Faith

Florida Diocese Punishes Teacher Who Quoted Saint’s Critique of Islam

Pope Francis delivers the Regina Caeli prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, 23 April 2017. ANSA/ MASSIMO PERCOSSI (ANSA via AP)

Last Wednesday, the Huffington Post reported:

[T]he Catholic diocese of Orlando, Florida, says it has reprimanded a teacher at a Catholic school in the state for giving his sixth-grade religion class an anti-Muslim reading assignment.

The Huffington Post expresses a negative view of the teacher, Mark Smythe of Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala, who the article says gave students a handout that called Muhammad’s teachings “ridiculous, immoral and corrupting.” Smythe must have been passing on material from “Islamophobic” websites, no?

Actually, Smythe’s handout was entirely quoting the words of Catholic saint Giovanni Bosco. Nevertheless, Jacquelyn Flanigan — associate superintendent at the Diocese of Orlando — said this about the incident:

The information provided in the sixth grade class is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Flanagan didn’t explain how her statement comported with the author of the material having been a Catholic saint. If Bosco was spreading ideas that were “not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” how did he become a saint? Why didn’t his disrespectful, hateful teachings about Islam prevent his canonization?

Or have the “teachings of the Catholic Church” changed? Catholicism declares that only divinely revealed dogmas are immutable. If the Church’s teaching on Islam has changed, then we are discussing mere human opinion, on which there can be disagreement. Correct?

Let’s see. Flanigan had more to say:

[She] pointed to Nostra Aetate, an official Vatican document Pope Paul VI released on Oct. 28, 1965. It stated that the Catholic Church regards Muslims “with esteem” and urged Catholics to work with Muslims for peace and social justice.

Does the necessity to regard Muslims with esteem require that Catholics must not speak about the elements of Islam that are use to justify violence — including the rampant global persecution of Christians?

About Giovanni Bosco’s document, we are further told:

Muhammad is described as a “charlatan,” “villain,” “ignoramus,” “imposter” and “false prophet” who “couldn’t even write” and “propagated his religion, not through miracles or persuasive words, but by military force.” The Quran, the holy book of Islam, is also called “a series of errors, the most enormous ones being against morality and the worship of the true God.”

This is strong and pejorative language. Where did St. Bosco get ideas that are so “inconsistent” with Catholic teaching?

The Huffington Post, of course, takes it for granted that Bosco’s claims are simply false and hateful. But is there actually a case to be made that Islam spread through force? Is there a case to be made that Islamic morality is decisively different from Christian morality?

Can there be any discussion of this at all, or is all dissent from the charge that St. Bosco’s claims are false to be punished and silenced?

The Huffington Post also reports the following:

Jordan Denari Duffner, a Catholic research fellow at Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative who studies Islamophobia, said it’s not uncommon for people on some conservative websites to selectively cite centuries-old anti-Muslim texts written by Catholic scholars and saints.

Here, the Huffington Post doesn’t bother to report that the Bridge Initiative is a Saudi-funded project.

The Bridge Initiative attempts to stigmatize, and thus to silence, all critical speech about Islam, which would have the effect of enabling the global jihad to advance without a murmur of protest or resistance. The very word “Islamophobia” is a propaganda term designed to intimidate people into thinking it wrong to oppose jihad terror.

If Huffington Post reporter Christopher Mathias were a neutral and evenhanded journalist, perhaps he would have examined St. Bosco’s claims, Ms. Flanigan’s claims, and the Bridge Initiative, and not taken for granted only the information in this story that fits his preferred narrative. This is yet another manifestation of the establishment media’s imperative to force Islam on the populace, and to shame those who object to jihad terror and Sharia oppression into thinking that they are bigots and racists.

As for the diocese of Orlando:

Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:14)