Politics/United States

Chaldean Christian Driver from Iraq

by Steve Ray on April 19, 2018

We take the Metro Cars back-and-forth to the airport for all our multiple flights. I make sure we never take more than 10 minutes to get a conversation started about the things that matter most — Christianity and the Catholic Church.

57876840-E533-4697-8024-DA9F5316DB00 Today on our way to the airport to fly to Milan Italy to pick up our sold out group we had a driver named Yosef (Arabic for Joseph).

We came to find out that he is a Catholic from Iraq and his family is very, very Catholic and devoted to the Faith.  Once I start of the conversation he was so excited he bubbled over and was happy to tell us about how much he loved America, the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ and his mother Mary.

We  discussed a good bit about Islam and as a Catholic from Iraq he had strong opinions which we shared completely.

Anyway, always remember to talk to people about the Lord and his Church —and good conservative politics too — because not only is it good evangelism but it also encourages fellow believers in the truth of the faith. And we sure know that’s necessary today.

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There is a lot of buzz going around about the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson who is defying the Canadian government and the tyranny of the lunatic Left. I stand up to applaud him!

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 9.20.29 AMHere is an article in Catholic World Report written by Bishop Robert Barron. Barron introduces this eloquent, courageous and very bright man. I suggest you read it along with an article along with The Catholic Thing written by Anthony Esolen. Both of them point out the weakness of his basic worldview (he is not a Christian), but praise what he is saying, how he is saying it and the resounding effect he is having, especially among young men.

Here is Bishop Barron’s introduction to his article:

“Like many others, I have watched the Jordan Peterson phenomenon unfold with a certain fascination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t spend a lot of time on social media, for Peterson, a mild-mannered psychology professor from the University of Toronto, has emerged as one of the hottest personalities on the internet.

“He is followed by millions of people, especially young men. His lectures and presentations—cool, understated, brainy, and blunt—are avidly watched and commented upon. And his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is a number one bestseller all over the world. Moreover, Peterson’s spirited and articulate opposition to the imposition of speech codes in his native Canada has made him a controversial political player, a hero of free speech to his supporters and a right-wing ideologue to his detractors.

“His interview with Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News, during which Peterson’s interlocutor revealed herself as a hopelessly biased social justice warrior, has, as of this writing, been viewed 7.5 million times [now almost 8 million].”   (For the whole article, click HERE.)

Here is the YouTube video mentioned by Barron. Janet and I watched it and found our blood pressure rise in reaction to Peterson’s interlocutor who a “hopelessly biased social justice warrior” (Bishop Barron’s words). But we also rose to applaud Peterson with his cool, collected, intelligent and persuasive arguments with all their delightful political incorrectness. He left her looking like …. well, watch it and decide for yourself.

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Did the Church Ever Support Slavery?

by Steve Ray on January 25, 2018

By Steve Weidenkopf   September 18, 2017

Many years ago I attended a conference organized by a national Catholic organization on the topics of marriage and human sexuality. One of the speakers was a professor from Creighton University who, in the middle of his talk on contraception, launched into a long tangent about how the Church had never condemned slavery in the past, which “proved” that the Church had made a mistake, and so perhaps it’s teaching on contraception would be viewed as incorrect in the future (a viewpoint he agreed with).

I did not get the opportunity at the conference to talk with this professor about his erroneous statements about the Church and slavery, so I emailed him and we engaged in a courteous exchange in which I pointed him in the direction of several papal condemnations of slavery, which he dismissed out of hand. He ignored the historical record because it did not fit with his agenda of changing Church teaching on contraception.

Sadly, this is not an uncommon tactic by those with an animus against the Church. Many believe, as this professor did, that the Church approved or at least tolerated slavery, especially of Africans and Native Americans in the New World. Scholars argued that the Church was either late in condemning slavery or actively supported it. But like many other historical myths about the Catholic Church, this one does not withstand scrutiny of the historical record.

The myth persists because there were individual Catholics who supported slavery or owned slaves. Scholars with an ax to grind use these examples as “proof” of the Church’s malfeasance without drawing the necessary distinction that what individual Catholics may do does not necessarily reflect the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium.

Moreover, scholars have routinely failed to distinguish between different types of slavery. The Church has consistently and constantly condemned the practice of “unjust servitude,” which usually entailed the enslavement of a certain race or for economic gain. But Western society since ancient times permitted just title servitude; that is, the involuntary servitude imposed on criminals or prisoners of war. Just title servitude was considered permissible as recently as 1949 when the Geneva Convention allowed nations at war to conscript prisoners of war for labor. In this case, the Church has always demanded humane treatment of slaves by their masters and even encouraged their emancipation. The failure to recognize these distinctions between types of servitude has led many scholars to declare falsely that the Church failed to condemn slavery.

The Church was born into a world where slavery was a lynchpin of society. Imperial Rome was built and sustained on the backs of slaves; the complete abolition of slavery in Rome was unthinkable and impractical. Despite societal acceptance of slavery, the Church made no distinction between slaves and freedmen in its membership. The equality of believers in a highly class-stratified society was one of the attractions that the Church held for the people of Rome.

Once Emperor Constantine legalized the Church in A.D. 313, its teachings influenced Roman laws and policies. Church funds were used by Christians to redeem slaves, especially prisoners of war. One former slave even rose to become pope (Callistus I) in the early third century! Still, slavery continued in Europe even after the collapse of imperial rule in the late fifth century, but as the Church’s influence increased the institution of slavery decreased until it was completely eradicated in Christendom.

Unfortunately, slavery returned to European society in the fifteenth century, with the conquest of the Canary Islands and the discovery of the New World. But from 1435 to 1890, a succession of popes condemned the slave trade and slavery in no uncertain terms. The first pope to do so was Eugenius IV (r. 1431-1447), who in his 1435 bull Sicut Dudum demanded that Christians free all enslaved natives of the Canary Islands within fifteen days; failure to do so would incur automatic excommunication. Thus, fifty-seven years before Columbus’s first voyage, the Roman pontiff unequivocally prohibited the enslavement of native peoples.

In 1537, Pope Paul III (r. 1534-1549) issued a bull, Sublimus Dei, which taught that native peoples were not to be enslaved. In 1591, Gregory XIV (r. 1590-1591) promulgated Cum Sicuti, which was addressed to the bishop of Manila in the Philippines and reiterated his predecessors’ prohibitions against enslaving native peoples. In the seventeenth century, Urban VIII (r. 1623-1644) promulgated Commissum Nobis (1639) in support of the Spanish king’s (Philip IV) edict prohibiting enslavement of the Indians in the New World.

The need for cheap and abundant labor in the colonies is what led to the African slave trade. This new form of bondage was also condemned by the popes, beginning with Innocent XI (r. 1676-1689). In 1741, Benedict XIV (r. 1740-1758) issued Immensa Pastorum, which reiterated that the penalty for enslaving Indians was excommunication. In 1839, Gregory XVI (r. 1831-1846) issued In Supremo to condemn the enslavement of Africans. Pope Leo XIII (r. 1878-1903) promulgated two bulls condemning slavery in 1888 and 1890.

Yet despite the many papal condemnations of slavery, European colonists continued to enslave Africans and New World natives until the nineteenth century. Papal denunciations of slavery were so harsh and so frequent that the colonial Spanish instituted a law forbidding the publication of papal documents in the colonies without prior royal approval.

It is ironic that the Church is falsely accused of either supporting slavery or failing to condemn it, when the wholesale enslavement of Christians by Muslims (estimated at one million people), especially the Ottoman Turks from the sixteenth to the eighteen century, is all but ignored. Finally, it is disingenuous to equate the immoral behavior of individual Catholics with official Church teaching. The fact that some Catholics owned slaves or participated in the slave trade is not an indictment of the Church, but rather an illustration that Catholics will sometimes ignore the clear teachings of the Church.

For more information on this and may other common anti-Catholic historical charges, see Steve Weidenkopf’s new book, The Real Story of Catholic History: Answering Twenty Centuries of Anti-Catholic Myths, available late September and available now for pre-order from Catholic Answers Press.

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“What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right”

January 20, 2018

What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right By Karin McQuillan writing for American Thinker Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town.  Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health.  That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of […]

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Where Have All the Christmas Carols Gone?

December 2, 2017

I’m not that old. I’ll only be 63 years old this month but I still remember when the frosty month of December was filled with marvelous Christmas carols. It was like magic when the first snow covered the ground and the melodies sprang to life and everyone knew them, believed them and sang them with […]

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6 Interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts You Need to Know

November 23, 2017

6 Interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts You Need to Know by Dr Taylor Marshall (Good website!)(http://taylormarshall.com/2013/11/6-interesting-catholic-thanksgiving.html) When you’re sitting down for that wonderful feast on Thursday, here are 6 interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts you can share with your family. Print them out and read them aloud over some pumpkin (or pecan) pie! The history books will […]

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Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev has a warning for the West

October 26, 2017

By Elizabeth Scalia | Sep 25, 2017 “Before 1917 nobody ever proposed that the collapse of a centuries-old Christian empire would happen…” Participating in a London conference on the topic of “The Christian Future of Europe,” Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the External Relations Departments of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, spoke on September […]

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Loved Trump’s UN Speech; Breath of Fresh Air

September 20, 2017

Loved his speech. Funny comment by Venezuelan president after Trump hit him and his socialism smack between the eyes. He meant it as a insult and slam but it was actually a high compliment. He said,  “What is this? Ronald Reagan back again?” https://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse/videos/1433841946703534/ Or here (CNN must hate this YouTube that they had to […]

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The Eight Stages of the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

September 15, 2017

Written by Msgr. Charles Pope and posted October 12, 2016 on Community in Mission Cultures and civilizations go through cycles. Over time, many civilizations and cultures have risen and then fallen. We who live in painful times like these do well to recall these truths. Cultures and civilizations come and go; only the Church (though […]

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Should This Baby Be Aborted? You Decide

September 13, 2017

In the United States, there are many situations in which abortions are recommended, even encouraged by family, counselors, medical personnel and even religious advisors. Sometimes an abortion is recommended because of difficult circumstances and other times simply for convenience. Here are four cases for you to consider. Should these babies be aborted? You decide! Four […]

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One of My Most Valued Possessions

July 3, 2017

It is the 4th of July and Janet and I are sitting in an airport in Tel Aviv Israel. We were just in Egypt two days ago and were so happy to get back through security into Israel heading back home to America. One of my most valued possessions enables us to travel through all […]

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Trump Body Slams CNN

July 3, 2017

The Left has no sense of humor or perspective. When leftists practice real violence (black hoods, beatings and all) there is no sense of outrage or condemnation.  But when there’s a humorous tweet there’s all kinds of condemnation and outrage, huffing, puffing and sputtering. Most Americans know exactly what Trump’s tweet was saying. Only the […]

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Why I Like Thomas Williams and Breitbart News

June 8, 2017

Yeah, I know it gets a bad rap in the local “Main Street Media” but if you shake off their bias and take a closer look it’s a pretty good place to find out what’s really going on. My friend Thomas Williams is the Rome correspondent and I have nothing but respect for this guy.

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What a Shot Off Our Porch on Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

God bless America and thanks to all of those brave and heroic men and women who have made our freedom possible. May God richly bless them and their families. I love being an American!

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What is Wrong with this Picture? What is Missing? Is this the “New Normal”?

May 26, 2017

This magazine arrives in our mailbox four times a year; not because we subscribe but because we live in this community. We never sent our kids to public schools, choosing rather to educate them at home. When I grabbed the mail and walked back to the house I had not even reached the front door […]

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Dr. Peter Kreeft is the Devil: Advising How to Win the World!

April 23, 2017

What a delightfully fun hour of wit and wisdom! If you have two brain cells that connect and wish to understand God and the world — and if you aren’t afraid of the truth and talk about sex — you will LOVE this. If you aren’t politically correct about atheism and Islam and other such […]

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