About Manchester and other terrorist attacks – a couple of rants and ACTION ITEM!

action-item-buttonMy heart goes out to the people harmed in the recent terror attack in Manchester, England.

As the usual reportage goes on, I’ve been getting messages on my phone from a friend which underscore something important not being well addressed in the media.  The messages, filled with frustration and not a little anger run along the line of…

“I’m sure the British will organize a beautiful and moving and above all INCLUSIVE memorial service in Manchester… They’ll organize a moving and INCLUSIVE memorial service.  The Choirs!!!  The Vestments!!! The Royals!!!””

The point: We must not be content to “sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of”… our neighbors.  We must act.

What to do?

There’s more.

On Facebook, my friend Fr. Jeffrey Keyes posted something that resonates with the same frustration and anger but on a different cleft.

H/t Beverly Stevens
I do not want to see flowers laid outside the Manchester Arena. I do not want to see Facebook profiles with sympathetic screens. I do not want to see people crying on TV.
I do not want to hear politicians & prelates denounce ‘terrible acts’. I do not want to hear people decry that ‘we won’t succumb to fear’. I do not want to read people scolding others for ‘bigotry’. (News flash: Islam is NOT a race. It is an ideology masquerading as a religion.)
I want to see people GET A CLUE.
Our culture is heading down the crapper, and quick. Why? Because parents take their little girls to see ‘Ariana’ who boasts about getting ‘f**ked so hard I can’t walk.’
Yep. And what happens when this culture of MIDDLE CLASS DEBAUCHERY crashes headlong into the serpent of radical Islam?
Manchester. Paris. Orlando. San Bernadino. Nice. Berlin. On and on and on and on.
Westerners, we cannot hire enough police or field a big enough military to fight this.
The only answer is to return to MORALITY. Yep, that awful, terrible word. And while I am at it: RESPONSIBILITY.

I don’t think the ranter is merely “blaming the victims”.    It’s more than that.  That ranter also wants us not to be complacent.

What to do?

First, action is required, thoughtful action in line with what Benedict XVI wrote in his Message for the World Day for Peace in 2005 (for 2006).

Also, I have in mind that this is the 100th anniversary year of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.  Consider what Ven. Fulton Sheen said about Fatima and Islam back in 1952.  Sheen thought that Mary, who appeared in Fatima, is the key to the conversion of Islam.  In The World’s First Love (US HERE – UK HERE) Sheen wrote:

Mary is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.” In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say: “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”


The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God’s real prophets.

At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, “When the locust swarms darken vast countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: ‘We are God’s host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world with all that is in it.'”

The problem is, how shall we prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that, the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity — and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teaching of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God. This is the line of argument:

The Koran, which is the Bible of the Moslems, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and, also, in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Koran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Koran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Koran: “O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.”

When Mary is born, the mother says: “And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord against Satan!”


This brings us to our second point, namely, why the Blessed Mother, in this twentieth century, should have revealed herself in the insignificant little village of Fatima, so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Since nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too.

Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Moslems occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Moslem chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima. A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Moslems left, but even embraced the faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima. Thus, the very place where Our Lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.


Sheen has quite a bit more on this topic.  (Aside… had you read that before?  His position isn’t much advertised, is it.)

So, an action item that all of us can perform would be to take Mary’s messages at Fatima serious and do serious penance and reparation for sins against Her Immaculate Heart.  Reparation is the core of the Fatima messages and ongoing phenomenon that is Fatima.  We are only, as Sr. Lucia said, in the “third day” of the Fatima “week”.  Mary said that, if we heeded her messages, many disasters could be avoided.

Consider one of the points that was stressed in Our Lady’s messages at Fatima:

“Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend our Lord very much.”

Our Lady didn’t specify what those fashions are, but I think, like Justice Potter Stewart, “we know it when we see it”. If Our Lady and Our Savior are offended by some “fashions”, imagine what they think about the lyrics of songs by “Ariana”, hinted at in the guest rant above.  And it was at her concert, or rather cacophony, where the the terror snake killed the innocent.

Nations must act to deal with the larger threats.  The terror snake’s head must be crushed, and that will require force and, alas, blood.

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to follow the course suggested by Sebastian Gorka in his thoughtful book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka. (US HERE – UK HERE).

Let us recognize that this is a religious war that is being waged.  More on that HERE. Also, let us find ways to discredit the Islamic terror brand.

Meanwhile, what do we do?

We – as individuals and as groups, such as parishes and dioceses – must plan and organize to do serious penance and reparation for the sins against Mary and her Immaculate Heart.

Consider, dear readers, taking on some mortifications.

Consider making the Five First Saturday Devotion.

Consider learning more about the Fatima messages.

Consider doing a thorough examination of conscience and then…


The moderation queue is ON.

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  1. THREEHEARTS says:

    It would be good for us all to ask ourselves what will be asked, what questions will be asked at our particular judgment? Mine will most likely be, “You knew My will why did you not do it?”

  2. John Grammaticus says:

    The simple fact is that we need to change the culture, rather than being changed by it, we need to become Saints. Now that might mean doing things which are painful to us e.g. spend more time in prayer than on FB, getting rid of books or films depicting sin (no matter how much we like them) and pulling up the weeds (to quote St Theresa) in general (this goes for Priests, Religious and Laity).

  3. thomistking says:

    Could anyone recommend a good book or two on Fatima? There is so much hysteria on the subject that it is difficult to know what is trustworthy.

  4. WesleyD says:

    Fr. Keyes points out how offensive and hyper-sexual are the lyrics that Ms. Grande sings.

    But it’s worth keeping in mind that this is what our Western media produces. Disney and Nickelodeon are corporations with “wholesome” reputations: they produce TV shows aimed at children with talented female stars. The moment these stars turn 18, they are offered millions of dollars to star in sexual movies, pose for nude pictures, sing raunchy songs, etc. This happens over and over: Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and now Ariana Grande.

    Meanwhile, Disney and Nickelodeon pretend their hands are clean, since they didn’t “exploit” these girls. They merely put them in a Hollywood world full of drugs and creepy TV producers, where vice sells magazines and virtue is something to be ashamed of.

    What I don’t understand is why any parent would let their daughter (or son) become a Hollywood child star!

  5. iamlucky13 says:

    I also don’t read Fr. Keyes’ post as blaming the victims, although I’m sure plenty of people will label it as such. However, it also does not strike me as a productive time to make the point about how poor of a role model most pop-culture icons are, and I very much doubt the family and friends of the victims would take the commentary well if they were aware of it. Tact is not unimportant and is not the same as political correctness. There is no shortage of people eager to find an opportunity to misconstrue the words of prominent Catholics, including the words of priests, and even more who simply will hear such messages and misunderstand them.

    The excerpt from Bishop Sheen, I must say, is fascinating, and quite hope-filled. No, I hadn’t read that before.

  6. Mary-Kathleen says:


    The best book I know was published in 1947.
    OUR LADY OF FATIMA by William Thomas Walsh
    I have read and re-read this book over the years. It’s available on amazon: paperback, hardcover, new, used.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Speaking of Marian apparitions and Islam, if I recall, the Coptic Church recognizes a Marian apparition in the Cairo district of Zeitoun (“olive”). Also, the Coptic Church probably recognizes a second apparition in the middle Egypt city of Asyut/Assuit (from early Egyptian “Zawty”, in Greek it’s “Lycopolis” or “wolf city” (this Lycopolis is up the Nile in middle Egypt, apparently there was also a Lycopolis in the Nile Delta)). Asyut is currently the base of the alGamaat alIslamiyya- “the Islamic Group.” If I recall, the Zeitoun apparition was first noticed by a Muslim.

    According to il Giornale, Corriere della Sera, and Gazetta del Sud: The migrant boats/ships bound for Sicily are being redirected elsewhere until after the G7 summit concludes later this month- for “security reasons.” If true, that could mean yet another double-standard of security for European leaders compared to European citizens.

    Excellent Action Item, rant by Fr. Keyes, and excerpt from Fulton Sheen.

    thomistking: In addition to Kerry’s recommendation (which I have not read yet) there is Fr. Apostoli’s Fatima for Today and William Walsh’s Our Lady of Fatima. These two were suggested by other commentors here last year.

  8. 10 arrows says:

    My family began the daily rosary on the 100th anniversary of the first of Our Lady’s apparitions in Fatima. Our six kids (7-18) have been completely cooperative. A grace, I’m sure.
    I’m going to begin my first Five First Saturdays Devotion (Communions of Reparation) on June 3. The fifth First Saturday … yep, October 7th! God has willed that we make reparation for blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary relayed by Our Lord to Sr. Lucia.
    God, make us a holy people.

  9. Kevin says:

    Fatima for today. by Fr Andrew Apostolic C.F.R.
    forward by Raymond Cardinal Burke.
    This book covers everything in minute detail. Can’t say enough good about it. I bought 8 copies to hand out to others. *****

  10. whitewings says:

    I entirely agree with iamlucky13 – this is not the moment to make the point about poor role models and I also hope that no families or friends of the victims saw that post. Is there one person here who doesn’t think this couldn’t happen at an open air mass? A candlelit vigil? Please.

    I am British, and yesterday people of all faiths and none came together in Manchester after this atrocity. Muslim taxi drivers turned off their meters and drove people home for free, gave out bottles of water, let people charge phones. An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi took coffee and tea to police guarding the cordons. The Sikh community set up tables where drinks and food were given out. People who lived in the neighbourhood put messages on social media offering their homes as places to get shelter, hot drinks, phone terrified families. There were queues outside the blood donor centres. Off duty NHS staff offered to come back in. We saw the Holy Spirit moving in Manchester yesterday. God bless all the people who reminded us of how many good people are out there.

    And today at my church we will say a mass for the dead, whose faith is known to God alone, and entrust them to His infinite mercy.

    Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord
    and let perpetual light shine upon them.

    May they rest in peace. Amen.

    May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

  11. Andrew D says:

    And pray for the pose of the soul of those killed in Manchester (suggest The Sorrowful Mysteries). We have to assume, considering how secular England has become, that among those killed were people who were never baptized; didn’t really believe in God, Jesus, the Trinity; were ignorant of the Church; in other words, were 100 percent secular as a consequence of the modernist day and age when they were born and raised.

  12. progressive says:

    This is the second terrorist bombing we have endured in Manchester. The first was by the catholic IRA, we built a greater city following the 1996 bombing. Thank goodness no one died from the IRA bombing. This time it’s worse. The IRA bombers believed themselves Catholic and fighting for a just cause. They were wrong. The bombers involved in the latest bombing believe themselves Moslem fighting for a just cause, they are wrong.

    Many years ago I was moved by the words of John Paul whilst in Ireland, speaking of our response to terrorism
    ‘What Christianity does forbid is to seek solutions to these situations by the ways of hatred, by the murdering of defenceless people, by the methods of terrorism. Let me say more: Christianity understands and recognizes the noble and just struggle for justice; but Christianity is decisively opposed to fomenting hatred and to promoting or provoking violence or struggle for the sake of “struggle”‘

  13. boxerpaws63 says:

    “I also don’t read Fr. Keyes’ post as blaming the victims” Of course he wasn’t. I was thinking about why the terrorists targeted the venue. Perhaps because they were offended by the depravity of the performance(as we should be);but then you remember that these are the same people who target innocent men,women and children attending Mass or a priest saying Mass. These are the same people who destroy statues of Mary,Jesus and Joseph and Christian churches.
    Next i considered the thought about their high regard for Mary,the mother of Jesus.True. On the other hand consider their low regard for women in general,even Muslim women and even less of non Muslim women.
    Venerable Sheen had remarkable insights. He read the signs of the times very well but at that time Islam was barely a whisper and Communism was the greatest threat to Western Civilization and Christianity. The warnings he gave us regarding both Communism and Liberalism are more critical for us today than they were then.
    You can look at the foundation and history of Islam. It spread rapidly and threatened Christendom. It wasn’t a question of whether one wanted to convert or not-it was a matter of convert or die.It was such a grave threat that Pope Urban called up the first Crusade.
    The Muslim countries bring their children up strictly in Islam,teaching it early on and indoctrinating them through the culture and education from cradle to grave.You don’t hear too much about converts because once you bring up someone to believe in something it’s hard to tear them away from it;especially if you’re considered an apostate marked for death if you do leave.
    Last. but not least. we might see some hope in the ‘moderate’ Muslims. A moderate Muslim is more like a lapsed Catholic. A practicing Muslim isn’t moderate.If they’re really adherents of Islam they probably consider it justifiable to kill you for any number of reasons.So the truth is they picked what is called a soft target where they could inflict as many casualties as possible.They rarely attack people who are able to defend themselves, who might end up thwarting their designs. What is the answer? IMHO there’s 3. Be Christian and live the faith 2. Don’t let them in. I don’t know of any Islamic states that permit an influx of Christians or allow it’s practice.3. It’s them or us.Have the same attitude towards Islam as we had towards Communism.Prayers for England.Prayers for all of us.

  14. JonPatrick says:

    Besides the Fatima books suggested above, I would suggest “Fatima in Lucia’s own words” by Sr. Lucia herself. It is out of print and a little hard to find unfortunately but worth it to read from someone who was actually there.

  15. Imrahil says:

    Dear John Grammaticus,

    why would it be wrong for a book or a film to depict sin?

    It is wrong to incite to sin; which concerning one specific commandment may perhaps take place by using too much detail in depicting.

    Generally, though, we live in a world that contains sin and it is no way out to drown it in silence. (And especially, sin is not a synonym for sexual sin.)

  16. Rosary Rose says:

    In addition to those mortifications, may I add, Our Lady of Fatima asked us to pray the rosary daily.

    The Angel taught the children how to pray it. It’s that important. It can be prayed anytime, anywhere. Every Catholic on Earth needs to know how to pray it.

    Interesting – spell check changed “mortifications” to “fortifications”.

  17. bibi1003 says:

    I agree with Father Keyes about the sick state of our culture and wondered why parents had taken their little girls to this concert. I’m with boxerpaws63’s thinking that the terrorist may have targeted this concert for its immorality. I’ll pray for Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and all the other girls who have been molded into sex objects by greedy Hollywood execs. And for all the girls who emulate them, thanks in part to the “girl power” movement, in my opinion.

    Did anyone see Chris Cuomo’s interview with Cardinal Dolan this morning on CNN? It started out on the topic of President Trump’s visit to Pope Francis. When the topic turned to the Manchester attack, the Cardinal’s statements really troubled me. He kept talking about the Pope’s message of peace and reconciliation (and he didn’t mean confession.) Hopefully, CNN will post the transcript of the interview.

  18. pmullane says:

    Might it be worth keeping in mind the good Catholics of the Manchester Oratory, an oasis offering true Catholicism only a few hundred yards from the Manchester Arena where these poor children suffered. They are on the frontlines in more ways than one just now.

  19. LarryW2LJ says:

    I was talking with my two kids (high school age) this morning while waiting for the school bus to come. We started talking about Manchester and ISIS. We came to the conclusion that these jihadists are so filled with hate, that even if their dream were to come true and all the world were to totally convert to Islam, and there were no other religions left, they’d start killing each other. It’s all they know.

    The problem is the West is denial. You have to face the problem in order to fix it. And as the gist of Fr’s post tells it, this is only going to be fixed by prayer, fasting and penance. God has always chosen the few to take on big tasks. God used Abraham to beget a people and a nation. Our Lord, used the Twelve Apostles and several hundred disciples to convert the world. May He use us to fix this mess with our prayers, sacrifices and penances.

  20. John Grammaticus says:

    Sorry Imrahil I was too imprecise e.g. I thought that the Sopranos was an excellent drama; it was well written, the acting was excellent, and I enjoyed the surreal and abstract imagery that was employed.

    That being said that doesn’t excuse the sex scenes, the profanity, blasphomy etc so I got rid of it. We all need to do this and even more so by (with God’s Grace) those things which aren’t sinful themselves but distract us from God.

  21. Dan says:

    “Let us recognize that this is a religious war that is being waged”
    That hits the nail on the head. When ISIS issues their statement they claim, “over 100 Crusaders killed or injured in attack.” If only they all really were crusaders. ISIS is fighting a holy war against people who refuse to acknowledge the terms of the war.
    I love this story that is often related for the first Saturdays devotion.”War is Your Fault” Father Donald Calloway relates;
    “My fellow Marian Fr. Seraphim Michalenko sometimes tells a story that a priest ministering in Japan shared with him in Rome. This priest was attending an international gathering of Christians from across the world, attended by foreign dignitaries. The ambassador from Japan approached the priest, verified that the priest served in Japan and was a Catholic priest, and then said, “War is your fault.”

    The priest was surprised and asked what the ambassador meant. The ambassador said, “You Catholics, all of you — we do not have peace in the world. It is your fault.”

    The priest said, “Ambassador, why do you blame us?”

    The ambassador said, “I’ve read about this. The Lady came to you at Fatima, right? That’s what you believe? She told you what to do to secure peace in the world. Well, there’s no peace in the world, so obviously you Catholics haven’t done it.”

    The priest had to acknowledge that the ambassador was correct, but still tried to protest, saying, “Isn’t peace everyone’s responsibility?”

    The ambassador was vehement. “No, she came to you Catholics. Not to Buddhists. Not to Hindus. She came to you, and it is your responsibility.””

    This war is truly OUR fault. Why do people flock to islam or any other religion than Catholic? Because Catholics have retreated from the war, not because we were under attack but for nothing more than to be culturally excepted. This sudden retreat created a huge vacuum to be filled with relativism and those looking for something to believe flock to other religions.

    It is time to kneel down and fight. Pray the Rosary!

  22. jaykay says:

    LarryW2LJ says: “We came to the conclusion that these jihadists are so filled with hate, that even if their dream were to come true and all the world were to totally convert to Islam, and there were no other religions left, they’d start killing each other.”

    They already do that, of course. Internal and bloody conflicts within Islam are well-known. I just did a quick Google, in fact, and got this from the website of the Supreme Islamic Council of Canada, no less (although it also contains some standard BS about “American aggression” it does acknowledge that the RoP contains *gasp* “fanatics”. Who’d a thunkit?):

    “The intra-religion conflicts within the various denominations of Muslims are harming Islam. Although, Islam forbids the creation of denominations but unfortunately Muslim scholars created these denominations anyway. There are so-called Muslims in every denomination claiming that they understand Islam better than the others. These few Muslims raise their voices so loud that the voices of the majority die-down and what ordinary people listen are the voices of fanatics.

    These fanatics justify their beliefs and actions through Qur’an and the Hadith… Muslims themselves are to blame for the troubles they are causing in the name of Islam… It is so sad to see that some Muslims hate other Muslims in the name of Islam.”

  23. chantgirl says:

    Please. The West does not hold a monopoly on sexual perversion. Anything impure we do in the West is also done in the Islamic world. Adultery, abortion, pedophilia, rape, pornography, homosexuality- it all exists in Islamic culture in spades. The difference is that the West is open about its vice. A family member who served as Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan came home with horror stories of the young boys routinely raped and girls and young wives who would wander up to the military camps physically brutalized and mangled. We know about the porn stash found in Bin Laden’s compound. I agree that it is horrific that any parents would take their daughters to a concert like this, basically grooming them to be sex objects a few years down the road, but we don’t need to appear to give the Muslims any justification for murder.

    The two root causes of the carnage we are seeing as two cultures that cannot possibly coexist collide are that Europe has abandoned God, and Muslims are faithfully following their god and implementing his requests. Meanwhile, the atheist Soros machine is using Islam as a plague to destabilize the post-Christian West, and many of our hierarchy in the Church are complicit.

    Until Catholics can agree that even though all men are created by God, some who claim to be worshiping Him are actually worshiping demons, we will continue to see our enemies invited to come to our lands, on our dime, to rape, murder, and take down our government. Our bishops, and sadly, Pope Francis, have been some of the loudest voices encouraging the invasion.

    I can only wonder what the Catholics who fought in the Battle of Lepanto or the seige of Vienna would say to our current prelates.

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    We are all so very behind the curve, continue to be behind the curve, on this whole issue. It is not real to us, so we can be detached and imagine it is not Islam that is the problem, just some fringe group within. They’re the problem. In the past it has been reported that as soon as a population of Muslims hit a certain number, in come the radical imams, and soon, men are wearing beards and women the burqua. That indicates radicalization.
    We are becoming callous to the murder of our own, even children. If we are not, where are the crowds of people in the streets clamoring for changes in policies, demanding a change in immigration, and what is going to be done to protect native-born citizens??
    We are still making “hearts” with our hands, and talking about “radical Islamists”.
    If this continues, it will not end well for Christians, or for anyone save Muslims.
    These were our daughters, our sisters, our nieces, our grand-daughters, our neighbors. And they were cut into ribbons and exterminated. And we are talking, there are no demonstrations in England today. There is only complacency and a fear of saying the wrong thing.

  25. Benedict Joseph says:

    Upon hearing of the terrorist attack the other evening, and being informed it was at a pop music “concert”, the audience composed of young girls from ages 6 to their late teens – St. Jacinta came to mind. Her grave concern for those condemned to Hell for sins of the flesh. Not in any way familiar with the “artist” Ariana Grande one need not have a degree to know that said concert was merely a grooming seminar for a life of compulsive sexual depravity.
    There is ample room for a legion of adults to own a range of responsibility for this tragedy which existed even before the maniac bomber showed up to set off his chemistry experiment. The real Adversary was working “his craft” long before with far more grievous results.

  26. boxerpaws63 says:

    “We are all so very behind the curve, continue to be behind the curve, on this whole issue. It is not real to us, so we can be detached and imagine it is not Islam that is the problem, just some fringe group within. They’re the problem. In the past it has been reported that as soon as a population of Muslims hit a certain number, in come the radical imams, and soon, men are wearing beards and women the burqua. ” Accurate. We keep telling Muslims this is not Islam.They keep telling us it IS.Perhaps we should believe them?

  27. Imrahil says:

    Well, dear John Grammaticus,

    as long as we are talking about things that are (as you concede) “not sinful in themselves” (I agree to that assessment about the sopranos, albeit with only a rough knowledge about the topic),

    we are talking about a case of personal improvement by abstinence from licit things one reckons one would do better without.

    This is certainly a pious move; it is, on the one side, something less important than fighting actual sins; it is, on the other hand, arguably among the daily little-by-little all Christians but those really having pressing sin issues to fight have to deal with (and some do miserably, such as I, at the moment).

    But, forgive me, I fail to see (apart from “God will reward each little good deed”, which is also true about all other good deeds) how precisely this in precisely that area is any important combat move in the fight that we are in.

    Because “not sinful in themselves” does mean “not sinful in themselves”. We believe in God Who created Heaven and Earth in His ultimate goodness – and Who also tolerated them to fall so far, in His ultimate goodness (not the fall; but the toleration very much so) because of the good He can draw from it.

    Hence it is, to say the very least, quite defensible if an artist decides not to camouflage the world and paint it in all rose-colors (which is usually called kitsch). Of course it is even worse if he does the contrary and paints it all in black (which might well be called reverse-kitsch).

    [And to the example: if you told me “there’s something wrong with the Sopranos”, I’d answer like a shot from the pistol: “well, obviously the idea to depict a murderous professional criminal as a sympathetic and loving family father is not entirely unproblematic”, without any thought about specific scenes.]

  28. boxerpaws63 says:

    Post Script: Islam is one convoluted religion spreading rapidly and our Christian faith is falling into syncretism & complacency.Ariana IS peddling depravity like much of secular culture but Islam does not get off the hook here either. The big difference here is that Christianity(not secularism)teaches man has free will and can choose good or evil.Islam sets up a theocracy and has no room for free will,forgiveness and mercy.They can’t comprehend how God could become man and die for us out of love for us.Christianity is a religion of life.Islam of death.Our President had that right.

  29. iamlucky13 says:

    @ chantgirl:
    ” A family member who served as Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan came home with horror stories of the young boys routinely raped and girls and young wives who would wander up to the military camps physically brutalized and mangled.”

    We have even been enablers of it, in at least one case more atrociously than what transpired in our own Church. A special forces sergeant and a captain were ignored when they reported the repeated rape of a young boy by an officer in the Afghan police force they were ordered to work with. When they confronted him about it and he refused to stop, they threw him off the base (probably literally threw, among other inducements). Both of them were disciplined as a result, and the military prosecuted the sergeant, although ultimately dropped the charge due to public backlash.

    The military responded to questions about the lack of action on the report by saying there is no obligation to report child rape (ever Catholic who works with youth will be shocked to hear such a policy), and separately that, “You cannot try to impose American values and American norms onto the Afghan culture.” Yep. A US government official downplayed rape as violating nothing more than an American norm. Moral relativism at its absolute finest.

  30. Mary Jane says:

    Our family says a rosary daily. Hubby and I made the First Five Saturdays last summer/fall, and we try to go to confession every 2 weeks (none of our children are old enough to have made their First Confession or to have received First Communion yet).

    Excellent post Fr Z. Thank you for your continual reminders!

  31. John Grammaticus says:

    I’m sorry Imrahil you’ll again have to forgive my lack of precision. St Philip Neri (amongst others) says that if he had 10 men who were really detached from the world, he could convert it. Now whether or not he was using hyperbole (and I doubt that he was), the point stands.

    God created the world and unlike the gnostic we affirm the goodness of matter, if all of us got rid of our ‘little pleasures’ and offered it up to God in union with the Holy Sacrifice then we really would convert both the neo pagan and the muslim e.g. I recently got rid of a lot of books from my collection and video games because they did not bring me closer to God, now I confess that I’ve not done nearly enough but it was a start, and I can use the time I would otherwise have spent on those amusements praying.

    Until recently when I read St Leonard’s sermon on the fewness of those who are saved I thought the penances of our forefathers (when Europe was Catholic) extreme, now I realise that we have dulled our spiritual senses to loss of countless souls into the furnace. If more young people were to follow St Francis, St Phillip (Neri), or St Bernard, think of the souls that would be saved.

  32. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Keyes noted a particularly graphic “song” by the “artist” Ariana Grande. The video on YouTube alone is approaching 1 billion views. True, as several commenters here have accurately noted, there is also depravity in Muslim countries. That said, there does not seem to be a video of that nature with nearly 1 billion hits produced in a Muslim country.

    The “artist” Katy Perry after the Manchester bombing informed the world that we should “unite and love on each other, no barriers, no borders, we should just stay loving on each other.” Curiously, two weeks ago she released a music video for “Bon Appetit”- 75 million YouTube hits so far. The video begins with her wearing a flesh-colored bodysuit lying on a gurney in cold storage. A team of chefs wheel her into a kitchen, pummel her body with flour and spices, place her in a simulated boiling vat, and place her on a dining table for guests. Then she comes alive somehow and pole dances for the guests. The similarities to the Spirit Cooking/John Podesta incident from last year are obvious. [These people are really sick. PARENTS: Do you listen to what your children are listening to? Watching what they watch?]

    Fr. Keyes makes a clear-eyed observation: we cannot win this war by simply expanding security and military forces. Not only that, if the West continues to decay internally then the professionalism, fortitude, and morality of the men and women in those forces will also eventually decline. And decline further beyond the occasional sordid incidents reported in the news today. A return to morality and responsibility indeed.

  33. Filipino Catholic says:

    The situation here in the Philippines is nearly as perilous — not only do we have the persisting radical problem down south and trying to spread to other islands, there is now also some uneasiness that the recent declaration of martial law to deal with said problem will bring a return of the myriad military abuses (illegal detention et al.) of the last such period. As usual, the online discussion across the board is highly polarized and replete with ad hominems, with some people outright wishing said abuses would befall those who disagree with their views.

    So on the one hand there is the clear and present danger of the radicals, and on the other hand there is the possibility of being victimized by the military. Whether considering the situation closer to home or from the bigger worldwide picture, it’s enough to sympathize with the exasperated Elias from III Kings 19. I wouldn’t recommend borrowing his prayer from verse 4 though.

    …Speaking of which I forgot to pray during the Rogation Days augh. I will have to remedy that.

  34. Grant M says:

    Interesting to watch the Islamic revival from the capital city of the world’s largest Muslim nation. In 1995 about 15% to 20% of women wore the hijab, now it must be around 60% to 70%. Our moment of truth was the imprisonment two weeks ago of our Christian Governor Ahok for blasphemy.

    Sura 3 of the Qur’an does admittedly say some fine things about Our Lady; for example verse 42: “The angels said ‘Oh Mary! God has chosen you and purified you- chosen you above the women of all nations'”. (Wa iz qalati ‘l- mala’ikatu “ya Maryamu, inna ‘llaha ‘stafaki wa tahharaki wa ‘stafaki ala nisa il-alamin.”) Officially the prophet got this directly from Gabriel, although some of you may suspect that the link is Gabriel, Mary, Luke, Muhammad.

    But as Islam does not make images, or pray to any other than Allah, this devotion to Mary doesn’t really “show” in Islam as does Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and Eastern devotion to the Theotokos. And so no one will get carried away, verse 64 warns: “Oh people of the Book! Come to common terms as between you and us, that we worship none but Allah, that we associate no partners with him,(la nushrika bihi), that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than Allah.

  35. Maltese says:

    I may have more knowledge than some in Islamic culture. My best friend was born in Afghanistan, I’ve spent time in Morocco (where I was kidnapped, and had a knife held to me); and much time in southern Spain, which was once ruled by Muslims. In the FBI we spent many hours studying Islam.

    I truly believe Islam is demonic:


  36. Dan says:

    @Semper Gumby “The “artist” Katy Perry after the Manchester bombing informed the world that we should “unite and love on each other, no barriers, no borders, we should just stay loving on each other.” ”
    Unless your are a pregnant woman, Katy Perry proudly made a large public donation recently. Stating. “Planned Parenthood educated me on my body and my reproductive health, so that I could focus on my dreams and using my voice until I knew the timing was right for me to make a plan to have a family,” she wrote on Instagram. “Since then, I have been able to focus wholeheartedly on bringing messages of strength and becoming a voice for others. Without this education, I may have had a different life path.”
    From what you describe in the video it really makes me wonder what planned parenthood taught her. I think we can definitely say without that education she would have had a different life path. We can only pray someday she will end up back on that path.

  37. LarryD says:

    Then there was this by the Archbishop of Ferrara in Spain (translated, but not by me):


    One excerpt:
    “Robespierre would laugh because not even he had reached this fantasy. After all we no longer celebrate funerals in churches because, as cardinal Sarah acutely says, in Catholic churches we only really celebrate God’s funerals. We will not forget to place for you on the walkways your favorite dolls, mementos of your childhood, of your early youth. And then everything will be archived among the rhetoric of those who have nothing to say in the face of tragedy because they have nothing to say in the face of life.

    “I hope that at least one of these gurus – cultural, political and religious – in this situation will hold their words and will not shower us with the usual speech about how “this isn’t a war of religion”, that “religion by its nature is open to dialogue and understanding”. So, I hope that there will be a silent moment of respect. To begin with for your lives cut short by demonic hatred, but also for truth. Because adults should in the first place have respect for truth. They may not serve it but they must respect it.”

  38. Grant M says:

    And now a suicide bombing at a bus stop not far from my house…

  39. Ave Crux says:

    I was horrified at Ariana’s quote provided in the rant and just wanted to weep.

    I wish you hadn’t provided the quote. It is just too diabolical to have been shared. Her moral degradation could have been made clear without sharing her unspeakably evil lyrics.

    I knew nothing about Ariana until news of this bombing and when I looked her up all that was needed was to see a (near naked) photo of her to know just how diabolical this young woman is, and to realize the REAL tragedy at that concert was that she was polluting the souls of the thousands of young women there, “making disciples of them more evil than (herself).”….

    “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.

    The Message of Our Lady of Fatima was an incredible gift to our times. If one reads the accounts and revelations with attention, one finds there every possible practical and spiritual response, remedy and explanation needed in our tragic times….not the least of which are Our Lady’s words: “War is a punishment for sin….”

    May each and every one of us live and breathe the message of Fatima with all our hearts, minds, souls and wills.

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  41. Ipsitilla says:

    Interesting theory that the “certain fashions” offensive to Our Lord might refer to immodest clothing…I always assumed Our Lady was predicting the horrible vestments introduced in the 1970s and further elaborated upon more recently by various Episcopalians.

  42. chantgirl says:

    Semper Gumby- Agreed that the West needs to return to morality, but I don’t think a return to morality will happen without a return to God and truth. The loss of morality is only a symptom of the loss of faith. I seriously don’t think the comfortable West will return to God until it has been chastised. When we are no longer comfortable, when we experience hunger, or poverty, or fear for our lives, we might start to think about God again. The Bible says that God chastises those whom He loves. That’s why I am expecting a chastisement of the West. If man has come to the point that only suffering can capture his attention, surely God will use the last recourse to alert us to the danger we are in spiritually. If the last chance of attaining our repentance is chastisement, God would be unmerciful to not chastise us.

    Aside from a return to morality and faith, the West needs to acknowledge that Islam is inherently dangerous, and guard our borders accordingly.

  43. bibi1003 says:

    Where did this happen, Grant? Glad you’re safe.

  44. Semper Gumby says:

    Filipino Catholic: Prayers. Dan: Yep, she is on the wrong path.

    Chantgirl: Well said- Islam and open borders are problematic to say the least. And definitely, a return to God and Truth as the foundation of Fr. Keyes’ morality and responsibility. Someone once wrote that if God does not chastise the West He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

    Maltese: Great link to Jeff Dunham.

  45. Imrahil says:

    To the general topic (not to my little discussion with the dear John Grammaticus, to which I may come back later),

    [Islam] is an ideology masquerading as a religion.

    Well, if “masquerade” means pretend something false, then no.

    Islam is a religion.

    Every religion is by definition an ideology, also called a world-view.

    If the point is that Islam is false, well, yes. But it is important not to fall into the secularist trap. Islam has many faults, but that it refuses to retreat to their equivalent of our sacristy is not among them.

    The main point that Islam is certainly not a race, an ethnicity, a nationality or any such thing is of course spot on.

  46. Grant M says:


    The bombing was at the Kampung Melayu bus terminal, East Jakarta:


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