Nov. 12, 2010
United Methodist Church | Voices in Conversation: Israel-Palestine
Conversation does not come easily on the subject of
On October 5, the Commission on Christian Unity and
Interreligious Concerns (CCUIC) invited United Methodist, Jewish,
Muslim, and Orthodox Christian representatives to a round-table
discussion at the Conference Center in West Sacramento.
The purpose of the meeting was clearly stated: for individuals to
share, from their faith perspective, what are the most important
issues for United Methodists to consider when discussing
Palestinian-Israeli concerns. Speakers were asked to recommend how
UM congregations might become better informed.
18 persons participated – representing the Jewish Community
Relations Council (San Francisco and Sacramento offices), St.
Nicolas Orthodox Church (San Francisco church with Palestinian
members), The Rebuilding Alliance (a group which works with all
faiths to rebuild schools in Israel-Palestine), and the
California-Nevada Annual Conference's Office of Connectional
Ministries, Board of Missions, Israel-Palestine Task Force, and
Board of Church and Society (in addition to CCUIC).
No Muslims accepted the invitation to attend.
Though the meeting began and ended in prayer, in between emotions
ran high, as individuals shared the missions of the organizations
and committees they represent.
Nov. 12, 2010
America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly| A sad case of the hostility
that faces Arab-Americans By Drew Christiansen, SJ
is a friend. He, his wife, Eileen, and I were members of the same
Christian Family Movement group. I have witnessed the marriages of
their children, baptized their grandchildren and celebrated Mass for
their 25th wedding anniversary. We are colleagues, too. We served
together on the board of the American Committee on Jerusalem and
took counsel together on supporting Christians in the Middle East,
ending conflict in the region and defending the human rights of
Palestinians—for which we both have paid a price.
Jim and I have worked for justice with different and overlapping
communities, have faced common difficulties and bear the psychic
scars inflicted by the organized defenders of injustice. The high
points of his life story are fairly well known in Catholic
Washington and among political activists, but until I read his new
book, Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why It Matters
(Palgrave Macmillan), I had not realized how much he and his fellow
Arab-Americans have endured from their fellow Americans.
Arab Voices presents an overview of Arab public opinion intended
to correct Americans’ stereotypes and redress our ignorance of the
Nov. 12, 2010
America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly| Cathedral Attack Devastating,
Catastrophe is the term Samir Sumaida’ie,
Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, used to describe the attack
on Baghdad’s Syriac Catholic Cathedral on Oct. 31, not only because
of the loss of life at Our Lady of Salvation, but what the assault
could mean in the near term for the nation. Fifty-two people were
killed (along with six attackers) and 78 were wounded when Iraqi
Security Forces stormed church offices where Al Qaeda-linked
terrorists had trapped about 100 Mass-goers.
“It is an extremely painful experience not only for the
Christians of Iraq, but for all Iraqis,” the ambassador said.
“Personally I was very shocked and saddened,” he said. Ambassador
Sumaida’ie fears that the steady departure of Iraq’s Christians over
years of conflict could now accelerate into an outright “stampede.”
Nov. 9, 2010
Zenit | Vatican: Mideast Christians Are Victims of Crime
Interpol to Address Baghdad Attack, Globalization
DOHA, Qatar, NOV. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican spokesman is
asking the international police organization Interpol to pay more
attention to the crimes committed against Christians in the Middle
East, and to the problems associated with the phenomena of
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, secretary of the Governorate of
Vatican City State, said this Monday in an address to the 79th
General Assembly of Interpol, which is under way in Doha through
The four-day conference has brought together some 650 police
chiefs and senior law enforcement officials from 141 countries to
reflect on the theme: "Challenges to Fighting Crime in the 21st
The Vatican's security forces joined Interpol -- the
International Criminal Police Organization -- in 2008. The
organization has its headquarters in Lyon, France, but an Interpol
Global Complex in Singapore is in the works and expected to open in
Archbishop Viganò said that he spoke not as "an expert in
criminology," but rather as one who wanted to offer a reflection on
"crime itself, or more properly, criminal behavior grounded in
various motivations, at times even ascribed to religious
Nov. 8, 2010
Zenit | Living in an Islamic World
Interview With Human Rights
FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia, NOV. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- For Reverend
Keith Roderick, the story of Vivian comes to mind when he thinks of
Reverend Doctor Roderick is an Episcopalian minister who is the
secretary-general of the U.S.-based Coalition for the Defense of
He told the story of 15-year-old Vivian in this interview with
"Where God Weeps" of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN)
in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need.
Vivian was kidnapped as she was walking home from school in her
native Iraq; her assailants told her mother, "We don’t want your
money. We want to break your heart."
In this interview, Roderick speaks not only of Vivian's case but
of the fundamental problems for Christians living in an Islamic
...Christians have to assert themselves in defense of their
brothers and sisters, and as much as we decry what has happened to
the Christians in the Middle East, part of the responsibility lies
upon the Christians in the West. Have they undertaken any
initiatives? Why aren’t they the voice? Why don’t they come out and
protest? Why is it that you hardly ever hear from the pulpit or in
the bulletins prayers being asked for the Christians who are being
persecuted in the Middle East?
Nov. 8, 2010
Zenit | Holy Land Is in Need of Pilgrims
Interview With Bishop
Hanke of Eichstätt, Germany
By Gabriela Maria Mihlig
ROME, NOV. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The recent Mideast synod had as
a main goal to strengthen the presence of Christians in the region,
and one important way to do that is to promote pilgrimages to the
Holy Land, says Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätt, Germany.
Bishop Hanke was a participant in the Special Assembly for the
Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place last month in
the Vatican. He is the former Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of
Plankstetten, and he was named bishop of Eichstätt in 2006.
In this interview, Bishop Hanke comments on the importance of
pilgrimages to the Holy Land,
Q: Excellency, please provide a survey concerning the request of
the Fathers of the synod for reactivating the pilgrimages to Holy
Bishop Hanke: The target of the synod was to strengthen the
presence of Christians in the Middle East, and it is still a target
of particular importance! This target has been looked at from
different angles. One way to reach this target is to go on
pilgrimage to the Holy Places, where Jesus lived.
Nov. 5, 2010
America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Two Peoples, One State by
Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.
What began in September as hope for a
two-state solution between Israel and Palestine has fizzled.
Palestinians will not negotiate while Israel builds settlements on
the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, which in international law are
occupied territory; Israel will not extend the “moratorium” on
construction, during which Israel continued to build settlements and
segregated highways and to demolish Palestinian homes.
The United States offered Israel concessions to renew the
moratorium, but Mr. Netanyahu proposed a law demanding that all
would-be Israeli citizens, including Israeli Arabs (20 percent of
Israel’s population), swear allegiance to Israel specifically as a
Jewish state—in effect, a forced commitment to beliefs they do not
hold. Now Palestinians should consider alternatives. Should they
unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for U.S./U.N.
recognition? Merge with Jordan? As the situation deteriorates, it is
time for new ideas.
...About 25 years ago, when I was swimming in the Dead Sea, two
young men who saw my camera asked me to take their picture. As I
wrote down their address to send them the shot, I couldn’t help
asking, “Are you Israelis or Arabs?”
They replied: “What difference does it make? We are all
brothers.” Where are they now?
Nov. 4, 2010
Christians and Muslims: Christian-Muslim conference condemns attack
on church in Iraq
Christian and Muslim leaders and scholars meeting at the
Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, site of the World Council of Churches (WCC)
central offices today issued a joint statement of condemnation for
the criminal attack on the The Church of Our Lady of Najat, in
Baghdad this past Sunday, 31 October.
Fifty-eight people were killed after gunman seized hostages in
the churches and government security services later stormed the
church to end the siege.
The group is participating in a 4-day international consultation
on “Transforming Communities: Christians and Muslims Building a
In the statement the group expressed “condemnation of all acts of
violence that target places of worship and other sacred places,
defile them, or threaten the safety and security of worshippers.”
The group called on “the United Nations and its Security Council
and all groups that call for just peace, and especially Iraqi
officials, to intervene for the purpose of putting an end to all
terrorist attacks aimed at degrading the Iraqi people, irrespective
of their religious affiliation, and defiling Christian and Islamic
Nov. 3, 2010
Holy See Mission | Statement by H.E. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt,
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, 65th session
of the United Nations General Assembly
Before the Special Political and Decolonization
(Fourth Committee) on item 51:
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
New York, 2 November 2010
...The Holy See calls upon the members of the Quartet to use all
strategies available to them to assist the peoples of the region to
reconcile their substantial differences, to compromise where
necessary with fairness and to guarantee peace for generations to
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains key to
resolving so many of the situations that bring chaos to the region
of the Middle East. Many of these have serious worldwide
implications. It would seem that for six decades there has been a
failure on the part of both concerned parties to resolve their
differences. But, the time is now to substitute this failure with
determination that resorts to negotiation rather than violence. The
Holy See exhorts all legitimate interests to engage in significant
and substantive dialogue in order to bring stability and peace to
the Holy Land. More than ever before, the international community is
needed to continue its efforts to facilitate with haste the
rapprochement of the two parties which my Delegation knows is in the
hearts and minds of so many people of good will.
...Finally, my Delegation reiterates the call to the
international community to facilitate meaningful negotiations
between all parties. Only with a just and lasting peace – not
imposed but secured through negotiation and reasonable compromise –
will the legitimate aspirations of all the peoples of the Holy Land
Read the statement
Nov. 3, 2010
Zenit | Aide: Mideast Synod Marked by "Realism of Hope"
Lombardi Reflects on Fruits of Assembly
ROME, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The recent Assembly for the
Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was characterized by the
"realism of hope," said a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press
Office, said this in his most recent editorial for Octava Dies, the
weekly news program of the Vatican Television Center.
The priest reflected on what the synod asked of the political
leaders in the Middle East, and that the main concern was that
"Christians be able to enjoy the rights of citizenship, of liberty
of conscience and worship."
He also added that Christians should also have "liberty in the
field of teaching and education and in the use of the media."
"They are original and authentic citizens," Father Lombardi
underlined, "loyal to their homeland and faithful to all their
They spokesman said the synod also had a message for the
international community regarding the Church's stance on violence
Nov. 3, 2010
Zenit | Pope Prays for Iraqi Victims of "Absurd" Violence
Priests Among Scores Killed in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Three priests were
killed along with 58 others in an attack on a Catholic church in
Baghdad. Benedict XVI is offering prayers for the victims and is
pleading for peace.
On addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on
Monday, the Solemnity of All Saints, the Pope said that he is
praying "for the victims of this absurd violence, which is even more
ferocious as it struck defenseless persons, gathered in the house of
God, which is a house of love and reconciliation."
Some 58 people were killed when gunmen stormed the Eucharistic
celebration on Sunday in Baghdad's Church of Our Lady of Salvation.
Another 75 were wounded.
Nov. 3, 2010
Zenit | Attack on Iraqi Cathedral Highlights Anti-Christian Violence
US Bishops Say Their Country has Moral Obligation to Help
WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- At the conclusion of
the recent Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishop,
Benedict XVI said: "Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the
indispensible condition for a life of dignity for individuals and
Yet, on Sunday, the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad was
attacked, leaving 58 dead and 75 wounded. The event has shocked and
horrified the people of Iraq, as well as Christians around the
At the synod, the Iraqi bishops told of the terrorism and
violence Christians, as well as other minorities, are facing:
kidnappings, bombings of churches, schools and other Christian
properties, and threats to Christian businesses, as well as to their
lives. Combined with the attack on the cathedral, these all point to
the fact that there is a basic lack of security in the area.
Nov. 3, 2010
Zenit | Man Recalls How Pius XII Hid Jews in the Vatican
Nazis Planned to Annihilate Catholics Next
NEW YORK, NOV. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A Jewish man is giving
testimony to how his father was saved from the Nazis by being hidden
in the Vatican by Pope Pius XII.
This testimony is the latest collected by Pave the Way
Foundation, which has been compiling documents and reports regarding
the actions of Pius XII during World War II.
Gary Krupp, the foundation's president, announced the latest
testimony by Robert Adler, a member of the Alabama Holocaust
Adler recalled how his father, Hugo Adler, was taken into the
Vatican in 1941 and was hidden for five weeks. During that time, he
met personally with Pope Pius XII on several occasions.
Hugo was then sent through a Vatican network through France, into
Spain, and then to Sosua, Dominican Republic.