Another Day, Another Apology to Muslims
“Don’t listen to liberals, because the Muslims will cut your heads off.” That’s the comment that warranted the KRQE headline, “Parents accuse Belen priest of making discriminatory comments against Muslims.” Apparently no one had a problem with the “don’t listen to liberals” part. Instead, being well trained in political correctness, it was the moment Fr. Jonas Romea, a priest in Belen, New Mexico, told a group of pre-K to eighth grade Catholic kids that there were Muslims terrorists that caused the problem. Specifically mentioning Muslims cutting “heads off” was when parents became terribly offended on behalf of Islam. The next thing you know, a reporter at KOAT Action News was asking Fr. Romea if he didn’t think his remarks were “Islamophobia?” Fr. Romea said that he denied that label, and strengthened his point by saying: “Recent reports out of the Middle East show that Catholics around the world are under attack. The news pieces that we get… from there tell us that actually, Christians are being slaughtered.”
KRQE reported that after receiving complaints about Fr. Romea’s remarks (made during a homily to students at Our Lady of Belen Church,) the “Archdiocese of Santa Fe sent out a letter to parents saying the homily didn’t fully embrace the message of Jesus Christ.”
Later, Fr. Romea sparred with KOAT reporter David Carl asking, “Are all people burglars? No, not all people are burglars. But my next question is, do you lock your doors at night?”
Carl responds, “I do. I do. So are you lumping in Muslims as burglars? Are you making an equivalency there?” Carl knows better, but with progressively tweaked critical thinking techniques designed to disarm traditional reasoning, Fr. Romea is easily mocked, then easily silenced with a craftily edited interview. By this time, he has been so intimidated -- by someone or some governing body -- that he will not even name “that religion that he mentioned” -- Islam.
The original story aired March 30th. By April 12th, Fr. Romea issued what some local people told me they believed to be a “coerced apology” which can be read here; and by April 28th he found himself terminated from the diocese. (This fact was told me by someone who had spoken directly with Fr. Romea himself, and was also present during the April 30th mass where Fr. Romea’s departure was discussed. There has been no official statement from the diocese.)
Romea’s apology contained the sentence: “I have come to realize that the Islamic Faith is not to be equated with terrorism and vice-versa.”
Sadly, 84-year-old French priest Jacques Hamel didn’t get a chance to concur with that statement, having had his throat slit by ISIS militants less than a year ago during a quiet morning Mass. One has to wonder what kind of internal spiritual struggles these Catholic Christian leaders are suffering as the world keeps forcing them to the ground -- symbolically or literally -- to grovel toward Mecca.
In New Mexico, the incident took on an overtly political tone when former senator Michael Sanchez reportedly shone a spotlight on it by Tweeting what happened “wasn’t right” and that he “stands with Muslims.”
Stories of priests being silenced as they try to speak against Islam aren’t new, but aren’t abating either. Earlier this month, the diocese of Orlando, Florida reprimanded a priest for teaching his students about Muhammed from the writings of Catholic Saint John Bosco. The story, not surprisingly unearthed by the Huffington Post’s Documenting Hate Project, ended with the Orlando diocese stating “the information provided in the sixth grade class is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
This past February, the Rev. Peter West, pastor of St. John's Catholic Church in Orange, NJ made news calling moderate Islam “a myth” and openly supported President Trump’s travel ban, (though its characteristics changed over time.) A spokesman for that diocese said, “…we are concerned about Father West's comments and actions, and will be addressing them according to the protocols of the Church."
Journalist Mark Mueller, writing for NJ.com, told his readers:
(Father West’s) attacks, while popular with many of his 7,300 Facebook followers from around the country, run counter to the statements and philosophies of his own leader, Newark Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, and his ultimate boss, Pope Francis.
What is really happening in small Catholic dioceses across the country, one can only guess; but you can be sure the politically-correct thought police are on duty everywhere.
Looking beyond our borders, we see precedents in places like Germany -- where a Catholic priest was banned from preaching after speaking at an anti-Islamization protest; and a priest arrested in France for being “too hard” on Islam, and having his website shut down.
It is the greatest irony that while there is no known Catholic priest, nor adherent of Catholicism, that has been charged with beheading a Muslim in modern times, that those who warn against Islam are the targets of censure and ridicule by their own societies. Instead of shouting “never again” to the ideological/religious perpetrators of such violence, Americans robotically repeat “not every Muslim is an extremist!” Strangely, this phrase seems to have been beaten into us harder than the sharp edge of every reported “radical Muslim” sword that has slaughtered man, woman, and child around the globe.
Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com