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War and Peace: Pope Francis Journeys to the Caucasus, a Christian-Muslim Crossroads (160)


09/30/2016 Comment
Wikipedia/Urek Meniashvili/CC BY-SA 3.0

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is located in the Inner City of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

– Wikipedia/Urek Meniashvili/CC BY-SA 3.0

Pope Francis is journeying to an enchanting place this weekend — magical, multiethnic, multi-faith and intermittently dangerous.

Knowing a bit about the geography and history of Georgia and Azerbaijan, where the Holy Father will be Sept. 30-Oct. 2, plus Armenia, where he journeyed June 24-26, helps explain the complex sensitivities and long history linking the three countries.

The region, known as the Caucasus, is a thick isthmus between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. A dramatic mountain range runs diagonally through the landmass. South of the mountains are three small countries in Pope Francis’ headlights: Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

For centuries, this land has been a zone of...READ MORE

Filed under ancient christian nations, azerbaijan, christian history, georgia, papal visits, pope francis

Report From Erbil: Christian Refugees’ Faith Endures, Amidst a Sea of Troubles (1615)

Register Rome correspondent Edward Pentin describes the hardships and hopes of Middle-Eastern Christians who have lived there since being uprooted from their homes by the Islamic State.

09/29/2016 Comments (1)
Edward Pentin photos

From top: Bishop Francesco Cavina of Carpi, Italy, meets with a Syriac Orthodox family who have been in the Dawudiya Refugee Camp near Duhok for 14 months. Haney, an 86-year-old Syriac Catholic, was kidnapped along with her son by Islamic State forces. After being released, they fled to Duhok then to Dawudiya, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Sadalla and his family fled from his town outside Mosul to escape from ISIS. They have taken refuge at the catechesis center in Mangesh for more than two years. ‘God willing, we’ll be able to go back to our home town soon. Until ISIS invaded, we lived with Muslims and Yazidis without any problems.’ Illuminated crosses adorn almost every caravan at the Asti 2 refugee camp in Ankawa, Erbil, Iraq, the largest Christian camp in Kurdistan.

– Edward Pentin photos

ERBIL, Iraq — The look in Haney’s eyes reflect both the horror she had experienced and the uncertain future that she faces.

Still visibly frightened and bewildered, the 86-year-old Syriac Catholic recalled how members of the Islamist terrorist organization ISIS raided her house at gunpoint near Mosul, Iraq, in the middle of the night in August 2014 and then proceeded to kidnap both Haney and her son, who looks after her.

A day or so later, they released them, letting them fend for themselves with a little money and almost no belongings. They immediately fled, taking taxis and hitching rides, reaching the Kurdish-controlled town of Duhok, 50 miles north of Mosul, and then ending up at the...READ MORE

Filed under edward pentin, iraq, isis, islamic state, kurdistan, terrorism

There Are No ‘Minority’ Voters in the US (624)

COMMENTARY: The selective use of the word ‘minorities’ can perpetuate negative stereotypes and is contradicted by what it means to be an American citizen.

09/29/2016 Comments (6)
Pascual De Ruvo, via Wikimedia Commons

– Pascual De Ruvo, via Wikimedia Commons

As Election Day approaches, commentators are speculating about the impact the “minority” vote will have on the outcome.

Can Mrs. Clinton win even if she does not receive as high of a “minority” vote as President Obama did? Can Mr. Trump win without a significant number of “minority” votes?

The “minority” voters they are speaking of are almost always African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Occasionally, Asian-Americans are mentioned. However, they never mention Jewish-Americans, Irish-Americans or German-Americans. Why is this?

A common definition of the word “minority” is “the smaller number or part, especially a number that is less than half the whole number.” Nothing about this...READ MORE

Filed under americans, bishop edward braxton, citizenship, election 2016, minorities, stereotypes, words

Diversity, Pluralism, Multiculturalism!? (624)

COMMENTARY: We don’t have very much clarity on what these terms really mean, not just by definition, but in actual practice. During an intense election cycle, lack of clarity is a problem.

09/29/2016 Comment


Diversity, pluralism, multiculturalism. We’re inundated in this election year by the continual thrumming that we should have even more (or, for others, less) such terms. And what we have already is tearing apart what little remains of an already stretched-thin cultural fabric (or, for others, that the cultural fabric is not stretched nearly enough).

In short, what we have is a long-standing, significant controversy, especially evident in the intense heat of this election cycle. What we don’t have is very much clarity on what these terms really mean, not just by definition, but in actual practice. Does pluralism in religion mean that we should welcome the prayers of Satanists to open our...READ MORE

Filed under benjamin wiker, catholic teaching, common good, dignity of the human person, diversity, election 2016, multiculturalism, pluralism, words

USCCB President Calls ‘Amoris Laetitia’ ‘a Tremendous Gift’ (1015)

For Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the apostolic exhortation offered ‘a wealth of encouragement.’ His comments were in conjunction with a U.S. bishops’ report, which praised the document’s ‘hopeful, positive tone about marriage.’

09/29/2016 Comments (4)

– Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — The United States bishops have said that Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on love in the family, Amoris Laetitia, was well received among local Catholics and has had a broader focus than is sometimes recognized.

Among the dioceses and Catholic organizations that had responded to a survey organized by the U.S. bishops, “many noted that the exhortation had been well received by Catholics in the United States and that the emphasis on accompanying marriages and families was particularly appreciated,” the bishops’ report said.

“It was noted that media reports and commentaries have tended at times to present a myopic view of Amoris Laetitia, with interest in only a few topics...READ MORE

Filed under amoris laetitia, catholic news, church in u.s., church teaching on marriage, marriage, pope francis

Trump and Clinton Bring Paid Leave and Child Care to Presidential Agendas (1184)

Both candidates have offered competing proposals in one area that agrees with Church social teaching.

09/29/2016 Comments (6)
IVASHstudio / Shutterstock.com

– IVASHstudio / Shutterstock.com

WASHINGTON — Both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have sharp agenda differences — both with the teaching of the U.S. bishops and each other — but in one area they all agree: The U.S. needs to provide support to parents who care for children and the elderly, including paid leave and targeted tax breaks.

Having both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates embrace paid leave in their domestic agendas is a first for a U.S. presidential campaign race. It also puts the U.S. another step closer to joining the rest of the industrialized world in providing paid leave to new parents. Currently, the U.S. is one of just eight nations that do not mandate any paid...READ MORE

Filed under child care, donald trump, election 2016, family leave, hillary clinton, paid leave, peter jesserer smith, workers' rights, working families

Pope Francis: Memory of Shimon Peres Should Inspire Peace Efforts (422)

‘I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples,’ the Holy Father wrote in a Sept. 28 telegram of condolence to Israel.

09/29/2016 Comment
Chatham House via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Shimon Peres

– Chatham House via Flickr CC BY 2.0

VATICAN CITY — Upon learning of the death of Shimon Peres on Wednesday, Pope Francis sent a telegram offering his condolences and his appreciation for the former president of Israel's tireless efforts for peace and the common good.

“As the State of Israel mourns Mr. Peres,” the Pope wrote, “I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples.”

In the Sept. 28 telegram, sent to the current president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, Francis expressed hope that the work which Peres, 93, began during his lifetime will continue.

“I fondly recall my time with Mr. Peres at the Vatican and renew my great...READ MORE

Filed under catholic news, israel, israeli-palestinian conflict, pope francis, shimon peres

Shockingly Successful Collegiate Guard Makes It Big With New York Knicks (5667)

Wichita State’s Ron Baker lives childhood dream.

09/28/2016 Comments (4)
Courtesy of Ron Baker

– Courtesy of Ron Baker

As a little kid, Ron Baker dreamed of playing basketball in the NBA. There was, however, a small problem with that dream. His hometown of Utica, Kansas, had a population of less than 200. This made high-level basketball far less likely, but he kept pursuing his dream, keeping in mind that God was always watching over him.

After a move to Scott City — larger than Utica, but still small — an hour away, Baker went on to an unexpectedly successful tenure with the Wichita State Shockers. After sitting out his freshman season, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard was named a first team All-Missouri Valley Conference player three times and was considered a possible pick in this year’s NBA draft.


Filed under basketball, faith and sports, trent beattie

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