Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
On March 22, CBS' 60 Minutes provided a report on Iraq's ancient Christian community that is under attack by ISIS.You can watch the segment here.
The Overtime segment included a striking profile of a Catholic U.S. vet, Brett Felton, age 28, who has returned to Iraq to help train outnumbered, outgunned and underfunded Christian militias fighting ISIS north of Mosul.
"I'm not here serving my country. I'm here serving Christians," Brett Felton told 60 Minutes. He returned to his cradle-Catholic faith during a previous tour with the U.S. Army in Iraq and then went back as a volunteer to train the Christian militias.
He is showing the local militias how to spot suicide vests and move comrades to safety during firefights with ISIS, among other exercises.
Felton told the 60 Minutes team that he understands the danger he faces.
"It would be an honor to give my life" to help Christians facing extinction from ISIS. You can watch the profile of Felton here.
ISIS' brutal beheadings of Christians and other victims have been used as a recruitment tool to attract more militants for their cause. Felton's story is the first time I have heard of a Western Christian traveling to Iraq to help fellow believers fight for their survival.
In The Boston Globe, John Allen speculates that Pope Francis, who has opposed military efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria and Iraq, may change his mind as the situation worsens, with millions of vulnerable Christians displaced, while others have been killed or forced into slavery. Allen notes that Catholic bishops in the region "are calling for the world to move against ISIS."
As Allen reports, the Vatican has resisted calling for military action, in part, because it could provoke retaliations against Christians. But that scenario is already present. Read Allen's news analysis here.
Meanwhile, Felton said he isn't worried about dying at the hands of ISIS and quotes Scripture regarding God's promise to those who love him: "Be faithful unto death, and I shall give you the crown of life."