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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2014



Iraqi Patriarch Appeals to UN to Assist Iraq's Christians

Patriarch Sako appeals to UN not to stand by and witness atrocities in Iraq

(Vatican Radio) The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq has written to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking him to put pressure on international community to step up assistance to  Iraq’s Christians and minorities targeted by Islamic militants.

Below the text of the Patriarch’s letter 

His Excellency,

I am writing to you about the current situation in Iraq and the Middle East, which is of big concern to me and I know it is for you and the United Nations.  Let me also take this opportunity to thank you and the United Nations Security Council on the issued statement of condemnation against ISIS.  The instability in Iraq threatens the entire region.  Diplomatic pressure is sought to address the  growing instability in the Middle East. The instability in the region is worrisome because of the increasing attacks mounted on Christians and minorities.

We, as the Christian community, appeals to the United Nations to put political pressure on the international community, the Security Council cannot stand by and be a witness to the ongoing atrocities committed against Christians. We were happy when your statement acknowledged that the crimes committed against Christians constitute crimes against humanity, we therefore urge  you to put pressure on all to respect human rights.

Excellency, we Christians are peace-loving citizens  caught up in the middle of a clash between Sunnis and Shiites, as well as attacks from Military groups. Our community has suffered a disproportionate share of hardship caused by sectarian conflicts, terrorist attacks, migration and now even ethnic cleansing: the militants want to wipe out the Christian community.

We appeal urgently to the United Nations to pressure the Iraqi government and put into practice every effort to protect the ethnic and religious minorities. The new government, once established, should engage in the protection of minorities and the fight against extremism.

We urge the United Nations to accelerate humanitarian assistance, ensuring that aid reaches those communities and those vulnerable groups who are in need of urgent help. In view of the current situation, this need for assistance might take longer than a year. The displaced Christian community needs water, medicines and basic services.

We urge the United Nations to develop a plan or strategy to protect and preserve our heritage, looted and burned by the militants. They continue to burn churches and ancient monasteries. The old churches and monasteries will be difficult to rebuild.

+ Louis Raphael Sako

Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

KAL 007 and MH17 … A Presidential Response

From The Center for Vision & Values, Grove City College
By Dr. Paul G. Kengor

Editor’s note: A longer version of this article first appeared at The American Spectator.

This generation has its KAL 007. The stunning downing of Malaysian flight 17 is strikingly similar to the shock of September 1, 1983, when the Russians downed a Korean passenger airliner, flight 007, which had left New York City for Seoul via Alaska. In both cases, the Russian government vehemently denied any involvement, disparaging anyone who dared to accuse it of prior knowledge.

Both planes were Asian with similar numbers of dead. KAL had 269 passengers; the Malaysian flight nearly 300. They were mostly Asian passengers but also Americans—61 Americans in KAL 007 and a much smaller (still unconfirmed) number in the Malaysian flight. In both cases, questions arise over why the planes were flying where they were flying. Exactly what happened with KAL still isn’t entirely clear, but it seems the computer on the plane’s guidance system was set incorrectly, allowing it to stray into Soviet airspace. Russian fighter planes stalked KAL 007 before blasting it out of the sky.

In 1983, Moscow initially denied the dirty deed, with Yuri Andropov, Vladimir Putin’s former boss at the KGB, insisting on his country’s innocence. The denials were shattered when the Reagan administration produced audio of the two Russian pilots communicating as they excitedly shot the plane. The audio was secured via the National Security Agency’s exceptional electronic surveillance technology.

But a major difference between September 1983 and July 2014 is the initial reaction of the two presidents.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Iraq Catholic Leader Says Islamic State Worse than Genghis Khan

An Iraqi Christian boy fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, stands inside the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Telkaif near Mosul, in the province of Nineveh, July 20, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Stringer

(Reuters) - The head of Iraq's largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis decried what he said was the persecution of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Islamic State's actions could constitute a crime against humanity.

Read more from Reuters >>


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Brazil of North America



By Patrick J. Buchanan

To observe the decades-long paralysis of America’s political elite in controlling her borders calls to mind the insight of James Burnham in 1964 — “Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide.”

What the ex-Trotskyite turned Cold Warrior meant was that by faithfully following the tenets of liberalism, the West would embrace suicidal policies that would bring about the death of her civilization.

The crisis on our Southern border, where the left, and not only the left, is wailing that we cannot turn away desperate people fleeing wicked regimes and remain true to our liberal values, is a case in point.

To assert that we cannot take all these people in, that we must send them back and seal out border for our survival, is to be called a variety of names — racist, xenophobe, nativist — all of which translate into “illiberal.”

But as we continue our descent to Third World status, perhaps we should explore more deeply the “diversity” that has of late come to be regarded as America’s most treasured attribute.

In 1960, we were not nearly so diverse. Nine in 10 Americans professed a Christian faith. Nine in 10 Americans traced their ancestry back to Europe. E Pluribus Unum. We were one nation and one people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

Excerpted from A Return to Order
By
 
e3000In looking at the debate over immigration, it is almost automatically assumed that the Church’s position is one of unconditional charity toward those who enter the nation, legally or illegally.

However, is this the case? What does the Bible say about immigration? What do Church doctors and theologians say? Above all, what does the greatest of doctors, Saint Thomas Aquinas, say about immigration? Does his opinion offer some insights to the burning issues now shaking the nation and blurring the national borders?

Immigration is a modern problem and so some might think that the medieval Saint Thomas would have no opinion about the problem. And yet, he does. One has only to look in his masterpiece, the Summa Theologica, in the second part of the first part, question 105, article 3 (I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). There one finds his analysis based on biblical insights that can add to the national debate. They are entirely applicable to the present.

Saint Thomas: “Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts.”

Commentary: In making this affirmation, Saint Thomas affirms that not all immigrants are equal. Every nation has the right to decide which immigrants are beneficial, that is, “peaceful,” to the common good. As a matter of self-defense, the State can reject those criminal elements, traitors, enemies and others who it deems harmful or “hostile” to its citizens.

The second thing he affirms is that the manner of dealing with immigration is determined by law in the cases of both beneficial and “hostile” immigration. The State has the right and duty to apply its law.

Saint Thomas: “For the Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners. First, when foreigners passed through their land as travelers. Secondly, when they came to dwell in their land as newcomers. And in both these respects the Law made kind provision in its precepts: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): ’Thou shalt not molest a stranger [advenam]’; and again (Exodus 22:9): ’Thou shalt not molest a stranger [peregrino].’”

Commentary: Here Saint Thomas acknowledges the fact that others will want to come to visit or even stay in the land for some time. Such foreigners deserved to be treated with charity, respect and courtesy, which is due to any human of good will. In these cases, the law can and should protect foreigners from being badly treated or molested.

Saint Thomas: “Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1).”

Commentary: Saint Thomas recognizes that there will be those who will want to stay and become citizens of the lands they visit. However, he sets as the first condition for acceptance a desire to integrate fully into what would today be considered the culture and life of the nation.

A second condition is that the granting of citizenship would not be immediate. The integration process takes time. People need to adapt themselves to the nation. He quotes the philosopher Aristotle as saying this process was once deemed to take two or three generations. Saint Thomas himself does not give a timeframe for this integration, but he does admit that it can take a long time.

Saint Thomas: “The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.”

Commentary: The common sense of Saint Thomas is certainly not politically correct but it is logical. The theologian notes that living in a nation is a complex thing. It takes time to know the issues affecting the nation. Those familiar with the long history of their nation are in the best position to make the long-term decisions about its future. It is harmful and unjust to put the future of a place in the hands of those recently arrived, who, although through no fault of their own, have little idea of what is happening or has happened in the nation. Such a policy could lead to the destruction of the nation.

As an illustration of this point, Saint Thomas later notes that the Jewish people did not treat all nations equally since those nations closer to them were more quickly integrated into the population than those who were not as close. Some hostile peoples were not to be admitted at all into full fellowship due to their enmity toward the Jewish people.

Saint Thomas: “Nevertheless it was possible by dispensation for a man to be admitted to citizenship on account of some act of virtue: thus it is related (Judith 14:6) that Achior, the captain of the children of Ammon, ‘was joined to the people of Israel, with all the succession of his kindred.’”

Commentary: That is to say, the rules were not rigid. There were exceptions that were granted based on the circumstances. However, such exceptions were not arbitrary but always had in mind the common good. The example of Achior describes the citizenship bestowed upon the captain and his children for the good services rendered to the nation.
* * *
These are some of the thoughts of Saint Thomas Aquinas on the matter of immigration based on biblical principles. It is clear that immigration must have two things in mind: the first is the nation’s unity; and the second is the common good.

Immigration should have as its goal integration, not disintegration or segregation. The immigrant should not only desire to assume the benefits but the responsibilities of joining into the full fellowship of the nation. By becoming a citizen, a person becomes part of a broad family over the long term and not a shareholder in a joint stock company seeking only short-term self-interest.

Secondly, Saint Thomas teaches that immigration must have in mind the common good; it cannot destroy or overwhelm a nation.

This explains why so many Americans experience uneasiness caused by massive and disproportional immigration. Such policy artificially introduces a situation that destroys common points of unity and overwhelms the ability of a society to absorb new elements organically into a unified culture. The common good is no longer considered.

Subscription11A proportional immigration has always been a healthy development in a society since it injects new life and qualities into a social body. But when it loses that proportion and undermines the purpose of the State, it threatens the well-being of the nation.

When this happens, the nation would do well to follow the advice of Saint Thomas Aquinas and biblical principles. The nation must practice justice and charity towards all, including foreigners, but it must above all safeguard the common good and its unity, without which no country can long endure.