By Theodore Shoebat
I would like to apologize for the reckless article of David Sidman, our Israel correspondent, which was written to bash the Vatican for supposedly being apathetic toward the persecution of Christians.
Sidman is a specialist on Israel, not the Catholic Church. If he wants to criticize the Pope for something that he said, fine, but he needs to provide concrete evidence. Sidman wrote:
“Unfortunately, Pope Francis didn’t get the memo that simply weeping equals apathy. He should really look in the mirror before accusing others of apathy.”
Pope Francis is not “simply weeping”, and nor is he apathetic.
Francis donated 1 million dollars to help persecuted Christians, and other persecuted people, in Iraq, as a report tells us:
Pope Francis has given $1 million as a personal contribution to help Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq who have been forced from their homes, according to his personal envoy to the country.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited Erbil as Pope Francis’ envoy from Aug. 12-20.
Erbil, where more than 70,000 Christians have fled from the Islamic State, is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and is within 50 miles of territory held by the Islamic State.
Cardinal Filoni met in private with Pope Francis the day after he returned to Rome and spoke to CNA Aug. 22.
Cardinal Filoni said he carried with him one-tenth of the Pope’s contribution and that “75% of the money was delivered to Catholics and the remaining 25% to the Yazidi community.”
To say that the Vatican or the Pope are doing nothing or is apathetic is inadequate, baseless, and without evidence. Many people take seeming silence as an indication that the Vatican is doing nothing, but absence of evidence is not evidence, and nor is it evidence of inaction or apathy. We in fact have evidence that contradicts this notion that the Vatican is doing nothing.
Pope Francis and the Vatican have fought against the Islamic persecution of Christians, and this is illustrated by their heroic action of rescuing Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian convert from Islam, from being executed by the Muslim North Sudanese government. This is confirmed by one source that stated:
The Sudanese government allowed the family to leave the country after intense negotiations with the Italian government and the Vatican.
Even though Meriam was married to an American citizen, the United States under the heretic Obama did not take any actions to help rescue her, but instead it was the Vatican, under Pope Francis, that saved her from being killed.
To quote the Jewish Talmud: “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9)
I wish Sidman would have applied this precept to the actions of the Vatican in their rescuing of Meriam Ibrahim and her baby.
This argument from silence is not valid and does not substantiate or prove that the Vatican is careless, especially when there is evidence to the contrary.
Sidman also tried to make the Pope into a pacifist.
Francis is not against righteous war, but wars done for greed and lust for power. You have to look to the rest of his statements. Pope Francis, in June of this year, criticized the Allies for not bombing a railway station that was taking Jews to their death, saying
They knew the railway network which transported Jews to the concentration camps very well. They had photographs. But they did not bomb the tracks. Why?
I wish Sidman would have quoted this remark before saying that “according to the pontiff’s line of thinking, the Ally and the Nazi victims of World War 2 should be mourned equally.”
When did the Pope ever weep for dead Nazis?
If Pope Francis was a pacifist then why would he back an armed response against ISIS? As we read from USA Today:
Pope Francis on Monday endorsed military action to stop Islamist militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq, a rare pronouncement that goes against the Vatican’s usual guidance against the use of force.
Francis cautioned that no country should act alone, and he called for an agreement within the international community, possibly through the United Nations, before embarking on a military campaign. He also warned against an all-out war, insisting that force could be justified only to “stop” the Islamic State, Muslim extremists who have forced Iraqi Christians and members of the Yazidi sect to convert to Islam. Those who refused have fled, and some have been executed by the militants.
Sidman should not have made his claims against the Pope and the Vatican without the context of the full world view of the person. The Catholic Church has always agreed with just war.
The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, has made a righteous call to the nations of the Christian world, to execute an armed response against the slaughter of Christians in Iraq, in order to protect these forsaken children of Eve. He stated:
At this moment, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and other members of the Christian community, including the World Council of Churches, are taking a strong stand in defense [of the Iraqi Christians] and their right to survive and to live in peace in their own home, which for the last 2,000 years has seen them active and contributing to the development of the region.
However, we are faced with a certain indifference at the practical level with the international community. It is difficult to convince—because of false modesty, I would say—the Western powers to take a strong stance in defense of the Christians.
Now there is action beginning on the part of the international community. We are talking about a special session here in Geneva with the Human Rights Council. There has been a special meeting of the Security Council in New York and some governments are beginning to express their suggestions for practical action in defense of these populations in northern Iraq and the United States has decided some military action.
I think, in the long run, what is needed is a dialogue of reconciliation and the acceptance of diversity in the different political and cultural contexts of the Middle East, so that a person is considered a citizen with equal rights and equal duties for the states, free to associate with other people who are of the same faith without being catalogued as a minority.
At this moment, we hope the voice that is surging from different Christian and religious communities, from moderate Muslims, from people of good will around the world, may find the response) of concrete humanitarian assistance that is provided for the Christians in northern Iraq as well as some political and even effective military protection.
Pope Francis sent a letter of exhortation to the UN’s Ban Ki-moon, entreating him to have the international community to do all that it can to put an end to the evils taking place in Iraq:
The tragic experiences of the Twentieth Century, and the most basic understanding of human dignity, compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.
Speaking on the Pope’s letter, Tomasi affirmed that the use of force against this evil was encouraged by Francis:
In this case, when every other means has been attempted, article 42 of the Charter of the United Nations becomes possible justification for not only imposing sanctions of economic nature on the state or the group or the region that violates the basic human rights of people, but also to use force. All the force that is necessary to stop this evil and this tragedy.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, who also represents the Roman Catholic Church, declared:
There is a need of international support and a professional, well-equipped army. The situation is going from bad to worse.
With all of these statements it can be deduced that Francis is not a pacifist, and nor is apathetic to the sufferings of the Christians.
This also brings to nought the reckless statement of Sidman, that “Pope Francis’ appears to be pro-Jihad and anti-Israel.”
If Sidman wants to write an article criticizing Pope Francis for his sentiments toward the Palestinians, that is fine. I myself have written articles criticizing Francis when he met with homosexual activist Michele de Paolis in the Vatican, and when the Vatican had Muslim say the Call to Prayer in its premises.
But, to say that Francis appears to be “pro-Jihad,” is reckless, and without any serious evidence, especially when put against the evidence that I already presented.
Again, arguing from silence is not adequate. Pope Pius XII was more or less silent during the Holocaust, but he, according to Israeli investigator Pinchas Lapide, “was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands.”
Sadly, Sidmann never mentions what the Vatican did for his people during the Holocaust.
Sidmann also stated:
“As a Jew, I don’t know if Catholics are allowed to question the Pope’s motives, agenda, or rhetoric. If they’re not, they should consider switching religions as their leader is either an incompetent biblical scholar at best, or is too afraid to echo what’s written in the Bible at worst.”
Again, he explicitly illustrates his ignorance of Catholicism. Catholics can and do and objectively criticize the Pope. Catholics have been doing this since the beginning. For example, St. Polycarp, a student of St. John, disagreed with Pope Anitcetus on the date of Easter, as we read from one account:
And when the blessed Polycarp visited Rome in Anicetus’s time, though they made peace immediately, having no wish to quarrel on this point. Anicetus could no persuade Polycarp not to observe it, since he had always done so with John, our Lord’s disciple, and the other apostles whom he knew. Nor did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it, who said that he was bound to the practice of the presbyters before him. (In Eusebius, Eccles. Hist. 5.24)
The Catholic Church is not a cult, it is not a group where any question will be punished with maliciousness and violent domineering, such as those cults who see any inquiry or disagreement as “questioning the authority of the pastor,” such as what happened in Mark Driscoll’s church.
And also, to even suggest that Catholics should leave Catholicism, is quite malicious. How would David like it if I wrote an article saying, that because there are so many liberal rabbis out there, Jews should switch religions. Which religion should Catholics switch to, David? Would you be okay with them converting to Atheism? Satanism?
Sidman then accuses the Catholic Church for greed, saying
“First off, while the Pope condemns ‘greed’, Time magazine reported that ‘Bankers’ best guesses about the Vatican’s wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion. Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction, real estate.’ .”
If this constitutes as greed, then why doesn’t Sidman point to the Mormon church, which is estimated to be worth $40 billion.
There are more Christians being slaughtered in Nigeria than in Iraq and Syria combined, and many of the victims are Protestants and Evangelicals. Why doesn’t Sidman write an article about how the wealthy protestant churches in America, who make millions, are doing nothing to help their brethren in Nigeria? Why is it only the Catholic Church that has to be blamed of greed and apathy?
Sidman uses the same rhetoric that liberals and socialists use against the Catholic Church, that it is a greedy and careless institution. Such left wing talk will not be harbored on this site.
Again, to say that the Vatican is apathetic toward the persecution of Christians, without any evidence, is slanderous.