Bishop Mar Mari speaks truth – others spout garbage

by PAUL COLLITS – AUSTRALIAN bishops are currently in the news. In the case of Western Sydney this week, for the wrong reasons. 

Very nearly tragic news, for Assyrian Orthodox Christian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel. The good Bishop, whose words have been unhelpfully described by The Sydney Morning Herald as “inflammatory”, is, thankfully, recovering from an officially designated terrorist stabbing attack this week in his church. During his homily. 

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel sounds like my kind of guy. And a leader, too. Where do you get signed up? He certainly resented the 2020-21 lockdowns and vaccine mandates a little more vocally than his brother Christian bishops.

London’s Daily Telegraph describes him as follows: “Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel is the leader of an ultra-conservative branch of the Assyrian Orthodox faith who has a big presence on social media.

“The Christian Orthodox bishop who was stabbed in Sydney’s second knife attack in three days is a fire and brimstone preacher known for his anti-LGBTQ views and scepticism over COVID vaccines.

LEADS

“Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel leads the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley in Sydney’s western suburbs.

“He has a big presence on social media, with 17,000 followers on Facebook and 200,000 subscribers on YouTube. Videos he has posted to TikTok have been viewed millions of times.

“In July 2021, at the height of the pandemic, he described lockdown restrictions as ‘mass slavery’.

“He claimed that the risks posed by COVID-19 had been ‘exaggerated’ and that vaccines were unnecessary because people’s natural immune systems would fight the virus.”

He sounds like my kind of guy. And a leader, too. Where do you get signed up?

He probably resented the 2020-21 lockdowns and vaccine mandates a little more strongly than his brother bishops in some of the other Christian churches.

Lockdowns condoned and wimpily accepted by the Catholic Church (for example), that closed churches to the faithful and so made a mockery of thousands of years of Judeo-Christian belief in the absolute sanctity of the Sabbath.

By being my kind of guy isn’t the point, though. For this is a story of another, more confused Church leader. Namely, a North Queensland Catholic bishop.

Those struggling with their faith or facing spiritual, health or family crises, or all of these at once, probably like many contemporary Christians, look to the Church and its pastors for spiritual succour, comfort and reassurance.

They don’t go to church for foreign policy analysis, especially when informed by ignorant opinion mixed with ideology and very confused theology. Certainly not on Easter Sunday, the day.

Homilies are important. They are not the liturgy, but they have a valued place within the liturgy.

We can easily move from the empty tomb to the resurrection of the body, to the notion that men are born without evil in them but tainted by original sin, to baptism and the possibility of redemption, to things going wrong and monsters and those with lesser evil in them doing nasty things, and even to the world facing war and being ruled poorly.

MESSAGE

A fair old distance from the core message of the Resurrection, but still (sort of) on the page.

Then we jump to Ukraine and the evil of Vladimir Putin. Whoa!

It was a fair enough point to lament the quality of world leaders in our times. I often do. Astonishingly, though, he only lamented Putin by name.

He could equally have started his lament in Vatican City, then moved on to London and Washington DC and Paris and Berlin and Canberra and New York and Geneva. All are run by careerists, thugs, crooks, bullies or the foreign policy-clueless. In some cases, all of the above.

Yes, Putin is a thug, no democrat, likely a crook, and probably an unreconstructed communist. And? True, but irrelevant. And not an appropriate topic for debate on Easter Sunday.

To lament Ukraine, you also should be lamenting the 2014 US backed coup in that country, NATO’s naïve Eastern push over three decades (strangely redolent of the eastern ambitions of another European leader back in the 1930s), and the Biden-led money laundering scheme that is the multi-billion-dollar US commitment to the tinpot former Soviet State, about which we are all meant to feel sorry and display flags.

Just sayin’.

It was only another short step for the North Queensland pastor to the Israeli “genocide” in Gaza, which he (thankfully) failed to mention on the Day of the Resurrection.

AGGRESSION

He did get to the Middle East two weeks later, though, following Iran’s latest aggression which perhaps complicated his emerging peace-at-all-costs narrative.

Which brings us to the rampant and very loud peace-nicery of our times.

Prayers for peace and pleas for cease-fires are often proxies for prayers for one side in the conflict at hand. Whether they are intended as such, or not.

Many are well-intentioned. But, at bottom, a feeble default. They are merely foolhardy.

Any ceasefire in the Middle East will only help Hamas terrorists. Calls for “peace” are, in context, terrorist-adjacent. They give comfort to the bad guys. And we are meant to be against the bad guys, not withstanding turn-the-other-cheek. See under “just war”. Or “righteous anger”.

Or look up Victor Davis Hanson on proportionate responses to military provocation. Especially when the threat is existential.

Get real, chaps.

Any “negotiations” with Hamas and its friends would be worthless. They have been for thirty years, despite the best efforts of Bill Clinton, George Bush 43 and other do-gooders.

What is it that these people don’t get about Hamas?

The perpetual “look over there” efforts of Palestine supporters who see Zionists under every bed clearly fool many. But not those with any understanding of the history of the Middle East, a sense of geopolitics and a grasp of forever-terrorist agendas.

GAS

What is it about “destroying Israel” and “gas the Jews” that they do not get?

Brendan O’Neill at Spiked gets it: “How quickly the ‘Ceasefire Now!’ lobby turned into frothing warmongers. No sooner had Iran began its criminal bombardment of Israel than these phoney peaceniks were leaping up and down with delight.

“This is ‘true solidarity’, said one ‘pro-Palestine’ group in response to Iran’s raining down of missiles on the Jewish State.

“We can now glimpse the truth behind their fake pacifism. We can see their yearning for war on Israel that they cynically dress up as a campaign for peace in Palestine. It’s not a ceasefire woke Westerners want – it’s the humiliation and taming of the Jewish nation.”

Declan Mansfield at Quadrant gets it too.

“The dominant cultural trope about the Gaza War, which was created by a corrupt, at worst, and a naïve, at best, media, is the relentless perfidy of Israel,” he wrote.

“Who, though, other than someone completely uninformed about the decades-long conflict in the Middle East, for example, would believe anything that Hamas says, especially their statistics about the dead and injured in Gaza?

“It took the Israelis months to determine how many people went missing or were killed on October 7, yet Hamas knows the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza as soon as they switch on a computer. And extraordinarily enough, remember the blood libel, there are always large numbers of children cited as victims.

“Germans, to put the situation in context, don’t blame the Allies for their dead in World War II; the Palestinians are hypocrites blaming Israel for casualties in a war that Hamas started.

CHEERLEADERS

UK author Brendan O’Neill referred to the anti-Israel Left: “How woke Leftists became cheerleaders for Iran.”

But it isn’t just the Left.

Those on the conspiracy theory “Right”, so perceptive in relation to the COVID State, but sadly in thrall to the idea that all geopolitical issues can be reduced to the malfeasance of the American-led military-industrial complex, are just as susceptible to Hamas-adjacentism.

UK journalist James Corbett thinks that October 7 was a false flag event. Really?

When you are in thrall of your own bullshit, you are in deep trouble.

The real existence of false flag operations doesn’t render every international act of military significance an example of the genre. Never lose sight of Pol Sci 101, and realpolitik.

The innocent, well-meant calls for a Christian sense of peace by fundamentally good prelates should be taken with extreme caution in times where evil is real and meant.

Calls for peace at any cost can do massive harm. Jesus said to the disciples, post the Resurrection, “peace be with you”. Yes, he did. Yes, this message has consequences.

Aquinas chipped in, however.

A great impetus to the Just War Theory was Thomas Aquinas. He emphasised Augustine’s statements about war and added a little to them.

He followed a similar reasoning breaking up his argument into three necessary conditions for a just war: authorised authority, just cause and rightful intention.

Does an existential threat to one’s existence count as a reasonable response to provocative threats? Yep. And recognising this doesn’t make you a clueless neocon, by the way.

Knowing the context of the core Easter message and the difference between its lessons and the give-to-Caesar realism of international relations needed now is important. To say the least.PC

Paul Collits

Mar Mari speaks after attack

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Mar Mari Emmanuel during the knife attack. (courtesy The Irish Sun)

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