Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scores of Yazidi men shot to death in Iraq ...

US Bishops are calling for a day of prayer for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17th. 

The latest massacre:
Islamic State fighters had surrounded the nearby village 12 days ago and demanded that its Yazidi residents convert or die. On Friday afternoon, they moved in.

The militants told people to gather in a school, promising they would be allowed to leave Kocho after their details were recorded, said the eyewitness and the brother of the Kocho mayor, Nayef Jassem, who said he obtained his details from another witness.

The militants separated the men from the women and children under 12 years old. They took men and male teens away in groups of a few dozen each and shot them on the edge of the village, according to a wounded man who escaped by feigning death.

The fighters then walked among the bodies, using pistols to finish off anyone who appeared to still be alive, the 42-year-old man told The Associated Press by phone from an area where he was hiding. He spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his safety. -AP


Pope Francis in Korea

I watched the beatification Mass last night.

It was beautiful - the Koreans are so devout, so enthusiastic... and the Holy Father is the Pope.

What I mean by that is that he is the Successor of Benedict XVI as much as he is successor of St. Peter.  The personal characteristics of Pope Francis differ from his successors, and his style is unexpected at times - that is a pleasant surprise to some, and a jarring, unsettling development for others.  Yet watching the Holy Father's Mass last night convinced me once again there is a continuity in the Petrine Office.  The men elected change - but the Papacy remains.  The beatification ceremony was just like other beatification/canonization ceremonies presided over by a reigning pontiff.  

I think there is something wrong, something missing for many people online who feel they need to defend Catholic doctrine against a Pope who doesn't match their expectations.  It seems to me they've been living in a sort of parallel Catholic universe, an idiosyncratic spirituality.  Media, especially social media can be very deceptive in how the Holy Father has been perceived - and some have deliberately misrepresented the Holy Father to foment dissent and doubt.  I also think many online project their personal fears and prejudices against Pope Francis - playing pope against pope - yet from all reports, Pope Benedict supports his successor and has promised "unconditional obedience" to the Pope.  There is no sense arguing with these folks - but they are clearly a small minority.

That said, excessive criticism can feed our pride, cultivating a sense of intellectual and spiritual elitism, including the attitude our knowledge and expertise is superior to Church authorities.  Before long, one begins to connect their teaching to their personal manners or style.  This can lead to a sort of 'cafeteria Catholicism'.  We saw how that worked for Catholic progressives and so-called liberals over the years.  These people opposed Pope John Paul II and more especially Pope Benedict - on many of the same points more conservative types condemn Pope Francis.  Though dissenters may not completely fall away, their 'evangelization' technique remains more or less impotent.  They pretty much just exult themselves, not the Gospel.

The crowds of Catholics greeting the Holy Father wherever he goes demonstrates that dissenters are in the minority.

The Mass in Seoul, was one of the highlights of his trip, providing Francis with an opportunity to stress how the lessons of Korea's early martyrs were relevant today for Korea's church, which is small but growing and is seen as a model for the rest of the world.
"They were willing to make great sacrifices and let themselves be stripped of whatever kept them from Christ - possessions and land, prestige and honor - for they knew that Christ alone was their true treasure," he said. "They challenge us to think about what, if anything, we ourselves would be willing to die for."
Francis praised in particular the fact that laypeople were so crucial to the church's foundation and growth in Korea - a theme he stressed later in the day when he met with leaders of Korean lay movements. The church is counting on such laymen and laywomen to spread the faith in Asia, which the Vatican considers the future of the church. The main reason for Francis' visit to South Korea, in fact, was to attend an Asian Catholic youth festival; the church sees such rallies as a crucial way of inspiring the next generation of Catholics to evangelize.
"Today as ever, the church needs credible lay witnesses to the saving truth of the Gospel," Francis said, stressing in particular the need for their outreach to focus on the poor and most marginalized. - Source

St. Rocco, patron saint of hitchhikers...

The practice of showing a little leg to get a ride was actually introduced by St. Roch.  What?

Prayer to St. Roch

O blessed Saint Roch, patron of the sick, have pity on those who lie upon a bed of suffering. Your power was so great when you were in this world, that by the sign of the cross, many were healed of their diseases. Now that you are in heaven, your power is not less. Offer, then to God our sighs and tears and obtain for us that health we seek through Christ our Lord. - Source

Friday, August 15, 2014

Did the Apostles actually witness Our Lady go up to Heaven?

I don't think so.

However, the Church defined the sacred mystery of the Assumption as a divinely revealed dogma of faith.
The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus 44].
So anyway.

Last night I was wondering why Our Lady permits people to be misled by dubious apparitions many people claim to have.  Why does God allow it?  Why doesn't Our Lady intervene and clear things up, telling us: "That apparition is false.  I never said that."?

There are many reasons, I think.  Chief among them is because it is up to the Church to discern, to approve or disapprove, or reveal there is or is not evidence of the supernatural taking place.  The Church takes Her time, but indicates gradually - in some famous cases - that events may not be supernatural in origin.  The fact simple believers have responded in such a way that they remain faithful, or grow in fidelity to Catholic doctrine and practice, the Church may proceed more cautiously, considering it might do more harm to 'pull up the tares' and risk pulling up the wheat along with them.  That said, even at that point - no fruits have been harvested - good or bad.

A supernatural intervention or sign, clarifying the events or messages are normally commensurate with the phenomena.  That is what happened at Lourdes - instantaneous cures; and at Fatima - the solar miracle and specific prophesies fulfilled.  Perhaps in some cases - the lack of a supernatural clarification as I suggested above, is unnecessary because the Church has the authority, the power on earth to bind and to loose.  Nevertheless, it is faith that God requires, faith is a theological virtue:  Faith in God and what he has revealed in his Son, Jesus Christ, as defined and taught by the Church.

The authority of the Church. 

It always goes back to the Church.  Not this cardinal or that bishop, (except of course, the local ordinary of the place in question) or this priest or that spiritual director of a lone locutionist.  It is the Church:  The Pope and the bishops in communion with him, the Holy See or Magisterium of the Church, or the local Ordinary, has the authority to determine whether or not an apparition or private revelation is worthy of belief.  For clearer information on these matters, read the section below and follow the link at the end of the excerpt:

Responsibility of the Faithful. Today there are a myriad of alleged private revelations and apparitions vying for the attention of the faithful. None have been definitively judged by the Holy See, some have been approved by local authority (e.g. Akita, Cuapa, Betania), others have been found lacking in supernaturality (e.g. Medjugorje, Garabandal), some few have been condemned (e.g. Necedah, Bayside) and finally, the vast majority have received no attention from Church authorities whatsoever.

The first responsibility of the faithful is to remain firmly established in the faith, in the sacraments and in communion with the Pope and bishops. Any Catholic who gives their primary attention to alleged private revelation at the expense of Sacred Scripture, the teaching of the Church (especially the Catechism), sacramental practice, prayer and fidelity to Church authority is off course. The running after spiritual phenomena, such as alleged revelations, is condemned by St. John of the Cross as spiritual avarice. This means that pious souls who would be repulsed by crude materialistic greed think nothing of being greedy to know revelations and prophecies. An exclusive, or even a predominant attention to these matters (especially apocalyptic ones), cannot help but produce an unbalanced spirituality. Should the Church condemn some favorite alleged revelation such a person may find themselves believing more in it than in the supernatural authority of the Church. The devil will have succeeded in what he had set out to do. - Read more here.

I hope I've learned my lesson.  Even holy individuals can be deceived.  I often recall how St. Therese and her community were deceived by Leo Taxil, how St. John Paul II was deceived regarding Fr. Maciel, and how many - even priests - were deceived by Fr. Gino, a false mystic.  Stay clear of websites and news portals which indiscriminately publish promotional material for false visionaries and mystics.

From the same article above, some important points to consider:

  • Authority: The Teaching Authority (Magisterium) of the Church alone, therefore, determines what Catholics must believe by this divine and Catholic faith. Everything else in life rests on human faith in the credibility of assertions of truth of one kind or another, such as whether John Wilkes Booth actually shot Abraham Lincoln or whether the Blessed Virgin appeared to a certain person.
  • Just because one has a spiritual director:  The witness of prudent priests, especially the spiritual director of the person, is a key element in determining credibility. However, even here care must be taken. The spiritual director himself must be competent in mystical theology, credible as a person and in good standing with the Church. False mystics have been known to "shop" for gullible, extremely aged or incompetent directors. Ideally, a bishop upon hearing of an alleged mystic would assign a competent director, thus insuring the authenticity of the evaluation. 
  • If the bishop says no - it means no: With respect to any disciplinary precepts the bishop makes concerning the apparition and its site, they should be followed faithfully (e.g. what sacraments, if any, may be celebrated there). No Catholic should ever violate the practical norms laid down by the local bishop with respect to an alleged apparition, even if intellectually they disagree with his conclusion regarding the alleged apparition. Such disobedience would be sinful, and if it characterized the attitude of the followers of the alleged apparition it would be a sign of its inauthenticity, i.e. by producing bad fruit.

Don't listen to me however - listen to the Church.

Pope Francis in Korea

"The Gospel, is the antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like a cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent, yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness."

The Holy Father emphasized that Mary invites us to hope. 
"In her, all God’s promises have been proved trustworthy," he said. 
"Enthroned in glory, she shows us that our hope is real; even now it reaches as 'a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul' (Heb 6:19) to where Jesus is seated in glory." 
This hope, the Bishop of Rome continued, "the hope held out by the Gospel, is the antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like a cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent, yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness. Upon how many of our young has this despair taken its toll! May they, the young who surround us in these days with their joy and confidence, never be robbed of their hope!" - Source

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary was taken up into Heaven, 
the angels rejoice and with praises bless the Lord.

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising

fair as the moon, bright as the sun,

terrible as an army set in array?

A consoling thought from St. Maximilian Kolbe for the feast of the Assumption.

Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin, something you have kept doing many, many times, never let the devil deceive you by allowing him to discourage you. Whenever you feel guilty, offer all your guilt to the Immaculate, without analyzing it or examining it, as something that belongs to her…

My beloved, may every fall, even if it is serious and habitual sin, always become for us a small step toward a higher degree of perfection.

In fact, the only reason why the Immaculate permits us to fall is to cure us from our self-conceit, from our pride, to make us humble and thus make us docile to the divine graces.

The devil, instead, tries to inject in us discouragement and internal depression in those circumstances, which is, in fact, nothing else than our pride surfacing again.

If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, but rather astonished, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.

Contemplating suicide: Here's another thought.

 "Job's very righteous and virtuous friends tell him that this is his fault..." 
The internet has been awash for the past couple of days with discussions of suicide. The discussion seems to break down into three basic groups: people who have actually experienced suicidal depression who are trying to explain what it is, people who have never experienced it but who are trying to offer compassionate support, and people who have never experienced it but are pretty sure that people who do are whining narcissists. 
This experience of forsakenness, of emotional anguish to the point of desiring death, is not a product of selfishness, narcissism, self-indulgence, or ingratitude. It does not only happen to bad people. Scripture tells us so. Look at the book at Job: Job in his anguish not only pleads for death, but demands to know why the stars did not close their eyes on the day of his birth, why the womb brought him forth. He not only wishes for death as an end to his present sufferings; he is so overwhelmed by pain that he wishes his entire existence to be stricken from the scrolls of Being. And of course Job's very righteous and virtuous friends tell him that this is his fault, the punishment for some secret sin. But God tells them that they have spoken wrongly. - Melinda Selmys
"Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide." - CCC

I love how Melinda brought up Job's friends - Job's friends have been on my mind since commentary on Robin William's death has shown up online.  Nearly every comment or post by Catholics online has reminded me of something Job's friends might have said.  Some have gone so far as to denigrate Robin William's religious faith.  How can anyone possibly do that?  How can anyone know his state of soul, the stage he was at in his faith and relationship to Christ before his suicide?  Perhaps one may be able to say he was a Christian, although not a Catholic - but there is no way to know much more that - especially for those of us not acquainted with the deceased.  We just don't know.  One may critique his work, his comedy, his life style, and so on - but we cannot judge his conscience, his soul.  We can make observations on his Christian denomination, but we can't judge his soul.  Only God can do that.

Likewise - just about every person who dies has a family, loved ones who survive them - how would you feel if someone was judging your loved one and denigrating their memory?  Rich. poor, celebrity, common man, refugee, prisoner, soldier - when a person dies they deserve respect - no matter who they are.  Unless you want to be like the Westboro Baptists who show up at funerals telling family members their loved ones are in hell and that God hates them all.   

Pray for the suicides.

"I am sorry, friends and brothers, that I cannot express this clearly. But woe to those who have slain themselves on earth, woe to the suicides! I believe that there can be none more miserable than they. They tell us that it is a sin to pray for them and outwardly the Church, as it were, renounces them, but in my secret heart I believe that we may pray even for them. Love can never be an offence to Christ. For such as those I have prayed inwardly all my life, I confess it, fathers and teachers, and even now I pray for them every day." - Fr. Zosima, Brother Karamazov, Part II, Book 6, Chapter 3

"The Suicide" - Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Has Our Lady conveyed any messages regarding the bloody war and persecution in Iraq?

Evidently not...

So anyway.

Vigil of the Assumption.
Whoever with a prayer to the Immaculate
on his lips or in the depth of his heart,
purified through suffering,
on fire with an ardent love of God
and inspired by that love,
does what he can to win the greatest possible
number of souls for God through the Immaculate,
to free them from the bonds of evil,
to make them happy -
he, and he alone, will celebrate his triumph.
- St. Maximilian Kolbe

The Pope in Korea

(The other prelates are wearing white too.  When in Rome I wish he'd go back to black.)

Even North Korea welcomed him.

Upon his arrival in South Korea, Francis was welcomed by President Park Geun-Hye and also by three rockets. The Pope flew into Incheon airport in Seoul at 10:15 (local time) this morning for a five-day visit. North Korea fired three short-range rockets from a 300-millimeter multiple rocket launcher, into the East Sea (Sea of Japan), shortly before the Pope’s arrival. This is according to South Korea's Ministry of Defence.

The rockets were fired at a range of 220 kilometres from a launch site near Wonsan, a city on the north-eastern coast and ended up in the East Sea. The launches began at 9:30 without any prior warning and continued for about 25 minutes. - Source

It's all good. 

On Robin Williams: The best I've read so far...

"But when you get there, it's hard to talk. 
You are reaching out from such a far away place."

"Perhaps it was that unrelenting stream of emotion that led Williams down a difficult path..." 
Following a performance of her one-woman showWishful Drinking, a few years back, Carrie Fisher was surprised to see one of her longtime friends show up backstage, alone and in a particularly serious mood. His name: Robin Williams.
 "He was something you just don't see, like a comet. I hope he's like a comet and he comes again, but that would be selfish,” she said, adding that his energy and comic delivery was "unstoppable." "I'm sorry he punctuated his sentence before it had run its course. But he packed in five lifetimes before he left."
So accomplished was Williams that Fisher likened him to legends like Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.
"The reason I bring up the conversation after the play is because we were both slowed down. That was the one time that he was very serious. … I could tell he was struggling then. … But when you get there, it's hard to talk. You are reaching out from such a far away place. What do you say? You don't want to be a burden and you don't want to seem like you feel sorry for yourself — it's humiliating among so many other things," Fisher said, before tearing up on the other end of the line. "He made us all feel like he wished he could. He brought joy and surprise, and he would take you places you wouldn't even know you wanted to be. He gave you all the things he would've wanted to have. And that's what made him so generous." - Source

I feel very sad.  Prayers for Robin and his family - and Carrie Fisher too.

+May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.+

Song for this post here - don't know why...


O All-hymned Mother of God, crushed by thy sorrow at the Cross of thy Son and God, accept our tears and expressions of sorrow, and save from every sorrow, affliction, and eternal death all those who hope in thine ineffable kindheartedness and cry out to God: Alleluia! - Kontakion XIII

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Iraq: It's getting worse.

The mother and child in the photo reminds me of
Our Lady and the Infant Jesus.

O my God,
I am heartily sorry for
having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven,
and the pains of hell;
but most of all because
they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and
deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy grace,
to confess my sins,
to do penance,
and to amend my life.


The Pope's Armies ... I'm so scared!

Action Alert!

I noticed an article suggesting Papal troops could do the job American forces won't.  Like invade Iraq?
Why couldn’t the Pope dispatch armed soldiers to restore order, open food supplies, secure humanitarian efforts etc? - The Pope Needs Ninjas

Call up the troops!  

I will hunt you down ...

The Flash Floods in Long Island signal the chastisement...


I think so.  The Catholic bloggers who live there are being punished for complaining about the pope.


St. Hippolytus was an anti-pope - and a saint.

The Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus
according to the legendary version of Prudentius (Paris, 14th century)
Perfect death for a schismatic, huh?  

More Catholic than the Pope?

It's all rather complicated...

Hippolytus - according to Magnificat was upset with Pope Callistus because he was too lenient - too soft 'toward the Sabellian* heresy'.  Sound familiar?

How many people are upset with Francis because he is too lenient on heretics and homos?

OMG!  What if someone makes himself pope in opposition to Pope Francis now?

You know what?  I don't think it matters - so long as he dies a martyr.

That is why I always say: "It's all good."

It also drives Catholic fundamentalists nuts.

*In Christianity, Sabellianism (also known as modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism) is the trinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead - that there are no real differences between the three, such that there is no identity for the Spirit or the Son.


The term Sabellianism comes from Sabellius, a theologian and priest from the 3rd century. - Wiki

(Ed. note: I think Oneness Pentecostals are pretty much modalists - Remember Francis met with Pentecostals recently in Italy and some Catholics were upset? That's why.  I'm serious.)

Anyway... Fun with facts.

Pope Poodle I

Song for this post, the grand ole opry classic:
She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick... durn, durn, durn ... Ohhhhhhhhh! She could never be a saint...

Sung to the tune of: Gypsy Joe and Me.

**H/T Jeron

Lauren Bacall

I read where she said her obituary would be all about Bogart.  Her life was bigger than that - she lived most of it without him.

She was a big name in fashion - her patronage of YSL pretty much helped make his ready to wear the  success it became, not to mention his couture.  The celebrities in the audience during fashion week make great promotion - second only to wearing the stuff.

Bacall was a success in her own right - she worked all her life.  The last film I saw was The Mirror Has Two Faces, playing Streisand's mother.  She had style.

She was unusual for Hollywood and Madison Avenue because she knew who she was.  She knew she was more than what she did for a living and the celebrity that followed.

Just a thought.

We must learn to be very kind and patient with one another.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gotta laugh ...

I just do.  Everything is just too grim, too sad.  This photo cracks me up.  

Contemplating suicide: Robin Williams

It's too bad.

Robin Williams, rest in peace.

Depression and addiction.  It's a killer.

I heard it on the news last evening and mentioned it to the cashier at the store.  She was probably about twenty and so many younger people seem not to know who anyone of a certain age is, so I asked if she ever heard of him.

Me: "Do you know who Robin Williams is?"

She:  "He's that funny guy - right?  He is always acting nuts and makes people laugh?"

Me:  "Yeah.  I just heard on the news he died - they said he committed suicide."

And then everyone started talking on how much they loved him and cited their favorite roles and lines.

I left.

I prayed for him.

I pray for the suicides.

A lot of people - especially Hollywood types - and lately bankers - opt for suicide.

That is so definitive.  So extreme.  So eternal.

I'm not judging the suicides - just speaking for myself - how such news affects me.

People in my family attempted suicide - I'm not sure it is even close to what Robin Williams did.

Suicide only works when you actually die from it.

Calling a spade a spade: The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue deplores the acts of violence by the militants of the Islamic caliphate ...

In the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria.

The Vatican body calls on the members of all religions and on the international community to join in the condemnation. It also calls on Islamic religious leaders to condemn the use of religion as a false justification for terrorism and to make the culture of coexistence and dialogue that has developed in the past few years more real and credible. - Asia News

In July Muslim religious leaders condemned the persecution of Iraqi Christians, as well as declaring the new 'caliphate' as illegitimate, and a threat to civilization.

"Since the caliphate was abolished ... there have been movements that think they can pull together the Muslim world by re-establishing a caliphate, but they have nothing to do with reality, whether from a political or legal perspective." 
Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging. "The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization," he told Reuters in an interview. - VR*
Don't forget Boko Haram in Nigeria - as well as those terrorist affiliates across the globe anxious to form an Islamic State.

Muslim religious leaders may not recognize the 'caliphate' but the caliphate does.  Islam doesn't have a central government or a supreme religious leader.  If someone decide he's powerful enough to form a caliphate - legitimate or not - a caliphate has been formed.  The terrorists want an Islamic State.  

Pray the rosary
every day.

*H/T Ray

Monday, August 11, 2014

How St. Clare of Assisi repelled the Saracen troops.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the Saracens were the enemies of Christians...
The power and efficacy of her prayers are illustrated by a story told by Thomas of Celano, a contemporary. In 1244, Emperor Frederick II, then at war with the Pope, was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, which was part of the patrimony of the Holy See. He employed many Saracens in his army, and a troop of these infidels came in a body to plunder Assisi. St. Damien's church, standing outside the city walls, was one of the first objectives. While the marauders were scaling the convent walls, Clare, ill as she was, had herself carried out to the gate and there the Sacrament was set up in sight of the enemy. Prostrating herself before it, she prayed aloud: "Does it please Thee, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children whom I have nourished with Thy love? I beseech Thee, good Lord, protect these whom now I am not able to protect." Whereupon she heard a voice like the voice of a little child saying, "I will have them always in My care." She prayed again, for the city, and again the voice came, reassuring her. She then turned to the trembling nuns and said, "Have no fear, little daughters; trust in Jesus." At this, a sudden terror seized their assailants and they fled in haste. Shortly afterward one of Frederick's generals laid siege to Assisi itself for many days. Clare told her nuns that they, who had received their bodily necessities from the city, now owed it all the assistance in their power. She bade them cover their heads with ashes and beseech Christ as suppliants for its deliverance. For a whole day and night they prayed with all their might- and with many tears, and then "God in his mercy so made issue with temptation that the besiegers melted away and their proud leader with them, for all he had sworn an oath to take the city." - Source
Did you know Muslims used to be called infidels?

St. John Paul II recounted this same story in his Letter on the Eighth Centenary of the Birth of St. Clare. :   It is the voice of the Child Jesus which, at a time of great danger - when the monastery was about to fall into the hands of Saracen troops in the employ of Emperor Frederick II - reassures her from the Eucharist: It "will be defended by my protection" (LegCl 22).

Saracen was the Medieval term for Mohammedans, or Arab Muslims.  In the siege of Assisi, they were mercenaries for the Emperor, and they were considered ruthless and therefore greatly feared. In those days they were called infidels.  St. Francis himself had 'a burning desire' for the conversion of the Saracens and twice tried unsuccessfully to go to preach among them and die a martyrs death.  He was finally able to go to Damietta where he was imprisoned and then led before the Sultan.  He made no conversions but evidently obtained the Sultan's promise to treat Christians more hospitably.  The meeting has been romanticized by creative biographers, poets and artists ever since.

In our time ... Nostra aetate

Today we deliberately avoid any mention of converting "Mohammedans".  In fact we differentiate between Islam as a religion and Muslims as a people.  It's quite a turn around even from how the Church regarded Islam when I was a child.  Today it is all even more confusing.

Lately a few Catholics have been recycling Winston Churchill's remarks about Mohammedans, as well as those of Archbishop Lefebvre and others.  Likewise, the Regensburg address by Benedict XVI is in circulation again as being in opposition to Islam.  In fact, Benedict XVI apologized for the effect his speech had upon Muslims:
Benedict also apologized to Muslim leaders and added a footnote to the text of his speech, stating, "In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation.  I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Qur’an, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion."

Playing one pope against another, some Catholics condemn Pope Francis for his disapproval of Benedict's address:
In 2006, then-Cardinal Bergoglio expressed disapproval of Pope Benedict's comment on the Prophet Muhammad. He said, "Pope Benedict's statement don't reflect my own opinions.These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years". The Vatican responded forcefully to Bergoglio's criticism, threatening to remove him from his post.  

In our time many suspect Pope Francis may be going beyond Nostra Aetate, pulling out 'the rays of truth' in the Qur'an, expressing his hope Muslim immigrants to Europe “can freely worship and become fully a part of society”.  I don't understand many things, this may be one of them - especially in view of how Islamic fundamentalist/extremists spread terror throughout the world, and once in power, demand implementation of Sharia law.  However, as Jordan Denan wrote in his article for Commonweal:
Francis is not the first pope to discuss both the Qur’an and Islam. His predecessors (Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI) also spoke about the Qur’an and Islam and the latter two wrote on doctrinal questions. These popes’ statements on Islam do not have the authority of a council document like Lumen Gentium and Nostra Aetate, but they do indicate that Catholic reflection and scholarship on Islam has developed considerably and could likely be updated in a future document of greater authority. (You can read previous papal and Vatican statements on Islam here.) - Source

St. John Paul II went so far as to kiss the Qur'an,  apparently out of reverence for 'the rays of truth' contained in it.   I don't know who that demonstration was for, but it didn't shake my faith either.

Credo in unam Deum...

Happy feast day.

Arise O Lord
and let your enemies be scattered,
let those that hate you,
flee before your Holy Face.

Did you know? Some of the photos depicting ISIS atrocities may be faked.

The image of the little boy with the gun muzzles in his face
 is from Syria earlier this year, 
and when it came out it was suspected to be a hoax. - CF

And some of the stories may be exaggerated...

Who would've thunk it, huh?

Who would make up stories in wartime?

George Bush?  Hilary Clinton?  Hamas?  Putin?

Hold on to your discernment hats - but don't kid yourself:  It's still bad.

Pray and do penance.

Oh,  and don't forget.  If ISIS terrorists are beheading and dismembering Christian and Yazidi children, don't forget we do that in this country too...  We are just not allowed to show the images of what we do - we find it distasteful.

Pope Francis said yesterday that "the news reports coming from Iraq leave us in dismay and disbelief" - they do indeed.

Who funds ISIS? Where do they get their weapons?

I have read that the U.S. may have trained some of the militants who have joined ISIS.  It is a known fact we have sent lethal aid - that is, weapons to the so-called 'moderate' rebels in the fight against Assad of Syria.  Has ISIS grabbed any?  Does anyone really know?

I'm wondering who funds ISIS now?  Do friends of the United States support the 'rebels' - the terrorists?  I think we can figure out that answer.
“There’s a number of sources,” says David Axe, a freelance war reporter who knows a lot about weaponry. “ISIS, like all Syrian opposition groups,” he says, “enjoys a strong level of support from Turkey, from Qatar, from Saudi Arabia." 
The reason, says Axe, has to do with common interests. "What ISIS wants, to some extent, overlaps with what certain powerful people in some of these Gulf states want, which is, for lack of a better word, a 'Sunni-stan' — a homogeneous Sunni Muslim state in what is now Syria and Iraq.” Turkey, he adds, wants to see Syria's president out of power. - Source
Isn't that odd?   The United States wants to see Syria's president out of power as well.  As I pointed out - we have supported the Syrian rebels.  Were all of these rebels properly vetted?  Does our CIA really know who they are training or what happens to their allegiance after training?  How many of the 'favored' rebels went over to ISIS?  Whose weapons are they using?

Politicians and pundits can fight over the details, but the historians will have to be the ones to sort it all out.  What we know is that we wouldn't be in this situation if we had not gone after Saddam Hussein.  The second Iraq war was based upon lies - for one, we believed Iraq had WMD's.  I also believe President Bush was determined to avenge his dad, to finish the first war - which would also placate the Saudi Royal family.  We are beholden to the Saudis - who sat around enjoying themselves during the first Gulf war.  Likewise, Europe is beholden to Putin's Russia.  Our standard of living is dependent upon these entities for energy.  Of course I'm over simplifying all of this, but I'm doing so to explain why we have blood on our hands.  Why we too are responsible for the carnage throughout the Middle East.

"The world economic system inevitably promotes military conflict as a way to enrich the most powerful nations." - Pope Francis

Arms trade.  Oil.  Natural Gas.  World domination.  Religious fanaticism.  Whatever works, right?

Evidently German Bishops are asking for a prohibition of arms exports.  I hope the weapons brokers and nations listen.

Let us pray together the God of peace, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary: Grant us peace, O Lord, in our days, and render us artificers justice and peace. - Pope Francis

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why have you utterly forgotten us, forsaken us for so long?

The children are desolate; the enemy has prevailed.

The tongue of the infant cleaves
to the roof of its mouth in thirst;
Children beg for bread,
but no one gives them a piece.

My eyes stream with tears over the destruction
of the daughter of my people.

My eyes will flow without ceasing,
without rest,

Until the LORD from heaven
looks down and sees.

Even now our eyes are worn out,
searching in vain for help;
From our watchtower we have watched
for a nation unable to save.

Our pursuers were swifter
than eagles in the sky,
In the mountains they were hot on our trail,
they ambushed us in the wilderness.

Rise up! Wail in the night,
at the start of every watch;
Pour out your heart like water
before the Lord...