Persecution, Suffering

The Bishop with all our Clergy in Thessaloniki

The ancient Christian writer and theologian Tertullian once asked the Church, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?”

He asked the question as Christianity spread from Israel into the Greek world; and as Greek intellectuals looked for deeper insight into the Christian mystery. Tertullian was asking whether pagan Greek culture—philosophy, poetry, the arts, history and literature—had anything of value for those first missionaries proclaiming the Christian gospel.

Two weeks ago, on a plane landing in Athens, I asked myself Tertullian’s question.  I was in Athens to begin a spiritual pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey “in the footsteps of St. Paul.” I was with a group of pilgrims celebrating the 15th anniversary of Spirit Catholic Radio: eight priests from Lincoln and Omaha; three deacons;140 lay Catholics from across Nebraska and beyond. 

We were led by Steve and Janet Ray, expert pilgrim leaders, and Jim and Karol Carroll of Spirit Catholic Radio. It was a joy and a grace for me to walk as a pilgrim in the footsteps of St. Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, with fellow disciples of Jesus Christ from our state.

Our Ship Docked on Island of Patmos

By cruise ship on the Aegean Sea, we visited and celebrated Holy Mass in Thessoloniki, Philippi, Istanbul, Pergamon, Ephesus, Patmos, Athens and Corinth. We heard talks at these holy sites, given by Steve Ray, Catholic convert, author and film maker, who leads Catholic pilgrimages all over the world.  We heard inspiring homilies by holy priests. We prayed together for all the special prayer intentions we brought with us from home.

Everywhere I traveled, I asked myself “what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” In Athens itself I learned the answer: Athens has everything to do with Jerusalem.  The Gospel can only really be understood in the midst of understanding culture; to understand Christianity as Western Catholics, we need to understand the fundamental history of western civilization.

The Bishop and Steve on Mars Hill in Athens where St. Paul Taught

When St. Paul arrived in Athens, he preached the gospel at the famous Areopagus, a gathering place just beneath the Parthenon. He was able to speak to the Greeks in their own language. He was able to quote Greek poets and philosophers. He appealed to Greeks in their own cultural language because he was schooled in Tarsus, the successor to the school of Athens as the center of learning and education in Asia Minor.

Paul was run out of town after his first visit to Athens.  But he was able to plant the Lord’s seeds of conversion in the hearts and minds of the Athenians—the movers and shakers of the ancient world. He would eventually come back to cultivate those seeds that were planted.

Paul was able to use his fluency with the language, culture and customs of the Greek world in order to present the compelling message of Jesus Christ in a way that was attractive and persuasive. To be sure, St. Paul suffered a great deal during his missionary journeys to the Greek world. The Greeks were highly educated and influential. They were also utterly pagan. They worshiped false gods, they were self-indulgent and decadent, and they were infatuated with progress, technology, and the latest new fad. Paul preached to a world not much different than ours today….

The whole article is excellent and you can read the rest of it HERE. Also on Zenit.org.

You will find out why the picture below was the highlight of Bishop Conley’s trip.

Iraqi's in Athens

 

{ 2 comments }

Sometimes it takes a David to defeat a Goliath – or, in this case, unassuming nuns to speak where the media remain silent. 

Speaking out for Christians persecuted in the Middle East, Mother Olga Yaqob and Sister Hatune Dogan slammed the American media for keeping silent. The nuns spoke with MRC during the In Defense of Christians (IDC) Inaugural Summit in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9-11. Both told the stories journalists ignore: of refugees displaced and Christian girls “repeatedly raped” and “misused” – some as young as 5-years-old. 

Mother Olga of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, an Iraqi native recognized by the Iraqi government for her care of the poor, recently established a religious order in Boston. Raised in Germany after fleeing from Turkey, Sister Hatune Dogan, is an Orthodox Christian nun who aids Christians in Syria and Turkey through her organization, “A Helping Hand to the Poor.” 

Addressing the American coverage of Christian persecution in the Middle East, Mother Olga stressed, “In the early months, there wasn’t much coverage.” “Some of the Christian networks – media networks – were covering [the persecution]. But not very much the secular media.” Continued after video.

Sister Hatune expressed similar dismay. “The media make a mistake,” she began, “Because they don’t say the truth.” She criticized, “But the media has big duty to tell the truth, to make Americans see what is really going on.” Continued after video. 

That truth, she explained, consists of “slaughtering, raping, kidnapping, taking ransom, killing, crucifying, and ridding the Christians of what they need.” 

As one of her “thousands of stories” of Christian persecution, Sister Hatune began: 

“I met an Iraqi girl, five-and-a-half-years maybe, and they kidnapped her. I met her at seven-and-a-half-years. Until today, she [will not] say, no one knows, what happened to her, because she was misused. They [were] paid $30,000 dollars to release her. They released her, but under that condition. I am sorry for her. That was the youngest girl that I met. She was misused.”

Sister Hatune also told of meeting a 21-year-old Christian girl from Jordan. Once a captive, her abductors “every day” “were raping her all night.” When they weren’t satisfied with her ransom money, they “cut her face in different ways.”

Another time, Sister Hatune met 280 girls. She described how they were “misused” by their kidnappers, some of whom “cut breasts and other [sensitive areas].” “I saw them with my own eyes,” she emphasized.

Those are the stories the media should report – the “human face of this tragic reality,” as Mother Olga described. 

Mother Olga compared the news coverage of Christian persecution to the coverage of NFL player Ray Rice’s abuse scandal. “I know he’s probably a famous player, and this [football] team, it’s a big, big issue in America, but this is a personal life of two people.”  While, at the same time, she continued, “200,000 people are displaced” and “people are dying from hunger” in the Middle East.  

“It’s just like I try to put in perspective these kind of things,” she explained. “I’m just surprised how much sometime our secular media they cover some things over and over and they miss such a big picture.” 

Raised in Kirkuk, Iraq, Mother Olga had some stories of her own. “My old parish, and other parishes, and my sisters’ home and lot of church communities there and houses,” she said, are “full of refugees from Nineveh region, from Mosul.” The locals, “are cooking meals every day, and bringing mattresses and pillows.” “It’s too big of a reality,” she concluded. 

She called for “raising awareness” in the States. “People are just frustrated with our own politics here,” she acknowledged, “so we don’t have time to worry about the foreign policies.” But, she added, “If we don’t stop this, this is dangerous for the whole Middle Eastern region.” 

“Now it’s Iraq, but if we don’t stop it, it will impact the whole Middle Eastern region, and it will impact us in the West,” she continued. 

She offered an additional warning on the silence of Christian persecution: 

“Only recently, after, unfortunately, the tragedy of beheading two of our American journalists we realize now how many we have foreigners who are, whether American, Canadian, Australian, British, who have joined ISIS. And they have access to come back to the Western countries, and so, if they have such a radical mentality, and this is what they’re doing in the Middle East, do we think we will be safe here?” 

Sister Hatune similarly concluded, “The media have to condemn this, and to be a witness, and to tell the truth.” 

“What is going on here?” she asked at one point. “We are human beings.” 

Instead, the networks prefer royal baby anticipation to things like Iraqi Christians given one week to “leave, convert to Islam or face the sword” or videos of Iraqis desperately escaping ISIS terror.

For Mother Olga’s full interview, please click here.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.

 - See more at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/katie-yoder/2014/09/15/nuns-slam-media-silence-middle-east-christian-persecution#sthash.0KsPDnPm.dpuf

{ 1 comment }

Victims of Radical Islam – Graphic Images…

by Steve Ray on August 26, 2014

Christians crucified for refusing to convert to Islam

This is what happens to people who will not convert to Islam when the radicals come calling.

ISIS (IS) is an example of what can happen when Islam is unfettered. I’ve heard it said, “The only good Muslim is a bad Muslim” meaning one who does not really follow the Koran completely.

Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Village display to intimidate conversion to radical Islam

Archbishop of Mosul: “I have lost my diocese to Islam – you in the West will also become the victims of Muslims.”

{ 4 comments }

Adopt a Christian in Mosul – I just did!

August 9, 2014

Visit Asia News at http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Adopt-a-Christian-from-Mosul-to-respond-directly-to-Iraq’s-emergency-31845.html AsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis’s urgent appeal “to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven [...]

Read the full article →

Patriarch of Iraq YELLS at the World; “Where are You?” His Words Here – Steve to discuss this topic today on Al Kresta Show

August 8, 2014

Steve will join the Al Kresta Show on Ave Maria Radio from 5:20 – 6:00 to discuss the slaughter of Christians in Iraq and the silence of the world. Iraq’s Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako: a Voice in the Desert Catholic Leader Appeals to Pope, Brother Bishops: ‘Speeches Are Good for Nothing’ ROME, August 08, 2014 [...]

Read the full article →

Christians Branded before Death or Exile: the Arabic letter for “n” – Nazarene

August 5, 2014

Branded: Nazarene (CNA Catholic News Association) Have you seen this symbol? This is the arabic letter “nun,” the first letter in the word “Nazarene.” In Mosul, Iraq, it has been painted on doors to identify the homes of Christians who are then brutally beaten and often executed. A militant Sunni organization known as the Islamic State [...]

Read the full article →

A Good Priest Friend in Deep Water Concerning Homosexuality after Teaching JPII’s “Theology of the Body”

March 31, 2014

  My good friend Fr. Kauth from Charlotte NC is embroiled in a huge fracas because of teaching JPII’s Theology of the Body in a Catholic High School. He is the chaplain at the high school. He invited a Dominican Sister to give a speech. She has a doctorate in theology. In the course of [...]

Read the full article →

Radical Muslim Rebels in Syria Torturing and Killing Christians – Graphic Pictures

November 13, 2013

WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTURES: My Comments. This is just one of many instances of Christians being killed by the so-called “rebels” in Syria. I’ve read many accounts and have seen videos of whole villages of Christians being slaughtered. Isn’t it amazing that Pres. Obama is arming these Muslim rebels who end up killing the Christians. The [...]

Read the full article →

80 Executed Publicly in North Korea, Several For Possessing Bibles

November 13, 2013

Authorities Carry Out Death Sentences in Several Cities Around the Country By Junno Arocho Esteves VATICAN CITY, November 12, 2013 (Zenit.org) – A South Korean news agency has reported that an estimated 80 people were executed in seven cities in North Korea, some of whom were executed for possessing Bibles. According to the Korea Joongang [...]

Read the full article →