Religion and Reality

And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,  
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.

GK Chesterton, Lepanto


Hattip to Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  Father Robert S. Hewes recalls some very relevant history:


Getting all medieval..


Dear friends,

“Does it please Thee, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children whom I have nourished with Thy Love?”

The words above stood out like a thunderclap.

Earlier this morning (August 11th) I was reading the entry in “Butler’s Lives of the Saints” for the saint of the day: St. Clare of Assisi, a friend and contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century.

I had not thought to have read such words from a Saint who followed her fellow-townsman Francis in the spirit of poverty and simplicity. As a line from a movie has it, Clare “got all medieval” that day.

Well, St. Claire WAS “medieval”.

However, the account of the events that lead to long-ago prayer of Claire are strikingly modern. An army in the service of (of all people) the “Holy Roman Emperor” in the year 1244 advanced on her city.  This host was ravaging the area around Clare’s convent just outside Assisi and was largely composed of hired “Saracens” (i.e., Arab Muslim warriors) and approached the walls of her enclosure. She took herself to the wall, the Blessed Sacrament borne before her in a pyx and she faced the advancing Islamic troops. It was then she prayed the words that began this article.

Not very ecumenical we might think. Maybe she was too harsh?

After all, can’t we all just get along?

It takes two to get along.

You and I are used to assuming all people are basically good, and all religions are essentially good.  How often do we think ‘we all believe in the same God”?

Do we?

What is emerging and is rampaging today now in the form of “ISIS” or “ISIL” is an old story: militant Islam carrying the sword and demanding total submission to Allah as they conceive him to be. We are in merely the newest phase of a struggle that has gone on intermittently from 1400 years in the Middle East and has now spread West, as it once did.

Go here to read the rest.  Catholicism historically has been a rather practical religion.  The Faith gives us a path to Heaven by following Christ, but the Church has not pretended that we can always live our lives in this Vale of Tears as if we were already in Heaven.  Thus, the Church has not been shy about meeting force with force when necessary to protect Christianity.  The Crusades were a fairly tardy defensive reaction to the march of militant Islam by the Church, and the survival of Christianity in Europe probably is due to the time gained for the West by these conflicts.  Since the fall of the Papal States in 1870, strong currents of utopianism and pacifism have largely been dominant within the Church.  Alas, the world is no more utopian or pacifist than when Pope Urban II launched the crusades almost a millenium ago, a fact that I pray more Catholic clergy become aware of during this century.

More to explorer


  1. Excellent post. Timely as well.
    The great deceiver loves the attitude of todays politically correct. All religions are equal. Until the beheading of friends and family of the P.C. crowd will they realize their false mercy, however by then the crawl back to “freedom” will be a bloody one.

  2. See St. Bernard de Clairvaux’ letter/treatise in support of the Knights Templar.

    Pope Urban and St. Bernard did not call for the slaughter of the filthy pagan murderers. The two saintly men called for the rescue of the faithful from evil. It required armed intervention then and now.

    N.B. some dastard NY Times scribbler wrote a tweet joking about the ISIS mass murders of our brothers and sisters in northern Iraq.

  3. This last raped Yazidi town could have been saved by transporting Pesh Merga by US planes. Survivors had cell phones to tell of the details from hiding places so the town must have called Erbil when under ultimatum days. Obama is hoping to do this on budget and part time and women have just payed…and in the next world…every ISIS member will pay heavily forever probably…and the ones who repent as they die will still pay enormously in purgatory for an excruciatingly long time. There is no time in Heaven because there is no pain in Heaven….there is eternity in Heaven. There is time in the other two places. One thing we know…ISIS has caused broken hearts and that suffering does not compare with what they face after death for breaking those hearts…even if they repent at death.

  4. Why is it that Catholic American citizens who are going about their lives, doing their best to follow Christ, can realize what we are facing now and the hierarchy of the Church cannot or will not see?

    As I have grown older I have grown more discontented with the Second Vatican Council. It occurred just twenty years after World War II. The hierarchy then all experienced World War II and knew of the evil that had been defeated. In its wake, the sacred liturgy of the ages was scrapped, a number of documents, nothing having to do with dogma, were issued and are held up today as if they are the most insightful documents written by man. The Church reached out to mainline Protestantism shortly before mainline Protestantism crashed and burned. Nearly two thousand years of Church history showed that the Church has almost always been under attack and wars have had to be fought to preserve the freedom to worship God in His Holy Church. Pagan barbarians, heretics, Muslims (who are seventh century heretics), Protestants (in truth, heretics, with man made ideas such as scripture alone, faith alone and a king as the spiritual and temporal leader of a church), fascists, communists and secularists have all sought to suppress the Church. Well, the 1960s came and if we’re nice, then they will be nice, completely ignoring human nature and human history.

    ISIS or ISIL or whatever they want to call themselves – they are no different than the Muslims that swept through North Africa, overran Spain in 711, attacked Otranto and killed everyone there, overran Constantinople and to this day suppress the Orthodox Church there, attacked Vienna twice, blew up airliners, murdered Israelis in Munich in 1972, murdered numerous Americans, blew up American embassies and flew jets into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon – narrowly being stopped on an attack of Capitol Hill or the White House – there is no being nice to these people.

    Islam is not a religion. It is an ideology that seeks world domination and submission or death to all. Not that different from Marxism, really.

    That stupid piece about Muslims and ecumenism that was written in one of those VII documents should be repealed, refuted and eliminated.

    September 12 is approaching. No Catholic should be ignorant of the significance of September 12 or October 7 Our Lady was asked for her intercession, not because of a thirst for vengeance or conquest but for assistance in the defense of the True Faith.

  5. Violence is the complete and absolute absence of Faith and reason. Force is the complete and absolute absence of violence, in the same manner that Truth is the complete and absolute absence of evil. Evil is the complete and absolute absence of Truth.
    What would Jesus do? Jesus would cleanse the Temple. Jesus gave the reason for the force He employed to cleanse the Temple: “My Father’s house is a house of prayer.” Christ’s Faith and reason.
    The Church needs to be cleansed of sacrilege, blasphemy, heresy, human sacrifice, child abuse, pornography, sodomy, sexual trafficking
    The force used in repelling violence is a corporal work of mercy, self-defense, and a prayer.

  6. Have you considered that ISIS might be our Gustavus Adolphus in the new Thirty Years War between Sunni and Shia, a conflict we can only hope will continue, until everyone willing to die for the cause has been given every opportunity to do so, a conflict we can only hope will continue, until everyone willing to die for the cause has been given every opportunity to do so. Peace will come when the parties are exhausted or when one side wins decisively.
    ISIS are fighting the Assad Régime in Syria, an ally of Iran, a regime that has long menaced Israel from the Golan Heights; they have effectively toppled the pro-Shiite (and pro-Iranian) regime of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq; if all goes well, they may turn that country into a failed state or, at the very least, precipitate its break up into its three ancients components, the Wadis of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. Should their Eastward advance prove successful, they may engage Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon. What is wrong with that?
    By all means, let us give humanitarian assistance to the Yazidis caught up in the conflict. Otherwise, we should leave well alone. Imposed cease-fires artificially freeze conflict and prolong war indefinitely, by shielding the weaker side from the consequences of refusing to make concessions for peace or from suffering a catastrophic defeat.

  7. “Have you considered that ISIS might be our Gustavus Adolphus in the new Thirty Years War between Sunni and Shia,”

    I think the closest analogy to anything that occurred in the Thirty Years War are the Huguenot rebellions in France. Isis has no chance of establishing its caliphate long term, but they will be the catalyst for the involvement of other forces throughout the Middle East for most of this century.

  8. Donald R McClarey wrote, “I think the closest analogy to anything that occurred in the Thirty Years War are the Huguenot rebellions in France. Isis has no chance of establishing its caliphate long term, but they will be the catalyst for the involvement of other forces throughout the Middle East for most of this century.”

    I agree with that. That is why wise Catholics like Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph du Tremblay were ruthless in suppressing the Huguenot power in France, whilst supporting Protestants abroad, Gustavus Adolphus and the Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia being the prime examples.

  9. It is God Whom we love in each other. It is the devil whom we lust for in each other. “fell in lust” from the Double Indemnity post perfectly describes falling in lust with the devil, the perfect absence of good.
    It was the devil in the Saracens who ran from the Real Presence of Jesus Christ held aloft by Saint Clare. It is time to hold the Real Presence of Jesus Christ aloft again.

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