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Francis Speaks Boldly (Update)

At today's Angelus:

Dear brothers and sisters,

The news reports coming from Iraq leave us in dismay and disbelief: thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women taken and carried off; violence every kind; destruction of historical, cultural and religious patrimonies. All this gravely offends God and humanity. Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God! War is not to be waged in the name of God!

I thank those who, with courage, are bringing succour to these brothers and sisters, and I am confident that an effective political solution on both the international and the local levels may be found to stop these crimes and re-establish the [rule of] law. In order better to ensure those dear suffering populations of my closeness to them, I have named [Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples] Cardinal Fernando Filoni as my Personal Envoy in Iraq, who shall depart from Rome tomorrow [Monday].


The Vatican released today (August 13th) a letter that Pope Francis sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations. It says in part:

I write to you, Mr Secretary-General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq. In renewing my urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, I encourage all the competent organs of the United Nations, in particular those responsible for security, peace, humanitarian law and assistance to refugees, to continue their efforts in accordance with the Preamble and relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter.


About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



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At Mass here today the exodus of Christians from Iraq was mentioned three times: during the prayer of the faithful; during the Eucharistis prayer when, after praying for "our good pastor Francis", the presider improvised a prayer for the people on the road and also for their persecutors, "because we must not curse them; bless them, Lord, and make them think about what they're doing"; and later again towards the end of the EP, for ourselves, for refugees and the people who are persecuted because of Christ.


Pope Francis's reflection on today's Gospel reading (Matthew 14:22-33)

"All this gravely offends God and humanity."  

I guess that covers everyone and renders any god who would command it false and any people who would carry it out non-human.

But then we'd just be back at square one. Or maybe we've just been fools for thinking that there must be more to it than that.


Sorry to sound cynical, but as an interested and informed observer of sad, heartbreaking events abroad and at home, I'm not seeing much benefit from people concerning themselves with holy lands, holy books, and holy men. The pope says God's offended but clearly the Wahabis(?) don't think so. I think the only way to effectively disown and disassociate any faith tradition from absurdity and monstrosity is a fearlessly honest overhaul that doesn't worry about giving offense to God. But is that "religion"? I don't know.



We live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Not by any preacher who is a false prophet. It is never any offense to God to criticize any  pope, bishop, Iman,  etc.who gives false witness. 

Sen. John McCain, as usual, was on the talk shows Sunday expressing exasperation with President Obama. His current complaint: That if Obama had armed friendly Syrian rebels when he had a chance, and when Sen. McCain was telling him to, we wouldn't have ISIS threatening the Homeland today. Hillary Clinton gave the senator a rousing "me, too," reminding us why we didn't vote for either of them in 2008 when we had the chance.

Neither of them mentioned who Mr. Obama actually was arming while he didn't arm the nice, friendly, democratic Syrian rebels. That would be the Iraqi government, which we are supporting under Pottery Barn rules that came into effect during the war "that will pay for itself." Both Sen. McCain and Mrs. Clinton supported arming Iraq. What happened to those arms? 1) The once and future(?) dictator of Free Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, reserved them for his good political allies. Who 2) left them behind when ISIS came swooping down on them. So ISIS has them. And, as a result of which,3) the Kurds -- who always were willing to fight and knew whart al-Maliki was and what he was likely to become -- didn't get any of the weapons that we intended for them. So the Kurds are now asking for weapons, and Obama looks like getting ready in his ponderous way, to send them.

Well, the Kurds, at least, will know what to do with arms if they ever get some. But anyone who thinks there are good options for the United States, or that there would be if we could get our politicians to play poltely together, hasn't been paying attention.


            Regarding support for military assistance to the Kurds and humanitarian aid for victims of ISIS/ISIL see:   and .   

            The link to the latter website in Mirror of Justice may not work.  If so, just paste into your browser search bar.

George W. Bush et al. were perfect force multipliers for Osama bin Laden's efforts.  I think that, were bin Laden alive, he would be perfectly satisfied with the ongoing violence and chaos.  I don't know what one can do but get the Christians out.  I know a woman of Syrian Christian descent and they can do quite well here.

Hillary and Mc Cain are correct; it was our failure to aid the Syrian rebels and to stop Assad's genocidal campagn against Sunnis after  moderate Sunni Syrians [and some Christians and some Alawites] rose up peacefully against a brutal dictatorship, that  created and  empowered this monster ISIS. There is a holcoaust against Sunnis taking place in Syria by the Assad regime.But because he is "good to Christians" we ignored it.Even worse said; Muslims killing Muslims,pass the popcorn.Anyone who had a consience about Assad's brutal treatment of Sunni's in Syria  and wanted to stop it  was labeled a war monger.When it became apparent  that the world did  not care if this  "axis of evil" regime was engaged in murder of Sunnis, fanatics from all over the world converged on Syria to try to topple the regime.These extremist crazed fundamentlist  fanatic thugs  believe the world is at war with Sunnis and they are at war with the world.These world wide  disaffected rebels  found a cause. In Iraq the Shia Maliki government was likewise oppressing the Sunnis of Iraq.After we left Iraq there were consistent bombings going on there .Iraq was not at peace as the Sunnis were never part of an inclusive government but were persecuted by their government.Peaceful protests were started in Sunni Falujah a few years ago and were responded with violence  by Maliki government forces.On a Sunday show a former US ambassador to Iraq said that the Sunnis of Iraq should accept that they are not in power any more. Meaning what? That being persecuted and having ones equal rights violated by the government is something they should tolerate?Since when do we believe that unequal treatment of minorities is acceptable?If they are Sunnis ,I guess.                                                                                                                                                            The world's indifference to the Assad's regime genicidal campagn against Sunnis ,has backfired into the empowerment of ISIS genicidists too.We are not innocent here as we turned a blind eye to Assad's holocaust of Sunnis because he was good to Christians.and because  I believe,  of our  malice towards Muslims.When Obama and Kerry wanted to act in Syria after the red line ultuimatum, he was stopped by we the people.We [the left and the right, though for different reasons] called it a victory of the peoiple ,that we did not intervene in Syria even after civlians were killed  with banned chemical weapons. Our; see no evil ,hear no evil policy of Assad's campaign against Sunnis in Syria  has given us ISIS.The[ up to now anyway], lack of resistence by Sunnis of Iraq speaks to the terror of the monster that is ISIS as well as to Sunni Iraqi's political dissafection from the Shia majority government.ISIS is blowback for our virtual complicity with Assad's war against Sunnis and  with Maliki's persecution of them.Yes ISIS must be stopped,so should the genicidal campagn that Assad is engaged in;there is a humanitarian crisis taking place there too that has been going on for years. Dismissing the Syria conflict as an irrelevant  "civil war" when it is a genicidal campaign against Sunnis,and also where ISIS was there engaged in horrors  too, has allowed ISIS to morph into what it is now and to come  to bite us in "our"  Iraq.The really only good war ,in the ME would have been to help the Syrians topple Assad, I believe.Once people themselves rise up to topple a brutal dictatorship it is right to aid them.I supported the help we gave to to the Libyans for the  same reason.

Foreign Policy is reporting this morning that the reports of refugees and their plight seems to have been exaggerated, a development that is leaving the US wondering how their intelligence has been so out of whack:

For weeks, as many as 40,000 Iraqi civilians were reportedly stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq after fleeing the brutality of the Islamic State's steady advance. They were hungry, thirsty, and exposed to extreme temperatures. The Obama administration could not avoid responding to the mounting humanitarian crisis.


But then came a surprise: After inserting a small military reconnaissance team atop the mountain, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said late Wednesday that the situation was no longer as bad as anyone thought. There are now only about 5,000 civilians on the mountain, and they are in "better condition than previously believed," according to Hagel's statement.

For roughly 2,000 of those civilians, mostly from the minority Yazidi religious sect, Mount Sinjar is home and they do not intend to leave.



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