A Christian in Exile: Letter to Mosul, Left Behind

Iraqi Christians Leave Mosul

The story of ISIS plowing through Mosul, where it has destroyed the shrines of both Christians and their peaceful Muslim neighbors and allowed the Christians to choose exile, subjugation, conversion or death, is a story that is haunting me, as you readers must have figured out. It haunts me because our government saw it coming and said nothing and did nothing. Even now, our leadership and much of the West is silent, and silence implies consent. Churches are destroyed, people are crucified, … [Read more...]

Bishop asks Admin for Aid to Iraq; Admin asks Congress to Repeal Troop Authorization

Susan_Rice,_official_State_Dept_photo_portrait,_2009

I am sorry to be writing so frequently about the terrible situation in Iraq and Syria, but it needs talking about.The USCCB has just released a pdf of Bishop Pates' letter to White House national security adviser Susan RiceLast month I wrote to you about the escalating violence in Iraq that targets Christians and otherreligious communities. I asked that the U.S. government urge Iraqi political leaders to form aninclusive government representative of all ethnic and religious groups, thus … [Read more...]

ISIS: Obama Admin SAW the Threat, Ignored

people walk amid ruins of tomb of jonah

A maddening admission from an administration that really doesn't seem to give a crap about anything, and also seems perfectly content to have that known: Obama administration knew Islamic State was growing but did little to counter it:In congressional testimony as far back as November, U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials made clear that the United States had been closely tracking the al Qaida spinoff since 2012, when it enlarged its operations from Iraq to civil war-torn Syria, seized … [Read more...]

American Nephilim: Why we’re crumbling?

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It is perennially interesting to ponder who and what were Nephilim, and how instrumental were they to God's decision to wipe out humanity once upon a time. He spared only Noah and his family, who alone were still "righteous" and uncorrupted.The wondering is interesting, but never conclusive, because there are so many opinions, so many schools of thought. I read a three-part novel a while back -- one of those endtimes fictions I usually avoid but picked up at the urging of a friend, and … [Read more...]

Expelled Iraqi Christians, Give Witness to ISIS Fascism – UPDATE! KURDS!

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The choice is leave or take a bullet to the head; you have ten hours to get out or die; take nothing but the clothes on your back; oh, you need that glucose meter? Your blood pressure meds? That's too bad.The Christians interviewed here make me feel very proud, and very humbled. They are obviously hurting, obviously shocked and displaced, yet full of spirit. And who wouldn't be a bit angry and undone in such a case? As the lady says, "what have the Christians done to you?"And yet, when … [Read more...]

The ISIS Effect: “Flattened; Everything is Gone” – UPDATED

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"Elizabeth, if I think too much about it I just break down. So many shrines I have visited destroyed. So many brethren I have know. battered, beaten or dead. Absolutely devastating."That's a quick note from my friend, Michael LaCivita. Having worked for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association for decades, he knows and loves these places, knows and loves the people who are looking into the face of evil -- true evil, the all-too-familiar kind of evil that keeps resurfacing throughout world … [Read more...]

5 Things You Can Do Right Now as ISIS Threatens Iraqi Christians and Shiites – UPDATE

Syrian Catholic Church Mosul

The headlines are coming fast and furious, and they are horrifying:Execution or Exodus: Iraqi Christians face grim choiceIraq is heading towards a humanitarian, cultural and historical disasterJihadists seize Iraq monasteryA Desperate Cry from Iraqi ChristiansReligious Freedom in Peril"ISIS took the keys of their convent in Mosul."ISIS Attacks 1800 Year Old Christian Church, And Completely Burn It Down And Destroy ItISIS in Mosul, Iraq "No aid to Christians and … [Read more...]

The Good, the Bad and the Legal

Never let it be said that I don't run a thematic thread through my blog posts.

Ireland was up in front of the UN Committee on Human Rights last week, and received something of a shellacking for our alleged record of human rights violation.A good deal of it was entirely deserved, but when committee members started saying that Ireland’s anti-abortion laws (still relatively strong, though recently weakened) were in violation of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (one of two 1966 treaties that put into force the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), my e … [Read more...]

That Hillary Doesn’t Realize She’s Over Says a Lot About Her

Hillary Pretty in White

Well, we've been watching the roll-out of Hillary Clinton's latest Coy Presidential Campaign that Pretends Not to Be, and if Bertie Wooster were assessing it, he'd likely say that so far "it's come up a smeller." Despite President Obama's assertion that at some point (around half a million bucks a year or so) one has earned enough money, many of Hillary's verbal gaffes have centered around her apparent belief that she still needs to scrape and save and make do, or something. I have read, here … [Read more...]

The Carmelite Nuns of Compiègne Wore Priestly Collars

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As with the Martyrdom of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions we today remember a group of martyrs whose story is not nearly as well-known as it should be. And as with Lwanga and the Ugandan martyrs, the martyrdom of the Carmelite nuns of Compiègne speaks urgently to our own age, and offers instruction:After the fall of the constitutional monarchy and the execution of King Louis XVI in 1792, Maximilien Robespierre created rituals to honor the Cult of the Supreme Being even as he led the … [Read more...]

Homosexuality, Celibacy and Partnership: An Awkward Question

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Guest Blogger: BEN CONROYI don’t need to tell anyone that the Catholic Church’s relationship with gay people has been a fraught one.But I don’t think it’s pollyannaish or foolishly optimistic to say that there are intimations, signs, and beginnings of a better approach to the whole question, one that is consistent with both orthodox teaching and the lived experience of gay people.It’s been led by a group of gay Catholics – like Eve Tushnet, Aaron Taylor, Gabriel Blanchard, and Melinda … [Read more...]

Changing Hearts, Minds, and ‘Senses’

I've photoshopped the text to read "let all the uncool be gone from here."

In the last post, we talked about ‘senses’, the gut feelings, unquestioned assumptions, and ‘unknown unknowns’ that frame our thoughts and beliefs, often deciding what we choose to accept and reject.We concluded by posing some questions: How do people form and change their narratives, their “senses”, their social imaginaries? Can it even be done? How can we know our unknown unknowns, anyway? And aren’t Catholics as sense-bound as the next guy? Not being Damon Lindelof, I try to make a habit … [Read more...]

Benedictine Hospitality in Israel

Entrance to the Abbey of Saint Mary of the Resurrection, Abu Ghosh

Thanks to an oxygen-depriving case of pneumonia that cut the trip short, too many of my memories of Israel reside in a nebulous haze that has prevented me from writing about my experiences there. On this great feastday of Saint Benedict of Nursia, however, my Oblate's heart cannot help but share with you the experiences of Benedictine hospitality with which I was blessed and graced, even during so short a visit.The first occurred in Tabgha, at the Church of the Heptapegon, ("The Church of … [Read more...]


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