Thursday 20th June 2019

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Fear, Fraternity, And History

April 6, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

In an interview during his recent trip to Morocco, Pope Francis took a swipe at Europe’s Catholic populist movements. These groups are gaining popularity in many EU member states, rising in defense of the uniquely Christian character of Europe and their own countries. Meanwhile, the secular, centralized European Union bureaucracy fights to maintain its power, joining the Pope in opposing the populist movement.
Pope Francis is torn: While he condemns the EU’s secularism, he strongly supports its advocacy of massive immigration from Africa and the Middle East.
“I see,” he said, that many people of good will, not only Catholics, but good people, of good will, are a little gripped by the fear that is the usual sermon of populism: fear. Sowing fear and then making decisions. Fear is the beginning of dictatorships,” he said. Invoking “historical memory,” he continued: “To sow fear is to make a harvest of cruelty, closures, and even sterility.”
A few days later, in an audience on Wednesday, April 2, he added, “With Muslims, we are descendants of the same father, Abraham. What God wants is fraternity between us in a special way….We must be frightened if we do not work in fraternity, to walk together in life.”
The Holy Father’s admonitions are challenging indeed. On reflection, they inspire us to invoke some “historical memory” of our own.
In 732, the Mohammedans were sweeping across Spain, heading towards the Pyrenees at breakneck speed. Charlemagne’s grandfather Charles Martel, who wielded the real power in the Merovingian Frankish kingdom, set out to meet the advancing hordes. He defeated them near Poitiers in October of 732.
Even secular sources acknowledge the decisive impact of the battle on European history. “The battle has been described as one of the most consequential military encounters in history,” says the Encyclopedia Britannica, “for Martel’s victory over the emir of Córdoba preserved Western Europe from Muslim conquest and Islamization.”
Yes it did. But what became of “fraternity”? Should Charles Martel have overcome his “fear” of the bloodthirsty Mohammedans and stepped aside? Should he have welcomed the Moslem invaders?
Fast forward to Don Juan of Austria, the hero of Chesterton’s beloved Lepanto. In 1571, Pope Pius V had rallied Christian Europe to confront the invading Mohammedan fleet that threatened Europe. He called on all Christians to pray the rosary to defeat the infidel. When Don Juan’s fleet miraculously routed the Ottomans at Lepanto on October 7, Pius proclaimed that date as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
But wait — Chesterton’s “Soldan of Byzantium” was “that face of all men feared,” to be sure. But what a terrible loss for fraternity! Should Pius and Don Juan have embraced a more “progressive” version of historical memory, setting aside their fear of the Sultan and welcomed the Ottoman fleet to the shores of Italy instead of destroying it?
Chesterton doesn’t seem to think so:

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

And what are we to make of King John Sobieski, who defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Vienna in 1683? Once more the Turks threatened Europe, and once more a noble Pope, Innocent XI, appealed to Christian kings to prevent a Mohammedan conquest of Europe. King Sobieski responded, and defeated the Turks in a brilliant charge from the Kahlenberg, just outside Vienna. He saved the Habsburg capital and its empire from occupation and defeat.
Should Innocent have set his fear aside and welcomed the Turks, and cooperated in fraternal fashion with the Islamization of Europe?
Come to think of it, several European Union leaders seem to think that wouldn’t such a bad thing in the twenty-first century.
Does Pope Francis agree?

Wilton For Washington?

As The Wanderer was going to press this week, sources confirmed that Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Atlanta, has been named head of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. The see has been vacant for several months since Donald Cardinal Wuerl resigned. Gregory has a long history of involvement in the abuse-and-coverup scandals, going back to the days when, as president of the USCCB, he teamed up with then-Cardinal McCarrick to formulate the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” which completely exempted guilty bishops from its onerous provisions.
One troubling incident comes to mind. In July 2003, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, prelates Gregory and McCarrick met secretly with a group of liberal Catholics in “A Meeting to Support the Church.” The news leaked, and was met with scorn by many faithful Catholics. “Holding a secret meeting to discuss a scandal borne of secrecy was ham-handed and tin-eared at best,” Noonan wrote at the time.
When the embarrassed prelates tried to rectify matters by meeting with orthodox Catholics, Noonan was invited, and she didn’t mince words. Bishops indulge in petty politics and liturgical frivolities instead of focusing on fundamental moral issues like abortion and cloning, she wrote after the meeting (transgenderism and same-sex “marriage” still lay in the unforeseeable future at the time). Did these bishops understand the gravity, the extent, the damage wrought from the scandals, she asked? Didn’t they realize the need to stop it?
Peggy could hardly have known then of the homosexual cabal in the hierarchy, or the sodomy that was rampant in seminaries, rectories, and chanceries. Knowing what we know today, her most salient revelation is the secrecy with which the McCarrick and Gregory were working hand in hand, more than a year after the Dallas charter, to manipulate the future of the Church.
In April 2002, Gregory had observed that “there does exist within American seminaries a homosexual atmosphere or dynamic that makes heterosexuals think twice” about a priestly vocation. “It is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men,” he added.
How many, how many, I wonder…but today, the struggle has matured. It now involves the efforts of a sodomite syndicate in the hierarchy to preserve its power and position. Both Archbishop McCarrick and Wuerl did nothing to dismantle the syndicate, and neither did Archbishop Gregory. To bring it up is a “forbidden question,” brushed off by the USCCB as our beloved shepherds stumble on, waiting for McCarrick to die and any investigation of his network to die with him.
A companion question, also forbidden, asks when bishops guilty of covering up in years past will be disciplined, or at least have the good graces to retire. It’s simply not going to happen. Pope Francis clearly doesn’t want it to happen, and that’s fine with Cardinal “Rabbit Hole” Cupich and a powerful faction within the USCCB.
Nonetheless, a few bishops speak out. Several demand that the McCarrick investigation move forward, as was promised at their annual meeting last November.
Even more share the view of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia, who recently told seminarians that “many bishops are also frustrated — to put it gently — with Rome for its unwillingness to acknowledge the real nature and scope of the abuse problem. Clerical privilege is not the problem. Clericalism may be a factor in the sexual abuse of minors, but no parent I know — and I hear from a lot of them — sees that as the main issue. Not naming the real problem for what it is, a pattern of predatory homosexuality and a failure to weed that out from Church life, is an act of self-delusion.”
That view collides with the liberal history lesson propounded by Pope Francis and the Cupich faction. And yet, virtually all our shepherds have signed on to the Pope’s view of history that informs his immigration agenda.
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past,” wrote George Orwell. We must face the fact that, behind their flaccid façade of inaction and torpor, prelates at home and in Rome are engaged in a historic struggle for power over the future of the Church and of Christendom.
The outcome may well prove to be as profoundly historic as were the battles of Poitiers, Lepanto, and Vienna.

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