Pope Francis versus Saint Francis
Jesuit Scholar: Islamic Extremists Are the True Muslims
Islamic extremists who carry out acts of terror are simply applying
what their faith requires of them, according to Jesuit Father Henri
Boulad, an Islamic scholar of the Egyptian Greek Melkite rite.
by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.
16 Jun 2017
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Father Boulad said
that “Islam is an open-ended declaration of war against non-Muslims”
and those who carry out violent jihad are true Muslims who are applying
exactly what their creed demands.
Those who fail to recognize the real threat posed by Islam are na´ve
and ignorant of history, he said, and unfortunately many in the Church
fall into this category.
Citing a letter he wrote last August to Pope Francis, Father Boulad
said that “on the pretext of openness, tolerance and Christian charity
— the Catholic Church has fallen into the trap of the liberal left
ideology which is destroying the West.”
“Anything that does not espouse this ideology is immediately stigmatized in the name of ‘political correctness,’” he said.
The priest went so far as to chastise Pope Francis himself—a fellow Jesuit—suggesting that he has fallen into this trap as well.
“Many think that a certain number of your positions are aligned with
this ideology and that, from complacency, you go from concessions to
concessions and compromises in compromises at the expense of the
truth,” the priest wrote to Francis.
Christians in the West and in the East, he wrote the Pope, “are
expecting something from you other than vague and harmless declarations
that may obscure reality.”
“It is high time to emerge from a shameful and embarrassed silence in
the face of this Islamism that attacks the West and the rest of the
world. A systematically conciliatory attitude is interpreted by the
majority of Muslims as a sign of fear and weakness,” he said.
“If Jesus said to us: Blessed are the peacemakers, he did not say to
us: Blessed are the pacifists. Peace is peace at any cost, at any
price. Such an attitude is a pure and simple betrayal of truth,” he
The priest also stated his belief that the West is in an ethical and
moral debacle, and its defense of Islam is a denial of truth.
“By defending at all costs Islam and seeking to exonerate it from the
horrors committed every day in its name, one ends up betraying the
truth,” he wrote.
To back up his argument, Father Boulad enumerated a number of texts
from the Koran that call on Muslims to employ violence in their
conquest of the world for Allah.
The many passages he cited included: “Kill the unbelievers wherever you
find them” (Koran 2:191), “Make war on the infidels living in your
neighbourhood” (Koran 9:123), “When opportunity arises, kill the
infidels wherever you catch them” (Koran 9:5), “Maim and crucify the
infidels if they criticize Islam” (Koran 5:33), “Punish the unbelievers
with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin
and bellies” (Koran 22:19), and “Terrorize and behead those who believe
in scriptures other than the Qur’an” Koran 8:12.
Father Boulad is not the first Jesuit scholar to criticize the West for
its naivete in dealing with Islam. Last year, Georgetown scholar Father
James V. Schall contended that decades of students have been given a
“sanitized education” that systematically excludes an honest portrayal
of the history and theology of Islam, which limits their ability to
assess what is going on in the world.
In his essay titled “Realism and Islam,” Father Schall argued that
Islam “is actually and potentially violent throughout its entire
history” and the basic reason for this method is religious in nature:
“obedience to the Law of Allah.”
Therefore, he wrote, the Western tendency to simply call Muslim
violence “terrorism” is insulting to believing Muslims who “see
themselves carrying out the will of Allah, even sometimes to their own
death in doing so.” Rather than terrorism, he insists, Muslims see
their violence as “a religious endeavor to conquer the world,” which
they understand to be “an act of piety.”
Because of this gaping educational void, “most citizens are simply not
equipped to face the forces now reappearing in the world,” he wrote.
“And while it may be politically incorrect to state these things, they
need to be stated and are in fact the truth—things that both Muslims
and non-Muslims need to hear and consider,” he said.
Pope Francis vs. Saint Francis on Islam
SEPTEMBER 6, 2016
BY RAYMOND IBRAHIM
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the new Catholic pope in
2013, he chose the name of Francis to indicate that his pontificate
would be one of mercy and compassion for the poor and needy—for such is
the reputation of his eponym, Saint Francis of Assisi: “the man of
poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects
creation,”explained Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, as to why he chose
St. Francis (1182-1226) is indeed known for all those qualities.
But he was known for something else that his modern day namesake fails
to live up to: unapologetically confronting Islam.
According to St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims by Frank M. Rega:
Fully aware of the dangers, Francis was determined to go on a mission
to the unbelievers of the Muslim nations. The primary sources are
in agreement that he was now ready to sacrifice his life and die for
Christ, so there can be little doubt that the intent of his journey was
to preach the Gospel even at the risk of martyrdom (p. 43).
Along with saving souls, he sought to save lives as well; to help bring
peace to the turbulent world he lived in, where Christians, responding
to centuries of Islamic invasions and conquests of Christian lands, had
gone to war with Islam, that is, the Crusades:
Converting the Muslims by his preaching was the ultimate goal of
Francis’ efforts, and a peaceful end to the war would be a consequence
of their conversion. In the words of scholar Christoph Maier,
“Francis, like the crusaders, wanted to liberate the holy places in
Palestine from Muslim rule. What was different was his
strategy…. He wanted their total submission to the
Christian faith” (p. 63).
In 1219, during the Fifth Crusade, Francis and a fellow monk traveled
to the Middle East and sought audience with Sultan al-Kamil—despite
al-Kamil’s vow that “anyone who brought him the head of a Christian
should be awarded with a Byzantine gold piece” (p. 57). St.
Francis’ contemporaries also warned him that Muslims “were a mean
people who thirst for Christian blood and attempt even the most brazen
atrocities,” (p. 34). The determined monks continued their
journey, only to experience the inevitable:
The early documents are unanimous in agreeing that the two Franciscans
were subjected to rough treatment upon crossing Muslim territory.
The men of God were seized in a violent manner by the sentries,
assaulted, and bound in chains. Celano reports that Francis “was
captured by the Sultan’s soldiers, was insulted and beaten” yet showed
no fear even when threatened with torture and death (p. 58).
Eventually brought before Sultan al-Kamil, the monks sought to
“demonstrate to the Sultan’s wisest counselors the truth of
Christianity, before which Mohammed’s law [Sharia] counted for nothing:
for ‘if you die while holding to your law, you will be lost; God will
not accept your soul. For this reason we have come to you.’”
Intrigued by the cheeky monks, “the Sultan called in his religious
advisers, the imams. However, they refused to dispute with the
Christians and instead insisted that they be killed [by beheading], in
accordance with Islamic law (p. 60).”
The sultan refused: “I am going counter to what my religious advisers
demand and will not cut off your heads… you have risked your own lives
in order to save my soul.”
During their disputation and in reference to “the centuries-old Muslim
conquest and occupation of lands, peoples, and nations that had once
been primarily Christian,” Kamil sought to trap the monks with their
own logic: if Jesus had taught Christians to “turn the other cheek” and
“repay evil with good,” he inquired, why were “Crusaders … invading the
lands of the Muslims?”
Francis quipped by also quoting Christ: “If your right eye causes you
to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to
lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into
Francis then explained: “That is why it is just that Christians invade
the land you inhabit, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and alienate
everyone you can from His worship”—a reference to Islam’s dhimmi rules
which, along with debilitating Christian worship, make Christian lives
so burdensome and degrading that untold millions had converted to Islam
over the centuries to ease their sufferings.
There are more interesting aspects concerning St. Francis’ encounter
with Sultan Kamil, including those that find parallels in the modern
world, such as Sharia’s strict bans on blasphemy against Islam and
evangelizing for Christianity (often seen as one and the same) and call
for the execution of apostates from Islam. They are discussed in this
For now, consider some important differences between St. Francis and his modern day namesake, Pope Francis.
While the saint accused Islam of persecuting Christians, and sought to
bring them succor—to the point of putting his life on the line—Pope
Francis refuses to confront Islam. When he has the attention of
the world he habitually fails to condemn or even shed light on the
nonstop Muslim persecution of Christians, including millions of
Last year he delivered a nearly hour long speech before the United
Nations. Only once did Francis make reference to persecuted
Christians—and he merged their sufferings in the very same sentence
with the supposedly equal sufferings of “members of the majority
religion,” that is, Sunni Muslims. In reality, of course, Sunnis are
not being slaughtered, beheaded, enslaved, and raped for their faith;
are not having their mosques bombed and burned; are not being jailed or
killed for apostasy, blasphemy, or proselytization. That’s because the
terrorists—whether al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, or ISIS—are Sunnis.
And before that Francis issued his first encyclical—an important
document meant to be relayed to the world’s Catholics—with no mention
of persecuted Christians.
More recently, after a journalist asked Pope Francis about the
slaughter of an 85-year-old priest in France, and how he was clearly
“killed in the name of Islam,” the pope disagreed and proceeded to
offer a plethora of absurd and silly rationalizations in defense of
Nor did St. Francis preach passivity before aggression:
A foremost expert on Francis and the Fifth Crusade, Professor James
Powell, wrote: “Francis of Assisi went to Damietta [Egypt, where Sultan
Kamil was] on a mission of peace. There can be no question about
this. We should not however try to make him a pacifist or to
label him as a critic of the crusade.” Another leading crusade
scholar, Christoph Maier, was even more explicit: “Francis thus
accepted the crusade as both legitimate and ordained by God, and he was
quite obviously not opposed to the use of violence when it came to the
struggle between Christians and Muslims.” At one time Francis had
remarked to his friars that “… paladins and valiant knights who were
mighty in battle pursued the infidels even to death…” Francis
admired the deeds of such brave men because “… the holy martyrs died
fighting for the Faith of Christ” (p.70).
This is why those who know the true biography of St. Francis deplore
his modern day transformation into some sort of Medieval “hippy”—or, in
Pope Francis’ words, “the man of peace, the man who loves and protects
creation.” In 1926 Pope Pius XI issued the following statement:
What evil they do and how far from a true appreciation of the Man of
Assisi [St. Francis] are they who, in order to bolster up their
fantastic and erroneous ideas about him, image such an incredible thing
… that he was the precursor and prophet of that false liberty which
began to manifest itself at the beginning of modern times and which has
caused so many disturbances both in the Church and in civil society!
In the context of confronting Islam, Rega laments that, “for the
revisionists, the ‘real’ Francis was not a bold Evangelist, but a timid
man, whose goal was to have the friars live passively among the
Saracens [Muslims] and “to be subject to them” (p.95).
A final important point: while St. Francis did not mock Muhammad—though
apparently not enough to dissuade the pious from calling for his
head—he unequivocally portrayed the Muslim prophet’s message as
Unlike the diplomatic Pope Francis, who never seems to preach Christ to
Muslims but rather confirms them in and validates their religion, the
sincere saint was actually more concerned with the souls of Muslims, to
the point of putting his own life on the line. This used to be one of
the chief concerns of all popes, the “Vicars of Christ.” But
apparently not for Pope Francis.
In short, there’s a fine line between St. Francis’ compassion and Pope
Francis’ cowardice—or worse, complicity. When it comes to
confronting Islam and standing up for the faith and persecuted
Christians, Pope Francis woefully fails to live up to the brave monk
whose name he appropriated.
WORD FAITH INDEX
CATHOLIC CHURCH INDEX