Rorate Caeli

Bizarre Silence on Muslim Persecution from a Very Talkative Rome

Asia Bibi, our Catholic sister
condemned to death for "blasphemy" in Pakistan
Antonio Socci
November 9, 2014
Shahzad Masih was 28 years old and his wife, Shama, 25, two young Catholics with four children.  She was pregnant with the fifth.  She was working in a job in a brick making factory known for exploiting its workers, whose owner, a Muslim, had already brutally beat her.  She worked in Kasur, near Lahore, in that Pakistan where Christians are considered as trash.  Last November 4th the two young people were falsely accused of having profaned pages of the Koran.  They were tortured for two days, lynched by a furious mob and at the end thrown into an oven and burned.  These slaughters are not rare.  It is a continual horror that Christians undergo at the hands of a people and a State that daily humiliates them and threatens them with death by means of the notorious blasphemy laws.  Pakistan is not a small country. It has the atomic bomb and has 180 million inhabitants, making it the sixth most populous nation in the world and the second most populous among Muslim nations after Indonesia.  The fiery ordeal underwent by these two Christians in such a savage way was reported even in our own newspapers.  But there was no action taken, neither by individuals, nor associations, nor institutions.

Someone made the accusation that public opinion was more scandalized by the investigation on the TV show, “Report”,  on the source of the goose down used in making expensive ski jackets, namely, that the feathers were plucked from geese four times a year, causing the geese a great deal of pain—than by the fate of these Christians.  In the same way people were scandalized by the involuntary killing of a bear in Trentino, while the killing of three Italian Sisters in an African country went unnoticed.  There are those who have reported that Pope Bergoglio himself, even though speaking out on all sorts of things every day and more as well, has maintained silence concerning this tragedy.  If he is the primary one to not speak about these horrors (he prefers to pontificate on gossip that goes on in parishes, a topic of tens of his homilies), then we cannot accuse the world of insensitivity.  In effect Bergoglio never had the will to say one word, not even in defense of poor Asia Bibi, a mother living in poverty with four children who has been locked up for five years in a filthy prison where she has been tortured in unspeakable ways and who has been condemned to death by hanging only because she is a Christian.  The poor woman wrote to the Pope, but in vain.  Not even the confirmation of her condemnation to death in the court of appeal has moved Bergoglio, who is always very timid and reticent in dealing with Muslims.  

It was Kyril, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, who felt obligated to intervene in formally asking the President of Pakistan, in the name of the Orthodox Church, for mercy in behalf of the Catholic Asia Bibi.  But Papa Bergoglio did no such thing. Moreover he was silent in an obvious way also in the case of Meriam in Sudan, when so many Christians who live in Pakistan are living through the same tragedy that Asia Bibi is.  And nothing is said about the violence and abuses suffered above all by young Christian women.  In his daily homilies given at the chapel at Santa Marta he instead devotes himself to hitting on the head those whom he considers as “conservatives”, who are in fact in the majority, as was seen at the Synod.  And he places severe and continual blame on Christians in general, whom he depicts as full of defects.  But there are those very Christians whom he, as a pastor, should defend and comfort: those same Christians who in so many places in the world are undergoing persecution, martyrdom and hatred under every power and ideology.

Eighty percent of victims of religious discrimination in the world are Christians.  This is confirmed in this very week by two important statements:  in the “Black Book of the Situation of Christians in the Word” (published by Mondadori), and the annual report of “Aid to the Church in Need”.  It is a tragedy that has been ongoing for years. I published what has been going on twelve years ago as “the newly persecuted” and the scene was identical.  The same for numbers:  one hundred thousand Christians have been killed every year because of their faith. This means five victims a minute.  The total of persecuted Christians is around 200 million, and the news of atrocities and massacres—if one has the will to pay attention to them—comes out daily.  It is enough to read the reports of the representative of the press who have gone to Erbil to speak with the thirty thousand Christians who are in flight, who still are exposed to rain, to hunger and cold, because they have been driven from their homes by the terrorists of ISIS.  Every family grieves over their own tragic circumstances:  daughters seized and sold like slaves in the market in Mosul, husbands and sons killed and then crucified, buried alive, their throats cut, women raped.  Recently a video was circulated by the militant Islamists that showed them haggling over the price of a slave.  Sometimes they show young girls being sold for a cheap price.  And in Africa we see the same tragedy enfolding.  Just recently we heard of the fate of the 200 young women students seized in Nigeria by Boko Haram, raped and forced to convert to Islam and forced to marry Islamic men.  And then there is Syria and the other Islamic countries.  Then there are the Communist countries like China and its immense Gulag that has swallowed up heroic Catholic bishops.  Then there is that inhuman concentration camp that is North Korea where thousands and thousands of Christians have simply disappeared in the jaws of the monster.

After the horror of the Christians burned in Pakistan the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, himself horrified, said on Vatican Radio: “Can one remain passive when confronted with crimes declared to be legitimate by religion?”  No.  One cannot.  But Pope Bergoglio must be made to know this as well.  The Cardinal asked in a deeply moving way:  “Should not the international community make an intervention?”  Of course. But the Pope? It is the same story as last summer, with respect to the massacre perpetrated by ISIS.  The Pope was not only reticent, but when he was approached directly about this on the flight returning from Korea he wanted to emphasize that force and bombings should not be used to defend those defenseless people who were threatened by massacre at the hand of criminals.  A commentator even from the Left like Andriano Sofri tried to make him see that this “would leave women, children, and the old at the mercy of these men”.  Certainly Francis has spoken about persecution at various times.  It is true.  But he has done so always in a generic way, repeating the same sentence:  “There are more martyrs today than in the first centuries”.  But he has never intervened in specific cases or to stop the massacres.  He has never condemned the slaughters by calling them by their proper name.  He has never activated channels of intervention.  He has never named Islam or Communism. He has never involved the Church.  It seems that he does not wish to tread on the persecutors’ toes.  He always speaks of Muslims as dialogue partners to whom he sends his best wishes for Ramadan.  Even with respect to Communism, the most bloodthirsty anti-Christian experiment in history, he avoids the subject by saying that he has known militant Communists in Argentina who were fine persons.   “Who am I to judge”? He shows his heated and judgmental tone only when he attacks free-market policies. 

On October 28 he hosted in the Vatican various movements against globalization, including the leftist Leoncavallo group from Milan, and he hurled thunderbolts in such a way that Fausto Bertinotti on the [Italian public network] TV news show “Tg3” said that Bergoglio was the “revolutionary” of the moment.  Bertinotti emphasized that Bergoglio in that meeting—in which he never referred to the proclamation of salvation of Jesus Christ—said a word that no Pope had ever pronounced: struggle [lotta].” In effect, Sandro Magister noted:  “What strikes one about this discourse is the amazing similarity with the theories held by the philosopher Toni Negri and his disciple Michael Hardt in a book published in 2002 that made a big splash, called Empire." 

The no-global* drift together with the disastrous attempt at the Synod to change Church praxis and, in effect, Church doctrine (which will be completed at the next Synod), and with a governance of the Church consisting of defenestrations and “purges” of those who are faithful to Catholic Tradition, place the Church today in a tragic situation.  It is not only about persecutions.  There is darkness in Rome.

[Source, in Italian/ *Note: "no-global" is the Italian name of the (ironically enough) highly globalized and Internationalist "anti-globalization" extreme and radical activist movement, strongly linked to very violent Marxist and Anarchist groups engaged in what they deem a revolutionary "struggle" (It. lotta, Sp. lucha, Fr. lutte), some of which were represented in Rome in the October 28 meeting.]