Catholic priest in Middle East struggles to preserve what remains of the faith

Four Horsemen

He is rounding up ancient manuscripts and relics and hiding them in secure locations around Kurdistan, hoping to save them from the iconoclastic fury of the terror insurgency.

“If Daesh burns down a church we can rebuild it, but the manuscripts are our history. They trace back our roots, they are part of our civilization,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group. “If they get destroyed, then we are lost, and our culture will be forgotten.”

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Seen on the web: Irrefutable logic

An interesting letter in the Canadian Shooter Magazine, which I quote:

If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq Theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period. That means you are about 25 per cent more likely to be shot and killed in the US capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the U.S., than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington!

Patrick J. Buchanan: Syrian Christians likely to be biggest losers if govt. falls

The secular despot Saddam Hussein protected the Christians. But the U.S. liberation brought on their greatest calamity since the time of Christ. Scores of thousands of those Iraqi Christians fleeing terrorism and persecution after 2003 made their way to Syria, where they received sanctuary from President Bashar Assad.

Now, as the FT and Washington Post report, the Christians of Syria, whose forebears have lived there since the time of Christ, are facing a pogrom should the Damascus regime fall.

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The violence against Christians in Iraq is real and is driven by Muslim extremists and government indifference.

The last year has seen bombings directed at Catholic students from the University of Mosul and the massacre at the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad, he continued.

He said he personally knows people were only allowed to escape from the church with their lives after renouncing their faith to their kidnappers.

Though the government has decried the attacks and announced its “closeness” to the Christian victims, “the attacks have become ever more ferocious,” he said.

“Amid all this should the world have been silent? Should such a miserable and humiliating position be tolerated?”

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West cannot understand risk of ‘Islamization,’ Iraqi archbishop warns

Kirkuk, Iraq, Feb 11, 2011 / 01:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The secular western world is incapable of fully understanding the threat of a “reawakening of Islam” in the Middle East, according to an Iraqi bishop beset by radical movements in his own archdiocese.

In an interview with the Italian bishops’ SIR news agency, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq, called the Middle East a “scary volcano” because of the possible consequences of widespread unrest.

“There are Islamic forces and movements that wish to change the Middle East, creating Islamic States, caliphates, in which Shariah (law) rules,” he warned.

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“The strength you get from praying the rosary is remarkable. People in the military learn that pretty quickly.”

Ranger Rosary

That’s true, agreed Father Bill Devine, a military chaplain in Iraq.

“As I travel around, celebrating Mass or talking with Marines, I see the rosary hanging inside their vehicles, tanks and living quarters,” Father Devine wrote to Ranger Rosary volunteers. “They have it hung over their racks or on their flak jackets. Many wear them around their necks. They are an ever-constant reminder of the power of Our Lady’s intercession and protection on these young men.”

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Make ’em. Buy ’em. Donate ’em.

Witness to the carnage, stories from those who were inside the Baghdad church.

When they arrived, they opened fire right away, killing Fr Wasim who was closing the church’s door, shooting in every direction, telling people to lie on the floor, and not to move or shout. Someone was able to send some text messages with a mobile phone, but the attackers shot at anyone who was using a mobile. Fr Tha’er was killed at the altar in his liturgical vestments, still celebrating the mass. His brother and mothers were also killed. Then the slaughter began. We cannot tell you what everyone told us. Even crying children were killed. Some people fled to the sacristy, and blocked the door. Yet the attackers went up to the church’s balcony and threw hand grenades through the sacristy windows, which are high up.

All leads to think that it was a well-planned attack, and that they had inside help. How could they otherwise get through the police line (which blocks the road that leads to the church), and know how to get to the balcony, etc.? They fired at the air-conditioning machines so that gas could be released and kill anyone who was nearby. They fired at the cross, laughing, taunting people: ‘Tell him to save you!’ Then, they recited the call to prayer ‘Allāhu Akbar, la ilaha illa allāhu . . .’. When the soldiers were on the verge of coming in, they blew themselves up.

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