some personal views
I am back after visiting The Holy Land. Our parish priest was with us up until Monday the 18th October and we had our last Mass in Jericho in the Catholic church there on the Sunday. The parish priest in Jericho assisted in distributing Holy Communion at that Mass and afterwards our guide told us that normally there would have been about four people in the church for Mass. This showed us just how the Catholic population of the Holy Land is being driven out from there. I just had to send money to "Aid the the Church in Need" on my return. Four people just cannot support a priest and a church. They really must have help from ourselves. We surely cannot let the Church die out in the Holy Land. As for Iraq there used to be 4% of the population Catholic but now it is around 0.2% but they form 40% of the refugees who have fled across the border into Jordan.I see that Tariq Aziz, the Catholic former member of Saddam Hussein's government has been sentenced to death. The Vatican has protested at this sentence and so should we!
The Iraq War was a complete disaster. Christians were far better off under Hussein.
I wonder how Tony Blair's sister n law feels now about converting to Islam. A religion of brutality and ignorance towards human life.
An Assyrian, Max Joseph, writes in the Independent today:"Jennifer Butterfield's claim that Tariq Aziz is an "educated man of integrity" (letter, 30 October) could not be farther from the truth. "This was an Assyrian Christian man (whose real name was Mikhail Yuhanna) who abandoned his marginalised community and threw his lot in with the nationalist Ba'ath party from an early age. Yes, he was a secularist, but secularism is a brutal weapon if married to ruthless nationalism. "The Assyrians of Iraq, who are the oldest Christian community in the world, are politically isolated and religiously persecuted and have been fleeing for their lives to neighbouring countries and abroad for a century. My own family left Iraq in the early 1970s for these very reasons. It is an affront to their sensibilities and experiences to label this great traitor, who ordered the torturing and murder of scores of people and employed spies within his own community to weed out Ba'ath party dissenters, as a man who has an exemplary moral compass."So I wouldn't be particularly inclined to put myself out to protest the death sentence on Tariq Aziz.They say that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, but I fear that where Islam has rendered the soil barren the seed will never bear fruit. Patrick Sookhdeo has said that, whatever Islam takes, it keeps.When I heard that al-Qaeda had attacked a Catholic Church in Baghdad on Sunday, I found myself thinking that maybe the crew of Crazyhorse 18, the Apache helicopter that killed insurgents who were trying to surrender, did nothing illegal or immoral. You don't need to give quarter to an enemy as depraved as this.
Come back Sadam Hussein - you did not start wars against your neighbours, you did not torture dissidents and their relatives, you did not gas the Kurds, you did not subsidise suicide bombers, you did not massacre the Shiite marsh Arabs, you did not attack Israel with scud missiles, you did not live in palaces while so many of your people starved - indeed you and your ministers - their religion seeming irrelelant to their actions- posed a most worthy example for the rest of the world! One must weep and pray for the Christians in Iraq, indeed it must seem for those in many Moslem lands, but that does nor mean one should glorify a dictator or his deputy.
I don't think we should give up on the conversion of Muslims. The power of God is greater than man's ability to erect barriers. One day, it will dissolve, like all heresies.
This was indeed a great tragedy. May the souls of the three Priests killed, together with the souls of their parishioners who died with them through the mercy of God rest in peace. I hope, however, that this horrific event does not lead to comments on English blogs of utter hatred for Moslems in general as I have seen on one American blog. I have read comments quoting statistics which echoed the hatred towards the Jews shown prior to the Second World War. The fear of what is termed 'Islamisation' is being fuelled by this hatred on the internet.One American Bishop has written on his site calling upon all Catholics to tone down the level of hatred in their comments and conversations. I sincerely hope that his advice is heeded.
RJ, some Muslims, even a considerable number, convert to Christianity albeit clandestinely. Father Zakaria Boutros, one-time parish priest at the Coptic Church in Hove, broadcasts regularly into Egypt and makes shedloads of converts.Some other Muslims are known to have been converted by direct revelation and a visitation from Christ Himself.But, as Robert Fisk wrote in the Independent last week, the Christians of the Middle East are simply being outbred by the Muslims. The only country in the neighbourhood where the proportion of Christians is increasing is Israel.
I agree with Shane. Autocracies in the Middle East seem to be able to protect the minorities better. Syria is a case in point. A lot of Iraqi Christians have fled to Syria, and have found shelter there. Syria however doesn't tick the right democratic boxes and is somewhat of a pariah state in the eyes of the West.Some time ago I read William Dalrymple's book 'To the Holy Mountain' , in which he travelled from Mt Athos to the Monasteries in Egypt. Of all the countries he travelled through, Syria came out as the state where Christians were allowed to live in peace.
Sorry, I didn't want to show a lack of respect for Muslims. It is one thing to believe in Jesus Christ and therefore believe that Muslims are mistaken, and to pray for their conversion; another to spread hatred of them.
Like I said on Fr. Tim's blog - it's high time for priests to start saying the Missa Exsurge. Dialogue with Muslims has been a one way street, with no reciprocity on their part. The frankly embarrassing overtures of the Holy See to Islam since Vatican II (the most appalling being JP II plea that St. John the Baptist "protects Islam" and his kissing of the Quran in 1993), have only emboldened them in their quest to eradicate Christians from the planet.
... another to spread hatred of themRJ - Muslims do that quite adequately for themselves. Their silence at the atrocities their own members commit, is deafening.
I was shocked when I heard this news. I have no idea why I was shocked ~ it's not as if Catholics aren't being killed every day. I wonder how long it will be before our churches here in the West are attacked?
If churches in the west are attacked, I suspect the culprits will not be Muslim.
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