From the Punditeer
comes this interesting story in the TimesOnline of London.
The heir of the British throne, and the successor to the head of the Church of England, wants to build a Mosque. In the country. Where hardly anyone is Muslim. Needless to say, people are upset:
According to an internal report obtained by The Sunday Times, Ron Pooley, a local resident, said he “disagreed with (the) mosque, which would be out of place and unpopular with existing residents”.
Pooley’s objection is thought to have led to the formation of the opposition group, which is now seeking 2,000 signatures on a local petition calling for the plan to be dropped.
Steven Briggs, a local resident, said he was aware of strong public feeling against the mosque. “I could think of a hundred other things local people would prefer,” he said. “A mosque is the last thing they would want.”
Another resident, Viscountess Long, wife of the 4th Viscount Long of Wraxall, said she understood the mosque was a sensitive issue. “I don’t know who thought this up,” she said.
Why, the Crown Prince of Wales, dear! That's who thought it up:
The Prince’s Foundation says the idea for the mosque was generated by “local interest” and is currently standing by its plans. However, it added that the mosque was just one of a large number of proposals and that the public consultation process was continuing.
The prince himself has made no secret of his support for Islam. He has an Islamic garden at his home at Highgrove in Gloucestershire.
He once famously described himself as “defender of faith” — upsetting those who believe that the heir to the throne should identify himself solely with the Church of England — upsetting those who believe that the heir to the throne should identify himself solely with the Church of England.
Well, now, isn't that precious. Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI should take a page out of His Highnesses playbook and spend some of that Peter's Pence on some Buddhist temples just off of St. Peter's Square. Or in the countryside! Yeah, that's an even better idea. It's not as though he's supposed to represent the interests of the Catholic Church. He's only the Vicar of Christ. After all, Prince Charles, the heir apparent, will one day serve as the Spiritual head of all Anglicans. Look at how he represents!
I had a different reaction to this then the Punditeer. I can laugh at the absurdity of this ridiculous situation. As sad as it is, it's also tremendously funny. It almost sounds like it belongs on Access Hollywood or Oprah. The Punditeer, on the other hand, depresses me with his sorrowful ponderings of this unfortunate event:
Charles, who is still not officially a Muslim, is out of step with his royal subjects. He believes. Not in Christ, but in Mohammed. Who will eventually give way–the people or the prince? Regardless of Charles, will the English ever resist Islamic encroachment when it will be necessary to avoid enslavement by it? Who wants to place a bet on the resistive powers of the Englishman against the fanaticism of the Arab?
The future of England is either Pagan or Islamic. A Christian comeback seems unlikely. Perhaps even a future English pope could not bring them back from the precipice.
He also demonstrates how despair can inhibit thought:
Europe is the home of the church, the Vatican, the place where the Apostle Peter’s remains are buried. Europe is one of the traditional power centers of the world, intellectually, economically, and politically.
If the church loses Europe, it may not survive. I suspect that’s the reason most leaders of the church point to encroaching secularism as the greatest threat to the church. Strengthening the church where it is weak and needing rejuvenation is a persuasive concept. This battle is at least as important as winning the race for souls in Africa or Latin America.
In today’s Europe, churches are empty while mosques are full. Few Europeans believe in the resurrection of Christ and therefore there is no basis on which to believe in Christianity. The English lost their empire and soon after, their faith.
Oh ye of little Faith. First of all, no informed Catholic would agree with his prediction that the loss of Europe would equal the death of the Church. Speaking about the Church on earth, our Savior said to the first Pope, "You are Peter, and upon this Rock, I will build my Church, and the Gates of the Netherworld shall not prevail against it." (Mt. 16:18)
The Catholic Church, under the protection of the Holy Spirit, will resist all attempts by Death to end her. She has died with Christ; therefore, she has risen with him. If we stay with her, we share her destiny. Thus, the loss of European civilization, catastrophic as that may be, will not be sufficient to demolish the Church that Christ has built with his very blood.
The modern Europeans' general refusal to believe even in the Ressurection certainly should alarm the Faithful. Nothing good comes out of departing from Christ. This is especially true when the departure leads to the worship of Self, which too often disguises itself as paganism these days. Indeed, Merton said it well: "The worship of self is the worship of nothing. And the worship of nothing is hell." However, to say that a new evangelization is impossible is to deny history and the power of the Holy Spirit at work among Christ's disciples. Europe began as pagan empires. Therefore, Europe converted to the Faith. It may do so again. The real question remains is whether or not those called to bring the Gospel to Europe will answer the call. When they do, watch a new Evangelization sweep through the soul-numbing emptiness that now haunts the modern European.
No one may look into another's heart. Certainly, Prince Charles' behavior gives a Fool pause. However, a desire to accomodate a growing minority's religious sensibilities through a foundation is not a participation in the public square as a religious muslim. Charity demands that we not falsly accuse the Prince of Wales of any abandonment of his faith before more compelling evidence emerges. Frustration must never replace Faith. Courage is born out of endurance of fear, not it's indulgence.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." Jn 14:1