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Pope Ignites Islam

Sep 27, 2006 00:08 AM
by Kathy

(23 September 2006)


Will He be a Peace Maker
Or an Apocalypse Maker?

What a canonical kafuffle.

Pope Benedict XVI in his speech at the University of Regensburg,
Germany, this September 2006, has opened very old medieval wounds
lingering under the thin skin of Muslims across the Middle East.
Moderate and immoderate followers of Islam still harbor (some say
perpetuate) a will to sharp grievance against Western political or
religious leaders that even remotely disrespect the faith of Islam.
Part of the problem may be the tin ear Christians and this pontiff in
particular turn towards a majority of Muslims who still want
Christians to atone for the Christian Crusades. They see the Crusades
as a kind of Islamic "Holocaust" inflicted upon Muslims in the Near
East and North Africa in nine bloody invasions spanning two centuries
of the high Middle Ages (1096-1291). Lest a pope forgets, Muslims are
at pains to remind each succeeding, infallible Vicar of Christ that a
pope hatched the idea of Crusades.

It was Pope Urban II in 1095 who conceived a plan that could kill two
heresies with one siege tower stone. An infestation of unemployed
knights crowded European Christendom in the 11th century. They had
pacified the Maygars, the Vikings had converted, leaving a whole lot
of fighting men without gainful "war-full" employ. Your local brigand
committing mortal sins raping and pillaging good Christians was more
often than not a chain mailed knight of "chivalry" on the dole. Pope
Urban in his prayers conjured a "Deo"-bolical idea. Why not motivate
these killers to girdle their willful violence for a divine cause? Why
not let them loose on the people of Islam, and in so doing, kill a
whole lot of infidels while taking back Jerusalem and the Holy Land
for Christ? 

Holy war, batman! Holy Templar tantrums! What a concept! 

What helped Muhammad's Muslims spread their faith with a scimitar
across the Near East, North Africa and even across Christian Spain
likewise a Christian broadsword could do. Christian knights were
violent men. Do not waste time making them Lambs of God, sick them on
someone you righteously hate, who occupies a land you want back. Give
your knights divine permission to rape, pillage, terrorize and kill
people, as long as they are infidels far removed from Europe. Keep
those fellows killing and being killed for Christ in the Holy Land.

"God wills it!" cried the infallible Pope Urban, to the armies of the
First Crusades who gathered for his blessing in 1095, before heading
by land and sea for the Holy Land. They took Jerusalem in 1099 and in
breaks between their hosannas giving thanks to God, massacred nearly
all of its inhabitants: Muslims, Orthodox Christians and especially
those that Canon law infallibly called "perfidious," the members from
the same race as Christ. The knights hot with holy blood lust eagerly
hunted the Jews down with unsheathed swords.

A witness to the massacre, Fulcher of Chartres, wrote: "Indeed, if you
had been there you would have seen our feet colored to our ankles with
the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them
were left alive; neither women nor children were spared."

Oh well, God willed it. The pope in Rome had spoken.

Papal infallibility was the popular belief of popes then--and I dare
contend popes believe it now, even though no pope since Pius XII back
in 1950 has publicly or officially expressed such perfect capability.
He wielded his infallible ex cathedra powers to settle the issue of
Mary's Assumption into Heaven. He alleged that God took up Mary, body
and soul, to paradise. Strangely enough God's infallible message
dropped from above into the papal person did not enlighten Pius XII
about whether Mary had died or been carried off alive into heaven.

Oh shame! Who dare blame God's perfection of errors? The Holy Bible is
"His" perfect message, yet the Lord God does not even know that his
creation, Earth, is round or that it orbits the Sun in His
heavens--not the other way around. I guess I can forgive Godly
oversights about Mary's condition when Assumption be assumed by Pius.
God indeed works in mysterious ways if you do not question the Lord's
escape from reason, such as when Pope Urban got the green light to
make murder and war God's manifestation of holy will. 

Anyway, God talks to many people, or so they claim. Why not a pope or two.

If he can talk to G.W. Bush and Usama bin Laden, he must talk to Pope
Benedict, right?

When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in May 2005, faith
would have it that God told him how "He" would define his reign. I
mean the good cardinal takes on the name and mantle of St. Benedict,
the great 5th-century reformer and peacemaker. He makes a point of
saying that his work was a continuation of the fifteenth pope Benedict
from the First World War years. He too was a peacemaker, trying to
bring warring Christian factions out of the trenches to the
negotiation table. Ratzinger/Benedict proclaimed his pontificacy to be
that of a peace maker in his first address to the world. God must have
told him to say that, with at least the same certitude that God told
President Bush to invade Iraq and God told Usama bin Laden to hit the
World Trade Center and Pentagon with hijacked civilian planes.

Even the famous prophetic mottoes of the 12th-century Irish St.
Malachy, portended that Benedict, identified as "De Gloria Olivae"
(From the Glory of the Olive), will symbolically have the olive branch
of the peacemaker in his future. The motto even implies the name he
would take. The Benedictine monastic order includes a reform sect
created back in the Renaissance period called the "Olivetans." The
olive branch of peace is their symbol. They wear white robes like the
pope. It would seem that God and prophecy have hit the infallible mark

So, how is the peacemaking pope doing?

I would have thought Benedict XVI would possess enough common papal
infallibility not to bring up a rather strong and challenging
quotation fiercely disparaging Muhammad and Islam as only a force of
evil in the world. Especially these days when Muslims explode at the
slightest barb caste by a Western political or religious leader, or
agitate a crusader's spear cushion of reaction in the streets because
of a cartoon in a Danish newspaper. We live in a time of religious
intolerance to criticism. The lever of civilized temper holding
religious feelings in balance these days is as delicate to touch as a
mouse trap. It can snap your fingers at any feather light foment of flaw.

Muslim clerics and Talibs hypnotized their brethren to view the crimes
of medieval popes sending a holocaust of crusades upon them as
something that happened yesterday. A pope maligning Islam, is as
provocative a button pusher for Muslims as would be a post-Nazi German
disparaging Judaism. 

Pope Benedict in his Regensburg speech went one insensitive step
further. He quoted an Islamaphobe and near contemporary of the era of
Christian Crusades, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who
said to a Persian visitor in 1391, the following:

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will
find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by
the sword the faith he preached."

Benedict used this quote to support his belief that Islam's God "is
not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality."
Benedict laboriously concluded that Christianity, being rooted in
Greek language and a foundation of ancient Greek philosophical reason,
like Paleologus, revealed God's true nature as a reasonable God. A God
of the Greek "Logos," whereas Muslims incorrectly viewed God as a
being absolutely beyond reason and therefore Islam promoted in them
irrational acts of violence in the name of God. 

To say that Muhammad brought nothing good to humanity's quest for
spiritual awakening is simply wrong. Thanks to the prophet of Islam we
have deeper understanding into the mystery of heartfulness and
surrendering all to God. Christians could learn a thing or two about
opening their hearts like Muslims. Thanks to Allah, we have the sweet
poetry of Rumi, the whirling of ecstatic dervishes and so much more.
Should we counter the pope's quote of Paleologos and say there is
nothing good in Christianity because of their holy wars--their
Crusades--converting people by the sword?

Still, why are the streets of Islam across the world singed with the
ash of anger and burnt effigies of the pontiff? It has been my
experience that I do not get angry at something said unless there is
some truth in it, a truth I cannot yet face. So I react. 

The pope in his indelicate analogy exposed at least one taboo of
truth. Paleologus was right to question what good could be gained by
forced conversion of people by the threat of the sword.

"Cross"-sadism for Christ, "Cresent"-sadism for Muhammad. They both
used the sword to convert the helpless. 

Unfortunately the pope did not address the paradox of shared
irrational behavior that made the Christian Crusades synonymous with
Islamic Jihad. 

He has said nothing so far about the Christian virtue, saddled to
Greek "reason" behind Pope Urban saying God willed the slaughter of
Muslims in the Crusades. Or how a pope can reason mortal sins of rape,
pillage and murder one day can become a holy indulgence forgiven by
God the next. How does the current infallible Pontiff reason and
correct the infallible Pope Urban? Benedict has yet to explain the
reasoning behind popes having ex cathedra powers that contradict ex
cathedra actions of their predecessors. How can God in "Logos"
contradict Himself? 

No, Benedict stacks the cards of "Logos" against Islam in his speech
at Regensburg. I carefully read a transcript. Talk about a torturous
read! This pope does not have the concise, welcoming communication
skills of John Paul II. He is awkward, pedantic in extremis.

The core message of Benedict though delivered in a clumsy way was
clear enough to me. He does not want to soften the edges, like his
predecessor with "I'm OK, you're OK" ecumenical diplomacy. This pope,
perhaps rightfully, wants to bring encounter and challenge into his
ecumenical engagement with Islam. I am all for it. I have enjoyed the
searing and purifying vision quest of encounter therapy groups. Of
course, one cannot open an encounter without being encountered in
turn. Everybody's crap eventually gets placed in the center of the
therapy circle for all to expose. Benedict the Christian for the
moment has a Muslim's Jihad number exposed. The next moment, however,
will see the Christian Crusader's number exposed. Will Benedict face
up to that?

To paraphrase Christ's statement about judging others' faults at the
avoidance of your own, it is good that Benedict starts poking at the
splinter of error in Islam's eye. I wonder if the Pope can take a look
at the whole beam of irrationality in Christianity's eye?

My sense is, Pope Benedict wants the encounter with Islam to be
one-sided. The evidence is in his string of pathetic, oily,
circumventing apologies delivered to Muslims from his summer retreat
at Castel Gandolfo after the global flap about his comments at
Regensburg. First, Benedict apologized for all of you who
misunderstood his speech. (How nice. How patronizing!) Next he
apologized for Paleologus' harsh condemnation of Islam, saying it was
not his view. (Well, if it was not "your" view, Holy Father, why did
you use it to support your point?) 

So here we have a papal peacemaker who I predict will go on being
ready to engage but not ready to be encountered in turn. He will not
even be ready to reiterate his challenges to Islam in clear language
but will continue delivering them nebulously, under the weight of
pedantic prose. Then when sparks fly, he will dodge and retreat behind
prevaricating apologies.

The next stop in Benedict's therapy session with Islam will take place
in November, when he plans to visit Turkey. Even in this moderate and
secular state he will reap a whirlwind of woe. Where the pope will go,
is the same land Crusader armies rampaged and sacked on their way to
conquer the Holy Land. 

The Turks even in high office are still smarting about it. Salih
Kapusuz, the deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan's Islamic ruling party, said Benedict's remarks were either,
"the result of pitiful ignorance about Islam and its prophet
Muhammad," or worse--a deliberate distortion that appears to be an
effort by this pope "to revive the mentality of the Crusades." 

Kapusuz said the above over Turkish airwaves on state television and
radio, adding, that Benedict would go down in history for his words
"in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."

This warning shot across the bow of the Holy See comes from officials
of one of the most moderate, Westernized and one of the few democratic
states in the Islamic world!

Putting aside Kapusuz's "kaput" prophecy for the pope's legacy, what
do Benedict's statements reveal in the prophecy of St. Malachy about
his future?

In review, Malachy's motto for him "De Gloria Olivae" (From the Glory
of the Olive) accurately decodes the pope's name, after St. Benedict,
founder of the Benedictine order, that has a sub order of monks known
at "Olivetans" (Olivae). The pope himself is not a Benedictine but as
the prophecy accurately infers, he is a priest living in the spirit of
the Benedictine order. The symbol of the olive begs interpreters to
wonder if the Irish saint visualized Pope Benedict as a peacemaker
(represented by an "olive" branch) on an errant of mercy to the Holy
Land. The "olive" branch applies itself also to Israel. 

Does this mean Benedict could bring peace to Arab Islamist and Zionist

There is another more ominous layer of meaning to the motto. One I
have been commenting on since I published my book about St. Malachy's
prophecies back in 1998, entitled "The Last Pope"
( The motto "From the Glory of the
Olive" may also stand for the Olivetan Benedictines' sacred mission.
They believed God entrusted them with the task of preparing the world
for the Apocalypse as predicted by Jesus Christ to his disciples on
top of the Mouth of "Olives." The end time Jesus foresaw could
therefore begin during Pope Benedict's time:

"The time is coming when you will hear the noise of battle near at
hand and the news of battles far away; see that you are not alarmed.
Such things are bound to happen; but the end is still to come. For
nation will make war upon nation, kingdom upon kingdom; there will be
famines and earthquakes in many places. With all these things the
birth-pangs of the new age begin." (Matthew 24:6-8)

So far the pope, seems to be throwing Greek Fire into the face of
Islamic extremism. His olive branch may yet become a scourge of
Olivetan apocalypse in the coming war of Christiantiy with Islam. That
could mean the reign of Pope Benedict XVI will be a necessary Olivetan
passage from peace to apocalypse before the birth of a new and better age.


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