Will a Future Pope Be Forced to Flee Rome?

The current arc of history seems to be drawing us back into a very dark past—a time when Islam ruled half the civilized world and threatened the rest of it.

Where will the Pope live when Rome falls to Islam?

It’s not an idle question. For one thing, there is historical precedent. Popes have been forced from Rome in the past. For another thing, numerous Islamic authorities have explicitly targeted Rome for conquest.

Rome may be the Eternal City, but it has seen rough times. In 846, for instance, Pope Leo IV had to briefly flee Rome when it was attacked by an Arab fleet. The following year, he ordered the construction of a great wall around the Vatican to protect it from marauding Muslims. Even as recently as the 1940s, Rome was occupied by a foreign army. Although the Nazis left the pope alone, there is no guarantee that that situation would have continued had the Germans been able to keep the Allied forces at bay.

If Rome ever falls to Islam, the pope—whoever he may be at that time—may choose to remain in Rome and suffer the almost certain martyrdom that would follow. That is up to him and the Holy Spirit. However, in light of the escalating Islamization of Europe, it would seem prudent for Vatican officials to draw up some contingency plans. If the pope chooses exile, it would probably have to be in North or South American since it’s unlikely there will be any safe havens in Europe. In fact, Italy is currently a safer place than many other European nations. Although many Muslim immigrants pass through Italy, it is not their first choice of residence. Other European countries offer much more generous welfare incentives than does Italy. Countries such as England, Belgium, France, Sweden, and Germany are likely to fall first.

By “fall,” I don’t mean that these countries will fall to Muslim armies. That probably won’t be necessary. What we will see—what we are already witnessing—is a slow, steady process of submission. Well, slow and steady up to a point—and then, a rapid acceleration.

Some places in Europe seem already to be in the rapid acceleration phase. Birmingham, England now has more Muslim than Christian children. “That means,” as Mark Steyn observes, “that absent any countervailing dynamic, its future is Muslim.” What will that future look like? Steyn comments:

If you’re a Muslim girl, the authorities will systematically turn a blind eye to forced marriages and honor violence and, if you’re a lower-class infidel girl, to “grooming.” If you’re boorish enough to draw attention to such unpleasantness, you’ll be committing a hate crime…

It’s not necessary to consult a crystal ball to see the future of Birmingham (England’s second largest city). The forced marriages of Muslim girls and the grooming of lower-class girls is already a reality in England. And so is the blind eye response. Most Americans don’t know about it, but it was recently revealed that over a sixteen-year period, 1400 girls in the city of Rotherham had been groomed, gang-raped, and traded by Muslim gangs—and all with the full knowledge of police, city officials, and child protection agencies. No one in authority did anything about it because no one wanted to be charged with “committing a hate crime” by singling out Muslims.

On hearing this, an American might think that now that the rest of Britain knows the shocking story, all will be put to right and things will go back to the way they were before—in other words, back to normal. What he doesn’t realize is that in many parts of England, this is the new normal. Even that term—“new normal”—only makes sense to those who are old enough to remember the “old normal.” What we call the new normal is for many young Westerners simply normal.

Beheadings, for example, have become an almost regular part of the news cycle. Last year, a young soldier was beheaded on a London street. In September, a grandmother was beheaded by a Muslim in North London. Throughout the fall, news stories carried videos of an English-speaking ISIS fighter beheading American and British captives. In early November it was revealed that English police had foiled a plot by four Muslims to behead the Queen. The idea of a beheading is shocking to the sensibilities of an older person. But if you were born twelve or thirteen years ago and are just now beginning to pay attention to the news, beheadings don’t represent a new and gravely disturbing turn of events. Moreover, gruesome video games will already have desensitized the average twelve-year-old to sights that shock his parents and grandparents.

But even parents and grandparents can become accustomed to the new normal. As evidenced by the Rotherham rape scandal, mature adults in responsible positions can learn to adjust to the most outrageous crimes if the cultural pressure is strong enough. Or, to be more precise, multicultural pressure. The ability of Englishmen to adjust quickly to the shock of sex slavery in their midst has been made possible by a decades-long softening-up process engineered by multicultural elites. The multicultural religion to which the English bow down provides justifications for the “other’s” behavior, and justifications for looking the other way when the other does his thing. After years of this conditioning, even ridiculous Newspeak slogans such as “This has nothing to do with Islam” are accepted with equanimity.

So those who think that the sudden acceleration of Islamic aggressiveness will be the wake-up call that will bring Europeans back to their senses need to think again. They should consider that the EU and the UK may already have gone beyond the point of no return. Europeans may very well choose to sleep on. They have been marinated so long in the juices of multiculturalism that commonsense standards of decency are as foreign to them as burqas once were in Trafalgar Square.

The idea of the Pope being forced to flee Rome may seem unimaginable to many today. But, then, major historical events are rarely anticipated. Americans didn’t foresee the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 or the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 (even though Islamists had attempted to topple the World Trade Center only eight years before). Major historical shifts are even harder to discern and they are not usually recognized as such by those who undergo them. It is only in looking back that we understand that an old age has ended and a new one begun. Historical turning points are more like arcs than hairpin curves. The current arc of history seems to be drawing us back into a very dark past—a time when Islam ruled half the civilized world and threatened the rest of it. The Iranian Revolution of 1979, 9/11, and the Arab Spring revolutions are points along the curve.

Thanks to pressure from our politically correct media and government elites, however, the majority of Western citizens seem unable or unwilling to connect the points and see the pattern. Moreover, the ability to recognize a great historical shift requires a certain familiarity with history. But, when it is dealt with at all in today’s schools, the history of the West’s encounters with Islam is presented largely from the Islamic point of view. The reason that Johnny can’t read the writing on the wall is because it’s been covered over with whitewash.

So, absent historical knowledge, and absent the ability to make sense of current events, it’s quite possible that European civilization (with America to follow) will slip silently into a new Dark Ages. As Steyn argues, “Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive the twenty-first century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes.”

Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad.

Thus spoke Yunis al-Astal, a Palestinian MP and an imam, in a Friday sermon in 2008. What he predicted is not inevitable, but, given the fifth column that already exists in Europe, it is quite possible. The signs are everywhere. Not just the major signposts such as 9/11 or the train bombings in London and Madrid, or the recent murders in Paris, but numerous smaller signs which, cumulatively, may be much more significant—the Muslim rape epidemics sweeping England and Sweden, the no-go zones in Paris, London, and Brussels, the fact that Muslim children outnumber Christian children in major European cities.

Italy itself provides plenty of evidence that a massive cultural shift is underway. Has no one in the Vatican noticed that Rome is the site of the largest mosque in Europe? That 10,000 Muslims staged a prayer/protest rally outside the Cathedral of Milan? That Muslims have been commandeering the Piazza Venezia in Rome for public prayer? That tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants pass through the Italian island of Lampedusa each year? Does that steady stream of immigrants signify anything to Italian Catholic leaders other than an opportunity to be welcoming to strangers?

In The Force of Reason, Italian author Oriana Fallaci, an atheist who greatly admired Pope Benedict, wrote:

Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam. And Italy is an outpost of that province, a stronghold of that colony…In each of our cities lies a second city: a Muslim city, a city run by the Quran. A stage in the Islamic expansionism.

In 2005, Fallaci voluntarily chose exile from Europe rather than face a prison term for the crime of insulting Islam. Will a pope someday be forced to exile himself from Rome on the grounds that his very presence there is an insult to Islam?

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About William Kilpatrick 77 Articles
William Kilpatrick is the author of several books on religion and culture including Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (Ignatius Press). His new book, What Catholics Need to Know About Islam, is available from Sophia Institute Press. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation