You gotta love the opening line of this article from Catholic Say:
The former Church of England’s bishop of Rochester has spoken of the overriding importance of the Catholic Church’s global voice for the future of Christianity in a world threatened by Islamic militancy and secularism.
He’s right to casually mention those two threats in the same breath, all equivalent-like. Surely you’ve heard of the insurgent atheist movements all over the world whose members have been beheading people of faith, detonating bombs in trains and subway cars, and flying passenger jets into cathedrals.
Bishop Nazir-Ali [above] said the Catholic Church potentially had “a great future and a huge opportunity” in the emerging world order and that it now had allies in upholding orthodoxy, even in unexpected quarters.
And by allies, of course the Bishop doesn’t mean atheists and agnostics, many of whom have been among the most fearless and vociferous in criticizing radical Islam. Instead, he’s referring to — and perhaps making a sales pitch to — Protestant evangelicals and other non-Catholic lovers of Christ.
He said that, with the growth of Islamic militancy and the persecution of Christians worldwide, many people were now looking to Rome as the voice that could stem the tide. He said these people included many Evangelicals whom he knew who never, in the past, would have thought about Rome. “So the Catholic Church has both a great opportunity and also a great responsibility.”
Without jest or reservation, I do agree with him on this point:
On the topic of the rise in Islamic militancy, he said that two things, in particular, had to be denied: one was the idea that extremism was explained solely by economic and social factors (this he said, overlooked the nature of the militants’ agenda) and the second was the claim, expressed by some Church leaders, that “a truly Islamic state would not persecute Christians.” Bishop Nazir-Ali said he could see no empirical evidence to support this view, which romanticized Islamic militancy.
Still, perhaps it’s just a bit callous to speak of the ascent of murderous religious thugs as an “opportunity” to recruit future Catholics.
(Image via Wikipedia)