Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The 13th Century Inter-religious Dialog for Peace. St. Francis and the Sultan


There is no doubt that St. Francis had two interrelated objectives when he crossed enemy lines near the Nile in the summer of 1219 to confront a fearsome Sultan: to convert the Sultan to Christ for the Sultan's own soul's sake, and also to end the fifth Crusade which, according to author Paul Moses (The Saint and the Sultan), he opposed. According to Moses, the Sultan, who could have been expected to give Francis for his audacity during war the martyrdom he realistically prepared for and separated the saint's head from his body, instead allowed the friar to remain "for several days of discussions". It soon became clear the Sultan was not about to convert, but Francis was not deterred from the other objective and sought the peace for the sake of both Muslims and Christians. Moses, despite an over all well-received work of history, unfortunately sometimes seems to pit Francis against the Pope rather than see him as his prophetic ambassador. Nevertheless he writes truly:

Francis stood before the sultan of Egypt. He had yearned for such an audience with a Muslim leader for at least seven years, embarking on dangerous journeys three times during that period. Now his moment had arrived, in the midst of a Crusade that was killing thousands of people in the sweltering heat on the banks of the Nile late in the summer of 1219. The leader of the Christian army—Cardinal Pelagius himself—had warned the friar from Assisi that it would be folly to traverse the battlefield between the two armies to seek out this Sultan Malik al-Kamil.

Francis, no stranger to the cruelty of men at war, knew full well the torture and mutilation that both armies inflicted on suspected spies. He had been told that the sultan was a monster, a cruel tyrant likely to order his death. But Francis had traveled a long way to see the sultan and insisted to the cardinal that he must go. God willed it.The sultan looked over the odd duo in his tent, Francis and his traveling companion, Friar Illuminato, barefoot monks dressed in coarse, patched brown tunics. His soldiers had found the two wandering around the outskirts of the Muslim camp and seized them roughly...Read it all

_______

--->Charles de Foucauld and the dialog of presence...

--->What Do Simplistic Critics of the Crusades Forget...?

--->Cardinal Biffi: Curb Muslim Immigration Give preference to Christian immigrants...

--->Noam Chomsky: Breaking the Israel-Palestine Deadlock. "While intensively engaged in illegal settlement expansion, the government of Israel is also seeking to deal with two problems: a global campaign of what it perceives as “delegitimation” – that is, objections to its crimes and withdrawal of participation in them – and a parallel campaign of legitimation of Palestine...More

--->I found this rather startling...

--->Fierce reaction to controversial MTV abortion special. Despite the program's clear "pro-choice" bent, it presented a raw display of the young woman's agony as she felt increasingly trapped into accepting the abortion. ...Read on

--->Catholic school board found guilty of religious discrimination against UFO cult...

--->Who Killed the Bush Official Found in a Delaware Landfill...(Click)? The man, John P. Wheeler III, a West Point cadet, a Yale and Harvard graduate and former general's aide in Vietnam, an advisor to four different administrations, disappears without a trace, only to be found dead in a landfill days later on New Year's Eve.

--->Incoming GOP plans at least six Obama investigations...

--->Shakedown. European nations begin seizing private pensions. Hungary, Poland, and three other nations take over citizens' pension money to make up government budget shortfalls...

--->Son of Iran shah commits suicide in US...

--->Yesterday it was thousands of dead birds dropped from the sky in Arkansas. Now we hear of more in Louisiana...

Lawlessness. Nihilism: I once knew a crazed kid, who was not brought up well and who liked to taunt and provoke those weaker than himself by every means in the hopes that one of them would try to fight back. None of the individual victims responded---until one day, when he least expected it, they all responded together at once, in ambush. It was a pitiful scene. None of the freak's helpers who always swore allegiance to him lifted a finger to help him. All who live by the sword 'die' by the sword. It's folly to depart from real justice and go that way.

--->Zbigniew Brzezinski's Monday NY Times Op-Ed: How to Stay Friends With China... and / or see ZB discuss the column on Charlie Rose....

--->Perspective Right or Wrong, Another interview, award winning journalist John Pilger and
Wikileaks' Julian Assange...

Many anti-christians and pan-sexualists I observe ranting on the Internet are thoroughly incognizant of how conditioned they are by the media which today is creating the global hive mind. Pavlov would be proud. They could be made to tap piano keys with their little beaks at the sound of a bell, or made to attack at the sound of Christopher Hitchens' voice.

--->Lawyers alert: What can this possibly mean, especially when considered more broadly? From the New York Times: "It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, to file an amicus brief on behalf of a "terrorist" group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group’s "terrorist" designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances."

May no one then attempt to show the innocence of anyone believed to have been incorrectly so designated or charged as if by fiat? Where then is justice? Habeas Corpus? What then would be left of us as a law-abiding people? How near is public discussion to alleged "public advocacy"?

David L. Gray: A
Conversation

Listen to internet radio with Stephen Hand on Blog Talk Radio

David L. Gray has had a fascinating life: Freemason, agnostic, accountant, jail, author. There was also tragedy and grace. In fact just as he was trying to commit suicide in jail, he heard the Lord Jesus tell him to stop, that he was loved in spite of everything. After a time he was led to the Catholic Church. Mr. Gray is also the author of Dead on Arrival: The Seven Fatal Errors of Sola-Scriptura (Bible-Only) (Amazon.com)

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