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After vision of Christ, Nigerian bishop says rosary will bring down Boko Haram

by Alan Holdren via EWTNNews.com

bp-dashe

A Nigerian bishop says that he has seen Christ in a vision and now knows that the rosary is the key to ridding the country of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme says he is being driven by a God-given mandate to lead others in praying the rosary until the extremist group disappears.

“Towards the end of last year I was in my chapel before the Blessed Sacrament… praying the rosary, and then suddenly the Lord appeared,” Bishop Dashe told EWTN News April 18.

In the vision, the prelate said, Jesus didn’t say anything at first, but extended a sword toward him, and he in turn reached out for it.

“As soon as I received the sword, it turned into a rosary,” the bishop said, adding that Jesus then told him three times: “Boko Haram is gone.”

“I didn’t need any prophet to give me the explanation,” he said. “It was clear that with the rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram.”

The bishop said he didn’t want to tell anyone, but “felt that the Holy Spirit was pushing him to do so.”

He started with the priests of his diocese, and then told participants in the April 17-19 #WeAreN2015 congress in Madrid, Spain. The event is being sponsored by the Spanish Catholic sister groups hazteoir.org and CitizenGo to gather ideas on how to preserve the Christian presence in nations where they are most persecuted.

Bishop Dashe leads the Diocese of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State. In 2009, there were around 125,000 Catholics under his guidance. After a surge in violence from the Islamist extremist group called Boko Haram, today “there are only 50 to 60 thousand left,” he said.

Most of those who fled sought safer areas in other parts of Nigeria, he said. Some of the same families are now returning home as armed forces from Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon liberate their homes.

In 2014, Boko Haram became known worldwide when members kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in Borno State. On March 7, 2015, five suicide bombers killed 54 and wounded nearly three times as many in the capital city of Maidaguri, where the bishop lives and works.

The group has killed 1,000 people across Nigeria in the first three months of 2015, according to Human Rights Watch, which reports that more than 6,000 have died in Boko Haram-led violence since 2009.

Just last month, the group pledged its allegiance to ISIS – also known as the Islamic State – which launched a bloody campaign in Iraq and Syria last summer.

Meanwhile, Bishop Dashe has just completed a “consolation tour” to communities in his diocese, promoting forgiveness and continued faith. He believes he was asked by Jesus to spread devotion to the rosary in order to aid them as they do so.

“Maybe that’s why he did it,” said the bishop, referring to Jesus in his vision.

JPII_Rosary_Credit_Jess_Pac_via_Flickr_CC_BY_20_EWTN_4_20_15Bishop Dashe said he has a strong devotion to Christ’s mother, and that “I never joke with ‘Mamma Mary.’ I know she is here with us.”

And he is not the only Nigerian bishop putting the future of the country in the hands of Mary. The nation’s bishops’ conference has consecrated the country to her twice in recent years.

Bishop Dashe believes that one day his diocese will completely recover and grow thanks to her intercession.

“These terrorists… think that by burning our churches, burning our structures, they will destroy Christanity. Never,” Bishop Dashe told several hundred people from the dais of the #WeAreN2015 congress.

“It may take a few months or a few years … but ‘Boko Haram is gone.’”

He later told EWTN News that “prayer, particularly the prayer of the rosary, is (what) will deliver us from the claws of this demon, the demon of terrorism. And of course, it is working.”

Attacks Against Archbishop Cordileone Fall Flat

by Anne Hendershott via CrisisMagazine.com

Salvatore Cordileone

 

Despite a ruthless public relations war against San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for attempting to ensure that Catholic schools remain faithful to the Church, the majority of respondents to a San Francisco Chronicle poll remain supportive of their episcopal leader.  On Sunday, the Chronicle provided a weeklong poll for readers entitled “Time for Archbishop Cordileone to Go?” The results (as of April 21 at 3pm) revealed that those who have been lobbying Pope Francis to remove the archbishop remain a small minority. When asked: “Should Pope Francis Remove Archbishop Cordileone from the San Francisco Archdiocese?” 78 percent of all respondents said “No, the archbishop is upholding the values of the Catholic Church;” and 10 percent said the archbishop is right to oppose same sex marriage. In contrast, only 11 percent indicated that the archbishop is fostering a climate of intolerance; and a tiny fraction (1 percent) said that “Yes, his morality clause for teachers in parochial schools defies the law.”

 

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This has to be disappointing for those who hired Sam Singer, the infamous public relations guru, who has created a cynical marketing campaign to convince Catholics that the archbishop does not understand or appreciate the unique cultural needs of the San Francisco community. From candlelight vigils at the cathedral—replete with protestors dressed in black to vilify the archbishop at Church services on Ash Wednesday—to an extensive campaign to try to convince Catholics that the archbishop hates the homeless and is using sprinklers to remove them from sleeping on Church property, Singer has tried several unsuccessful strategies to convince Catholics to remove their leader.

Most recently, Singer helped to stage an elaborate press conference to announce a “grassroots” group of 100 so-called “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II” who purchased a full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle asking Pope Francis to remove the archbishop—and provide a new leader for them who is “committed to our values and your teachings.”

Leading the charge against the archbishop was Brian Cahill, retired executive director of Catholic Charities/Catholic Youth Organization in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Angry about Catholic teachings on homosexuality, Cahill has been protesting these teachings for more than a decade—long before Archbishop Cordileone ever arrived in San Francisco. A long-time advocate of same-sex “marriage” and adoption of children by gay parents—even during the time he headed San Francisco’s Catholic Charities, Cahill publicly denounced Catholic teachings on homosexuality. On March 13, 2011, Cahill published an op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle entitled: “My Gay Son: The Face of Church’s Lack of Respect,” which began with: “I am a Catholic who voted against Proposition 8 in 2008 and contributed $1,000 to the No on 8 Campaign.” Archbishop Cordileone was a leader of the Proposition 8 campaign that sought to ensure that marriage remain a union between a man and a woman.

Cahill was joined by several Bay Area leaders—many of them big donors to Democratic political causes. First Things writer Matthew Schmitz pointed out that among the 100 signers included several business leaders like Charles Geschke, the co-chairman of Adobe System, who has given more than $200,000 to the Democratic National Committee; and Clint Reilly who worked on political campaigns for Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and later, headed the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities under Cahill.

Joining Cahill in his campaign against the Church in San Francisco, Jim McGarry and his wife, Kathy Curran appear to have made a commitment to changing Catholic teachings on marriage and homosexuality. And, like Cahill, Curran and McGarry made that commitment more than a decade ago—long before Archbishop Cordileone arrived in the Bay area. In December, 2008, the couple coordinated a demonstration along with Dignity USA, New Ways Ministry and Call to Action in a candlelight vigil to protest Vatican opposition to a United Nations resolution on homosexuality.

Curran coordinated a March 17, 2015 forum held at the University of San Francisco which was described in National Catholic Reporter as an opportunity to “galvanize opposition to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s changes to a handbook for teachers at four high schools.” In his opening speech at the March 17 forum, Cahill helped set the tone for the evening when he charged that “Cordileone, who with his imported crew of orthodox, smugly ideological and intentionally provocative zealots, is trying to shove his sex-obsessed version of Catholic identity down the throats of Catholic high school students and teachers.”

Jim McGarry appears to share his wife’s zeal for changing Catholic teachings on marriage and homosexuality—and has chosen to join her in the attack on the archbishop. But, McGarry goes even further by criticizing the Church’s teachings on reproductive rights including in vitro fertilization. In an open letter to San Francisco Catholic students McGarry suggested that the archbishop is “not in compliance with Catholic teaching.” Claiming that the archbishop is “very selectively choosing a small number of doctrines and putting them forward in a selective way,” McGarry concludes that the archbishop is “distorting the tradition in a way that first of all endangers the health and well being of our children.”

As the campaign against the Church in San Francisco has begun to lose ground, Singer’s rhetoric has escalated—and he has personally extended his attacks on those who have publicly supported Archbishop Cordileone. Following the publication of a National Review article  last week, Singer sent three tweets to his followers on April 18 and 19 advising them to denounce the author for her hateful speech. Calling the article “mean-spirited and hateful,” Singer called on the archbishop (of all people) to “reject” the author. Making sure that the author saw his angry tweets—and would be fearful of retribution by Singer-supporters—Singer forwarded them to her personally so she would receive them in her email inbox. Unfortunately for Singer, the strategy seems to have failed as only a handful of his followers even bothered to re-tweet any of his offensive tweets.

Realizing that he is losing the public opinion battles, it is likely that Singer will escalate his attacks on those of us who support the courageous work Archbishop Cordileone is doing. On April 18, Singer tweeted that he “won’t give up until Cordileone is gone.” Maybe. But, it is more likely that as Singer continues to lose ground in his ongoing war on the Church, and his supporters begin to retreat, his sponsors may start to consider whether they are engaged in a losing campaign.

Kresta in the Afternoon – April 22, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 22, 2015


4:00 – Kresta Comments: A Turning Point in San Francisco?

Progressives set their crosshairs on San Francisco recently when Archbishop Cordileone announced that Catholic school teachers in his diocese were required to stay faithful to Church teaching while they were in the classroom. The archbishop was accused of fostering a culture of intolerance and hatred. Sam Singer was hired to start a smear campaign against him. 100 so-called “prominent Catholics” published a letter in the San Francisco Chronicle calling on Pope Francis to replace the archbishop with someone who is “committed to our values and teachings.” Despite these efforts, it seems locals still support the archbishop. A poll by the Chronicle showed that 78% of respondents feel Cordileone is upholding the values of the Church and should not be replaced. Al has thoughts on the latest developments.

4:20 – Overcoming Sinful Anger

It only takes a few seconds of anger to undo years spent fostering peace and mercy. St. Francis de Sales knew that anger never leads to happiness and can cause tremendous harm to our relationship with God. Fr. TG Morrow is here to with tools you can use to cultivate habits that lead to virtuous action.

5:00 – Kresta Comments: A Turning Point in San Francisco?

5:20 – TBA

5:40 – Who Really Won? The Sisters or the Vatican?

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has agreed to terms with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to help refocus its role to be “centered on Jesus Christ and faithful to the teachings of the Church.” The mainstream media has depicted this as a “victory” for the sisters against an overbearing and interfering Vatican institution. Was there really a ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ in these meetings? What do the results actually mean? Ann Carey joins us.

 

There’s never been a safer time to be a kid in America

By Christopher Ingraham via WashingtonPost.com

kids-swing-playground

 

Imagine being 10 years old and being led, along with your 6-year-old sibling, into the backseat of a police cruiser. The police promise to take you home to your parents. It’s only three blocks away, and you know they are searching for you frantically.

But instead of taking you home, the police detain you there, in the car, for three hours, without a meal or access to a restroom. The sun sets, night falls. Eventually the cops take you to a facility maintained by Child Protective Services where you’re kept for another several hours. You still haven’t had any dinner. You aren’t reunited with your parents until 10:30 p.m., nearly six hours after your ordeal began.

Your “crime”? Playing without parental supervision in a park less than a mile from home.

That all actually happened to the Meitiv children of Silver Spring, Md., on Sunday, according to the children’s parents. After a long family road trip, the children went to the neighborhood park with their parents’ permission, with strict instructions to be home by 6 p.m. They never made it, because the cops picked them up along the way after receiving a call from someone who saw the siblings walking down the street together.

The children were detained ostensibly to protect them from the dangers of walking home in a wealthy suburb of D.C. recently rated the “Most Caring Suburb in America” by real estate blog Movoto. But you have to wonder which is worse for a child’s well-being: walking down the street without an adult, or being detained by the cops and family services for nearly six hours?

Fortunately, we have some data to answer that question. The first thing to note is that the overall child mortality rate in the United States has literally never been lower. In 1935, for instance, there were nearly 450 deaths for every 100,000 children aged 1 to 4. Today, there are fewer than 30 deaths for every 100,000 kids in that age group — more than a tenfold decrease.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 2.18.58 PM

 

Much of that decline can be attributed to the rise of childhood vaccines (related point: vaccinate your kids!). But mortality rates have continued to drop in recent decades, too, as the chart above shows. Across all three age categories, mortality rates have fallen by nearly half since 1990, according to CDC data tabulated by Child Trends.

Part of that decline is a drop in child homicides. As of 2008, the homicide rate for kids under the age of 14 stood at a near-record low 1.5 cases per 100,000, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And the homicide rate for teens ages 14 to 17 plummeted from 12 homicides per 100,000 in 1993 to just 5.1 in 2008, another near-record low.

Long story short: for a kid between the ages of 5 and 14 today, the chances of premature death by any means are roughly 1 in 10,000, or 0.01 percent.

But parents typically aren’t thinking about disease or general morality when they fret over unattended kids — we’re worried about all the terrible things that could theoretically happen to a child out on his own. Chief among them is the threat of abduction, or of the child simply disappearing without a trace.

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The FBI has several decades of data on missing persons now, and those numbers show that the number of missing person reports involving minors has been at record low levels in recent years. Overall, the number of these reports have fallen by 40 percent since 1997. This is more impressive when you consider that the overall U.S. population has risen by 30 percent over that same time period, meaning that the actual rate of missing person reports for children has fallen faster than 40 percent.

But even these numbers include an awful lot of scenarios that you wouldn’t typically worry about when letting your kid walk to the park. For instance, among all missing persons cases (adults and children) in 2014, roughly 96 percent were runaways — kids or adults deliberately trying to escape a situation at home. In fact, only 0.1 percent of missing persons cases were what we’d think of as a “stereotypical kidnapping” — where a complete stranger tries to abduct somebody and carry them off by force. These figures comport with a more detailed analysis of child-only abductions carried out by the Justice Department in 2002.

Another thing parents worry about when it comes to their kids — traffic. If they’re left to wander on their own outside, won’t they run out in front of a car or get hit by an irresponsible driver? In short: almost certainly not.

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Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that between 1993 and 2013, the number of child pedestrians struck and killed by cars fell by more than two-thirds, from more than 800 deaths to fewer than 250. The number of traffic-related pedestrian injuries in this age group fell by a similar percentage over the same period. Again these are raw numbers, and as the population has grown over that period, the actual rate has fallen even faster.

So where does that leave us in the debate over “free-range” children? Kids are dying less. They’re being killed less. They’re getting hit by cars less. And they’re going missing less frequently, too. The likelihood of any of these scenarios is both historically low and infinitesimally small.
But couldn’t it be the case that kids are less prone to terrible tragedies these days because concerned parents are keeping them locked up at home, and calling the cops whenever they see someone else’s kid walking alone down the street? Probably not.

“It’s hard to say that much of the decline [in mortality and abduction rates] comes from stricter parenting,” said Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University who’s written about child safety statistics.

When it comes to child mortality, “crime and accidents were never that big of a deal to begin with,” he said. And there are a lot of factors driving those trends downward — better safety standards for cars and better pedestrian infrastructure, for instance. Declining rates of violent crime overall also likely play a role.

Asked about the Meitiv’s case, Caplan said, “it’s crazy, people are being persecuted for doing things that are extremely statistically safe just because other people disagree.”

Bottom line: If it was safe enough for you to play unsupervised outside when you were a kid, it’s even safer for your own children to do so today.

Ann Arbor Catholic priest tells parishioners to pack heat

by Patricia Montemurri via the Detroit Free Press

CTK

An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL).

In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get concealed pistol licenses because of recent crime in the area. During a Palm Sunday mass last month, Fride announced that the parish would be holding the CPL class.

When some parishioners questioned the decision, Fride sent out a pro-gun letter titled “We’re not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto” – a reference to the 1960s-era Andy Griffith Show and its portrayal of a fictional North Carolina town, as well as Dorothy’s dog from the Wizard of Oz.

“It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families,” Fride wrote.

“How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?”

Fride told parishioners in the letter that Catholic teachings do not preclude carrying a gun for self-defense and to defend others. Fride then asserted that crime is up and that because of budget cuts, “there has been a significant reduction in the availability of an armed police response.”

Fride could not be reached for comment Monday. But Michael Diebold, a spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing which oversees the Ann Arbor parish, confirmed Monday that the controversial letter had been sent.

“Yes, it appears that ‘We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto!’ was sent out to the parishioners of Christ the King by their pastor, Fr. Ed Fride,” Diebold wrote in an email to the Free Press.

Guns and gun lessons do not belong in a Catholic church, Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea stressed in a statement after they learned about Fride’s letter from the Free Press.

Boyea “has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school in the Diocese of Lansing,” said a statement released by Diebold.

“Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property,” wrote Diebold.

Diebold said the Lansing diocese’s ban on weapons on church makes them “gun-free zones” and extends to those who want to practice “open carry” of weapons in full view. He added that public or professional security “provide for public safety on church property.”

Diebold referred to a 2012 statement by the Lansing bishop.

“We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured, and finally murdered him,” Boyea said in 2012. ” While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life’s problems.”

In the Mayberry letter, Fride wrote that he was worried about students at nearby Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, and pointed to a recent incident near the school.

“The fact that two active shooters got within yards of Father Gabriel Richard before they were taken down by SWAT demonstrates that the threat is real. This druggie couple from Detroit stole a car and it broke down at Plymouth and Dixboro. They went through the woods and had almost reached the high school when they were stopped,” wrote Fride.

“There is zero security at the high school. Had the shooters got in, we would have had our own Columbine,” wrote Fride, a reference to the shooting massacre at a Colorado high school in 1999.

A CPL class was held at the church recently by a suburban Detroit police officer, Fride wrote in the letter. Fride said the officer told parishioners “that because more Detroiters are protecting themselves, more of the criminals are now targeting the suburbs…”

“That same officer from the CPL class personally thanked me for having the parish do this class and expressed a hope that more would follow suit, because having law abiding citizens armed makes their job as police so much better,” Fride wrote in the letter.

Fride said some parishioners told him they were afraid of carrying weapons.

“Several people have said to me, I’m afraid of guns. My response to one woman was, ‘Well, how do you feel about rape?” wrote Fride.

Fride’s friend, Jay McNally, said the priest is a beloved pastor, a martial arts practitioner whose sermons bring parishioners to tears.

“It is a rare day that one finds a priest so well-loved by parishioners at every level – the old folks, the young folks,” said McNally, a former editor of the Detroit archdiocese’s Michigan Catholic newspaper and conservative Catholic activist who is the director of the Ypsilanti-based Citizens Alliance for Life and Liberty.

McNally said Fride has served at the parish for about 20 years, and also was the chaplain for young men considering the priesthood at Ave Maria College, when the college started by Domino’s Pizza founder and traditional Catholic activist Tom Monaghan was located in Ann Arbor. Christ the King Parish has strong ties to traditional, conservative Catholics.

“He’s a priest factory,” said McNally, describing Fride’s service as an inspiration to many young men considering the priesthood.

“Father Ed quite frequently travels around the country and to be the chaplain for people in the military who die in service,” said McNally. “He’s in high demand for that.”

“This whole gun thing is kind of new. He has become very vocal about it,” said McNally. “There isn’t a phony bone in him.

In his letter, Fride explained how he grew up a Pacifist and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He converted to Catholicism. He wrote that he veered away from pacifism when he asked himself questions of “what would Jesus do” were he to come across women and children being harmed.

“I eventually concluded that I was certainly no longer a pacifist absolutist,” wrote Fride. “There were situations in which I would actively intervene, even to a lethal level if necessary.”

Contact Patricia Montemurri: 313-223-4538, [email protected] or on Twitter @pmontemurri

Guns in Diocese of Lansing Churches and Schools

Statement from the Diocese of Lansing regarding guns in churches and schools via DioceseofLansing.org:

The Bishops of Michigan have weighed in on this topic numerous times, most recently in December 2012, saying: “Churches are meant to be a place of sanctuary for worshippers to gather in peace, free of the threat of gun violence.”

Bishop Boyea himself said in 2012, “At the core of our mission is service to the most vulnerable persons in society. Many have already been wounded in body or mind by the American epidemic of violence. Fragile people come to us for help every day, and it is essential that our sites be refuges — places of peace in every sense. We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured, and finally murdered him. While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life’s problems.

Flowing from this, Bishop Boyea has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school of the Diocese of Lansing.

This ban on weapons has now been extended to “open carry” in our churches and our schools, thus making them gun-free zones.

Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property.

As always we rely on the public or professional security forces to provide for public safety on Church property.

Kresta in the Afternoon – April 21, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 21, 2015


4:00-6:00 – Direct to My Desk: What does a parish do when a greatly beloved pastor over-reaches in trying to protect the innocent and finds himself at odds with his bishop? The case of Christ the King, Fr. Ed Fride and the Bishops of Michigan

Christ the King, an Ann Arbor parish, is getting international attention for a debate over firearms. The church’s pastor, Fr. Ed Fride, recently announced that Concealed Pistol License classes would take place on church property. He encouraged parishioners to participate, citing a host of reasons. Fr. Fride also sent parishioners a lengthy and controversial letter explaining his concerns. Since the announcement, Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea has restated the diocese’s longstanding policy against carrying firearms on church property and the classes have been relocated. But not before the secular press seized on the story and many parishioners responded with moral indignation and threats of leaving. Oh, it’s also Al’s and Nick’s home parish. Benedict XVI called for the laity to accept co-responsibility for the Church. What does that mean in this case? What should the parish do when their beloved pastor makes a well-intentioned error and finds himself at odds with his bishop? We’ll discuss it. Call us at 877-573-7825.

Vatican Archives Shed Light on Holy See’s Activity During the Armenian Genocide

by Andrea Gagliarducci/CNA/EWTN News via NCRegister.com

VATICAN CITY — Ahead of Pope Francis’ Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, newly released historic documents confirm the Holy See’s broad commitment to helping the Armenian people at a time when few others would.

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915 – Wikipedia/public domain

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915
– Wikipedia/public domain

The Italian Jesuit-run magazine La Civiltà Cattolica stressed that newly published documents “prove how the Holy See, always informed about events, had not remained passive, but was strongly committed to face the issue” of the Armenian Genocide. “Benedict XV was the only ruler or religious leader to voice out a protest against the ‘massive crime.’”

The Armenian Genocide is considered to have begun on April 24, 1915, with a massacre of Armenians in Istanbul. Over the next eight years, 1.5 million Armenians would be killed and millions more displaced.

However, such killings were perpetrated before, when much of the region was still under Ottoman rule.

For instance, a March 27, 1896, letter by Franciscan Father Domenico Werson, who was serving as a missionary in Aleppo, recounted the massacre of Christians in Marasc and its vicinities.

Most of the documents in the newly published series are from the archive of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. They have been published in a series of four books by Jesuit priest Father Georges-Henry Ruyssen. In advance of the series’ March 21 release date, the latest edition of La Civiltà Cattolica published a summary.

The documents on the “Armenian Question” date from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.

The collection of documents includes letters from popes and to Ottoman sultans; documents and dispatches by Vatican secretaries of state and prefects or secretaries of other Vatican dicasteries; documents and reports by the apostolic delegates; and letters by Armenian patriarchs and bishops with firsthand information.

There are also reports by eye witnesses.

The documents note the actions of Pope Benedict XV, who sent two personal letters to Sultan Muhammad V Reshad on Sep. 10, 1915, and March 12, 1918, respectively.

The pope’s effort was the climax of several attempts at mediation carried forward by the Holy See to help Armenians. Pope Leo XIII tried a mediation beginning in 1859. The Holy See sought to be a mediator with Djemal Pashà, commander of the Turkish army in Syria, for the freedom of 60 Armenians sentenced to death in 1917. Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, the Vatican secretary of state, mediated with Mustaphà Kemal Pashà in 1921 for the safeguard of the lives and the goods of surviving Christians in Turkey.

The Holy See did not only work in diplomacy, but also sought to assist surviving refugees.

The Holy See, La Civiltà Cattolica wrote, “mobilized a continual flow of financial aid and supplies in an era when there were no other international humanitarian organizations beyond the Red Cross and the Near East relief [organization].”

The Holy See especially assisted orphans and founded “many orphanages” open to people of every religious confession. Young orphan Armenian girls were also hosted in the orphanage in the apostolic palace of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

The documents record the reasons why countries did not take any stance on the genocide and did not defend the Armenian people when the first signs of genocide were visible.

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the publication of these documents may shed light on the reasons why this genocide was perpetrated in the midst of a general political indifference.

As for Pope Francis, he will celebrate a Mass marking the centenary of the genocide in St. Peter Basilica on April 24.

La Civiltà Cattolica underscored that, in the late 19th century, the question of the future of the Armenians “was forgotten step by step,” because the “gradual passivity of European diplomacy” worked to “preserve at every cost the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.”

Archbishop Augusto Bonetti, the apostolic delegate to Constantinople from 1887-1904, summarized the international situation.

France and Russia both aimed to preserve “the integrity of Turkey.” France had made major capital investments in the region, while Russia wanted Turkish relations to be dormant so it could focus on the Far East.

In Archbishop Bonetti’s view, Germany had a material interest in the continuation of the war between the Greeks and the Turks, while England had “important political interests in Turkey.”

US anger over IS ‘atrocity’ against Christians in Libya

via News.Yahoo.com

ISISIS

 

Tripoli (AFP) – The United States condemned the “brutal mass murder” of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya following a video released by Islamic State militants purportedly showing their execution.

The 29-minute IS video appears to show militants holding two groups of captives, described in text captions as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church”.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan decried the killings and called for stability in Libya, which has been mired in political chaos and unrest since the 2011 uprising that toppled former strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal mass murder purportedly of Ethiopian Christians by ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Libya,” she said, using another name for IS.

“This atrocity once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya to empower a unified Libyan rejection of terrorist groups.”

Ethiopia said its embassy in Egypt was trying to verify the video to ascertain if those murdered were indeed its nationals.

The video portrays a masked fighter in black brandishing a pistol, who makes a statement threatening Christians if they do not convert to Islam.

The video then switches between footage of one group of about 12 men being beheaded by masked militants on a beach, and another group of at least 16 being shot in the head in a desert area.

It was not immediately clear who the captives were or how many were killed.

Before the killings, the video shows purported footage of Christians in Syria, saying they had been given the choice of converting to Islam or paying a special tax, and had decided to pay.

The video bore the logo of the IS media arm and was similar to past footage released by the jihadists, including of 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on a Libyan beach in February. Several Libyan jihadist groups have pledged allegiance to IS.

Addis Ababa says IS, which has seized chunks of Syria and Iraq and won the support of jihadist groups across the region, has also gained a foothold in Ethiopia.

“There are elements of IS around Ethiopia who are already carrying out operations, even though under a different name,” said Redwan, referring to the Shebab group.

“We will keep on fighting them.”

Since the 2011 revolt, Libya has been awash with weapons, has rival governments and parliaments, and is on the edge of all-out civil war as armed groups battle to control its cities and oil wealth.

Officials have repeatedly warned that Libya could become a jihadist haven on Europe’s doorstep unless the violence stops and a national unity government is formed.

And waves of would-be immigrants including Ethiopians have been using Libya as a stepping stone to embark on perilous sea crossings to Europe. More than 700 people are feared drowned in the latest disaster.

On Sunday, UN envoy Bernardino Leon said after weeks of brokering talks between rival Libyan factions that they had reached a draft accord which is “very close to a final agreement”.

Speaking to reporters in Morocco, Leon also said preparations were under way for armed groups to hold direct talks to end the conflict.

Referring to the IS video and fighting in Libya, Leon said: “We know that the enemies of peace, the enemies of the agreement, will be active and be even more active in the coming days and weeks.”

The IS execution of Copts in February prompted retaliatory air strikes from Egypt, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pushing for the creation of a joint Arab military force to battle jihadists.

Arab military chiefs will meet on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss how the force will be created, its role and financing, an Arab League official said.

A US-led coalition of Western and Arab nations is already waging an air war against IS in Syria and Iraq.

IS has carried out atrocities against minorities — including Christians and Yazidis — sparking fears for the fate of vulnerable communities in mostly Muslim nations.

Christians Accept Execution Rather Than Islam

by Raymond Ibrahim via RaymondIbrahim.com

Approximately two months after the Islamic State (IS) published a video depicting its members slaughtering 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, on Sunday, April 19,  the Islamic jihadi organization released another video of more Christians in Libya being massacred, this time for not paying jizya—extortion money demanded of the “People of the Book” according to Koran 9:29.

ISIS

 

Two scenes appear in the 29-minute-long video published by al-Furqan, the Islamic State’s media wing.  The first scene consists of a group of Christian Ethiopians dressed all in black, on their knees, with their arms tied behind their backs.  Masked IS members stand behind the Ethiopians with rifles aimed at their heads.  According to the video, this scene takes place in the city of Fezzan.  The Christian captives are called “Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church.”

The second scene shows more Christian Ethiopians dressed in orange uniforms and standing on the shores of Barqa, the same region where 21 Egyptian Christians were earlier decapitated for refusing to convert to Islam.

Other scenes include the narrator referencing the fatwas of medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya that proclaim all Christians “infidels.”  Then Abu Malik ibn Ans al-Nashwan, apparently one of the group’s leaders, appears saying that “The dealings of the Islamic State with Christians under its authority is according to Allah’s Sharia [Islamic law].   Jizya [tribute] is imposed on those who accept, and war on those who resist.”

The final scene is of the Christians in Fezzan being executed by gunfire to the back of their heads and the Christians in Barqa all having their heads carved off.

It is likely that the reason these Christians “resisted” to pay jizya was that they did not have the money—migrant Christian workers in Libya, whether from Egypt or Ethiopia, are about as poor as they get.

And they refused the only other option that could have spared their lives according to Islamic law—renunciation of the Christian Trinity and conversion to Islam.

The narrator continued by saying that IS had “invited” the Christians of Raqqa, Syria to enter Islam, but they refused.   So IS demanded of them payment of jizya and they complied and were permitted to live.  Next follows a scene depicting Christians in Raqqa—according to the video’s claims—saying how “peaceful” life is under the Islamic State, and that the caliphate does not compel them to do anything except pay jizya.

Whether scripted or not—and odds are on the former—these supposedly “content” Christians are hardly representative of the overwhelming majority of Christians in territories annexed by the Islamic State.

In the summer of 2014, IS issued a statement concerning Christian minorities, saying “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”  Hours after this ultimatum was proclaimed, the jihadis began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come and prompting a mass exodus of Christians from the region.  Many older and disabled Iraqi Christians, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, opted to convert to Islam.

In one instance, three Islamic State members burst into the home of a Christian family, demanding jizya.  When the father of the house pleaded that he did not have the money, the intruders raped his wife and daughter in front of him. The man was reportedly so traumatized that he committed suicide.

The new video of the executed Ethiopians shows other scenes and cities under the Islamic State’s jurisdiction, including pictures of churches in Ninevah and Mosul being destroyed purportedly because Christians there did—or could—not pay jizya.

At one point, the same masked narrator appears speaking about the “battle between truth and falsehood”—a reference to Islam’s dichotomized worldview, which certainly did not originate with “ISIS.”   For example, during an interview conducted one decade ago, when asked about the status of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiriresponded:

Jihad in the path of Allah is greater than any individual or organization. It is a struggle between Truth and Falsehood, until Allah Almighty inherits the earth and those who live in it. Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden—may Allah protect them from all evil—are merely two soldiers of Islam in the journey of jihad, while the struggle between Truth [Islam] and Falsehood [non-Islam] transcends time (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.182).

This statement best encapsulates why the slaughter of Christians and other “infidels” will continue—regardless of whether we call the jihad “al-Qaeda,” “ISIS,” “Boko Haram,” “Al Shabaab,” or “Lone Wolf.”  Jihadi leaders, ideologues, emirs, sultans, caliphs, even the prophet of Islam himself, have come and gone for nearly 1,400 years—but the jihad rages on.

And, lest Western readers in general, Christians in particular, think this is just happening “over there,” the same narrator, speaking to the West in general, also said—right before the slaughtered and decapitated bodies of the Ethiopian Christians were shown—that “you won’t have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”

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