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Cardinal Dolan vs the Saints, the Catechism and the Papal Theologian on ‘Gay’ Identity

by Lisa Graas on September 19, 2014

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

In order to become a saint in the Catholic Church, we are called to “die to self” wherein we empty ourselves of all that is not of God’s will so that we can become what He made us to be. No one is exempt from putting God’s will above his/her own will. This “dying to self” theology is central to Catholic teaching on the Cross of Christ, that we must unite ourselves with Him in it. It is what causes Catholics to give up their “self”-ish wants and desires and go and serve the poor and the otherwise marginalized. They “die to self” and go do God’s will. But now, Cardinal Dolan is preaching the opposite of this message in saying that one does not have to “die to self” anymore. He does this through promotion of the “gay identity” which is specifically contradicted by every saint who has ever written on homosexuality, not to mention the catechism and the papal theologian.

Cardinal Dolan writes in regard to his decision to be Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade which will include groups who identify as “gay”:

Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.

And…

So, while actions are immoral, identity is not!

That is false. First, let’s look at the catechism, which no Catholic may knowingly preach against, most especially our bishops.

CCC 2333: Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which all Catholics are bound also, in discipline, not to preach against:

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.

Rev. Wojciech Giertych is the papal theologian. As such, his job is to “review the texts given to the Pope for his speeches for theological accuracy.” This is what he says about “gay” identity in an interview with LifeSiteNews:

“…in the American language you have a distinction between the word ‘homosexual’ and ‘gay’. A homosexual is a person who has, to some extent, this homosexual condition. Somebody may have this difficulty, and his friends, his neighbors will not know about this. He’s dealing with this in cooperation with the grace of God and may come out of this difficulty and come back to normal human relationships. Sometimes adolescents, at the moment when their sexual sensibility is appearing, if they have been distorted by others they go through a phase of difficulty in this field. But as they mature they will grow out of it. Whereas a ‘gay’ is somebody who says, ‘I am like this, I will be like this, I want to be treated like this, and I want special privileges because I am like this.’ Now if somebody is not only homosexual, but a gay, declaring, ‘This is how I am, and I want this to be respected legally, socially and so on’ – such a person will never come out of the difficulty.”

Here are some quotes from the saints on dying to self:

Love consumes us only in the measure of our self-surrender. — St. Therese of Lisieux

Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God. — St. Vincent Ferrer

God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God. — Blessed Robert Southwell

We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self. — St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

I bind myself today
The might of the Incarnation of Christ with that of His Baptism,
The might of His Crucifixion with that of His Burial,
The might of His Resurrection with that of His Ascension,
The might of His Coming on the Judgment Day. — St. Patrick of Ireland

Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be canceled and anxiety turned into love. — St. Paul of the Cross

In uniting yourself to God’s will, you take on new life and gather great courage, willingly embracing the cross and kissing His hand even when it chastises you, a hand that reaches out to you in love and has no other intention but your greater spiritual well-being. — St. Paul of the Cross

He who desires anything but God deceives himself, and he who loves anything but God errs miserably. — St. Philip Neri

Give me ten truly detached men. and I will convert the world with them. — St. Philip Neri

Another weapon the devil employs is immodesty, or more frankly, impurity. My dear children, be on your guard. The devil will tempt you with bad books, bad thoughts, or the foul conversation of a companion. When any such fellow approaches you, say to yourself, This is a minister of Satan. And let these wretches who indulge in foul conversation say to himself, I am a minister of Satan because I help him ruin souls! — St. John Bosco

“Jesus Christ gave up his life that we might live, therefore, whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of the Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one’s own death; sixth, remembrance of God’s glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert” — St. Catharine of Bologna, On the Seven Spiritual Weapons

This is by no means an exhaustive collection of quotes from the saints on denial of self. To the contrary, it is what all saints have done. All of them. It is at the core of what it means to be Catholic. To tell people that they can embrace a self-centered identity on a matter of grave sin, which homosexual acts are, and that they are not doing something immoral in doing so is to deny everything the saints have taught us.

It should be said, too, that denial of homosexual identity is something that we can find agreement with many protestants on who otherwise do not accept the Catholic view of sainthood. Cardinal Dolan has contradicted all that we know about what it takes to become a saint, and he has done so on an issue that we could unite on with those protestants who disagree with us on sainthood.

Even beyond this, at the personal level, I have stated repeatedly (ad nauseum) on this blog that because I have Bipolar Disorder, identity in disorder is dangerous for me physically. Satan is much more intelligent than any human being, so you can imagine how he toys with a faithful Catholic who has Bipolar Disorder which brings with it sometimes delusional thinking. It is only in immersing myself in objective reality, particularly on my identity in Christ, as taught by the Catholic Church that I am able to outwit Satan when I have suicidal ideation from time to time. In short, Catholic teaching on our identity in God’s will, and in Christ, is what keeps me from killing myself.

Yesterday, I was taken aback by the remarks that I had just read from Cardinal Dolan. It triggered me. (See Daily Triggers for Bipolar Disorder.) It was important that I seek out reassurance from people I know to be faithful Catholics. The first place I could think of was Catholic Answers. I found the particular conversation dealing with Cardinal Dolan’s statement and left the following comment, whereupon I was blocked from the forum on the grounds of “Contempt for Clergy.”

I cannot begin to express how painful it is for me to see Cardinal Dolan contradict CCC 2333. It further pains me that this is characterized as charity. We do not blow our brains out for charity because that would be the opposite of charity. God has rights. I’ve tweeted my comments to Cardinal Dolan and will post them below. I don’t expect anyone here to care, but it’s important to me in my spiritual life and is consistent with what the Church teaches. For me, it is life or death….physically speaking.

I said to Cardinal Dolan:

I have bipolar disorder. If people like me in spiritual direction are allowed to find ID in disorder, they’ll commit suicide.
I don’t criticize for jollies. I criticize because people will commit suicide if they find their identity in disorder.
And because objective disorder is different from medical disorder, it is spiritual suicide to ID in it.
The papal theologian has said that once you ID in it, it is less likely that you can come to understand the truth. I agree.
I will continue to defend CCC 2333 because lives are at stake, both physically and spiritually.
And every time you deny CCC 2333, you are essentially saying that my specific cross in life is futile and a lie.
If I were to ever believe you my life would be in danger. Thats why I cling to root basis of CCC 2333. Objective identity.
My identity isn’t whatever I come up with in my head. My identity is what God says I am. Therefore, I do not take my life.

Is that “contempt for clergy” or the voice of someone in pain due to concern for souls? Since I wrote it, I know that it is the voice of someone in pain due to concern for souls.

This is not the first time people I trusted theologically in the Catholic Church have done this to me, and I know that it will not be the last. But, you see, my job as a Catholic is to “die to self.” I cannot let this be a hook in me that impedes me on my way up the ladder to heaven. I can, however, warn others out there who have the same cross that I bear that you should not be discouraged. You should not let your faith be shaken. You should not let Cardinal Dolan and others convince you that the Church has stopped preaching that your dignity is in God’s will. You should not equate your disorder with yourself, as Cardinal Dolan does. You must continue to believe that all human beings suffer with either objective disorder (like same-sex attraction) or medical disorders (like Bipolar Disorder) and that all of our disorders are wiped away when we die, as there is no disorder in heaven. You will be perfect in heaven. Further, as the saints tell us, it is far better to suffer on this earth than to suffer in purgatory, which is where we are perfected before we enter into heaven. So, take heart. Do not let anyone make you believe that your identity is in delusion, or suicidal ideation, or anything else that is as the result of the Fall. Your identity is in what God desires for you, in what He has created you to be, to live with Him as such in heaven. It is not in anything else.

Bishops may say you don’t need to be fixed. (This is not “contempt for clergy.” It is pain for suffering souls.) Bishops may say that you are not broken. But God does not ignore your pain and pretend it doesn’t exist, and He does not equate your disorder with your identity. He knows your pain, and He WILL fix  you, provided that you unite that pain with our Lord’s in His Cross.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

 

 

On Cardinal Burke’s Exile

by Lisa Graas on September 18, 2014

Cardinal Burke, probably the greatest champion at the Vatican of those of us who love and defend Catholic teaching, has been exiled by Pope Francis. The Anchoress opines here. Father Z opines here. We can try to pretend that he’s not being exiled, but…it is what it is.

Exile – expulsion from one’s native land by authoritative decree.

The Vatican is his native land, as he is a cardinal, and he was expelled by authoritative decree, having his authoritative role diminished. He was exiled.

The question is, why was he exiled? It seems natural to assume that this very public act was because of the most recent public thing that he did, and that was to say in regard to Pope Francis’ “who am I to judge” remarks that “We have to judge acts.”

LifeSite:

Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court – the Apostolic Signatura – has given a lengthy televised interview in which he decisively rectifies the false notions about Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” quote that has been used frequently to suggest a change in Church teaching on the matter of homosexuality.

Host Thomas McKenna of Catholic Action Insight questioned Cardinal Burke about instances where people must make judgments in light of Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” phrase.

“We have to judge acts, we have to,” Cardinal Burke replied. “All day long we make judgments with regards to certain acts; this is what the natural law is: to choose good and to avoid evil.”

Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and this article yesterday at the Washington Post by a former Jesuit seminarian saying that Jesuits accept openly homosexual candidates for the priesthood isn’t exactly helpful in dispelling notions that Jesuits do not uphold Church teaching on this very grave matter.

Quote:

But I was open and transparent about my sexual orientation from the beginning. Before I committed, I talked to my vocation director. He was a gay Jesuit; he assured me I’d be welcomed into the Society of Jesus, that I wouldn’t have to go back into the closet. I met other gay Jesuits who told me the same.

So, what is official Church teaching? When Pope Benedict [then Cardinal Ratzinger] was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Saint John Paul the Great, he issued what continues to be the primary guide for the pastoral care of homosexual persons in the Church. The laity are most certainly bound to obey it as a matter of discipline, but we are also bound to obey our bishops (like Cardinal Dolan) and, of course, the Pope….all as a matter of discipline. In it, Benedict (then-Ratzinger) referred to some in the Church who consider same-sex attraction to be “neutral” or even “good,” and he corrected them.

In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Though we are all bound to hold to then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s guide (and our bishops, and Pope Francis, as a matter of discipline), and though it is completely in tune with Catholic understanding of human nature and salvation, the current Magisterium seems to be in some kind of “debate” mode on this subject.  Pope Francis, with his “who am I to judge” remark appears to be in the “neutral” camp while Cardinal Dolan, with his “bravo” comment, appears to be in the “good” camp. Pope Francis’ remark “who am I to judge” could not be strictly held to by the laity considering that it was so vague, whereas Cardinal Dolan’s “bravo” remark is not vague at all and completely contradicts Benedict’s letter. The rest of us are bound to adhere to the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons direction and to the very consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on this for two millennia, which is what Cardinal Burke was doing in his remarks on judging acts.

At this point, Pope Francis’s view seems no longer vague. Just after Cardinal Burke publicly championed Benedict’s rule and the constant teaching of the Church on human nature and objective disorder, Pope Francis exiled him. Cardinal Burke sent a very public message in his capacity as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and he was subsequently expelled and sent to Malta.

My question is this. Given that it seems clear now that Pope Francis is “neutral” on the matter and expels those who do not hold to the “neutral” line, can we expect him also to discipline Cardinal Dolan for his “bravo” position?

I am not holding my breath for an answer.

To those of you who wonder whether we are to obey Pope Francis or the letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons or, in the case of New Yorkers, Cardinal Dolan, I can only say that the Church is currently not very clear on this based on the messaging of Pope Francis, Cardinal Burke, and Cardinal Dolan. When such things happen, we have to look at the clear teachings of the Church for two millennia to determine what the truth is. My conscience is clear on this, and it is consistent with Benedict’s letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, therefore that is what I will be defending. Having said that, if you see people defending neutrality or “bravo,” you can’t really blame them as they are following the Pope and Cardinal Dolan. It seems clear that given the grave matter involved here, the laity will have a tough row to hoe in defending that which had been so very clear in the Church’s teaching before Pope Francis was elected, which they still have every right (and I would argue duty) to defend.

Am I saying that Pope Francis is not a faithful Catholic? No. I’m saying that how we approach this subject is currently debatable, though Pope Francis’ exile of Cardinal Burke should give us all great pause. How far is he willing to go to silence people who will not hold to the “neutral” line? He is not silencing Cardinal Burke in the sense of putting duct tape over his mouth, but he has certainly removed his credibility in demoting him. My heart sorrows, but I will not panic because, as I said, my conscience is clear. It is also well-informed.

The Suffering Church: Morning Headlines 9/18/2014

by Lisa Graas on September 18, 2014

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In Defense Of Christians Slams Weekly Standard Editor’s ‘Bigotry’ Defending Ted Cruz. The group that hosted one of the largest ecumenical Christian gatherings to address religious persecution in years last Wednesday night, which was crashed in dramatic fashion by junior Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, is calling for an apology from The Weekly Standard for remarks made by senior editor Lee Smith on Twitter regarding the incident.

25 Towns under the Control of Boko Haram, Says Catholic Church. The Catholic church yesterday gave a list of 25 towns in three North-eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, presently under the control of the outlawed terrorist group, Boko Haram.

Ukraine’s bishops: voters should support defense of nation against foreign invasion. The synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church told voters that upcoming parliamentary elections “are the most complex and important ones in the history of independent Ukraine.”

Tulsa Catholic Church To Hold ‘Holy Hour’ During OKC Black Mass. TULSA, Oklahoma – Local Catholics are planning their opposition to a Black Mass scheduled to be put on this weekend by Oklahoma devil worshipers.

Theft of 150 toys leaves Catholic Charities without gifts for holidays. The theft of about 150 toys has left Catholic Charities in Waukegan, Illinois, with zero items left to start its gift-giving program this holiday season.

As IS sympathisers drive by Catholic school and threaten children and nun I pray God takes pity on them. AUSTRALIA – Police are investigating allegations death threats were made towards a nun at Maronite College of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church at Harris Park.

Photo slideshow: U.S. Catholic bishops visit the Holy Land on peace pilgrimage. Eighteen Catholic bishops from across the U.S., together with officials from Catholic Relief Services, the bishops’ international relief agency, are leading a peace pilgrimage to the Holy Land from Sept. 11-18, 2014.

Cardinal Dolan: Ukraine ‘Flowing With Blood’. New York’s archbishop urges U.S. Catholics to respond to the pleas of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic bishops.

A plea from Christian churches around the world: Stop the genocide in Iraq and Syria. Christian leaders throughout the Middle East have called on Muslim governments and religious authorities to condemn the Islamic State for its ongoing persecution of minority religious communities in Iraq and Syria.

UN panel raps Iran over imprisonment of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini. A United Nations panel this week blasted Iran’s continued imprisonment of American citizen Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison term in the Islamic republic for practicing his faith.

Mideast Christian Leaders Want Arabs to Be At the Front Against the Islamic State. GENEVA — Middle East church leaders have urged Arab governments and Muslim religious authorities to strongly denounce the Islamic State for its onslaught on minority religious communities.

ASU Responds to Christian Advocacy Group Concerning Cross Decals on football helmets. JONESBORO, AR – Arkansas State University has responded after being accused of violating students’ right to free speech.

 

 

The Suffering Church: Morning Headlines

by Lisa Graas on September 17, 2014

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Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with Christian Religious Leaders of the Middle East. This afternoon, President Obama dropped by National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s meeting at the White House with a delegation of Christian religious leaders from the Middle East led by Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Rai.

Iran’s Ayatollah Declines to Help US Coalition Fight ISIS. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei put to rest on Monday any speculation that his country would be partnering in anyway with the U.S. and its allies in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Corbella: Albertans’ anti-Christian bigotry is shocking. The most shocking thing about Alberta Premier Jim Prentice’s new cabinet isn’t that he has chosen two unelected cabinet ministers, though that’s generating a lot of buzz to be sure. What’s really alarming, however, is the open, anti-Christian bigotry attacking one of those unelected ministers — Gordon Dirks — who is Alberta’s new minister of education.

Meet Milad, the nurse who connects displaced Iraqis with crucial drugs. ARBIL (AFP) – Milad was an operating theatre nurse in Qaraqosh before ISIS fighters seized Iraq’s largest Christian town. Now he compiles long lists of medicines that his fellow displaced Iraqis sorely lack.

Cal State University strips official status from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. After refusing to eliminate a requirement that leaders affirm a doctrine of faith, a Christian student organization has returned to Cal State University this fall without the financial help, recruitment opportunities and community standing other groups enjoy.

Texas Town Fights to keep Christian Plaque at Public School (Video). A Christian plaque at Mountain Peak Elementary School in Midlothian, Tx, has galvanized the small community against the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which wants the plaque removed because it sits on public property.

Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim speaks of her prison ordeal for first time. The Sudanese mother who was sentenced to hang for refusing to give up her Christian faith has spoken about her ordeal for the first time, saying she never once considered giving in and that she made her stand on behalf of all those facing persecution around the world because of their religious beliefs.

Texas board debates school textbooks’ stress on Christian tradition, ‘living’ US Constitution. AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Board of Education is considering 104 proposed social studies, history, geography and government textbooks that publishers have submitted for approval and use in public schools statewide. Much of the criticism is from left-leaning academics who say too much emphasis is placed on America’s Christian tradition.

Satanic Temple Plans To Distribute Satinist-Themed Children’s Activity Book To Florida Students. The New York based Satanic Temple announced in a press release Monday that they plan to distribute “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities” to Florida students.

TERROR: Boko Haram rape women, slaughter people in Michika -Residents. Residents of Michika and Bazza towns of Adamawa State have raised the alarm that contrary to the claims of military authotities, the towns have yet to be recaptured by federal troops from the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which overran the communities on penultimate Sunday.

Ambassador warns of ISIS threat for Pope Francis’ Albania visit. Iraq’s Ambassador to the Holy See is warning that Pope Francis could be targeted by ISIS militants ahead of the pontiff’s first visit to Albania this weekend.

In a first, US strikes ISIS near Baghdad. The United States has bombed militants near Baghdad in support of Iraqi forces, striking close to the capital for the first time in its expanded campaign against Islamic jihadists.

Vigil planned at Quinnipiac for persecuted Mideast Christians. HAMDEN >> Members of the clergy and others have planned a vigil and prayer service at Quinnipiac University to show support for Christians persecuted in the Middle East.

Sudanese Christian Woman Speaks Out in On Camera Interview; Wants to Help Women in Sudan [VIDEO]. Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam, spoke to Fox News in an exclusive interview in which she gave all glory to God and said her battle is not over.

IDC Leader: Ted Cruz Put ‘Lives at Risk’ at In Defense of Christians Summit. The Texas senator potentially gave extremists more reason to exterminate Middle East Christians by calling the State of Israel their greatest ally, said In Defense of Christians’ executive director.

Patriarchs ask faithful to help ‘save Christianity in the Middle East’. Five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the region. “Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian action, to save Christianity in the Middle East,” Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church says.

 

The Suffering Church

by Lisa Graas on September 17, 2014

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Today’s Headlines:

 

Coptic Christian protesters clash with police in southern Egypt over abducted housewife. A couple hundred Christian protesters clashed with police in southern Egypt after holding a demonstration on Tuesday in front of a police station demanding authorities locate an abducted housewife, a security official said.

Kurds retake Christian villages from Iraq jihadists. Arbil (Iraq) (AFP) – Kurdish peshmerga forces on Tuesday recaptured seven Christian villages in northern Iraq in clashes with Islamic State (IS) jihadists, an officer and a cleric said.

Mideast Christian leaders want Arabs to be at the front against the Islamic State. GENEVA – Middle East church leaders have urged Arab governments and Muslim religious authorities to strongly denounce the Islamic State for its onslaught on minority religious communities.

NFL Forces RGIII To Turn Christian Shirt Inside Out For Press Conference. Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III, who dislocated his ankle in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, entered the room for a post-game press conference wearing a T-shirt that said “[K]No[w] Jesus, [K]No[w] Peace” but turned it inside-out before speaking to reporters.

Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim tells for first time of her ordeal. Christian mother who faced death sentence in Sudan after being accused of abandoning Islam says she was read the Koran in prison in an attempt to convert her.

Media Silent: Terrorists Kidnap Hundreds Of Christian Girls, Cut Off Their Breasts. The mainstream media has failed us again, overlooking a report that hundreds of Christian girls were abducted and tortured in the most gruesome ways.

Thousands of young Christian Iraqis have joined the fight against ISIS — but few have faith it will help. Five years ago, Sirgon Horomes had “Long live the Iraqi army” tattooed on his arm. It went with the image of Jesus tattooed on his other arm. He was 17 then and believed that Iraq’s army would protect the interests of the minority Christians. “Now, I’m disappointed,” Sirgon says. At the beginning of the summer, the army crumbled in the face of an attack by the militant group ISIS in Mosul. That left Christians, Turkmen and Yazidis vulnerable to attack and persecution by ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.

Mideast Christian leaders call Arab states ‘timid’ in confronting Islamic State. Prominent Middle East Christian leaders say that Muslim leaders have been “timid” in their response to the massacres by the Islamic State, and urged Arab leaders to do more to defeat the terror group.

‘You Can Kill My Body, But Not My Soul': Christian Refuses to Convert to Islam in Face of Death.  Christian man in Nigeria recently stood firm for his faith despite Muslim attempts to force him to convert to Islam while threatening him with death.

Christian News Anchor With Cancer ‘At Peace’ in Final Days. Not many people handle sobering news with the type of calm demeanor and peaceful spirit one TV anchor just did in announcing an inoperable relapse with cancer.

ISIS Using Christian Homes in Mosul As Factories for Explosive Devices. A number of Mosul residents have said that ISIS has turned Christians homes into factories for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and car bombs.

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes nitrogen gas for executions. An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed nitrogen gas as a possible alternative for executing condemned prisoners after a botched execution in April raised concerns about lethal injection. State Representative Mike Christian, a Republican, on Tuesday called for a state House committee to study the use of “nitrogen hypoxia” for executions, saying it would be painless for inmates and affordable for Oklahoma.

California’s ironic ousting of campus Christian groups. A disturbing story came and went, barely noticed a few weeks ago. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is being unceremoniously booted off the campuses of California’s 23 state universities. This begins with a process of “derecognizing” these as legitimate campus groups.

Second Secular Group Opposes Cross In State Park. Two different secular groups have argued that the sculpture depicting an eagle, veterans and a small white cross is a violation of the constitution.

Texas School Board Vows To Keep Christian Plaques In School. At a packed school board meeting Monday night, the Midlothian ISD school board vowed to keep two religious plaques uncovered for the foreseeable future.

Rise of ISIS: Why the Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher. The Islamic State (ISIS), the wealthiest and most lethal terrorist group in history, is making its presence known on the world stage in a gruesome way.

Deacon Keith Fournier wrongly defends Cruz’s politicization of IDC summit

by Lisa Graas on September 17, 2014

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It is utterly appalling to me to see that Deacon Keith Fournier defending Ted Cruz’s politicization of the IDC Summit…based, apparently, on a 43-second video that was taken at the event. Sadly, he even goes so far as to besmirch the reputation of the IDC Summit itself, of which Cardinal Wuerl was a part.

He writes at Catholic Online:

This relatively new group has an interesting mission statement and some commendable goals. It has also now become a pawn in an underlying effort to divide an emerging alliance of what are often called Values Voters.

This stabs me right in the heart. It is Ted Cruz who used the event to divide and who used them as pawns for his political theater. Fortunately, the entire speech was recorded (which I link to and discuss here) and it is clear that the audience was, in fact, pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, but not Zionist.

About the Zionism, Deacon Fournier creeps perilously close to it, does he not?

A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God’s loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

Yes, we refer to it as at Holy Land because of its history and holy sites, but the “role in God’s loving plan of salvation” (his quote) has ended, which is an important point that Deacon Fournier would have done well to point out. Catholics do not ascribe to the Zionist theology that Cruz was demanding the summit agree to. And yes, that is what he was demanding.

There are many other honey-soaked words and phrases that I could discuss but suffice it to say that Deacon Fournier’s flowery praise of Ted Cruz along with a 43-second video may be enough for some people to believe that Cruz was persecuted by “divisive” victims of genocide, but I prefer to be a little more thoughtful about these things.

 

Israeli Jew Jordan Brunner: Christian anger toward Ted Cruz is righteous

by Lisa Graas on September 16, 2014

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Some have asked why we’re still talking about this. The reason is that Ted Cruz should be exposed for what he has done and he owes an apology to the people he smeared at the In Defense of Christians summit. Until he apologizes, he won’t be forgiven. I don’t expect an apology, so eventually I will stop writing about this and continue to be done with Ted Cruz as far as consideration for president.

Israeli Jew Jordan Brunner writes:

Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t helping us move forward in our foreign relations. If anything, he is moving us backwards. Recently, the fiery Republican from Texas attended a posh gala that was organized around the plight of Middle Eastern Christians. Cruz made the comment that “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.” He was then booed off stage.

Perhaps this was justified; in fact, this might be the most misguided comment that Ted Cruz has ever made, which is really saying something. It demonstrates his lack of knowledge about Israel and its situation in the Middle East. He was trying to defend Israel and support the beleaguered Middle Eastern Christians in the countries of Iraq and Syria. For that, I laud him, especially since I am an American Jew myself. However, he went about it the wrong way by concentrating on religion.

Brunner doesn’t mention Zionism. Instead, he focuses on the importance of understanding the anti-Muslim element in the Cruz argument. That is something I agree with Brunner on, but mainly, my concern with Cruz’s remarks is that he insisted on a religious viewpoint that people in the room simply could not agree with him on. Copts, Catholics and Orthodox can love and support Israel as a Jewish state, but we simply cannot pledge allegiance to that. It would be Zionist and, theologically, that is too much to ask.

While Brunner argues that Muslims are actually greater friends to Christians in Muslim countries (which is true), he goes the extra mile of adding information about Jewish animosity toward Christians in Israel. I’d rather not focus on that. Ultimately, I can and should live with and support a Jewish state, while remaining theologically anti-Zionist, but highlighting oppression of Christians in Israel is, in my view, just as counter-productive as highlighting similar types of oppression by Muslims through Sharia Law.

I support Israel as it is today, but demanding that we all be Zionists or else be labeled as “anti-Jewish” is futile and drives resentment. The less resentment, the better.

Mollie Hemingway asks what Cruz supporters are unwilling to give

by Lisa Graas on September 16, 2014

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist was among the first to call out Ted Cruz for his actions at the In Defense of Christians summit. Today, she calls for a re-evaluation based on the outcry that occurred on both the Cruz side and the Middle East Christians’ side. Unfortunately, a re-evaluation of the many points she lays out is not really feasible. When it all boils down, the divide here is religious in nature, and most people on both sides are unwilling to engage in open discussion about the core of that religious divide. That is: Zionism versus anti-Zionism.

I addressed the religious divide here. “High church” Christians like Copts, Catholics and Orthodox which make up the bulk of Christianity in the Middle East, cannot be Zionists. Period. It is a matter of theology. No one involved in that summit is going to discuss that particular divide openly, especially in regard to the Cruz debacle, because to do so would destroy the purpose for which they came together – unity among all who call themselves Christian and those who are willing to stick up for their right not to be slaughtered. I wrote about it because I am not a part of that organization and it had to be said by someone outside the organization. May as well be me.

Hemingway asks this of Cruz supporters:

If Americans who wish to stop ISIS and al-Nusra from killing Christians have ideas for what these Christians should do, now is the time to offer up those ideas and get moving. Yes, there are alliances with al-Assad and Hezbollah. Yes, these are very bad guys and groups. Do we have a better proposal for them as they face this existential threat? Let’s offer it.

This, they are unwilling to do, and the reason they are unwilling to do it became clear when Cruz said what he said at the summit and walked out. Because of the theological divide between “high church” and “low church” Christians, and because of the hold that religious Zionism has on people like Ted Cruz, they will not stand with anti-Zionist Christians politically. To them, we are equivalent to ISIS, as they have told us ad nauseum.

Believe them when they say that they equate Catholics, Copts and Orthodox with ISIS and al-Nusra. They mean it, because they see us as an existential threat to Israel simply because we are theologically anti-Zionism.

I wrote this morning How an anti-Zionist Catholic can love and support Israel and a Jewish state, but this will certainly fall on many deaf ears because Cruz, et al, have a trust problem. Though they can look at a picture of Churchill, FDR and Stalin at the Yalta Conference and see that it was a good thing, they have the benefit of hindsight. To them, anti-Zionists hate Israel and Jews, and they will not have it any other way, so, they are all too happy to let us die in the Middle East. Just as the radical left turns a blind eye to radical Islamism because they don’t care much for Christians, so too religious Zionists in politics like Ted Cruz will turn a blind eye because we will not pledge allegiance to a Jewish state.

I would offer that they would not do this if they had no champion. They would work with us if they had no champion, but Cruz is their champion. As long as he continues in pushing his religious views on the rest of us, they will have that champion, and we die.

As a mom, I find it better to horrify someone by saying that there is a fly in the lemonade than to watch them drink it so as to spare them the pain of knowing the truth. If you drink that stuff, you’re going to get sick. If you face the truth now, we’re all better off. Demanding, in a passionate political speech, that Coptic, Catholic and Orthodox bishops profess “no greater ally than the Jewish state” is nothing less than a step down the road to acceptance of the son of perdition (to we who know and love our Catholic Faith).

But try telling Ted Cruz he’s lobbying for the anti-Christ. It will not only fall on deaf ears but will embolden him to fight all the more. He’s trapped in zealotry that prompts him to fight back all the more when challenged….and that’s why they love him.

For the record, I am also a zealot, but a Catholic one for the coming of our Lord. Sue me.

 

 

Open Doors President: ‘Lack of Concern’ for MidEast Christians ‘threat to people worldwide’

by Lisa Graas on September 16, 2014

#WeAreNazarene - an image of the sign of Christian genocide

#WeAreNazarene – an image of the sign of Christian genocide

Christian Post, interview with Open Doors USA President David Curry:

CP: Why are we seeing such a rise in Christian persecution in the region and the rise of terror groups like ISIS?

Curry: I think you’re seeing the rise of ISIS because of a lack of attention to the freedom of expression within the Middle East. You have extremist groups within Islam, like ISIS. It’s not true of every person who is Islamic. But there are extremist groups like this who want to force people to convert to Islam at the point of a gun.

Unless we understand that threat, not just to Christians in the region but to people worldwide, we’re not going to respond properly. I think it has risen because of a lack of attention and a lack of concern for Christians and other minority groups.

Read the whole thing.

How an Anti-Zionist Catholic can Love and Support Israel and a Jewish state

by Lisa Graas on September 16, 2014

vatican_israel

This is a portion of an email I wrote last night to a Jewish friend who was among others who were perplexed by my position on Ted Cruz’s speech at the “In Defense of Christians” Summit. It became clear in my article on Ted Cruz that I am anti-Zionism as a theological matter, though my support for Israel as a Jewish state has been crystal clear for years. Please note that I’m not as grammar-conscious in email as I am on my blog.

Email to a Friend

I’ve been trying to think of an analogy to help explain my feelings about Israel and Zionism that are quite consistent with other Catholics. I feel much the same about Israel and Zionism as I do about England and the Church of England. I think that most Catholics I know would say the same.

As you know, Catholic history with England has been quite bloody. St. Thomas More is probably our greatest saint who is a patron of those involved in law and jurisprudence. It is the Thomas More Society who is filing all these lawsuits re: Obamacare for Catholics. More was executed by King Henry VIII because he would not stand with the King when the King was denied a divorce by the Pope. Henry broke away and started the Church of England and put himself at the head of it. Priests had to go into hiding. Many were murdered. So were many nuns and lay Catholics. It was a brutal time. And yet, even with the Queen of England continuing to be the head of the Church of England, and with it being ILLEGAL for any heir to the throne to marry a Catholic, I still have something of a fan-girl attitude toward the British Monarchy. An example is that I got up at 4am just to watch Lady Diana marry Prince Charles. I would be horrified if the monarchy were toppled, not only for security reasons, but also because I’m a fan of that family, and of England, and of the British people. Having said that, I cannot express any kind of allegiance to the Church of England or to the Queen. That would be horrifying to me, as well, as a Catholic.

In like manner, I would be horrified if Israel were to be attacked or to be in a state of upheaval where it is no longer a Jewish state, but I cannot pledge any allegiance to a Jewish state. This is all for spiritual reasons, not so much for political reasons. Politically, I can support a Jewish state, and Israel, just as politically I support the Queen of England and the Royal Family. But crossing over into saying things that can be interpreted as pledging some kind of allegiance is out of the question.

Just as I can get along with, and LOVE, Israel and England as they are, and continue to be a faithful Catholic, I don’t think it is beyond the ability of Muslims to get along with Christians and Jews, regardless of what their religion dictates. Rick Santorum has been giving speeches saying that if the Catholic Church can evolve past the 7th century, then Islam can, as well. I have come to believe that our hope is in that evolution, and in the hearts of individual Muslims who do care for other human beings because they are human beings. They do exist. It may be a stupid hope, but it’s my hope.

I have hope also that this will make sense to you and understand why it was so horrifying to me that Ted Cruz said “no greater ally than the Jewish state” to Catholic, Coptic and Orthodox bishops in the Christian unity summit. It’s just not something any of them could possibly agree to. They will not say that this is the reason for people being upset with him, because if they say that it is, then it will just be a back-and-forth theological debate that we all want to avoid in politics. There is no place in politics for driving division based on religious differences, which was the whole point of that summit. So, they won’t say what I said on my blog, to their credit. But they will say that he “politicized” it, which is their way of saying what I said without continuing the divide publicly.

 

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