The Remnant's News Watch
December 25, 2005

Mark Alessio

Islam On the Rise in Russia

( According to an article in The New York Times (Nov. 27, 2005), Islam has grown “increasingly visible and influential” since the so-called “fall of the Soviet Union 14 years ago.” There are now an estimated 14 million to 23 million Muslims in Russia, as much as 16 percent of the population. They are in the majority in Russia's turbulent south, but others live in virtually every city (there are an estimated one million Muslims in Moscow, the most of any European city), and thousands of Russian mosques and madrasas (schools) have been built and reopened.

A November 22, 2005 Times report notes that “across all of Russia, Islamic faith is on the rise .... so is Islamic militancy.” Followers of the Chechen terrorist leader, Shamil Basayev, have claimed responsibility for deadly attacks, including the September 2004 school siege in Beslan, in which 331 people, 186 of them children, were killed, and one in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkariya, during which at least 138 people were killed. In an interview with Sweden’s TT News Agency, Basayev said of the war in Chechnya: “The war, in sha’ Allah [Allah willing], will end soon in Moscow, with the recognition of the full and unconditional independence of the CRI [Chechen Republic of Ichkeri] in exchange for Rusnya's [derogatory term for Russia] security. And we will do anything to achieve this. Allah is Greatest!”

Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, chairman of Russia’s Council of Muftis, said the government needed to do more, complaining that state television routinely depicted Muslims as radicals waging holy war against Russia, rather than as members of Russian society.

"If people see social injustice, corruption in the authorities, the unfair assumption of wealth among some and the impoverishment of others,” said Gainutdin, “then that is a cause of unhappiness, of a radicalization of moods, of something that leads to conflict and revolution."

Fears of Islamic militancy have caused the Russian government to create the Muslim Spiritual Department, which oversees the appointment of Islamic leaders.

Comment: There are post-conciliar apologists out there who would still have us believe that Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary just as the Mother of God specifically indicated. Most notoriously, the Blue Army of Fatima continues to preach the fallacy that “any further discussion or request [for the Consecration of Russia] is without basis,” because, on March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II delivered an Act of Entrustment,” during which he consecrated to Mary “those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.”

Somehow, this generic consecration was supposed to have fulfilled the Blessed Virgin’s request that the Pope “make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart.” Of course, it didn’t. Let us put it this way. If you are scheduled to appear at a business meeting in Chicago, you don’t phone your boss from Dallas and say, “It’s okay, boss, Chicago and Dallas are both on the same planet!”

If the “Entrustment apologists” are correct, then consecrating a nation to the Mother of God will result in, among other things, a staggering abortion rate (1,600,000 “legal” abortions recorded in Russia in 2004) and the growth of Islam. But, there’s more. Which religion is missing from this list of Russia’s “officially recognized” faiths – Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism? Apparently, consecrating your nation to the Mother of God will result in the outlawing of the Roman Catholic Church founded by her Divine Son. Such are the consequences wrought by our Popes’ cavalier dismissals of the requests of the Queen of Heaven.

In the Times article cited above, there is an interesting quotation by an Ali Pshigotyzhev, whose son was arrested following the fighting in Nalchik. “Russia," said Mr. Pshigotyzhev, "was not ready for the rebirth of Islam.” On the contrary. Like every other nation on earth which has decided that it has no use for Jesus Christ and His Church, Russia is quite ready for “the rebirth of Islam.”


Pope Benedict Meets Neo-Catechumenal Way Founders

Catholic Exchange (Nov. 24, 2005) reports that Pope Benedict XVI received Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, co-founders of the Neo-Catechumenal Way (NCW) in a private audience on November 19th. Arguello, who participated as an auditor in the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, founded the NCW in 1964, along with ex-nun Carmen Hernandez.

In a statement released by the NCW on November 22nd, Arguello and Hernandez said that the Pontiff had expressed his support for their efforts, especially a project to spread the Gospel in "the most de-Christianized regions of the world, and in particular in Europe." The statement also claims that the Pope's support extends to the group's liturgical practices, which some prelates consider improper.

Arguello and Hernandez maintain that Pope Benedict has consistently support their movement: as Archbishop of Munich, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now as Roman Pontiff. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger worked with leaders of the movement to prepare their statutes, they noted. And this year the Pope named Kiko Arguello as an auditor for the Synod of Bishops.

The November 19th meeting was the Pope's first meeting with Neo-Catechumenate leaders since his election. In January, he is scheduled to meet with 209 families affiliated with the movement, blessing them for their work in the missions.

Comment: In the Introduction to his book, Heresies in the Neocatechumenal Way, Fr. Enrico Zoffoli noted that, while the NCW “has had the esteem, the favor and the praises of some members of the Catholic hierarchy” for many years now, their catechesis “contains numerous seriously negative elements, because they are irreconcilable with the fundamental truth of Christianity as preserved by the solemn Magisterium of the Church.” He goes on to note:

The Neocatechumenals like to present themselves as zealous members of the Catholic Church, faithful to the Pope; their meetings with him – especially in certain public audiences – they are spectacular and clamorous when they are seen. Everyone must know that they constitute the most real Church, superior than that of the common believers, those who do not follow Kiko's indicated "Way." "We are a Power!", they repeat with an arrogance only worth commiserating.

As a onetime member and catechist of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, I can only second the late Fr. Zoffoli’s statements. Kiko and Carmen’s “anti-theology” is treacherous, a combination of heretical statements, Vatican II cheerleading, and utter contempt for the pre-conciliar Church. As a reward for such disloyalty, in 2002 the Pontifical Council for the Laity, approved "ad experimentum" for a period of five years the Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way, “trusting that these statutory norms constitute firm and sure guidelines for the life of the Way and that they may be an important support to the Bishops in their paternal and vigilant accompanying of the Neocatechumenal communities.”

And now, sadly but not surprisingly, Pope Benedict has joined his predecessors, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, in turning a blind eye to Kiko and Carmen’s doctrinal and liturgical perfidy. One can only imagine what the pre-conciliar Popes – you know, the men who defined Marian dogma, went up against Freemasonry and Communism, and labored to establish a Catholic society under the aegis of Christ the King – would have done in the current Pope’s place. No doubt, they would have shown Kiko and Carmen the door .... post haste!


Giant Mosque Planned For London Olympics

According to The Sunday Times, UK (Nov. 27, 2005), “a massive mosque that will hold 40,000 worshippers is being proposed beside the Olympic complex in London to be opened in time for the 2012 Games.” With a futuristic design that features wind turbines instead of the traditional minarets, the project’s backers hope the mosque and its surrounding buildings would hold a total of 70,000 people, only 10,000 fewer than the Olympic stadium. The complex is designed to become the “Muslim quarter” for the Games, acting as a hub for Islamic competitors and spectators.

The east London complex would have by far the largest capacity of any religious building in Britain. The biggest at present is the Baitul Futuh (Western Europe's largest mosque) in Morden, Surrey, which holds about 10,000 worshippers. Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral, the largest Protestant place of worship, has a capacity of 3,000. The new building will be called the London Markaz (Arabic for center) and will be built in place of an existing mosque on a 10-acre site 500 yards from the Olympic development. The three-story mosque will be designed to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers, with a sweeping roof intended to evoke tented cities.

The complex would include a garden, school, library and accommodation for visiting worshippers, and the buildings would be adapted to allow extra worshippers during festivals such as Eid (a festival celebrating the birth of Muhammad), accommodating an additional 30,000 visitors. It is estimated that the project would cost more than £100 million. Donations are being sought from Britain and abroad.

Ali Mangera, the London and Barcelona-based architect who is designing the mosque, has worked with leading British architects including Zaha Hadid, designer of the Cardiff opera house. “It will be something never seen before in this country. It is a mosque for the future as part of the British landscape,” said Abdul Khalique, a senior member of Tablighi Jamaat, a worldwide Islamic missionary group that is proposing the mosque as its new UK headquarters.

Comment: In the year 1399, Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote these words to the Bishop of London:

The contemplation of the great mystery of the Incarnation has drawn all Christian nations to venerate her [Mary] from whom come the first beginnings of our redemption. But we English, being the servants of her special inheritance and her own dowry, as we are commonly called, ought to surpass others in the fervor of our praises and devotions.

Before the pestilential breath of the “Reformation” withered the Catholic heart of England, before Our Lady’s venerated shrine at Walsingham was despoiled and her statue carted off and burned, before good priests were butchered for their fidelity to the teachings of Christ, England proudly called herself “the Dowry of Mary,” just as France had once reveled in the title, “The Eldest Daughter of the Church.”

But the Eldest Daughter has recently been engulfed in the flames ignited by rampaging Muslim gangs (whitewashed by the American press into “disaffected French youth”) and, as Western Europe contracepts itself out of existence, the image of the proposed London Markaz mosque complex casting its shadow over once-Catholic Britain will prove to be a template for the rest of Europe, even as our “shepherds” smirk and hug at their feel-good ecumenical and interreligious powwows.

With a Catholic hierarchy and post-conciliar priests who show nothing but disdain for the very idea of the “Social Kingship of Christ,” that leaves the spiritual defense of the world in the hands of Traditional Catholic lay men and women, along with those priests and nuns who have remained faithful to their calling.


Italian Judge Sentenced For Omission of Duties

The Italian news agency, AGI, reports (Nov. 18, 2005) that Judge Luigi Tosti of Camerino in central Italy has been sentenced to 7 months’ imprisonment for “having refused to officiate hearings because of the presence of a crucifix in the court room.” Magistrate Luigi Tosti stands accused of omission of office procedures. Since May 9th, he has refused to chair trials because of the presence of the crucifix in the courtroom. Tosti has also been debarred to hold public offices for 1 year.

According to Natasha Bita of The Australian (Oct. 24, 2005), each morning before work, Tosti, described as a “baptized Catholic,” asked the chief magistrate of Camerino to remove the crucifix from his courtroom. Then he asked to display a Jewish candelabrum alongside the cross. Both requests refused, the judge retreated to an office to continue his personal strike. "In public offices, the cross is the only theological symbol on display,” said Tosti. “That's like saying white people can come in and the blacks stay outside. It's a form of religious discrimination." Representatives of the association "No God – Atheists for State Layness," as well as other associations have gathered outside the courthouse, holding banners in support of the judge.

Tosti’s trial, which took place in L'Aquila, also located in central Italy, raises an issue which could lead to a new ruling on the presence of crucifixes in law courts. Tosti claims that his action "aims at preserving the principle of state layness." According to AGI, he refused to hold trials for 6 months because the judicial administration forgot to have the crucifix removed from public premises, "and doesn't authorize me to display the symbols of my religion, Islam. There is no equal treatment." Tosti is also leading a battle, along with the president of the Italian Muslim Union, to ban the display of crucifixes in public premises.

Comment: When the Associated Press first reported on this story, they stated that Judge Tosti “declined to describe his religious beliefs, calling it a private matter.” It was the Italian news agency, AGI, which reported on the association between Tosti and the Italian Muslim Union.

It is not the first time that a Muslim living in Italy has attacked the display of the crucifix. In 2003, Adel Smith, president of the Union of Italian Muslims, tried to get a crucifix removed from his son's classroom. Although Smith’s complaint was originally upheld, an appeals judge ruled that the cross could stay, as a symbol of Italy's cultural heritage and values. Subsequently, when nurses treating his mother in a public hospital refused to take down the crucifix hanging above her bed, Smith tossed the crucifix out the window. This Adel Smith is the same individual who sued Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci for “advocating and spreading hate against Islam and Muslims” after she argued in her book, La Forza della Ragione (The Force of Reason), that Europe is turning into "an Islamic province, an Islamic colony" and that "to believe that a good Islam and a bad Islam exist goes against all reason."

Contrast the aggressive actions of Tosti and Smith with the images all too prevalent on television in recent years of celebrities such as Christiana Amanpour and Angelina Jolie, demurely wearing headscarves as they travel in Muslim circles. Do they don these symbols out of respect, fear, or simply to make their lives easier under the circumstances? Probably all three, with the desire for self-preservation taking the lead.

The facts make Luigi Tosti’s assertion that placing a crucifix in a public space is tantamount racism is doubly ludicrous. No one is barred from Italian courtrooms because of their religion. The case of Adel Smith was proof of that. In reality, it is Catholics and Protestants living in Muslim nations who suffer from virulent, often lethal, discrimination. Tosti and Smith can sleep in peace.