Joseph Stalin is alleged to have asked contemptuously just how many divisions the pope had at his disposal. The answer came after the Soviet dictator’s death when the Berlin Wall came crashing down and Eastern Europe came out from behind the Iron Curtain thanks to Pope John Paul II, my father Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – the phalanx that drove a spike through the heart of Soviet tyranny .
Pope John Paul II had no military divisions, but he had a huge army of people yearning for freedom who responded to his message that united they could prevail over a master who commanded vast military forces. Those forces eventually proved helpless in the face of the people’s determination and will.
Today the question might be, “How many supporters does the pope have among the world’s leaders?” Shamefully, the answer is none. Assailed all across the globe by millions of Muslims for quoting a few passages from a debate featuring the 14th Century Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II – next-to-last emperor of what had been the Eastern Roman empire — Pope Benedict XVI has been left standing alone among the leaders of the Western world despite his warning that they face a foe determined to subjugate them and their citizens.
Writing in the September 20 Front Page Magazine, Robert Spencer reminded the West’s leaders just how much they owe to Pope Benedict XVI, the man they have left hanging in the wind that is blowing like a typhoon from the world of radical Islam
Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of “Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West” wrote: “In choosing Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has cast a vote for the survival of Europe and the West. “
He quotes historian Bernard Lewis as warning “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century,” and observes that the pope is unlikely to be happy about that eventuality.
“Late in 2003 the semi-official Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica departed from John Paul II’s policy toward Islam and published a scathing criticism of the mistreatment that Christians suffer in Islamic societies,” wrote Spencer. “It represented the first indication that any Catholic officials recognized the dimensions of the religious conflict that jihadists are waging against Christians and others around the world.”
He adds that “La Civiltà Cattolica pointed out that ‘for almost a thousand years Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger.’ Now, through jihad terrorism and demographics Islam is threatening Europe’s survival yet again — and it looks as if now there is a Pope who has noticed. Maybe in Europe the resistance is just beginning.”
You wouldn’t think so from the wall of silence that has surrounded the West’s leaders, including our own President Bush. Not one of them has sprung to the pope’s defense in the face of the violence and threats made against the pope by Muslims all over the world.
The pope was dangling out there all by himself. There is not one leader in any part of the world – left, right, center or anywhere in between — standing up for the pope who, as Spencer noted has “dared to speak more clearly about the threat that Islam poses to Western civilization than his predecessor — for all his many and remarkable gifts — ever quite managed to do.”
All this proves the point I have been making for a long time: the world fears Islam and its adherents. In an attempt to spur a dialogue between Christianity and Islam the pope quotes a Byzantine leader from 1391 to make his point about the futility of violence between religions and what do we get?
We get a dead nun, churches burned, the leader of the world’s billion Catholics burned in effigy, hordes of angry Muslims demonstrating in the streets and demanding that the pope be hunted down and slaughtered, all of which proved the point stressed by Manuel Paleologos II, in the 14th century.
And worst of all, we get silence from the leaders of the besieged West.
©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.