Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Next

In 1139, St. Malachy claimed to have had a vision wherein he was shown all the 112 remaining Popes up to the End Times. Benedict is the 111th of these Popes. His papacy was declared by St. Malachy to be "The Glory Of The Olives." This prophecy is said to fit Benedict because the Bedectine Order has a branch called the Olivetans, and because, thus far, he has spoken out for peace, to a fault, if you ask me.

About a week ago, I was driving home from work, listening to the Hugh Hewitt radio program. Hugh was interviewing a Father Fessio, who relayed that he had been at a "seminar" on Islam, attended by Pope Benedict. Father Fessio relayed that, contrary to his usual habit, after Benedict listened to the scheduled speaker, he did not allow his students to speak first, but instead, took the podium for himself, and declared Islam incapable of entering into the modern world, incapable of reforming itself:

HH: Father Fessio, before the break, you were telling us that after the presentation at Castel Gandolfo by two scholars of Islam this summer with Benedict in attendance, as well as his former students, for the first time in your memory, the Pope did not allow his students to first comment and reserve comment, but in fact, went first. Why, and what did he say?

JF: Well, the thesis that was proposed by this scholar was that Islam can enter into the modern world if the Koran is reinterpreted by taking the specific legislation, and going back to the principles, and then adapting it to our times, especially with the dignity that we ascribe to women, which has come through Christianity, of course. And immediately, the Holy Father, in his beautiful calm but clear way, said well, there's a fundamental problem with that, because he said in the Islamic tradition, God has given His word to Mohammed, but it's an eternal word. It's not Mohammed's word. It's there for eternity the way it is. There's no possibility of adapting it or interpreting it, whereas in Christianity, and Judaism, the dynamism's completely different, that God has worked through His creatures. And so, it is not just the word of God, it's the word of Isaiah, not just the word of God, but the word of Mark. He's used His human creatures, and inspired them to speak His word to the world ...

... it was stunning.

Yes, I must say, I do find this stunning.

The first couple of days, after having heard this exchange, I wandered around thinking that, as I I respect and admire Pope Benedict so much, and believe him to be one of the most remarkable intellects I have ever encountered, I may have to change my worldview entirely.

I have always held that Islam can be reformed, and that the United States is pursuing the proper strategy in attempting to install Freedom and Democratic Republicanism in the Islamic world.

It would seem the Pope does not think so.

My friend Someguy, over at Mystery Achievement (and many others across the blogosphere), agrees with Father Fessio's version of what the Pope has declared.

After having given it much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that, either Father Fessio misunderstood the Pope (as I have noticed his people often do), or, the Pope is wrong on this issue. If the Pope is wrong in the way I think he may be, then it would seem logical, whether or not one believes in St. Malachy's prophecy, that Benedict may, indeed, be the next to last Pope.

Why do I say this? Because, if Pope Benedict believes that Islam can not be reformed, then the Christian worldview has reached its end. And, after Benedict would pass on, it would not surprise me that there would be just one more Pope to oversee Armageddon.

If Islam can not be reformed, then what is the solution? Are we to offer Muslims the Infidel bargain; convert or die? That would hardly be according to Christian principles? There is no way to stamp Islam out of existence. The only way to defeat the menace of Islam, which I choose to call Islamic Jihadism, is to defeat the Jihadis on the battlefield, and then to enforce changes within the ideology of Islam which will make it compatible with a Democratic Republic.

Christianity has always believed that its God was the One True and Living God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the sustainer of all being. As such, Christianity has always believed God was bigger than any evil. Christians with this understanding, have been able to accomlish amazing feats throughout history, not the least of which has been the creation of our magnificent Western Civilization; culminating in the Democratic Republic of the United States of America.

The Benedict I have come to know, from having read his books and essays, is a big believer that the Power and Grace of the living God has the authority and dominion over all things in Heaven and Earth. There is a verse in Romans which says,

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

If Benedict said that Islam is an evil which can not be reformed, then he has refuted Gods Word spoken very clearly in this passage.

And, let me say, Freedom is the First Principle we need to fight for here, because freedom is the only thing which will allow individual Muslims to throw off the chains which bind them. The people of Islam, currently, live in bondage. They are enslaved to Allah. They are not evil as individuals, anymore than the people of Germany were all evil, as individuals. They are, instead, living in the chains of an ideology which has spread across their land and become monolithic.

God wants us to be free. When a government promotes an ideology which enslaves its citizens, then there can be no Freedom to choose God's Will.

To say that the ideology of Islam can not be reformed is to abandon the people of the Muslim world to slavery. It is true that freedom can lead to a lot of evil. There is no doubt about that. However, I still maintain that Freedom is the First Principle. In fact, to be clear, I will go so far as to say that Freedom was God's First Principle in Creating Man in His Image.

We face a dilemna; should we work to give freedom to those in the Muslim world, or should we set up a thug who will keep the Muslims in line?

This is the same question God faced when He created us? He saw us in His mind and thought, "I know that if I give them Freedom, they will eat of the apple. So, should I create them Free, or should I simply create them as innocents who have no choice but to live according to My Will?"

He chose to create us with free will, despite his foreknowledge of the Fall.

Milton proposed the idea of the Happy Fall. That is, God knew that He would be able to take the evil that came of sin, and create something even more glorious. He has done it.

I believe we must stick to our Judeo-Christian principles, even when they look like they are going to fail us. These are the things in which we believe. We must decide do we believe in Freedom? Do we believe in Democracy? Do we believe our own Declaration of Independence, when it says, "All men are created equal and endowed by God with certain inalienable rights."

Abraham Lincoln said, "This is the real issue ... the eternal struggle between these two principles- right and wrong - throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, You work and toil and I'll eat it."

Allah demands that his subjects work and toil so that he may eat them alive. That is the nature of the slavery of Islam, as it stands today; a God who feeds on human beings. But, that does not mean that we can not help Muslims reform Islam. Yes, with man, it may seem impossible, but with our Faith in the Principles which God has given us, with God, all things are possible.

These have carried us through the implementation of Freedom across the world. They have carried us through horrible wars. Good wins out over evil, ultimately, because the forces of evil can not forge a working alliance.

We will win if we have the faith to stick to the principles God gave us.