The Islamic State continues to bombard the world with their reign of terror – so what can Catholics do about it?
Last March, the Vatican’s top diplomat, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, called for international efforts to stop the “so-called Islamic State” and explained: “we have to stop this kind of genocide. Otherwise we’ll be crying out in the future about why we didn’t do something, why we allowed such a terribly tragedy to happen.”
Since then, the world has fought back against the threat of ISIS, lone wolves, Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations – but as Catholics, we can aid the fight.
According to Express, Catholic priest George Rutler, the pastor of St. Michael’s church in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, cited Matthew 5:39, which reads: “But I say this to you: offer no resistance to the wicked. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well.”
Fr. Rutler explained most people confuse this passage to mean it is fine for the wicked to walk all over you but he wrote: “Turning the other cheek is the counsel Christ gave in the instance of an individual when morally insulted: Humility conquers pride. It has nothing to do with self-defence. As racisms distorts race and sexism corrupts sex – so does pacifisim affront peace.
“To shrink from the moral duty to protect peace by not using force…is not innocence – it is naiveté.”
Fr. Rutler continued, explaining the threat from ISIS is real, particularly “to a Western civilisation that has grown flaccid in virtue and ignorant of its own moral foundations….Vice has destroyed countless individual souls, but in the decline of civilisations, weakness has done more harm than vice. ‘Peace for our time’ is … empty.”
To further his point, Fr. Rutler cited Paragraph 2263 of the Catechism, which reads: “The legitimate defence of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing.”
The following line explains: “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.”
Fr. Rutler believes God will empower believers – but does that mean Catholics around the world should flock to the military?
Fr. Rutler doesn’t necessarily explain what he wants Catholics to do but he did scold Western civilizations for showing weakness against a force it can easily crush.
Meanwhile, Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith offers a more conventional approach to the threat, as well as a few suggestions on how to fight.
In a post published at Catholic Herald, Fr. Licie-Smith stands opposite Fr. Rutler and believes a daily rosary can help topple ISIS, as well as a prayer once recited at the conclusion of Mass:
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Fr. Alexander then calls believers to ask their parish to “initiate some Muslim-Catholic dialogue” to encourage Catholics and Muslims to “talk about what it is to believe about God, and the way people are called by God to co-exist.”
Lastly, Fr. Alexander urges Catholics to ask their parish priests to celebrate the Mass “For Persecuted Christians,” found in the Roman Missal.
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)