is resisting, only doing clean-up and lighting candles after the attack.

    Something has got to change. Remember that the worst attack on BXVI was when he read some historical comments on Islam in the hopes of opening a genuine dialogue (that is, “my sources say this, what is your response?”) . I have always felt that it was his critical analysis of Islam more than anything else that got him evicted from the Throne of St. Peter by a group who are clearly fellow travelers of Islam.

    Hey, what’s not to like? Pederasty is cool, even pedophilia is okay, multiple easily-swapped out wives are cool, rational thought is not required…a guy’s paradise if the only thing that rules is his small brain. Christianity is obviously way too demanding in this respect.

    And now Francis is busy having a boot-licking “dialogue” with the head of the Al Azar mosque. Our whole problem is that not only have our countries failed us, but the Church has never been worse and more pro-Islamic. But that’s Francis for you.

  18. Augustine says:

    Two words: blow back. The West must give up the ambition of becoming master of the world. Remember the opeds on bin Laden when he was freedom fighter in Afghanistan? Ash Carter praised Al Nusra, or Al Qaeda in Syria, in the WaPo just a few months ago. Stop pretending regime change. Stop killing them, by occupation and by drone, and they will stop retaliating. [swaying “All we are sayyyyying…. is give peace a chaaaaaance!” /swaying]

  19. Gus Barbarigo says:

    @ Tony Phillips
    Please do not fall for Leftist talking points. The Muslims have no intention of assimilating:

    “The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.”

    Rich Muslims can spread Mohammedanism by paying off the media, academics, etc. Less-rich ones use violence. This isn’t about economic opportunity; this is about control.

  20. Imrahil says:

    Dear MWindsor (speaking in alias),

    only that neither Theoden nor King Elessar, then called Aragorn, said any such thing. In fact Theoden both did seek open war (“the host of the King has come forth from Edoras, it will not return without battle”, or something similar, was said at the time) and he had Aragorn’s full support for the retreat to the Hornburg, which, coincidentally, had not only saved them in the past, but would indeed save them once more.

    I think what you wanted to express fits more aptly to the words of the Lady of the Shield-Arm, which have the benefit of having been actually spoken, viz. those about those who have not swords, etc.

    [And I do hope you don’t want me to defend my noble liege-lord and brother-in-law Denethor the Tragic, Steward of Gondor, also, against all these defamations we hear – or rather, see. He equipped his city dutifully, wisely and efficiently against the Last Onslaught, and fought bravely, and lost his hope only in mid-battle: that’s how things were, and if you or anyone else “have heard the story told differently, I beg you to forgive and forget”, to quote one close relation of a friend of my King.]

    Dear Gus Barbarigo,

    that doesn’t make Tony Philipp’s question less interesting. Also, it applies only to those who actually are faithful Muslims; and even in their case only those who treat don’t shy away from said 109 Koran verses by their sane instinct that they are wrong, while not admitting to themselves that they don’t follow their religion.

  21. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I wonder how many even well educated Catholics, including those with advanced degrees in theology, could give a complete and accurate breakdown of where Catholicism differs from Islam, what are their main objections to it.”

    I have thought about this a bit and read some of the standard apologetics literature and there are a lot of points of difference that one can argue, but it hit me, one day that there is a central flaw in Islamic theology that isn’t really recoverable from or defendable and that comes from the issue of the illogic of their stance towards revelation or revealed truths.

    Here is the argument: if God wished to send His best representative – the last prophet – to communicate His will to men, who would be the better choice: his only begotten Son or a prophet no better than any other in a long line of prophets? Why should anyone believe that Mohammed were any better at being a prophet than Eijah or Moses, both of whom demonstrated their credentials by supernatural acts, not by armies? Now, if God were to communicate in a final sense to man, then He would, certainly, do something with that occasion to make it clear that this were the last, final, most perfect revelation of who He is and what His will is.

    Thus, if the Perfect has come, why send a rank amateur after Him? It is illogical to the point of absurd. In order to exault Mohammed, Islam has had to reduce Christ to less than the Perfect, otherwise there is the following logical contradiction:

    1. If Christ is God, then Mohammed is superfluous, since no one sends the imperfect after the perfect,


    2. Christ is not God, but then, Mohammed has no claim to being the last prophet, since he has imperfections and so his revelation, then, is subject to the imperfections that all men, all propbets have, either in understanding or transmission.

    There is no middle ground. No prophet in history has ever claimed the final revelation of God except two: Jesus and Mohammed and there is no comparison between them. Christ’s life is flawlessly logical and consistent from birth to death; Mohammed’s is not.

    Mohammed’s mode of revelation is, to be clear, of an identical form, structurally, to, say, Joseph Smith’s, who, likewise, claimed to receive revelation through an angel. What, then, is to make Islam more likely to contain the last revelation than Mormanism?

    Christ never claimed revelation from an angel. That, right there, is enough to show that Christ is not a prophet after the fashion of a Mohammed.

    One can nitpick all of the other inconsistencies between Islam and Catholicism, but the most telling is the question Christ asked His apostles: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” We are in a battle of revelations, deciding which one is perfect. If God has spoken, what need is there for man, but if God has not spoken, are we not to, yet, await the completion and perfection of his message. No man can claim the perfection of God except He be God.

    Ultimately answering this question is destined to be the downfall and rise of many and it leads not just to a Sign that will be opposed, but of two opposing signs. Yes, Mohammed’s life is contradictory and a mess, but only the Perfect could create the still more perfect contradiction of the Cross. One of these two prophets is like a burning bush that is not consumed. When will Islam learn that that is the signature on seal of the last prophet?

    The Chicken

  22. Augustine says:

    No, father. Give justice a chance.

  23. JustaSinner says:

    No Augustine, give the Second Crusades a chance first…

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    Augustine wrote: “Two words: blow back.” France is bombing ISIS to reduce further Islamist atrocities. 84 people including 10 children crushed to death by a truck should not be so casually dismissed. Perhaps then, you should voluntarily submit to Sharia now to reduce “blow back” in the future.

    It would be tedious to refute your two comments line-by-line, so let’s skip to the last line.

    “No, father. Give justice a chance.” The mob screams “No justice, no peace.” Marx, Sayyid Qutb, and Pol Pot would be proud to claim your variant: “No peace, justice.”

    Your comments, built on tropes and platitudes, rest comfortably with the speeches of Prof. Ward Churchill, any Nation article, and the scrawlings on the sides of railroad boxcars.

  25. Pingback: Da Tech Guy Blog » Blog Archive » Nice, Turkey and Eternity

  26. ALL: Cool off. Make points without personal, ad hominem, attacks or I WILL BAN YOU.

  27. Gilbert Fritz says:

    Here are 3 points; what do you think? I’d really like some thoughts on this.

    1. secular dictators in the Middle East are better then theocracies. Therefore we should be careful if we decide to topple a secular dictator. To me, it seems plain that leaving evil old Saddam in place might have worked out better; he didn’t hold with religious terrorists disrupting his country. Similarly, it might be better to get out of the way and let the Russians support Assad in Syria.

    2. Imgilbert is right. Our war is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual powers of evil. Unless one advocates killing every Moslem man, woman, and child, combatant or not, (which our religion forbids) and then wiping out all memory of Islam, there is no way to end terrorism by force of arms. We can, possibly, make it more difficult; but that can perhaps better be accomplished by not importing moslems and increasing security here in the west, not by dropping another round of bombs on the smoking rubble of the Middle East. We may simply start another round of violence. We Catholics supposedly believe in the power of prayer; every moslem who converts is one less terrorist. Let’s all pray for their conversion. (While not neglecting other action, if prudent.)

    3. Finally, we hold the only true religion on earth; yet how often are we lukewarm? Islam is a vastly inferior religion; there are probably lots of lukewarm moslems. But in hard times, violence becomes an attractive option, even to those who do not follow Islam. Best of all is violence that promises a quick transition to a more comfortable world after settling one’s scores. In quiet, comfortable times, most moslems will be busy living their lives. In hard times, their own (inferior) muslim neighbors are closer then we Westerners. I do think that if we ignored the Middle East and let Russia step in to fill the void, Russia would get all the trouble, not we of the west. And Russia might back secular dictators instead of religious fanatics.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    This is exactly the third time I have been in Europe when there have been horrendous attacks. Je suis Charlie and the attacks in November were witnessed by me on the television and in the conversations here, as is the horror of Nice. Being on this side of the Atlantic reveals cracks in the interpretation of these attacks. However, in the continental press, the word terrorism is being used widely.

    Four points: liberals and even some Catholics have to stop blaming the West for this type of violence. Yes, some of this violence is based on revenge, but we all know that revenge is a sin.

    Two, the liberals in America and in Europe, specifically Great Britain, want to make each attack a personal, psychological problem, not a problem of a certain ideology. The lack of the ability to really talk about the consequences of a violence upheld in a religion is obvious. The BBC is the worse for this type of false reporting.

    Three, all the perpetrators in all three episodes mentioned were either European citizens or long-term residents. Immigration is blamed, but many of the immigrants are fleeing horrendous situations of war and famine, and many are Christians, being exterminated in their own countries.

    Four, yes, the West has and is sinning, but our sins do not cause this type of horror. Those who perpetrate violence are no better, and perhaps, worse, than those living secular lifestyles. Violence is evil, just as are other sins, and never justified except in self-defense.

    We need to stop making excuses by subjectifying such violence, and hold the Muslim community responsible for policing its own, which it refuses to do.

  29. Imrahil says:

    Dear Chicken,

    As for the flaw in Islam, it is, of course, there, but only if we suppose that to God (for all the “His ways are not our ways” we must duly grant to the Muslims) there exists such a thing as logic and that, for all our errors in the details, our logic does follow the same pattern.

    In order to exault Mohammed, Islam has had to reduce Christ to less than the Perfect.

    The interesting thing is that Islam, if the rumours I hear are true, has not even done that, though most probably most Muslims suppose it has. I mean: of course Islam teaches very sharply that Christ is not God, but according to these rumours they do officially say that Christ was a perfect man (so perfect that He could not possibly have been crucified, and so was exchanged for a sham body – the fine points or, as Chesterton would have said, Divine paradoxes of “He hath born our illnesses and taken our pains upon himself”, of the burning bush not consumed, etc., obviously being lost to them); and they do also officially say that Mohammed was not.

    As for Mohammed’s “revelation” being the last revelation according to Islamic theory, that, also, is probably supposed by the Muslims as a matter of course, but I think I remember that Mohammed says in the Koran itself that “any time has its prophets”, seemingly implying that, of course, even his one can be superseded by some future prophet. (There are a couple of sects in Asia who have come from an Islamic background and put this possibility into practice.)

    By the way, about these supernatural acts: There is one passage in the Koran where Mohammed complains that the Meccans complain about precisely that: “Why doesn’t send God the angel for all of us to see, or have his messenger perform a miracle, so that we believe”, or something else along these lines. How Mohammed reacts to this (very justified) question of the Meccans is rather characteristic: It is like, “oh you wicked unbelievers, etc.” and there follows a half-page or full-page of rambling, but even though he openly admits the question, he does not even make the slightest attempt at an answer.

    (Of course, when you mention this in discussion with a modern, even an orthodox sort of modern, Christian, he will probably point out the one out of some fifty occasions where Christ refused to do a miracle, referring his listeners to the miracle of the Resurrection instead, and you will discuss for a quarter-hour that there actually is a difference.)

    When will Islam learn that that is the signature on seal of the last prophet?

    With all due respect, the question is “when will Muslims learn”. Islam would cease to be Islam by learning this, and so, Islam, as such, cannot possibly ever learn it.

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear JustaSinner,

    you say that the logic of Tony Phillips is an absolute wrong. It is not. It is, however, an absolutely wrong logic to think that to the question of causes and triggers for a crime, each answer other than “the pure malicious impulse to be criminal” means condoning it; absolutely wrong, and, given the curious human state of being a principally good creature (each one!) suffering from the effects of original sin (each one, with two exceptions!) being a matter of faith, Chesterton’s Father Brown would even have said “unorthodox”.

  31. Imrahil says:

    Dear lmgilbert,

    I wonder how many even well educated Catholics, including those with advanced degrees in theology, could give a complete and accurate breakdown of where Catholicism differs from Islam, what are their main objections to it. That is a real weakness in the apostles of Jesus Christ given the onslaught we are under, an onslaught 13 centuries in duration!

    On the other hand, this is a positive sign: cf. this excerpt out of Chesterton’s Orthodoxy:

    “It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced[!]. It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced. He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it. But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it. And the more converging reasons he finds pointing to this conviction, the more bewildered he is if asked suddenly to sum them up. Thus, if one asked an ordinary intelligent man, on the spur of the moment, “Why do you prefer civilization to savagery?” he would look wildly round at object after object, and would only be able to answer vaguely, “Why, there is that bookcase… and the coals in the coal-scuttle… and pianos… and policemen.” The whole case for civilization is that the case for it is complex. It has done so many things. But that very multiplicity of proof which ought to make reply overwhelming makes reply impossible.”

  32. Imrahil says:

    Dear Semper Gumby (and, to a degree, generally),

    Augustine wrote: “Two words: blow back.” France is bombing ISIS to reduce further Islamist atrocities. 84 people including 10 children crushed to death by a truck should not be so casually dismissed.

    Indeed; and may I say that if the point of bombing ISIS were to reduce further Islamist attacks and (of course) chiefly those in their own country and the rest of the West, then that strategy would seem to have failed.

    Which is, of course, what they are after – at least as a short-term objective.

    And: Perhaps then, you should voluntarily submit to Sharia now to reduce “blow back” in the future.

    If the one aim of the West really were to reduce the number of deaths by Islamist terrorist attacks, that, of course, would be the safest strategy by far.

    Which is, of course, what they are after, as a long-term objective.

    Turns out the enemy isn’t so stupid after all.

    So, of course, we have to get clear about our own aims first, as always. As Chesterton said: “Wanted, an Impractical Man”. Mere pragmatism heaps one false thing after another.

    So, of course, if would be nonsense to bomb ISIS to short-termly hinder attacks such as that of Nice (if it was specifically an ISIS attack, which is not yet 100% confirmed if I’m rightly informed) and all the other attacks (which are confirmed). It would be obvious nonsense, as proven by what happened. But that doesn’t make bombing ISIS wrong.

    Now the real reason for bombing ISIS is that we want to see that mock-up state wiped off the map, even if we have to pay a blood toll to do so. And the reason we want that is, secondarily, that by this we aim to reduce future attacks (the ones we experience now being what homeopathicists, though they aren’t right in their own field, call an “initial worsening”), and primarily just that ISIS is an object that should not exist. That is the reason we bomb or ought to bomb ISIS.

    (The West has, however, some excuse in this case for his reluctance to do so. The reason is that there happens to be an almost forgotten non-ISIS civil war going on in Syria, something which foreign powers do generally do very well to keep out of, and bombs meant for ISIS would have to be very carefully bombed if they should avoid to help either Assad’s cause or the Rebels’ cause.)

    This is, by the way, why while truth is more importance than prudence, we must by wary to confuse truth with the application of truth which does fall under prudence. What do I mean with that? I mean, even if it hurts us, we have the right to investigate the Koran, the Hadiths, traditional Islamic scholarship and all that and then declare that there is a problem with Islam itself, and not only one concerning the good of souls. (As I am convinced there is.)

    But how loud we have to be about it is quite another matter. And the point here is that the lion’s share of the anti-ISIS war is still being conducted by Muslims, and that all those closest equivalents the Islamic community has to our Magisterium, all the institutions generally held to be respectable, this university in Egypt, the theologian Watchers in Iran (as they’re Shiite anyway), and the rest of them have taken the anti-ISIS side. In fact, they condemned it (rightly or wrongly) as un-Islamic.

    And it might, here, even make sense to let them deal with what is obviously their problem in their way, as long as we are convinced that they are actually dealing with it: hence, this is one reason not to bomb ISIS until they ask us to do so.

    In war, you must not make enemies lightly. Leastways, not unless you are both capable and willing to defeat these extra enemies at extra cost.

  33. Imrahil says:

    Dear Augustine,

    if that be true or not, it is, at any rate, too late for that.

    Al-Qaida started out protesting the presence of non-Muslim troops on the soil of Saudi-Arabia, if I am rightly informed. But this is not Al-Qaida we are dealing with. Al-Qaida drew strength from the, real or perceived, idea that both the West and home-grown secular dictators oppress the Muslims, but again, this is not Al-Qaida we are dealing with.

    ISIS is the attempt to put the ancient ideas of a Caliphate into practice: that is, a state that aims to become the master of the world, itself; that is perpetually at war with all the rest and, though it may make armistice treaties for strategic and other good reasons, must do an actual war every couple of years or so, until it covers all the world.

    Also, at least as far as the much-reported Western-bred defectors to ISIS are concerned, they draw their strength not so much from a real or perceived sense of oppression, but from the smell of adventure and the fame of a winning party, and if they do no longer win, at least a really really feared party. And really really loathed party: sort of like the probable reason why some disaffected no-Muslim-background youths join Neo-Nazi groups.

    (A sizable fraction of them returns when they find out that ISIS is not so great after all. Of course, they are arrested immediately. In the old times their crime would have been called treason, and some countries punished it with mandatory execution [others such as, outside the Nazi period, Germany with long prison sentences] – a practice which certainly would harden the hearts of those who have already gone over; but then maybe as Cicero remarked, it is sometimes a good thing to have the enemies out of one’s own cities and to be able to meet them in battle with a regular army.

    Also, even if the sense of being oppressed, and in that sense, our Western activity in these country, contributes to people joining ISIS (it seems, as I said, to have to do nothing at all with the reason ISIS gives itself for its own existence):

    A Western retreat now (which is the only other option there is, other than “staying in”) would certainly do so even more, by the triumph it would make them feel. So this would be wrong strategically, even if we would agree not to disregard it as shameful.

    In fact, even if a retreat were otherwise the right thing to do (there may be a degree of “taking too much influence in other countries”), it might be strategically wrong to retreat, or at least necessary to make it at least look a non-retreat in any possible manner.

  34. Imrahil says:

    Dear Gilbert Fritz,

    some thought on no. 3: Lukewarmness is bad, at least when it is on the side of the truth. Nevertheless, it historically very often has seemed to be one rather characteristic sign of the good side, that it had so many lukewarm people among its adherents. As Abp Sheen said about Communism, “Catholics have the truth, but not the zeal; Communists have no truth, but all the zeal”. And as that pastor from out of a joke, who always found something worth praise in everyone, replied after a moment’s thought to the inquire: “Now what do you say about the Devil? We guess even you will find it hard to praise him.”, namely, “Well, say what you will about the Devil, but there’s no denying he’s industrious.”

    That said, there are lukewarm Moslems, obviously.

  35. Semper Gumby says:

    Imrahil: You make an excellent point about not underestimating ISIS. It is unfortunate that in 2013-14 certain political leaders ignored that principle.

    My guess is that it’s too early to tell the ultimate effectiveness of the air campaign. Targeting financial centers and mundane items such as construction equipment reduces, but of course does not end, ISIS as a cohesive force- nor ends the Caliphate as a motivating factor for other individuals and groups. Though, a web search such as “ISIS plots in Europe foiled” yields some credible, positive developments.

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