Mark Smythe, a teacher of religion and social studies at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala, Florida, has been reprimanded by the Roman Catholic diocese of Orlando after distributing the writings of a Catholic saint about Islam to his students. In a statement from the diocese, spokesperson Jacquelyn Flanigan stated, “We have spoken to the principal of Blessed Trinity Catholic School, Ocala and to the teacher in question and have reprimanded the teacher for this unfortunate exhibit of disrespect.”
 
Smythe gave to his students copies of the 1853 writings of John Bosco (1815-1888), an Italian priest who was later canonized by the Church for his work with the poor and orphans, as well as his spiritual writings. He became known for working with young people by combining instruction in the Christian faith along with paternal guidance, all the while seeking to connect the Christian spiritual life with work, study, and play.
 
The material Smythe gave to his students was from Bosco’s text “The Catholic Educated in his Faith.” Bosco’s pamphlet offers Catholic teachings in a question and answer format, in must the same fashion as the widely circulated Baltimore Catechism, about Christian and non-Christian faiths.
 
As to Islam, Bosco referred to Mohammedan teachings as a “monstrous mixture” of faiths and added that Muhammad’s doctrines are “ridiculous, immoral and corrupting.”  The saint consistently criticized both Muhammad and Islam, saying “Muhammad propagated his religion, not through miracles or persuasive words, but by military force.” History records that following the onset of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, within less than one hundred years, the armies of Islam swept throughout the Middle East, enslaving Christians and destroying churches, imposing Islamic rule from Damascus to North Africa and conquering Spain, as well.
 
Bosco wrote, “Muhammad established his religion with violence and arms; Jesus Christ established His Church with words of peace using His poor disciples. Muhammad incited the passions; Jesus Christ commanded the denial of self.” Bosco’s text also says, “Muhammad degrades and dishonours human nature and by placing all happiness in sensual pleasures, reduces man to the level of filthy animals.” He added that “the difference is very great” between the Catholic Church and Islam.
Indeed, Muhammad promised of 72 virgin girls to Muslim men who die in jihad -- war for Islam. Paradise is described by Muhammad and the Koran as a place of sensual pleasures for Muslim men who are served by ever-reconstituting virgin maidens (Houris) and immortal boys of “everlasting youth.” 
 
The reprimand of the teacher in Florida comes during increasing debate in North America and Europe over Islamic migration and the question of whether or not Muslim believers can be effectively assimilated into Western democratic cultures. In addition, terrorist acts by Muslims continue to rattle Israel, Europe, and North America.
 
The reprimand also comes just before Pope Francis is to visit Egypt this week. On Tuesday, Pope Francis released a video directed to the people of the Muslim-majority country and affirming that the  “world needs peace, love and mercy.” He vowed that his visit constitutes “a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place.” It is in Egypt that the Muslim Brotherhood was founded. The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to impose Islamic government not only in Egypt but throughout the Middle East and even the world. It is considered a terrorist organization in Egypt because of its links to bombing attacks, abductions, rapes, and murders of Christians. It was founded in 1928 by Abd al-Rahman Banna, whose brother, Grand Mufti Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, was a notable ally of Adolf Hitler and National Socialist Germany during the Second World War.
 
It was via the leftist ProPublica website and its “Documenting Hate” project that the use of Bosco’s text at the Catholic school in Ocala came to light. ProPublica was established after President Trump’s electoral victory in 2016 and seeks to create a “database of reported hate crimes and bias incidents." With the cooperation of media and advocacy groups, it is largely funded by the Sandler Foundation -- the brainchild of ProPublica’s founder Herbert Sandler. One of the board members is Robert “Bobby” C.S. Monks, the scion of New England aristocrats. According to a bio on the ProPublica website, “Monks currently serves on the boards of Maine Today Media, T3i, Mediant Communications, Maine Fiber Company, Spinnaker Trust, and the Black Point Corporation. He is also a founder and owner of the Eagle Point Companies, Dirigo Management Company, Monks O'Neil Development, The Signal Group, Maine Workforce Housing, and Headwater Capital Management. He was previously a founder and Director of Atlantic Bank.”

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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