The term Crusade in the strict sense refers to the specific holy wars fought to free the Holy Land from the Moslems. Italian lay Church historian Roberto de Mattei in his book Holy War, Just War makes a broader distinction between a just war, declared by a civil authority, and a holy war, one intended for the defense of the Church and Christendom. The recent plea by Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Nigeria to Western nations to fight the Islamic Boko Haram – http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/01/20/nigeria-bishop-west-must-send-in-troops-to-fight-boko-haram/ – represents an appeal for a holy war because it involves the defense of Catholic Nigerians against Moslem terrorists, and therefore a defense of a sector of the Church and of Christendom. This plea of Bishop Doeme comes after the failure of the Nigerian government and the military to adequately defend Nigerian Catholic citizens.
Juan Donoso Cortés explains such tragedies in Catholicism, Liberalism and Socialism by comparing the significance of the two sacrifices of Cain and Abel for all of human history. Abel offered God a sacrifice of animal blood, while Cain, refusing to offer a bloody sacrifice to God, shed instead the blood of his brother Abel. Abel’s sacrifice foreshadowed the sacrifice on the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Cain’s killing of Abel represents the war and bloodshed of the human race when it rejects the sacrifice of the Cross.
The attacks of the Moslems against the Catholics of Nigeria should have brought a response from the Nigerian government, but its failure to act represents what Donoso Cortés explains as the policy of modern governments of not wanting to employ the death penalty for crimes against society. As Lent approaches, at this time in the Church’s history when Catholics in various parts of the world are being killed by Moslems, we turn to the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to understand this passion today of His Mystical Body the Church. There is an abundance of Catholic literature on the theme of Our Lord’s Passion, such as a work of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, and another by Archbishop Alban Goodier. One that we have reprinted was written by a novice mistress for the religious of her community, Meditation on the Passion, but was found to be of such value for the laity as well that its editor, Father Walsh, O.P. made this work available for a wider readership. We invite you to consider it as a worthwhile book for your Lenten meditation.
• Meditation on the Passion: Compiled from Various Sources – by a novice mistress, edited by Father Reginald Walsh, OP, 2012 305p [reprint of 1922 ed] $16 #88185
• Essay on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism: Considered in Their Fundamental Principles - Juan Donoso Cortés [1809-1853] / translated by Madeleine Vincent Goddard / a sketch of the life & works of the author by G. E. de Castro / introduction by Frederick D. Wilhelmsen 2014 xx + 236p [reprint of 1862 ed] hardcover with dust jacket $16 #632827