Mexico Needs to Stop the Faux Outrage at the Pope and Get Real

Protests Against Violence in Mexico. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by  John S and James L. Knight https://www.flickr.com/photos/knightfoundation/

Protests Against Violence in Mexico. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by John S and James L. Knight https://www.flickr.com/photos/knightfoundation/

Evidently, Pope Francis was concerned about problems in Argentina and, in a private correspondence,  said, “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization.”

When this statement became public, there was tsk-tsking in all the predictable quarters and Mexico went into the usual knee-jerk outrage and demands for apologies. I’m not sure if the Mexican president said he was “hurt” by the Pope’s remarks, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Everybody is “hurt” by things that couldn’t possibly hurt these days, including private remarks in private letters written by people they don’t know.

Whatever.

The Vatican apologized. Sort of. Here’s the sort-of apology:

‘The pope intended only to emphasize the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. “It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government.”

Now, according to the New York Post, Mexico is rebuffing the Pope’s sort-of apology.

I know this puts me entirely outside the politically correct industry of constant complaint and apology, but Mexico needs to get real.

I’m not outraged by the Pope’s comment. I am outraged by the long-standing corruption in Mexico’s government which has allowed drug cartels to kill, rape, torture and terrify civilians for decades.

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Julieta Alvarez Leal https://www.flickr.com/photos/soaringbird/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Julieta Alvarez Leal https://www.flickr.com/photos/soaringbird/

The murders of women in Juarez has been going on for decades. The people there have staged marches, asking for police protection. When families reported that their daughters were missing, the police told them they had run off with their boyfriends. When the mutilated bodies were recovered, the police told the families the girls were prostitutes. Even if that had been true, it had nothing to do with the fact that the women had obviously been murdered; except in the minds of these Mexican police.

Mexico’s corrupt police have allowed the situation to fall into a near state of anarchy in parts of the country in which citizens are murdered and battles occur that rival actual war zones. Tourists have been advised to avoid Mexico because of the violence.

This violence and corruption play a major role in the situation in which the Mexican people are so unhappy with their home country that they risk walking across the desert to get into this country. I’ve been saying for a long time — to deaf ears, I might add — that if America wants to stop the influx of illegal immigrants at our Southern border, we need to help Mexico develop good government. That would mean, among other things, that we need to stop exploiting Mexico, which gets into corporatism.

Government in Mexico is a failure. It is not just and it certainly is not stable. If Mexico had a just and stable government, these people would not leave their homes and families to make the perilous journey to this country. They would stay in the comforts of their own lives rather than go live as strangers in a strange land. They would stay home, if home was livable.

So, the Pope said something that was based on actual fact, and the Mexican government goes through the faux outraged dignity routine and demands more and better apologies.

The real apology should be made to the Mexican people by the Mexican police, Mexican elected officials and everyone else in Mexico who has failed their people so abysmally for decades. I’ll go back to the women of Juarez to make a point: If this violence against women had been addressed at Juarez — as a legitimate police force and a legitimate federal government would have done — it would not have worsened and spread into the rest of the country. Instead, it was ignored and allowed to continue. The official response seems to have been misogynist jingoism rather than police work and justice for the women of Juarez.

I think, instead of “rebuffing” the Vatican’s apologies, Mexico needs to get real. The Mexican government is the one that should apologize, first to its own citizens and second to the world community, for allowing corruption in its police force and its government to continue unabated and unchallenged for decades.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Thomassin Mickael https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickou/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Thomassin Mickael https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickou/

Will Mexico be able to pull itself out of the abyss of bandit government where the nation is run by drug cartels and the people flee the result of that corruption in such mass numbers that it has created a crisis of illegal immigration in this country? Not unless it decides it wants to, and not unless this decision goes from the top to the bottom.

I would guess that being an honest official of any sort, be that cop, elected official, priest, teacher or clerk, is dangerous business in Mexico. From the things my former constituents from Mexico have told me, the corruption honeycombs the country and all its institutions.

I don’t think the Pope should apologize to anyone for his comment about Mexico. The word choice may have been inept, and the fact that he said such a thing is sure to get him hammered by gaffe reporters and the politically correct censorship cops. But the comment was based on a sober reality that no amount of politically-correct censorship can change.

Mexico does not need the band-aid of politically correct censorship. Mexico needs a just and stable government.

 

 

What is Conversion Therapy?

Where I worked for 18 years. Notice the Seminole warrior on top the dome and the oil derrick to the right. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Matthew Rutledge https://www.flickr.com/photos/rutlo/

Where I worked for 18 years. Notice the Seminole warrior on top the dome and the oil derrick to the right. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Matthew Rutledge https://www.flickr.com/photos/rutlo/

Representative Sally Kern has managed to get a ban on bans of what is called “conversion therapy” out of a House committee. I do not know if she will manage to get it to a vote of the full House.

I published a post yesterday, summarizing those two facts. The resulting conversation has left me confused, which is why I’m writing this post now.

I honestly do not know what “conversion therapy” is, except what I get from the name itself. A year ago, I would have had to vote on this particular piece of legislation. I still react to proposed legislation like a legislator.

My basic belief in these matters is that legislative bodies do more harm than good when they try to make medical therapies illegal. An example would be vacuum aspiration. This therapy is used in elective abortions, and is tainted in most people’s eyes. Even though I am strongly pro life, I would not vote for a piece of legislation making vacuum aspiration illegal. It has other uses, and even if it didn’t, it would not be my place as a legislator to determine its worthiness as a therapy in medical situations.

Every pro life bill I passed was based on the fact that the pregnant woman and the unborn child are both human beings deserving of protections under the law.

I look at the question concerning “conversion therapy” through that lens. I am prejudiced at the outset against laws such as the one that has passed in California outlawing “conversion therapy” for several reasons. First, I do not think that making such a determination is within legislative competence. Second, I believe that the entire discussion about “conversion therapy” is freighted with political activism and outright lies. Second, I believe that this atmosphere of junk thinking and junk science concerning this issue and other issues like it has even infected professional associations.

I do not see how a professional association vote on whether or not something is true is anything more than a political statement. I do not take it seriously.

Now. To get back to the whole issue of conversion therapy. I would, based on the things I’ve said here, be inclined to vote for this bill. However, I would not be, at this juncture, set in concrete about it. I do not know enough about the therapy itself to judge.

That’s why I’m writing this post. I would welcome an intelligent discussion of this whole issue. I don’t, however, want a lot of ranting and raving, accusing and counter-accusing. Attacking individuals does not address the question of whether a  particular therapy is in some way so clearly and irrefutably harmful to the public health and safety that it must be made illegal. Attacking individuals sidesteps that whole question and obfuscates facts rather than illumines them.

I’m giving you an inside view into the kind of thinking that goes into legislative votes. Of course, this isn’t always true. If the public is a lynch mob, legislators are going to try to jump out in front of it and make it into a parade. I think that’s what happened in California, which is another reason why I’m chary of the law they passed. I think it was pandering and demagoguery rather than good legislation.

I’m going to back off now and see what bubbles up in the comboxes. If you have something to say that will shed genuine light on this topic, please say it. I would like to know more.

 

Rep Kern Gets Ban on Bans of Gay Conversion Therapy Out of Committee

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern got her bill banning bans on gay conversion therapy out of committee.

HB 1598 passed without debate on a unanimous vote after a committee substitute was accepted, also on a unanimous vote.

It now goes to the full House, where it may or may not come to a vote. For an explanation of the process, go here.

If it does come to a vote, we may get to see some entertaining debate.

From The Daily Oklahoman:

A bill that seeks to protect the practice of gay conversion counseling passed out of an Oklahoma House committee Tuesday.

House Bill 1598, which now goes to the full House, says the state will not prohibit or restrict counseling intended to rid people of attraction to those of their own gender. It also seeks to protect parents who want such counseling for their children.

Nothing prevents this type of counseling now, but Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said her bill is needed because the practice is under attack legislatively in other states.

“All across the nation, bills are being introduced to ban parents from having the right to take their children for counseling if they are struggling with same-sex attractions,” Kern said. “As you know, we do lots of bills that are pre-emptive, so this is pre-emptive to make sure that parental rights are upheld.”

Gay rights advocates and others vehemently opposed the bill, saying conversion therapy has been harmful to children, including leading to anxiety, depression, shame, guilt and, potentially, drug abuse and suicide.

ISIS Plans Video Release About the Fate of Kidnapped Christian Civilians

Martyrs Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Willstephe Vaho https://www.flickr.com/photos/willstephe/

Martyrs Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Willstephe Vaho https://www.flickr.com/photos/willstephe/

Reports indicated that ISIS release a video today concerning the 150 Christians civilians they have kidnapped.

Assyrian Human Rights Network says that the video will contain threats to kill the defenseless people. First reports put the number at 90 kidnapped Christians, but the number has now risen to 150.

“They are facing death, people are unarmed, they are peaceful. And they need help, they are just left alone — no one’s protecting them,” said Osama Edward, founder of Assyrian Human Rights Network.

Original reports said that 90 Christians had been taken prisoner by ISIS. But the number is now 150.

From New York Daily News:

The Islamic State militants who stormed Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria before dawn on Monday took substantially more hostages than previously thought, and the terrorist group will release a video message on Wednesday threatening to kill the defenseless civilians, according to the Assyrian Human Rights Network.

Despite initial reports that ISIS abducted between 70 and 100 Christians during the night raids on villages along the Khabur River near the city of Tal Tamr in the Hassakeh province, the founder of the rights group, Osama Edward, told CNN his organization’s ground-level now sources place the number of hostages at 150.

The video, which Edward said will be directed to President Obama and other world leaders whose countries have joined the fight against ISIS, will warn that the Assyrians could face the same fate as the 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt that ISIS militants beheaded in a video released earlier this month.

“Maybe they are facing the same destiny. That’s why we call on all over the world, like the U.S, Europe, coalition forces — protect Assyrians, save Assyrians in Syria,” Edward said on CNN.

Did the White House Exclude Reform Muslims from the Summit on Extremism?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. Official White House Photo.

I’ve kept mum about President Obama’s careful choice of words concerning ISIS and the tragedy in the Middle East because I could see legitimate reasons for it.

Tarring all Muslims with the same extremist brush is bad policy for this country for the simple reason that, in the final analysis, if Muslim extremists are ultimately defeated, it will be by other Muslims. We only have two choices in this matter: We can help other Muslims defeat the savages who are trying to destroy civilization in the Middle East, or, we can kill everybody there.

That is not hyperbole. The media is fond of saying, “we can’t kill them all.” But that is not a true statement. The United States of America could kill everything that lives just about anywhere on this planet. A more accurate statement would be “we won’t kill them all.”

Given that we won’t kill them all, the question remains: How do we stop this civilization-destroying plague of terrorist activity? The answer is that we do it by partnering with the civilization-building people from that part of the world to drive these barbarians to the ground.

President Obama, by his careful choice of words, seemed to me to be trying to thread the needle of coalition-building while registering this country’s rejection of the genocidal brutality being waged against civilian populations by Islamic terrorists. That’s why I didn’t join in the chorus of those who were attacking him.

In truth, I was — and still am — rather disgusted with much of the over-the-top criticisms of him in this regard. It seemed to me, and still does, to be more of a partisan bid for votes in the 2016 elections than a genuine concern for either the welfare of people in the Middle East or for America.

There are people who have become a bit unhinged in their hatred of President Obama. No matter what he does, they are against it. No matter what he says, they find fault with it. They’ve made him into a shade of satan and they hate him with an unreasoning, bitter hatred that cancels out any hope of moving this country into good governance.

I object — and have objected strongly — to certain of the president’s policies. But I honestly do not feel either hatred or anger toward him as a person. I want him to succeed, if his success is good for America. I will oppose him when I think his ideas are bad for America.

I especially want him to succeed in his efforts to bring Islamic extremism to the ground. I want to see the bloody reign of ISIS and their satanic barbarism ended permanently. I would like to see the Middle East move out of the Middle Ages and become a prosperous and productive part of the world community. That will never happen so long as the blood feuds and murderous ways of those who have plunged this whole region of the world into an on-going blood-bath continue to hold the public imagination of large sectors of that society.

If President Obama just took off with a full-throated blood lust, denouncing all Muslims, it would end any hope of working with Muslims of good will. It would also push the whole world inexorably toward a kill or be killed stand-off that could indeed lead to nuclear annihilation of large numbers of innocent human beings.

This is a rather long explanation as to why I haven’t jumped on the dump-on-Obama band wagon for his measured verbiage concerning this crisis. It is also an explanation as to why it is with reluctance that I criticize him now. I want him to succeed in bringing ISIS to ground. I do not want more bloodshed than is absolutely necessary to do this. I also want to find a way to live in peace with our Muslim neighbors.

I do not — most emphatically do not — want to kill them all.

I’ve decided to take the president to task because of an article I read in the Washington Times. If this article is true, his actions seem more motivated by wing-nut political-correctness than what is best for this nation.

According to the article, the White House hosted a terror summit this week. Reformist Muslim groups are said to have been excluded from this gathering. The reason cited by the article is that these groups take positions which run counter to the President’s public position that ISIS is not motivated by Islam.

If this story is true, the president’s summit on terrorism seems to have been operating under the parameters of group think. If Muslims who hold viewpoints that run contrary to the group think of certain intellectual/academic/political circles were excluded from the conversation, then the whole event was a production and not a conversation at all.

What bothers me most about this is that it’s a life and death, bone and blood issue. The president needs input from people who think differently than he does because he is not — nobody is — smart enough to think his way through this on his own. He needs to hear from people who will make him uncomfortable by stretching his thinking outside whatever box he’s got it in.

Willingness to do this is part of his job. An unwillingness to do this can unfit him for his job. In fact, I would say that it already has unfitted him for his job in serious matters such as the HHS Mandate, which has both tarnished and weakened his administration since the day he signed it.

It concerns me in ways that have nothing to do with posturing for the next election that the President of the United States is trying to conduct a war by the tenets of politically-correct shibboleths.

For that reason, I hope this article is more political partisan yapping than actual fact. However, based on a lot of things I know that I cannot talk about, it rings true.

 

History of the Crusades: Pelayo and the Dawn of the Reconquista 715-722

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

This video describes beginning of the Spanish Reconquista. It discusses people and events that are unknown to most of us today. I think the story of Pelayo, testifying to faith in Christ to the co-opted bishop, is especially dramatic.

I am aware that there are Islamic teachings which lead to a more peaceful application of that faith. I think that the interpretation referenced here is an accurate depiction of of the application of Islamic teachings in 633-638 AD. It also seems that it is still relevant to Islamic extremists today.

I want to emphasize that this video discusses events which happened almost 1400 years ago. The reason I am posting it here is to correct the inaccurate  history of the Crusades which is being used in the popular media to attack and degrade Christians and Christianity.

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Representative Kern Gets Gay Marriage Bill Out of Committee

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern’s HB 1599 passed out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee this week. The vote was 5 to 3 in favor of putting the bill on the House floor.

If it becomes law, HB 1599 would have four effects. I am going to put my comments in bold to help you follow the thinking on this.

1. HB 1599 would prohibit the expenditure of state monies for “any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.”

The Oklahoma legislature clearly has the power to determine how state monies will be apportioned. There is a real possibility that this part of the bill would survive court challenge. 

2. HB 1599 requires that any Oklahoma state, county or city employee who takes actions that would “officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license” would lose “their salary, pension, or any other benefit” that is funded by Oklahoma tax monies.

This is broader than just state-appropriated monies. It takes in any funding for salaries, pensions or other benefits that come from local taxes, as well. The legislature has the power to determine how Oklahoma tax monies may be spent. Whether or not it has such sweeping powers to determine how local tax monies may be spent is questionable.

The legislature also has the power to allocate salaries, pensions and benefits to state employees. The question that will almost certainly arise if this bill becomes law is whether or not this particular use of that power is discriminatory. 

3. HB 1599 requires that state courts dismiss challenges to the “any portion of the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act (HB 1599) with an award of costs and attorney fees to defendants.”

In my opinion, this is a violation of the separation of powers on which our government is built. I also think it is a violation of the First Amendment right to petition the government. 

4. HB 1599 mandates that judges who violate “this act” will be removed from office.

5. This is not an effect of HB 1599, but it is important to note that it has what is called a “severability clause.” A severability clause means that if the courts strike down one portion of the bill, the rest of the statute will still stand.

Now that HB 1599 is out of committee, it is, in legislative parlance, “on the floor,” referring to the “floor” of the full House of Representatives. The next step in its passage will be to get it on the House agenda where it can be brought to a vote of the full House.

Whether or not Representative Kern will succeed in getting this bill onto the floor agenda and then getting it called up for a vote is a matter of internal House politics. This has a great deal to do with the push and pull of what is happening with other legislation and how the various members align themselves on this issue. It is an internal, out-of-sight bit of legislating.

If HB 1599 comes to a vote of the full House, and if it passes the full House, it will then go to the Senate, where the Senate author will have to put it through the same process, all over again. If it passes the full Senate without amendments (unlikely) it will go to the governor, who has the power to veto it.

If it is amended in the Senate, it must come back to the House and, unless Representative Kern accepts the Senate amendments, would go through a conference process. If she accepts Senate amendments, HB 1599 would be voted on again by the full House. If the bill goes to conference, it has a lot of hurdles to get over before it can be voted on again. A lot of bills die in the conference process.

If it gets through the conference process, it must then be put back on the agendas of both houses, and be brought to a floor vote in both houses. If it survives all that, it still has to go to the governor, who can veto it.

Each of these steps is more complex than it sounds here. Each step has more variables than I can discuss in a blog post.

It is no small accomplishment that Representative Kern succeeded in getting this bill out of committee. She is a determined, hard-working legislator who does not attack or harm her colleagues.

If HB 1599 does not come to a vote of the full House before the end of the legislative day on March 12, it can not be voted on this year. That does not mean the bill is dead. It can be brought up for a vote next year.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few weeks.

History of the Crusades: Islamic Spain was NOT the ‘Ornament of the World’

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by http://maps.bpl.org

The version of the Crusades being pushed by the media and much of our educational bureaucracy is not history. It is propaganda.

The idea that Islamic Spain was an Edenic “Ornament of the World” is obvious nonsense. I say that it is obvious for two reasons: The treatment of Christian populations throughout the rest of the territories conquered by Muslim invaders belies it. Even more to the point, the long-term and desperate war that the Spanish people engaged in to repel these invaders would not have occurred if these stories of conquered bliss were true.

Current history about the Crusades is deliberate propaganda that is being used as a political and social tool to bash Christianity. It is a lie that is so endemic that we heard it recently coming out of the mouth of the president of the United States.

Its purpose is to weaken Christian witness and tar Christianity in order to advance certain social and political agendas that are antithetical to Christian teaching. There is a lot of money at stake in this in the form of federal funding for things like embryonic stem cell research and Planned Parenthood.

The federal grant-making industry is the major industry and source of monies in several of the most prosperous zip codes in this country. It also dominates our most prestigious institutions of higher learning. It is fair to say that grantsmanship, rather than education, has become many of these institutions’ primary purpose.

For these reasons, Christian bashing is not only a social/moral/political evil: It is big business. In fact, it is the only business of large enclaves of prosperity and privilege that, at least so far, appear to be protected from the vicissitudes of a declining economy.

It is ironic that this declining economy is mostly due to the exportation of America’s industrial base to a Communist country. The irony lies in the fact that many of the apologists for this destruction of American industry and American jobs came from those same institutions of higher learning who continue to draw down the lion’s share of federal grant monies.

Enabling and encouraging Christian bashing in order to weaken the one institution that has any motive or chance of successfully standing for the ordinary people of this country is a rather obvious tactic for those who make their money from the way things are. Teaching ahistorical propaganda about the  Crusades as history is just one slice of this poisoned pie.

Despite the failings of its followers, Christian teaching is inclusiveness and that inclusiveness always wins out in the end. Christianity is a revolutionary force that proclaims that all human beings are made in the likeness and image of God. Christianity taught humanity that there is no Greek nor Jew, male nor female, slave nor free. All are one in Christ Jesus. 

Everything — the end of slavery in the Western world, the ideals of human rights and the unique value of each individual human being, grew from that mustard seed.

A social order that is built on defining specific groups of people as not human enough and thus liable to be killed at will, that excludes almost the entire country from prosperity and that siphons the wealth of a great nation into itself while promoting ideas that impoverish and disenfranchise the larger citizenry will, by its very nature, be inimical to the true Gospels of Christ. More and more, our institutions, whether they are institutions of higher learning or business or government, are isolating themselves from the larger culture.

They seek to create a self-sustaining enclosed system of thought and funding that loops back on itself and is powered by federal money. What I’m saying is that these people only talk to one another. They reference one another. They have created a false history of the Crusades — among other things — to protect the money machine that shelters their cushy existence from ideological interference.

The greatest danger to this walled-in system of exclusion and privilege is free-ranging Christianity with its empowering respect for the human.

 

I am aware that there are Islamic teachings which lead to a more peaceful application of that faith. I think that the interpretation referenced here is an accurate depiction of of the application of Islamic teachings of 1400 years ago. It also seems that it is still relevant to Islamic extremists today.

I want to emphasize that this video discusses events which happened almost 1400 years ago. The reason I am posting it here is to correct the inaccurate  history of the Crusades which is being used in the popular media to attack and degrade Christians and Christianity.


Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2015/02/history-of-the-crusades-muslim-conquest-of-christian-egypt-639-646/#ixzz3SIOIz3oD

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Would Die for Your Ashes? Cardinal Wuerl Reflects on Modern Christian Martyrs

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston https://www.flickr.com/photos/bostoncatholic/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston https://www.flickr.com/photos/bostoncatholic/

Cardinal Wuerl delivered a powerful homily on the present-day Christian martyrs yesterday.

“We can go out those doors with ashes on our forehead … however … there are parts of the world where that will just as well be a death certificate,” he said.

“There are parts of the world where Christians are regularly martyred. Where their churches are destroyed, their homes burned, their children sold into slavery.

“The first thing we owe our brothers and sisters is a sense of solidarity with them. If they suffer, we should feel that suffering. And we owe them our prayerful support, but we also owe them our voice.

“It has gone on for the longest time, because of the silence. The silence of the world community, the silence of all of us in the face of this extraordinary violence against the Gospel of Jesus Christ”

These are powerful words, but I think we should go a lot further than they ask. We should — at the least — speak often of Christian martyrdom and Christian persecution. We should agitate to allow Christians who are being persecuted to seek asylum in this country. We should gather together in prayer services for persecuted Christians around the world.

We should write about these martyrs. Pray for them. Pray to them. Help the survivors. And get serious with our elected officials who don’t get the message. We are Americans. Our government is us. That means we have immense power to change things, if we will work together, and if we can keep our focus and not lose interest because of the next sensation.

We must not forget our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering and dying for His Name. Remembering is the least, the smallest thing, that we can do.

From Catholic News Agency:

.- Catholics owe solidarity, prayer and a voice against injustice to their fellow Christians being martyred and persecuted around the world, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., stressed on Ash Wednesday.

“(W)e can go out those doors with ashes on our forehead” as a public display of faith, the cardinal said. However, “(t)here are parts of the world where that will just as well be a death certificate.”

Cardinal Wuerl spoke at the end of his Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent which culminates in the Easter Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – followed by the celebration of Easter Sunday and the ensuing Easter Season.

On Ash Wednesday, Mass attendees may receive ashes on their forehead in the sign of a cross, to signify penance and the remembrance of human morality.

Focusing on the reality of Christian persecution in many parts of the world. Cardinal Wuerl pointed to Nigeria, India, Syria, Iraq and the Holy Land as particular areas of concern.

They’re Targeting the People of the Cross

Italy and Libya. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Italy and Libya. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

ISIS released its first video of mass beheadings last Saturday.

The victims of this murder were 21 Christian Egyptian men who ISIS marched onto a beach in Libya and then beheaded en masse. A CBS senior news analyst commented “They are targeting the people of the cross,” the Copts, which is an ancient Christian communion located mostly in Egypt. This isn’t much of an analytical leap, considering that ISIS named the video “A Message to the Nation of the Cross.”

France and Egypt have called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to deal with the “spiraling crisis of ISIS.” Meanwhile, Italy has closed its embassy in Lybia and also appealed to the United Nations as it attempts to deal with a huge influx of refugees who are fleeing Libya.

“This risk is imminent, we cannot wait any longer. Italy has national defense needs and cannot have a caliphate ruling across the shores from us,” Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti told Il Messaggero newspaper. She added that the risks of Jihadists entering Italy along with the refugees “could not be ruled out.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, said, “We have told Europe and the international community that we have to stop sleeping. The problems cannot all be left to us because we are the first, the closest.”

Egypt’s government has responded to the video with bombings of ISIS locations inside Lybia. Egypt has also asked for American assistance in this war.

 

For more information read The Anchoress  and Tom Zampino. 


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