ISIS declares Islamic state across Syria and Iraq; human rights group reports rebels being crucified

From CNN:  Emboldened by a weakened Iraqi government that is struggling to stop their murderous advance, the extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria declared over the weekend that they have set up a caliphate spanning large areas of the two countries. In a newly released audio message and written statement, purportedly from [Read More…]

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Vatican ambassador attends first Mass held at Iraqi monastery in 1,500 years

Amazing.  Read on: The Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq and a number of monks held the first mass in 1,500 years in one of the oldest monasteries in the Iraqi city of al-Hira (south of Najaf), and met with the top Iraqi Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Hira had been a spiritual capital for Christians, and [Read More…]

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“True Christianity is a persecuted Christianity”

That’s from Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, who serves the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil in northern Iraq.  He spoke with Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register: What are three things you would like American Catholics to know about Catholics in Iraq? First, that Christianity has had a presence in Iraq for 2,000 years. It’s [Read More…]

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The “twilight of Christianity” in Iraq

Sad and sobering news, from the New York Times: Iraq’s dwindling Christians, driven from their homes by attacks and intimidation, are beginning to abandon the havens they had found in the country’s north, discouraged by unemployment and a creeping fear that the violence they had fled was catching up to them. Their quiet exodus to [Read More…]

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Worth a thousand words

A man inspects bloodstained copies of the Koran a day after a blast occurred inside Umm al-Qura mosque in Baghdad’s Ghazaliya district August 29, 2011. Details: A suicide bomber posing as a beggar detonated his explosives inside a major Baghdad Sunni mosque on Sunday, killing at least 24 people, including an Iraqi lawmaker, just as [Read More…]

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Worth a thousand words

An Iraqi man inspects damages at the Mar Afram Syriac Orthodox Church following an explosion in the northern city of Kirkuk as a series of nationwide attacks hit the country. The daylong wave of violence was the deadliest in the country this year. Iraqi Christians now fear for their lives — but they aren’t the [Read More…]

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Car bomb hits Catholic church in Iraq; at least 20 injured

It happened early this morning in Kirkuk, about 150 miles north of Baghdad. Details: The attack took place in Kirkuk’s Shatterlo neighborhood around 5:30 a.m., according to a police official who spoke to CNN on condition anonymity, because he’s not authorized to speak to the media. The wounded included staff from the Holy Family Church [Read More…]

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Homily for July 24, 2011: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The gospel we just heard has some surprising comparisons to the Kingdom of God – a kingdom that isn’t measured in acres, or miles, or limited by any kind of geography we might imagine.  It is a kingdom, in fact, whose size could be small enough to hold in your hand, or bury in a [Read More…]

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