Iraqi Christians in Mosul Celebrate Christmas For First Time in 3 Years

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Iraqi Christians in Mosul Celebrate Christmas For First Time in 3 Years

(PHOTO: REUTERS/MUHAMMAD HAMED)Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017.

Christians in Iraq attended a Christmas service in Mosul for the first time since Islamic State militants took over the city in 2014, hoping they will soon be able to return to their homes.

Armoured vehicles guarded Saint Paul’s, the only functioning church in Mosul. Its bombed-out window frames were covered with white sheets during the Christmas service, the BBC reports.

The patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael Sako, urged the worshipers to pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world.”

Islamic state, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, was driven out of Mosul in July, but Christians are yet to rebuild their lives and their homes. Less than a dozen Christian families have been able to return to the city thus far.

“The situation made us so sad,” Voice of America quoted Fadi, a worshiper, as saying. “This is our city, our grandparents’ city. We lived here, we grew up here. We built our schools, universities, churches families and friends here.”

In the Nineveh Plains, which was also liberated from IS a few months ago, Christians earlier this month celebrated the reconsecration of the first church, St. George’s, to be reopened there since IS was driven out of the region.

“ISIS wanted to eliminate the Christian presence here — but ISIS is gone and the Christians of Telleskuf are back,” Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan, said at the ceremony in Telleskuf.

“I am moved by the fact that the church of St. George has not only been reopened, but that it has become more beautiful and glorious than before. That is the way God’s Providence work,” the archbishop declared.

About 80,000 Christians have yet to return home and remain displaced inside of the country as winter has arrived, Juliana Taimoorazy, an Assyrian Christian who founded the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and serves as a senior fellow at the Philos Project, told The Christian Post last week.

She said as many as 50,000 Christians have returned to their homes. Between 150,000 and 180,000 Iraqi Christians were displaced when IS took over in 2014.

“There are many who left Iraq. They went to Turkey. They went to Lebanon. They went to Jordan. The number of Iraqi Christians that are in Turkey is about 45,000. In Jordan, it is about 20,000. In Northern Iraq, we probably would want to say that there are at least 80,000 to 100,000 are displaced in the Northern Part of Iraq.”

Taimoorazy added: “While those aren’t official numbers, as there isn’t a way of counting these people with no census system in place, these numbers are provided to Iraqi Christian Relief Council by various aid organizations and officials from Iraq.”

Ohio priest under investigation for relationship with minor threw himself off Chicago skyscraper

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Ohio priest under investigation for relationship with minor threw himself off Chicago skyscraper

 December 22 at 1:46 AM
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fallrwelcom%2Fposts%2F200696733743231%3A0&width=500On Wednesday morning Chicago police promptly cut off rush hour traffic on a street just north of Millennium Park. A man had flung himself from the heights of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, a sleek,  ultramodern skyscraper reaching 82 stories into the downtown skyline.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office announced the next day it was a suicide, the Chicago Tribune reported. The jumper’s name was James Csaszar.

Three hundred miles away, the ugly news jolted suburban Columbus, Ohio. Until November, Csaszar had worked as a Catholic priest at the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, Ohio. Then, after misconduct allegations surfaced about the priest, the 44-year-old was placed on administrative leave.

The investigation into Csaszar will continue despite his death, Ohio law enforcement said.

The Diocese’s decision to suspend Csaszar was due to “questionable text and telephone communications with a minor,” the church stated in a news release. The diocese went further to note the charges were also related to a “potential misuse of church funds” while Csaszar was serving at St. Rose of Lima Parish in New Lexington, Ohio.

“Following a diocesan review of the matter, the New Lexington Police were contacted and all information was turned over to them and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their review,” the statement said.

Columbus’s 10TV reported New Lexington Police sent an email to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification with the subject line: “inappropriate relationship between Priest and 16yom.” According to the station, police were only in the preliminary stages of the investigation at the time of Csaszar’s suicide.

Csaszar worked at St. Rose Parish between 2005 and 2016. The Diocese of Columbus’s website indicates he was ordained on June 26, 1999.

The priest was evidently an active and well-liked figure in his community, delivering baccalaureate masses to local Catholic high schools and hosting “Catholic Singles on Fire for Christ” mixers.

“You could always talk to him and felt comfortable speaking with him and he was always there to listen to you no matter where he was on the street or what it was,” Cheryl Dodson, a New Lexington business owner, told the NBC 4. “He was one of my favorites. Out of all the Catholic priests I’ve known and affiliated with, he was one of my favorites.”

Some church members stuck with Csaszar after the allegations emerged last November. That month, an online petition was started in support of the priest.

“Evidenced, in part, by the attendance at Sunday Mass, Father Jim has been instrumental in growing Church of the Resurrection, in numbers, in spirituality, in community and in service,” the posting said. “While we don’t know the circumstances and reason for the leave, it is critical that we stay steadfast as a Parish and stay in prayerful support of Father Jim. If you are a Parishioner of The Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, Ohio, please add your name to this petition as a show of your support.”

Following the suicide, the Columbus Diocese released a statement this week: “We are reminded throughout sacred scripture that God our Father is loving, merciful, compassionate and forgiving,” it said.

“We also know that in his years of priestly ministry Fr. Csaszar did many good things for the people that he served in his parish assignments. And so we ask that everyone pray for Father Csaszar, his family, friends, and parishioners during this most difficult time.”

‘Chop him up’: Accusers seethe over Cardinal Law’s funeral plans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

‘Chop him up’: Accusers seethe over Cardinal Law’s funeral plans

Story highlights

  • Pope Francis will deliver a final blessing at Law’s funeral, the Vatican said
  • Some sex abuse survivors have urged against a “celebratory focus” on Law

(CNN)Alexa MacPherson says very little about Cardinal Bernard Law’s death — or the Catholic Church’s plans for a full cardinal’s funeral — gives her peace of mind.

MacPherson, a Boston-area native who says she is a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, says Law deserves no such dignity as the funeral that will be held for him at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Thursday.
Law, 86, died Wednesday, 15 years after he resigned as Boston’s archbishop amid allegations that he covered up for pedophile priests like the one accused of abusing MacPherson.
“With his passing, I say I hope the gates of hell are open wide to welcome him, because I feel … no redemption (for Law)” is worthwhile, MacPherson said Wednesday.
Robert Costello, another Boston-area native who says a priest abused him, and that Law covered for the cleric, was just as blunt.
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“Chop him up and put weights on every piece of body part that he has and drop him in oceans around the world,” Costello, 56, said.
Instead of being given a Vatican funeral, he said, Law should just “disappear.”
MacPherson and Costello vented to reporters Wednesday in the Boston office of attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents many who accuse priests of sex abuse.
Costello’s first thought upon hearing that Law died, he said, was, “Where’s the party? Where are we going to celebrate?”
“And then I realized it would be no celebration whatsoever,” he said. “It would be a meeting of people who tell their stories and bring it all back up again.”

Survivors’ group urges against pomp

The Vatican said early Wednesday that Law, 86, had died in Rome after a long illness. He served in Rome as archpriest of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major after he was forced to resign in 2002 as Boston archbishop.

Cardinal Bernard Law, seen here in Novemember 2012 at the Vatican, died after a long illness, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Critics say his reassignment to Rome amounted to a cushy second career that shouldn’t have been afforded him.
Widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy in the Boston Archdiocese was uncovered by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative reporting team, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts. A big-screen dramatization of the team’s investigation in the 2015 movie, “Spotlight,” won the 2016 Best Picture Academy Award, bringing the story to a much wider audience.
The funeral plans for Law appear to follow the Catholic Church’s protocol for cardinals who die in Rome, even as a network of survivors of sex abuse by priests has publicly called on the Vatican to keep survivors in mind when planning the event.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate the funeral Mass, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the Vatican said. Pope Francis then will give a “final commendation,” or blessing, as he has previously for cardinals’ funerals.
Before the funeral plans were announced, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests had urged against a “celebratory focus” on Law.
“We highly doubt there is a single victim of abuse who will ever receive the same attention, pomp and circumstance by Pope Francis,” the network said in a news release after Law’s death.

From left to right, Robert Costello, attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Phil Saviano and Alexa MacPherson speak at Garabedian's Boston office about the death of Cardinal Bernard Law on Wednesday.

“Every single Catholic should ask Pope Francis and the Vatican why,” the group’s statement reads. “Why Law’s life was so celebrated when Boston’s clergy sex abuse survivors suffered so greatly? Why was Law promoted when Boston’s Catholic children were sexually abused, ignored, and pushed aside time and time again?”
The survivors’ network said the “celebratory focus on abuse enablers like Law must end.”
“It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change: protecting children and those who have been hurt,” the statement reads.

Law’s successor apologizes to victims

Law’s successor as Boston’s archbishop, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, reacted to Law’s death in part by apologizing to victims of sex abuse by clergy.
“I recognize that Cardinal Law’s passing brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people. I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones,” O’Malley said.
“To those men and women,” he added, “I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered, my continued prayers and my promise that the archdiocese will support them in their effort to achieve healing.”
“Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities. I deeply regret that reality and its consequences,” O’Malley said.

‘Opening it all up again’

Phil Saviano, who also says a priest sexually abused him, told reporters Wednesday that he’s relieved Law is gone. Law had been in a position to do good and expose abusers, but instead chose to stand up for the priests, he said.
But relief is not the same as healing, he said.
“I had been hoping that the passing of Cardinal Law would remove a target of great anger and animosity and consternation that survivors have felt about him,” he told reporters at Garabedian’s office. “(But) it’s not a source of healing. It’s not a removal of the pain for survivors.
“If anything, it’s sort of like opening it all up again.”
MacPherson, like Costello, said she doesn’t feel like the Vatican should give Law the funeral that he’s getting.
“I think it should be very quiet and not celebrated.,” she said. “There’s nothing to celebrate (with) somebody who allowed children to be victimized and to have a lifetime of irreparable damage.”

Ex-Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Ex-Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86

Cardinal Bernard Francis Law is pictured last year during a mass in Vatican City

Story highlights

  • Former Boston cardinal died after a long illness, Vatican says
  • He resigned as archbishop in 2002

(CNN)Bernard Law, the former Boston cardinal who resigned in disgrace during the church sex abuse scandal, has died, the Vatican has confirmed.

Law died in Rome, where he served as archpriest of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major after he was forced to resign as archbishop of Boston in 2002.
The Vatican issued a press release early Wednesday confirming the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, with one line reading “Cardinal Bernard Law died early this morning after a long illness.”
Law never faced criminal sanctions for his role in allowing abusive priests to remain in church parishes. The scandal reverberated through the church, exposing similar allegations worldwide that compromised its moral authority and led to years of multimillion-dollar settlements. To his detractors, his second career at the Vatican was a slap in the face to victims of church sex abuse, one that further undermined the church’s legitimacy.

Rise of Boston’s spiritual leader

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Law was born in Torreon, Mexico, on November 4, 1931, to Helen and Bernard Law, an Air Force colonel. He did his postgraduate studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Louisiana and at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He was ordained as a priest in the Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, diocese on May 21, 1961 and became vicar general of the Natchez-Jackson diocese in 1971.
In 1973, he was made bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese in southern Missouri. He served as chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interracial Affairs and in 1976 he was named to the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with Jews.
The posts were stepping stones to his becoming the spiritual leader of Boston’s large and influential Catholic community. In 1984, Pope John Paul II appointed Law to be the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, consisting of 362 parishes serving 2.1 million members. That same year, Law received a letter from a bishop expressing concerns about Rev. John Geoghan. Law assigned Geoghan to another parish despite the allegations.
In 1985, Pope John Paul II elevated Law to cardinal, one of just 13 Americans holding that office at the time.

Spotlight team investigates cover-up

The church sexual abuse scandal widened in July of 2001, when Law admitted receiving the letter in 1984 outlining the child molestation allegations against Geoghan. Geoghan was eventually convicted of indecent assault and battery on a 10-year old boy.
Law’s fall began in January 2002, one week after The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team revealed that he and other bishops before him covered for pedophile priests in the Boston Archdiocese. In a news conference, Law apologized to victims of abuse by Geoghan but insisted the abuse was in the past.
The Boston Globe won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into the widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy. The scandal and investigation also inspired a film in 2015, which won the Oscar for best picture in 2016.

Calls for resignation

Law attempted to resign as Archbishop of Boston in April 2002, but Pope John Paul II rejected the resignation. In 2002, a judge presiding over the child rape case of Rev. Paul Shanley ordered Cardinal Law to be deposed by lawyers of one of Shanley’s victims.
Law testified about his supervision of Geoghan in 2002, saying he relied on his assistants to investigate charges of abuse. In May 2002, he apologized for his role in the clergy abuse scandal in a letter distributed throughout the archdiocese. But he denied knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Shanley until 1993.
In August 2002, Law appeared in court to testify about a settlement reached between the archdiocese of Boston and victims of clergy abuse. The archdiocese rescinded the monetary offer shortly afterward.
In December, as calls grew for him to resign, Law was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating “possible criminal violations by church officials who supervised priests accused of sexually abusing children.” Days later, he resigned as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America, followed by his resignation as archbishop of Boston.

Pope Francis wants Lord’s Prayer changed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

((OPED) WOULD IT NOT BE BEST TO USE THE ORIGINAL GREEK WORDING THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN IN, NOT THE LATIN, NOT THE ENGLISH?)(TRS)

Pope Francis wants Lord’s Prayer changed

Pope Francis addresses the crowds in St Peter's Square in the Vatican on 8 December 2016Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe Pope is suggesting changes to Christianity’s best-known prayer

Pope Francis has called for a translation of a phrase about temptation in the Lord’s Prayer to be changed.

The current wording that says “lead us not into temptation” is not a good translation, because God does not lead humans to sin, he says.

He suggests using “do not let us fall into temptation” instead, he told Italian TV on Wednesday night.

The Lord’s Prayer is the best-known prayer in Christianity.

The pontiff said France’s Roman Catholic Church was now using the new wording “do not let us fall into temptation” as an alternative, and something similar should be used worldwide .

“Do not let me fall into temptation because it is I who fall, it is not God who throws me into temptation and then sees how I fell,” he told TV2000, an Italian Catholic TV channel.

“A father does not do that, a father helps you to get up immediately.”

Since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has not shied away from controversy and has tackled some issues head-on, Vatican observers say.

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White Nationalists Disrupt Polish Independence Day

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Nationalist protesters disrupt Poland independence day events

White nationalists disrupt Polish independence day

White nationalists disrupt Polish independence day 00:51

Warsaw, Poland (CNN)Tens of thousands of nationalist protesters disrupted Poland’s independence day events Saturday, waving flags and burning flares as they marched down the streets of Warsaw.

Demonstrators carried banners that read “White Europe, Europe must be white,” and “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust.”
Some wore masks and waved red and white Polish flags, chanting “Death to enemies of the homeland,” and “Catholic Poland, not secular.”

Police estimate that 60,000 people took part in the nationalist demonstration.

Police estimate that 60,000 people took part in the nationalist demonstration. While the vast majority were Poles, other protesters came from all over Europe.

Poland regained its independence in 1918.

One of the lead organizations behind the nationalists march is the National Radical Camp, which has previously taken to the streets to protest against Muslim immigration,gay rights, the EU and anything it considers undermines Polish Catholic values.
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Tens of thousands attended the march in Warsaw.

While support for the group remains small, its critics argue that the Polish government, which has struck a nationalistic tone and linked immigrants to crime and disease, has fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and xenophobia that has emboldened it.

Some of those marching lit flares during the event.

Earlier on Saturday, the Polish capital had seen a far smaller demonstration by groups condemning the protesters’ hijacking of Polish independence day, which falls on November 11.

Far-right marchers waved flags as they took part in the march.

The day celebrates the re-birth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg, and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.
But in the past few years, the holiday has been overshadowed by the far-right march and fears of violence.
Polish President Andrzej Duda led the formal celebrations of Polish independence day in central Warsaw. After laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he told the crowd to remember the price of freedom and independence.
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