Jean-Clément Jeanbart, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, gave a recent interview with a French reporter, in which he was highly critical of the mainstream media and even of his fellow bishops for ignoring the Muslim persecution of Middle Eastern Christians. Archbishop Jeanbart was turning over a rock, exposing a scandal within the Catholic Church of catastrophic proportions.
“The European media,” he charged, “have not ceased to suppress the daily news of those who are suffering in Syria and they have even justified what is happening in our country by using information without taking the trouble to verify it.” And as for his brother bishops in France, “the conference of French bishops should have trusted us, it would have been better informed. Why are your bishops silent on a threat that is yours today as well? Because the bishops are like you, raised in political correctness. But Jesus was never politically correct, he was politically just!”
He reminded them: “The responsibility of a bishop is to teach, to use his influence to transmit truth. Why are your bishops afraid of speaking? Of course they would be criticized, but that would give them a chance to defend themselves, and to defend this truth. You must remember that silence often means consent.”
Archbishop Jeanbart said that Western governments were foolish to take in so many Muslim migrants without any possibility of vetting them for jihadist ties: “The egoism and the interests slavishly defended by your governments will in the end kill you as well. Open your eyes, didn’t you see what happened recently in Paris?”
No, they didn’t see it. They didn’t want to see it.
Archbishop Jeanbart is not the first to say this. “Why, we ask the western world, why not raise one’s voice over so much ferocity and injustice?” asked Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI). Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan appealed to the West “not to forget the Christians in the Middle East.” The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III has also said: “I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.”
But the Patriarch should have understood, since he is a major part of the problem. After all, he recently said: “No one defends Islam like Arab Christians.” It is to defend Islam that Western clerics do not raise their voice against such acts of brutality. It is to pursue a fruitless and chimerical “dialogue” that bishops in the U.S. and Europe keep silent about Muslim persecution of Christians, and enforce that silence upon others. Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, said it on February 8, 2013 as he was suppressing a planned talk at a Catholic conference on that persecution: “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.”
That’s right, it’s all for the sake of the spurious and self-defeating “dialogue.” For all too many of Archbishop Jeanbart’s colleagues, including his boss, Patriarch Gregory, and especially the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to speak out about this persecution renders one a continuing danger to the Church and someone they believe has stepped beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse.
Jeanbart should ask his colleagues in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops about why their eyes are so resolutely closed. He should ask bishops like McManus, Kevin Farrell, Jaime Soto and others why they move actively to silence and demonize voices that tell the truth about this persecution. He should ask them why they are so convinced that Islam, at its core, teaches peace, despite the superabundance of evidence to the contrary in Islamic texts and the actions of Muslims who read them. He should ask why the U.S. Catholic bishops tolerated dissent from so many core Catholic dogmas for decades, but move as ruthlessly as any Grand Inquisitor to suppress dissent from the idea that Islam is a Religion of Peace, which isn’t even a dogma of the Church. He should ask them why they are abandoning their Middle Eastern brethren and keeping their own people ignorant and complacent about the jihad threat.
Cowards, time-servers, trimmers and self-deluded wishful thinkers dominate the Church hierarchy today, among both bishops and priests, and all too many Catholics believe that to say so makes one disloyal to the Church. Nonsense. Calling these people to account for the damage they have done and are doing is the highest form of loyalty to the Church. But they are completely in control, and don’t even deign to engage those who oppose what they are doing. Well, they have the Church they want now, and as the years go by, it will become clear to everyone what they have done, and what unimaginable damage and destruction they have enabled.