Saturday, September 17, 2005

Murderous Synchronicity?

 
Liturgical YearIs there a correlation between certain feast days in the Roman Catholic calendar and the dates of Muslim attacks on Western countries? A startling idea proposed in a post by Fourth World War.

Before considering his proposition, a short primer on the Roman Catholic Liturgical Year is in order.

The Church marks time by this ancient, teleological calendar. The Liturgical Year begins always on the First Sunday in Advent (right around the American feast of Thanksgiving). It moves through the periods of Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time (the longest season, taking up all of the summer and autumn). Properly considered by the early church as a spiral, the cycles within the year were meant to replace the Greek notion of time as circular with Hebrew idea that it was linear and historical. Christian theology laid out its claim that history was irrevocably changed by the irruption of Christ into human history. It fleshed out this idea over the centuries with the development of the Liturgical Year.

Within this framework are two divisions: the main one, the Proper of the Seasons and then the overlay, the Proper of the Saints. The former has to do with the fixed cycles mentioned above of Advent, Christmas, etc., all of which center around the earthly life of Christ and the stories in the Gospels. They follow in their unvarying and particular order — automatic to one who is raised to consider the year in this way — though the dates may vary.

Some feasts are moveable. Easter varies according to the Spring equinox and the date was set (after many ancient quarrels) in the Western Church as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Christmas, on the other hand, never varies from its date (at least in the some countries) of December 25th.

Each cycle has its own color, rhythms and mood. Advent, for example, spans the four weeks before Christmas. “Advent” means coming and the color is purple (penitential), the mood one of expectation as the seasons of the year wind down and preparations are made for the coming of the Christ Child. The scriptural readings for this season are centered around the passages in the Gospels which cover the emerging of Christ into his short life of preaching. It is here you will find his Baptism by John. An old hymn of this season, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is plain chant dating back to the ninth century.

The proper of the Saints is a more detailed calendar, a filigree overlaid on the liturgical cycles. These are the “feast days” assigned to commemorate individual saints — Doctors of the Church for example, or martyrs or events of particular note in Church history. Thus each day of the year has the feast of a saint, sometimes more than one. In the liturgy (the church service) for that day, this person’s life will be celebrated and commemorated, much as we celebrate birthdays in our families and recall the memories we retain of our ancestors.

The liturgical calendar is old, its rudiments dating back to the earliest days of the Church. While saints’ feast days may vary in emphasis from country to country, throughout the Christian world the liturgical year does not change. In Sweden, St. Lucy’s Day is a major feast within the Christmas cycle. The Festival of Lights, on December 13th, marks the beginning of Christmas in Sweden (and to some extent in Sicily). Like many Catholic feast days, its origins pre-date the Christian era.

All of this is by way of introducing the rather startling correlation laid out in the aforementioned post in Fourth World War, to wit:

Dr. J. Michael Waller lists the dates of terrorist attacks and points out the timing of the “some of the most notorious terrorist bombings over the past four years...” Noting the dates of the more notorious of Muslim attacks against the West, he proceeds to assign them to feast days from the Proper of the Saints in the Liturgical Calendar. Three of these feast days he points to are commemorations particularly of Christian and Muslim conflicts from the past and the last one -- the first London bombing — commemorates three English Catholic martyrs executed under Elizabeth I for refusing to renounce their Catholic faith.

Read his ideas and see what you think:

Beginning with 9/11, we have the feast day of Blessed* Louis of Thuringia, a 13th century German prince who died on the Sixth Crusade in 1227. *“Blessed” is a designation for a person who is a step below actual sainthood, thus it is a minor feast.

3/11 is even more interesting. It is the feast of St. Eulogius, bishop of Cordoba, Spain. The Muslim invaders executed the bishop for having helped a Christian convert from Islam to escape the authorities. This occurred on March 11th, 859.

7/7 is the commemoration of three English martyrs, also with the designation of “Blessed” who were killed by Elizabeth for their illegal Catholic activity in 1591. This is an unusual feast day in the Church since, as Dr. Waller points out, there are very few English Catholics commemorated on the Roman Catholic calendar.

7/21 honors another victory over the Muslims, this time by St. Lawrence of Brindisi, who defeated Turkish invaders in Hungary in 1601.

As Doctor Waller says,
     This could be a pattern. Or it could be nothing more than a coincidence. Any meaning remains to be seen.
Finally he brings us up short with this historical date:
     Operation Enduring Freedom, the US response to the 9/11 attacks, began on October 7, 2001. That day is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto (1571), a huge naval engagement in the Mediterranean between the Christians, led by John of Austria, and the Muslim Ottomans led by Ali Pasha. In their first major defeat of the Ottomans, the Christians destroyed the Muslim fleet and prepared the way for more than a century of military successes in central Europe.
For the Christians, these ruminations are most interesting. Atheists would have no problem dismissing them as “nothing more than a coincidence.” The Jungians among us would offer the suggestion that these are eruptions of the collective unconscious. The scientists and the cautious would maintain a “wait-and-see” attitude, keeping a record of the feast days which escape any violence, and those which end with death and mayhem.

But what would the Muslims say? It would appear they have two choices: to proclaim it was their intention all the time — while quickly finding a liturgical calendar, noting the feast days germane to their ongoing intention to “restore” the Caliphate to the whole world, and then using the appropriate saints’ days in aid of their subjugation of dar al Harb. Muslims’ other choice would be to join with the atheists and dismiss the whole thing as a coincidence and a Christian plot. Either way, it would seem they end up looking over their shoulder, wondering who is leading this whole thing, while chanting with somewhat less certainty, and even more defensiveness, Allahu Akbar.

Meanwhile, the other religions — Jewish, Hindu, etc., — might consider a look-see at their calendar of feast days and commemorations and see if there is a correlation with some, or any, Muslim defeats in the past with current Muslim attacks in their countries.

Time will tell. Or, having the whole thing brought to consciousness, the pattern may cease.

Dr. Waller notes the next feast day to watch:
     The next Muslim-related feast day on the Catholic Church calendar is September 24, honoring St. Pacificus, who prophesied the 1688 victory of Christian armies over the Turks in Belgrade.
Would that Hobbes, late of Calvin and Hobbes, were here to offer his views on this mysterious synchronicity. Since he is no longer with us we will have to fall back on Shakespeare’s rumination in Hamlet, when he says: There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy.

There are indeed. The task is to sort out these things “in Heaven and Earth” and to know which tools to use to discern events and their meanings. There’s the crux of the matter: what meanings to assign to wild and wondrous happenings we encounter.

What do you think?


Hat tip: The High Post (alas, the permalink for the post doesn’t work; scroll down a bit).

10 comments:

John Sobieski said...

Interesting, however, there have been so many attacks on the Infidels, that you could pick almost any significant date in Chistianity, or Hindu, or almost any religion, and you could cite terrorist acts that occurred that day. That is how much terrorism the Muslims have perpetrated on the Infidels.

PD111 said...

What about Bali and Beslan? Did they also occur on days when something significant happened between Christians and muslims? Then one needs to consider the terrorist attacks that were planned but failed to happen for any reason.

It is not enough just to quote a few examples and think there is a pattern. As axis of islam rightly points out, there have been so many islamic attacks on Christians and Hindus over the last 1000 years, it is a near certainty that some will fall on "auspicious" dates.

This hypothesis also presumes that jihadis are keeping a watch on the Christian and muslim calendars, looking for "opportune and timely" dates. I think they are more concerned about the time and date to maximise the harvesting of infidel lives, rather then anything else.

DP111

Dymphna said...

Is anybody actually reading my words? Here is what I already said in the post about attacks on other religions:

Meanwhile, the other religions — Jewish, Hindu, etc., — might consider a look-see at their calendar of feast days and commemorations and see if there is a correlation with some, or any, Muslim defeats in the past with current Muslim attacks in their countries.

There has been one attack in America. It fell on a Roman Catholic feast day having to do with Muslims. There have been two attacks in London, one of them on a date connected with a Muslim defeat. There was one attack in Spain, on the feast day of a Roman Catholic bishop executed by Muslims. These are interesting synchronicities. That is all they are. My intuition is that, were Muslims to be told these things, they would be furious.

To paraphrase what Shakespeare had Hamlet say to Horatio: There's a whole lot more going on than meets the eye. It was also Freud's opinion, and Einstein's.

Dr. Waller's observations are simply that: observations.

The human mind is compelled to find patterns in events. When we write them down we call it "history." It's entertaining to consider the idea that history could repeat itself.

mnc said...

Interesting.

Some years ago I saw an Italian calendar, apart from the major feast days, there wasn't a single day that wasn't assigned to a saint.

It occurs to me that if they were choosing anniversaries of events significant to their supporters these would have more significance to their supporters if they used the lunar calendar.

On the other hand, if they did intend linking their actions to historical events I'm sure they would have announced it, they are not known for subtlety.

Redhand said...

Look, there is NO WAY this is intentional. How many jihadis are familiar with the Catholic Liturgical Calender? Hell, how many CATHOLICS are up to speed on it, except in the vaguest way? Sorry, but I think the person originally finding these coincidences had "way too much time on their hands."

As a counter-point, the idiot architect who designed the "Crescent of Embrace" (dry heaves at name) memorial for Flight 93 was, I feel, motivated by a malicious desire to get an insulting subliminal message across. But to say he went a step further and had the "crescent" "pointing at" Mecca? Nah.

bioqubit said...

The first problem I have is with the notion of time as linear and historical. It's just physically, and blatantly, wrong. Seasons shape historical events. If something is linear yet has periodic repetition, then it is cyclical, not strictly linear. Is purported global warming a "linear" phenomenon? Is the rise and fall of an empire "linear"?

Moreover, with the variety of cultures interacting over time, again, the notion of linearity is strained to the point of being nonsense.

Papa Ray said...

Well, this is a little over my head, but consider this.

If women can't even have their "periods" the same time each month, what are the chances of anything else [concerning time] being true?

Beats me.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

hank_F_M said...

Dmyphna

There are over 2000 entries in Butlers Lives of the Saints, and I think over 10,000 in the Roman Martyrology. Most books of the saints only list 365 or 366. I think with a little research and imagination, we can construct a synchronicity with any thing we want.

But why ruin a lot of fun with facts?

Dymphna said...

hank f_m_

You seem to come closer to understanding what I was trying to get at than anyone so far...OTOH, of the 10,000 martyrs and saints, how many have to do with clashes between Muslims and Christians. Those are the point of this post, not the whole host of saints themselves. Christianity marks much more than its conflicts with Islam, BUT IT DOES MARK that particular history in some detail. What it doesn't do is separate out those events.

Like, who knows who the heck St. Eulogius is? Come to find out he's Spanish and he was canonized for being executed by Muslims because he protected one of their apostates. Come to find out further that his feast day is March 11th. And then, finally, we arrive at March ll of the train bombs. The only date so far of Islamic terrorism in Spain.

Sooo, Hank, that's four -- count 'em -- facts. Do they add up to anything? Who knows? They are simply interesting to consider. To consider and to entertain oneself by thinking about possible meanings. None of this mentation requires that one foreclose options by then immediately forming an opinion followed by jumping to a conclusion...

My only conclusion here is that life is mysterious and sometimes things are congruent.

A post on thinking itself is in order...no commenter could simply consider "what does this mean?" without IMMEDIATELY supplying a conclusion. It's a foreclosure on thought itself to refuse to examine the contents of someone's observations without being compelled to say what it means or that it means nothing...

I'll try again sometime when I've recovered more from my accident. Meanwhile, though, I continue to be taken aback by the assertions and dismissals here. Very interesting in themselves.

One, which I cannot let pass, is the idea that time is not linear. Sorry, but that's the basis of our science -- effect follows cause, at least in everyday life. If you want to get down to sub-atomic reality that's another story...but it's a theoretical one, not one on which we base our quotidian lives.

Yes, there are cycles which repeat themselves --circadian rhythms, seasons, etc., but that doesn't detract from the fact that things have beginnings, middles and ends and they have them in that order. The only people who try to rearrange that order -- like the Absurdists -- did so for the sake of entertainment and to get us to think outside the box.

You guys are definitely in the box on this one. Good thing you're cute.

CDR Salamander said...

Somewhere I hear Louis Farakan and the number 19 being talked about.