CERC WEEKLY UPDATE - October 9, 2013

NEW RESOURCES    EDITORIALS OF INTEREST    EDUCATION MATTERS

Note from the Managing Editor:

  • According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians.

  • According to Todd Johnson of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the number of Christians killed from 2000 to 2010 was one hundred thousand per year or eleven Christians an hour.

  • As of 2012, the Christian missionary organization Open Doors UK estimated that 100 million Christians today face persecution, particularly in Muslim-dominated countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

As John Allen Jr. explains:

"In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs.  Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world's 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority — whether it's Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea.  In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom."

Every week you can read news items about the slaughter of our brothers and sisters in foreign lands, but after a while it's hard not to be just a little numb to what seems little more than depressing statistics.

In his new book, The Global War on Christians:  Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution, John Allen puts a human face on all of this, with compelling stories and representative examples of the kinds of suffering Christians around the world endure.

Allen then clears up five common myths about the war on Christians, examines the observable fall-out of the global war on Christians, and finally considers practical steps that both individuals and communities can take to express solidarity with its victims.

Here's how John Allen Jr. describes what prompted him to write the book and why it's important:

"Looking back, it's often hard to know exactly where the inspiration for a book came from, but I can date with precision the first time I considered global anti-Christian persecution as a possible topic.  It was during a 2009 conversation with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who mused that perhaps Christians haven't roused themselves to confront the problem because we don't have our own Holocaust literature.  He meant that Christians haven't told the stories of their new martyrs in a compelling way, in the same fashion that Jewish authors have described the horrors of the Shoah.  This book is my own small contribution to a budding Christian genre dedicated to telling these stories, and I want to thank Dolan for that nudge."

Read the Introduction to Allen's The Global War on Christians below.

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You can view the previous CERC Weekly Update here.
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Quote of the Week:

"If the investments in the banks fall slightly … [it is ] a tragedy … what can be done?  But if people die of hunger, if they have nothing to eat, if they have poor health, it does not matter!  This is our crisis today!" - Pope Francis



New Resources:

The Mother of the Lord of the Sabbath - Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. - from Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting
Introduction - John L. Allen Jr. - from The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution
The two Francises - Father Raymond J. de Souza - National Post
Pope Francis: The Good, the Baffling, and the Unclear - Carl Olson - Catholic World Report
Hannah Arendt - Father Robert Barron - Word on Fire
Worried About Money? - Father Dwight Longenecker - Standing on My Head
'Gravity' - Steven D. Greydanus - National Catholic Register
Is Drug Addiction Really Like 'Any Other Chronic Illness'? - Theodore Dalrymple - Pajamas Media
The Holy Rosary - Father George Rutler - From the Pastor
The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. - from Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life

Editorials of Interest:

Have the courage to marry, start a family, pope tells youths in Assisi - CNS
Pope Francis: Prayer opens the door for God - News.va
Strip away worldly attitudes, Pope exhorts the faithful - CWN
Pope experienced a 'great light' before accepting the papacy - CNA
Pope's visit to Assisi in pictures - Catholic Herald
Catholics Continue to Have Lowest Divorce Rates - NCRegister
Hundreds gather for talk on 'Francis Factor' at Georgetown - NCR
Francis faces big decisions on sex abuse - NCR
A pope for the middle? - New York Times
Vatican: Scalfari Interview Misses Details, Conflates Facts - NCRegister
Hey, LA Times, there’s more to HHS fight than Hobby Lobby - Get Religion
Middle East Reality Check - Catholic Difference
Pope John Paul II’s Canonization Wasn’t Too Fast - Time
At Supremes' Mass, A Call To Civility and Community - Whispers
Sex and the Public Order - Catholic World Report
Sebastian Gomes - Salt & Light
The “Jesus’s Wife” Hoax: One Year Later - Patheos
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia - New York Magazine
Irish hospital "won't perform abortions" - Irish Times
A Response to Richard Dawkins - NRO
The Communist Party and the future of religion in China - The Immanent Frame

Education Matters:

Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results - Wall Street Journal
New Resources to Help Catholic Families Find Faithful Colleges - Catholic Education Daily
Teenage Dating for Girls — Part I - Everyday Catholic
A story in aftercare - Acton
Grammar Lesson of the Day: Foreign Plurals - Word of the Day
Marketing on a Shoestring - Ideas in Catholic Education
Bible College Credited as Major Reason for Angola Prison Transformation - New York Times
FOCUS Grows to 11 New Campuses - Focus
See why our movement is changing the world - CCO
The bizarre, misguided campaign to get rid of single-sex classrooms - AEI


NEW RESOURCES:

The Mother of the Lord of the Sabbath - Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. - from Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting

Our Lady did not have that downward pull that we have, but she still had choices, and she could have wrong ones or right ones.

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Introduction - John L. Allen Jr. - from The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution

This book is about the most dramatic religion story of the early twenty-first century, yet one that most people in the West have little idea is even happening: the global war on Christians.

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The two Francises
- Father Raymond J. de Souza - National Post

Six months on and it is now all-Francis, all-the-time — a blockbuster interview here, a summit of cardinal consultors there, and a star turn tomorrow when the Holy Father visits Assisi and the tomb of Saint Francis himself.

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Pope Francis: The Good, the Baffling, and the Unclear
- Carl Olson - Catholic World Report

A sense of humor and a sense of perspective are both helpful when pondering the recent interviews given by Pope Francis.

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Hannah Arendt
- Father Robert Barron - Word on Fire

The appearance of an art house film on the philosopher Hannah Arendt has sparked renewed interest in an old controversy.

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Worried About Money?
- Father Dwight Longenecker - Standing on My Head

I found myself worrying about money the other day.

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'Gravity' - Steven D. Greydanus - National Catholic Register

Sandra Bullock shines in Alfonso Cuarón's mesmerizing action thriller in space, a rare Hollywood spectacle with a touch of spiritual awareness.

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Is Drug Addiction Really Like 'Any Other Chronic Illness'? - Theodore Dalrymple - Pajamas Media

Sometimes a single phrase is enough to expose a tissue of lies, and such a phrase was used in a recent editorial in The Lancet titled "The lethal burden of drug overdose."

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The Holy Rosary - Father George Rutler - From the Pastor

October 7 is the Feast of the Holy Rosary.

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The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. - from Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life

In last month’s article we looked at how the Holy Spirit gives us peace in times of suffering or when we might be experiencing some form of persecution for our faith.

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EDITORIALS OF INTEREST:
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Have the courage to marry, start a family, pope tells youths in Assisi - CNS

In societies that trumpet individual rights, see everything as fleeting and see no value in sticking to something that's difficult, deciding to get married today takes courage, Pope Francis told young people in Assisi.

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Pope Francis: Prayer opens the door for God - News.va

In his homily at daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis explained that a Christian is a person who has a heart that knows how to pray and knows how to forgive.

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Strip away worldly attitudes, Pope exhorts the faithful - CWN

On an October 4 pilgrimage to Assisi, celebrating the feast of his namesake, Pope Francis challenged the faithful to strip away all worldly attitudes.

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Pope experienced a 'great light' before accepting the papacy - CNA

The pope describes the moment of illumination he experienced after his election in March.

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Pope's visit to Assisi in pictures - Catholic Herald

A pictorial record of Pope Francis's historic visit to Assisi on Friday.

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Catholics Continue to Have Lowest Divorce Rates - NCRegister

Recent studies on marriage show that while their rates of divorce are significant, U.S. Catholics are less likely to divorce than people of other religious affiliations.

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Hundreds gather for talk on 'Francis Factor' at Georgetown - NCR

It was a daunting challenge for a startup think tank: how to make a good first impression in a town where think tanks are as common as Starbucks.

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Francis faces big decisions on sex abuse - NCR

Although Pope Francis has earned a reputation for taking on tough questions and shaking up the status quo, so far he's been relatively quiet on at least one issue that's arguably done greater harm to the image and morale of the church over the last decade than any other: the child sexual abuse scandals.

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A pope for the middle? -New York Times

Pope Francis is trying to draw both wings of the Church together; but in modern culture such religious efforts have often led to unexpected consequences.

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Vatican: Scalfari Interview Misses Details, Conflates Facts - NCRegister

The man who conducted the La Repubblica interview now admits he didn't record it and the pope didn't review the text before publication.

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Hey, LA Times, there’s more to HHS fight than Hobby Lobby - Get Religion

I have to admit that I almost choked on my diet cherry cola when I read the double-decker headline on this Los Angeles Times news feature.

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Middle East Reality Check - Catholic Difference

The humanitarian and strategic disaster of Syria should focus Catholic minds on the hard fact that there is no easy or quick path to peace in the Middle East.

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Pope John Paul II’s Canonization Wasn’t Too Fast - George Weigel - Time

Those who have complained about a short-circuited process are mostly people who never wanted to see John Paul II canonized at all.

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At Supremes' Mass, A Call To Civility and Community - Whispers

For the 61st time, this Sunday brought one of the great meetings of church and state as a majority of the Supreme Court again led the congregation at Washington's St Matthew's Cathedral for the capital's annual Red Mass.

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Sex and the Public Order - Catholic World Report

The age of liberation from sexual roles and standards has also been an age of ever greater inequality.

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Sebastian Gomes - Witness - Salt & Light

Sebastian grew up in Perth, Ontario and moved to Collegeville, Minnesota after high school where he played varsity soccer and earned a BA and MA in Theology and History from St. John's University.

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The “Jesus’s Wife” Hoax: One Year Later - Patheos

There was a lot of hoopla — before the tests had even been run on the papyrus fragment. Then silence. Says it all.

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In Conversation: Antonin Scalia - New York Magazine

In a recent interview with New York magazine, the faithful Catholic jurist admits — to the surprise of the interviewer — that he believes the devil is real.

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Irish hospital "won't perform abortions" - Irish Times

In what seems a reversal, the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Ireland says it will not conform to a new national abortion law.

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A Response to Richard Dawkins - NRO

He and his supporters have a right to their atheism, but not to intellectual dishonesty about it.

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The Communist Party and the future of religion in China - The Immanent Frame

This short essay sketches out the different views that may be identified within the Chinese Communist Party.

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EDUCATION MATTERS:

Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results - Wall Street Journal

I had a teacher once who called his students "idiots" when they screwed up.

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New Resources to Help Catholic Families Find Faithful Colleges - Catholic Education Daily

The Cardinal Newman Society today published the newest editions of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College and My Future, My Faith magazine, including updated information and new online resources.

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Teenage Dating for Girls — Part I - Everyday Catholic

Before I get started and offer some teenaged dating rules for girls, I want to say a couple things.

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A story in aftercare - Acton

Enslaved children can be freed and restored only if effective aftercare is waiting. Your partnership allows stories like Serey's to be written.

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Grammar Lesson of the Day: Foreign Plurals - Word of the Day

There are four groups of nouns from Latin and Greek that we’ve borrowed into English directly, using both singular and plural forms.

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Marketing on a Shoestring - Ideas in Catholic Education

The best way to market your Catholic school doesn't cost us anything.

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Bible College Credited as Major Reason for Angola Prison Transformation - New York Times

Warden Burl Cain calls the college "the game changer," and he added "It changed the culture of the prison."

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FOCUS Grows to 11 New Campuses - Focus

Our overall expansion will include 8 additional campuses, totaling 11 new campus teams for the 2013-14 year.

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See why our movement is changing the world - CCO

The opportunity to help young people fill the spiritual void in their lives has never been greater.

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The bizarre, misguided campaign to get rid of single-sex classrooms - AEI

The “Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes” initiative thinks separating students by gender is equivalent to racial segregation.

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