Rorate Caeli
Islam: The Closing of the Muslim Mind
On Sunday evenings, June 5 and 12, at 7:30 PM at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, the Institute of Catholic Culture will host two lectures about the current disarray in the Muslim world and what has lead this society to the brink of all-out war. Most Westerners are shocked and frightened by the behavior coming out of the Islamic world—not only because it is violent, but also because it is seemingly inexplicable. What went wrong?

Foreign policy expert Robert R. Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis, underscored by the death of Osama bin Laden: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In a heated battle over the role of reason, the side of irrationality won. The deformed theology that resulted, Reilly reveals, produced the spiritual pathology of Islamism, and a deeply dysfunctional culture (ISI Books). It is intellectual suicide that has caused modern Islamism.

Robert R. Reilly is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, and National Review, among many other publications. A former director of the Voice of America, he has taught at the National Defense University and served in the White House and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Mr. Reilly is a member of the board of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Join the Mr. Robert Reilly and the Institute of Catholic Culture for this evening series on the roots of the modern Islamic crisis. St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 3829 Woodburn Rd., Annandale, VA. All are welcome. No reservation required. Free Admission. For more information, please visit or call (540) 635-7155.

And please remember to follow @RorateCaeli on Twitter.


  1. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Check out the Institute of Catholic Culture audio files on their website at


    Now this is a "New Evangelization" that I can live with!

  2. Dr Srdja Trifkovic has a memorable description of who "the perfect man," Mahomet, was; he was "Part John Gotti, part David Koresh."

    Of course this truth about Mahomet has been suppressed by those who have completed their long march through the institutions and so we are presented with a false portrait of that psychotic brigand. He is just another Prophet who started a monotheistic religion and those who lived under the suzerainty of Mahometanism lived lives of glorious grace and liberty - like in Al Andalusia (cough, cough).

    Dr. Trifkovic points out that when a secular Christian decides to return to his roots, he discovers Jesus, the Prince of Peace, whereas the secular Muslim,who desires to return to his roots, discovers Mahomet, the man of war.

    Does any of this really matter to our politicians (made mad by PC/MC)? No. They think of all religions are basically the same.

    And so the blondes of Norway exemplify what happens when ignorance about Mahometanism is thought a virtue.

    They become the sacrifices the west makes on the altar of multiculturalism

  3. I have heard Mr. Reilly speak, and read most of his book.

    Definitely worth your time.

  4. Gratias9:52 PM

    Mahommetans are killing Christians, especially Catholics. Church massacres in the"new" Egypt, Irak spripped bare of it's Christian population. Muslims now occupy what were traditional Christian lands. Terrible religion that one.

  5. Well, let's see:

    1. We are in highly prudential territory here. You're free to hold the opinions you do. I disagree with them.

    2. Reilly sees major problems with Islam, both in its inception and historical growth.

    3. Can we kill all the terrorist? Unfortunately, no.

    4 Therefore, we need to offer them something other than violence to improve their life.

    5. Secularism in the West is deeply, perhaps even fatally, flawed. But I would rather argue about abortion than face being blown to pieces in a coffee shop over trying to solve that issue.

    6. Conversation is the civilized means of solving many of our disputes, and yes, that means Proclaimation too, the Gospel, which is not at all per se up for discussion in its truth. But, my friend, if you've ever helped in the conversion of ANY one, you know you have to start somewhere.

    Peace to you.

  6. I second Mr. Ortiz's comments about Robert Reilly. If you can make it, GO!!!!

  7. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Our Lady of The Rosary, Ora Pro Nobis!

    Islam, or whatever it is, is not a religion, but a cult, IMHO.

    There is only ONE Religion: The Catholic Faith -- without Modernism or other errors.

    Deo Gratias!

  8. Dear Mr. Ortiz. I am all in favor of comity with The Mahometans and I desire their conversion - I pray for it every day - but let us not err in thinking that the conversion of The Mahometans will occur any day soon and so we ought be prudent about letting them immigrate into the West.

    Allah orders Mahometans to convert or kill we Christians and if neither of those things happen, then we are to be subjugated by them and treated as inferiors - Dhimmis - and made to pay the Jizya.

    Lord have mercy. Why is it so hard for those in the West to wake-up to the grave danger posed by The Mahometans?

    I do not desire their deaths. I desire our liberty.

    Keep the Mahometans bottled-up in the crummy countries where they now live and stop killing them where they live and adopt a live and let live policy but the idea we in the West have a moral obligation to let them move into the West is absurdity of monstrous proportions.

    Look, if any Catholic Prelate encouraged their flocks to move into the territory of the Mahometans to live and work and to take advantage of their system to try and impose Canon Law on them, contrary to theri entire history, there would be hell to pay but that if precisely the plan the Mahometans are undertaking against the West.

    That is, they are moving into the West so as to grow their numbers to such a point that they can effectively legislate the introduction of Sharia Law.

  9. The place of reason in mahomatenism appears as an oxymoron. Following many years living & working amongst them and sudying their belief system, it appears there is precious little place for the rational and the intellectual. This is why interreligious "dialogue" is an illusion. Only liberals can imagine such an impossible task is feasible. It will only terminate in disaster when it is already too late. It is not a religion based on reason & was not meant to be reasonable.

  10. Spiritual pathology commenced with Mohommed. His "disciples" confirmed this in the immediate power struggle following his death...

  11. This is related to this post only by the day - Rogation Wednesday - but I could not restrain myself from quoting the great Dom Gueranger vis a vis Rogation Days and public processions.

    This quip was issued on the Rogation Day, Monday, and it was a sly and wry comment directed towards the then practice of short public processions (now non-existent in the normative rite).

    The great Gueranger , referring to public processions that lasted up to six hours, writes; "The faithful of those days had not made the discovery, which was reserved for modern times, that one requisite for religious processions is that they be as short as possible."

    Now THAT is funny!!!

    A day without Dom G.
    Is one in which I desire not to be

  12. Dear Not Spartacus: I am happy to see that your comment of 13:17 has been allowed to remain on this thread. A comment of mine, which similarly pointed to the absurdity of the Reilly thesis and the inherent bloodthirstiness of the American neocon position supported by Mr. Ortiz, was deleted by the moderators shortly after it appeared.

    The concept that the way to deal with Islam is to (1) kill the "bad" Muslims, (2) flood the West with Muslims who have escaped killing, and (3) encourage the "good" parts of Islam to come to the fore (talk about a curate's egg of a notion!) is a moral atrocity of the first order and is as profoundly anti-Catholic as the worldwide encouragement of abortion, especially among Christians both real and nominal.

  13. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Westerners are blind enough. We see the Muslims flooding into France and Germany and England since the 1950s. Now we in Canada, seeing the disaster that it created, have reacted by inviting them here as well. It's absurd. They are making up for lost time now in immigration. Why are we not, instead, bringing in Arab Christians who need a place to flee to?

    Before the turn on the century, I never once saw that head covering for Muslim women. Yes, the Sikhs were visible in turbans from the 1970s but not the Muslim women. I grew up in Toronto and never saw one. Then I left that huge city and came to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. I never saw one before 2001--just a small number of the usual Sikhs in turbans.

    Now, here in Victoria, which must be one of the most 'Anglo' cities on the planet earth, there are burkahs and head-scarves everywhere you go. In just ten years! Where on earth did they come from? It's an invasion. I don't worry, though, because the Chinese people outnumber them ten to one. Thank goodness someone outnumbers them. It certainly isn't those of European extraction. They have a rule: thou shalt not propagate.

    We rely heavily on immigration here as a component for economic growth. That's fine by me. I welcome people of all ethnicities, provided that they are Christian. Bring in those of other faiths and you are inviting competing ways of doing things in one place. Not smart.


  14. Now, here in Victoria, which must be one of the most 'Anglo' cities on the planet earth, there are burkahs and head-scarves everywhere you go.

    We see them here in Philadelphia but the vast majority of them are on African-Americans and not recent immigrants.

  15. Johannes5:09 PM

    Not Spartacus - you are both right and wrong. Most Muslims are nominally Ahl al-Sunna wa'l-Jama'ah - Sunni; the Shia Ithna Ashari are a large and arguably less violent minority (although - Nasrullah and Hizbullah). It is Sunni Islam whose ahadith literature (records of the things Muhammed, and the earliest Muslims, the sahaba, spoke or did) and historical scholarship is very clear on the validity and necessity and indeed good of violence to spread Islam and the boundaries of Dar ul Islam (the domain or lands of Islam) and bring a forcible end to Dar ul Kufr (the domain or lands of disbelief or unbelief).

    However - most Muslims who migrate to Western countries do so to escape, not to import violence. Most Muslims are mediocre; especially is this so in the West. Read the jihad literature circulating today. The more purist part of the ulama is constantly railing at the indifference of Muslims even in the Middle Eastern lands where they hold an undoubted majority and so are ever potentially capable of political hegemony. All it needs is to be orchestrated. And yet there is no khalifa - there is not, that is to be exact, a single, actual, full-blooded, historical Muslim State in the world today.

    No Muslim of the quality Western Liberal Man fears would willingly enter Dar ul Kufr (there are literally various jurisprudential considerations involved for such a Muslim to come here). Those who do enter - are as mediocre as most Christians. The men will gel their hair and change their names to more Western sounding vague variants of the Arabic originals. Their children will go to the same High Schools, dress in the same clothes, hear the same music, participate in the struggle for popularity and friendship and ectera. Second and third generation Muslims are more likely to be petty city criminals than grenade launcher handling mujahideen who keep their Qu'ran on their Kalishnikov.

    Believe it or do not - sin, particularly lvxvria, has always remained and shall always remain a greater danger to men than the sword; it cuts both ways, both sides, us and them, and deeper. We are already and long since under occupation by an ancient enemy army whose dominance is more terrible because we love it. Sin, luxury, pleasure, convenience - these are Western Liberal Democracy's greatest defenses; they make both sides too weak to be inclined to fight and the desire to attain and mainatin which the only cause they will ever fight for. Western Liberal Demoncracy's greatest defenses - and yet these are why it cannot stand. It is exactingly this paradox that the Roman Empire in it's rise and fall exemplifies to us.

    The Romans began to conquer most peoples when they first traded wine.

  16. Johannes6:11 PM

    As for the upcoming event - I think I have heard this claim before. Al Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, and others, were cheerfully ushering in enlightenment until the terrible al-Ghazali had his say and his stance was adopted by the ulama. And thus ended Islam's good beginnings in reason and science in exchange for a barbaric, literal Muslim society and practice.

    Nonsense. The conscious rejection of Greek philosophy (more than less just Aristotle in Arabic translation) does not mark a repudiation of thought. The two men principally responsible are, along with al-Juwayni, arguably the most thorough and thoughtful men Islam managed to produce. Al Ghazali in the Tahafut and Ibn Taymiyyah in his al-Radd ala al-Matiquiyyin were devastating. Modern historians and philosophers have not failed to note it; even suggesting that they, particularly the latter, had anticipated certain ideas central to later Anglo-American analytical philosophy.

    Indeed - we should blush that these men so guarded their falsehood from the adulteration or deformity involved in sieving a religion through an alien philosophy. Their spurning Aristotelianism is why when Muslims are dedicated they are not easily diverted. No Muslims were excising parts of their religion to ease in Hegel. They stand in line of a historical scholarship that strongly resisted popular trends in thought, rather than went after them avariciously. Ours is older (the fathers) but forgotten and when not utterly - only imperfectly known.

    As well - others rejected Aristotelianism who were also contemporary with the schoolmen. Speaking of Trifkovic (a Serbian name) - the Eastern Orthodox. They took Hesychasm (Gregory Palamas) over scholasticism (Barlaam). Did this produce a primitive, irrational and incurably unscientific civilisation? It depends upon how you use the terms involved. I do doubt that Reilley would like to say it is so however.

    It looks like to me a quite rather simplistic generalisation.

  17. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Yes, dcs, I do agree that many of the wearers are Africans. Interesting. But many are clearly not Afrrican too.


  18. Anonymous4:26 AM

    "Modern historians and philosophers have not failed to note it; even suggesting that they, particularly the latter, had anticipated certain ideas central to later Anglo-American analytical philosophy."

    What were those? I have some background in Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd and am more impressed with them (especially Ibn Sina, who was a great philosophical genius), than I've ever been of analytic philosophy or modern philosophy in general. Though I'm not an expert in Islamic philosophy, I've heard that Ibn Rushd's critique of Al-Ghazali's critique was actually quite devastating, but too little too late.

    Also, your explanation of Muslims in the West does not seem to comport with the obvious facts before us. I'm thinking of radicals in places like England and France. I'm also fairly sure, for example, the FBI has busted Islamic terrorist training camps here in the US (seems like it was on the East Coast). I'm no neo-con, but I'm not sanguine on mass Muslim migration either. It seems to me more like the establishment of a fifth-column, than looking for a slice of the American pie.

  19. Johannes9:10 PM

    "What were those?"

    The attack on the primacy of the syllogism by demonstrably showing it to be open to abuse. Mackie and Swinburne did the same within the last fifty years.

    Ibn Taymiyyah is particularly impressive for his marking well that truth is illustrative - or at the very least is best established and better communicated by illustration and examples, and not through the Aristotelian ideal of premise-demonstration. When one wants to explain a truth to someone - you generally use an analogy or the like and by doing so you are more likely (indeed, most men throughout life are overwhelmingly successful) to make them see the point than you are by digressing into premises, proof of the middle and so on.

    Arguably there is much more.

    "I have some background in Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd and am more impressed with them (especially Ibn Sina, who was a great philosophical genius), than I've ever been of analytic philosophy or modern philosophy in general."

    Your opinion. To my mind - they are comically inept interpreters of an imperfectly received Graecian school of thought. Involved and dependent and ultimately double-minded; part of their mind Muslim (it shows every now and then), the remainder their private, and widely varying, understanding of peripatetic.

    "Also, your explanation of Muslims in the West does not seem to comport with the obvious facts before us."

    And what are they? Facts before us. Facts? We are speaking of men. Go meet some migrant Muslims. Speak with them, ask them, and be careful here - my best friend in primary school left Lebanon when their neighbour's home was hit by a bomb, ask them, I was saying, why they left. Ask them of their intentions in the future, and of their views on politics and ectera (here you shall, apparently, be very surprised). As for training camps and so on - I said "most" Muslims. The majority should never be prejudged for what a few do. And such incidents are rare - it is a fact.

  20. Anonymous1:26 AM

    The Muslim philosophers put philosophy above faith, and it's my impression they weren't very serious Muslims. For Al-Farabi, at least, religion dealt with symbols and was for the simple-minded, whereas philosophy considered reality as it is. I don't think they were trying to say the two matched up well with each other. Regardless, I think calling them "comically inept" is very strong. Scholars like Deborah Black and Michael Marmura would probably disagree with your assessment. St. Thomas was influenced by Ibn Sina, I think. The cogitative power comes to mind as one example.

    I would agree that philosophical demonstration is not the best way to convey truth to the unlearned since they are not disposed or possibly capable of understanding. Aristotle also recognized the use and value of dialetics, rhetoric and poetry, for example, and St. Thomas in the beginning of the Summa Contra Gentiles explains the need for Revelation in part due to the fact that the greater part of humanity would be in darkness even as regards truths knowable by reason without it.

    I agree that it is unjust to brush a group of people with a broad stroke. On the other hand, I'm not convinced the radicals are in the minorty position whether it be in the West or the Middle East. We have different lived experience, so I'm not going to question your relationship with individual Muslims.


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