Volume > Issue > Note List > Silence of the Shepherds

Silence of the Shepherds

Why is it that Catholic bishops seem to be plumping for Muslims? Why do they issue statements about Islam that are dishonest and misleading? Why do they appear to be so intent on protecting the image of Islam? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone. Given current events and the historical record of Islam’s aggressive campaigns against the Christian West, the rational thinker could be forgiven for believing that the leaders of the Christian world might just want to pay a bit more attention to contemporary anti-Christian violence — thousands of terror attacks, beheadings, stabbings, kidnappings, rapes, torching of churches and Christian-owned businesses — committed by Muslims, in the name of Islam.

Instead, most of the world’s Catholic bishops (with some heroic exceptions, such as Ignatius Joseph III Younan, patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, and Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo), when they’re not extolling the virtues of Islam as a “religion of peace,” can be found counseling their flocks against so-called Islamophobia — anti-Islam sentiment, bias, or violence — typically in the immediate aftermath of a Muslim-perpetrated act of terror or instance of anti-Christian persecution.

For example, in May, after Muslim militants in the Philippines burned down the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, murdered more than a hundred Catholics, and held a dozen others hostage, Bishop Edwin de la Peña y Angot of the Marawi prelature worried out loud that the ensuing anti-Muslim sentiments might damage interreligious dialogue. “Some of the natural biases that Christians have against Muslims will be stirred up again,” he said in an interview (Zenit, June 9). “Interfaith dialogue is a very fragile process and these incidents can destroy the foundation that we have built.” About anti-Christian sentiments among Muslims, the bishop was silent.

While Christians in Muslim countries are being slaughtered, exiled, subjugated, or forced to convert in numbers never before seen, some U.S. bishops and those who work for them have actually moved to demonize priests and Catholic teachers who speak out against Islam — in many cases, for merely stating facts about anti-Christian persecution. They have accused those who point out such inconvenient truths of spreading hate.

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