Today's blog is a departure from normal in that it's about two articles shared by two different people. That's a departure in and of itself from my normal routine here, but there's more of a reason that I'm doing so. The two people who shared the respective articles - N.S. and K.M. - I know do not know each other nor even live in the same area. While the articles seem, on the surface, to be about different things entirely, they are about the same thing, as we shall see. Moreover, oddly, they arrived in my inbox within minutes of each other. "Something was in the aether," and that's why I decided to blog about these two articles, because they're symbolic of an effort to make betrayal seem O.K., and the articles, arriving how and when they did, seem to be screaming out "we belong together." Here's the first story, shared by N.S.:
When I first saw the headline of this article, with a picture of the ziggurat at Ur in Iraq, I was not amused. I must confess, the idea of any bishop, much less the bishop of Rome, standing at, or atop, an ancient ziggurat leading one of those awful "something for everyone" ecumenical "prayerfests" is disconcerting to say the least. It's one of those cases of "scrambling the symbols" that is so much a hallmark of the age, as every institution seems to be in some sort of mad rush to abandon its traditions. One wonders if the "prayerfest" will include prayers to or invocations of Merodach (Marduk)? One wonders what self-respecting rabbi or imam will make the climb up the ziggurat? I suspect that if any do, they "won't be from the area," but from the West where "Supreme Being-ism" and "God-in-General-ism" has become such a cacophony of metaphysical mishmash devoid of any connection to any tradition. And... it's not the first time that a post-Vatican II pope has participated in these "interfaith prayerfests"; John-Paul II did, Benedict XVI did. The only one who didn't (as far as I'm aware) was John-Paul I, who was too busy during his short pontificate trying to "clean out the swamp" that he didn't have the time... and we know what happened to him.
Ahhh... but one needn't be so exercised. According to the article - which let it be noted is from The US News and World Report - the real explanation is a typically shallow American one; the Pope is simply there to promote tourism:
Pope Francis is due to hold an inter-religious prayer service at the ancient Mesopotamian site of Ur when he visits Iraq next week - an event local archeologists hope will draw renewed attention to the place revered as the birthplace of Abraham.
Popular with Western visitors in the 1970s and 1980s, Ur is scarcely visited today after decades of war and political instability shattered Iraq's international tourism industry. The coronavirus crisis now also keeps local tourists away.
The father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Abraham is described in the biblical book of Genesis as living in the city before God called upon him to create a new nation in a land he later learned was Canaan.
All of which brings me to the second article, shared by K.M.:
Here the explanation for the "scrambling of symbols" represented by the Pope's pending visit is about much more than promoting tourism; it's about scrambling the fundamental tenets of the "Abrahamic religions":
The same folks to bring you "Abrahamism"—the idea that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are intricately connected—have narrowed their sights on promoting Mary, the mother of Christ, as "a Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman," in the words of Catholic priest Fr. Gian Matteo of the Pontifical International Marian Academy. In a ten-week webinar series titled "Mary, a model for faith and life for Christianity and Islam," the academy will seek to present Mary as a bridge between the two religions.
This is easier said than done — at least for those still interested in facts. For starters, the claim that Mary was a "Jewish, Christian and Muslim woman" is only two-thirds true: yes, she was a Jew by race and background, and yes, she was a Christian in that she literally birthed Christ(ianity), but she was most certainly not a Muslim — a term and religion that came into being 600 years after Mary died.
Worse, far from being the Eternal Virgin, as she is for 1.5 billion Christians of the Catholic and Orthodox variety, Islam presents Mary, the Mother of Christ, as "married" to and "copulating" with Muhammad in paradise — a depiction that would seem to sever rather than build "bridges."
For Christians "of the Catholic and Orthodox variety," Mary is "the Eternal Virgin" precisely as a consequence of their faith that she bore God the Son in his human nature, and thus, was the literal "Ark of God" whom not even her betrothed, St. Joseph, would touch in any carnal way, having before him all those Old Testament examples of what happened to people who touched the Old Testament ark. Islam, as the article goes on to point out, does not. That said, one wonders what any of them have in common with the religion of Ur, other than Abraham.
It's that, I suspect, that is the root of the problem that's coming home to roost. There is a movement afoot - a quiet one almost entirely off the radar - to create an amalgamation of those religions, a movement documented by Jeff Sharlet in two books titled C Street and The Family, where an effort to create "Chrislam" - a strange amalgam of American fundamentalist Christianity and Islam - is surveyed. What the second article suggests is that this movement is not just a strange one-off conjured in the Lying Circus in Swampington D.C., but that similar thinking and agendas are underway in Rome. And for those in the know, that effort is but an extension of the technique outlined in the 1960s and 197os ecumenical movement document called The Consultation on Church Union, where the technique was simply to expropriate the ecclesiastical traditions of each other: make the Anglicans look more Roman Catholic, the Roman Catholics look more Zwinglian and Lutheran, make the Lutherans use Eastern Orthodox litanies, and so on, the goal being to make everyone look the same so that the subliminal suggestion is that they are the same, reducing doctrinal - which is to say, conceptual - disputes to mere words. It's the ecclesiastical version of what we see in the current politically correct "woke" culture when it talks about "cultural appropriation", which is "bad" in culture, but "ok" when it comes to religions. It's a way of putting everyone "on the square," and pretending that all that matters is "Supreme Being-ism" and that those differences and symbols and traditions are neither important nor real. It's the false brotherhood of process itself, not shared cosmologies and philosophies.
Or to put that last point country simple, expect more of it, because the process has no end because it's the process itself that empowers them. They are trying to unmake all histories and traditions, and with it, all history.
See you on the flip side...