Two hundred Coptic Christians demonstrated in Nashville for peace in Egypt a few days ago. God bless them.
Here is the video.
Two hundred Coptic Christians demonstrated in Nashville for peace in Egypt a few days ago. God bless them.
Here is the video.
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Rev 12: 17 – 18
This is day 3 of the Novena to St Michael. We are praying for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters around the world.
Meditate today on Our Lord as He prayed and suffered in Gethsemane.
Allow yourself to consider the Alone. By the Alone, I mean the isolation and utter desolation that a person feels when they are at the mercy of satan’s disciples in this world.
Unlike us, Jesus did not have the luxury of fooling Himself into thinking things would be alright. He knew beyond hope the horrors that were coming.
But just like us, he wanted and needed companionship, and witnesses.
Jesus was human at Gethsemane. He didn’t go away to pray alone. Instead, he took Peter, John and James with Him. My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, He told them. Stay here and keep watch with me.
Jesus was human that night. He saw with His God eyes what was coming, the “cup” he would have to drink for us, and He recoiled with human horror.
He prayed that God would spare Him the agonies ahead. He sweated blood in His distress.
And, His human self longed for the comfort of other people. Keep watch with me, He asked.
And, like we fail Him when He is crucified again today in His Persecuted Church, the disciples failed Him then.
Keep watch with me, was all He asked of them. Stay awake. Pray. Be my friends and give me the comfort of your active presence in my agony.
But every time He paused in His prayers to go to them, He found them asleep. Can you not watch with me for one hour? He asked them.
The forsaken aloneness of that question echoes down the centuries to us today. Jesus was standing on the edge of the abyss. He was looking forward into that time when He would be at the mercy of satan; completely, utterly and absolutely. Unto death.
He was looking into the Alone.
It is a terrible thing to look into another person’s eyes and see satan looking back at you. It is a depth of horror that only those who have been there can understand to be helpless and utterly alone in that moment, to know that there is nothing you can do to save yourself. That is the Alone. And it is what Jesus was facing.
It was His Passion.
And it is the Passion of persecuted Christians, everywhere.
The persecutors of Christians are satan’s disciples in this world. As such, they are capable of descending into ever deeper pits of depravity. There is no bottom for those who have given themselves over to satan, whether they know they have given themselves to satan, or not.
They are the apostles of the darkness, and like their master, they hate the light of Christ. Like him, they will not stop until the darkness they crave rules this world in an eternal night.
This is the same satan who tempted Him at Gethsemane. Who came at Him through His wholly human horror of suffering, death, shame and humiliation. This is the same satan Who tried to get Him to turn His back on us and step aside from the oncoming sacrifice at Calvary.
My heart is sorrowful and troubled … My soul is overwhelmed … to the point of death.
That is our Wholly Human Lord facing His hour of greatest temptation. All He asked of His friends was to bear witness; to watch and pray … with me for one hour.
But they could not do even that much.
In the end, He went into the Alone alone. Our Wholly God Lord and Savior allowed Himself to be stripped completely of His Godhead and lead away like a lamb to the slaughter. He endured the deepest pit of taking on our sins so that He could save us from those sins.
He became Wholly Human to save us from our fallen humanity. May your will be done, he prayed.
He was tempted like we are with the recoiling horror of the pit. He was sorrowful and troubled to the point of death. He sweat blood and entreated heaven to spare Him what was coming.
He was human at Gethsemane.
And He was alone in His humanness. He battled satan in that garden and faced down the temptation to turn aside from the agonies ahead.
He is alone again in the hearts of our persecuted brothers and sisters all around the globe. He faces the Alone again with them as they face it.
The question now, as it was then, is can we watch with him one hour?
Here is the Novena to St Michael for the Persecuted Church, Day 3. Please pray it and ask others to join you.
Glorious Saint Michael, guardian and defender of the Church of Jesus Christ, come to the assistance of His followers, against whom the powers of hell are unchained. Guard with special care our Holy Father, the Pope, and our bishops, priests, all our religious and lay people, and especially the children. Saint Michael, watch over us during life, defend us against the assaults of the demon, and assist us especially at the hour of death. Help us achieve the happiness of beholding God face to face for all eternity. Amen. Saint Michael, intercede for me with God in all my necessities, especially for the conversion of the world,that from pole to pole,dateline to dateline,all will call out Jesus' name. Obtain for me a favourable outcome in the matter I recommend to you. Mighty prince of the heavenly host, and victor over rebellious spirits, remember me for I am weak and sinful and so prone to pride and ambition. Be for me, I pray, my powerful aid in temptation and difficulty, and above all do not forsake me in my last struggle with the powers of evil. Amen.
President Obama used his power as a committee chair in the Illinois State Senate to repeatedly kill the state infant born alive act.
It’s significant that he did that as a committee chair, because that means he just about had to have read the bill. It’s also significant that he did it repeatedly, because that eliminates the possibility that he made some sort of mistake and voted in a way he didn’t really intend.
He did it.
And he knew he did it.
But when State Senator Obama evolved into United States Senator Barack Obama and then further evolved into presidential candidate Obama, this action in the Illinois state senate started to be a bit of a problem. But then, maybe it didn’t.
In this interview, Candidate Obama does a fine job of hair-splitting and turning the tables on his accusers, and the reporter lets him get away with it.
The trouble is that he’s lying.
This is an audio of the Illinois Senate debate on this Infant Born Alive Bill. Listen closely because there are several points here that you need to understand:
1. The explanation of the bill shows flat-out that candidate Obama’s contention that this will would “overturn” Roe v Wade is claptrap.
2. The questions State Senator Obama raises show that he knew this. Notice that he focuses on the State Medical Association’s opposition to the bill and the “rights” of the woman, not overturning Roe vs Wade.
3. It certainly sounds like he opposed allowing a baby who survives an abortion to be required to get medical care.
For those who want to see it, here is the complete text of the bill:
The point, for the purposes of this particular blog post, is that our President lied to the American people about his own record during the 2008 campaign. His claims that “no doctor” would allow a baby born alive after an abortion to die without medical care might be a symptom of naiveté, except for one thing. State Senator Obama, as part of his duties as committee chair, heard testimony on the bill from this woman:
Is this Candidate Obama’s lowest moment in the 2008 campaign? I think so.
For my money, President George W Bush’s finest moment was also one of his worst moments as president.
He took this nation to war based on the belief that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction.” Our troops got in there and found — guess what? — no weapons of mass destruction!
Why would I think that this was President Bush’s finest hour?
Because he didn’t lie about it.
He didn’t try to fake weapons of mass destruction.
He told us the truth.
Sad to say, that is as rare as hen’s teeth in the American presidency of the past few decades. Of all the things George W Bush did as president, some of which I agreed with strongly and others which I opposed adamantly, none earned my respect like the way he took it on the chin over the lies that got us into Iraq.
I am convinced that there were deliberate lies involved in this; lies told by what President Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex.” This “complex” appears to be always hungry for another war, and always willing to do whatever it takes to create one.
But President Bush redeemed himself and his intentions, at least in my eyes, by telling the truth.
Now, he did try to soft-soap the whole thing with talk about how “evil” the dictator of Iraq was. He did his best to shift attention away from this awful mess he’d made by invading Iraq. But he didn’t lie and he didn’t try to shift the blame. He let the buck stop with him.
For that, hats off, President Bush.
I apologize for talking about this now, on Sunday.
But the weight of grief and oppression I felt Friday — which is the day I usually write about our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ — has lifted, and I feel compelled to talk about it now.
According to Asia News, at least 58 Christian churches, schools, homes and shops have been attacked, looted and torched in Egypt in the last three days. The Christians of Egypt need our prayers today on this Lord’s Day.
Sunday is a time of rejoicing and feasting, our Sabbath of thankfulness for the Resurrection and its promise of eternal life. But on this Sunday, it is also a time for us to unite ourselves with Christ crucified all over the world.
Jesus suffers this minute in Egypt. His churches, convents, institutions and homes are burnt and destroyed. His people are subjected to terror and all forms of violence.
This is the face of Christ Crucified in our world today.
We can not ignore our Suffering Savior in these His people.
I hope that you will pray the Novena for the Persecuted Church that we began today. I hope also that you will pray and ask God to show you how you may help our persecuted brothers and sisters.
The list below is the names of the churches, convents and institutions that have been attacked that we know of. From Asia News:
Catholic churches and convents
- 1. Franciscan church and school (road 23) – burned (Suez)
- 2. Monastery of the Holy Shepherd and hospital – burned (Suez)
- 3. Church of the Good Shepherd, Monastery of the Good Shepherd – burned in molotov attack (Asuit)
- 4. Coptic Catholic Church of St. George – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Church of the Jesuits – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Fatima Basilica – attacked – Heliopolis
- 7. Coptic Catholic Church of St. Mark – burned (Minya – Upper Egypt)
- 8. Franciscan convent (Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. Teresa – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 10. Franciscan Church and School – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Convent of St Joseph and school – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 12. Coptic Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart – torched (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 13 Convent of the Sisters of Saint Mary – attacked (Cairo)
- 14. School of the Holy Shepherd – attacked (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- Orthodox and Evangelical Churches
- 1. Anglican Church of St. Saviour – burned (Suez)
- 2. Evangelical Church of St Michael – surrounded and sacked (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 3. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George – Burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 4. Church of Al-Esla – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Adventist Church – burned, the pastor and his wife abducted (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Church of the Apostles – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 7. Church of the Holy renewal – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 8. Diocesan Centre Coptic Orthodox Qusiya – burned (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Church of St. George – burned (Arish, North Egypt)
- 10. Church of St. George in al-Wasta – burned (Beni Suef, Upper Egypt)
- 11. Church of the Virgin Mary – attacked (Maadi, Cairo)
- 12. Church of the Virgin Mary – attacked (Mostorod, Cairo)
- 13. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George – attacked (Helwan, Cairo)
- 14. Church of St. Mary of El Naziah – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 15. Church of Santa Damiana – sacked and burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 16. Church of St. Theodore – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 17. Evangelical Church of al-Zorby – Sacked and destroyed (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 18. Church of St. Joseph – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 19. Franciscan School – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 20. Coptic Orthodox Diocesan Center of St. Paul – burned (Gharbiya, Delta)
- 21. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Anthony – burned (Giza)
- 22. Coptic Church of St. George – burned (Atfeeh, Giza)
- 23. Church of the Virgin Mary and father Abraham – burned (Delga, Deir Mawas, Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 24. Church of St. Mina Abu Hilal Kebly – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 25. Baptist Church in Beni Mazar – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 26. Church of Amir Tawadros – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 27. Evangelical Church – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 28. Church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad- burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 29. Church of the Apostles – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 30. Church of St Mary – arson attempt (Qena, Upper Egypt)
- 31. Coptic Church of St. George – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 32. Church of Santa Damiana – Attacked and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 33. Church of the Virgin Mary – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 34. Church of St. Mark and community center – burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- 35. Church of Anba Abram – destroyed and burned (Sohag, Upper Egypt)
- Christian institutions
- 1. House of Fr. Angelos (pastor of the church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abraham) – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 2. Properties and shops of Christians – Burnt (Arish, North Egypt)
- 3. 17 Christian homes attacked and looted (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 4. Christian homes – Attach (Asuit, Upper Egypt)
- 5. Offices of the Evangelical Foundation – burned (Minya, Upper Egypt)
- 6. Stores, pharmacies, hotels owned by Christians – attacked and looted (Luxor, Upper Egypt)
- 7. Library of the Bible Society – burned (Cairo)
- 8. Bible Society – burned (Fayoum, Upper Egypt)
- 9. Bible Society- burned (Asuit, North Egypt).
This video talks about Christianity in China. Christianity is growing, despite persecution.
It is interesting that the communists do not make Christianity illegal, they put it under state control. This is similar to the way that our government has begun to try to control Christianity here in America; by reducing the First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion to worship services in houses of worship and the privacy of our own homes.
This is tyranny.
The Christian Bashers Defense team has pretty much taken over the comboxes on my recent post Constitutional Rights for Me, But Not for Thee.
They are as predictable as mosquitoes. Just say something really true about their behavior, and they show up, armed to buzz bomb you until you go inside and close the door.
In this instance, I asked the simple question: Do Constitutional rights apply to Christians the same as everybody else?
The answer should seem obvious. But of course it’s not. The reason it’s not is the bullies who want to limit other people’s rights always get mad and deny what they are doing when someone calls them on it. They do it every single time.
We’re all supposed to join them in their pretense that there’s nothing discriminatory or offensive in their attempts to drive Christians from the public square. No one is supposed to challenge their idiotic pretense that using government controls to limit the free exercise of religion in this country is actually a push for freedom, instead of the tyranny that it is.
If we can’t be agree with them, they want us to sit down and be quiet and stop contradicting them. If we don’t, well then, they’ll scream and shout until everybody gives up and lets them have the day.
It has always been thus. People who do things like this always deny it, and they always get mean when someone calls them on their facile denials.
That’s why this particular post ended up being dive-bombed by a whole troupe of angry combox mosquitoes. Even though the readership of this blog is heavily — and I mean heavily – Christian, the Christian defenders were outnumbered. In fact, only three stalwart souls tried to stand up for Christ in these arguments. In the end, it got down mostly to one stubborn Christian, who is hanging in there to this very moment.
For all that, this lone fellow managed to push the whole mosquito assault into a slow unwinding of their lies until, one of them just came out with it.
And I quote:
I can’t write about Christian persecution this week.
I’ve gone through a long list of horrific stories from all over the globe. But I can not force myself to write about them. The weight of it is too much for me. I plan to devote prayer time to them, instead.
This is one of those times when the horror of it all is just too much for me. Christians are suffering violent persecution in so much of the world. At the same time, they are being subjected to increasing pressures to deny their faith and go along with the world here in the Christian West.
Much of the Muslim war on Christians is centered on Christian women and girls. Young Christian girls are kidnapped, raped and forced to convert. This cowardly behavior says a lot about their attackers.
Christianity is attacked and Christians are subjected to persecution in every atheist government on the globe. According to the video below, North Korea is the worst place on Earth to be a Christian. Given the amount of competition for that title, that’s saying a lot.
I just can’t face writing about Christian persecution today, even though that’s my usual Friday practice. I’m going to delay it until tomorrow.
I want to talk about Cardinal George, instead.
Cardinal George’s cancer recurred late last summer. I read in February of this year that he had been given a clean bill of health and was cancer-free.
I have no idea why, but just out of the blue I’ve been getting this impulse to pray for him. It’s like a soft little dinging in the back of my mind.
I don’t know if it has anything to do with his health. All I can say is that I almost never think about Cardinal George. Because it’s so odd for me to suddenly feel that I should pray for him, I am assuming that for reasons I don’t know and may never know, he probably needs a little extra prayer.
I’m passing this along to the rest of you so that you can join me in saying a Hail Mary for the Cardinal now and again.
In the video below, he is discussing the HHS Mandate.
At one point he talks about the “definition” being so narrow. I believe that he is referring to the definition of religious institutions as it is used in the HHS Mandate, and not the First Amendment. Among other things, the Obama administration has been trying to narrow the meaning of “religious freedom” to only include the freedom to attend services in “places of worship” and behind the closed doors of our homes.
This should be anathema to any freedom-loving American, irrespective of their religious beliefs or lack of belief.
Here is Cardinal George:
It is, in that grand Public Catholic tradition, roast and toast Rebecca time.
Get out your flame-throwers and pitchforks folks. I’m going to talk about the two political parties.
There are little g gods. And then there are little g gods.
No little g god I’ve talked about on this blog draws quite the high octane, teeth-grinding I’ll-poke-a-stick-in-your-eye, flat-out mad as when I tell people that their political parties suck. When I pour on the gasoline and say things like they are both corrupt and you can not follow Jesus and follow either political party, I get walking-off, a pox-on-your-house-Rebecca disgust.
The reason, I believe, is that we want an easy way out of our responsibility as Americans and Christians to engage the larger culture for Christ. When engaging that larger culture includes the rough and tumble world of politics, we really start scratching around looking for an easy way out. We want a pass. A haiku. A some little something to do that will make us feel good while we don’t risk much.
We don’t want — all of us, including me — to go out there and take the hits that come from engaging the world, including our political parties — for Christ.
Our problem is that the real Jesus, as opposed to the Hallmark Card Jesus, was a trouble maker. And He still is. Stick with Him in party politics, and you’ll end up getting booed and called names and probably nobody will eat lunch with you or talk to you. It will be time out in grade school all over again if you try even a little bit to follow Jesus first in the context of party politics.
Nobody wants that. It hurt when we were kids. And it still hurts now that we’re grownups.
What we want — and we are willing to go along with just about any craven lie or manipulation of our consciences to get it — is a safe place where we can just vote straight party a few times a year and then shoot self-righteous arrows at all those fallen folks in the Other Party, which, we are sure, is the devil.
The truth is, boys and girls, as American Christians we have the power to affect how these political parties behave. But doing that means we have to do a few things. We have to,
1. Get up off our duffs and get involved in party politics at the local level.
2. Accept the fact that if we truly follow Jesus, we are going to be unpopular, whichever party we join.
3. Stand for Christ even though we will get hit with brickbats and name-calling.
Deacon Greg Kandra wrote about Bishop Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, who recently made an announcement that he’s switched from Democrat to Republican. His reasons are sound ones. In fact, I know exactly how he feels. The Democratic Party, at least at the national level, has become the party of abortion. It is also the party of gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and a number of other horrific things.
If the good bishop feels that he can’t abide all this and wants to change his D to an R, I say go for it. However, if he’s got some idea that the Rs are going to be a safe haven where he can peacefully abide and get glad-handed and sucked-up-to without challenges to his leadership as a bishop, he’s living in fantasyland.
Oh, he’ll get all the glad-handing, back-slapping and suck-uppage anyone’s heart could desire. But the no-challenges-to-his-leadership-as-a-bishop will only come if he hands over the keys to the party leadership and walks their wide and smooth way.
My hope is that in all his newfound enthusiasm for political engagement he doesn’t sell out the farm to this party. He’s supposed to speak for Christ, and that means he needs to make sure that he doesn’t end up toadying to the Rs.
I’ve seen, up close and personal, how the Rs treat their toady clergy. My message to the bishop: You don’t want to be them. Not only that, but you can’t be them if you want to be who the Church says you are.
There is plenty to address in the Rs economic and military policies that would keep the good bishop busy being a bishop and not a party stalwart, if he wants to do it. There’s also quite a bit he could do to get them off high center on some of the things that make Christians register R in the first place, such as life, family and religious freedom.
That said, anyone who is a D (like me) really does have their work cut out for them. If the Rs co-opt traditional Christianity and its religious leaders, the Ds are at war with them.
I could go on and on about HHS Mandates and gay marriage and falling down before the idol of Planned Parenthood, but you know the story. The point is, the official Democratic Party has lost its soul. It no longer even pretends otherwise.
In my opinion — and this invariably raises combox ire — you can and will take this country and yourself both right down to hell by following either political party blindly. I also think that weak-as-water Christians have brought a lot of this trouble on us all by going along with their parties rather than following Christ.
Here’s the truth of it: There are plenty of Christians in both the Democratic and Republican parties, at least at the county and state level. But they’ve sold out Christ for the party line. They won’t stand up for Jesus because they want to be friends and pals with their other party faithful buds. They convince themselves to believe the drivel that these people talk, and the seriously evil drivel that sold-out, fallen religious leaders say to excuse the sinfulness of the party.
There are a ton of sold-out, fallen religious leaders in both political parties. Go to any party convention, and you’ll see them there. They don’t speak for Christ when Christ’s teachings contradict the party’s teachings. Instead, they give tortured explanations about how Jesus really agrees with the party. They don’t use their prophetic and moral voice as religious leaders to speak for the light. They use them to give excuses for the darkness.
These preachers have sold Jesus, and they’ve sold Him cheap: To be part of the R or the D.
I often — and I mean often — hear Christian people go on and on about “how can anyone be part of a party that is pro abortion” or whatever bad thing the Ds espouse. They do this right in front of me, as if they’ve forgotten than I am a rather public and unapologetic D. If I say anything, they tell me “Oh, you’re not like the rest of them.”
And they’re correct in that. I’m not “like the rest of them.” I try my best to do that thing which I believe down to the core of my political being that politically inclined people must do as their part to save this culture. I engage the party from a Jesus-first position.
That is what I am trying to get the readers of this blog to do. Engage your political party with a Jesus-first outlook.
Stand. For. Jesus.
Not the R or the D.
There is nothing wrong — and I mean nothing — with being part of either political party, if you go into it with that attitude.
In fact, I would say that there is something exactly right about it.
Jesus told us to be the light of the world. But party faithful are faithful to the party first. Political Christians, whether they are R or D, almost always end up hiding their light under the party loyalty bushel.
My note to Bishop Tobin is that if he’s looking for God in a political party, he needs a new road map. He’s already in the place where people can find God, and that’s the Catholic Church.
I do not mean to say or imply in any way that Bishop Tobin should not be engaged in America’s political struggle. I back the bishops completely in what they are doing. But this nation is lost first in its soul. All the other things are just symptoms of that deep soul-sickness.
We need religious leaders who will equip the laity to fight the political battles by teaching and leading us in the Way of the Cross. The Church has the answer already and that is Christ and Him crucified. That, and not the R or the D, needs to be his message.