Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Archbishop Chaput speaks at Houston Baptist University

Yesterday, Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, Cap, Archbishop of Denver, spoke to Houston Baptist University. His talk, “The Vocation of Christians in American Public Life,” is read and/or watch it here.

He gets it right….

Bishop Declares Humanitarian Emergency in Mosul

As a follow-up to a request for prayers for the Dominican sisters in Mosul the other, I am republishing Edward Pentin’s article for here to give further background to the situation in Iraq, especially since the Western press and politics have virtually ignored the plight of Iraqui Christians.


The news has escaped much of the mass media, but Christian families are leaving Mosul, Iraq, in their droves to escape a concerted campaign of violence and intimidation.


Chaldean Bishop Emil Shimoun Nona has said that Mosul is experiencing a “humanitarian emergency” and that “hundreds of Christian families” left the city Feb. 24 in search of shelter, leaving behind their homes, property, commercial activities, according to Asia News. The situation “is dramatic”, he said.


The families have chosen to flee after a spate of violent attacks which left five Christians dead last week, and members of a whole family murdered on Tuesday. “In one house all the family members were killed — five people,” said an Iraqi member of Open Doors, a non-denominational charity helping persecuted Christians, Christian News Wire reported. “First the attackers drove by and shot from their car. Then they forced themselves into the house and gunned down the entire family. They even threw two bodies outside the house as a cruel warning for others.”


Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk has launched “a demonstration and a fast” to sensitize the international community to the “massacre of Iraqi Christians” and stop the violence in the country. Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his deep concern and sorrow over the continuing wave of violence. Vatican Radio and the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported Feb. 24 that although the Pope is on retreat and not speaking publicly, he expressed his sorrow that “in the area of Mosul, the killing of Christians continues.”

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, told Iraq‘s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, that the Pope expresses his “sincere solidarity” with him and other leaders after a series of attacks on government buildings and on places of worship, both Muslim and Christian. “He prays with fervor for an end to the violence and asks the government to do everything possible to increase security around all places of worship throughout the country,” Cardinal Bertone wrote. Bishop Emil Nona fears that “Mosul will be emptied completely of Christians” and will visit Baghdad to plead for help from the national government in establishing some minimal security for the city’s religious minority. The attacks have taken place in the run-up to elections in Iraq on March 7th. Basile Georges Casmoussa, Syrian Archbishop of Mosul, said elections always bring troubles, “but not to the point of killing people, particularly Christians. The Christians were killed not because of their politics, but because they are Christians.”


Speaking to Feb. 22nd, Archbishop Sako said the elections are prompting struggle between political groups made up of Arabs and Kurds. “They are fighting to have authority, power and also the economy and there’s a big tension,” he said, adding that in Mosul they are “pushing the Christians to get out of the city – that is their main purpose.” He warned that lack of security is due to a political vacuum in Mosul, with Arabs running the city without sharing power with the Kurds, although he said he remains hopeful that peace could return after the elections.


In a speech given Monday to the Sant’Egidio community in Rome, Archbishop Sako warned that in the coming years more Iraqi Christians are likely to flee the country due to violence by Islamic extremists and fears over the introduction of Sharia law. “They think of the Jews who were once in Iraq but are not there anymore and they are thinking it’s their turn to leave,” he said. “This is what people are thinking about.”


He also said Iraqi Christians feel neglected by the West. “[They] have the impression of being forgotten by the West that is secular,” he said. “In the past, some might have wanted to protect Christians but now we have the impression of being isolated and forgotten by all.” The Vatican nuncio to Iraq, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, warned in an interview with Vatican Radio Feb. 25 that Christians have been in Iraq for 2,000 years, so “any attempt to decrease the Christian presence or, worse, to destroy the Christian presence in Iraq would mean destroying the history of the Iraqi nation.”

Kim Geiger of the LA Times manipulates readership

Getting the story correct, checking facts and clear writing is not one of Kim Geiger of the LA Times better skills. Geiger’s recent article claiming that the US Bishops supported and/or told the Catholic faithful to support the Democratic bill on healthcare reform is wrong. Does the LA Times still hire fact checkers? Do reporters still speak to real people, perhaps 2-3 sources prior to publication?

What Ms Geiger confuses for legitimate Catholic authority in teaching and governing the Church is really a left-leaning group claiming to work in the ambit of the Church’s Social Teaching. It seems as though Ms Geiger does know the basics of Catholic teaching very well. Did you get that sense from her article? Catholics United support the Pelosi-Obama agenda. Catholics United does not speak for the US Conference of Bishops; neither do they speak for local pastors nor for the faithful Catholic. As Dan Gilgoff said in his US article on October 28th, Catholics United “provides cover for the White House and the Democrats.”
If you want to know what the bishops are saying, read the press lease of November 9, 2009. US Conference President, Francis Cardinal George is clear on what the bishops think about healthcare reform. And form what I can gather, I don’t think the bishops completely agree with the Democratic party’s version of the healthcare reform bill.
So, Archbishop Dolan’s recent nonpublished NY Times piece is actually correct (which we knew all the time): there is verifiable proof of bias in the media against the Catholic Church in the USA. 

Subsidiarity lacks with the President

Msgr Lorenzo Albacete points to a lack of understanding of the principle of subsidiarity that’s going to challenge President Obama’s healthcare reform work. AND what is the principle of subsidiarity? It’s principle that nothing should be done at macro level that ought to be done at the micro level. So, the state should not impose its method on a municipality because the municipality ought to find a solution. If it can’t then you move up to the next reasonable level. See a sketch of the principle.

Read Albacete’s article.

God unites & sustains society

Two weeks ago in the School of Community we were discussing the answer Msgr. Giussani gave to a questioner who asks if it is reasonable for a non-believer to ask Christ for anything: Giussani says that it is completely reasonable to ask Christ to answer our needs because He is the answer to absolutely everything. Wow! Christ is the answer to everything for all time. Period. Christ is the answer is THE to every question, to every concern we have. Now, let’s be serious: we’re not saying Christ is the answer to whether we’ll eat pasta or cereal today. He’s the answer to questions of meaning, faith, vision, fulfillment, etc. What follows here is the Pope is addressing the matter of how and why the Church is engaged in culture. This is the same work that the World Youth Alliance is doing and what Communion & Liberation is about; the pope’s explanation of ecclessial engagement in culture is reasonable. No?

The Church’s engagement with civil society is anchored in
her conviction that authentic human progress — whether as individuals or
communities — is dependent upon the recognition of the spiritual dimension
proper to every person. It is from God that men and women receive their
essential dignity
(cf. Gen 1:27) and the capacity to transcend particular
interests in order to seek truth and goodness and so find purpose and meaning
in their lives
. This broad perspective provides a framework within which it is
possible to counter any tendency to adopt superficial approaches to social
policy which address only the symptoms of negative trends in family life and
communities, rather than their roots. Indeed, when humanity’s spiritual heart
is brought to light, individuals are drawn beyond themselves to ponder God and
the marvels of human life: being, truth, beauty, moral values, and
relationships that respect the dignity of others. In this way a sure foundation
to unite society and sustain a common vision of hope can be found.

(Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the new Ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See Robert Carey Moore-Jones, May 29, 2009)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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