This one is for my precious Mama.
Nigerian Christians call for peace, not vengeance. They even talk of forgiveness. The Nigerian Christians I have corresponded with have — every single one of them — asked for prayer.
Our resolve to help them and stand by them must not falter. What that means — among other things — is that we must not allow ourselves to bullied into silence by personal attacks against us from those who want to turn a blind eye to Christian persecution. We must never allow them to divide us from other Christians.
We all stand in solidarity before the cross. We in the West are called to show that solidarity when it comes to the violent persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We need to lift up the witness of these martyred Christians and their families and friends for all the world to see.
I can’t imagine me being able to choke out any words at all if the pope shook my hand. But if I could manage to speak, I think what I would like to say is just “thank you for your life of service to our Lord,” and “God bless you.”
What would you say?
The Southern Baptist Convention has joined dozens of other religious organizations by filing suit against the Obama adminstration’s HHS Mandate. Southern Baptists are the second largest denomination in America, with over 16 million members.
My question: Where are you Marymount Loyola?
From the CBN News:
The Obama administration has said churches and a narrowly defined category of religious organizations are exempt. But the administration is still threatening devastating penalties to many other ministry organizations, like Christian colleges, missions organizations, and family ministries.
“The government’s refusal to treat these ministries as ‘religious employers’ is senseless,” Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a written statement.
“These people spend their lives teaching and preaching their religious faith – if they do not qualify as ‘religious employers,’ the government needs to get a new definition,” Rienzi said.
Precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints. Psalm 116
Christian persecution is a deadly worldwide plague.
The evidence of massive, international Christian persecution is abundant.
What, exactly, causes some groups of people to be so vociferous and ugly in their denial of Christian persecution? What would cause someone to stoop to the level of personal attacks against those who speak of Christian persecution?
These attacks, which are often slanderous, are crude attempts to silence those who would speak out for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Given what is happening, why would anyone do this?
I had a long talk about this with one of my sons a couple of weeks back, and he said something that I think is more pertinent than we would like to admit. People who do things like this are at one with the persecutors.
What he meant by this was that those who try to silence people who speak out for persecuted Christians are fellow travelers and enablers of the persecutors themselves. There is nothing new under the sun, and that is especially true when we talk about the great evil of violent persecution of whole groups of people.
The persecutors could not act without their enforcers in the larger world demanding and coercing the silence of those who would speak against them. Evil, like cockroaches, needs darkness.
That’s why Hitler set up phony concentration camps to show the Red Cross. It is also why the Red Cross and the rest of the world bought it. No one seems to have questioned the rationale behind putting an entire population of people in concentration camps in the first place. Without that compliance, the lie would and could not have stood.
It’s also why I get attacked just about every time I publish a post about the persecution of Christians. Persecutors always have their apologists. They need the darkness of obfuscation to continue their deadly work.
It is painful to be attacked, but in this case, it is also an honor. I would far rather be the person who gets attacked for taking a stand against the persecution of Christians than the person who does the attacking. They are a sad lot.
I regard these slurs and jibes as small attacks on me for doing my best to follow Christ. I am a little shy about saying this, because what I am doing by writing posts about Christian persecution is such a small thing that it embarrasses me. But by attacking me for trying, however feebly, to follow Christ, these people are giving me the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, what I will say to those who go at me personally for trying to speak out about the persecution of Christians is thank you. I forgive you from my heart for your attempts to harm me personally and I pray for you daily.
However, what I say to them about their support for the persecutors is shame on you. To use a quote from the McCarthy hearings of long ago: Have you no decency?
Here are a few examples of Christian persecution:
If the government starts breaking its own laws to give out information from our tax returns for the purpose of allowing a favored group to punish their enemies, we are all in trouble.
In March 2012, the Human Rights Campaign, which is a gay rights organization that supports gay marriage, publish the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 tax returns.
That, my friends, is clear evidence that somebody somewhere committed a felony. Yet, no one has charges have been brought and if there’s an investigation, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
When the Human Rights Campaign published this list of donors, it laid these people open to harassment and reprisals of all sorts.
As I said earlier, when the government starts violating its own laws for the purpose of allowing a favored group to punish their enemies, we are all in trouble.
National Organization for Marriage Sues IRS for Disclosure of Tax Returns
The lawyer for the organization says the measure is ‘in order to discover who committed these felonies against us and then hopefully get them prosecuted as a deterrent to future abuse by IRS officials.’
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-national-organization-for-marriage-sues-the-irs-for-disclosure-of-tax-r?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-10-18%2014:22:01#ixzz2i6cJl7kz
To join the discussion of Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, or to order a copy, go here.
Pope Francis has set the world spinning around the Catholic Church in a way that hasn’t happened for a long time. Like all great leaders, he has also inspired criticism from some quarters, most of it, ironically, from devout Catholics who fear change.
I understand these discomfited change-fearers. When it comes to the Church, I’m a bit of a change-fearer myself. I draw comfort from the liturgy and the teachings. What some people see as intransigence on the part of the Church, I see as stability and strength; something I can count on in this crazy world.
However, the Church is a living organism, the great Body of Christ in the world. As a living organism, change, however slowly it happens, is part of its essential nature. The key to successful change is the guidance of the Holy Spirit, primarily, but not entirely, through the leadership of the Pope.
Everywhere I look, everyone I read, is chattering about the Catholic Church these days. The reason? Pope Francis’ straightforward leadership style of going to people and meeting them where they are.
It is a simple fact that you can’t be a leader if nobody follows you. In our power-hungry world where so-called leaders insulate themselves from everyone except other leaders of their same rank and place, true leadership, as opposed to simply holding a position with a leadership title, is rare.
Witness our latest Congressional debacle. Was there any leadership in it? None that I saw, not from either side. It was a pie-throwing contest in which the pie throwers absolutely did not care if anybody followed their so-called leadership.
In truth, no one can be more alienated from their “followers” that those who occupy positions of “leadership” in commerce, industry, politics, and yes, religion, in America today.
That, more than anything else, is why the whole world is responding to Pope Francis. He is reaching out to them, and they are responding by reaching back.
Pope Francis: Why He Leads The Way He Leads, analyzes Pope Francis’ leadership through the author’s knowledge of Jesuit formation and the Holy Father’s own biography. As such, it is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to learn more about our pope. It is also just plain good advice for those who want to lead other human beings.
I have a master’s degree in management, and I’ve spend 18 years of my life holding a leadership position in the public sphere. I have never seen a better book on how a true leader gets people to follow him or her.
It’s simple actually. Leadership is service. Leadership is about the people you want to lead, not you. True leadership begins with a foundation of personal character and segues into a focus on serving others.
What that means is building products, providing services, writing books, making movies, enacting laws, preaching sermons, repairing plumbing and planting crops that enrich and elevate the people who use your wares. In commerce, it means that if you build a better mousetrap, it will sell. In child-rearing, it means that if you spend time with your kids, they will flourish. In politics, it means that if you put the people first, the country will thrive. In faith, it means that if you reach out to people in love, as Pope Francis is doing, they will reach back.
The author makes a strong case that Pope Francis’ leadership style is heavily influenced by his Jesuit training. But I believe it is even more heavily influenced by that other hands-on leader — Jesus of Nazareth.
He, like the Pope, did not refuse to dine with sinners, to speak complex truths simply, to reach out to sinful people in ways that the more persnickety of the religious of His day found scandalizing.
Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads is an excellent analysis of our Holy Father’s leadership style. It provides insight into the origins of this pope’s thinking in a format that connects all this to our own leadership challenges in our workaday lives.
Pope Francis is more than just a rule-meister who issues guidelines like thunderbolts. He is a leader who gets down in the pits with the rest of us and leads by example and by inclusion.
This book makes that explicable. I highly recommend it.
We owe a great deal to Emilia Kaczorowska.
Emilia Kaczorowska is the mother of Blessed John Paul II. According to a new book, The Mother of the Pope, her doctor advised her to abort the future pope when she was pregnant with him. Evidently, she suffered from the after-affects of rheumatic fever, which often include damage to the heart valves.
In the days before antibiotics, rheumatic fever was fairly common. Damage to the heart valves was treated mostly by bed rest and efforts not to strain the heart. Pregnancy, as anyone knows, puts a strain on the entire body. I would guess that this is what led the doctor to advise abortion to the pope’s mother.
It almost certainly was not a trivial suggestion, and the possible consequences were extreme. It takes courage for anyone to risk their life for another person. That includes mothers who are willing to die for their children.
Emilia Kaczorowska refused the doctor’s advice and gave birth to a baby boy that she and her husband named Karol. She survived the pregnancy, but died nine years later, leaving the little boy without a mother. I’ve often thought that Pope John Paul’s intense closeness to Our Lady may have begun with his longing for the earthly mother he lost when he was a little boy.
Blessed John Paul II was a great pope. Among other things, his fearless stand for the sanctity of human life ennobled and empowered a worldwide resistance to the evils of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and the many ways in which humanity attacks the dignity and value of those who can’t fight back.
Judging by his mother’s courageous determination to give him life, the apple did not fall far from the tree.
A new report out today suggests Pope John Paul II’s mother rejected an abortion when pregnant with him.
Under the headline “Blessed John Paul II was in danger of not being born,” the Vatican Insider web site says the information was revealed by Milena Kindziuk in the book just came out.
The report suggests that the future Pope John Paul II was in danger of not being born because of the precarious state of health of his mother Emilia Kaczorowska. The book, “The Mother of the Pope,” indicates Emilia Kaczorowska, married in 1905 with Karol Wojtyla, the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, rejected an abortion.
I don’t think I’m going to drink the water the next time I go to the Capitol building in Washington.
I also might need to make myself a nice little aluminum foil hat.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any crazier, a member of the United States House of Representatives staff, identified in press reports as a stenographer, jumped to the podium during the debt limit vote and began shouting.
She had to be removed from the room. Reporters heard her shouting something about “He can not be mocked,” and the nation having been founded by freemasons.
Someone turned on a recorder during this last part. If you want to hear it, you can find it on CNN. The Daily Beast identified her as Dianne Ready, but it sounds like the people who were trying to calm her down were calling her Molly.
Jokes aside, I’m guessing that the tension and hatred in the Capitol building right now are so thick you could build a bridge with them. I can sympathize. I’ve never been in a legislative situation as messed up as this one, but I’ve done enough to know that these people need to get away from one another for a while. Nothing good is going to come from any of them until they get past this and settle down.
And, oh yes, craziness aside, they did manage to pull this country back from the brink of default … for a while. This deal expires after the first of the year.
From The Daily Beast:
After Reidy was escorted out of the House chamber by several staffers from the House Sergeant at Arms office, she shouted “He will not be mocked” referring, presumably to God. She went on to proclaim that the United States “was not one nation under God, had it been, the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Lord Jesus Christ.” Her outburst visibly disturbed a number of members and staffers, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), both of whom ran out of the chamber after her. Reidy was eventually hustled into an elevator by staffers.
It appears that the hermetically sealed brains in Congress really do think that this crisis they’ve manufactured is all about them.
I’ve got news for them.
The causes are all about them. But the consequences are about everybody but them.
This reminds me of one of those movies where the bad guy takes a hostage, usually the hero’s best girl or his child, and holds a gun to the screaming, terrified victim’s head while shouting “put down your gun, or I’ll kill ’em!”
The difference here is that the bad guy is the Congress of the United States, the hostage is the American people, what they’re threatening is great harm to our country, and there is no hero.
You can find your member of Congress here.
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — With the federal government on the brink of a default, a House Republican effort to end the shutdown and extend the Treasury’s borrowing authority collapsed Tuesday night as a major credit agency warned that the United States was on the verge of a costly ratings downgrade.
After the failure of the House Republican leadership to find enough support for its latest proposal to end the fiscal crisis, the Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders immediately restarted negotiations to find a bipartisan path forward. A spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Mr. Reid was “optimistic that an agreement is within reach” with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.
With so little time left, chances rose that a resolution would not be approved by Congress and sent to President Obama before Thursday, when the government is left with only its cash on hand to pay the nation’s bills.
“It’s very, very serious,” warned Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”
…House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and his leadership team failed in repeated, daylong attempts to bring their troops behind any bill that would reopen the government and extend the Treasury’s debt limit on terms significantly reduced from their original push against funding for the health care law. The House’s hard-core conservatives and some more pragmatic Republicans were nearing open revolt, and the leadership was forced twice to back away from proposals it had floated, the second time sending lawmakers home for the night to await a decision on how to proceed Wednesday.
Police are treating a recent fire at the Daughters of Divine Charity community on Staten Island as a hate crime. One of the sisters is in intensive care, due to injuries as a result of this fire.
The Daughters of Divine Charity web site describes the sisters’ work:
“We the Daughters of Divine Charity of Holy Family Province, make God’s love visible in the world by reaching out to those in need, especially to women, youth and the elderly.”
If you would like to help the sisters, you can find an address by following the links above.
In addition to the story about the Staten Island fire, I’ve included a few other examples of vandalism directed at churches. This is a sample of the church vandalisms I found with a quick Google search. I searched for attacks in the last week. It’s not meant to be exhaustive.
.- A convent and chapel in New York City were the site this weekend of a suspicious fire, in which two nuns and four firefighters were injured.
Sister M. William McGovern, provincial superior of the Daughters of Divine Charity community on Staten Island, explained in an Oct. 12 press release that the fires were “a true tragedy.”
“The historic portion of our home – with our chapel, sacristy, archives and provincial offices was destroyed – and is now a crime scene.”
Early in the morning of Oct. 12, firefighters responded to fires at St. Joseph Hill Convent and Chapel. According to multiple local news sources, Sister Regina Gegic and another older sister were staying in the building when the fire started, the former jumping from the second floor of the building to escape the flames.
Sister McGovern explained that Sister Gegic “is in intensive care at Staten Island University Hospital,” with injuries sustained from the fall. The other sister in the building at the time of the fire was not reported to have been harmed.
Other sisters in the order, including several visiting the United States for the 100th anniversary of the Daughters of Divine Charity’s presence in the United States, were staying in another building at the time, and were not harmed.
The fire is being investigated by the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Jackson TN Eyewitness News 7:
JACKSON, Tenn. — For the third time in a few weeks, a church has been broken into and vandalized.
Investigators say that on or around September 29, 2013, shortly after 10:30 a.m., deputies responded to a report of vandalism at Lebanon Methodist Church, located at 643 Tige Hopper Road, Jackson, TN.
Police say that at approximately 8:45 a.m., the congregation observed several crosses hung upside down, the numbers “666” written in the Bible on the church altar. Also, craved on the church altar were the words “Smoke Meth & Hail Satan,” along with the number “666.”
CARROLL COUNTY, Tenn.- Carroll County deputies are investigating after one West Tennessee church and cemetery were the target of vicious vandals.Cedar Grove residents said told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that the Old Palestine Church, a Christian place of worship has recently become a playground for vandals.Deputies said there is rumor that the church and cemetery are haunted, making it a target for trespassers who are drawn into investigate possible paranormal activity.Gail Carr who has several family members laid to rest in the cemetery, said almost every time she visits her loved ones she finds evidence of vandalism.”It’s just unbelievable how could somebody come and destroy a cemetery it’s just unbelievable,” resident Gail Carr said.
Jim Thompson, the Old Palestine Cemetery groundskeeper, said he’s recently had trouble with people knocking over and breaking marked graves. Thompson said some of the headstones in the cemetery date back to the early 1800s. He said the sacred area has been attacked at least three times, destroying nearly 24 headstones. Some graves reportedly had marks stolen off of the property.
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – An Okeechobee church became the target for vandals on Tuesday, causing about $20,000 worth of damage, according to Okeechobee Police.
The vandals ruined almost everything, but took nothing from The Pentecostals of Okeechobee
Church members say they were heading to a prayer service Tuesday night when water came pouring out of the doors.
One member spent hours cleaning the mess up on Wednesday. “I felt violated. I honestly didn’t feel safe, and when I come here I always feel safe.”
Reverend Raymond Warren says the vandals first clogged three sinks in the church and left the water running for hours.
They’ve had to pull up all the wood floors, and have to replace damp carpet.
The vandals then went for the church’s cleaning supplies, and poured bleach on the chairs and carpet. They also knocked over an organ, and cut the cords attached to speakers and microphones. They also poured bleach on instruments.
“The laptop computer that was on the pulpit, they poured bleach in that,” pastor Warren said.
Whoever broke in, however, didn’t complete the damage without leaving a mark. Reverend Warren says residue left from a fire extinguisher that was sprayed in the church revealed footprints. He says the shoe size is an 11 1/2.
According to Diocese of Camden spokesman Peter Feuerherd, the vandalism occurred sometime in the early morning hours and has been reported to the Franklin Township Police Department and the church’s insurance company for possible repair.
The incident is under investigation and no motive has yet been determined.
“Obviously it’s something that is disturbing and something that is obviously the product of a twisted mind of some sort,” Feuerherd said.
Regression to the mean is a term used in statistics.
Simply put, outstanding results will always go back to average results. If, for instance, the ocean produces a rogue wave of 100 feet, it will eventually go back to producing more normal waves.
Every time nature produces a Michelangelo, it compensates by going back to producing a plethora of those of us in the paint by numbers crowd.
Human institutions appear to have a form of regression to the mean that is more active than that found in nature. The CIA and its propensity for punishing agents who actually make the breakthroughs it uses to get funding from Congress is a case in point.
The agent who was the main character in the movie Zero Dark Thirty has learned this the hard way. She’s been passed over for promotions and punished in other ways because, as one of her colleagues put it, “she’s not miss congeniality.” The topper for the delicate sensibilities inside one of our nation’s spy factories was when she sent a broadcast email to her colleagues after the agency gave a group award for finding Bin Laden.
“She hit ‘reply all’ ” to an email announcement of the awards, a second former CIA agent recalls to Miller. Then, to all of her colleagues, the agent sent a message along the lines of, “You guys tried to obstruct me. You fought me. Only I deserve the award.”
One source tells the Post that a testy attitude is typical within the CIA, and says “Do you know how many CIA officers are jerks?”
“If that was a disqualifier, the whole National Clandestine Service would be gone,” the former agent claims.
Even still, the real-life Maya’s online outburst “stunned” her colleagues, the source says. (Read the rest here.)
It sounds like they’re easily “stunned” at the CIA.
Of course, this isn’t the first time they’ve punished an agent for doing his or her job. John O’Neill, had latched onto the threat represented by al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden years before 9/11. If the agency had listened to him and used his intelligence to inform our elected officials, there might not have been a 9/11.
Think about that: Three thousand dead Americans might be alive today, and we could have avoided a decade of war. If the agency had listened to John O’Neill.
But what they did instead is classic bureaucrat. It’s the kind of management that allowed the over-paid heads of General Motors to bankrupt the largest corporation in the world.
They got rid of the guy — “pushed him out” — who was warning them — and us — about 9/11.
And the rest is, as they say, history.
Or in this case, the dead are dead, the wars are fought, the patriot act is passed, and, along with all the rest of the destruction that 9/11 wrought, we the people are being surveilled.
This regression to the mean stuff has deadly consequences when it involves governance. It becomes a signifier for incompetence and corruption. It leads to unnecessary wars, unnecessary deaths, and the destruction of the treasure and liberties of a great nation.
We don’t need to put every man, woman and child in this country under government surveillance to “keep Americans safe.” We certainly don’t need to enrich private corporations by feeding them at the surveillance money trough. That is corporate welfare gone nuts boys and girls. It is corruption at the expense of all our liberties.
We need to fire a few people at the CIA. And I don’t mean the woman who found bin Laden.