Tag: Pope Francis

On divorce, Chaput and Francis singing from the same song sheet

From my latest at Crux. In the world of Catholic news, we were almost headed for a lull between the pope’s late June interview on the plane back from Armenia…

From my latest at Crux.

In the world of Catholic news, we were almost headed for a lull between the pope’s late June interview on the plane back from Armenia and the early July appointments of Vatican communications experts (two Americans among them, nary an Italian or a cleric).

But in between, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia released his pastoral guidelines for the implementation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the fruit of the two Synods on the family.

Phew! Catholic social media now had fumes to light a fire, burning faster and brighter than a California wildfire in a drought year.

Like Francis, Chaput discusses marriage and sexuality in light of Church teachings. However, the headlines were about the divorced and remarried [whose previous marriages have not received a decree of nullity from a Church tribunal] not being able to receive Holy Communion.

Read more here.

Especially, the last two paragraphs…

 

 

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3 Sources To Understanding Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si'”

If you’re like most of us, you don’t have time to digest the almost 200 pages of Pope Francis’ new encyclical Laudato Si’ right away, certainly not this morning. Here are three…

image-6If you’re like most of us, you don’t have time to digest the almost 200 pages of Pope Francis’ new encyclical Laudato Si’ right away, certainly not this morning.

Here are three sources that I found helpful.

First, start with John Allen’s latest column, “If ‘Laudato Si’ is an earthquake, it had plenty of early tremors.” He gives a good overview of instruction on the environment from Popes Paul, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. It always help to know where we’ve come from in order to understand where we’re at.

Then, move on to Fr. Raymond De Souza’s, “Laudato Si: The Cheers and the Challenges.” He gives a good analysis of how different interest groups will respond. He points out an aspect that some will see as a challenge, others as a weakness.

Laudato Si  therefore explicitly is aimed at a comprehensive global climate change treaty. That’s very significant, as its endorsement of climate policies meshes with the priorities of the global progressive elite. This means that when Pope Francis arrives in Washington, President Obama will claim that no recent U.S. administration has had policies more in line with the priorities of the Holy See. To be sure, the Holy Father notes that natural ecology cannot be separated from human ecology, and therefore authentic care for the environment is incompatible with abortion (120) or approval of homosexual unions (155).

 

Time will tell.

For your wrap up, check out George Weigel’s piece, The Pope’s Encyclical, at Heart, Is About Us, Not Trees and Snail Darters.”

Technique and technology are not problems in themselves. The problem comes when they fill humanity’s intellectual horizon and moral imagination to the exclusion of all other considerations. For then everything tends to get instrumentalized, including human relationships and the human relationship to the natural world — and when everything is instrumentalized, everything is also brutalized.

In his challenge to all this, Francis, with John Paul II, insists that “we must safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology,” understanding that integral human development, in both the developed and developing worlds, is not measured by GDP alone, but by humanity’s growth in beatitude.

As I skim the document and review these articles, I’m also preparing to teach a session on St. John Paul II’s Letter to Families for the intensive graduate course I’m leading this week. (You may still be able to sign up for the Distance Ed part of the course which starts in July.) And it’s clear that Pope Francis has not lost sight of core Christian anthropology. Surely, this encyclical will influence policy, but he hasn’t lost sight of the order of creation and the centrality of the human person, not to mention the family.

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UPDATE – Creating a Culture of Encounter: The Social Vision of Pope Francis

I’m very excited to announce one of my new projects as Associate Dean of the Augustine Institute’s Orange County campus. While we haven’t – yet – arranged for Pope Francis…

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 5.53.05 AM

Photo from Diocese of Orange event flyer.

I’m very excited to announce one of my new projects as Associate Dean of the Augustine Institute’s Orange County campus. While we haven’t – yet – arranged for Pope Francis to visit the west coast during his visit to the US in September, we are launching a quarterly lecture series with the Diocese of Orange.

Dr. Jonathan Reyes, the Executive Director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development will be our first speaker next Thursday, May 21. He’ll be speaking on the social vision of Pope Francis, a topic that’s exciting not only in terms of Francis’ pontificate to date but also in light of the upcoming encyclical on the environment.

If you’re in the area, please do attend. It’s a free event, just RSVP here.

WHEN:

May 21, 2015; 7–8:30 p.m.

WHERE:

Freed Theater (Christ Cathedral campus) 13280 Chapman Ave. Garden Grove, CA 92840

Hope you can make it!

 

UPDATE – You can watch it live stream here.

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Pope Francis – Still Catholic, Still Pro-Life

  On Saturday, Pope Francis gave an address to the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors on the occasion of the organization’s 70th anniversary. For those who have been pondering whether…

 

Source: Google Images - Licensed for Reuse

Source: Google Images – Licensed for Reuse

On Saturday, Pope Francis gave an address to the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors on the occasion of the organization’s 70th anniversary.

For those who have been pondering whether the Pope is still Catholic, still pro-life, etc., I recommend it. And it’s a good read regardless. In particular, his emphasis that medical ethics is not about religion or philosophy. It’s about science:

The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a “false compassion”, that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to “produce” a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan, who “sees”, “has compassion”, approaches and provides concrete help (cf. Lk 10:33). Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with many forms of suffering. I encourage you to take them on as “Good Samaritans”, caring in a special way for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled. Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection. And this fidelity entails many social consequences. We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, who created things this way. When so many times in my life as a priest I have heard objections: “But tell me, why the Church is opposed to abortion, for example? Is it a religious problem?” No, no. It is not a religious problem. “Is it a philosophical problem?” No, it is not a philosophical problem. It’s a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem. “But no, modern thought…” But, listen, in ancient thought and modern thought, the word “kill” means the same thing. The same evaluation applies to euthanasia: we all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other. And this is to say to God, “No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.” A sin against God the Creator! Think hard about this.

Remember, he was trained as a chemist, i.e. a scientist. You can find the entire text here. The original Italian text is here.

 

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3 Things You Can Expect From Synod 14.

Here are three things you can expect from the Synod – Chaos. The Vatican is not Italian. It’s Roman. Do not try to impose your standards on it. You want Romans to be in charge of things like food, fashion, all things epicurean and aesthetic. They do bureaucracy well if you think bureaucracy is a good thing in the first place, hence a Vatican that almost everyone acknowledges needs to be reformed/re-orged/rebooted/re-everything. Look at this. This is how Romans park their cars.

Here are three things you can expect from the Synod – Rome is a colorful place, to say the least, and it has certainly left its stamp on the Vatican.

  1. Chaos. The Vatican is not Italian. It’s Roman. Do not try to impose your standards on it. You want Romans to be in charge of things like food, fashion, all things epicurean and aesthetic. They do bureaucracy well if you think bureaucracy is a good thing in the first place, hence a Vatican that almost everyone acknowledges needs to be reformed/re-orged/rebooted/re-everything. Look at this. This is how Romans park their cars.  5869762-Smart_parking_in_Rome_Rome
    Actually, this picture doesn’t do them justice. It’s a little too organized. But still, note the directions of the cars. I love Rome and Romans; if you know them, you understand the Vatican better and you don’t allow yourself to be uber American and maniacal about media. Instead, you do as the Romans. You know, when in Rome, and all that… You ignore the chaos and go about your life, you use the chaos to your advantage either to create more chaos, or to get away with something, or you sit back and enjoy the entertainment. Take your pick. Why do you think Pope Francis arranged for two consecutive Synods on the family (and perhaps even a pre-Synod of sorts)? It takes time to sift through chaos.
  2. Ambiguity. Again. This. Is. Rome. This. Is. The. Vatican. #ThisIsTheUniversalChurch. You really think this is easy? Sometimes we barely agree on the articles of the Creed. Give everyone a little space to work things out and wrap their heads around things. Let them get over personal, geographical, political, and every other kind of difference so that they can see what they have in common. The great thing is that all of this chaos is making clear exactly what work needs to be done. St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio was largely ignored; so now things are even more of a mess than they were when he wrote it in 1981, after the 1980 Synod on the family. To change that, there’s going to have to be a lot of clear teaching. It’s everyone’s job, not just those who speak from the pulpit. St. John Paul II spoke of the “mission” that we all have to the family. Instead, way too many people ignored him or went back to sleep.
    Part of a monument inside St. Peter's, Rome.

    Part of a monument inside St. Peter’s, Rome.

    So now we’re back facing the tired arguments of the 70s as if the 1980 Synod on the family and Familiaris Consortio never happened. Start teaching. If you don’t like what the Catholic Church teaches, well, be honest. Decide whether you can work your mind around what she teaches or whether you can accept it without understanding it. If you can’t, then in good conscience, you really should find something that fits more with your beliefs. But, first, check out what the Catechism has to say about conscience and the “work” of forming one’s conscience. It really is work. It’s difficult. Part of that work is taking place now at the Synod. It’s messy. That’s normal.

  3. No change in doctrine.The Church cannot change her doctrine. A recent example (recent in terms of a 2,000 year old entity), is contraception. Pope Paul VI formed a commission to study the question of whether contraception could be consistent with Catholic teaching. It hadn’t been so far, but maybe something had been missed. The majority of the commission voted to approve birth control. Guess what. Despite majority opinion, Church teaching did not change. In fact, the confusion ensuing from Humanae Vitae proved fruitful in many ways. It demonstrated that there was a clear lack of teaching/understanding. After all, if the pre-Vatican II Church had been so strong, how could the sexual revolution have happened? Catholics as a whole had been experiencing a crisis of faith. Councils don’t get called except to address a crisis. There was no 1950s golden age of Catholic faith. Had there been, I maintain that the response to Humanae Vitae would have been very different and Catholics would have been a strong and beautiful witness that may have even kept the sexual revolution from happening with the quasi sexual intensity that it did. But the confusion paved the way for St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, a much needed presentation of the beauty of sex, marriage, and the family. I’ve also commented that Cardinal Kasper’s remarks have also borne fruit that we needed, albeit perhaps unintended by him. I’m convinced that more good will come. We just need to be patient about the process even if we don’t like it.

    Things in Rome have a way of lasting, despite the Romans and the various invaders.

    Things in Rome have a way of lasting, despite the Romans and the various invaders.

So what can you do in the meantime? Here are some suggestions –

  • Have a drink, if that’s your thing.
  • Go for a run.
  • Spend some quality time with family, friends, etc.
  • Listen to music.
  • Wash your hair.
  • Organize your sock drawer.
  • Count the blades of grass in your yard.
  • Read Familiaris Consortio.
  • Read Humanae Vitae. (C’mon, it’s a short document. The Vatican English translation is arguably better than the Pauline edition.)
  • Have an opinion on marriage prep or annulments? Find out what you really know. Ask about your diocesan or parish marriage prep program. Read the annulment paperwork on the marriage tribunal’s page of your diocesan website. If they don’t have it posted, call and ask.
  • Read something to enrich your understanding.
  • Spend time in quiet contemplative prayers and let yourself hear God speaking to you.
  • Let the Holy Spirit do its work.

Yes, there’s chaos, but this too shall pass. Ignore the alarmists. Anyone who disrupts a Christ-centered peace is doing someone else’s work, not Christ’s. Read Church history. We have always been a rather muddled mess. That’s what proves the Church is divinely instituted. No merely human institution could withstand humanity and all its foibles as long as the Church has.

St. Peter's, with the tomb reaching towards heaven and the arms (braccie) of the piazza embracing and drawing together humanity.

St. Peter’s, with the dome reaching towards heaven and the arms (braccie) of the piazza embracing and drawing together humanity.

 

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Pope Francis’ Pre-Synod

Opinions have not been lacking in the lead up to the Synod on the family, which begins in Rome on October 5. And now, as I read a preview copy…

Source: Google Images - Licensed for Reuse

Source: Google Images – Licensed for Reuse

Opinions have not been lacking in the lead up to the Synod on the family, which begins in Rome on October 5. And now, as I read a preview copy of Remaining in the Truth of Christ, the response to by five Cardinals and some additional scholars to Cardinal Kasper’s The Gospel of the Family, I am more convinced than ever that Pope Francis essentially arranged a pre-Synod.

First, there was the survey that was sent out to all the episcopal conferences around the world. It was not an unprecedented step, it was just unprecedented in the media coverage that it generated. As the results came back, some understood them to be an indication that the Church should change her teachings on the typical hot button issues: contraception, allowing divorced and remarried couples who have not received a decree of nullity to receive the Eucharist, accepting the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage, and so on.

But, secondly, in December 2013, as the Vatican awaited the survey results, Francis addressed the International Theological Commission on the topic of sensus fidelium (the sense of the faithful – a somewhat complex theological term).

This witness pertains to the People of God, a People of prophets, in its entirety. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, the members of the Church possess a ‘sense of faith’. This is a kind of ‘spiritual instinct’ that makes us ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’ [think with the mind of the Church] and to discern that which is in conformity with the apostolic faith and is in the spirit of the Gospel. Of course, the ‘sensus fidelium’ [sense of the faithful] cannot be confused with the sociological reality of a majority opinion. It is, therefore, important—and one of your tasks—to develop criteria that allow the authentic expressions of the ‘sensus fidelium’ to be discerned.For its part, the Magisterium has the duty to be attentive to what the Spirit says to the Churches through authentic manifestations of the sensus fidelium. There come to mind the two numbers, 8 and 12, of Lumen Gentium, which is so strong in fact about this.  This attention is of greatest importance for theologians. Pope Benedict XVI often pointed out that the theologian must remain attentive to the faith lived by the humble and the small, to whom it pleased the Father to reveal that which He had hidden from the learned and the wise. (cf. Matthew 11:25-26. Homily in the Mass with the International Theological Commission, December 1, 2009). [Emphasis mine.]

This was a very important preface to the survey results. The Pope was clearly indicating that the survey was not an opinion poll. From my point of view, it was a performance review. The survey showed just how poorly Church teachings are understood. In other words, we as a Church have done a mediocre job of living and communicating what the Church teaches.

The survey results continued to generate a lot of media hype.

Then, thirdly, the extraordinary consistory in preparation for the Synod happened in February 2014. Cardinal Kasper addressed the Cardinals and introduced some very challenging themes, ideas that seem to go counter to existing Church teaching. The Vatican reported:

The introductory presentation by Cardinal Kasper, which will not be published as it was intended for use within the context of the meeting by participants only – occupied almost the entire morning, with the exception of the last ten minutes in which a few comments were made. However, this afternoon and tomorrow morning will be dedicated to comment and discussion.

In all honesty, I don’t find the reporting to be all that forthcoming as later reporting and the Cardinal’s own book indicated quite clearly that his presentation had been innovative, to say the least.

Again, step back and look at what happened. It was sort of a release valve. Debates and unpleasantries that could’ve happened during the Synod happened before instead. The media has hammered the issues requiring responses which have been forthcoming from many, many Catholic voices, turning the preparation for the Synod into a teaching moment as well as allowing participants to prepare more carefully.

Now as I read Remaining in the Truth of Christ, I am seeing a really necessary catechesis and exegesis put forth by some of the Church’s best minds. It’s also refreshing to see the Cardinals, including Cardinal Kasper, doing the work of really testing what the Church teaches. So often, it becomes very easy to see them as having little more than a decorative role, you know, showing up in fancy vestments for big Church events. Even if they’re disagreeing, they are doing the thoughtful and necessary work of helping the Church to conform more to Christ.

Cardinal Burke recently commented on the media hijacking the Synod. I agree that it looks like they might be trying to do so. But I also think that Pope Francis’s words, decisions, and actions may have been a brilliant strategy to essentially hold a pre-synod, one in which Cardinal Burke’s contribution, as in this new book Remaining in the Truth of Christprovide a fantastic basis for moving the conversation in a constructive direction. As the interview above reports:

The danger, Cardinal Burke continued, is that “the media has created a situation in which people expect that there are going to be these major changes which would, in fact, constitute a change in Church teaching, which is impossible.”

“That’s why it’s very important for those who are in charge to be very clear,” he said.

I’ve never attended a large meeting that didn’t require a lot of management to stay on track. This pre-synod of sorts may just have accomplished a great deal. It’s allowed for a lot of work of clarifying to be done. No doubt the upcoming Synod and the time until the companion Synod in 2015 will generate even more controversy, resulting – one hopes – in conversation, additional clarification, better teaching, and – most importantly – lives lived closer to the truth of Christ.

 

 

 

 

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Is James Foley A Martyr? 16 Points To Consider.

With the beheading of James Foley and the increasing reports of his Catholic faith, the word “martyr” is becoming more popular. Some would caution that we shouldn’t use the word…

Screenshot ABCNews. James Foley just before his execution.

With the beheading of James Foley and the increasing reports of his Catholic faith, the word “martyr” is becoming more popular. Some would caution that we shouldn’t use the word too lightly. I agree. At the same time, I also think martyrdom is more common than we realize. Here are 16 points (5+6+5) and few more for good measure.

  1. It’s been happening for a long time. Christians (and others) are being killed for their faith, for what they believe and for what they refuse to believe. I didn’t begin to realize the extent of it until I went to Rome and studied with religious and clerics who could not wear their religious or clerical garb in their homelands. If they did, they would suffer persecution, even death. These people sitting beside me. Ordinary people. Death for wearing religious garb. Death.
  2. At the same time I was in Rome, I had a friend working for one of the news services. Guess what? There are regular reports of people being killed for their faith, reports that never make the headlines in the US, not even with the magical interweb.
  3. During the Synod for Asia, I was a copy editor at L’Osservatore Romano (the Vatican newspaper). It was part of my job to read all the English content; so I had to read all of the interventions [some had to be translated into English] that were given by Bishops and other Ordinaries from the various Asian countries. Eye opening is an understatement. I recall in particular one intervention that spoke of a village of Christians that was completely destroyed. As I recall, it’s “under sand” now. (The reference may have been to multiple villages.)
  4. The persecution of Catholics and Christians has been well documented in various books. I recommend Robert Royal’s The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century. (Note to Crossroad Publishing – make that available in a Kindle edition with all that’s in the headlines now.) I also recommend John Allen’s book The Global War on Christians. Both authors make the point that there have been more Christian martyrs in the past century than in all the previous centuries combined. Archbishop Fulton Sheen has some pretty moving accounts in his autobiography Treasure in Clay, including one of a young girl who essentially gave herself her own viaticum (last Eucharist), probably without knowing it, just before being shot and killed by Communist soldiers.
  5. While staying at the Domus Marta (Pope Francis’ residence) in Rome this past June, I happened to have a conversation with a nun from India. In her part of the world  radical Hindus are killing Christians. She shared with me her copy of Early Christians in [the] 21st Century, by Anto Akkara, which details their brutal treatment.

So who are the martyrs?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes martyrdom as “the supreme witness given to to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death.” (CCC 2473)

Some things to note:

  1. We have an obligation to do this. “In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep ‘a clear conscience toward God and toward men.'” (CCC 2471)
  2. In line with what the Church teaches on conscience, we are also seeing the witness of Yazidis and other Muslims who are refusing to convert to the ISIS brand (yes, “brand”) of Islam. (CCC 1776-1802) Are they saints in Heaven? I don’t think we can preclude that. If they died as a result of their conviction of the truth, even if it’s not the fullness of truth as Catholics believe, then they may very well be.
  3. As Pope Francis just mentioned in his address to the Asian Bishops, we do not know all of the names of the Haemi martyrs. In fact we do not know most of them. They are saints nonetheless.
  4. Allen’s and Royal’s books both note, there are many, many who have died for their faith whose names we do not know.
  5. Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents every December 28th. These are the male infants and young children (ages 2 and under) whom Herod ordered killed in his efforts to kill the newly born King of the Jews for whom the wise men were searching. (Matthew 2, 1-18) These were children who couldn’t even speak to defend themselves. They probably had very little awareness of what was happening to them except for the terror of being taken from their parents. They are considered saints and martyrs because they died for Christ, because of Christ, even instead of Christ.
  6. Martyrs may not be people who have a great understanding of their faith. They may not have led the holiest of lives. The one thing that they do absolutely right is standing in witness to their faith when they must pay the ultimate price by dying to maintain that witness. They may not even be given much of a choice, but they do it when they die because of their faith in Christ who is the Truth.

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.

A few weeks ago, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) put out this video of an Iraqi television host breaking down in tears as he recalled how he was seeing the witness of the Christians who are being persecuted in Iraq. I’ve verified with two native Arabic speakers that the translation is accurate.

How do people know Christians and others of good will? By their actions, by their witness. You know the tree by its fruit. The witness of these good people suffering unjust persecution moves a man of a completely different faith to breakdown in tears publicly.

I don’t know enough about James Foley’s life to know if a formal canonization process should be started. Most of us don’t know. But we do know that he bravely suffered death for who he was and who he refused to become. He witnessed his beliefs even unto death.

So, I’m okay with using the word “martyr” to describe him. In all likelihood, based on what we know so far, he was. Just to reinforce, I’m not canonizing him. But I am saying that he gave us a tremendous witness in his death and in the events that led to it. As I said above, if his death makes us more aware of the religious persecution that is happening every day, around the globe, then he’s even more of a witness.

We don’t want to cheapen the meaning of the word “martyr.” But this is real. It’s happening everywhere. It’s making extraordinary witnesses out of ordinary people. We should not cheapen their witness by ignoring the reality of their sacrifice, their martyrdom.

May we honor their memory and may they all rest in peace.

Amen.

 

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Genocide. The Price of Leading from Behind.

Iraq. It’s not looking good. Earlier today, I posted: “Iraq. Genocide. ‘Never Again’ Should Cue Something More Than A James Bond Movie.” At that point, the WSJ was reporting that…

Source: www.news.va

Source: www.news.va

Iraq. It’s not looking good.

Earlier today, I posted: “Iraq. Genocide. ‘Never Again’ Should Cue Something More Than A James Bond Movie.”

At that point, the WSJ was reporting that the US Military might start to get involved, particularly with dropping supplies to the Christians and other religious minorities who are being forced out of their homes as the Islamic State advances.

Pope Francis made an urgent appeal today. Some bullet points –

  • The attacks are being waged upon “defenseless populations.”
  • He urges the international community to protect all those affected or threatened by the violence
  • And to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others.

Meanwhile, very serious and detailed news from Iraq indicated ABSOLUTELY NO ACTIVITY on behalf of these persecuted people, even though various countries and the international community have the resources to mobilize quickly. After all, it’s not like they’re not in the area or nearby already…

“Daash is testing our defenses,” said Rosg Nuri Shawess, a top Kurdish military commander, pointing to two towns that had fallen to the Islamic State, Qaraqosh and Bartella, that were visible in the distance. “And if we don’t show them we are strong here, then we have lost Irbil.”

Shawess, who also is a member of the Iraqi government’s national security council, called the situation “extremely critical” as he examined the foremost strong point along the highway. He described the Kurdish military plight as “too much distance to protect, with too few men and not enough weapons.”

“The Americans keep saying they will help us,” he added as surveillance planes or drones, likely American, circled far above the clouds. “Well, if they plan to help they had better do it now.”

It was unclear if the United States planned to do anything to help fend off an Islamic State thrust at Irbil, where the U.S. also has recently expanded its CIA station and set up a Joint Operations Center to coordinate military activities with the Kurdish and Iraqi governments.

And here’s a very troubling piece of information –

Kurdish officials repeatedly have claimed that the United States and the Iraqi government in Baghdad have refused to send military aid and that they have only Saddam Hussein-era weapons and limited ammunition to counter Islamic State forces that are armed with advanced American weaponry.

“Armed with advanced American weaponry”? Now that should definitely demand some investigation from the U.S. and others.

But the biggest lesson so far should be that leading from behind doesn’t work. Iraq was invaded for the purpose of “democracy building.” What about military involvement when innocent people are being slaughtered and exiled simply because they have different religious beliefs than those in control? It’s fundamental human rights violation. It’s genocide.

I’m certain that I don’t have all the information. I can only go by what’s reported in the media. But we do know that a genocide is under way. In my previous post, I quoted Dan Hodges from The Telegraph. And I can’t think of a more appropriate way to close this piece:

For once, just for once, can we actually do something? The UN, Nato, the US and the UK. It doesn’t really matter whose umbrella its under. For once let’s demonstrate that the billions of pounds we spend on the most powerful military forces in human history can actually stand up to a bunch of petty hoodlums with machetes, or AK47s, or Toyota 4x4s.

Just this once let’s not wait. For the book. And then the film. And then the hand-wringing and empty pledges that “we will ensure this never happens again”.

Just this once let’s actually stop them being killed with their families.

Just this once. Stop leading from behind.

UPDATE:

DOHUK, Iraq

American military forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night to rout Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas, Kurdish officials said.
Word of the bombings, reported on Kurdish television from the city of Erbil, came as President Obama was preparing to make a statement in Washington.

ANOTHER UPDATE. Yes. No. Maybe so.

From HotAir, looks like supplies have been dropped. Military action is being disputed.

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