Martyred Priest: I Can’t Leave My People

Fr. Frans van der Lugt. Courtesy: Wael Salibi.

Fr Frans van der Lugt. Photo Source: Wael Salibi

The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Jesus Christ

Father Frans van der Lugt, SJ refused to abandon his parish and people in the face of danger. He was the only priest who stayed when the area in Syria where he lived was overrun during the Syrian civil war.

“I can’t leave my people,” he said, “I can’t leave my church. I am director of this church, how can I leave them?”

Days before Father Lugt’s 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.

From Catholic News Agency:

Days after Dutch priest Fr. Frans van der Lugt S.J. was murdered in Syria, a close young friend recalled his saintly life, noting both his personal holiness and extraordinary advances in Christian-Muslim relations.Wael Salibi, 26, recalled how when the Christian area in Homs was taken over by rebels, 66,000 of the faithful “left their home, and just few of them stayed there. He was the only priest, he stayed in his church.”

“Just months before he died, he said ‘I can’t leave my people, I can’t leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?’” Salibi told CNA on April 11.Salibi, who hails from the now-ravished city of Homs, grew up as a close friend and pupil of Fr. Frans, who was brutally killed on April 7.  Days before his 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.For the past three years Syria has been embroiled in conflict which sprang up after citizens protested the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president and leader the country’s Ba’ath Party

Bishops Invite Bishops to Join March for Marriage 2014

March for Marriage participants carry a banner in Washington DC on March 26 2013 Credit Addie Mena CNA CNA US Catholic News 3 26 13

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco announced plans to attend the second annual March for Marriage in Washington, DC.

The two bishops extended an invitation to their brother bishops to join them.

For more information about the march, go to The March for Marriage 2014 website.

The March for Marriage will be held June 19, 2014 in Washington, DC.

From Catholic News Agency:

Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2014 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two U.S. bishops leading efforts to defend and promote marriage offered their support for this year’s national March for Marriage and invited their fellow bishops to do the same.

“We are very grateful for this opportunity to express our support for the March for Marriage and to encourage participation in this event,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco.

In an April 7 letter, they encouraged their fellow U.S. bishops to promote the march in their respective dioceses.

Bishop Malone is the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Cordileone chairs the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The 2014 March for Marriage will be held in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2014. It is the second national demonstration to support the institution of marriage existing as a unique union between a man and a woman.

Trust in Jesus

I believe the Holy Spirit led me to this video this morning.

I was in a spiritual pit that I can’t describe without getting far too personal for this blog.

Then, I stumbled on this song. It didn’t erase what I was feeling in one big swoosh, but it did bring me back to what I know, which is that I am never alone. As St Paul said, I know whom I have believed, and I trust that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.

There is only one perspective for a Christian, and this is it.

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Conversion Story: Inside I was Dead

 

Jesus Saves.

It’s as simple as that.

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It’s Getting Awful Crowded Under that Bus. Another Catholic School Apologizes for a Speaker Teaching Catholic Morality

It’s getting awful crowded under that bus.

Another Catholic high school has apologized to “outraged” parents for a speaker who spoke on Catholic morality. The lucky winner this time is Prout School in Rhode Island.

It’s the same old, same old song once again. According to an article in Catholic Culture Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, who is the executive director of Relevant Radio, gave a talk to a group of high school students whose parents were subsequently “outraged” by its content.

Outraged parent, Kathleen Schlenz, says that the talk was “offensive regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”

Just like the proverbial slot machine, David Carradini, principal of the Prout School apologized, saying that Father Hoffman’s answers to student questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” Dan Ferris, the Providence diocesan school superintendent, followed up with a statement proclaiming that the remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”

In an interesting twist, Father Hoffman’s presentation was recorded so that it could be aired on Relevant network. Parents at Proust School said that the address should not be aired.

First Sister Jane. Now Father Hoffman. And I’m not even mentioning the mess in Seattle.

If this keeps up, we’re going to need a whole fleet of buses.

From Catholic Culture:

For the 2nd time in recent weeks, parents of students at a Catholic high school are protesting that a speaker’s presentation on Catholic morality was harsh and insensitive.

Parents of students at the Prout School in Rhode Island have expressed outrage over an appearance by Father Francis (“Rocky”) Hoffman, the executive director of Relevant Radio, a network of 33 Catholic stations. Kathleen Schlenz, whose daughter attends the school and heard the lecture, said that the presentation was offensive “regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”

Father Hoffman, who was on retreat, was unavailable to comment. But David Carradini, the principal of the Prout School, apologized for the presentation and said that Father Hoffman’s answers to students’ questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” The Providence diocesan school superintendent, Dan Ferris, also issued a statement, saying that the priest’s remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”

Chinese Christians Form Human Shield to Protect Church from Government Destruction

Chinese Christians form human shield for protect their church. Photo source: The Telegraph

Officials in China’s Communist government are denying that they are engaging in a campaign of systematic destruction of Christian churches.

They make this claim despite the fact that they have ordered the destruction of approximately a dozen churches. Churches in the Zhejiang province are reportedly facing either destruction or government-ordered removal of their crosses.

Christians who live in the province have responded courageously. They have formed human chains around the churches to prevent their destruction.

Even though officials deny a demolition campaign, the Communist Party’s provincial official in charge of religious affairs said publicly that the growth of Christianity was “too excessive and too haphazard.”

The interesting thing to me is how completely these government officials misunderstand the mustard seed of faith that is Christianity. It’s not now and never has been about church buildings. Christ grows in people’s hearts, not buildings.

They can tear down every church, and it will only serve to spread the Gospel further and faster.

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From The Telegraph:

Communist officials in China have denied waging a “demolition campaign” against churches in the country’s most Christian regions, after reportedly ordering a dozen to be destroyed.

The churches – in the eastern province of Zhejiang – are currently facing demolition or having their crosses removed, activists claim. Other churches are said to have been ordered to make themselves “less conspicuous” by turning their lights off at night.

Local preachers accuse Party officials in Zhejiang, a wealthy coastal province, of “gross interference” in Church affairs and have urged them to abandon what they believe is an orchestrated campaign.

Last week, Christians flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou – a rich port city known as the “Jerusalem of the East” because of its large Christian community – after its demolition was announced.

Officials denied launching a church demolition movement.

Christian Professor Awarded Back Pay, Promotion for Violation of His First Amendment Rights

“No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of his public employment.”

That comes from a 2011 opinion of the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision on a lawsuit filed by Dr Mike Adams. Dr Adams is a professor in criminology at the University of North Caroline-Wilmington.

He filed suit when university officials refused him a promotion to a full professorship. The suit claimed that this was due to his change of personal beliefs after conversion from atheism to Christianity.

When the university hired Dr Adams in 1993, he was an atheist. He received accolades from his colleagues and was promoted to associate professor 1998.

Dr Adams converted to Christianity in 2000, which affected his views on political and social issues. According to CharismaNews, “the university subjected Adams to a campaign of academic persecution that culminated in the denial of his promotion to full professorship, despite an award-winning record of teaching, research and service.”

Now a federal court has ordered the University of North Caroline-Wilmington to promote Dr Adams to the rank of full professor and pay him $50,000 in back pay.

Christian converts who come from more politicized environments often experience painful changes in the way they are treated by colleagues. Christian conversion can lead to the loss of old friendships and promotions, even here in the USA.

The court’s decision is an important one that hopefully will curb the harassment of people in public life who express opinions that run contrary to politically correct cant.

Now, if we can only develop First Amendment protections for those in the corporate environment.

Note: Public Catholic reader Peggy-O found this link to Dr Adams’ personal response to a bit of what he was subjected to. It’s well worth a read.

Maybe the Only Honorable Place for a Catholic to be is Under the Bus

Under the bus

Fear God, and you will have no need of being afraid of mortal man. What can anyone do against you by his words and injuries? He rather hurts himself than you, nor can he escape the judgement of God, whoever he be. Keep God before your eyes. Thomas a Kempis

It’s getting crowded under the bus.

I would imagine that it’s also lonely and a bit shattering for the people who are under there.

First, we’ve got Mozilla, throwing their founder and the inventor of JavaScript under that old bus because he made a political donation six years ago in favor of Prop 8, or, to put it more simply, in support of traditional marriage.

Next, we’ve got Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who committed the “crime” of using sociological studies that the gay marriage/gay rights people claim are bogus in a presentation to high school students. Evidently, she said nothing, nothing, that was against Church teaching. The only half-way legitimate criticism that anyone can dig up is that parents  weren’t “informed” of the talk beforehand. Informing the parents beforehand sounds to me like the administrative responsibility of the school, not Sister Jane.

I’ll toss in one more. Father Marcel Guarnizo says he was removed from ministry for refusing communion to a woman who had informed him she was living in a sexual relationship with another woman.

Meanwhile, this priest (who is a Jesuit, so has different superiors, but the principle is the same) is supporting open defiance against Church teachings and writing about it in national Catholic magazines.

I wonder how many others are out there lying under buses for standing for what the Church has taught us we should stand for?

The forced resignation of Brandon Eich from Mozilla is different because the people who abandoned him were not bishops of the Church. I am not in any way abrogating their responsibility for acceding to an egregious and unconscionable attack on the principles of civil liberties which have allowed us to all live together in peace in this country for over 200 years.

I am saying that when a bishop of the Church throws people under the bus for following Church teaching, it … well … it gets too ripe to breathe.

When the zeitgeist turns, it sometimes turns ugly. You can get ugly mobs at your Catholic high schools, demanding the head of a nun. Situations like that are the ones that let true leaders shine. They are also the situations that lead the weak links to tarnish themselves and shame the rest of us.

A bishop who is a good leader must be a great follower. He must be a follower of Christ before anything else. A bishop who follows Jesus and lets the Holy Spirit work through him, will be able to deal with mobs without running away and abandoning his people. But bishops who decide that being a bishop is all about them, will not stand in the tough times.

Such is our fallen state. Jesus Himself told us that the tares would grow up alongside the wheat and not be separated out until Judgement Day. We, meaning you and I, have the task of remaining faithful to Our Lord, even if we have to do it alone, even if our priests and bishops abandon us, even if it makes social martyrs of us.

Make no mistake about it, those who destroy people’s careers and push them to the sidelines for supporting traditional marriage are making martyrs of them. I include bishops who do not stand by them among the martyr-makers.

The suffering of a Brandon Eich who had the corporation he founded and his life’s work stolen from him in what can only be described as an act of malice and spite, must be exquisite. Imagine what it is like to be Sister Jane or Father Guarnizo, who have given their lives to the Church, to have that Church cashier them as a matter of convenience for a bishop who won’t make a stand? Meanwhile those who ignore the Church’s teachings, or even deride them, are riding high.

So long as individual Catholics, ranging from priests, to nuns, to laity, can not rely on their bishops to stand by them when the angry mobs of the zeitgeist come at them for standing for Christ, the only honorable and faithful place for Jesus loving, Jesus following Catholics may very well be under the bus.

Bishop Jugis Issues Long-Delayed Statement About Sister Jane. Says Nothing. Sister Still Under the Bus.

Bishop Jugis

Bishop Peter Jugis has finally issued his long-awaited statement concerning the trashing of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel at a meeting held in one of the Catholic schools in his diocese over a week ago.

I’m not sure why it took the bishop so long to issue this statement, since it says nothing. Here’s the gist of it:

The bishop is “shocked” at the “lack of charity and respect” at the meeting.

The bishop calls for “healing.”

The bishop assures us that Catholic schools will teach the Catholic faith “in its fullness and integrity,” and that the catechism is “accessible to all.”

The bishop stands by his priest.

The bishop leaves Sister Jane under the bus.

In a statement published in the local Charlotte press and then put on the diocesan news page, the author of the petition against Sister Jane announced that the petition was being shut down, adding:

“Thank you to everyone in the CCHS community who supported my petition. I have now removed it from change.org because I feel that its goal has been accomplished. I wanted to call attention to something I felt was wrong so that something similar would not happen in the future. Certainly enough attention has been brought to the issue, and I believe that our school system is working towards a meaningful change. The petition has served its purpose and can now be put to rest.

Indeed.

I appears that the petition was 100% successful. Hard to argue with that. In fact, it looks like the petitioners are running things.

I’m going to have to think about this for a little bit. But I do know that, so far as I’m concerned, everything I said in this post still stands. I am not surprised that Bishop Jugis punted. After a week of silence, any other course of action would have been a surprise.

Maybe we should follow the bishop’s advice and go buy copies of the catechism and be our own bishops to ourselves. Then, if anyone disagrees with us, we can start a petition, form an angry mob and take over.

I am afraid for our Church in these perilous times if this is our leadership.

Bishop Jugis’ statement:

Bishop Jugis’ full statement, issued April 9, follows:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The past few weeks have been very difficult for Charlotte Catholic High School. We have all experienced a great deal of pain. During this difficult time I want to express my support and encouragement for all the parents, students, staff and faculty at the high school. We must move forward toward healing with charity, the hallmark of our Christian life.

Different viewpoints regarding Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel’s presentation to students on March 21, 2014, have been discussed in a variety of venues.

At the parent meeting on April 2, 2014, many expressed concern about the lack of advanced communication with parents regarding the subject matter of the assembly. Apologies were made at the meeting for that lack of advanced communication.

The content of the Church’s moral teaching was not raised as a matter of contention at the parent meeting. All of our Catholic schools are committed to hold and teach the Catholic faith in its fullness and with integrity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains an explanation of our faith and is accessible to all.

During this difficult time I support the continued work of Fr. Matthew Kauth, the chaplain; Mrs. Angela Montague and Mr. Steve Carpenter, the assistant principals; and Mr. Randy Belk, the dean of students; and all they are doing for our Charlotte Catholic High School students. All of us are indebted to them.

I am shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media. There simply is no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect. If we have failed in this regard let us make amends to God and neighbor. Even when we disagree, that disagreement should be expressed respectfully in love.

We ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and His healing as we approach the celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. Please be assured of our continued dedication to the mission to teach and live the truth of the Catholic faith at our Charlotte Catholic High School.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis

Bishop of Charlotte

Conversion Breaks Out in Hostile Lands Because of Direct Intervention from Christ

Conversion of st paul

Conversion of St Paul on the road to Damascus

The age of miracles is not over. I’ve personally encountered the story of one young woman from India who had Jesus come to her in a vision. This young woman had never heard of Jesus before he visited her. She is now a missionary in India.

Stories of Jesus appearing to people in parts of the world which are most hostile to Christianity keep coming.

From Charisma News:

A Christian revival is touching the northernmost reaches of Africa. In a region once hostile to the gospel, now tens of thousands of Muslims are following Jesus.

As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, Muslims across Northern Africa are converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers.

“What God is doing in North Africa, all the way from actually Mauritanian to Libya is unprecedented in the history of missions” said Tino Qahoush, a graduate of Regent University and filmmaker. He has spent years traveling the region to document the transformation.

“I have the privilege of recording testimonies and listening to firsthand stories of men and women, of all ages where they can be sitting in a room and see the appearance and the presence of God appear to them in reality, like a vision, some of them gave me stories of how they carry on a conversation, it’s not just a light that appears” adds Qahoush. He also says sometimes he feels jealous, “how come Jesus is visiting the Muslim world at this time and age and we don’t hear that happening in the traditional Christian community.”

His interviews confirm what experts say is a profound move of God in the predominantly Muslim nations of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.

From the shores of Casablanca in Morocco to Tripoli, Libya, experts say the growth of Christianity, especially in the last 20 years, has been unprecedented. And now that growth is also evident in the North African nation of Algeria.

Pastor Salah leads one of the largest churches in Algeria. Some 1,200 believers attend the church, and 99 percent of the population is Muslim.

“In fact we never thought the Algerian church would grow so big” says Salah. He says every new Christian in his church came from a Muslim background. Since the church opened, they have baptized on average 150-160 believers per year.”

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