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Gülen a secret cardinal of the Catholic Church? [UPDATED]

Monday, September 5th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — a case of Catholic taqiyya? srsly? you jest! ]
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This tweet about Fethullah Gülen is just too rich in ironies to relegate to the comment section of my earlier posts, Turkey — keeping an eye out for Gülen and its follow-up, Turkey Tweeted, continued:

H/t Bryan Alexander.

I may write this one up for LapidoMedia, in which case I’ll report back here…

**

Update:

Apparently LapidoMedia won’t be covering this, since they already have two pieces from me for this week & next.

Here’s the gist:

The suggestion has recently been made in at least two Turkish media that the Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, now resident in the US, is a secret Catholic, not a Muslim, and that when he met Pope John Paul II in 1988, the latter made him a cardinal “in pectore”.

The Turkish Minute article Indictment claims Gülen secretly made cardinal by John Paul II reports the claim as having been made in a court case, and explains:

The indictment said “in pectore” is a term meaning “in the heart” and that it refers “a person who keeps his religious beliefs secret in their country.”

Shia, under the doctrine of taqiyya, have the right to say that they are Sunni if questioned in a sectarian life-and-death situation, and the Turkish indictment apparently conflated this idea with the authentic Catholic poractice of a Pope making a cardinal “in pectore” — where the secret of the appointment is kept, not because the cardinal keeps his religion a secret, let alone that he claims to be a Muslim cleric while in fact being a high-ranking Catholic — but because the news that the person had been raised to the College of Cardinals might draw unwanted attention to him as a public figure in an area where this might have dire consequences.

So the two ideas have their similarities — but are in fact different.

Add in the fact of the amazing image of Gülen wearing a bishop’s miter and the pallium — an item worn only by major archbishops and the Pope — and you have quite a multitude of ironies in play.

Divinely appointed killing in Gita and Summa

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — two focal texts for Landmines in the Garden plus the matters of just war / peace ]
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Herewith two quotes, one (upper oanel) from the Bhagavad Gita, the other from the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas — each of which expemplifies the notion that someone, in the first case Arjuna, in the second, Abraham — has divine authorization to kill:

SPEC DQ Summa and Gita

It is noteworthy that Arjuna does in fact kill those he has been ordered to kill, and that in contrast Abraham is reprieved from the necessity of killing his son by the same divine authority which had first demanded that extraordinary sacrifice — but God (the Father) in the Christian narrative goes on to kill his own Son in what is both the perfection and completion of sacrifice..

And from the perspective of military chaplains blessing members of the armed forces on their way into battle in a just war, the same divine approval presumably holds.

But are wars ever just?

**

Further Readings:

  • Foreign Policy, What Happens When You Replace a Just War With a Just Peace?
  • National Catholic Repoorter, Pope considering global peace as topic of next Synod of Bishops
  • Rome Conference, An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence
  • United States Institute of Peace, Abrahamic Alternatives to War
  • It is worth noting that a sometime commenter on this blog, William Benzon of New Savanna, has a new, small & handy book out:

  • Bill Benzon, We Need a Department of Peace: Everybody’s Business, Nobody’s Job
  • Of martyrdom and forgiveness

    Monday, August 1st, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — of martyrdom according to ISIS and the church, & of forgiveness in response to hate — continuing from Of sacrifice and martyrdom ]
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    Martyrs

    Icon by Coptic artist Tony Rezk. The martyrs’ faces are the faces of Christ.

    **

    My Lapido piece closed with these words:

    That is, in part, why Pope Francis in his official comment on the event said he was “particularly troubled to learn that this act of violence took place in a church, during Mass, a liturgical act that implores of God His peace on earth.”

    The Pope went on to say he “asks the Lord to inspire in all thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity in this new trial, and to extend to everyone the abundance of His blessings”. And that, perhaps, is the hardest thing for us – and for France – to understand.

    The natural reaction to such a barbarous act as the killing of a defenceless 86-year old priest is horrified anger, and French President François Hollande, true to France’s claim to be secular, described the killing as a “desecration of French democracy” – and declared “France is at war.”

    **

    Democracy was far from the only thing that was desecrated. The image of God in the person of Fr Hamel was desecrated, his priesthood, speaking the words and making the gestures Christ himself had made at the Last Supper was desecrated, the sacred place in which he stood and woshipped was desecrated, and the sacrament of the Mass was desecrated .

    And to all this, The Pope responded with words of forgivesness, asking God “to inspire in all thoughts of reconciliation and fraternity”.

    **

    Martha Nussbaum:

    The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum has recently written an essay titled Beyond Anger, in which she begins to explain the futility of vengeance, citing Nelson Mandela as someone who went beyond anger to achieve great things:

    He often said that he knew anger well, and that he had to struggle against the demand for payback in his own personality. He reported that during his 27 years of imprisonment he had to practice a disciplined type of meditation to keep his personality moving forward and avoiding the anger trap.

    Nussbaum is presenting in psychological, philosophical and political terms the outlook which for Pope Francis is embodied in the words of Christ: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven.”

    This attitude runs strikingly against the grain of secular thinking in our age.

    With the tragic death of Fr Jacques Hamel and the words of Pope Francis, we are reminded once again that there exists another possibility than retribution, a way of forgiveness and peace in place of redoubled fury and war.

    **

    Tibhirine:

    We hve seen this forgivesness before. To grasp how different Pope Francis’ message is from the vegneance which seems like second nature to us, we may want to recall the French Trappist monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, killed by Islamist terrorists in 1996, and to read again the remarkable words of Christian de Chergé in his Last Testament:

    If it should happen one day – and it could be today – that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to encompass all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. I ask them to accept that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure.

    Addressing his future attacker, de Chergé says:

    And you also, the friend of my final moment, who would not be aware of what you were doing. Yes, for you also I wish this “thank you” – and this adieu – to commend you to the God whose face I see in yours.

    **

    Copts:

    We witnessed it among the Coptic Christians when so many of their sons were brutally beheaded by ISIS.

    As I noted at the time in Some recent words from the Forgiveness Chronicles, Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said when he was interviewed shortly after the event:

    Q: Not long after the video released, you tweeted about the killings, using the hashtag #FatherForgive. Did you mean that you forgive ISIS?

    A:Yes. It may seem unbelievable to some of your readers, but as a Christian and a Christian minister I have a responsibility to myself and to others to guide them down this path of forgiveness. We don’t forgive the act because the act is heinous. But we do forgive the killers from the depths of our hearts. Otherwise, we would become consumed by anger and hatred. It becomes a spiral of violence that has no place in this world.

    **

    For Christians, it is clear that Fr Hamel was killed for his faith, and died a martyr. For the followers of ISIS, the same kind of claim will be made — that the two jihadist “soldiers” died at the hands of the French police while fighting jihad fi sabilillah — in the cause of God. But for the Muslim community of France as a whole, the killing of Fr Hamel was an act of brutality without religious sanction — indeed, quite the opposite:

    Community leaders in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy said they did not want to “taint” Islam by having any association with Adel Kermiche, the 19-year-old jihadist who killed Father Jacques Hamel in his hometown in northern France.

    Mohammed Karabila, president of the local Muslim cultural association and imam of one of the town’s mosques, told Le Parisien newspaper: “We’re not going to taint Islam with this person. We won’t participate in preparing the body or the burial.”

    Considering the importance of quick burial in Muslim theology, that is a pretty clear indication of the distance the Muslims of St Étienne-du-Rouvray wish to put between their faith and its distorted image in the mind of ISIS.

    Not only didnthe local Muslims refuse to accept Kermiche’s body for burial, an appeal went out for Muslims to attend Mass on today, Sunday, in grief and solidarity with the Catholics and with the people of France. As Hend Amry put it:

    Catholic priests were invited to attend, and spoke at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray mosque, which had been built on land donated by the church — and across France, in tears, countless Muslims attended Mass, in St Étienne-du-Rouvray, in Rouen Cathedral, and as far away as Italy and Corsica.

    **

    Muslims at Mass in Milan
    Muslims at Mass in Milan, Italy

    Solidarity AFP photo JCMagnenet
    Catholic-Muslim friendship in wake of killing of Fr Hamel, AFP.

    Catafalque, Requiem for Fr Hamel
    Catafalque, Requiem Mass for Fr Hamel, Faternity of St Joseph the Guardian, La-Londe-Les-Maures.

    Rome, Rome, or Rome?

    Thursday, February 25th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — on Graeme Wood’s latest, the goals of IS, and geographic slippage ]
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    Graeme Wood, who wrote the Atlantic piece that broke the apocalyptic side of the Islamic State’s ideology wide open in March of last year, has a related piece out this month: Donald Trump and the Apocalypse, with the subtitle, Is Rome really ISIS’s “ultimate trophy”? It’s a fun read, discussing the confusion that is possible over the use of the word Rome in Muslim prophetic literature — a topic I’ve discussed before.

    Just for the record, then, here’s a screengrab from the Islami State’s magazine Dabiq, issue 4 page 37:

    Dabiq 4.37 We will conquer your Rome

    **

    As a Newsweek item from September 2012 notes, there have in fact been three claimants to the title of Rome:

    When Ivan the Terrible was crowned the first Tsar of All Russia in 1547, the church announced Moscow to be the “Third and Final Rome,” the inheritor of St. Peter’s Rome and Byzantium, and the last bastion of Orthodox Christianity standing up to a Europe mired in heresy.

    Russian commentator Yuliya Latynina quoted..

    Filofey of Pskov’s 1510 claim that “Two Romes have fallen; the third stands; and there will not be a fourth”

    This was in Novaya gazeta, February 2015, and she suggested that Russia..

    many of whose residents view it as the third Rome, may suffer the fate not of the first Rome but of the second, a fate that cannot be reassuring to many of them because in the end the residents of the second Rome in Constantinople “considered that Islam was better than the West.”

    Wood mentions in his piece that the Australian jihadist ideologue Cerantonio argues:

    The Rum of the end-times hadith is not the Rome of Pope Francis but the Rome of the Republic of Turkey.

    Putin might take offense if he knew..

    **

    And then there’s the matter of Quranic translation and the Quranic verse 30.2, as Wood also notes:

    Rome Rum translations

    Arberry, always interesting to read, translates that verse:

    The Greeks have been vanquished.

    The historical commentary in The Study Quran, p 984-85, clarifies that this verse refers to Sassanid (Magian) successes against the (Christian) Byzantine empire — which the following verse says will be reversed — and terming it “the only reference in the Quran to political events conetemporary with Muhammad and his followers beyond the Arabian Peninsula”.

    **

    All things considered, oy veh: it seems that history does strange things to geography, time to space.

    Glenn Beck one-two

    Thursday, February 18th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — defending someone i don’t much like ]
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    I’m no fan of Glenn Beck, who talks quite a bit about Islamic apocalyptic and has been known to confuse Twelvers (the major branch of Shia Islam) with the Hojjatieh society (an anti-Bahai movement banned by the Ayatollah Khomeini), which is more or less like talking about Christianity and confusing the Catholic Church with the Legionnaires of Christ (which fell from grace under Benedict XVI, see also the note at the foot of this post).

    **

    Anyhow, HuffPo carried a slightly frantic article headed Glenn Beck Thinks God Killed Antonin Scalia To Help Ted Cruz Get Elected President, and while the headline may be accurate, the body of the text attributed the following thought to God, not Beck:

    I just woke the American people up. I took them out of the game show moment and woke enough of them up to say, look at how close your liberty is to being lost. You now have lost your liberty. You replace one guy, and you now have 5-4 decisions in the other direction. Just with this one guy, you’ve lost your liberty — so you’d better elect somebody that’s going to put somebody on (the Supreme Court) because for the next 30 years, if you don’t, the Constitution as you know it… the Constitution is hanging by a thread. That thread has just been cut, and the only way that we survive now is if we have a true constitutionalist.

    If you listen to what Beck actually said:

    I think you might conclude, as I do, that he could have been referring to himself, and specifically perhaps to this portion of his earlier presentation in suppoort of Ted Cruz:

    **

    The religious resonances of the current election season are truly remarkable.

    My question:

    Does the still small voice truly require a megaphone?

    **

    Note:

    The Legionnaires of Christ received new statutes under Pope Francis in 2014


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