Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is the Vatican Naïve or Merely without Humor?

Flemming Rose has an editorial in Pajamas Media this morning. It merits your attention:

Yesterday the Vatican joined the al-Azhar university in Cairo in condemning the republication of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s depiction of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban, but the Catholic state and the supreme institution of Islam in the Sunni world didn’t say a word about the foiled plot to kill Westergaard, who has been in hiding since November last year.

“Both sides vehemently denounce the reprinting of the offensive cartoon and the attack on Islam and its prophet,” the two sides said in a joint statement according to IslamOnline.

The cartoon was republished by 17 Danish newspapers two weeks ago in an act of solidarity with the 72 year old cartoonist.

“We call for the respect of faiths, religious holy books and religious symbols,” read the statement.

“Freedom of expression should not become a pretext to insult religions and defaming religious sanctities.”

Well, I wonder what the Vatican thinks of the freedom of expression demonstrated by those of its enemies who would like to see it turned into a mosque? Many of the denizens of al-Azhar University would welcome such an outcome, which the Vatican well knows. This pandering by the Vatican is embarrassing to watch. On the other hand, the Vatican - unlike the Italians who surround it - is not celebrated for its sense of humor.

This whole thing sounds like something the U.S. State Department wrote up for them. Or al Jazeera. It is the depth of short-sightedness, moral equivocating, and a dearth of common sense. God gave us all the faculty of self-preservation but it doesn’t seem to be operative in the vacuum we see here.

Mr. Rose says that Kurt Westergaard’s wife, Gitte, is not allowed to work at the kindergarten where she is normally employed, for fear of the children’s safety [Note: since this was originally posted, the kindergarten has backed off its original statement]. Given the adversary, I think that’s a sensible idea, but Mr. Rose and Mrs. Westergaarde’s wife don’t agree:
- - - - - - - - -
…Today she received a call from the director asking her not to show up at work. A spokesman for the authorities in charge of child care in the county said that the decision to kick out Ms. Westergaard was made after several parents expressed worries for the safety of their kids.

“I am angry, disappointed and sad. The threats are against my husband. There is no security problem concerning me,” Gitte Westergaard told Jyllands-Posten.

“I understand that some parents may feel insecure, but I would never work at a kindergarten, if I had the slightest suspicion or knowledge that this would represent a risk to the kids or my colleagues.”

Mrs. Westergaard is exhibiting the same lack of understanding that shrouds the Vatican. Jihadists don’t mind killing children. In fact, they don’t mind using their own children as bombs. When dealing with the Brotherhood mindset, discretion is definitely the better part of valor.

Mr. Rose notes that the kindergarten, in having Mrs. Westergaarde on leave, is showing the kind of Hell’s Angels code of ethics that these people want:

If you don’t respect me I’ll kill you. Or if you don’t respect me I’ll scare the hell out of anymore who’s in touch with you so that they will cut off any contact with you. And it’s working: due to security concerns the Westergaards were kicked out of the Radisson hotel in Aarhus last week.

However, Mr. Rose should recall the horrors of Beslan. That could be repeated in Denmark without much trouble. We need to take these people seriously, and we need to keep them on guard by ridicule. The courage that mockery requires in the face of slaughter helps to knock small holes in the jihadist philosophy.

As Mr. Rose notes, shari’a demands that Islam’s adherents insult the kafir and his religion. What the killers weren’t expecting is that their opponents have - and use - the power to mock them back.

Go to the editorial to read about the scholarly atmosphere of al-Azhar University. If you can figure out the Vatican's rationale for linking with this antediluvian place, please enlighten me.

It is morally reprehensible that the seat of Roman Catholicism has chosen to ally with these haters, thereby cooperating in the downfall of the West.


Be sure to check out Mr. Rose’s bio here. He has led an interesting life. Unfortunately, his book, “American Voices,” does not appear to be available in English.

26 comments:

Diamed said...

Christianity and Islam are both religions after all. It's no wonder they'd ally against the secular modern age. The archbishop of canterbury also approves of sharia. Christianity is a dead note in Europe anyway, hardly anyone's a christian. If anyone defeats Islam, it will be nationalists.

Malcolm Pollack said...

There is a multi-tiered pecking order here. The Vatican clearly sees solidarity with a broadly defined community of "faith" as trumping any fealty to Godless Enlightenment principles of free speech. But within that community, the Church regards itself as paramount, and has no qualms about castigating, to inflammatory effect, its younger sibling Islam - as Benedict did last year at Regensburg.

Me and my brother,
we fight with each other.
But woe betide
the guy from outside.


I'm reminded of Mitt Romney's circling of the wagons against the heathens in that fatuous speech about his Mormonism.

Brazentide said...

I believe that the Vatican has acted consistently and properly in this. While it may be gratifying to stick a needle into the proverbial eye of Islam by mocking their so-called prophet, 'tit for tat' is certainly not part of Jesus Christ's teachings. The Vatican, I'm sure, is hoping to diffuse some of hatred Muslims have for Catholics (good luck) and keep the faithful that live in Islamic countries less likely to become victim to random attacks, rape, kidnappings and murders.

Additionally, by using the cartoons as a springboard, they attempt to call attention to, and hopefully curb the abuses of 'all religions' (read Christianity) in the secular media and arts as well (also, good luck).

Unfortunately, things have sunken so fast in Europe that Christianity now faces extinction there by a combination of factors including: low birth rates due to contraception, scandals, oppression by socialist governments (and soon Muslims), abandonment of faith due to over-indulging in worldly pleasures.

There may be little more than a remnant left within 50 years. But God reigns over everything and all is in his hands. Miracles can happen.

Zenster said...

It is the depth of short-sightedness, moral equivocating, and a dearth of common sense. God gave us all the faculty of self-preservation but it doesn’t seem to be operative in the vacuum we see here.

While—in light of Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address—I must admit to being slightly surprised by this, it really comes as no great shock. We have already seen the sordid spectacle of this world’s academic Ivory Tower community granting general amnesty for Islam’s perpetual atrocities. Why should it come as any sort of surprise that religion’s premier Ivory Tower should do likewise?

I classify this in the same category of why Western leaders are so squeamish about instituting a campaign of targeted assassinations against Islamic terrorist leadership. There persists a Guild Mentality of political leadership being a “closed shop” that only an elite few may join. For members to instigate a program of eliminating this same Guild’s less desirable associates would open up all of them to similar treatment by each other. This is one of the only explanations for Robert Mugabe continuing theft of precious oxygen from far more deserving life forms like lice and cockroaches.

The exact same "Closed Shop" mechanism seems to be at work in the Vatican. Better to ally themselves with other ostensible houses of religion against any further post-Modern erosion of their dignity than take actual responsibility for wielding the power they hold in a truly moral form. Who cares if an irreverent upstart Danish cartoonist is murdered in cold blood so long as Religion is preserved from—increasingly well deserved—slings and arrows hurled by those who are fed up with its inability to clearly identify mankind’s true enemies?

Be it scholastic, political or spiritual, there is a well-sheltered elitist superstructure that is progressively abandoning humanity to the ravages of criminals, religious radicals and ideological fanatics. Be they syndicates, Islamists or communists, all of them are getting a increasingly free pass by those who, from the safety of their gated estates, can afford to provide media lip service, pony up taxpayer protection money or putatively sanctify what the common man—more often referred to as “The Great Unwashed”—knows to be the very core of evil.

George Bush, Pope Benedict and Noam Chomsky epitomize this ascendant triumvirate of political, spiritual and academic Traitor Elite who—from the safety of their respective Ivory Towers—can all comfortably afford to extemporize about how we are all magically supposed to, in Rodney King’s immortal words, “just get along”. These Privileged Few get along just dandy, smugly cocooned within their finely feathered nests of moral and intellectual arrogance, while we commoners are surrendered up to feed the crocodile even as they fiddle amongst the flaming ruins of Western Civilization.

The words of Srdja Trifkovic ring ever more true:

The elite class has every intention of continuing to “fight” the war on terrorism without naming the enemy, without revealing his beliefs, without unmasking his intentions, without offending his accomplices, without expelling his fifth columnists, and without ever daring to win. Their crime can and must be stopped. The founders of the United States overthrew the colonial government for offenses far lighter than those of which the traitor class is guilty.
[Emphasis Added]

PS: Excellent comment, Malcom Pollack.

Malcolm Pollack said...

Hi Brazentide,

It's worth noting that when a religion is treated by the media with anything other than deferential diffidence it is regarded as "abuse", but when any other opinion or cultural convention receives such treatment it is mere "discourse", "criticism" or "satire".

It seems to me that there is no justification whatsoever for this double standard.

PRCalDude said...

It appears to me that Benedict is continuing his policy of dhimmitude. I don't know why Catholics continue to defend the Vatican when it seems hell-bent on throwing them under the bus.

vera said...

Because church and state are in cahoots. Because the popiola is in cahoots with the islamic religious leaders - (as indicated by the sword given to him by the arab ruler)- why do you think they had a secret meeting - "Secrets" - People! They figure that the "peasants" diss one religion -BLASPHEMY - "Oh the sheer horror of it!" - and allowed to get away with it - other religions will be in danger. Get it?!

Croat555 said...

Vera, you are probably right. Islam makes a society of principles. Once upon a time this could also be said of Christian West, but not anymore. West today is a society of hedonism. I don't know, I'm not trying to defend Vatican. After late pope John Paul stance towards Islam, one of brotherly Abrahamic and monotheistic religion, I hoped for more from Benedict, particularly after Regensburg. I still do hope for more.

Zenster said...

Vera: They figure that the "peasants" diss one religion -BLASPHEMY - "Oh the sheer horror of it!" - and allowed to get away with it - other religions will be in danger. Get it?!

Le bingo! Heaven forbid that us plebian masses might become a tad restive over how we are being thrown under the bus in favor of preserving Religion's paramount role as moral arbiter. Even as the Church handily betrays all such obligations by appeasing and embracing the most viciously barbaric gang of thugs imaginable.

Benedict is undermining the Vatican's moral authority in the most damning way possible. Any further placating of Islam will run Benedict the risk of outdoing Pope Pius XII for his historic mantle of shame.

Dennis Mahon said...

Has anyone actually seen this statement? I, for one, am not quite ready to take IslamOnline at their word.

laine said...

Why are Western leaders so incapable of cleverness and bi-play?

Say the pope desires more respect for his own religion and cogitates that therefore he has to show respect for even the ideologic wolf Islam posing as a religion/sheep.

So make your boilerplate statement about how religions must work together to uplift the human spirit etc. etc. (but since you are aware that Islam does anything but) tack on a rider to be delivered with an innocent smile, such as "No matter how unjustified the criticism, we reject violence against those who have not been violent. Such lack of proportion besmirches our good name".

Come on. You're pretending that Islam is a religion like the others, so elaborate on the fantasy about how violence done in any religion's name is unacceptable and ungodly (instead of Islam's moving principle).

Playing straight man to the Islamic lie without hoisting them on the lie is beyond foolish.

It appears that Christian leaders are just as dhimmi as the secular elite.

There will have to be a civilian and congregational revolt at being lead to our subjugation or death.

Timbre said...

If the Catholic Church is going to start sticking up for "prophets," they may as well sing the praises of David Koresh...

(Don't mean to offend, just saying what nags me.)

Zenster said...

Dennis Mahon: Has anyone actually seen this statement?

Middle East Online

CAIRO - Officials from the Vatican and Al-Azhar on Wednesday condemned the reprinting of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed considered offensive to Muslims.

Christian Science Monitor

In Egypt, a Muslim-Christian body, the Al-Azhar Vatican interfaith dialogue, denounced the republication of the cartoons on Tuesday, press agency Adnkronos International reports. The Al-Azhar-Vatican committee issued a final statement after a two-day meeting calling on Christianity and Islam to respect each others' beliefs and symbols. The Al-Azhar mosque is among the most respected sources of learning within Sunni Islam.

Timbre: If the Catholic Church is going to start sticking up for "prophets," they may as well sing the praises of David Koresh...

Why stop there? Let's not omit mention of that glorious self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon.

Hell, a ranting wingnut street-corner loon should qualify at this point. What's more, recognizing Koresh, Moon and the Loon would likely all prove less dangerous than the Vatican's perverted dalliance with Islam.

nikolai said...

I think a lot of dhimmitude is fear but not neccessarily fear of Islam. If one gets to the point where one believes Islam and Western Civilization are incompatible then the only options become very stark and clear. It's not surprising that many liberal minded westerners recoil from that realization at first.

I think a lot of them are scared of the thought of the war itself, rather than scared of Islam. So they retreat into wishful thinking and take taqiyya as truth so they don't have to think about the reality for a while, until the next attack wakes them up again.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Nikolai, actually I would say they're more scared of having to pick sides. Making a firm, personal decision to pick a side without a cadre of fellow believers to hide amongst, simply because taking a personal moral stance on an issue leaves them open to criticism. Hiding amongst a collective decision allows the individuals to absolve themselves of any blame attached to a decision, no matter how woolly and abstract it might be. The problem for such people is, Islam doesn't allow for collective inaction. It ultimately forces every single one of us to make that choice: which side are we on? Are we free, or are we slave? They don't want to pick sides just in case they pick the wrong one and end up out in the cold.

Timbre said...

Zenster: "Hell, a ranting wingnut street-corner loon should qualify at this point. What's more, recognizing Koresh, Moon and the Loon would likely all prove less dangerous than the Vatican's perverted dalliance with Islam."

A big "Amen" to that!

Zenster said...

Archonix: Making a firm, personal decision to pick a side without a cadre of fellow believers to hide amongst, simply because taking a personal moral stance on an issue leaves them open to criticism. Hiding amongst a collective decision allows the individuals to absolve themselves of any blame attached to a decision, no matter how woolly and abstract it might be. The problem for such people is, Islam doesn't allow for collective inaction. It ultimately forces every single one of us to make that choice: which side are we on?
[Emphasis Added]

How is it that our world has arrived at a place where it is easier to criticize those who actually take a position regarding matters than belaboring the spineless—and infinitely more dangerous—jellyfish that adamantly refuse to take a stand, even when the issue is biting them on the neck?

Somehow, culture has begun painting a larger target on the courageous than it does on the cowardly. Being an outspoken person, I am fully aware of how often I plaster a target on my own back. This in no way explains the now commonplace reluctance to out cowardice as the betrayal of our social contract that it is. While it remains that the lessons of World War II are nearly lost upon this new generation, this is not a full explanation.

Not too long ago cowards were tarred with epithets like "Milquetoast", “yellow-bellied”, “chicken” and “sissy”. This was not merely a byproduct of macho or chauvinist byplay. Defense of one’s self, home and property was essential to survival. While the disarmed European population’s increasing and forced dependence upon law enforcement provides some explanation for what is happening on their shores, it does not account for a similar phenomenon here in America. Whiskey_199 has taken great pains to make clear what seems to be a progressive feminization of modern Western men. Some dispute lingers over whether this is due to a trend—arising from elimination of gender specificity in culture—towards androgyny or the more disturbing outright emasculation of modern man that so many feminists seem to relish.

Recently, my Christian neighbor detailed to me some new fads among teenage boys in local area congregations that certainly indicate some serious issues surrounding this. Evidently—when posting a profile at Facebook or other social networking sites—it is now common for these boys to list themselves as bisexual, whether or not they really are. Additionally, it is also becoming acceptable for them shop for jeans in the girls’ section at clothing stores.

All of this points to a form of systematic and voluntary self-neutering, a Feminazi’s dream come true. Presumably this trend may be intended to diminish the appearance of overly masculine traits, so often perceived as a threat by many modern women. As with the trend towards androgyny, it also may permit these boys to “blend in” with a culture that is increasingly hostile to their specific profile, namely, white Christian males. However, it does not explain how such clearly aberrant behavior—at least in Christian terms—is slipping under radar. Moreover, this does not bode well for a Western culture that ever more needs individuals who will defy such self-effacing practices in favor of courageously standing up for vital ethical and moral values.

As Archonix also observed, it would seem that much of this springs from increasing reluctance in people about making “a firm, personal decision to pick a side”. Certainly, much of this can be explained by expanding peer pressure to homogenize or “fit in”. Yet, the death of individualism carries with it so many poisonous side effects in terms of innovation, creativity, independent thought and a host of other vital personality traits that one is obliged to look deeper.

Perhaps this is an upshot of liberal academia’s communist agenda that seeks to discredit the family as an institution or present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural and healthy”. Again, it seems too easy of an explanation for how Western society has so rapidly devolved from a culture that fought its way to victory in two World Wars and the Cold War, into a squirming and self-abasing, apologetic bunch of self-indulgent wankers.

One thing is clear, if we allow ourselves the luxury of complete amnesia regarding the lessons of World War II, they will come home to roost in the most horrendous ways imaginable. The only “easy way out” of surviving Islam’s global predation is genocide on a scale that defies comprehension. To date, Western civilization has cheerfully allowed Islam to purposefully paint it into the nuclear corner. This is most likely based upon an extremely dubious assumption that Western nations will never summon forth courage enough to unleash the full extent of their military fury when finally backed against the wall.

I continue to predict that Islam is in for an extremely nasty surprise when push comes to shove. Muslims are betting on a sleek and high-spirited pony that will be run into the first turn's rail by a far more seasoned pack of entrants. All that awaits are a few more rashers of Islam’s barbaric atrocities to elicit the one outcome that Muslims simply refuse to admit even exists. Islam’s strategy of constantly goading a supposedly weak-willed foe will soon enough show them the very fatal error of their ill-thought-out ways.

nikolai said...

Archonix,

"Nikolai, actually I would say they're more scared of having to pick sides. Making a firm, personal decision to pick a side without a cadre of fellow believers to hide amongst, simply because taking a personal moral stance on an issue leaves them open to criticism."

On reflection I think you are probably right.

Zenster,

"How is it that our world has arrived at a place where it is easier to criticize those who actually take a position regarding matters than belaboring the spineless—and infinitely more dangerous—jellyfish that adamantly refuse to take a stand, even when the issue is biting them on the neck?"

I think it's the power of television. Seizing the heights of the mass TV channels was their greatest victory imo. A handful of people can influence millions.

And, relating to the first point--that power allows them to decide who the scapegoats of society are, the official "baddies". The power to draw the line the herd won't cross unless the whole herd crosses at once.

When you think about it in those terms people like Wilders aren't just physically brave. They must also have a huge amount of mental fortitude to go against such pressure.

Dennis Mahon said...

I'm sorry, but I was looking for a independent confirmation of this statement; there is nothing from the Vatican Press Office, nor L'Observatore Romano(the official Vatican newspaper) about the "the Al-Azhar Vatican interfaith dialogue", let alone the supposed condemnation of the Danish cartoons. The only primary source I can find is MENA, the "official" news service of the Egyptian government.

At best, this story looks like a disinformation piece spread by Islamists; at worst, a solitary cardinal has issued a statement without Vatican backing.

Dymphna said...

Dennis--

My second attempt. Blooger ate my first try...

your suspicions were right. This was all sleight of hand.

Here is the official announcement from the Egypt Online Information Service:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Interfaith dialogue committee denounces republication of Prophet insulting cartoons


Al-Azhar-Vatican interfaith dialogue committee has denounced the republication of cartoons insulting Prophet Muhammad.

The committee issued a final communiqué on wrapping up its two-day meetings in Cairo highlighting statements on respecting the other's religious beliefs and symbols.

They called on the media not to misuse the freedom of expression to insult religious beliefs and symbols.


I found the site here.

However when I tried to check it in preview it gave me a "no longer found" message.

So you may have to google this:

Al-Azhar-Vatican interfaith dialogue committee

The other hits are all media sources, quoting this one.

Notice it was an ad hoc two day meeting. The world news just happened to have Motoons on it that day so they took advantage of the fact. Otherwise, they probably would have used Sudan.

If they were worth anything, they'd have leaned on Afghanistan and the MUSLIM terrorists who killed a volunteer who was helping the women make woven artifacts in their homes in order to earn money.

She had been in Afghanistan for two years and she and her native driver were kidnapped and killed. The driver had five kids. It was the best job he'd ever had.

Filthy swine.

Anyway, these images are more important than two lives, right? Someone ought to run them out of town on a rail.

Thanks for persisting.

Profitsbeard said...

Dante rightly placed Mohammad in The Inferno.

Split down the middle.

A Divider of Mankind.

Deserving only of punishment for his cruelty.

The Church of Rome apparently no longer reads the classics.

Stupido.

As in:

E cosi stupido che non riusciva a capirlo.
(He is so stupid he cannot figure it out.)

Zenster said...

Dymphna: your suspicions were right. This was all sleight of hand.

Then why isn't the Vatican denouncing this as a fabrication? Something is rotten, and it is most definitely not in Denmark.

Dennis Mahon said...

Then why isn't the Vatican denouncing this as a fabrication?

Probably because the Vatican isn't aware of it. The Vatican isn't the most techno-savy state in the world.

Zenster said...

Dennis Mahon: The Vatican isn't the most techno-savy state in the world.

A slight understatement considering how it was only in 1992—and after a 13 YEAR investigation, no less—that the Vatican finally admitted how Galileo had been "imprudently opposed" and that he was "right in adopting the Copernican astronomical theory".

One can only imagine the Vatican's excruciating pain in having to reverse nearly 400 YEARS of mulish opposition to a concept that Aristarchus of Samos was able to logically articulate nearly TWO MILLENNIA before the time of Copernicus or Galileo.

Protestant said...

The commentors who say that the Vatican sides with Religion against Secularism are wrong.

The Vatican fears anti-Islamic agitation in Europe because its logical conclusion is Blood-and-Honor nationalism...which is often anti-Catholic in nature. It is the same reason why Jewish groups oppose various patriotic movements in Europe/America. Blood-and-honor Nationalism is certainly not good for the Jews (or for Rome in most cases).

Malcolm Pollack said...

Zenster - your remarks about the unwisdom of provoking the West into a massive military response reminded me of similar remarks Churchill made during the Cold War, advising caution to the Soviets:

It cannot be in the interest of Russia to go on irritating the United States. There are no people in the world who are so slow to develop hostile feelings against a foreign country as the Americans, and there are no people who, once estranged, are more difficult to win back. The American eagle sits on his perch, a large, strong bird with formidable beak and claws. There he sits motionless, and M. Gromyko is sent day after day to prod him with a sharp pointed stick — now his neck, now under his wings, now his tail feathers. All the time the eagle keeps quite still. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that nothing is going on inside the breast of the eagle.