This will not be an isolated incident.
As readers know, I am a Catholic and have noted my problems with the extra-Christian teachings and mindset of Evangelical Christians. They also know that I will not hold back from criticizing the Church when it is wrong. I have noted that the Church has failed miserably in dealing with pedophiles who joined the priestly ranks and with its stances that threaten the security of Israel.
When it comes to Muslims, though, the Church has been quite weak. The former Pope Benedict retracted the 6th or 7th century quote he referenced about how Islam has been almost completely advanced by warfare as soon as some peace-loving Muslims, to prove their aversion to violence, killed and raped non-Muslims, including a nun.
The Church has not done her job in standing in defense of Christians in the Middle and Near East. I will in fairness note that Benedict did condemn the violence on a few occasions, but the Media ignored these as they concerned Christians being attacked by Muslims.
"In a shocking display that does not bode well for the Catholic Church and its stance on defending the multitudes of Christians currently being persecuted in Islamic countries, Magdi Christiano Allam, a prominent covert from Islam to Christianity, has left the Catholicism. He reasoned that he could not abide the church’s “weakness” and policy of appeasement towards Islam.
The Egyptian-born Allam, who publicly converted in St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter 2008 with the oversight of Pope Benedict XVI himself, renounced his Catholicism because, in his view, the church legitimizes a religion that is “inherently violent” to people of all walks, including fellow Muslims.
Ever-outspoken, Allam assures that he will remain a Christian, but roundly criticized the Catholic Church for also fostering an environment in which the Islamization of Europe will, in his mind, most assuredly take place.......
“I am convinced,” Allam stated, “that Islam is an ideology inherently violent as it has been historically conflictual inside and warlike outside.”
“I am even more convinced that Europe will eventually be submitted to Islam, as has already happened since the seventh century.”
Allam also criticized the church for not having “the vision and the courage to denounce the incompatibility of Islam with our civilization and fundamental rights of the person.”
Islam and the Christian Patriarchates - Continuing on Mission
A subject long-ignored by both Leftists and Evangelicals Christians is the organization of the early Christian Church. Both of course have different reasons for doing so; Leftists because they would love nothing more than for Christianity to disappear, Evangelicals because all those historical events get in the way of the picture of the early Church that they would prefer had existed. They go to great lengths to pretend that the church was structured in the way they would have wanted it. Muslims, however, have no desire to ignore the structure of the early Church nor do they labor under the delusion that it was anything other than what it actually was. Muslims are all too aware of the administrative makeup of the Church and intend to do something about it.
This post is intended to describe the Church structure as it pertains to Islam and Islamic conquests. If any long-winded debates are needed on the tired subjects of Rome, Peter, Papal authority vs. other Patriarchs, etc., that can be handled later. I will also avoid the intricacies of how much authority a local bishop has versus that of a Patriarch as this would be irrelevant for the purposes of this post. Purely national bodies such as the Armenian and NestorianChurches, although they too fell under the rule of Islam, will not be covered here. We will need to avoid the comparatively brief few years that the patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioch were brought under Christian control during the Crusades.
The Christian Church was Episcopal in nature. As bishops came to administer ever-large swaths of the population with more and more converting to the new faith, the greater portion of daily duties fell upon the presbyters (The Greek Presbuteros made its way into our English word Priest), or elders (the most literal translation of Presbuteros). The Bishop of Rome (as a successor to Peter) from early on made continual efforts to assert his primacy over the rest of the bishops with varying degrees of success. By the time that most, if not almost all of the population of the Empire had become Christian, the Church had been fully organized into Patriarchates. These were sees where the bishops of the higher ranks exercised authority over the Churches and episcopates of the respective areas. There originally were five Patriarchates of the Church; Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch. Even today one of the titles of the bishop of Rome is Patriarch of the West. Among the five, primacy was generally accorded to the Bishop of Rome however few were willing to allow that primacy to be of much effect. The mayhem that went along with the Arian heresy and the resulting conflict serves to illustrate how independent many other bishops considered themselves.
Shortly after the Byzantines and the Sassanid Persians had exhausted themselves one last time in a long war, the Muslim armies were unleashed against both empires. The Persian Empire was totally destroyed by 649AD. The Byzantines, although surviving admirably as an empire for centuries after and officially until 1453AD, suffered several defeats at the hands of the mostly Arab Moslems in rapid succession. Syria (including some portions of modern-dayTurkey), the areas of Israel/Palestine, and Egypt were overrun and incorporated into the Caliphate from 636-642AD. The Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem thus began their Dhimmi * status. The lead in Islamic aggression was later assumed by the Turks. From that point until 1453, the only Christian Patriarchates not under Christian control were those of Rome and Constantinople.
Well, you know the story from this point - the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453. The entire original Christian East was now under Islamic rule. From the middle of the 15th century until today, only the seat of the Patriarch of the West, the Bishop of Rome, was left free of the rule of Moslem overlords. Not that this a result of a lack of trying, Islam forces seized and controlled for a time portions of Italy and France, ruled most to all of Sicily for the better part of 250 years, and of course conquered almost all of Spain and were not fully ejected from there until 1492. Rome itself, including the Vatican, was sacked by Muslim raiders in 846AD.
Boy, just imagine if Islam had not been a religion of peace! With milquetoast peaceniks like these, who needs enemies?
There are a tremendous amount of verses on The Koran that refer to conquest of non-Muslim countries and peoples. Jews and Christians are to be subject to a status of second-class citizens, including a payment of the Jizya tax, so that in the words of the Koran, they will feel submission. Those who are neither Christians nor Jews can expect no such mercy from the religion of peace, death for the men and slavery for the women and children is the lot for them. Interestingly, Hindus came to be given statuses similar to that of Christians and Jews under the Moghul emperors. Again, to keep this post even remotely digestible I will need to refrain from listing specific Koranic citations. These are easy enough to find separately anyway. It seems to be a specific burr under the saddle for Muslims that there are Jews and Christians that are not yet subject to Islamic rule. It seems that Muslims may say to one another “How can we even begin to speak of bringing the rule if Islam to the entire world when we can’t even get the Christians and Jews under control?”
Today the Islamic world continues on its mission to extend its dominance over the last major original Patriarchate of the early Church. In 1995, what was then the world's largest Mosque was built in Rome. Let’s see here - the only one of the five original Patriarchal seats not found in an Islamic country+(Note also that Italy did not have near the number of Muslim residents found in other countries of Western Europe) and Muslims coincidently choose Rome to be the location of the world’s largest Mosque. Unfortunately this was not greeted with any protest by Pope John Paul II. +.+ Muslims who protest in Europe today often hold signs saying that “Islam will rule the world” or that it will conquer Rome.
Muslims take full advantage both of the disastrous and malicious immigration policies of the Left and of the lawful protections inherent in western European countries to brutally bully ethnic Europeans and continually call for more and more concessions to be ruled by their own Sharia Law. The Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches have done what they thought was best to care for their flocks from the time of conquests until the present day. Any word of protest from them inevitably results in negative repercussions on their people. It is high time that the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of the West, et cetera, takes the position of leadership that he is obligated to perform and works with Protestant and secular leaders of Western Europe to make a stand for the rights of Europeans to remain free of Dhimmi status. He also needs to find ways to offer support to his coreligionists still under Islamic rule as they even today rarely enjoy any respite from attacks by Muslims. Perhaps he can be a thorn in the side of the United Nations and use that forum to expose the plight of his fellow Christians. This could be ironic yet appropriate as the UN for years has been dominated by the vast number of Islamic nations. The Leftist media would have a hard time ignoring the ensuing uproar. Unless the Pope or his successor has no problem with the thought of the last of the five original patriarchates too falling under rule of the crescent, he will have to accept that the current manner of dealing with Muslims is not working.
*Usually translated as “protected peoples” but in practice applied in a manner to keep a Jew or Christian in a status of second-class citizenship where little to no protection is provided in civil courts and churches may not be built (or even repaired without lengthy periods of permit applications). Dhimmi were also required to give up their seats in public to Muslims and allowed to ride donkeys but not noble creatures such as horses which are reserved for use of Muslims. Christian women may marry Muslim men but a Christian man can not marry a Muslim woman, thus providing for a steady decline in Christian numbers.
+Note that although Jerusalem has been under the administration of the Israeli government since the 1967 Six-Day War, until that point the City had been under Islamic rule for almost the entire time since the beginning of the Arab Muslim conquest. The only other exceptions were those of the short-lived Crusader states and the post WW1 British Mandate. Either way, the Islamic world does not recognize Jerusalem to be anything other than a Muslim-ruled city.
+ +John Paul II made several attempts to provide an example of tolerance in the hope that it would be reciprocated in Muslim countries. He participated in ceremonies celebrating the opening of the Mosque, even reportedly kissing a copy of the Koran. He added to this an appeal to Muslim countries to allow for more freedom and protection of non-Muslims in Muslim-ruled countries. This of course had no affect on the status of any of these peoples. The Pope also reportedly expressed disappointment at what he took to be the underlying cause that allowed such as thing as the Mosque-building. He felt that it was due to the failure ofEurope’s Christians to fully embrace their faith.