A TRIP TO TURKEY
Pope Francis continues to surprise with paradoxes and contradictions. As he means well and often hits right, one dislikes even as a non Catholic to go against the general spirit of reform and good will to criticize; but sometimes Francis is plain myopic or eccentric, even dangerously so.
On his recent visit to Turkey it was good that Francis urged Muslim leaders to protest the current terrorism of such as ISIL that threatens minorities, especially Christian ones. It’s nevertheless doubtful that short of immediate political threat to their own nations those leaders will notably speak out. I suggest they will not do so for the same reasons I gave in the article on Prince Charles who has likewise called for more protest in this line. (See http://goo.gl/dByOMa )
It was however highly controversial that the Pope prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque (rather than like Pope Benedict before him just “contemplated” ) and towards Mecca. This will be read by some as symbolizing a kind of spiritual submission to Islam (the name means submission) and esoterically/spiritually may even in the long run make for something to that effect. It was still more controversial to declare the Koran a book of peace, perhaps especially so in Turkey where as even a recent BBC article pointed out (the very multicultural and sceptical BBC is not notably pro Christian), a century ago the population of Turkey was 20% Christian whereas it is not 0.2%. This situation owes much to a genocide of the Armenians under the Ottoman empire not admitted or regretted by Turkey but an example to Hitler for his “last solution”.
HOPING FOR PEACE
As stated in the mentioned article, in and out of the Koran, the peace understood by mainstream Islam is most essentially the peace which settles upon a world subject to Sharia Law. Mystics (like the Sufis) and heretics and nominal believers may see things differently or would like to, and there are unquestionably peaceful Muslims, but there is a strong warlike history and tone to the religion all the same. “Slay all the unbelievers wherever you find them” is explicit in the Koran at 2:19.
Anyway, a jihad/war theme is sufficiently emphasized in Koran and Hadith (the Sayings) for it not to be too lightly and easily dismissed as only “fundamentalism”. And it is surely inappropriate for Pope Francis to reduce all problems in Islam and across the religions to “fundamentalism” as though he himself is not capable of fundamentalism (not biblical but scholastic philosophical) when he supports, for example, an exceptionless doctrine of respect for life as in the case of abortions.
Pope John Paul 11 kissed the Koran. Pope Benedict rather dissociated himself from this kind of world religions ecumenism but now Pope Francis, who one wonders has he actually read the Koran, declares a scripture which has it that Muslims should not even be friends with infidels, is a book of peace, the book moreover which even if it is about peace contains radical denials of Christ’s status and meaning in Christian terms..
Perhaps the most peaceful thing about the Koran is its declaration that war should only be defensively pursued. This would encourage peace if it weren’t that given the many people and beliefs disapproved by the same scripture too many Muslims take the stipulation as a reason to be offended about many things in order to go on the offensive, like the attack I mentioned on an entire Christian village because one Copt had merely put Like on a Facebook page referring to evangelism. This was deemed an insult to true religion, it must be avenged! Few people groups are as sensitive as the Muslim, but Pope Francis says he understands the offence Muslims feel that their religion is not considered a religion of peace. He is concerned they not feel this way. Indeed?!
LAST POPE POLICIES?
It all makes little sense, so little that one feels like saying the Pope can’t read. But it arguably makes some sense prophetically….and then, does not even St Paul hope that all might prophesy (1 Cor 14:5) rather than that the prophetic function should be limited to the smallest possible number. So I shall – sort of – declare and forecast.
It is very likely that this “last” Pope (at least the last according to the St Malachy prophecy) is intentionally or unintentionally preparing the way to a world religion through Rome that according to the late Catholic seeress, Jeane Dixon, will rapidly follow upon the death of the last Pope (whom she alleged she saw assassinated). The development should be part of a larger Antichrist phenomenon at the end of the era. (We are at the end of the age of Pisces that Christ’s birth might be said to have inaugurated. The Muslims of ISIL firmly believe they are in the last times, though of course they don’t link this to the age of Pisces and not even many Christians know or grasp the significance of this).
Having proposed that atheists can be redeemed by their good works, and oddly tried to make ecumenical overtures to Pentecostalism through its controversial prosperity gospel wing (in rank contradiction of his declaration in favour of a new church poverty!), Pope Francis now seems to be selling the idea that all people of faith are “walking the same path” are “brothers and sisters” and can work and cooperate beyond and against various “fundamentalisms”. http://goo.gl/B0OOOX. Shortly before his trip to Turkey he presided over an ecumenical meeting of the world’s religions to discuss family values and ethics. “Dialogue” as against anything like the dirty word evangelization could hardly go further.
One may like to imagine cooperation does or could exist, but in reality there is, and always has been, such little cooperation between Christians and Muslims that in most places Christians have only ever been tolerated by Muslims. They are not allowed their natural human right (and even religious obligation), to declare publicly what their religion teaches. In Pakistan Christians are constantly threatened by vicious vigilante mobs ever ready to invent and believe new lies against Christians. In Egypt Christian girls and women are not safe against abduction and forced marriage. The list of abuses is endless. (In the face of this the West is either naïvely ignorant or grossly disloyal and unfair to Christians amid its bend-over-backwards concessions to multiculturalism and relativist secularist philosophies).
However, in line with Ireland’s favourite psychic Lorna Byrne who surprised many by alleging she saw a time when Christians would worship at Mecca, I suggest something of the sort is on the way – not worship at Mecca but as though at Mecca or towards Mecca like the Pope’s prayer. Chrislam, already gaining some traction in trend obsessed America, will be the next religious movement. Liberal Christians will join with Muslim moderates appalled by demonstrations of radical and medieval Sharia law. For Catholicism the drift will be facilitated through the Marian cult to which Pope Francis is much attached at the expense of Jesus. Francis is controversially opposed to anyone saying they have a personal relation with Jesus. According to The Catholic Reporter, the Pope has described as “dangerous” the temptation to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.” http://goo.gl/OFYCLA
THE MARY FACTOR
It is Mary and the Church who present you to Jesus (rather than Jesus relating you to the Father/Creator who almost gets counted out of this Catholic equation). But it is nonetheless Mary who can unify Muslims and Christians – Muslims are impressed that Mary supposedly appeared at Fatima, name of Mohammed’s daughter. Mary is more revered by Muslims (and Hindus, Buddhists etc) than the Jesus who is not understood in special terms of Messiahship and Sonship, issues which liberal Christians have tended to soft pedal . They now ignore, are unaware of, or underplay how Jesus was understood to be the manifest side of God, the Angel of the Lord, in a perfectly Hebrew understanding of doctrine and not the late Graeco-Roman construction sceptical scholarship had made the divinity of Christ in a way which now assists misunderstanding, doubt and apostasy from original Christian teaching.
I will not speculate or forecast on whether the Pope will be assassinated as per Dixon’s claims re a last Pope, but I do think that when ISIL (in line with the Hadith referring to the last times that inspires the radicals) promises it will overrun Rome, this can be taken as likely. If ISIL is not stopped soon, which I doubt, this could occur as early as 2017 when I think Italy, the Vatican, St Peter’s could all find themselves in some trouble.
But what we can be sure of, is no Vatican is going to have any divine protection against disaster if it imagines it can become the umbrella of some new world religious movement on terms which embrace anyone or anything based on unrealistic notions of what constitutes faith and love. Wrong beliefs cause the candlestick to be removed as per Rev 2:5. (I won’t controversially speculate on the theme that certain churches might not have fallen into quite the degree of oppression and disaster they have if certain qualities and beliefs had originally been more in evidence). The Catholicism which once damned all other churches declaring no salvation existed outside itself, is now ready to cooperate with all unbelievers of good faith anywhere. It makes the switch not least because Pope Francis believes that we can know we are touched by the Holy Spirit whenever we have tender feelings of the heart and reach out to people – in short “feel good” and “together” (rather than experience the vision and knowledge and spiritual gifts the Spirit is said to give).
We may need to remember that according to the mentioned Jeane Dixon, the horrors of the times of the Antichrist would begin with people drawn to the very pitch of feel-good, idealistic emotions. It of course good to be good, but God and religion are about a bit more than that and some goodness when misdirected can lead to chaos.