On January 5th, Father Nicholas VanDenBroeke, a priest in Lonsdale, Minnesota, preached about the very real threat of Islam on Christianity and the American way of life during his homily on Immigration Sunday. Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archbishop of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese didn’t wait to publish a statement condemning Fr. VanDenBroeke’s homily. Most striking in his statement was this line quoting the Second Vatican Council:

“The Catholic Church, in fidelity to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (emphasis his own), looks with esteem to Muslims, who worship God above all by prayer, almsgiving and fasting, revere Jesus as a prophet while not acknowledging his divinity, and honour Mary, his Virgin Mother.”

His Excellency, Archbishop Hebda was also quick to note that Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI has encouraged Catholics to “esteem” Muslims because they “worship God who is one, living and subsistent; merciful and almighty, the creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to humanity.” 

It wasn’t long before Fr. VandenBroeke also issued a statement of apology saying, “My homily on immigration contained words that were hurtful to Muslims.  I’m sorry for this. I realize now that my comments were not fully reflective of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam.”

This, of course, begs the question- what exactly did Fr. VanDenBroeke say to cause such a stir at his parish?

“Of course, there are peaceful Muslims, absolutely, but the religion as a religion and as an ideology and worldview, is contrary to Christ and America.”

It would seem that the moment the Political Correctness Mob heard about Fr. VanDenBroeke’s remarks, the Archdiocese strong-armed him into retracting his statement. 

The most prominent thing that rises to the surface regarding the archbishop’s statement is that it completely ignores centuries of Christian persecution at the hands of Muslims. A reasonable person can- and perhaps should- come to the conclusion that Catholics should never “esteem” Islam. A few reasons that come to mind:

  • Islam is not, at it’s core, a religion of peace.
  • Muhammad is a false prophet- Muslims do not worship the True God, who revealed Himself to be trinitarian in nature. Since Muslims reject Jesus, the second Person in the Trinity, Muslims reject God Himself.
  • Muhammad taught his followers to exploit women for sexual pleasure including through: 
    • The practice of having child brides (his youngest bride was 6 years old and he consummated his marriage to her when she was 9 years old and he was 52- in other words, he raped her at 9 years old.)
    • Domestic rape
    • Polygamy
  • Muhammad preached that all infidels (those who do not convert to Islam) should be killed to please Allah. 
  • Islam is not a religion that has a meaningful distinction between Church and State. 

Derya Little, author of “From Islam to Christ: One Woman’s Path Through the Riddles of God,” chronicles what it was like coming of age in a country imbued with Islam in every respect and the challenges she overcame to ultimately come to Christ in the Catholic Church. Little happens to hold a position on the matter that is in stark contrast with Archbishop Hebda: “I don’t see anything wrong with what [Fr. VanDenBroeke] said. Anyone who thinks that Islam will not affect this secular post-Christian culture is either naïve or ignorant of what Islam actually teaches.” 

Fr. VanDenBroeke’s remarks were absolutely true, and it is foolish to think otherwise. The thousands of Christian martyrs (and non-Christians) who have died and continue to die today at the hands of the Muslims around the world would likely take issue with Archbishop Hebda’s response. It does not logically follow that because some Muslims don’t fully live the tenets of their professed faith that the faith itself is not harmful or dangerous at its core.

Little went on to add:

“I think a lot of Westerners and Christians think that Islam is just another religion like Christianity, but the society Islam promotes is not somewhere anyone of us would want to live. At the same time, Islamic culture is very dominant and offers an alternative to the vacuum. Immigration should be limited for the good of the country regardless of who immigrates. In the case of Islam, of course, there is nothing to balance the affect and influence of Muslim communities who offer something that is lost in the West. I say all this as an immigrant.”

Islam is a very real threat to Christianity. When our Church leaders downplay this reality, it becomes a threat of its own and a scandal to the faithful. This entire situation is symptomatic of a post-conciliar Church that is obsessed with “dialogue” and shirks from her responsibility to evangelize. Archbishop Hebda’s message is loud and clear- being politically correct supersedes the truth in the modern Church.