US Bishops call for prayers with Greeks about Hagia Sophia. Fr. Z suggests a different approach. UPDATED

UPDATE 23 July 2020:


Originally posted 22 July 2020

The Turkish government has transformed Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest CHURCHES in what was once upon a long-lost time known as Christendom, into mosque.

The Greek Orthodox Church is not happy.  The US bishops want to show solidarity.  So they tweeted.

How about this?   How about every US bishop get down on his knees before the altar in his cathedral church, live streamed, and – for a fortnight – recite Pius XI’s Leo XIII’s Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

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

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

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

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

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry; praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; To it be glory and honor forever. R. Amen.

Idolatry and Islamism.

Hmmmm….

I am reminded of two things that happened in the Vatican Gardens.

Remember the prayer session with Muslims by the “Peace Tree” planted in the Vatican gardens in 2014 when the imam read the passage from the Koran that claimed Vatican City for Allah?

Remember in October 2019 the horrific idolatrous rite to Pachamama, involving another tree planted in the Vatican gardens? And the ritual bowl for demonic Pachamama was placed on St. Peter’s altar at closing Mass of the Amazon Synod (“walking together”)?

Maybe the US bishops would do better to aim their prayers at another of the greatest churches built in long-lost Christendom.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them into the light and kingdom of God.

UPDATE:

When I originally posted this, I wrote that the prayer was composed by Pius XI.  It was, in fact, from the pen of Leo XIII and was in his 1899 encyclical Annum sacrum.  In his turn, Pius IX issued in 1928, in his encyclical Miserentissimus Deus, an Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart.   However, St Pius X had commanded that Leo XIII’s prayer be recited yearly on the last Sunday of October.   When Pius XI made the last Sunday of October into the Feast of Christ the King, in his encyclical of 1925, Quas PrimasPapa Ratti further commanded that Leo’s prayer be renewed on the Feast of Christ the King.   Hence, Pius XI, as well as Pius X, adopted Leo XIII’s prayer for themselves.  And, waaaay back in 2009, I made a PODCAzT about Leo’s Annum sacrum and this prayer!

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22 Responses to US Bishops call for prayers with Greeks about Hagia Sophia. Fr. Z suggests a different approach. UPDATED

  1. ChesterFrank says:

    Or one could paint Sancta Sapientia on the streets.

  2. Gab says:

    What an excellent idea, Fr Z. If only all the Bishops of the Church would heed your call.

  3. kurtmasur says:

    Hmmmm….. let me guess, even if all bishops worldwide did this, Pope Francis wouldn’t. In fact, he’d probably get angry and retaliate against every good bishop out there who stood up against Islamism at the Hagia Sofia CHURCH.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Z sometimes one is surprised that the sun keeps coming up and going down and things continue on. Since that day when Pachamama was worshiped by Francis in the Vatican garden, I cannot understand how things just go on as if it never happened. That whole week, his blessing on the Amazonian cultists present, his blessing on the figure handed to him in the garden, the little male fertility god with the phallus, his having the evil Pachamama bowl brought up during the Mass, the bishops processing Pachamama into the church, the young girl lifted on a litter inside the church and carried about as a fertility goddess at the altar of God, the photo of the woman suckling a creature, that can only be called bestiality, all this and more happened that week, and yet the sun comes up each morning and the church just goes on without apparently recognizing that nothing, absolutely nothing, can possibly be the same. We wonder when we look at our world disintegrating, why, when there is the answer right there. And yet the church treats it as yesterday’s news and many Catholics never noticed or care. Many do, but many don’t.
    The entire Church needs to repent and ask God for forgiveness. We are probably going to suffer more and more until this happens. But I can’t imagine that bunch in Rome doing anything of the kind. Frankly, I’m surprised the bishops care about Hagia Sophia or are even willing to mention it. It doesn’t seem very PC of them, and they’re all about PC. I would think they’d be delighted with it going back to a mosque. I sincerely am surprised at their statement.

  5. Sundown says:

    Fr Z always has the best ideas.
    Therefore the USCCB should offer Fr Z an advisory position.

  6. Akita says:

    Breathtaking in its beauty, profundity and urgency.

    All Martyrs of the Ottoman, Arabian, and Persian worlds, pray for us!

  7. Johann says:

    A good prayer that we should actually recite on a daily basis for our brethren who are not in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  8. teomatteo says:

    Sundown, i think that just a recommendation from them for ‘Monsignor’ would be enough.

    [Thanks! If only to confirm the positive effectiveness of online ministry, all the lives that it has touched.]

  9. Lepanto ! says:

    Hagia Sophia has been a *museum* for almost 100 years and NOW the USCCB burps up something? ZZZzzzzz…..

  10. Docent says:

    A fine article, Father Z, with one glaring exception. Islam in and of itself is the problem, not the alleged socio-political and militant hybrid form of Islam or simply a socio-political aspect of Islam known as ‘Islamism’, which is a term that is frequently employed by many who play what Dr. Stephen Kirby refers to as Fantasy Islam in an effort to claim that Islam is just fine, but Islamism isn’t. [You’ve put your foot wrong here. Consider that the text of this prayer and its translation were crafted in the time of Pius XI, not in our present decade.] As such, the darkness you mention along with idolatry is Islam, not Islamism. For more on this, see Kirby’s January 14, 2015 article entitled “Charlie Hebdo was attacked by Islam, Not Islamism” that is still posted at Front Page Magazine.

  11. GregB says:

    With the way things are going how long will it be before all the cathedrals in Europe join Hagia Sophia in being converted into mosques? Turning St. Peter’s Basilica into a mosque would be a very PC ecumenical move.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Kathleen10 — Wicked sacrileges have happened in the past. There’s nothing good about it, but there’s plenty of homegrown Italian witchcraft and Satanism, and there have been bad incidents at the Vatican at various times in the past.

    OTOH, having the body of a major saint directly under your church tends to trump a lot of sacrilege. Though one would hope for popes not bringing it in themselves, and for more active liturgical countermeasures.

    I am a bit surprised that we haven’t had any people suddenly going blind, paralyzed, etc., as a punishment. Although honestly, if it happened, we’d never hear about it. And WuFlu (or the reaction to it) is bad enough.

    I just heard today that, when St. John Neumann was being considered for canonization and the numbers were against his case, one of the guys on the committee who thought he wasn’t special enough to be a saint ended up dying at his barber’s while getting his hair cut, right before the meeting. So maybe it’s not smart to demand certain kinds of signs and miracles… lest they happen to us personally! (If this story isn’t true, Fr. Z, let us know.)

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    From Jenan Moussa, reporter for Al-Aan TV in Dubai:

    Erdogan in English: Hagia Sophia’s doors will be, as is the case with all our mosques, wide open to all, whether they be foreign or local, Muslim or non-Muslim.

    Erdogan in Arabic: Revival of Hagia Sophia is a sign towards return of freedom to AlAqsa mosque.

    Erdogan in English: Opening Hagia Sophia for worship is merely an exercise of our country’s sovereign rights.

    Erdogan in Arabic: Resurrection of Hagia Sophia is a greeting from our heart to all cities symbolizing our civilization. From Bukhara to Andalusia.

    https://www.twitter.com/jenanmoussa/status/1281875108039196672?p=v

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    From MEMRI, a transcript of a July 10 TV show on Channel 9, Turkey.

    “Hagia Sophia today, the Al-Aqsa Mosque tomorrow.”

    “The destruction of Islam, the division amongst the Muslims, and the Zionist occupation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Land… All our suffering is the result of turning [Hagia Sophia] into a museum.” – Abd Al-Wahab Akanji, the head of Turkish branch of the Islamic Scholars Union

    https://www.memri.org/tv/Turkish-show-hagia-sophia-mosque-return-rightful-owners-al-aqsa-liberation-caliphate

    A MEMRI report on Turkey’s Ministry of Religious Affairs:

    Part I – Turkish Press Reports On Ministry’s Jihad Connections, Corruption

    https://www.memri.org/reports/turkeys-religious-affairs-ministry-authority-over-hagia-sophia-mosque-and-2000-mosques

    This is the first of a four-part series. Part II is titled: “Part II – Statements On Women, Children: Girls Are Permitted To Marry, Become Pregnant At Age Nine; If ‘A Father Lustfully Kisses His Daughter Or Lustfully Hugs Her, The Mother… Becomes Forbidden’ To Him; ‘If He Beats You… Say: “I Will Do Whatever You Like”‘”

  15. Docent says:

    Father Z: [You’ve put your foot wrong here. Consider that the text of this prayer and its translation were crafted in the time of Pius XI, not in our present decade.]

    Fair enough, Father, so long as you also recognize that ‘Islamism’ as it is used today by various parties is not equivalent to Islam as it appears to have been so in the time of Pius XI. So to be clear, do you believe there is a current darkness that is ‘Islamism’ as such is understood by many today, or is the current darkness simply Islam in and of itself? Also, in light of how ‘Islamism’ has been used in recent years, do you believe that Pius XI would still use ‘Islamism’ instead of Islam if he composed the prayer today? I sure hope not.

  16. When I originally posted this, I wrote that the prayer was composed by Pius XI.  It was, in fact, from the pen of Leo XIII and was in his 1899 encyclical Annum sacrum.  In his turn, Pius IX issued in 1928, in his encyclical Miserentissimus Deus, an Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart (not the same prayer as Leo’s).   However, St Pius X had commanded that Leo XIII’s prayer be recited yearly on the last Sunday of October.   When Pius XI made the last Sunday of October into the Feast of Christ the King, in his encyclical of 1925, Quas PrimasPapa Ratti further commanded that Leo’s prayer be renewed on the Feast of Christ the King.   Hence, Pius XI, as well as Pius X, adopted Leo XIII’s prayer for themselves.

    And, waaaay back in 2009, I made a PODCAzT about Leo’s Annum sacrum and this prayer!

    THAT SAID… I looked around a bit and I learned a few things.

    In Annum sacrum, Leo does address the moves of modern states to drive Christianity out of the public square. So, his encyclical addresses also political concerns.

    NEXT: It seems that “Islamismus” came into English in 1696 and “Islamism” in 1712.  The current use of “Islamism” drifted into American discourse from French academia in the 1970s.

    HOWEVER… “Islamism” originally was used for the religion of Islam, not some movement in Islam.

    I picked up HERE that

    A 2003 article in the Middle East Quarterly states:

    In summation, the term Islamism enjoyed its first run, lasting from Voltaire to the First World War, as a synonym for Islam. Enlightened scholars and writers generally preferred it to Mohammedanism. Eventually both terms yielded to Islam, the Arabic name of the faith, and a word free of either pejorative or comparative associations. There was no need for any other term, until the rise of an ideological and political interpretation of Islam challenged scholars and commentators to come up with an alternative, to distinguish Islam as modern ideology from Islam as a faith… To all intents and purposes, Islamic fundamentalism and Islamism have become synonyms in contemporary American usage.

    At this point I hesitate to grant that the “-ism” in Leo’s encyclical is aimed at the rise of a politicized Islam.   It is certainly aimed at the whole religion. Leo also draws “Islamism” into a close association with “idolatry”.  He goes on to talk about the conversion of Jews, not of Zionism even though the political Zionist movement had been just founded in 1896 by Theodor Herzl with his Der Judenstadt. In 1897, La Civiltà Cattolica wrote that Jews should not be permitted to return to Palestine with sovereignty. Some years after Annum sacrum, in 1904 Theodor Hertzl met with the Secretary of State, Card. Merry del Val, and then Pius X, who confirmed that the Church would not support his Zionism. Hence, Zionism was on the rise in 1899 and the Church was aware of it. Complicated.

    But, it is pretty clear that when this prayer was composed, and when it was put into English, “Islamism” meant the religion of Islam.

    BUT… it is more complicated yet!

    I checked in the Acta Sanctae Sedis, the official instrument of promulgation of the Holy See in 1898-1899. The Sacred Congregation for Rites (p. 651-52) and found the Latin original, which I am 99% sure was penned by Leo XIII himself, a great Latinist, who in Annum sacrum was also offering an gesture of thanks for healing of an illness.  Leo called this the great act of his pontificate.

    Ad Sacratissimum Cor Iesu formula consecrationis recitanda.

    Iesu dulcissime, Redemptor humani generis, respice nos ad altare tuum humillime provolutus. Tui sumus, tui esse volumus; quo autem Tibi coniuncti firmius esse possimus, en hodie Sacratissimo Cordi tuo se quisque nostrum sponte dedicat. — Te quidem multi novere numquam: Te, spretis mandatis tuis, multi repudiarunt. Miserere utrorumque, benignissime Iesu: atque ad sanctum Cor tuum rape universos. Rex esto, Domine, nec fidelium tantum qui nullo tempore discessere a Te, sed etiam prodigorum filiorum qui Te reliquerunt: fac hos, ut domum paternam cito repetant, ne miseria et fame pereant. Rex esto eorum, quos aut opinionum error deceptos habet, aut discordia separatos, eosque ad portum veritatis atque ad unitatem fidei revoca, ut brevi fìat unum ovile et unus pastor. Rex esto denique eorum omnium, qui in vetere gentium superstitione versantur, eosque e tenebris vindicare ne renuas in Dei lumen et regnum. Largire, Domine, Ecclesiae tuae securam cum incolumitate libertatem; largire cunctis gentibus tranquillitatem ordinis: perfice, ut ab utroque terrae vertice una resonet vox: Sit laus divino Cordi, per quod nobis parta salus: ipsi gloria et honor in saecula: Amen.

    Eventually this would find its way into the Raccolta and then the ever useful site Preces Latinae.   Notice anything interesting about it?

    While it is clear that when this prayer was composed by Leo, “Islamism” meant Islam, BUT, Islam is not mentioned in the Latin prayer promulgated in the Acta!  No reference to the Jews.

    I found the “updated” version with the mention of “Islamism” and the “chosen people”.    Online, I found a paper by Luis Cano, “Ecerca de Cristo Rey”, which traces Pius XI’s devotion and acts concerning the Sacred Heart.  Therein:

    A finales de octubre, una carta del Card. Vico, Prefecto de la Sagrada Congregación de Ritos, comunicaba que el último día del año debía renovarse en todo el mundo la consagración del género humano al Sagrado Corazón que había realizado León XIII en 1899, y que ya se renovaba todos los años en la fiesta del Sagrado Corazón, en el mes de junio. La fórmula que debía leerse era la misma de León XIII, con un pequeño añadido, para pedir por la conversión de los musulmanes . [fn. 81. A la petición “Sed Rey de los que permanecen todavía envueltos en las tinieblas de la idolatría”, se añadió “o del Islamismo”.]

    So, Pius XI updated the formula of Consecration with the addition.  I found it.  In Acta Apostolicae Sedis 17 (1925), p. 542:

    AD SACRATISSIMUM COR IESU FORMULA CONSECRATIONIS RECITANDA

    Iesu duicissime, Redemptor humani generis, respice nos ad altare tuum humillime provolutos. Tui sumus, tui esse volumus; quo autem Tibi coniuncti firmius esse possimus, en hodie Sacratissimo Cordi Tuo se quisque nostrum sponte dedicat. Te quidem multi novere numquam; Te, spretis mandatis tuis, multi repudiarunt. Miserere utrorumque, benignissime Iesu; atque ad sanctum Cor tuum rape universos. Rex esto, Domine, nec fidelium tantum qui nullo tempore discessere a Te, sed etiam prodigorum filiorum qui Te reliquerunt: fac hos, ut domum paternam cito repetant, ne miseria et fame pereant. Rex esto eorum, quos aut opinionum error deceptos habet, aut discordia separatos, eosque ad portum veritatis atque ad unitatem fidei revoca, ut brevi fìat unum ovile et unus pastor. Rex esto eorum omnium, qui in tenebris idololatriae aut Islamismi adhuc versantur, eosque in lumen regnumque tuum vindicare ne renuas. Respice denique misericordiae oculis illius gentis filios, quae tamdiu populus electus fuit; et Sanguis, qui olim super eos invocatus est, nunc in illos quoque, redemptionis vitaeque lavacrum, descendat. Largire, Domine, Ecclesiae tuae securam cum incolumitate libertatem; largire cunctis gentibus tranquillitatem ordinis: perfice, ut ab utroque terrae vertice una resonet vox: Sit laus divino Cordi, per quod nobis parta salus: ipsi gloria et honor in saecula. Amen.

    In 1927 the Sacra Penitentieria Apostolica published that same formula, with the concession of indulgences.  AAS 19 (1927), p.32.

    And we are back to the question of when did “Islamism” take on its newer meaning.

    This is now 1925, not 1899.   Has the meaning shifted?  That article I cited, above, mentions a shift at WWI.  Does the reference to the Jews refer to the rise of Zionism?   Does Islamism now refer to something within Islam rather than Islam itself?

    We are talking about Pius XI, here, not some woke ecumenist.   I think he still means the religion of Islam.  I’m no longer 100% sure about that, however!  It’s complicated.

    This has been a good exchange.

  17. Docent says:

    Thanks, Father. Just a few parting thoughts:

    Islamism has been used by no less a public figure than Dr. Zuhdi Jasser who is a Muslim that also plays Fantasy Islam. He and others like him that maintain their Muslim identities claim that Islamism and not Islam is the problem, and they have been doing this with regular frequency since shortly after 9/11/2001. As such, they insist that terrorism, etc., is simply a “distortion” or “radicalization” of Islam instead of a problem with Islam itself. Jasser and some of his fellow travelers also claim that what Islam needs is a Protestant Reformation “just like Christianity needed,” which is of course a cheap and false shot at Catholicism and the history of the Church, and basically an excuse to make false claims about Islam instead of recognizing the inherent flaws within it that many of them still promote, including the denial and/or whitewashing of much of the barbaric actions of Muhammad. The call for a reformation is also disingenuous in and of itself since within Islam is the notion of the perfect revelation that does not permit any kind of changes.

    In any way that it is looked at, there is no Islamism without Islam. Moreover, terrorists and supporters of terrorism who are declared to be Islamists are the ones who support terrorist actions by specific and accurate references to the Quran and the Hadiths. In addition, the leaders of the prominent Islamic University Al-Azhar never condemn the terrorists as wrongly interpreting the Quran or being outside Islam, or being merely Islamists as if they are a cult within Islam. Indeed, the reality is that terrorists are simply the most fervent practitioners of Islam, not Islamism as some rogue cult within Islam as many, not just woke ecumenists, would have others believe.

    Lastly, Father, since I made specific reference to Dr. Stephen Kirby, I now provide one of his websites that I believe you and others will find most informative in many ways regarding the reality and threat of Islam qua Islam. Please see https://islamseries.org/ .

    God Bless!

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    Today at Hagia Sophia: “Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erba? delivered the Friday sermon at Hagia Sophia with a sword in hand, presenting an Ottoman tradition of conquest. Two green flags were also hung on the pulpit of the mosque as a symbol of conquest.”

    https://www.duvarenglish.com/politics/2020/07/24/turkeys-top-religious-authority-head-delivers-friday-sermon-at-hagia-sophia-with-a-sword-in-hand/

    Fr. Z wrote: “Maybe the US bishops would do better to aim their prayers at another of the greatest churches built in long-lost Christendom.”

    Amen.

  19. Antonin says:

    The rapprochement with Muslims is a welcome development from the Second Vatican Council. The way in which Catholic saints and Popes discussed the Jewish question and its later political manifestation as Zionism is a lesson.

    More polemics have been issued again Christianity from Jewish sources such as the Talmud than Muslim sources.

    Yet, notwithstanding that, Catholics found a rapprochement. In a similar way we should find that with Muslims who are much larger.

    I personally know Muslims and although like everyone else there are variations but I have been impressed by the humility, piety, manners, modesty, and kindness I have seen from them.

    Of course we have difference with them as with Jews but we don’t need to engage in hostile polemics any longer

  20. Semper Gumby says:

    Antonin: Your comment is reasonable, but “rapprochement” is overextending your argument. A closer look at the Hagia Sophia on Friday, July 24 (see my comment above), the Abu Dhabi statement, the Abrahamic House, and the Peace Tree Fr. Z mentioned above is helpful.

    “I personally know Muslims and although like everyone else there are variations but I have been impressed by the humility, piety, manners, modesty, and kindness I have seen from them.”

    Fair. Though to say there are “variations” is an understatement. In personal relationships it helps to know what an individual Muslim’s views are on Sharia, the Dar alHarb, certain fatwas, “taqiyya” and “ijtihad.”

  21. Antonin says:

    Semper

    For the record, I don’t agree with his decision and a sizeable number of Muslims in Turkey don’t either.

    I read your links and the various quotes from Erodogan. Clearly this is a political move and he is playing to his constituents and saying different things to different constituents – not really atypical for a politician.

    I think many politicized Muslims need a reality check – the Ottoman Empire is dead and gone and is the coming back nor is the Byzantine empire nor is the Roman Empire. Secularism a la the American model is likely to win the day and VII was wise to take a second look at it (Nostra Aetate is a very American inspired document).

    To me I think this is tied to the rise of nationalist movements across the world (Trump of course one of the biggest symbols of that dynamic). I don’t necessarily have a problem with nationalism but it does mean we need to also learn to adopt much better co-operative models internally and externally. And with any nationalist movement, invariably religion becomes a factor. But I think we (as people of faith even if we may have slightly different political views) have to not let religion become co-opted as it often is in these political struggles.

    We should be supporting those Muslims leaders who protect religious minorities especially Christians. You do know that Assad in Syria is supported by over 80 % of Christians yet the neo-cons are agitating to have him overthrown. Hopefully American leadership will wake up when it comes to understanding the Mideast and which leaders advance values of religious pluralism which in democracies is the way to go (and yes I think NA was inspired and prescient in that regard).

    I had hopes that Trump would be different in that regard and that is why I preferred him over Hilary (neo-con) foreign policy wise.

    But yes statements of disagreement from our leaders is important – and This move was greeted with a chorus of statements from leaders of democracies, the POpe and UNESCO.

    But state department and Pompeo was weak in issuing condemnation – remember that

    https://www.newsmax.com/john-gizzi/erdogan-hagia-sophia-turkey-mosque/2020/07/15/id/977253/

  22. Semper Gumby says:

    Antonin wrote:

    “I think many politicized Muslims need a reality check – the Ottoman Empire is dead and gone…”

    Islamist aggression is about more than the Ottoman Empire. And for Islamists, it’s not about your perspective, it’s about their ambitions.

    “…Assad in Syria is supported by over 80 % of Christians yet the neo-cons are agitating to have him overthrown.”

    It’s not that simple. You may be surprised by this headline:

    https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2019/september/assad-regime-named-as-number-one-threat-to-syria-rsquo-s-christians-after-more-than-120-churches-intentionally-attacked

    “…(neo-con) foreign policy…”

    A vague label, not useful.

    “But state department and Pompeo was weak in issuing condemnation – remember that”

    Take a closer look before demanding what people should remember.