Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Islamic Militant Group Boko Haram Captures Key Nigerian Town As Fighting Escalates

By CNA/EWTN NEWS | ABUJA, Nigeria — Islamic militant group Boko Haram has taken control of the northeastern Nigeria town of Damboa in a July 18 attack that killed at least 40 people.

The vigilante force defending the town fled when it ran out o…

Pornography recovery program helps ‘fight the new drug’

Denver, Colo., Jul 23, 2014 / 04:57 am (CNA).- The co-founder and executive director of an organization that fights pornography addiction among youth says he sees a need to continue raising awareness about the harmful effects of porn.

“We want…

Review: Desire of the Everlasting Hills

By THOMAS L. McDONALD | In Desire of the Everlasting Hills, the most powerful moments occur when the action of grace breaks through and changes a life. In a film that’s attempting to change the ground on which the discussion of same-sex attracti…

In deadly conflict, Boko Haram captures key Nigerian town

Abuja, Nigeria, Jul 23, 2014 / 02:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Islamic militant group Boko Haram has taken control of the northeastern Nigeria town of Damboa in a July 18 attack that killed at least 40 people.

The vigilante force defending the town fled when it ran out of ammunition. Damboa is one of the biggest towns in Borno state and a significant trading center, the BBC reports.

Fighting around the town has damaged electricity stations, leaving the regional capital of Maiduguri without power for three weeks. The capital is about 53 miles from the captured area.

Since 2009, Boko Haram has led an insurgency with the goal of creating an Islamic state. It drew international attention earlier this year when it kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls, many of whom are still prisoner.

Nigeria’s government has faced heavy criticism for failing to rescue the girls and to end the insurgency.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan asked the country’s National Assembly to borrow $1 billion to fund a military response, but the assembly broke for a two-month recess before approving the request.

Some Nigerian soldiers say they are outgunned by Boko Haram. Critics say that much of Nigeria’s $6 billion military budget is lost to corruption. The military has come under criticism for abuses against civilians.

In June Bishop Matthew Kukah of northern Nigeria’s Diocese of Sokoto told CNA that Boko Haram has gained power due to the weakness of the local government and due to the loss of credibility of the local Muslim lawyer class.

He blamed “years of corruption” and “mismanagement of state resources” for consigning citizens to “misery and squalor.”

He said Boko Haram are “purely and simply criminals,” though they have some grievances similar to those of ordinary Nigerians opposed to corruption and poverty.

The Boko Haram uprising has been bloody. At least 2,053 civilians have been killed in an estimated 95 attacks in the first six months of 2014. Previously, about 3,600 civilians had died in the conflict.

The U.S. government only recognized Boko Haram as a terrorist group in 2013, after years of lobbying from Christian groups and other human rights advocates.

Finger-Pointing The ‘Sins’ of Pope Francis, Praying to Mary for My Vocation and Much More!

By TITO EDWARDS | Finger-Pointing The ‘Sins’ of Pope Francis by Melanie Jean Juneau of Catholic Stand – BigPulpit.com

Praying Daily to Mary for My Vocation – Tom Perna™

What Pope Francis Really Said about the U. S.-Mexican Border Crisis –…

Statement by Bishop John McAreavey on the Middle East

Here below is a statement issued July 22nd by Bishop John McAreavey on behalf of the Irish episcopal conference.  ***
The death and destruction that we are witnessing in certain parts of the Middle East is truly shocking and heart-breaking. I encourage all Christians and all people of goodwill to pray for an en…

Iraq faces ‘historic catastrophe’, Chaldean patriarch warns

Baghdad, Iraq, Jul 22, 2014 / 06:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Chaldean patriarch has urged Iraq to turn away from its current path, warning that the new policies of Islamist jihadists threaten Christian-Muslim coexistence.

“Should this direction continue to be pursued, Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe,” Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon Louis Raphael I Sako said in a July 17 message he described as “urgent.”

He called for peace and co-existence “in a spirit of human brotherhood.”

“We implore in particular our Iraqi brothers, asking them to reconsider and reflect upon the strategy they have adopted and demanding that they must respect innocent and weaponless people of all nationalities, religions, and sects.”

He spoke weeks after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant occupied the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, and as the organization was beginning to force Mosul’s remaining Christians from the city.

On July 18, ISIS issued an ultimatum to the Christians of Mosul: convert to Islam, pay the jizya, or be killed. The across atop the city’s Syriac Orthodox cathedral was removed, and thousands of Christians have fled the city in recent days.

ISIS currently controls much of the Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq, as well as cities along the Euphrates River in northwest Syria. Members of the group have threatened both Christians and Shia Muslims.

Patriarch Sako called on Christians to “endure the time of trial and pray until the storm will be over.”

He said that Islamist jihadists’ control of Mosul and their proclamation of an Islamic state has had profound negative effects upon the Christian population.

Given the ultimatum from ISIS, he said that “the only alternative (for Christians) is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else.

Under ISIS’ imposition of sharia law, when Christians leave the territory, their houses are “instantly confiscated” as property of the Islamic state.

The patriarch said that the Arabic letter ‘nun’, which stands for “Nazarene” or “Christian,” has been written on Christians’ homes in the city. The letter ‘ra’, which stands for “Rejecter,” has been written on the walls of Shiite homes.

The new law code is “powerful” and has been interpreted to require religion-based forms of identification. Patriarch Sako said that this categorization affects many Muslims and contravenes Islamic injunctions against compulsion in religion.

“The Holy Quran has ordered believers to respect the innocent and has never called them to seize the belongings, the possessions, the properties of others by force,” he said.

He said that Christians and Muslims in Iraq have had a “fraternal life” thusfar.

“How much the Christians have shared here in our East specifically from the beginnings of Islam,” Patriarch Sako continued.

“They shared every sweet and bitter circumstance of life. Christian and Muslim blood has been mixed as it was shed in the defense of their rights and lands. Together they built a civilization, cities, and a heritage. It is truly unjust now to treat Christians by rejecting them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing.”

He warned that legally enforced discrimination eliminates the possibility of religious coexistence between religious majorities and minorities. This will be “very harmful” to Muslims, as well, he noted.

The patriarch wished God’s peace and mercy “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world,” to moderate Muslims, to “all who have a concern that Iraq should remain a country for all his Children,” and “to all protectors of the dignity of human beings and of religion.”

Patriarch Sako called on all the region’s Christians “to act with reason and prudence and to consider and to plan everything in the best way possible.”

“Let them understand what is planned for this region, to practice solidarity in love, to examine the realities together and so be able together to find the paths to build trust in themselves and in their neighbors,” he said, urging them to stay close to their own church.

Lord Alton: The World Must Respond to Cry of Iraq’s Christians

The last Christian has now been expelled from Mosul. The light of religious freedom, along with the entire Christian presence, has been extinguished in the Bible’s “great city of Nineveh” — the centre of Christianity in Iraq for two millennia. This follows the uncompromising ultimatum by the jihadists of Isis to co…

Papal Astronomer: Real Science Is Not the Realm of Atheists or Egoists

Catholics need to be more courageous in showing that religion and science co-exist says the papal astronomer who has just been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious awards in science. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, who was honored last week with the Carl Sagan Medal for “outstanding communication by an act…

Pope Telephones Patriarch to Express Solidarity With Iraqi Christians

Pope Francis has called the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Ignatius Youssef III Younan to reassure him that he is following news out of Iraq with concern, especially the dramatic situation of Christians in Mosul. Pope Francis phoned Patriar…

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