A Spirited Visitor

My old friend Hilaire Belloc spoke to me from heaven, where the Catholic sun doth shine and there is no need of plenty of wine. I was delighted to see him, even though he interrupted a fine sleep to communicate some suggestions to me and my confreres on how to handle the current threat to the civilized world posed by resurgent and aggressive Islam.

As many readers of The Catholic Thing already know, Belloc predicted that Islam would return as a major world threat, this time even more dangerous and armed with weapons of mass destruction, posing a serious challenge to the decadent West, which no longer even procreates at levels that replace its population. Over time Islam may well win the battle against the West via procreation, without firing a shot.

We cannot let that happen, and so Belloc told me to pass this warning on to you, in addition to making some additional suggestions.

His fellow heaven-dweller GKC frequently argued that, of course, what is most important is prayer! Nevertheless, we must also defend ourselves – as well as the innocents now being slaughtered in the name of false gods and the prophet Mohammed.

Regarding the West and the whole question of militant Islam (including the Islamic State, the crisis in the Middle East, and ongoing persecution of Christians by “ISIS” and other terrorist groups), what can we heirs to Christian civilization do? What is the Christian response to be if we are to save what is left of the West, so that it might rise again?

Naturally, I turned to my otherworldly expert for advice on how the West should counter present-day Islamic aggression. He provided several suggestions whose efficacy and political viability I will leave it up to the readers to determine.

First, as a good Catholic Belloc, urged that the NATO nations and other countries willing to pitch in should come up with and immediately implement a rescue plan to offer humanitarian asylum to all endangered Christians (and peaceful members of other religions facing Islamic persecution).

Second, Belloc envisioned all European countries of Christian origins, including Russia (though this is a long shot in the current geopolitical situation), and their erstwhile colonies that are Christian, including Latin America, forming a coalition of armed forces to attack and destroy the forces of the Islamic State and its allies and lookalikes.

Hilaire Belloc by E.O. Hoppé (1915)
Hilaire Belloc by E.O. Hoppé (1915)

He cautioned that, of course, such a coalition should strictly abide by just-war principles – among other things, by stopping short of the use of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, giving warning of attacks, and doing everything possible to save innocent lives and civilians.

Next, Belloc the historian referred to an era of European history now widely vilified, but (despite lapses) worthy of present-day emulation. He argued (also a long shot) that if the Islamic nations were signing on for jihadism, bent on killing and maiming, we of the West should once again don the Crusader’s cross, seeking from Pope Francis the customary plenary indulgence and the blessings of our separated Christian brethren, the Orthodox churches of the East.

Assuming that such a modern Crusade would meet with the success (unfortunately, temporary) of the one that wrested away control of the Holy Land from Muslim invaders in 1099, Belloc advised that we confiscate our defeated foes’ weapons, reopen all formerly closed Christian places of worship, and rebuild the demolished churches, financing the reconstruction with money from the oil-rich Muslim countries (such as Saudi Arabia and others) that have armed the jihadists.

Of course, Muslims in these territories should be allowed freedom of worship, but their (rebuilt) mosques should be open for all to see and hear the proceedings to prevent any secret incitement to violence against Christians or other peaceful religions or sects in the Middle East.

Before taking leave, Belloc emphasized that, given the sad state of Christianity in the West, only the measures mentioned above would have any chance of holding back the forces of Islam from conquering all of Europe and the Americas.

St. George, pray for us! As my good friend Hilaire reminded me in my sleep, to keep the peace, prepare for war.

Why was my friend Hilaire so prescient in seeing the revival of militant Islam? Perhaps in part because he witnessed two unnecessary World Wars, in the course of which he lost two sons and a multitude of friends. In addition, he foresaw both in England and in the United States the decline of Christianity and its morality, with the resulting journey along the Road to Serfdom.

So when others did not, he foresaw the ominous resurrection of militant Islam, now armed with deadly weapons of destruction; he also perceived, perhaps correctly, the West’s weakness and corruption. Now that we are no longer worshipping the triune God of Christianity, our civilization is ripe to worship the false god of Mohammed.

Newly Blessed Pope Paul VI once famously said, “No more war! Never again war! If you wish to be brothers, drop your weapons.” But as Hilaire admonished me in the dream, make sure they drop theirs first.

Fr. C. John McCloskey III

Fr. C. John McCloskey III

Fr. C. John McCloskey is a Church historian and Non-Resident Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute.

  • ABBonnet

    Gee, Fr. McCloskey, what do you make of Pope Bergoglio’s airline press conference December 2, just last week, when he said:

    “And so many Muslims are offended, so many, so many Muslims. They say: “No, we are not this. The Koran is a book of peace; it is a prophetic book of peace. This isn’t Islam.” I understand this and I believe that – at least I believe, sincerely – that one cannot say that all Muslims are terrorists; this cannot be said. As it cannot be said that all Christians are fundamentalists, because we also have them, in all religions there are this little groups. I said to President [Erdogan]: “It would be good if all Muslim leaders — be they political leaders, religious leaders or academic leaders – spoke clearly and condemn those acts, because this would help the majority of the Muslim people to say “no”; but truly, from the mouth of their leaders: the religious leader, the academic leader, many intellectuals, and political leaders.” This was my reply. Because we are all in need of a global condemnation, also by Muslims, who have that identity; it is for them to say: “We are not among those. The Koran is not this.” This is the first thing.”

    Oh, and about that proposed crusade … Do you think you’d get a plenary indulgence from this Pope? How about a strident condemnation instead? After all he believes the Q’uran is “a book of peace”.

    Good thing Belloc and GKC are in heaven according to your mystic vision, since otherwise they’d have to put up with this incompetent leveraged in place by Team Bergoglio.

  • ForChristAlone

    Doubtful that the West will heed the warning.

  • 1ray1

    Wondering, did Mr. Belloc happen to mention anything about the muslims receiving Holy Communion? After all they believe in God.

  • kainzh

    Pope Francis calling a crusade with a plenary indulgence is indeed a long shot. Very “islamophobic,” but it makes sense.

    • codephined

      Perhaps he should request that the new so-called Caliph pray with him at the Vatican at next year’s Pentecost? That’ll disarm ISIS and the Muslim world, all with squishy, indifferentist dialogue.
      /end sarcasm

  • Sebastian Sauerborn

    Good article. Not sure about the some of the anti Pope Francis comments in this combox. I guess hysteric reactionaries are to be found everywhere these days. Let me assure those who are confused by Pope Francis: You have always been confused. You just haven’t realized it.

    • Phil Steinacker

      You won’t persuade people of any of your positions by making such sweeping a priori insults about others you don’t know.

      Do you know what ultramontanism is?

  • Bro_Ed

    I fear Hillaire is indulging in too much of that good red wine.A Crusade, like the last ones that burned, looted, and raped their way across Europe? That made town streets run ankle deep in blood? God forbid anyone could consider such an option.

    Maybe in the next dream Hillaire will suggest bringinh back the Holy Roman Inquisition. Those guys knew how to get answers from heretics, pagans, and the like. Then we could get the CIA out of the loop, close Gitmo, and let the guys who know how to get answers, get answers.

    This column was scary.

    • First the Liberals, then the rest. You seem to be ready for reeducation, brother.

      • Bro_Ed

        Oh, no! As Monty Python might say: “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

        • squishee

          So it seems after all that “Monty Python” is your appeal to authority. Interesting.

    • winteryblackknight

      Actually you sound scary

    • Phil Steinacker

      The charges you make in your first paragraph are false, and have been proven so. The phrase “ankle deep in blood” was used to falsely describe the Crusader conquest of Jerusalem. With some effort you can find the several books written in the past 10 years which have efficiently debunked the fabrications you are touting.

      Actually reading them will take courage to give up your ignorance and bigotry.

      • Bro_Ed

        Thanks for the judgement call, Phil. That’s open dialogue and discussion at its best. If you would, please cite your references for the “false and debunked” positions. The history books, even Catholic, speak of the crime and violence perpetrated by the Crusades. Didn’t the Pope even apologize for them? Please tell me what to read so I can learn the other side of the story…..

    • squishee

      No Jew, pagan, or Mohammedan was ever brought before the inquisition. You must have been asleep the day they taught history in the state-run school you attended. Oh-that’s right-I forgot-history is not taught in government schools.

  • Walter

    This is a elementary school fusion of history and boyhood fantasy that my 10 year old would dream up.

    It’s also far removed from modern Catholic thought and teaching (NB: I did not say doctrine, so no need for reminders on the pope’s “private” opinions). Keep in mind that St John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis all visited mosques. St. John Paul II also kissed a Koran. Pope Francis washed the feet of a Muslim woman on good Friday.

    Good luck on your crusade. Maybe Cardinal Burke can send a regiment from Malta with fancy uniforms.

    • squishee

      Hopefully your 10 year old doesn’t end his sentences with prepositions. It seems you may be as proficient in history as you are in grammar. And His Eminence is in Rome- not Malta.

  • JayRobThom

    The West has spent the last 150 years not only committing u suicide but establishing the social, educational and political forms that render the Church impotent in all aspects. Provided any general resistance or will could coalesce among the rulers, those ready to mount a resistance would be unable to conduct combat on the principles of a just war. As is evidenced in comments here, even purported Catholics are so completely imbued with anti-Catholic a got prop that they share the modern loathing for all manner of defense of the Cross I by arms
    These sort of Catholics would burn the fleet before it set off for Lepanto.

  • chesterlab

    With all due respect, Fr. McClosky, but when exactly has Islam NOT been a danger to the world? My hobby is to study Christian history, American history, world history, and the history of just about everything. And it makes me no expert-but I am not stupid either. From the day Mohammed pulled his sword from its scabbard and chopped off his first head, Allah u Akbar, Islam was a danger to the world. Ask the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians what it was like not so long ago-only a 100 years. The most recent murder and torture of middle eastern Christians that has been taking place for the past couple of years, and most recently in Iraq this year, is nothing less than a fifth crusade. This is a holy war-period. We had better wake up to that fact.

  • Paul Vander Voort

    In our time the government won’t just go after militant Islam that would be politically incorrect, it will go after what they consider all religious fundamentalists.

  • DeaconEdPeitler

    What provisions do we have in place for a “Pontiff in Exile” when Islam takes over control in Europe, lops off the head of the then-current pontiff and forces all to worship in formerly Catholic churches now turned into mosques?

    “You’ve got to be kidding,” some of our combox pundits with Chronic Post Vatican II Traumatic Disorder will say. “That could never happen.” Then speak to the people in Constantinople, the remnants of Christians in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and throughout the Mideast, the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the non-existent Church in North Africa, the Church in Sudan and Nigeria, the descendants of the reconquista in Spain and the once fully Orthodox church of the Balkans. And it will be coming to your hometown theatres in the months and years to come.

  • Nostromo

    Discusions like this raise some interesting hypotheticals. If there were only two Catholics in the world, one would have to be pope.

  • Axilleus

    Rather than calling for another military adventure, (the last one was launched in an age where Christian men actually possessed supernatural Faith and still failed), why don’t we send missionaries? First to our own lands to teach the authentic and unadulterated Catholic Faith which is now largely unknown in the Western world. And if that doesn’t work send them to the Muslim lands. What a world this would be if the obvious native zeal of the Arabs could be transferred from finding more creative ways to kill each other (and us) to advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    An armed military adventure at this point would result in nothing but a catastrophic failure, especially with the reawakening of Russia in the east.

  • codephined

    Deus vult.

  • gvanderleun

    “He cautioned that, of course, such a coalition should strictly abide by just-war principles – among other things, by stopping short of the use of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, giving warning of attacks, and doing everything possible to save innocent lives and civilians.”

    More fool he. It’s called making a plan to lose.