Monday, August 25, 2014

Lucia Is James Foley a Martyr?

Pia de Solenni has written a post on whether or not James Foley is a martyr. I tend to think he is, as I doubt he would have been murdered had he converted to Islam. Anyway, here is some of her reasoning, and her blog post has more:

So, is James Foley a martyr?

According to his siblings, Katie and Michael, who were interviewed on the Today Show, when Pope Francis spoke with the family by telephone, he said that their brother James is a martyr:
The brother and sister also spoke in slight detail about what the Pope said to the family when he called on Thursday afternoon. Michael said that the pontiff labeled James an martyr, who sacrifice would not be forgotten.
  • Has the Pope canonized James Foley? No.
  • Do we know that he officially said this? Nope.
  • Did he say this in a formal pronouncement? Negative.
Do I think the Pope could’ve said it? Yep. Absolutely.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
Here’s why:
  1. We know that IS/ISIS/ISIL generally offers its captives a choice: convert to their brand of Islam or die, as witnessed by the thousands of people fleeing Iraq these past few weeks. It could be that they only wanted Foley because he was a US citizen and that they would have killed him regardless, but I doubt it. I think they would have celebrated if he’d become one of them. Heck, they’ve got plenty of Westerners joining them. The man who beheaded him is possibly a UK citizen.
  2. More and more is coming out about his faith , his prayer, and the way he lived his life, particularly while in captivity. All of it suggests that he lived his faith well.
  3. I don’t think it’s insignificant that they “made him stand against a wall and pose as if he had been crucified.” (h/t Deacon’s Bench)
  4. If the terrorists had his family’s email addresses, then they probably knew of his faith experience while captive in Syria. They certainly would’ve done their research and there was a clear trail on the internet.
  5. Martyrdom is not something that happened a long time ago in ancient Rome, or more recently in the founding of the Americas a few hundred years ago. It’s something that’s happening a lot, most – if not all – of the time. Pope Francis is well aware of this, more so than most of us. If it takes the death of James Foley for us to realize that people are dying because of their faith every day, then that makes him even more of a witness to the truth.
Read more : Is James Foley A Martyr? 16 Points To Consider. ~ Pia de Solenni

Other stories on James Foley today, showing the world wide impact of his death:
James Foley beheading video ‘was like watching the murder of Lee all over again’ says mother of Drummer Rigby

Chinese People are also Horrified by the James Foley Video ~ Foreign Policy
This story reports on the interesting angle that some Chinese media tried to use James Foley's murder as a means to attack the US, "only to be clobbered by Chinese netizens" who were outraged over this attempt use his death in this way.

8 comment(s):

Maria said...

Thanks for posting this Lucia. Yes, I think James Foley is a martyr. I also think it should be publically proclaimed and a Church pronouncement re a general absolution (if possible) for all those killed in this way. And regular public televised Masses for the repose of souls. In order to give ISIS a spiritual 'shot over the bows'. They think when they do violence and kill they are saved by this action and are closer to their deity for it. By proclaiming their victims in the arms of God then it pokes them in the eye.
A question....some say that 'martyrs are the seed of the Church'. I agree but feel that in the case of Islam it isn't so. History doesn't attest to it. In fact where Islam spreads the light of the Church basically go out except for a cluster of Christians under tight restrictions....they can't build Churches for example.
Do you think the Church will spring up with Islam?

the conservative said...

Lucia, I don’t know if Foley was a martyr or not but I am pretty sure the beheading was staged. He wasn’t beheaded on camera. I saw the original (at least I think it was the original—it’s gone now) and I could see the
British guy take a knife to Foley’s throat and push the knife hard back and forth rapidly over his throat but there was no blood; it appeared he was rubbing the blunt side of the blade over his throat. Then the camera broke away and showed Foley lying on the ground with his head on his back, and it was his

I didn’t actually see the beheading and I don’t think anyone else has either.

It is now being reported that the British guy was just a front for propaganda purposes—and I believe that.

Maria said...

I'm pretty sure that it doesn't really, victim, knife, death. Whatever the sequence or presentation the result was the same. Whether the British guy actually did it or not is irrelevant he is as guilty whether he did or didn't because he pronounced it and allowed it and participated in it.
The town of Amerli has been under siege for ages, surrounded by ISIS. The people have no food or water left. We have known this for several days. If they get taken they will suffer immensely because they have killed about 150 of the ISIS surrounding them and because they are Shia. I am no more fond of Shia than Sunni but human dignity cries out against them suffering at the hands of ISIS. If no one acts the world is culpable for this. The UN is 'asking' asking????Why are they so useless.

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Terry,

I haven't seen the video (cannot watch things like that), and I've checked and found this article: Foley murder video may have been staged.

Just to be clear, he was killed, just not apparently on camera.

Lucia Maria said...


I think in the East, things are a bit more complicated with regards to the Church. For instance, heresy mostly flourished in the East, and in the past, whole populations were taken over without that much bloodshed. I think the Church can spring up with Islam, it's just not had enough people willing to die for her yet.

Maria said...

I agree that Christianity has various expressions as many are Coptic, Orthodox or Catholic. In fact the early Church had four main patriarchates one of which was Rome. When Islam spread over the course of a century the other three were swallowed up. The main heretical debates had taken place and had been settled by the time of Islam. So I don't quite agree, if I am reading you correctly (apologies if not) that what was lost might have been mainly heretical sects? I don't agree.

Nor do I agree that it was without bloodshed. The amount of bloodshed depended on the choices made to convert or be subjugated. Subjugation is not for the faint hearted and so many converted over time. Not only in the Middle East but northern India.

I don't think the Middle East needs more Christian martyrs. Nor can Christianity spring up within can't be preached, can't build Churches or repair, Muslims can't change religion. They exist....but don't flourish.

I think history attests to the I beg to differ. What we are seeing with ISIS is a renaissance of the original spread. The founding of Islam begins with the first Jihad...the prophet of Islam beheaded 700 Jewish men from the Quraysh tribe in Arabia. By the time they reached the Byzantium empire (Turkey) after the prophet's terrible was the violence that they thought it was the end of the world. For that reason the Emperor appealed to the Pope for help and the Crusades were a response to that call for defence from Islam and safe passage for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Pope Benedict quoted the Emperor quite well at Regensberg and is on the button.

Lucia Maria said...


The main heretical debates had taken place and had been settled by the
time of Islam. So I don't quite agree, if I am reading you correctly
(apologies if not) that what was lost might have been mainly heretical
sects? I don't agree.

Have you read Hilaire Belloc's book, The Great Heresies? In his chapter on Arianism, he states that the effects of Arianism linger to his day (and to ours, I think) while as nothing remained of it in the West (though, I think it may be coming back with Protestanism). So yes, the debates had been had, yet in the East Arianism continued, as Belloc says, until Islam came and prevented reconnection with the main body of faith.

Here's the chapter on Arianism for the full context of what he's said.

If you look at the groups of Christians who are being persecuted currently by ISIS, most are not Catholic. That's left over from way back. Most seem to be very tribal over their identity as opposed to part of a wider body.

Also, the initial invasions by Islam in the Eastern Christian was not resisted the way the later invasions were. Islam was a relief to many, due to a number of factors. See the chapter on Islam by Belloc.

Note also that Belloc published his book in the 1930's and predicted the rise of Islam, which in his time was a spent force, hardly worth bothering about.

As well, the best place to convert Muslims should in the West, and we are failing in that. I wrote a post a while ago on it ... here we go: Muslim Immigration as a Gift from God.

Sorry, so much more to say, but have to go. Hopefully I've given you enough to look at this from a slightly different perspective. I don't know all the answers, not saying that. It's just that the whole problem is complicated and understanding it in it's entirety is necessary for a solution.

Feel free to search the website as well, I've written a lot over the years on Islam. Far more than I can summarise in this comment.

Maria said...

Thanks for the effort. No I haven't read Belloc but will get around to it. Thanks for the tip. I did read him on the French Revolution and while it was good it had some issues.
Yes to conversion of Muslims in the West. But the most abject and unprotected group of converts are Muslims to Christianity (or anything else). I have learned first hand that Christians avoid them because there is the threat of retaliation, murder or kidnap. The State won't protect them or consider them at risk. I see that a Saudi convert to a Christian community in the South Island has disappeared. His Christian friends are saying he was forcibly taken back to Saudi. Probably quietly because his family (he had two small daughters) were no doubt threatened. It is not an easy matter.
Yes, I understand the Byzantium was mostly Arian. But still my point was that the three Patriarchates out of four were overrun.
Please note that there are indeed many Catholics in the Middle East. Pope Francis called one of his priests in the last twenty four hours and they are in the thick of it.
I would never agree that Islam was 'a relief' to north Africa. They didn't just walk in. Andrew Bostom has a lot of history. I have read only a little of it.

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