… Something totally expected happened when I decided to ask fellow Patheos bloggers at the Muslim channel their thoughts of the atrocities being committed in the name of their religion.

I got backlash.

But not from who you’d think.

Turns out most of the bloggers on the Muslim channel just don’t write as prolifically as we do here in the Catholic channel. They have entire weeks between posts. We have hours; a single day at most.

So the chances of anyone over there even seeing what Sam Rocha and I wrote are pretty slim. Fair enough. Not necessarily an excuse for remaining silent, but understandable since it appears to be a considerably less active channel of Patheos. So I decided to let it go.

What I can’t let go is the backlash I received from non-Muslims for even daring to ask. Cries of H8 and Islamaphobia filled my facebook page and inbox. Sadly, the majority of my critics were other Catholics.

Nothing can develop in the way of dialogue if we continue to act like Islam is above scrutiny. If we are afraid to even ask questions of Muslims then how in the world will we ever find our courage to stand up to them, when the day comes here in the US. And it’s coming.

I find this very troubling, the way we’ve decided as a collective whole, to not be able to ask even the most basic questions. Is the most dangerous Muslim an offended Muslim?

From Al Arabiya news

For the first time in history, Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran will be heard at the Vatican on Sunday, in a move by Pope Francis to usher in peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Francis issued the invitation to Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit last week to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas, Peres, and Francis will be joined by Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders, a statement released by Peres’s spokesperson said, according to the Times of Israel.

Holy See officials on Friday said the evening prayers would be a “pause in politics” and had no political aim other than to rekindle the desire for Israeli-Palestinian peace at the political and popular level, according to the Associated Press.

And from the Times of Israel

President Shimon Peres will head to the Vatican on Sunday to participate in an interfaith peace prayer event at the invitation of Pope Francis.

Francis issued the invitation to Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit last week to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.

According to a statement released by Peres’s spokesperson, Abbas, Peres, and Francis will be joined by Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders.

The event will feature readings about peace by the clergy from the Tanach, the New Testament and the Quran. Francis will then read religious verses with Peres and Abbas, which the three will have selected for the ceremony.

Israel’s delegation, which the Chief Rabbinate helped to select, will include members of the local Jewish, Druze and Muslim communities.

And most importantly, the official statement from the Vatican

Vatican Radio) At a press conference in the Vatican on Friday, the head of the Holy See’s press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, announced details of a prayer encounter to be held on Sunday with the presidents of Israel and Palestine. Also attending the event will be the spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Pope Francis invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the encounter on May 25th during his brief but intense visit to the Holy Land.

“Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment.” Those were Pope Francis’ words to the Israeli and Palestinian presidents when he invited them to come to the Vatican to join him in “heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.” Both leaders immediately accepted that invitation and will be arriving in the Vatican around 6.30pm on Sunday evening, accompanied by delegations of about 20 people representing the different faith communities present in both states. Also taking part in the Vatican delegation will be the Orthodox Patriarch who played such a central role in the Pope’s recent pilgrimage to Jerusalem to recall a similar encounter between their predecessors exactly half a century ago.

Following a brief welcome in the Casa Santa Marta where he lives, Pope Francis will accompany the two presidents and the patriarch through the Vatican gardens to a specially prepared venue surrounded by two tall hedges between the Pontifical Academy of Sciences building and a wing of the Vatican museums.

Fr Lombardi explained that each faith community will present a piece of music, then thank God for the gift of creation, ask forgiveness for sins committed and pray for the gift of peace. Pope Francis and the two presidents will add their own calls for peace in the region, before exchanging greetings, planting an olive tree as a visible symbol of their desire for an end to the conflict and sharing a moment of private conversation together.

Answering journalists’ questions about the aim of the encounter, Fr Pizzaballa said it is a purely religious event designed to provide space for people to stand back from the conflict and “recreate a desire for change”. While the meeting will not lead to any overnight solutions to the complex problems of the Middle East, Fr Pizzaballa said he hoped it might just reopen a path of dialogue and allow people to dream of a world where peace really is possible.

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself when I read this event is taking place in the Vatican gardens between two hedges. Immediately I thought of Between Two Ferns.

… if islam is such a “religion of peace” then why the hell is our president, liberal politicians, and the media so afraid to offend moslems? I think tip toeing around moslems delicate sensibilities sends a very clear message… they don’t even believe their own bull shit.

Some how I would have thought a terrorist infiltrating a military base on our own soil would have elicited more reaction and condemnation… not limp wristed hand wringing over the possibility of sacrificing our military’s precious diversity.

Treasonous General George Casey, U.S. Army chief of staff is quoted as saying “Speculation could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers and what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.”

Effing sick.

… In another mind blowing attempt to kowtow to Islam, our president goes deeper in denial for the sake of multiculturalism and diversity.

This is completely reprehensible and irresponsible. To say that “no religion” speaks for ISIL is an outright lie that I don’t think anyone can possibly believe. What exactly does the “I” in “ISIL” stand for then?

The Islamic States is just that, Islamic. ISIL has all the trademarks of the past 1300 years of post-Mohammedan culture – Piracy, theft, slavery, torture, and genocide.

But don’t tell that to the president.

“… no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”

and yet, from the Koran …

■ Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them(2:191)
■ Make war on the infidels living in your neighboorhood (9:123)
■ When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them (9:5)
■ Kill the Jews and the Christians if they do not convert to Islam or refuse to pay Jizya tax (9:29)
■ Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable (3:85)
■ Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticise Islam. (5:33)

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – Obama’s sympathies for Islam and his connections to the Muslim Brotherhood are incompatible with the job of presidency.

The only thing this president seems to be able to do with any ounce of efficiency is make his tee time.

A screen grab from the New York Times, before they realized the irony and reworded the title.

new york times

It’s strangely silent over there.

Sam Rocha asks what I’ve been wondering for weeks now,

My question to my Abrahamic brothers and sisters at the Patheos Muslim channel is, why are you not reporting on — and joining — the predominant voices of your religious community (and your channel editor)?

What are we to make of the silence?


Saying nothing can actually say a great deal, and probably not what you intend. Things like silent approval or apathy towards the situation. I can only assume because there’s been nothing to indicate otherwise.

We’re all ears over here. You have the audience at your own channel and on your own personal blogs, why not take advantage of it and denounce the horrors being committed in the name of Islam?

… I wish I could write but everything I read online and see on the news has me filled with anger, rage, and helplessness. It leaves me depressed and makes me feel like my complaints are trivial and my joys undeserved.

I am in mourning.

What’s there to do other than pray and helplessly watch the news reports come in?

Elizabeth Scalia is right, you know. The West lacks the tools to defeat ISIS because ISIS is evil and the West refuses to believe in evil. You cannot defeat something you refuse to accepts exists. Elizabeth writes,

[The West] no longer contains one essential component necessary to fight the evil that instigates human savagery on this level, that of a faith; a language and method of engaging with the supernaturalism that lies beneath, and sustains a movement like IS.

Consider that when the Nazis were barreling through Europe, the majority of the western world professed – with no fear of ridicule or of giving insult, anywhere – a belief in something greater than itself. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill were conventionally religious men of their times, not overly prayerful. But they were imbued with enough faith to recognize that some occasions called for more than even the most sublime rhetoric; some things called for enough humility to make a prayer of supplication, one calling on the Deity to guide, to bless, to sustain – to, as Lincoln said, have “firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.”

Roosevelt led the nation in prayer on D-Day. In Britain, Churchill openly spoke of “a miracle of deliverance”: “A guiding hand interfered to make sure the allied forces were not annihilated at Dunkirk.”

Our post-Christian, post-faith western leadership is no longer capable of making public prayer, or willing to credit heaven with anything but twinkling stars.

And now that the West has fully embraced secular humanism and driven God from the public forum, even making mention of Him criminal H8 speech, we find ourselves a nation completely ill equipped to battle evil, real evil.

In 2008 Elizabeth prophetically wrote,

The West loves its court systems, its bureaucracies, its diversities, but jihadists use these tools to further their ends. They will not be legislated, jailed, sued, or celebrated out of existence. Appeasement and the stodgy language of diplomacy will not stop them, either, because “diplomacy” is not the language being spoken in these attacks. The fundamentalists who endorse and commit terror believe they are heaven-bound heroes. First and foremost, they “believe.” Their rhetoric of jihad rides the language of faith.

It is with the language of faith that Islamic terrorism must be engaged and defeated, and therein lies the disconnect for the diplomatic West. Having reasoned itself out of faith, its incomplete arsenal is fit for battle, but not for victory. The West can speak only of borders, boundaries, markets, and measurement. Faith exists beyond boundaries and borders; it defies markets and measurement. The negotiables of the West are worldly and “the world” means nothing in the face of paradise. Islam, like all faith, is not of this world but of the world to come. Islam’s extremists, like all extremists, would like to speed their agenda along.

Jihad is not interested in acquiring land, or money, or even control, which faith understands to be illusory. What these extremists want is submission. To their book or to their sword.

We should consider that Islamic terrorism may not be defeatable, except on its own terms, on the battlefield of the supernatural.

This is a battle we are going to lose because we have nothing in our supernatural armory. As a nation even our language is defeatist — we no longer conquer the enemy, we simply have conflicts with them.

We are not going to win this and the problem isn’t going to remain thousands of miles away for much longer. Nineveh has fallen.

“Nineveh is destroyed; who can pity her?
Where can one find any to console her?”

My silence on the matters was due largely to the fact that there’s really nothing to say. Words won’t fix this problem. Only action will — the action of prayer, the action of recognizing evil and acknowledging evil exists.

“Words cannot save us now, only the Passion of Christ…” – Edith Stein

Tom McDonald says we broke the world. We did.

The children are desolate; the enemy has prevailed. [warning:graphic images]

I wish I could offer you hope and consolation. Hope and consolation are not mine to give. That comes from God.

Pray, pray without ceasing.

… “Last Sunday, for the first time in 1600 years, no mass was celebrated in Mosul.”

1600 years. Let that sink in for a moment. 1600 years.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized Iraq’s second largest city on June 10, causing most Christians in the region to flee in terror, in new kinship with the torment of Christ crucified on the cross. The remnant of Mosul’s ancient Christian community, long inhabitants of the place where many believe Jonah to be buried, now faces annihilation behind ISIS lines. Those who risk worship must do so in silence, praying under new Sharia regulations that have stilled every church bell in the city.

The media has largely ignored the horrifying stories that are emerging from Mosul. On June 23, the Assyrian International News Agency reported that ISIS terrorists entered the home of a Christian family in Mosul and demanded that they pay the jizya (a tax on non-Muslims). According to AINA, “When the Assyrian family said they did not have the money, three ISIS members raped the mother and daughter in front of the husband and father. The husband and father was so traumatized that he committed suicide.” [read more]

This is sickening. And horrifying. The hell these Christians are going through defies imagining.

Maybe Michelle O can start a hashstag campaign or something.

In the meantime, as a community, let’s pray for those persecuted.

… Can you imagine hearing those words. Spoken in lieu of a homily. Delivered by a Muslim. During the liturgy of mass.

Jesus was a prophet equal to Mohammed.

Would you have been able to contain your rage?

From a Q & A answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Rome, June 24, 2014 (


During our sacred liturgy on Pentecost Sunday, in place of the homily, two leaders from the local mosque were invited to “join us in prayer in light of the example given by our Holy Father.”

The first gentleman shared his views on God and how we are all searching for peace and how it can be found only in God. He explained that Muslims believe in the same God as Christians and that they too believe that “Jesus was a prophet, like the great Mohammed.”

The second gentleman proceeded to read various selections from the Quran in English and then sung those same verses in Arabic. He read several passages about Mary as well.

At the end of their “prayers for peace,” the woman who introduced them explained to the congregation, and I quote, that “Our Muslim brothers would now be leaving the Liturgy of the Word as we prepare to recite the Creed which further isolates us from them.”

I do not take issue with Muslims being invited and present at our holy Mass as observers.

My question is, was this a grave offense to have them speak in place of the homily, read from the Quran, and state (several times) that they too “believe that Jesus was a great prophet”?

I personally felt a prisoner in my own house and felt ashamed because I did not have the courage of the early martyrs to stand and say, “Jesus was not JUST a prophet but the Son of GOD.” I was horrified to hear our Creed be referred to in our own house as a point of “isolation.”

I feel our Creed is not a point of isolation, but truth that should not be apologized for, just because we have visitors from another faith with us.

Am I overreacting?

— H.C., Orlando, Florida

I wouldn’t even consider this an overreaction to the event…

And Fr. McNamara’s reply,


While our Holy Father has gone to great lengths to promote mutual understanding and acceptance among people of different faiths, he, like his predecessors, has made every effort to avoid any religious syncretism, and I do not recall any incidence where non-Christian prayers were introduced into a Christian liturgical act of worship, much less into a Mass.

Therefore, first of all I think calling on Pope Francis’ example for this act is simply incorrect.

Second, I do not believe that the Muslim gentlemen involved in this episode would ever think of inviting a Christian minister to Friday prayers to tell his fellow Muslims that Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and God’s definitive revelation to man. In saying this I am not criticizing the Muslims for lack of reciprocity but would simply say that this would be perfectly coherent from a Muslim point of view, since allowing the Christian to say so would be tantamount to denying the central tenet of Islam itself.

To put it plainly: Although there can and should be mutual respect and peace between them, from the standpoint of religious beliefs, Islam and Christianity are incompatible religions. There are indeed some shared values and common points of religious practice, but both religions hold as absolute truths tenets that are mutually exclusive. We can agree to disagree in a friendly manner but must accept that there can be no common ground in the matter of central religious beliefs.

Islam and Christianity are incompatible religions.

And while we on the topic of any ole body giving a homily…

Redemptionis Sacramentum says:

“64. The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself, ‘should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.’

The homily is meant for the priest to reflect back on the Gospel readings, not for lay people to promote the church bizarre or Sister’s fundraiser. It’s not announcement time or ecumenical interfaith dialogue time.

And most certainly it’s not for a member of a faith that has consistently opposed and tortured Christians throughout the world to deny the Divinity of Christ!

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