The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sad Happenings...and Odd

The slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and Africa continues, but at least our president openly addressed this ongoing tragedy when he spoke to the gathering of the leaders of Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia. He didn't parrot the foolish political correctness of the previous administration, but identified the enemy as Islamist terrorists.

President Trump in Saudi Arabia
It was also refreshing to hear him scold those leaders for their halfhearted, at best, efforts to rid Islam of this cancer. Now we'll see if they actually do anything. I'm not holding my breath because in far too many of these nations a sizable percentage of the population actually support some of the terrorists' goals, specifically the universal imposition of sharia law. (See Pew Research Center's polling results.)

I also applaud President Trump's strong support for our ally, Israel, perhaps the only nation in that part of the world that doesn't hope for our destruction.

Yesterday's slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt provided an interesting juxtaposition alongside the recent terrorist attack in the UK. While the UK attack has almost monopolized the news for several days,  I suspect we'll hear much less about the wholesale murder of a larger number of Egyptian Christians, many of whom were also children. I'm not belittling the tragedy in Manchester, far from it, but what happened in Egypt is no less tragic.

In a related story Thomas Mair, the mayor of Greater Manchester, speaking about the horrific terrorist bombing in his city, stated: “This is an extremist act and the person who did it no more represents the Muslim community than the person who killed Jo Cox represents the white Christian community.” Jo Cox, you might recall, was the Labour MP who was stabbed to death a week before the "Brexit" referendum. The problem with the mayor's statement is that I'm pretty certain the vast majority of the UK's white Christian community doesn't support the indiscriminate killing of Muslims and would report such plots to the authorities. Sadly, a recent poll indicated that a majority of the UK's Mulims would not report suspected Jihadist activity to the police.

I found it interesting that Nancy Pelosi, now perhaps the most irrelevant of left-coast politicians, for some unknown reason chided the president for visiting Saudi Arabia on his first international trip. She seems to think he instead should have visited Canada, or perhaps one of those needy foreign people's republics like San Francisco. I expect some in her party are urging her to retire before she does even more damage to their collective credibility.

Greg Gianforte, Body-Slammer
And speaking of the credibility of the Democrat Party...Things must be very bad indeed when a Montana Republican, Greg Gianforte, wins a special election for a U.S. Congressional seat the day after he's charged with misdemeanor assault for body-slamming a pesky reporter. The Democrats had expected the election to result in an anti-Trump win for their party, an expectation considered a certainty after the Wednesday assault. Last-minute radio and tv ads by the Democrats focused almost exclusively on the assault, and three Montana newspapers pulled their endorsements of Gianforte. But the Repblican still won, and by a decent margin. I certainly don't support assualting reporters, even those who are purveyors of fake news, but the incident certainly says something about the mood of the country. Mr. Gianforte has since publicly apologized for his ill-considered aggression toward the media.

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's Finance Minister, another of Europe's brighter lights, suggests that Germany's Christians can learn from its growing Muslim population. What can they learn? In the minister's words, “Many human values are very strongly realised in Islam. Think of hospitality, and other things like, what is there… And also tolerance, I believe, for example.” Hospitality and tolerance were certainly in evidence in Manchester and Nice and Paris and San Bernardino and Egypt and...the list goes on. Of course many, perhaps most, Muslims are hospitable and tolerant, but to deny the religious basis of Islamist terrorism is not just foolish in the short term, but suicidal in the long term. 

I have to admit, I've pretty much written off all career politicians, a class of people epitomized primarily by their inability to tell the truth. It's no wonder people are rejecting the liars and increasingly voting for politically inexperienced men and women. It's a trend I suspect (and hope) will continue. 

One of my heroes, the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, believed strongly that the Islamic world would eventually convert to Christianity through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. He expected that Mary, because she occupies an especially exalted position in Islamic theology, would draw the Islamic world to her Son and Christianity. She will bring this about as Our Lady of Fatima, a title that has some fascinating Islamic roots.

I've always thought that Archbishop Sheen was likely correct about all this and that our politicians, as usual, will follow a much less productive course. This, of course, is just another good reason for all Catholics to pray the Rosary daily, not just for the conversion of Russia, but for the conversion of the entire world. After all, as St. Paul reminds us: 
"This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" [1 Tim 2:3-4].
"All men to be saved..." Why not? With God all things are possible.

And how fitting that we should turn to Our Lady of Fatima this year, the 100th anniversary of her apparition to the three children of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

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