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Michael Novak has some good insights into Benedict’s recent comments on Iraq. Sadly, it appears that there is little hope of changing the conditions that led to them.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Pope Benedict’s comment about Iraq is inexcusable, and I say this as an admirer. Novak nailed it very well.

It goes without saying that the Pope is an extraordinarily smart man. And, unlike John Paul, he is still fully functioning and shows no signs of naivete about the gravity of the Islamic challenge. I would guess that the inexcusable claim that nothing good came out of Iraq is based on a near-pacifism that unfortunately has great purchase on the Catholic church, and more than a few Protestant churches.

I, too, thought it was an unfortunate choice of words. It is possible to read his statement that "nothing positive" is coming out of Iraq as a simple recognition of all the bad news, and not as a summary judgment of the entire war effort. Nonetheless, Benedict needs to understand whose side he’s on. The war is part of a much larger struggle, the continuation of Islam’s struggle with the West. Whether our enemies are non-state actors or Iranian agents, Benedict should not doubt that we are dealing with dangerous people who do not wish good things for Christendom.

Agreed, guys. Dain, thanks for taking a look at, or perhaps even a full read-through of, that long Benedict essay I linked to in the previous thread.

I’d also like to recall that a couple years ago, the Vatican did say about the new Iraqi regime, that regardless if many of the democracies of the West felt this new democracy was of "illegitimate birth," they had a moral obligation to help "raise it."

I’m still waiting for der PanzerKardinal to show up for work. He began well with that "dictatorship of relativism" line. And Regensburg was helpful, quoting approvingly a man who held a sword in his hand against the muslim. But ever since ..........?

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m detecting an attempt to mainstream pacifism in the Catholic Church. Not simply as a pose for political purposes, not simply as a device for domestic change. BUT AS A NORM amongst the nations.

It’s almost as if the Church were preparing itself to reenter the Catacombs. It’s almost as if the Church was acclimating itself to dhimmi status. They’re foreswearing violence, even in self-defense. It used to be understood that the state does not bear the sword in vain. But now, the Church WOULD have the state bear the sword in vain. That partly explains this recent kookiness against Capital punishment. Again, completely ahistorical. Not simply was the Church comfortable with Capital punishment, BUT THEY METED OUT SUCH PUNISHMENT when they held temporal as well as spiritual power. Sixtus V executed over 20,000 bandits around Rome, and made travelling the Papal States safe for religious pilgrims.

The European zeitgeist is worming its way into Church doctrine. Instead of the Church influencing European culture, the pathologies of post-modern Europe are creeping into temple of our Lord.

The only way I think it can be understood is viewing it as a "sign of the times." Nothing else makes sense.

But I’m open to suggestion.

Novak pulled his punches too. There’s been far too much of that of late. These people need to be blasted, they need to feel the heat.

I don’t know about you guys, but even the way they speak .... their tone of voice, their demeanor, isn’t there something sickening about grown men trying to sound like some inoffensive wimp. Their very body language, their non-verbal tics ooze an eagerness to crawl. They need to be told to stand up straight, and develop a baritone ............ besides a backbone .............

Can somebody please tell me, for I must have missed that memo, since when has the grace of God started turning men into something less than men? St. John Chrysostom wasn’t like this. St. Dominic wasn’t like this. St. Ignatius of Loyala wasn’t like this. St. John Bosco wasn’t like this. Paul wasn’t like this. Cardinal Mindzenty and Wysinsky were made of tempered steel. Can you imagine what Prince Cardinal Sapieha would have had to say, about all of this modern nonsense. It’s not a healthy development, that’s for damn sure.

Yea, but Jesus was like that, with the small exception of his cleansing of the Temple. Passivism has always been very strong in Christianity, and that’s why it has appeal...it’s an "anti-ape" religion, encouraging us to control our natures and become something more.

Which is why I’ve said that Christianity really isn’t a solid foundation for politics. Its role is to temper our worst inclinations in pursuit of practical, real-world advantages in the struggle for living. In reality, if you turn the other cheek you get two red cheeks and a sore butt.

Yeah, that wacky Pope. He is just a left-wing shill. What does he know about Catholicism and Christianity? Novak is such a better source to go to to find out about Catholicism.



Justin Raimondo gets it right
here although his language is a bit intemperate at times. Why does an out homosexual like Raimondo get Catholicism more right than does Catholic scholar Novak?



“The Catholic Church hierarchy has stood like a rock against the war hysteria that has been sweeping over the West since 9/11. Pope John Paul II opposed the invasion of Iraq and explicitly denounced the Novakian schismatic heresy that revises or denies Catholic just-war theory and would turn the Church into an instrument of Washington’s "benevolent global hegemony."”

Dan P., you’re dead wrong.

I don’t give two damns who this Raimondo creature is. And having a Minor in Theology, I don’t need to go searching for others to define for me what Just War theory is, {jus ad bello et jus in bello}.

Besides the traditional understanding that secular affairs are different than those sacred, there is within the theory a GOOD FAITH component. And that good faith component to an extent, to a significant extent, isolates the decisions of LAWFUL, legitimate authority, from Church review. Just war theory DOES NOT transfer for review every single decision of war and peace to the Vatican. Such a thing, such a suggestion, would eviscerate the sharp distinction that exists between Caesar and the Almighty. It would inaugurate an era of Western Caesaro-Papism, and who in his right mind would want that.

The deliberations of the United States, our consultations, OUR ELECTIONS and finally our decisions after 9/11, ALL MET the criteria for jus ad bello.

The Church is trying to find traction with Europeans by ingratiating themselves with them. How? By sharing their disdain for all things American. That’s what we’re seeing here; that’s what’s going on here. And Novak called them on it, and they winced when he threw a bright light upon their actions. But Novak was far too pleasant, far too conversational. He should have let them have it.

There’s no "war hysteria." If there is an hysteria, it’s the desperation of so many to run out there and declare from the mountaintops that "islam is peace," when every rational person who reads history knows that it’s not. THERE was the hysteria. THERE!

This should be of interest to all the commenters here. A very balanced round-up.

Dain, I think your "possible" reading is in fact the correct one. More here.

Yes, I would like to believe that Benedict was simply lamenting all the bad news. Although I am not Catholic, we live in a time when the schisms in Christianity should count for little...we can argue later, after we secure a future for our children. Of course, given the way things are going, that time may never come.

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