The Roman Catholic Church follows two version of Canon Law. The ‘inner’ or ‘private’ version is well-known amongst the laity as it regulates individual behaviour and is drawn from examples set by Jesus Christ himself as recorded in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) – and the fourth gospel – of St John. The ‘outer’ or ‘public’ version of Catholic Canon Law is not very well-known outside the Church hierarchy – and for good reason. This version of Canon Law contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ and advocates that the Church – as a ‘distinct’ example of a ‘perfect’ State on Earth – must gather as much wealth as possible, conquer as much land as possible and secure as much political power as possible! The Pope – whomever he may be from decade to decade – quotes Christ in public as a form of camouflage whilst behind the scenes he is organising and supporting all kinds of political intrigues and secret agendas! The Roman Catholic Church does this because its theological position is that there is a greater political game being played out – a game of ‘expediency’ which it must play effectively if God’s Will is to triumph on Earth! Obviously, the pacifism of Christ and his opposition to capitalism is an ‘unrealistic’ position for the Roman Catholic Church to adopt as a continuous policy in the face of an ever-changing world.
Although I do not wish to cover the entire spectrum of the eight major ‘Crusades’ which the Roman Catholic Church launched against an Islamic Jerusalem between the 11th and 13th centuries – I am interested in an event which occurred during the 12th century – whilst the Second Crusade was underway. My personal opinion is that these events were ‘racially’ motivated and serve as the basis of an enhanced sense of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. There are bizarre Neo-Nazi theories that assume that early Jewish communities possessed a cultural ‘connectivity’ over vast distances which would equal the internet today with its speed of communication! This ahistorical theory suggests the Jews played one non-Jewish opponent off of the other – exploiting and undermining each in turn and as situations permitted or demanded! This type of viewpoint is ahistorical and expresses a Hitleresque sense of paranoia! The Jews are no better or worse at communicating than any other distinct ethnic group. Therefore, we may discard the ‘enemy within’ narrative that has plagued Judaism for centuries – an allegation not helped by the developed by the modern ideology of Zionism – which is another story.
Gervase of Canterbury (1141-1210 CE) was an English Benedictine monk renowned for the written (Latin) text he kept entitled ‘The Chronicle’. This was a diary pertaining to the important (or outstanding) events of each day that effected the monastery and its daily functioning. As the monks collectively followed the ‘Rule of St Benedict’ – a ‘diary’ of this type ensured that the expected monastic discipline was being followed and that its strictures were being applied to any and all physical circumstances as they appeared or manifested. This type of record could be ‘checked’ from time to time by the royal (or ecclesiastical) authorities to ensure everything was in order. However, although usually quite mundane and matter of fact, the following very strange paragraph was penned (or rather ‘quilled’) by Gervase during the Summer months of 1178 CE:
‘About an hour after sunset June 18, 1178, AD, a band of five eyewitnesses (all monks of the monastery) watched as the upper horn of the bright, new crescent moon “suddenly split in two. From the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks. Meanwhile the body of the Moon, which was below writhed, as it were in anxiety, and to put it in the words of those who reported it to me and saw it with their own eyes, the Moon throbbed like a wounded snake. Afterwards it resumed its proper state. This phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance, the witnesses reported.’
Obviously, none of this literally happened (in real life) to the physical celestial object known as the Moon. We know this because the Moon still exists – so what was Gervase talking about – and ‘why’ was he saying it? Bear in mind that probably more than 90% of the British population were illiterate at the time in question and possessed no way of accessing (or reading) any written texts. The Chronicle of Gervase, therefore, was intended only for the ruling classes and no one else. Gervase never saw this event himself – but is writing from the perspective of five eyewitness accounts that all seem to agree with one another. Of course, the five eyewitnesses are all local monks. No one else reported this phenomenon throughout the entire country, no peasant and no member of the nobility. Furthermore, there are no eyewitnesses from anywhere across the entire world. Were the five monks concerned all sharing a mass hallucination? Had they imbued some type of entheogen or psychotropic compound (such as ‘magic mushrooms’) which caused (temporary) chemical changes in their brains – affecting the visual cortex and altering (or interfering with) what they thought they were seeing?
Either the Moon (which I assume was a ‘half’ Moon) physically split in two and then repaired itself – or the visual cortex of the five monks concerned were ‘altered’ in some way – giving the false impression that changes were happening in the physical environment that a) were not happening, and b) had no way of realistically happening. A third option does exist, and it is alarming. Although the Rule of St Benedict is a noble document of discipline and selflessness (involving absolutely ‘no lying’) – is it the case that the Pope (or his close attendants) ordered that Gervase record the following statement about the Moon in The Chronicle – assuring him that the events were all true – and should be recorded as such? Such a deception is commonplace in the world of the Catholic application of ‘public’ Canon Law. In theory, why would such a deception take place? During the Second Crusade, the Islamic Armies of Saladin were defeated at the Battle of Montgisard on November 25th, 1177 – just seven months before Gervase made his ‘Moon’ entry. However, just a year later the Knights of Europe would be decisively defeated at the Battle of Marj Ayyub. When the Moon appeared to be split asunder – the fate of the Second Crusade lay in the balance! Would Jerusalem remain in Christian or Islamic hands?
Indeed, the term ‘propaganda’ was coined by the Roman Catholic Church as a means to describe the system of ‘scheming’ devised by the Vatican to gain and retain political power in the world. The theology of Islam was a problem for the Christian Church as the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is presented as the only ‘true’ Prophet whose presence supersedes all other representatives of God that have existed on Earth (including Jesus Christ – whose status in the Holy Qur’an is reduced to that of ‘Prophet’ and nothing else). Were the Catholics attempting to create a propaganda victory by implying that a prediction contained within the pages of the Holy Qur’an was beginning to come true – but in a manner which proved Christianity to be superior to Islam? Such a propaganda offensive could inspire the common people to rise-up with a strength of racist hysteria and once again head en masse to the Holy Land! This is the section in the Holy Qur’an that I believe the Catholics had read and decided to use against the Muslims:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
‘(1) The hour has drawn nigh, and the moon has been cleaved; (2) and if they see a sign, they turn away and say, “Incessant sorcery!” (3) They denied and followed their caprices – and every matter shall be made to endure. (4) Indeed, reports have come to them wherein is a reproof, (5) conclusive wisdom, but the warnings availed not.’
Surah 54 (1-5) – The Moon (al-Qamar)
The Study Quran – A New English Translation and Commentary – Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Editor-in-Chief), HarperOne, (2015), Page 1300
The background to this explanation by the Prophet (PBH) is given in this learned ‘Introduction’ (Page 1299) to Surah 54 which reads as follows:
‘The first verses of al-Qamar are understood by the vast majority of commentators as a reference to a miracle performed by the Prophet. One evening he was addressing a group of disbelievers and Muslims on the plain of Mina, just outside of Makkah. The disbelievers had been disputing with the Prophet for several days, demanding a miracle as proof of his prophethood, and they began to do so again. The Prophet then raised his hand and pointed to the moon, whereupon it appeared to separate into two halves, one on either side of nearby Mt. Hira. He then said, “Bear witness!”, and the line of separation disappeared. All were left speechless, but his opponents soon discounted it as an illusion produced by sorcery. According to one account, one of the disbelievers said, “Muhammed has merely bewitched us, but he cannot bewitch the entire world. Let us wait for travellers to come from faraway places and hear what reports they bring.” Then, when some travellers arrived in Makkah a few days later, they confirmed that they too had witnessed the splitting of the moon.’
There is a debate amongst Arabic language scholars as to how this text is to be understood. One opinion states that it should be read only in the present-tense as the ‘Moon is cleaved’ – whilst another opinion suggests the original Arabic expression also denotes a future-tense in that the ‘Moon will be cleaved’ – as if talking about an ‘end of times’ sign or important event which will surely unfold at a later date. The Prothet’s (PBH) miracle of cleaving the Moon is always mentioned as literally ‘happening’ – regardless of whether the ‘end of times’ interpretation is used. Interestingly, the Moon being cleaved is attested to by other (random) travellers – an attribute missing from the Catholic version. Either way, there is no recording of this event as a ‘world happening’ either in the 7th or 12th centuries CE. Of course, I was not present at either event and have no first-hand experiemce with regard to what those who were present experienced and are attempting to convey. As I do not believe in blind faith – I must rely on the rational and logical components of my modern mind. I also note that a number of Islamic and Christian scholars throughout history have also employed this method of viewing the world – regardless of the personal cost to themselves.
I am of the opinion that the Pope ‘ordered’ this ‘miracle’ to be observed over Southen Britain as a way of intimidating and unnerving the Islamic population whilst empowering the Christian equivalent! The ‘end of times’ motif is being incorrectly employed by the Pope to suggest that the 1177 CE victory of his Christian Army in the Holy Land is the signalling of the ‘end’ of Islam as a power in the world! Perhaps the Pope, if his armies had eventually prevailed – was planning a genocide of the Muslims – removing them forever from history. The Pope is saying that the crescent of Islam is being smashed forever! Or, at least that was his intention during the Summer of 1178! [It is important to note at this juncture that the Christian version of this story uses a ‘Half-Moon’ (implying the ‘Crescent’ symbol which signifies Islam) – whilst the Islamic version (which is far older) refers to the entirety of the ‘Full Moon’]. As matters transpired, the Christian mob was eventually defeated and driven out of the Holy Land – and it seems that the above entry recorded in The Chronicle was left in-place and forgotten – not ‘removed’ or ‘hidden’ as is the usual Catholic practice of exercising God’s Will in the world. Perhaps the strangest example of anti-intellectualism exercised in relation to this subject is the plethora of modern Western thinkers who try to shoe-horn the above events into all kinds of bizarre and obscure pseudoscientific theories! Even though the Moon can be seen in the night sky all through the year – somehow it once split apart and then re-attached itself!