Source: The Catholic World Report, by William Kilpatrick, August 29, 2018
The Church has been deeply damaged in recent weeks by revelations of widespread clerical sex abuse in Chile and Honduras, the further revelation that Cardinal McCarrick’s predatory behavior had been hushed-up, and now claims by an archbishop that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but repealed them.
It may seem that things couldn’t get much worse for the Church, but it almost certainly will. More revelations of abuse and cover-ups at the highest levels are likely to come, and the level of distrust and discouragement among ordinary Catholics is bound to grow.
Persecution of Christians and Islamization of Europe
But there is another scandal waiting in the wings which may prove larger and more devastating than the current one. The looming scandal concerns the Church’s facilitation of an Islamic takeover of much of the Western and non-Western world. If the term “Islamic takeover” seems overblown, then you may not be paying attention—to the escalating persecution of Christians in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia; to the genocide against Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria; and to the gradual submission of European nations to Islamic demands.
Is the Church knowingly facilitating the persecution of Christians and the Islamization of Europe? No, but its semi-official policy toward Islam, nevertheless, has that effect. Ever since Vatican II, Church policy has been one of turning a blind eye to the violent and aggressive nature of Islam while declaring “esteem” for Islam as a fellow monotheistic religion.
For years now, Catholic leaders—the pope, bishops, priests, Catholic media, and Catholic educators—have covered up the large gap that divides Islam and Christianity. Instead they have poured all their energies into emphasizing the similarities between the two faiths, while simultaneously decrying “Islamophobia”—a term which seems to refer to any criticism of Islam.
As the gap widens between what the hierarchy says about Islam and what ordinary Catholics can see in the news or encounter in their own lives, many Catholics will become alienated from the Church. The priestly sex abuse scandals that broke in 2002 had that effect. In those areas that were hardest hit by the scandals, Church attendance dropped off dramatically. The same is likely to happen as the realities of Islamization put the lie to the Church’s Pollyannaish view of Islam. Only this time, the disaffection will be on a greater scale.
I’m not talking here about killings and massacres, but about the daily humiliations and persecutions that non-Muslims suffer in Muslim lands. If present demographic and cultural trends continue it is quite possible that several European nations will fall under Islamic control within the next twenty years. Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands are prime candidates. Germany, France, and the UK are also vulnerable. As sharia law spreads through Europe, so will the abuses that accompany it. And many of these abuses are sexual or sex-related such as honor killings, child marriages, wife beating, and female genital mutilation.
Although they are hardly identical, the two scandals resemble each other in two important respects. Both involve widespread sex abuse and both involve a cover-up. In Europe the abuse of vulnerable women and vulnerable minors, both Muslim and non-Muslim is now widespread. Sweden has the second highest incidence of rape in the world. Thousands of teen-aged girls in English towns such as Rotherham, Rochdale, and Telford have been victimized by Muslim rape gangs. Twelve hundred women were sexually assaulted on a single night outside the Cologne train station on New Year’s Eve 2016. Meanwhile, the number of Muslim girls and women in Europe who have been subject to FGM is estimated to be well over 500,000.
The silence of Church leaders
Priests and bishops, of course, are not committing these crimes, but they are strangely silent about them. They do not speak out about them the way they do when an incident of “Islamophobia” hits the news. Perhaps they don’t speak out, because they are, in part, responsible for the increased presence in Europe of all those additional rapists, wife-abusers and FGM practitioners.
It’s no secret that Church leaders have been at the forefront of those calling for a more welcoming attitude toward migrants. A recent National Post headline tells the story: “The loudest opponent of Italy’s new anti-migrant policy? The Catholic Church.” The voices of opposition range from the Pope, who has said that migrant security is more important than national security, down to the village priest. The Post report cites one priest who said that the anti-migrant party “cannot call themselves Christians.” And it quotes an Archbishop who says, “The Church can’t stay silent. I can’t stay silent.”
Yet the Church has stayed silent about the massive crime wave that has swept Europe as a result of the open-borders policies it has lobbied for. The Post article mentions a pro-migration statement by the Italian Bishop’s Conference” illustrated on its website with the photo of a weak migrant who had been clinging to flotsam in the Mediterranean before her rescue.” But where are the photos of the rape gang victims? The victims of car and knife attacks? The bruised and bloody faces of the elderly couple attacked in their apartment by Muslim migrants? And where are the photos of the acid-scarred babies and children? The city of London now has the highest per capita rate of acid attacks in the world, but such statistics seem of little interest to Church leaders.
These daily cover-ups of Muslim criminal activity are part of a much larger cover-up—the cover-up of the full truth about Islam. As mentioned earlier, Church authorities and educators have presented a one-sided picture of Islam—one with all the scary parts left out. For example, in Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis asserts that “authentic Islam and a proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” Not surprisingly, he has been thanked on several occasions by top Muslim authorities for his defense of Islam.
Like the sex abuse scandal, this sugar coated portrayal of Islam constitutes a betrayal of the shepherd’s duty to protect. It misleads Catholics on an issue vital to their security. For example, the only threat from migrants that Pope Francis will admit to is “threats to our comfort.” The hierarchy’s misleading assurances on Muslim migration can be summed up by a banner that “welcomers” in European countries sometimes display. It proclaims: “They’re not dangerous, they’re in danger.” However, as more and more Europeans come to realize that a significant number of the migrants are indeed dangerous, their feelings of betrayal will increase. More and more European governments are now tightening their immigration policies. If the Church remains the last and “loudest” voice calling for the importation of cultures that are misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian to the core, the result may well be a final falling away from the Church on the part of those who already have their doubts.
If the church persists in its pro-Islam policy, several consequences will likely follow. For one thing, the Church will be further discredited. As more Catholics come to realize that Church leaders have been misleading them about Islam, distrust will grow. Almost everything that Church leaders say will become suspect, and the exodus from the Church—particularly in the West—will likely accelerate.
The “evil twin brother” hypothesis
Another consequence is the development of what I call the “evil twin brother” hypothesis. As Church leaders continue to emphasize their solidarity with Islam, many—both inside and outside the Church—will be prompted to ask some obvious questions. Why would anyone want to declare solidarity with a faith that considers jihad obligatory? That denies the equality of men and women? That prescribes stoning or whipping for adultery, and death for apostasy?
Here’s what I had to say about the matter six years ago:
It was precisely by claiming that Christianity and Islam are essentially the same that atheists were able to make so much hay in the aftermath of 9/11. The atheist argument is not that Islam is bad apple among world religions, but that it is just like all religions—irrational, cruel, and unjust. Atheists such as Hitchens and Dawkins made a particular point of portraying Islam and Christianity as evil twin brothers… When Christian clergy identify themselves with Muslim clerics, it serves only to strengthen the atheist argument that there is little difference between the two faiths.
What is especially problematic is that many Catholics—including some prominent conservative Catholics—extend the “common ground” claim to include sexual values. Some have argued that Catholics and Muslims are natural allies against immodesty, pornography, homosexuality, promiscuity, and so on. But, as Nonie Darwish has demonstrated in several books (particularly in Wholly Different), Christianity and Islam are miles apart when it comes to sexual ethics. Islam sanctions polygamy, easy divorce for men, child marriage, and, in times of war, sex slavery. In Afghanistan, the dancing boys (“bacha bazi”) are practically a cultural institution, and in Iran it is considered perfectly legitimate for seminary students to enter into “temporary marriages”—essentially a form of prostitution. Most of these practices—especially child marriage—are strongly defended by Muslim clerics. In other words, what the West considers sexual misconduct is just business as usual in many parts of the Muslim world. As the non-Muslim world learns more about these practices, the claim by Catholics that Islam is their ally in upholding sexual morality may prove particularly damaging.
If one invites comparisons, comparisons will be made, and in one respect transgressions by Catholic clerics suffer by comparison with similar transgressions by Muslim clerics. At first glance, both seem to be guilty of hypocrisy. But the Imam with two wives, the Muslim clerics who lobby for lowering the age of marriage to twelve, and the seminary student who pays for sex, are all within the letter of the law. They know better than most what Islamic law allows. They can’t very well be accused of hypocrisy.
It’s another matter with the Catholic cleric who violates his vow of chastity. People in the Western world are typically more outraged by hypocrisy than the actual sin committed by the hypocrite. Individuals who are forthright about their sexual activities are often celebrated in Western literature and Western media for their bravery and authenticity. The hypocrisy of Catholic clergy may lead to more defections from the Church and, ironically, to more conversions to Islam which will be seen by some as the more honest of the two religions.
But Christian defections to Islam is another story for another article. Let’s conclude with a very brief discussion of how both scandals—the cover-up of sexual abuse and the cover-up of the threat presented by Islam—might be dealt with. Since many others have written extensively about solutions to the first problem, let’s focus on the one suggestion (other than prayer and fasting) that seems most likely to set the Church on the right path in regard to both scandals.
Many have suggested that what is needed is a thorough housecleaning at the upper levels of the Church. A clean sweep is probably not a practical goal but a housecleaning is certainly in order. It’s difficult to see how the people who allowed the sex abuse problem to metastasize are suddenly going to turn around and solve it. There’s a good deal of truth in the adage, “personnel is policy”. You can create new policies on paper, but if the old personnel is in charge of implementing them, nothing will happen.
Interestingly, the people who enabled the first scandal (clerical sex abuse) are most probably the same people who are facilitating the second scandal (the cover-up of Islam’s aggressive nature). Those Catholic leaders who subscribe to “progressive” views on sexual morality, likely subscribe to the “progressive” view that all cultures and religions are essentially the same. The relativistic and non-judgmental thinking that Pope St. John Paul II criticized in Veritatis Splendor can be used to excuse both sexual sins and cultural sins. The same false virtues of tolerance and inclusivity that allowed the first scandal to grow, have now become the rationale for overlooking the many problems with Islam.
There is some anecdotal evidence that those who are “progressive” on sexual matters are also inclined to minimize the Islamic threat. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference, who has raised the possibility of blessings for same-sex unions, has also been among the chief “welcomers” of Muslim migrants. Cardinal McCarrick, who symbolizes the current abuse crisis, may also stand as a symbol of Catholic clerics who naively trust in the good intentions of Islamic clergy. After returning from an official visit to Iran, he applauded the disastrous Iran nuclear deal in an essay for the Washington Post and reassured his readers that they could trust the Iranians because Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had issued a fatwa against the possession of nuclear weapons (a fatwa that proved non-existent).
The Iran deal greatly boosted Iran’s ability to sponsor terrorism worldwide, and, in that sense, McCarrick could be considered an enabler of Islam. But, then, the USCCB itself was a strong supporter of the deal, and Bishop Oscar Cantu, the head of the Committee on International Justice and Peace warned Congress not to “undermine” the deal.
In any event, bishops whose sense of sin is limited to man-made climate change and the building of border walls are less likely to notice the approach of other types of evil. It is probable that clerics who saw no danger in the rise of homosexual networks in the Church will also see no danger in the spread of a supposedly “peaceful” fellow religion—even though that religion has a long history of subjugating other cultures and religion. By the time that they do notice the danger, a great deal of—possibly irreversible—damage will have been done.