The Italian intellectual Marcello Pera has criticized Pope Francis for “openly going against tradition, doctrine, and introducing inexplicable innovations, behaviors and gestures.” Pera opined that the Pope’s agenda in doing this truly insidious: The Pope does it because he hates the West, he aspires to destroy it. … As he aspires to destroy the Christian tradition.” Those who consider this a wild and inconceivable accusation and that it’s absolutely preposterous that the Pope would want to destroy the West and the Christian tradition should ask themselves this question: if the Pope really did want to destroy the West and the Christian tradition, how would he be acting any differently from how he is now?
Pera took issue with the Pope specifically for his repeated demands that Europe welcome any and all Muslim migrants. “Frankly,” said Pera, “I do not get this pope, whatever he says is beyond any rational understanding. It’s evident to all that an indiscriminate welcoming is not possible: there is a critical point that can’t be reached.”
Indeed, but the Pope has never shown any sign of recognizing that. And he has given numerous indications that he really does hate the West and the Christian tradition. He recently used the French epic The Song of Roland to issue yet another mea culpa to Muslims, saying: “A scene from The Song of Roland comes to me as a symbol, when the Christians defeat the Muslims and line them up in front of the baptismal font, with one holding a sword. And the Muslims had to choose between baptism or the sword. That is what we Christians did.”
Was it really? The Song of Roland is actually a work of fiction, a French epic poem loosely based on the Battle of Roncevaux Pass between Muslim invaders and Christian defenders in the year 778. As The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS shows, in the eleventh century, three hundred years after the battle, The Song of Roland appeared, describing the heroism of Charlemagne’s nephew Roland, who is leading the rear guard of Charlemagne’s forces and is caught up in the Muslim ambush. Roland is killed, but Charlemagne vanquishes the Muslims.
It is a story of heroism and courage, but to the Pope, it’s just “Islamophobia.” And that’s no surprise. In September 2017, Pope Francis met in the Vatican with Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), a group that has been linked to the financing of jihad terror. During the meeting, al-Issa thanked the pope for his “fair positions” on what he called the “false claims that link extremism and violence to Islam.”
Nor was that the first time a Muslim leader has thanked the pope for being so very useful. Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar, thanked him for his “defense of Islam against the accusation of violence and terrorism.” The Associated Press reported that the pope “embraced the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, reopening an important channel for Catholic-Muslim dialogue after a five-year lull and at a time of increased Islamic extremist attacks on Christians.”
Why had there been this “five-year lull”? Because “the Cairo-based Al-Azhar froze talks with the Vatican to protest comments by then-Pope Benedict XVI.” What did Benedict say? Andrea Gagliarducci of the Catholic News Agency explains that after a jihad terrorist murdered 23 Christians in a church in Alexandria 2011, Benedict decried “terrorism” and the “strategy of violence” against Christians, and called for the Christians of the Middle East to be protected.
So Pope Benedict condemned a jihad attack, one that al-Azhar also condemned, and yet al-Azhar suspended dialogue because of the pope’s condemnation. Then Pope Francis wrote to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar affirming his respect for Islam, and the Grand Imam warned him that criticizing Islam was a “red line” that he must not cross. That strongly suggests that the “dialogue” that Pope Francis has now reestablished will not be allowed to discuss the Muslim persecution of Christians that will escalate worldwide, especially since an incidence of that persecution led to the suspension of dialogue in the first place.
Francis, for his part, proclaimed that “authentic Islam and the proper understanding of the Koran reject every form of violence,” doing his bit to ensure that as many Christians as possible would remain ignorant and complacent about the jihad threat that his precious “dialogue” does nothing to mitigate.
And now he has been called out, rightly, for working againt Europe’s Christian heritage and tradition. He is nothing less than a disgrace to the Church, to Judeo-Christian civilization, and to the free world.
“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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