Donald Trump recently raised the specter of an ISIS attack on the Vatican. Mr. Trump likes to claim that he is always the first to know what the future portends, but in this case others have beaten him to it. Last January I wrote an article titled “Will a Future Pope be Forced to Flee Rome?” A year later it might be more pertinent to ask if the present pope will be forced to flee.
A year ago, Europe was gradually accelerating toward full Islamization. At that time it was generally estimated that the process would take decades or even most of the century to reach completion. But the sudden influx of Muslim migrants and refugees in 2015 pushed the throttle forward to full speed. Germany alone took in more than one million migrants in 2015. And since so many of the migrants were young men, it’s estimated that in less than a year there will be as many Muslim men of fighting age in Germany as there are native Germans of the same age group.
Largely because of its meager welfare benefits, migrants tends not to stay in Italy, so it may be a while for the full effect of Islamization to be felt in Rome. Still, it seems none too early to contemplate the possibility that Pope Francis may be forced out of Rome. Ever since the fall of Constantinople, conquering Rome has been a major goal of Islamists. In July of 2014 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS renewed the hope by promising his troops “you will conquer Rome and own the world.” Now that ISIS has embedded itself in Libya, the route to Rome is relatively short and direct.
Of course, a forced exit isn’t the only alternative. Depending on how the Islamization process plays out, the pope may be allowed to stay on in Rome. But the Church in Europe would be a greatly diminished Church and the pope would be expected to abide by the rules for dhimmis. His position in that case would be similar to that of the Coptic pope in Egypt: precarious if an Islamist such as Mohamed Morsi ruled; more bearable if an enlightened Muslim such as President el-Sisi were in charge.
But that is the optimistic scenario. In the worst case scenario, we must contemplate not only the departure of the pope, but also the end of Christianity in Europe. Judging by the ongoing persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and other parts of the Muslim world, one can’t afford to be too rosy about the outlook for European Christians. Indeed, Christian Europe faces the greatest threat to its existence since the armies of Sultan Mehmet IV converged on Vienna in 1683.
Except this time the advanced troops are already inside the gates. Moreover, the politically correct rules of engagement make self-defense a risky proposition—as in the case of the Danish teenager who was fined for using pepper spray to repel a man who sexually assaulted her. The situation is already far worse than anyone could have imagined a year ago. Muslim migrants in German asylum centers assault Christians and sexually abuse women and children. A ten year old boy is raped by a Muslim migrant in a public swimming pool in Vienna. Gangs of Muslim men wielding iron bars roam through small towns all over Europe seeking victims to beat up. A high school boy in Sweden is stabbed to death for defending a girl against a Muslim classmate’s sexual assault. Jews fear to wear yarmulkes. Single women fear to walk alone. Mothers fear to let their children visit playgrounds. The police themselves are often afraid and there are numerous instances of police retreating in the face of Muslim mobs. In parts of Northern England, police have been directed not to drive to work in uniform lest they be attacked.
What’s more, the situation is likely to get far worse with each successive wave of Muslim migrants. As Europeans begin to realize that police are incapable of defending them or unwilling to, they will take matters into their own hands. Numerous resistance movements have already formed all over Europe, along with local self-defense organizations and even vigilante groups. Rifles are selling out in places like Austria and Sweden. Courses in firearms training are oversubscribed. Clashes between locals and migrants have broken out in once peaceful towns. Many are predicting ethnic warfare on a mass scale with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of casualties.
The irony is, if chaos descends on Europe, Pope Francis along with others in the hierarchy will have to bear some of the responsibility. That’s because they have been in the forefront of those calling for an open embrace of Muslim refugees and migrants.
Pope Francis has addressed the plight of refugees on several occasions. He typically talks about their sufferings, their flight from war and oppression, and their yearning for freedom. He has compared their migration to Abraham’s journey to the Promised Land, to the Exodus of the chosen people, and to the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. He has spoken also about the beneficial contributions the migrants will make to the host cultures.
As for the host cultures? Here Francis is a little less generous. He cautions the receiving societies against “close-mindedness,” “intransigence,” giving in to fears, and adopting an attitude of “cold indifference.” In his most recent remarks on the subject, he observed, “A person who thinks only about building walls…and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Quite clearly, he feels that Western citizens have a moral obligation to take in refugees.
But do the pope and the numerous bishops who have said much the same about immigration bear a moral responsibility if their hopes for a harmonious continent are unfounded?
Life is unpredictable. And there is no way of knowing for sure if our well-intentioned actions will bear fruit. Still, it’s usually better to err on the side of charity. Some things, however, are more predictable than others. Long before the 2015 wave of refugees arrived, it was painfully obvious that something had gone terribly wrong with Muslim immigration. Muslims, on the whole, were not assimilating to European culture. Many lived in self-segregated ghettos and no-go zones. Muslims had disproportionately high rates of violent crime and welfare dependency. And time after time, they had attempted to impose their own cultural and religious codes on others.
The trouble with the hierarchy’s pro-Muslim immigration stance is its almost total disregard for the facts. In reading episcopal statements on the subject, one gets the impression that all migrations are essentially benign: that, to use the pope’s words, all migrants seek the “dignity and equality of every person, love of neighbor…freedom of conscience and solidarity towards our fellow men and women.” Most Muslims, however, if they take their faith seriously, do not share that common vision. Islam dictates one set of rules for Muslims and another, much harsher code for non-Muslims. Moreover, Islamic theology contains what amounts to a doctrine of manifest destiny. The Koran, along with other scriptures, commands Muslims to fight unbelievers until all worship is for Allah alone. The bishop’s attitude toward Muslim immigration not only shows a disregard for Islamic theology, but also for 1400 years of history. During those fourteen centuries, Islamic aggression against non-Muslims has been a constant that spans cultures, geography, race, and language. As Raymond Ibrahim documents in Crucified Again the pattern of persecution takes exactly the same form whether in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, or Southeast Asia.
And then there’s current history. The bishops must know of the massive population shift that was already underway before 2015. In the Netherlands and Belgium 50 percent of all the newborns are Muslims. In the UK the most popular name for baby boys is “Mohammed.” In Vienna, Birmingham, and Marseilles there are more Muslim children than Christian children. In Southern France there are more mosques than Churches. The bishops must know of the epidemics of rape in England and Sweden. They must know of the numerous terrorist attacks across Europe. They must know that ISIS has stated its intention to infiltrate the refugee population. They must know by now that 70 to 75 percent of the 2015 refugees were young men, not women and children.
Life is unpredictable, nevertheless one can’t afford to ignore the probabilities in life. Both the pattern of the past and the pattern of the present strongly suggest that Europe’s experiment in mass Muslim immigration will end badly. Some bishops are belatedly waking up to that possibility. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who chairs the German Bishops Conference, was, until quite recently, one of the strongest proponents of Muslim immigration and he made a point of greeting refugees at the train station. Now, perhaps in response to the mass sexual assaults near the Cologne Cathedral, the Cardinal has a different message. In a recent interview with the Passauer Neue Presse, he said “As a Church we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees.” He added, “Germany cannot take in all the world’s needy.” The Church’s response to the migrant crisis, he stated, should not solely be a matter of “charity but also reason.”
A lot of misery could have been prevented had political leaders and Church leaders in Europe applied the rule of reason earlier. As Professor Stephen Krason observes:
To insist that this range of issues concerned with illegal immigration be ignored simply because Scripture say to “welcome the stranger “is not just a literalism impervious to context and qualification, but asks people to surrender their minds. Catholicism, however, is not a “blind faith” religion but one in which faith and reason work in harmony.
Just as we need to be cautious about blind faith we need to be wary of blind charity. One reason the Christian world has been unprepared for the Islamist onslaught is the prevalence of politically correct thinking. In a sense, political correctness is a form of false charity. In the case of Islam, it’s a tacit agreement to spare the feelings of Muslims by pretending that there is no ugly side to Islam. But this charitable silence about the threat from Islam has had the effect of putting Christians at risk by denying them crucial knowledge.
During a recent interview with a French reporter, Jean-Clement Jeanbart, the Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, criticized the European media and some of his fellow bishops for ignoring the Muslim persecution of Middle Eastern Christians: “Why are your bishops silent on a threat that is yours today as well? Because the bishops are like you, raised in political correctness. But Jesus was never politically correct, he was politically just!” He added:
“The responsibility of a bishop is to teach, to use his influence to transmit truth. Why are your bishops afraid of speaking? Of course they would be criticized, but that would give them a chance to defend themselves and to defend this truth. You must remember that silence often means consent.”
As for Europe’s embrace of mass immigration, the archbishop had this to say:
The egoism and the interests slavishly defended by your governments will in the end kill you as well. Open your eyes, didn’t you see what happened recently in Paris?
In August, 2014 Emil Nona the exiled Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul issued a similar warning about naiveté over Muslim immigration. Let’s give the last word to him:
Our sufferings are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future…You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!
Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.