Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Clouds of War, II

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

A war with Iran over nuclear weapons development would probably also mean the end of Christian minorities of centuries’ standing in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Already Christian minorities are being murdered and pushed out of Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, while Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh has reportedly issued a fatwa that all churches on the Arabian peninsula be destroyed.

A war with Iran would not simply mean the oft-used military cliche of a “surgical strike” against nuclear facilities, but also the oft-used, accurate description “bloodbath,” based upon a resultant fever of ethnic cleansing throughout the Middle East, promising a humanitarian disaster of the first order.

Already, the West has been slow to respond to the plight of Christian refugees. See more from Aid to the Church in Need.

Please continue to write your government representatives about help for Middle East refugees.

Prince of Peace, have mercy on us.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Now showing in the US: Of Gods and Men

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

The acclaimed French film, Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux), is now (mid-March, 2011) showing in the US.

Fair use of scaled down version of film poster, Copyright © 2010 by Mars Distribution, from Wikipedia

For more on the history of the film, see my previous post, the film’s Wikipedia entry, and for theater showings, see its official website.

The film is out on DVD and Blu-Ray as of 7/6/11.

This film challenges the presuppositions of its viewers. In particular, Roger Ebert’s review of the film questioned whether the monks made the right decision by remaining at the monastery “in the face of quite probable death. . . . It is egotism to believe their help must take place in this specific monastery.”

Apparently, Ebert’s paradigm of truth is politics, and his model of priest is social worker. Ebert may not be aware that Trappists take a vow of stability, to remain in one place. This vow forces them to confront the Incarnation of Christ in their own vocation–a confrontation dramatized so prominently in the film.

If all Christians who remained in place after threats of violence followed instead Ebert’s preference, the Coptic Christians in Egypt should have stayed home at Christmas, Christians should leave Iraq and most of the Middle East, and the late Shahbaz Bhatti should have held his tongue about Pakistan’s unjust blasphemy laws. Following Ebert’s logic, Christians under threat should depopulate their homelands. No one should live out their religious freedom if under serious threat, but each should go someplace else safe instead, and somehow then “help many.” It is interesting that on this count Ebert’s view, based upon his “realistic terms,” echoes that of the Islamists.

To both Ebert and the Islamists, Trappist spiritual stability poses a challenge. The calling of a Trappist monk is to incarnate the Word of Christ at a particular time, at a particular place. This the film Of Gods and Men reveals beautifully.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Genocide Against Middle-Eastern Christians

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Religious freedom and human rights activist Lord David Alton has penned an article calling the recent attacks on Middle-Eastern Christians in Iraq and Egypt “genocide.”

I have to agree.

David Alton suggests some action items at the end of his article.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Church Bombing in Egypt

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Words cannot express the revulsion that any civilized person of whatever background must feel at the news of another bombing of a house of worship, the Coptic Orthodox Church of al-Qiddissin (Saints) in Alexandria, Egypt, by Islamic extremists, which killed or injured dozens of persons worshiping on Coptic Christmas Midnight Mass. Here is a separate report.

This bombing follows similar bombings of Christian houses of worship in Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines, and numerous bombings of Muslim houses of worship by Islamic extremists in several countries in the past two decades.

Pope Benedict XVI has invited world religious leaders to Assisi in October, 2011 for a World Day of Prayer for Peace.

Governments which fund violent terrorists must bear responsibility, and must cease such funding. Countries which trade with these renegade governments also bear responsibility to pressure the renegades to eliminate the violence.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Dorothy Day meets John Courtney Murray: Cardinal George’s farewell to USCCB presidency

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, gave the speech of his life on 11/15/10 during his farewell to the presidency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In this wide-ranging and stirring address, which covered health care, the connection between social justice and life issues, church unity, public Catholicism, and religious persecution, from “empirical,” “ecclesiological,” and “practical” standpoints, Cardinal George especially called for an end to religious persecution in Iraq, telling the story of a little three-year-old boy named Adam killed by terrorists after he told the terrorists, “Enough,” upon their killing of his own parents.

During the USCCB Conference, Cardinal George also read a letter to President Obama, appealing for US aid to Christians in Iraq.

© Copyright 2010, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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