Islam’s battle with Christians

The Muslim assassin Mehmet Ali Agca wrote before shooting John Paul II: “I have decided to kill John Paul II, the supreme commander of the Crusades.”

How many days have we awakened recently to news of another attack on Christians? The attacks have accelerated alarmingly. To name but a few sites where persecution has occurred: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran.

In Nigeria near Jos, just one month ago, Islamic assailants killed 300 or more Christians. The slaughter of mostly women and children was carried out by machete wielding Muslims. They burned some 75 houses. This rampage was only the latest in a series of attacks in the region. The Muslim minority has been contesting ownership of some lands. As police conducted investigations, they arrested Christians for questioning.

On the same day as the Jos, Nigeria slaughter, a Muslim mob attacked Christian worshippers at Mersa Matrouh in Upper Egypt. Twenty-five Christians received serious head injuries from hurled bricks and 18 homes were destroyed. In Morocco on March 12, authorities deported 40 foreign Christians in a nationwide crackdown that included expulsion of foster parents caring for 33 orphans. Moroccan authorities expressed their intention to deport specifically U.S. nationals.

In Islamabad, also in March, suspected Islamic militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the offices of World Vision International, a Christian relief and development organization working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty. The Muslims killed six and wounded seven other employees. “They gathered all of us in one room,” said an administrator who was in the office at the time. “Gunmen, some of whom had their faces covered, dragged people one by one to an adjacent room and shot and killed them.”

Coptic Christians have been victims of attack in Egypt for many decades. In late November 2009 several days of looting, vandalizing and burning of Coptic properties occurred. According to many witnesses the mob in Favshoot, 300 miles from Cairo, made wooden crosses and burnt them in the streets. Nearly 3,000 angry Muslims damaged and looted 50 shops -- all owned by Christians. A Coptic priest, Rev. Benjamin Noshi, was beaten and is hospitalized with a skull fracture.

In Iraq, thousands of Christians have fled the country to escape violent persecution. Currently, in Iran, authorities have detained more than a dozen Christians who are held without substantiated charges. Iran’s constitution defines Islam as the state religion.

These are only a sample of the horrors being perpetrated on Christians in the name of Allah.

Our friend, William Kilpatrick, believes our elites cover up for what really goes on. Elites in government and schools take a mistaken view of the causes of Islamic militancy, subscribing to the view of history that somehow the Crusades are responsible for militant hatred toward Christians.

Robert Louis Wilkin, professor emeritus of the history of Christianity at the University of Virginia, concurs. “The recorded past and remembered past are seldom the same,” he recently wrote. In his view the understanding of the Crusades today is largely invented or imagined. The new paradigm is that the Crusades were Western Christian aggression, not a defensive movement of Christian piety. Wilkin fears the writings of mere historians can do little to undo the damage.

Jonathan Riley Smith, an historian of the Crusades, has said he had given up hope that scholarly writing could make a difference. Try watching the History Channel on the topic or ask a school age student what he learned of the Crusades. It is most likely a tale of knightly butchery. Yet the Crusades offer a cornucopia of stories and images -- of bravery and cruelty, honor and duplicity -- that can be used to serve different ends.

Perhaps we should bone up on key events such as the capture of Jerusalem by the Franks in 1099, the retaking of the city by the Muslims, and the Fourth Crusade on Constantinople; the personalities of Richard the Lionhearted, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Saladin, the Muslim leader.

In the year 600, the Middle East -- from present-day Turkey to Iraq, including Egypt and the southern Mediterranean coast -- was Christian, and its principal cities including Alexandria, Antioch, Damascus and Jerusalem were vibrant centers of Christian life. But, in a century, the entire region came under Muslim rule. The Crusades were, in fact, a counter-offensive of Western Christians to come to the aid of Eastern Christians in defending their lands against further expansion of Islam and to free the holy city of Jerusalem from Muslim rule.

Islam is clearly on the march again and we Christians need to understand its history. Fortunately there are two new books on the subject: “Holy Warriors” by Jonathan Phillips and “The Crusades” by Thomas Asbridge. At the very least, these books offer a rebuttal to the current orthodoxy on the issue being presented in our schools and on television.

Kevin and Marilyn Ryan edited “Why I Am Still a Catholic” [Riverhead Books, 1998] and live in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...