Writings by Dr. John C. Rao

Post-Conciliar Catholics: Islamís Next Converts?

(The Remnant, November 30, 2004)

Islam, as a false religion, is obviously a problem for Catholicism. Nevertheless, it is not a problem in the way that many contemporary Americans believe it to be. Knowing exactly what kind of difficulties Islam poses is essential to a proper defense against its proven seductive appeal. And that clear knowledge should be of special importance to post-conciliar Catholics in our country, since they are precisely the sort of persons most likely to be disarmed by the Moslem approach, to smooth its passage, and even to find themselves becoming Islamís next converts. Allow me to examine these seemingly outrageous assertions by first discussing certain all too little emphasized features of Islam and Islamic History, and then relating them to the American scene in general and our contemporary Catholic brethren in particular.

Mohammedís (570-632) teaching appears, at first glance, to be simplicity itself. Its whole edifice rests on a single doctrine alone: the reality of the one, omnipotent, creator God, whose inscrutable will, revealed by the last and greatest of the prophets, must unquestioningly be obeyed. No complicated catechetical studies, no extensive credal affirmations and initiation ceremonies, no priests and sacraments complicate its message and practice. It seemingly is what it is and that alone. But the surface simplicity is deceptive. One gets a lot more for his money than a convert to Islam might originally have expected, and this for three compelling reasons.

First of all, because Islam, like Christianity, appeared in "the fullness of time". It thus offers not only its own specific message to potential believers, but also the weighty historical heritage which stands behind that teaching and helps to shape its underlying presuppositions and instruments of transmission. Emerging out of an Arabia which had become a dumping ground for wandering Jews, Christian missionaries and heretics, Gnostics, Zoroastrians, disgruntled pagans, avaricious merchants, and holy men of every persuasion and shade of honesty, it made use of the ideas and expectations of all of these opposing elements in its peculiar religious cocktail. Such influences are not necessarily spelled out in capital letters in all their particulars, but, rather, taken for granted as part of the basic grammar of Islam. Their presence can readily be uncovered in the different pillars of Moslem teaching and practice: the suras, or chapters of the Koran; the hadith, the so-called "sayings of the Prophet"; the shariía, or law, commented upon by the ulama, the manifold juridical authorities arising from the various legal schools active throughout the Islamic World; and the Sufi mystic traditions nurtured at centers of prayer, study, action, and pilgrimage built through the work of a rich diversity of charismatic holy men.

A second Moslem bang for the buck can be attributed to an historical tradition of what we Christians might well call political opportunism. Islam really took shape as a religious force after 622 with the Hegira, Mohammedís flight from Mecca, his increasingly hostile birthplace. Meccan hostility arose from the Prophetís new and unsolicited spiritual authority, which was both disrupting older clan-rooted power in that wealthy merchant city, as well as weakening respect for the shrine of the kaaba, the sacred black stone which was a magnet for pilgrims from all of pagan Arabia. Mohammed left Mecca for the town of Yathrib, known also as Medina. His presence here was heartily welcomed, and for the same reason that many earlier holy men had been invited to take up residence in other unsettled places, so that he might serve as a neutral judge of a faction-ridden cityís internecine disputes. Followers from the outside, and new converts from Medina itself, gathered round Mohammed seeking a second type of judicial guidance from him; one illuminating and protecting what now truly became a new religious society, the community that Moslems call the umma.

Maintenance and expansion of the umma grew to be central to Moslem belief. Since the faithful were convinced that God willed the survival of the Islamic community, they also grew to accept the idea that He would bless whatever actions the changing circumstances of daily life dictated to assure its defense and growth, including attacks on caravans to Mecca and even an ultimate accommodation with the authorities of that city of dubious piety itself. Circumstances and actions grew to be yet more complex once Bedouin converts, driven to desperation by the recent loss of a regular supplementary income as mercenaries in the Roman and Persian armies, took up the cause of the umma. Exploiting that Roman and Persian military exhaustion which followed hard upon a conflict pitting these two great empires of the region against one another for decades before the Prophetís death, Moslem Bedouins quickly overran half the Old World in Islamís name.

Unfortunately, such conquests brought a plethora of massive ethnic, cultural, and administrative problems in their train, all of them presenting profound dilemmas and questions regarding the future survival and well being of the community. Defense of the umma came to involve many actions which Christian thinkers would not have deemed to be, dare we say, kosher. Mohammed altered or invented new suras to justify certain changes of course. Caliphs, the successors of the Prophet, first in Damascus and then in Baghdad, made daring political, social, and cultural judgments to deal suitably with imperial organization, Arab-Persian conflicts, and Moslem-Christian-Jewish cohabitation.

Intra-Islamic battles ensued, out of which emerged the basic Sunnite and Shiíite division. This began with Shiíite insistence on the caliphís concomitant role as a religious leader, or imam, and the necessity of his descent from the family of Mohammedís cousin and son-in-law, Ali. It grew to include more substantive spiritual conflicts, including the interjection into Shiíite thought of esoteric explanations of a disappearance of the Ali-line of imams deemed to be theologically impossible. Such disputes were paralleled by those of the aforementioned network of contrasting legal and Sufi mystical schools, many of them presiding over fiercely loyal sub-communities for whose material needs they also often provided. Leaders of all these differing groups and sub-groups, from caliphs to Sufi masters, vigorously related their widely dissimilar positions back to the politically-charged needs of the umma. But did either leaders or umma, in the long run, have anything seriously to do with morality, uncomplicated Islamic doctrine, and the omnipotent Divinity standing behind them?

That brings us to the third factor transforming surface Moslem simplicity into something much more intricate than its simple practitioner or superficial observer might think possible: Islamic fideism. Roman Catholicism is a faith, clearly distinguished from, though working in tandem with reason. It is, correspondingly, open to an investigation and explanation of its beliefs. Islam is a fideism, founded upon obedience to the inscrutable will of a God whose commands cannot rationally be explicated. Affirmation of Moslem "faith" must be reduced to the assertion of its single doctrine in the ritual, pious slogan taught by Islamís Founder, and recited both as part of ordinary popular prayer and as a spur to elite mystical rapture: "there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His (last and greatest) Prophet".

In one sense, such fideism serves Islam well, since it prevents intellectual examination of the endless historical, theological, and politically self-interested contradictions troubling its pedigree, validity, and practical day-to-day meaning. Nevertheless, by hiding its basic underlying political, intellectual and spiritual confusion, Islamic fideism leads inevitably to the manipulation and thwarting of whatever honest religious aspirations and thirst for godliness stir its simple believers. For God, the spiritual life, and morality are almost invariably subjected to the needs of a community itself bent to the demands of all too obviously human wills.

Why? Because the many forces competing for guidance of the umma also relate their varied judgments back to the one, simple doctrinal affirmation of Mohammed, and, inevitably, to the inscrutable will of the omnipotent God Himself. With no official Magisterium to interpret them, community needs, doctrinal mantras, divine will, and surface Islamic simplicity end by masquerading an endless diversity of infallible and irreformable viewpoints, militant and tolerant, virtuous and vicious, intelligent and insane, philosophically questioning and brain dead, morally pietist and richly magical or superstitious, libertine and puritan, Arabic and Wahabi, Persian and Shiíite, Southeast Asian and exotic in character. Amidst this confusion, victory falls to whichever force is locally the strongest. In short, the same simple fideistic words of a single-doctrine religion have served as a cover for the triumph of a thousand opposing human wills disguised as being Divine. Some of these wills are as secularist in their heart of hearts as that of any village Voltaire; some, as politically manipulative as that of any Frederick the Great; many, even as openly bottle friendly as that of a prosperous wine shipper or tavern regular.

The Westís encounter with Islam has been a painful one. Part of that pain has been bloody, due to the initial military assault of the Arab Bedouins from the 600ís-700ís, the attack of the Seljuk Turks in the 1000ís, the sustained hostility of the Ottoman Turks from the 1300ís through the 1600ís, and the periodic militancy arising from the welter of legal-mystical-military centers scattered throughout the Moslem World. Part of this pain has been intellectual, spiritual, and social alone, since Moslem rulers have often been so far from nurturing belligerent ambitions that they have even been the mainstays of western crusading states and contemporary western interests. Whether violent or non-violent, the existence of the umma and its periodic swift advances have forced Christians see Islam as a permissive scourge of God, one designed to punish our sins, but also providentially to stimulate a better investigation and understanding of our own True Faith and its theological and philosophical bulwarks. Effective reaction to Islam has, at times, obviously involved military action. Already by the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, however, a number of Christian thinkers, from the Abbots of Cluny to St. Francis of Assisi and Raymond Lull, realized that even a slowly working intellectual and spiritual militancy might be much more important to long-term Moslem defeat than defensive warfare. Deus lo vult! indeed, but as nuanced in practice as everything that the wisdom of Res publica cristiana has ever ordained.

Many contemporary American Catholic conservatives fear the menace of a violent, Pan-Islamic conspiracy. This I think to be a misguided preoccupation. We are more likely to die of Mad Cow Disease, promoted by multinational, conservative, corporate "friends" of Christendom, than from bombs hidden in meat somosas by owners of Bangladeshi restaurants who have lulled us for decades into a false sense of security with hypocritical smiles and renditions of "Happy Birthday" in pseudo-British accents. There is no violent Pan-Islamic Conspiracy against which a general contemporary crusade must be called, even despite the Bush Regimeís best efforts to pursue the only kind of policy that could bring one into existence.

Moslems have historically had an even harder time achieving unity than families trying to put together reunions between funerals. The Islamic World today remains the divided umma of often ferociously conflicting wills that it almost always has been. Yes, it is true that numerous militant groups with terrorist intent are vigorously active around us. Such militants still generally emerge from the predictable legal-mystical-cultural centers that have regularly engendered them throughout Moslem History. No Christian can view these circles with anything other than suspicion or outright hostility. All should be grateful for their proper unmasking and de-fanging. Nevertheless, a greater, more complicated, non-violent Moslem danger lies before America as a whole and the pitiful remnants of post-conciliar American Catholicism in particular. It is the danger coming from ordinary Islamic missionary work in the pathetic atmosphere of contemporary political and social life. For sick American society prepares "The Moslem Moment" in a way that no fanatical suicide bomber could ever hope to match.

It does so, first of all, through its commitment to pluralism. The pluralist ideology which rules America and its inhabitants with a rod of seemingly indestructible iron displays remarkable similarities to the "True Islam" it often quite understandably praises. It has psychologically laid the ground for conversion and entrance into the umma more securely than any Bedouin on the fastest camel. I know that this claim may seem to be the final straw for readers convinced that I am as obsessively focused on the dangers of pluralism as Cato the Elder was with the Carthaginian threat to Rome in the Second Century, B.C. Nevertheless, those who have eyes to see something other than the opinions fed to them by the imams of the Democratic Left and the Republican Party of GodÖlet them see. Pluralismus delendus est. If not, one had better prepare himself now for a highly unpalatable future the day after tomorrow.

Allow me to begin exploring the Islam-Pluralist Connection by noting that pluralism also appears, on the surface, to be simplicity personified. In fact, it is even more user-friendly than Mohammedís religion in that it claims to have absolutely no doctrines whatsoever guiding it. Pluralism insists that it is not an idea, but merely a "practical methodology" for protecting the order of the community by permitting freedom for all the groups and individuals that compose it, thereby avoiding the twin modern horrors of bloody strife and totalitarianism. As with Islam, pluralism places no difficulty in the path of conversion to its cause, happily grasping everyone and everything in its altruistic bear hug. Its doctrinal yoke is easy and its intellectual burden is, correspondingly, very, very light. Nevertheless, pluralism offers its own Moslem-like bang for the buck, and, not surprisingly, for the same three reasons identified above.

First of all, because American pluralism also emerged in the "fullness of time". It is the heir of centuries of heretical and materialist revolution, of the protestant doctrine of total depravity, of enlightenment naturalism, and of the radical social transformation that both of these entail. All this credal baggage is carried by American pluralismís supposedly "pragmatic" supporters throughout their historical journey, though neatly camouflaged for the confusion of their negligent fellow travelers and victims and often of themselves as well. Where is that baggage stored? In everything that pluralists "take for granted" in their writings and their actions as the dictates of an obvious and undeniable "common sense". Thus, when pluralists use traditional words or concepts they do not understand them in the same way as a Catholic does. George Bush cannot look to St. Igntius Loyola as a bosom theological buddy if both speak favorably of "God". The Presidentís God, whether he knows this or not, presupposes Martin Luther and John Locke; not the judgment of the Mystical Body of Christ. Pluralist simplicity thus means more than its flag wavers would care to recognize.

A second Moslem-like complicating factor is pluralismís similar openness to a gross opportunism operating in the name of its own peculiar umma. Supporters of the pluralist community insist that it, too, must at all costs be maintained, in its case lest any hope for peace, order, and freedom disappear from the face of the earth. Herein lies room for a terrible corruption. For the heretical presuppositions underlying the pluralist umma enshrine a "common-sensical" acceptance of the depravity of man for whom "no virtue can be legislated"; a "common-sensical" interpretation of freedom that then allows these vicious beings to wreak their havoc upon their equally free but weaker and often morally more respectable neighbors. No less an authority than Dr. von Rumsfeld himself pointed this out to us many months ago, in the midst of Iraqi looting, when he noted that pluralist liberty is a messy proposition. Of course its theorists argue that the "stuff that happens" under its aegis will check and balance itself out, eventually defusing and domesticating the natural wickedness of competing villains with mathematical precision. Vain dream! What really happens wherever pluralismís writ runs is that the strongest of the passionate--the criminally depraved, the ideologically and sensually unchained--dominate, bend to their will, and define the very nature and boundaries of the community which is supposed to protect the general dignity of man. Hence, it is a self-interested, criminal-friendly, pluralist umma which must be preserved, and to which every knee and every intellect and every concept of morality is expected to bend.

Finally, pluralismís surface simplicity is complicated by its own form of blind fideism. It denies that it is teaching any specific principle at all, and, consequently, refuses all intellectual investigation into ideas that are said clearly not to be there. Indeed, it anathematizes such speculation as unbearably divisive and dangerous to the ummaís peace and order. On the other hand, it demands an unqualified act of mindless acceptance of its Doctrine of Non-Doctrinal Openness. This non-doctrinal Doctrine is then given further patriotic luster by being associated with the inscrutable will of the God of common sense, as revealed in the constitutional theory and work of the Thrice-Blessed Founding Fathers. Its fideistic teaching is enshrined in the ritual phrase that our fellow citizens are obliged to recite from gestation to the grave: "there is no hope except through the American System, and the Founders are its Prophets". Did I say prophets? Why, perhaps divinities themselves! The Founders lo vult? Game over. For who can question the obvious? And who can question God?

Again, this fideism serves pluralism well, since it totally excludes examination of the historical presuppositions and endless practical contradictions troubling the pedigree, validity, and day to day failures of its "pragmatic methodology". Nevertheless, simple believers in the pluralist promise are manipulated, their hopes for peace and freedom thwarted and crushed, as in Islam, under the boot of all too human wills. The strong men who dominate this similar umma call upon its ritual praise of order, peace, and freedom to justify their own depredations, equating their ravages to the will of the Founders, and, hence, to the unfathomable judgments of the God of common sense. Any effort to uncover and discuss the reality and extent of their exploitation runs the risk of being dismissed as an insane and impious undertaking of the obvious spawn of Satan.

Pluralist America is, therefore, habituated to being dominated and manipulated by strong, willful men, and to reciting mantras proclaiming such domination to be the height of order, freedom, historical logic, and godliness. It is used to being "open" to "new ideas" with mind-bending consequences. It will label what is "black" as being "white", and adore today what it yesterday reviled, so long as the Masters of Them That Manipulate tell it that the survival of the pluralist community demands such twists and turns. In our own day, this has meant learning to praise a peace, freedom, and submission to the Will of God and Founders signifying whatever the local combination of international money-grubbers, drug dealers, neo-conservative madmen, supporters of Greater Israel, and sex maniacs wish them to mean. If, for some reason or another, more powerful strong men inside the pluralist umma found Islam to be useful to their continued control, I could readily see masses of the systemís lobotomized victims easily becoming Moslems. The mentality is the same; only the words of the foundation mantra differ, and these discrepancies could easily be justified by insisting that the Founders, properly understood, always willed such a conversion anyway. Who would know if they were mistaken? What do theology, philosophy, history and true common sense have to do with understanding the Divine Will once the criminally passionate, clothed in their constitutional fetish wear, have spoken? Anything can be accepted if it protects the backs of the manipulators of the pluralist community.

But let us, for a moment, look at another factor favoring The Moslem Moment, namely, pluralismís preparation of the best sociological conditions for islamization, and, with it, its own destruction. Islam has always displayed an impressive ability easily to evangelize socially uprooted and spiritually confused populations. It offers them a sense both of real membership in a community, alongside a religious "point of view" that does not make extraordinary demands on their intellects and, very often, on their behavior as well. Pluralism, with its emphasis on atomistic freedom, pulls the rug from out of the substantive community life that human beings psychologically and practically require. By drilling in the necessity for "integration" and avoidance of "divisiveness", it strips all intellectual and spiritual strivings of their essence, directing men to flat, common denominator, materialist goals. It has thus ensured that much of the American population, from the desperate inhabitants of its hopeless prisons to the hopeless prisoners of its desperately soulless cities, suburbs, and dying rural areas, falls into the uprooted and confused category. The community of many Americans has been reduced to the shopping mall; their spiritual "point of view" to the limits marked out on the one side by sentimental television programming, and, on the other, by capitalist "get rich with Godís blessing" schemes. Everywhere in this ravaged land we find that "presence of absence" rightly decried by Chesterton in the Moslem mosque with its lack of a tabernacle. Here, the "presence" is a promise of happiness, rendered worthless by the "absence" of any spiritual vision that could shape and give that concept substantive definition for the people at large, and any community in which to nurture it and enjoy its fruits. No country can live this way for very long. Without a spiritual vision, even a false one, a people swiftly perishes. Without fraternity, the mass of men go mad. America is swiftly perishing now. It has already lost its mind. Hence, The Moslem Moment and the alarming rise of the conversion rate to Islam.

But does it really have to be Moslems who benefit from the collapse of the pluralist umma? What about American fundamentalists? Do they not have a spiritual vision and community life? Indeed they do, but a spiritual vision and community life which are defined by that heretical outlook which itself gives birth to the problematic pluralist mentality. Yes, their vision is more transcendent than any spirituality that Walt Disney Studios can offer. Unfortunately, however, that vision is also fideist in character, grinding away inexorably at the health of human reason and logic, and thus the prelude to pluralist brain fever. True, fundamentalist protestants do have a kind of community structure, and centuries of habituation to mindlessness within its framework may vaccinate them against immediate conversion. Why bother to become a Moslem when you can already share an Islamic-like spiritual experience in your own familiar conventicle? Moreover, the current millennarian obsession with support for a Greater Israel as a prelude for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, does not precisely fit together with Koran kissing. Nevertheless, the basic protestant individualism works relentlessly towards the destruction of real community. Pluralism, with its spiritless fideism and open, anti-social atomism, is always lying in wait just outside the meeting house door to gobble up the children of the Bible Belt. It works on these children today through a million outside secular influences. It awaits their own recognition of the logic of their parentsí protestantism tomorrow. But pluralism, again, engenders much more pressing despair and rootlessness, and welcomes The Moslem Moment.

What about American Catholics? Far from being able to pick up the pieces of a pluralist demise, it its they who are much more immediately exposed to Islamís advance today. As offspring of the orthodox tradition, they were the heirs of a truly substantive community life, richer, both supernaturally and naturally, than anything their protestant fellow citizens could ever have hoped to enjoy. Their inheritance spiritually was also the correct one. But American Catholics were ripped from their roots in Europe and Latin America, and not very long ago in historical time. Pluralist ethnic cleansing, as E. Michael Jones has demonstrated in his book on the destruction of immigrant communities in the United States, ensured their expulsion from a substitute stability found in the ethnic ghettoes of the New World. These twice-deracinated souls were then spiritually macerated and rocketed into the outer darkness in the 1960ís by a "merely pastoral council" that pulled the doctrinal and spiritual riches of the past out of the Catholic Banquet Hall. With the exception of many Hispanics, who have been given shelter in brain-dead Pentecostalist homes, most American Catholics did not find even a pseudo-community to nurture them on the spiritual and natural level. Sociologically and psychologically speaking, they were left in a totally novel state of shock, stumbling soullessly and atomistically through the Promised Land, helpless cannon fodder for whatever force wanted to capitalize on their unfamiliar misery.

In the first instance, what they fell prey to is the immediate call of the American Way. Whether from a desire to be on "the winning team", an ideological nationalism, or a misplaced longing to believe in something, anything, in a world where nothing around them was stable any more, most American Catholics, and their so-called leaders even more so, have leaped onto the fideist pluralist bandwagon with an enthusiasm which must be heartening to the Masters of Them That Manipulate. The pluralist mantra of openness and peace and freedom and Founders trips off their tongues alongside, and ever more convincingly than the basic prayers of our Faith. This mantra, once again, masquerades pluralismís heretical and naturalist heritage, lames their own Catholic and classical reasoning processes, and commits them to that life-long intellectual and spiritual euthanasia which is its ummaís hallmark. It prevents them from seeing just how doctrinally loaded pluralismís pragmatic language really is, and how it is aimed at the destruction of everything valuable in any philosophical or religious position, especially their own, the true one. It blinds them to the way in which their freedom becomes merely the liberty to continue to use the words "Roman Catholic" to describe their impotent religious "club". It shields them from seeing that, in reality, their peace is predicated upon their changing, in practice, everything that "Roman Catholic" might normally signify to accommodate an heretical or revolutionary outlook. It bends them all to the fulfillment of the will of the criminally strong, and to utterance of the claim that the service of villainy is the height of Catholic Action.

The whole army of post-conciliar Catholics, eager to show that they adore the Pluralist Regime more than all others have ever done before them, is, today, the most enthusiastic American force promoting lobotomizing fideism, social dislocation, and the criminal elements that dominate such a diseased environment. Admittedly, this army is a somewhat divided one. Part of it is mindlessly open to adoring the criminal passions of liberal strong men, and declaring them to be as Catholic as the Athanasian Creed. Others are dedicated to conservative obsessions and proving that Christ came to found the Republican Party. But the entire force, together, is united in reviling what it yesterday adored; namely the Apostolic Catholic Faith. They donít even recognize that Faith any longer when confronted with it. They rejoice in their slavery. They feel strong with their mastersí strength. And yet they are as doomed as all the lemmings running to the nearest cliff.

Pluralism has now expanded from its original American homeland to become a global phenomenon. Like the first Moslem advance, it, too, began its tour on the back of armies, in 1945, sweeping through a chaotic globe with the same rapidity as did the Bedouins. I can only understand its progress analogously, in relation to the permissive will of God, as a scourge designed to punish us for our sins and as a providential spur to the better understanding of our incarnate religion. One thing only is certain in this age of American-driven change. Pluralism cannot win, in the long run, on the global level any more than it can win inside its original cradle. It demonstrates every day, just a bit more clearly, its capacity for creating precisely the kind of rootless and soulless environment in which Islam finds its best opportunity. The Moslem umma offers a more satisfying spiritual mantra, substantive brotherhood, and disciplined backbone with which lost souls can more suitably limp through life. But unfortunately, and this, finally, is the key depressing point, all that Islam really delivers is a chance for the willful to triumph in more effective long term form.

Post-conciliar Catholics cannot help us in the battle for the soul of our Global Fatherland-in-the-making. They have been trained by their pluralist environment to swallow anything and everything fraudulent and vicious and still call it Christian. If the Masters of Them That Manipulate were to find it in their best interest to operate under the cover of Islam, our post-conciliar brethren would make certain that the Catholic Club would do their bidding. If the rest of the non-Catholic population sought to join the disciples of the Prophet they would elbow them out of the way at the recruitment centers to be first in line. If Moslem strength were manifested in the neighborhood influence of a militant Sufi master they would whirl breathlessly into the Moslem dance along with the best of the other dervishes, writing endless tomes and articles proving that the Founding Fathers willed it so, and, ipso facto, Jesus, the Didache, St. Irenaeus, Pope Urban II, the soldiers at Lepanto, and the Syllabus of Errors of Blessed Pius IX.

Our present-day non-Moslem masters may indeed expand their commitment to permanent warfare to try to maintain their control under existing conditions. They show every sign of doing so. This would be an extenuating circumstance preventing the precise evolution of things as I have outlined it above, while provoking world wide dislocation in other equally dangerous and destructive ways. We traditionalists who recognize the need for the examined Faith, and for support from the real and substantive community to which this gives birth, have a special burden placed upon us in this dreadful moment in history. We represent the only force that can really answer the false temptation of mindlessness, represented in its temporally victorious secular form by pluralism, and in more religious clothing by Islam. We offer the only community that can adequately fill the gap in the human heart.

St. Basil the Great (330?-379), one of the most remarkable of the Fathers of the Church, offers us a wonderful model of how to behave when faced with practical manifestations of this Pluralist-Islamic threat to the Faith. Approached by an imperial flunky in the midst of the Arian Crisis, with yet another compromise document expIaining away the differences of orthodoxy and heresy under the umpteenth senseless, inscrutable formula, he refused point-blanketly to sign it. When told by the astonished functionary that he had not encountered such resistance anywhere, St. Basil calmly wondered aloud whether the man had ever met a real Catholic bishop before. What a joy if we Catholics in America, where pluralism first took root, could respond similarly to our present-day masters and the Moslem missionaries sweeping through the uprooted, mindless, spiritless world that they create. What a joy if, faced with their common triumphant boast that the members of the Post-Conciliar Clubhouse had no difficulty accepting what they taught as the true expression of the will of the Founders and the Apostolic Tradition, we could respond: "perhaps you have never met real Catholics before?". What a joy if we could then move forward to resist their errors with Reason, Faith, and Christian Fortitude. What a joy if we were strong with the recognition that the system under which we now live is an incomparably dangerous fraud, and capable only of delivering us over to the grip of a false religion. Deus indeed lo vult!

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