President Bashar Al-Assad’s Interview with RAI UNO,

Syria360

18 November، 2015
Damascus, SANA

President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Italian TV channel RAI UNO
Following is the full text:

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for the opportunity of talking to you. Let’s start from Paris. How did you react to the news coming from Paris?

President Assad: We can start by saying it’s a horrible crime, and at the same time it’s a sad event when you hear about innocents being killed without any reason and for nothing, and we understand in Syria the meaning of losing a dear member of the family or a dear friend, or anyone you know, in such a horrible crime. We’ve been suffering from that for the past five years. We feel for the French as we feel for the Lebanese a few days before that, and for the Russians regarding the airplane that’s been shot down over Sinai, and for the Yemenis maybe, but does the world, especially the West, feel for those people, or only for the French? Do they feel for the Syrians that have been suffering for five years from the same kind of terrorism? We cannot politicize feeling, feeling is not about the nationality, it’s about the human in general.

Question 2: There’s Daesh behind that. But from here, from this point of view, from here from Damascus, how strong Daesh is? How do you think we can fight terrorists on the ground?

President Assad: If you want to talk about the strength of Daesh, the first thing you have to ask is how much incubator, real incubator, natural incubator, you have in a certain society. Till this moment, I can tell you Daesh doesn’t have the natural incubator, social incubator, within Syria. This is something very good and very assuring, but at the same time, if it’s becoming chronic, this kind of ideology can change the society.

Question 3: Yes, but some of the terrorists were trained here, in Syria, just a few kilometers from here. What does it mean?

President Assad: That’s by the support of the Turks and the Saudi and Qatari and of course the Western policy that supported the terrorists in different ways since the beginning of the crisis, of course, but that’s not the issue. First of all, if you don’t have the incubator, you shouldn’t worry, but second, they can be strong as long as they have strong support from different states, whether Middle Eastern states or Western states.

Question 4: Mr. President, there are speculations in the West, that say that you were one of who supported Daesh in the beginning of the crisis, because of dividing the opposition, because of dividing the rebels. How do you react?

President Assad: Actually, according to what some American officials said, including Hillary Clinton, Al Qaeda was created by the Americans with the help of Saudi Wahabi money and ideology, and of course, many other officials said the same in the United States. And ISIS and al-Nusra, they are offshoots of Al Qaeda. Regarding ISIS, it started in Iraq, it was established in Iraq in 2006, and the leader was al-Zarqawi who was killed by the American forces then, so it was established under the American supervision in Iraq, and the leader of ISIS today, who is called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he was in the American prisons, and he was put in New York in their prisons, and he was released by them. So, it wasn’t in Syria, it didn’t start in Syria, it started in Iraq, and it started before that in Afghanistan according to what they said, and Tony Blair recently said that yes, the Iraqi war helped create ISIS. So, their confession is the most important evidence regarding your question.

Question 5: Mr. President, watching the map of Syria, it seems that Syrian-Iraqi borders doesn’t exist anymore. Which part of Syria do you really control at the moment?

President Assad: If you’re talking geographically, it’s changing every day, but the most important thing is how much of the population are under the government’s control. Actually, most of the area that’s being controlled by the terrorists has been evacuated either by the terrorists, or because the people fled to the government control. There’s the question of how much of the Syrian population still supports the government? Militarily, you can win ground, you can lose some area, but anyway the army cannot exist everywhere in Syria. But looking to the map that you described, and what I see from time to time in the Western media, when they show you that the government controls 50% or less of their ground, actually 50 or 60% of Syria is empty ground, where you don’t have anyone, so they put it under the control of the terrorists, while it’s empty, fully empty.

Question 6: Yes, I spoke about the borders between Syria and Iraq.

President Assad: Exactly. After Damascus toward Iraq, it’s empty space, it’s empty area, so you cannot talk about its control. But regarding the borders, it’s only related to the terrorists; it’s related to the governments that supported the terrorists like the Turkish government first of all, and the Jordanian government. Both governments support terrorists, that’s why you have loose borders, because when you want to have controlled borders, it needs to be controlled from both sides, not from one sides.

Question 7:Well, the last weekend there have been two very important meetings talking about the situation in Syria, in Vienna and in Antalya. Most countries are talking about the transition in Syria. There are different positions, but basically most of the countries agree with the idea of elections in 18 months. But they also say that in the meantime, basically, you should leave. What’s your position about that?

President Assad:No, in the statement there is nothing regarding the president. The main part of Vienna is that everything that is going to happen regarding the political process is about what the Syrians are going to agree upon, so the most output of that phrase is about the constitution, and the president, any president, should come to his position and leave that position according to constitutional procedures, not to the opinion of any Western power or country. So, as long as you are talking about the consensus of the Syrians, forget about the rest of Vienna. Regarding the schedule, that depends on the agreement that we can reach as Syrians. If we don’t reach it in 18 months, so what? You have many things that I think are trivial now, or let’s say, not essential. The most important part is that we’re going to sit with each other then we’re going to put our schedule and our plan as Syrians.

Question 8: I understand, but do you consider it an option, the possibility to leave power? I mean, do you imagine an electoral process without you?

President Assad: It depends. What do you mean by electoral? Do you mean at the parliament or the president?

Question 9:At the parliament.

President Assad: At the parliament, of course, there’s going to be parliamentarian elections because the parliamentarian elections is going to show which power of the political powers in Syria has real weight among the Syrian people, which one has real grassroots. Now, anyone can say “I’m opposition.” What does it mean, how do you translate it? Through the elections, and the seat that they can get in the parliament will tell how much they can have in the coming government, for example. Of course, that will be after having a new constitution. I’m just putting a proposal, for example, now, I’m not giving you the thing that we have agreed upon yet.

Question 10:And about the presidential [elections]?

President Assad: The presidential… if the Syrians, in their dialogue, they wanted to have presidential elections, there’s nothing called a red line, for example, regarding this. But it’s not my decision. It should be about what the consensus is among the Syrians.

Question 11:But, there could be someone else that you trust, participating in the process of elections instead of you.

President Assad:Someone I trust? What do you mean by someone I trust?

Question 12:I mean someone else in which you trust that can make this job.

President Assad: [laughs] Yeah, but it looks like talking about my private property, so I can go and bring someone to put in my place. It’s not a private property; it’s a national issue. A national issue, only the Syrians can choose someone they trust. Doesn’t matter if I trust someone or not. Whoever the Syrians trust will be in that position.

Question 13:Let me see if I understood well. Which is the real timetable, which is exactly your timetable, I mean the realistic timetable to get out of this crisis?

President Assad: The timetable, if you want to talk about schedule, this timetable starts after starting defeating terrorism. Before that, there will be no point in deciding any timetable, because you cannot achieve anything politically while you have the terrorists taking over many areas in Syria, and they’re going to be – they are already they main obstacle of any real political advancement. If we talk after that, one year and a half to two years is enough for any transition. It’s enough. I mean if you want to talk about first of all having a new constitution, then referendum, then parliamentarian elections, then any kind of other procedure, whether presidential or any other thing, doesn’t matter. It won’t take more than two years.

Question 14:There’s something else about the opposition; in these years, you said that you couldn’t consider as an opposition those who are fighting. Did you change your mind?

President Assad: We can apply that to your country; you don’t accept any opposition that are holding machineguns in your country. That’s the case in every other country. Whoever holds a machinegun and terrorizes people and destroys private or public properties or kills innocents and whoever is a terrorist, he’s not opposition. Opposition is a political term. Opposition could be defined not through your own opinion; it could be defined only through the elections, through the ballot box.

Question 15:So what do you consider opposition at the moment? Political opposition?

President Assad: I mean, ask the Syrians who they consider opposition. If they elect them, they are the real opposition. So that’s why I said we can define, we can give definition to this after the elections. But if you want to talk about my own opinion, you can be opposition when you have Syrian grassroots, when you belong only to your country. You cannot be opposition while you are formed as person or as entity in the foreign ministry of another country or in the intelligence building of other countries. You cannot be a puppet, you cannot be a surrogate mercenary; you can only be a real Syrian.

Question 16:Now in Europe, in Italy, we see so many Syrians coming, Syrian refugees, they are refugees. What would you like to tell these fleeing people, to you escaping people?

President Assad: Of course I would say everyone who leaves this country, is a loss to Syria. That’s for sure, and we feel sad, we feel the suffering, because every refugee in Syria has a long story of suffering within Syria, and that’s what we should deal with by asking the question “why did they leave?” For many reasons. The first one, the direct threat by terrorists. The second one is the influence of terrorists in destroying many of the infrastructure and affecting the livelihood of those people. But the third one, which is as important as the influence of terrorists, is the Western embargo on Syria. Many of those, if you ask him “do you want to go back to Syria” he wants to go back right away, but how can he go back to Syria while the basics of his life, his livelihood, has been affected dramatically, so he cannot stay in Syria. The embargo influence of the West and the terrorist influence has put those people between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Question 17:But don’t you feel in any way responsible for what has happened to your people?

President Assad: You mean myself?

Question 18: Yes.

President Assad:The only thing that we did since the beginning of the crisis is fighting terrorism and supporting dialogue. What else can we do? Does anyone oppose the dialogue? Does anyone oppose fighting terrorism? If you want to talk about the details, and about propaganda in the West, we shouldn’t waste our time. It’s just propaganda, because the problem from the very beginning with the West is that they don’t need this president, they want this government to fail and collapse, so they can change it. Everybody knows that. The whole Western game is regime-change, regardless of the meaning of regime; we don’t have a regime, we have a state, but I’m talking about their concept and their principle. So, you can blame whoever you want, but the main blame is on the West who supported those terrorists who created ISIS in Syria and created al-Nusra because of the umbrella that they gave to those terrorist organizations.

Question 19:So no responsibility?

President Assad: Of course, as a Syrian, no, I’m not saying that we don’t do mistakes. You have mistakes on the tactical level that you do every day in your work, and you have strategies. And the strategies, we adopted these two approaches, but on the tactical level, you do many mistakes every day. Every Syrian is responsible for what happened. We are responsible as Syrians, when we allow these terrorists to come to Syria, because of some Syrians who have the same mentality, and some Syrians who accepted to be puppets to the Gulf states and to the West. Of course we’re taking responsibility, while if you want to talk about my responsibility, it’s something you talk about details. I mean it’s difficult to judge now.

Question 20:I would like to ask you: how was your trip to Moscow?

President Assad: It was a trip to discuss the military situation, because it happened nearly two weeks after the Russians started the airstrikes, and to discuss the political process, because it was, again, a few days before Vienna 1. It was very fruitful, because the Russians understand very well this region, because they have historical relations, they have embassies, they have all kinds of necessary relations and means to play a role. So, I can describe it by fruitful visit.

Question 21: From Rome, from the Vatican, the Pope said that killing in the name of God is a blasphemy. And the question, first of all, is this war really a war of religion?

President Assad: No, actually, no. It’s not a religious war. It’s between people who deviated from the real religion, mainly of course, Islam, towards extremism, which we don’t consider as part of our religion. It’s a war between the real Muslims and the other extremists. This is the core of the war today. Of course, they give it different titles; war against Christians, war about other sects. This is only headlines the extremists use to promote their war, but the real issue is the war between them and the rest of the Muslims, the majority who are mainly moderate.

Question 22: Even if they kill in the name of God? They kill saying Allah Akbar?

President Assad: Exactly, that’s how they can promote their war. That’s why they use these holy words or phrase, in order to convince the other simple people in this region that they are fighting for Allah, for God, which is not true. And some of them, they use it with knowing that this is not true, and some of them are ignorant and they believe that this is a war for God. That’s the deviation, that’s why I said it’s a deviation; they are people who deviated from real Islam with knowing or without knowing.

Question 23: And what about the future of Christian people in Syria, in your country?

President Assad: Actually, this region, I think most of the Italians and many in the West know that this is a moderate region, a moderate society, especially Syria, whether politically or socially and culturally, and the main reason why we have this moderation is because we have this diversity in sects and ethnicities. But one of the most important factors is the Christian factor in the history of Syria, especially after Islam came to this region14 centuriesago. So, without them, this region will move more toward extremism. So, their future is important, but you cannot separate it from the future of the Syrians, it’s not separated. I mean, if you have a good future for the Syrians, the future of every component of our society will be good, and vice versa.

Question 24: Okay, so there’s a future for them here, because there seems to be a target in this war on Christian people.

President Assad:Not really, actually the number of Muslims that have been killed in Syria is much, much more than the Christians, so you cannot say there’s a target. Again, it’s only used by the extremists in order to promote their war, that it’s against the “atheists” and it’s for God and so on, but in reality, no.

Question 25:Mr. President, before the end of this interview, let me ask you one more question. How do you see your future? Do you consider the more important the future of Syria, or you staying in power?

President Assad: It’s self-evident; the future of Syria is everything for us. I mean, even my future cannot be separate, as a citizen. As a citizen, if my country is not safe, I cannot be safe. If it’s not good, I cannot have a good future, so that’s self-evident. But again, if you want to put them against each other, it’s like saying “if the president is here, the future of Syria is bad. If the president leaves, the future of Syria is good.” That’s the Western propaganda. Actually, that’s not the case within Syria. Within Syria, you have people who support that president, you have people who don’t support that president, so when my future is good for Syria, if the Syrian people want me as president, the future will be good. If the Syrian people don’t want me, and I want to cling to power, this is where for me being as president is bad. So it’s very simple. So, we don’t have to follow the Western propaganda to answer according to that propaganda, because it’s disconnected from reality. I have to answer you according to our reality.

Journalist:Okay, thank you, Mr. President. Thank for this opportunity.

President Assad: Thank you for coming to Syria.

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PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD

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Pope Francis Services Again

By Ariadna Theokopoulos

Pope Francis hides his cross to avoid offending his “elder brothers”

Pope Francis pleasured his handlers again, intoning sweet hasbara endearments when he met with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder and the Jewish Elders in a private meeting at the Vatican. He  told them that the state of Israel has every right to exist, and criticism of either or both is antisemitism.

Ron Lauder declared himself satisfied with how he was serviced by the Pope (and through him, as the WJC president, the “Jewish people”), by not just talking dirty but by performing stimulating (“inspiring”) acts:

“Pope Francis does not simply make declarations. He inspires people with his warmth and his compassion. His clear and unequivocal support for the Jewish people is critical to us.”

According to WJC’s statement released on October 28, Francis said:

“To attack Jews is antisemitism, but an outright attack on the state of Israel is also antisemitism. There may be political differences between governments and on political issues, but the state of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity.”

As Rehmat observes in “Pope Francis defends Jewish occupation of Holy Land”: “Francis’ message is a green light for the Jewish extremists to keep murdering innocent Palestinian Muslims and Christians, even small children, based on their religious teachings. For example, in July a Palestinian infant, Ali Dawabshe, was burned to death by Israeli Jews. In October, an Israeli stabbed a fellow Jew in Haifa mistook him for an Arab.

Last week, UK’s veteran Jewish MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, accused Israelis of faking knife-stabbings of Israeli Jews by Palestinians.

In September 2015, Israel’s religious high court (Sanhedrin) composed of 71 Jewish Sages had threated to put Pope Francis on Cross for denying that Biblical god never promised Holy Land to Jews. The threat was result of Vatican’s recognition of Palestinian state in 2013.”

I guess even the Sanhedrin — notoriously hard to please — are satisfied now.

Rehmat also notes that Christians, who made 20% of Palestinian population under Ottoman rule, have been reduced to only 4%, and half of those Christians live in the Gaza Strip. To the menorah-whipped Pope, his “elder brothers” are the innocent, unjustly suffering victims of anti-semitism, nothing else counts. True penance for sinning against God’s “chosen” in today’s Catholic Church means never using kneepads. Pope Francis’ knees are virtuously calloused by now.

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Talmud in Canadian court

REHMAT

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Last year, Arthur Topham, Canadian writer and blogger accused Canada’s powerful Jewish Lobby of creating country’s draconian Hate Law to target critics of Israel and the Jewish power.

On October 27, 2015, Arthur Topham appeared in a British Columbia court to defend his freedom of speech rights. He is accused by B’nai B’rith of inciting hatred toward Canadian Jewish community (310,000 in country’s population of 35 million). BC province is home to 32,000 Jews.

Topham is also accused of believing anti-Jewish ‘conspiracy theories’ like The Protocols, 9/11, etc. and re-blogging anti-Israel articles from other websites. If convicted, Topham will spend some time in a jail, in addition to a heavy fine and his website, Radical Press, would be removed from internet – like British vicar Stephen Sizer‘s personal blog 7 months ago.

Terry Wilson, ex-anti-hate crime squad detective had accused Arthur Topham of quoting anti-Jew statements from Elizabeth Dillings’ book, The JewishReligion: Its Influence Today. While cross-examining, Topham’s defense lawyer asked Wilson if he had read Ms Dillings’ book, he replied that he did. When further questioned that if he had cross-checked the book’s allegations with Talmud, Wilson admitted that he had never read Talmud. However, Wilson lauded Talmud as one of Jews “Holy” books and attempting to convince the Jury that any negative criticism of it was just pure anti-Semitism and hatred (here).

Israeli historian, late professor Israel Shahak in his epic book, Jewish HistoryJewish Religion, has exposed Talmud’s hatred of non-Jewish people, particularly hatred toward Jesus (as) his mother Saint Mary (as) and Christianity.

Pope Francis, however, in an open letter published by Rome’s newspaper La Repubblica on September 11, 2013, defended Jewish scriptures, saying: Christians have rediscovered that the Jewish people are the holy root from which Jesus germinated.

Holy Qur’an has dedicated an entire Chapter, Surah Mariam, in praise of Jesus (as) and his mother Virgin Mary (as).

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The ‘Jewish Covenant with God,’ According to Pope Francis

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By Richard Edmondson

The supposed “covenant” establishing the Jews as God’s “chosen people”—and particularly Pope Francis’ recently-articulated position on this—has been the subject of a very lively online discussion over the past week or so.

Francis is quite possibly the most philo-Semitic pope in history, and in November of 2013 he published his Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) which included a section on the Catholic Church’s “relations with Judaism.”

In it he asserts, “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked…” which is a distinct departure from Church doctrine, a doctrine which for many centuries has held that the covenant between God and the Jews, as outlined in the pages of the Old Testament, was superseded by the new covenant in Christ.

The Evangelii Gaudium is a type of papal document known as an “apostolic exhortation,” and this one is quite lengthy—close to 50,000 words. Moreover, only a small portion of it pertains to Jews. Economic inequalities and the obligation to provide assistance to the poor are among its more dominant themes. For instance, Francis writes: “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society.”—a noble sentiment to be sure.

Indeed, ever since he was elected pope in March of last year, Francis has been an outspoken advocate for the poor. He has also become the darling of the mainstream media—which is quite curious since the mainstream media have never been known for expressing much sympathy for the poor.

But last March, one week into his papacy, the New York Times trumpeted Francis’ “passionate pledge” on behalf of the poor. An ABC News guest and Wall Street Journal columnist believes he “excites the imagination of the world.” The L.A. Times seems thoroughly enraptured that the pope has “deliberately shunned high-cost, high-falutin’ ways”; CBS calls him “a vigorous, accessible, even affectionate leader”; and of course last month Time Magazine named him its Person of the Year.

So what gives? What exactly is the agenda here? Hard to say for sure, but perhaps the discussion below will shed some light. There does seem to be a certain disconnect, however—even within the pages of the Evangelii Gaudium itself. For instance the document denounces unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny.” Yet how are we to reconcile this with the view of Jews as enjoying a special covenant with God? How do we do so when Jews, and particularly Jewish media owners, have been among the greatest promoters and purveyors of the “new tyranny” Francis purportedly finds so objectionable? And perhaps most pertinently of all, does the occupation of Palestine figure into all of this in some manner?

A few years ago the per capita income in Gaza was estimated at around $600 a year, which would rank Gazans in with the poorest people in the world. This quite begs the question: in all of his pleading on behalf of the poor, what has Francis had to say about the conflict between Israel and Palestine? Very little actually, although it has been announced that he plans to visit the region in May.

At any rate, Francis’ position on the Jews and its implications for church doctrine—as well as what it possibly forebodes for the occupation of Palestinians and the theft of their lands—has been the subject of a thought-provoking, and at times intense, discussion on the Shamir Readers List. The list is maintained by Israel Shamir, a former Israeli and also a Jewish convert to Christianity. He is the author of a number of books, including The Cabbala of Power, which, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. You can also visit his website here.

The full text of Evangelii Gaudium can be accessed here, but excerpted below is the section entitled “Relations with Judaism,” and directly beneath that I have reproduced some of the Shamir Readers comments. Keep in mind, though, that this is an ongoing discussion, and what you see does not include all of the comments that have been posted.

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Relations with Judaism [excerpted from Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium]

247. We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity (cf. Rom 11:16-18). As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God (cf. 1 Thes 1:9). With them, we believe in the one God who acts in history, and with them we accept his revealed word.

248. Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples. The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians.

249. God continues to work among the people of the Old Covenant and to bring forth treasures of wisdom which flow from their encounter with his word. For this reason, the Church also is enriched when she receives the values of Judaism. While it is true that certain Christian beliefs are unacceptable to Judaism, and that the Church cannot refrain from proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Messiah, there exists as well a rich complementarity which allows us to read the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures together and to help one another to mine the riches of God’s word. We can also share many ethical convictions and a common concern for justice and the development of peoples.

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Comments Posted By Shamir Readers

From: Ken Freeland:

In his recently published  Apostolic Exhortation, ,EVANGELII GAUDIUM, Francis makes the following assertion:  “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). “On the surface, this seems as radical a volte face as we might ever expect to find in a papal teaching.  It seems to fly in the face of 2000 years of Christian tradition.  The following questions are meant to provoke and guide (but not limit) discussion:

1) To what extent does an apostolic exhortation carry ex cathedra weight?

2) Is this an accurate English translation of the original Latin?  (the title above is linked to the official Vatican web page, but there are some gross grammatical errors in the English language version I have encountered, so it is quite possible that this particular statement has been improperly rendered).

3) The Jews have been pushing for a long time for an acknowledgment from Rome that their covenant with God is still valid, and they apparently have found their vehicle in Francis. Assuming this be a correct translation, what are the implications for a “New Covenant” if the Old Covenant remains extant? Why did Jesus himself submit to baptism, and require it of all followers, and enjoin his disciples to baptize all believers, if the Old Covenant still remains valid? Did not Jesus himself say that unless ye are born again of the water and the spirit ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, or something to that effect?

4) How far can a Christian prelate, even the pope, diverge from the scriptural and traditional understandings of Christianity before his words become heretical?

Well, that should be enough to goad some responses, and I’m sure that there are a number of other kindred questions raised by this theological coup that others will add as we go.

I am looking forward to what others have to say on this score.

Peace, and happy new year to all.

Ken Freeland

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(2) From Michael Robeson

Dear Israel,

Here are a few, brief  comments from a progressive Catholic about his Church that he is often in disagreement with:

The official Church stresses Ecumenical dialogue with all other faiths, but in particular Judaism. Statements about other faiths, especially positive statements, must be understood within the context of the Church’s political effort to stress that dialogue.

Here I will use a daily example to avoid the doctrinal issues you’ve raised: During almost every Mass, there is a reading from the Old Testament prior to the reading from the Gospel. Most Catholics, priests and laity, understand this as an illustration that God has been speaking to his people since before the arrival of Christ and that the Old Testament possesses a value in illuminating the Gospels as fulfilling the promises from God found in the books of the Old Testament. This would be entirely consistent with the Church’s position, which has varied over time but which has been enunciated growingly over the past hundred years – Judaism original covenant with God has not been revoked, but rather has been fulfilled in his New Covenant with humanity through Christ.

But there is another interpretation, of the Old Testament readings during Holy Mass, that is no longer commonly enunciated. It is this: Hearing the two readings side by side, readings that have been selected by Church officials for their properties of illuminating the faithful, evoke in the listeners the idea that the second reading, the Gospel, is a clear improvement over the first reading and a deepening of the message that God intends his people to hear, to understand and to live by. Some of the side by side readings show the Old Testament to be not only more shallow and less divine than the Gospel message, but also show them to be misguided. Of course, only a careful listener would hear this distinction, and Church officials, including priests, do not go out of their way, to encourage it. The politics of Ecumenical dialogue being for more important. But prior to this politicalization of the Church, it was common to hear from priests and from officials a conviction that the Gospel message is so revolutionary in its philosophical depth and its intellectual understanding of the Divine’s interaction with humanity, that the Gospel could only be the sign of a radically new relationship between God and his people (all people!) and that an entirely new way of understanding that relationship must be enunciated. We have a New Covenant with God. Whether it revokes the first or fulfils it is a mystery left to God’s devices and is less important than knowing that Christ’s living presence upon the earth is a divine reality greater than the Old laws.

As one can see, the Pope’s statements can be understood in both contexts. I suspect that the Church, for its political advantages as well as for its public safety, intends it that way.

I could say much more about this, but I hope your other readers will find these remarks useful.

Best Regards,

Michael Robeson

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(3) From Michael Jones, Culture Wars

Dear Shamir,

We dealt with this issue a few years back in Culture Wars when Robert Sungenis challenged the statement in the Catechism of the American Catholic Bishops which claimed that, “the Mosaic covenant is eternally valid.” This statement is false, and the American bishops tacitly admitted the legitimacy of Sungenis’s claim when they dropped the statement from the Catechism a few months after the article appeared in Culture Wars.

The real issue is not the status of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation. The real issue revolves around the ambiguous use of the term “covenant.” When Pope John Paul II first made this claim, he was, according to Sungenis, referring to the Abrahamic covenant, which applied to all peoples. The Mosaic covenant specifying animal sacrifice, a Temple, and a priesthood to administer the sacrifice in the Temple was most certainly revoked when Christ died on the cross and the veil in the Temple was rent in two.

I hope this clarifies matters.

All the best,

Mike

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(4) From Robert Sungenis

Israel,

The problem for us is that it is hard to pin Francis to the wall because he never defines what he means by “Old Covenant” or “their covenant.”

Him and his comrades do this deliberately so as to make the issue ambiguous. It results in making it APPEAR as if the Jews still have a special covenant with God when they actually do not.

There are four possibilities to the “Old Covenant”:

1) the physical Abrahamic covenant
2) the spiritual Abrahamic covenant
3) the Mosaic covenant
4) the Davidic covenant

Of the four, the only 2 and 4 continue, since they refer exclusively to Christ, and thus they transition into the New Covenant. (cf. Hebrews 11:8-19; Rom 4:1-22)

1 and 3 were fulfilled in the Old Testament and have no continuation into the New Covenant. In other words, they are “revoked.” (cf. Neh 9:7-8; Josh 21:43-45; 1 Kings 8:56 cf. Hebrews 7:18; 8:1-13; 10:9; 2Cor 3:6-14; Col 2:14-15)

But the liberals, like Francis, don’t define their terms. They have been playing this word game for many years. The object is to confuse and make it appear as if there is actually some Scriptural or Ecclesiastical basis to maintaining a covenant with the Jews.

adalo

If you remember, John Paul II was the first to make use of “Old Covenant” in his 1981 Mainz speech. He stated: “the Old Covenant, never revoked by God.”.

The 1988 paper on the liturgy by the USCCB got a little bolder and mentioned the “Sinai covenant” as still being valid, and this was the first time that there was a shift from “Old Covenant” to “Sinai” or “Mosaic covenant.”

After that, of those who were promoting that the Jews still had the “Old Covenant,” no one used either “Sinai” or “Mosaic” covenant.

Except in 2006, the USCCB Adult catechism resurrected the word “Mosaic” covenant on page 131. It stated: “Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.”

Seeing this, I wrote a lengthy letter to the CDF and the USCCB in 2007, and then wrote a major article for Culture Wars in Jan. 2008, stating that this was a heresy and needed to be removed.

That year, the US bishops had their executive meeting, and in August 2008 voted 231 to 14 to take out the offending sentence. The next year, 2009, the Vatican issued a “recognitio” approving of the USCCB’s decision. This was a major victory for us.

Interestingly enough, the USCCB is going to replace the heretical sentence with a quote from Romans 9:4-5 which, depending on the translation from the Greek, could imply that the Jews still have a covenant with God.

To be sure, the Greek doesn’t allow a present covenant, but some English translations do, since they slip in some words that aren’t in the Greek, such as the Protestant Revised Standard Version (1946), and that is the very translation that the USCCB is using in its revised Adult catechism when it is published. How clever. They won’t use the New American Bible (which is a Catholic Bible) because the NAB doesn’t add the needed English words to make it appear as if the Jews have a covenant with God!!

Needless to say, these people are experts at word games, and few people have the acumen or knowledge to smoke them out.

(If you want to know more about this issue of replacing page 131 with Romans 9:4-5, I’ve attached a paper I wrote on it that was published in CW).

Bottom line: until if and when we can pin Francis and his cohorts down to be specific concerning what covenant they have in view, we won’t get very far. They learned their lesson in the 2006 US Adult catechism incident.

Case in point: I was in a protracted discussion with Dr. Eugene Fisher, former director of the USCCB, in about 2007, about the “Old Covenant.” Fisher was touting that the Old Covenant was still the Jews’ covenant. At the end, I asked him what Old Covenant he was referring to, since there were several old covenants. That is when he terminated the conversation, and I haven’t heard from him since.

So you see, this is a word game. As long as they can use ambiguous and undefined terms, they perpetuate their agenda. It’s a brilliant strategy, devilish as it is.

Robert Sungenis

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(5) From Paul Bennett

On this issue, Pope Francis is simply echoing Benedict XVI: the Jews have a “Special Relationship” with God. If we are willing to accept the Bible in any form, then surely we must realize this. Most heresies have begun with an attempt to separate Christ from His Jewish roots. This is quite apart from anything having to do with the state of Israel, which is a purely Masonic invention.

Shamir and Kreeft have also explored this issue. They show us that without the Jews the Christian truth could not have been kept Holy and apart. It is so natural for Men to swap Gods that it requires a special group – an especially reviled and hated group – that is willing to forego the benefits of exchanging Gods and watering down doctrines with their neighbors. They remain an indigestible “iron ball” in the stomach of the world. Now we Catholics are that iron ball.

And yet the creators of the Old Testament have not been left abandoned by God in this New Testament world . After all, it was He who changed the rules of the game, not they, It’s not their fault they are so unchangeable; they were molded so by God Himself. To my knowledge it has not been revealed to us the nature of this “Special Relationship” and we have not yet puzzled it out, but it must be obvious that God, being all things Good, would not abandon an old friend.

So that’s where it stands today. The souls of the Jews are in the Hands of God. The best thing we can do for them is to resist and disapprove of the Atheist “Jews” (as we must resist and disapprove of Atheist “Christians”) who have served the NWO with such diligence and skill. I would seek out those who are farthest from God first: the lost sheep. Godly folk of every stripe should be left in peace. They will be curious, so we must catechize ourselves properly. We must live as lights to the world, or else they will not seek us out, nor should they if we do not.

The atheists and New Agers and Satanists and Masons who have strayed from God’s path must be instructed in basic logic before they can be approached with anything more advanced. The Protestant denominations and Fundamentalist cults will find themselves driven back to the Church as they chase down every modern fad and subdivide themselves into oblivion.

The only remaining group is the faithful, Torah-reading Jews who will never willingly turn away from their understanding of Jehovah. Should we treat this long-favored tribe as lost sheep simply because they did not change their spots quickly enough for us? Let’s bring our own lost sheep back to the fold before we begin to target groups who have never been our responsibility.

Pope Francis is trying to make us laity less legalistic, less ideological. He would like us laity to reach out to the lost sheep closest to us – not condemn tribes half a world away (in time if not in space). Instead, the Western clergy have decided to interpret the pope’s statements as permission to become more modernist, more like the world, and less Holy, less set apart, less like an indigestible “iron ball” in the stomach of the world.

Regards, Paul Bennett

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(6) From Ken Freeland

Thanks for this highly informed response.

I, too, had considered the question of alternative interpretations of “covenant,”  though not with your precise breakdown.  But I sensed a major problem in trying to interpret it as possibly referring to either the “spiritual Abrahamic” or “Davidic” covenants, since grammatically it really makes no sense to speak of a FULFILLED covenant as one which God “has never revoked.”  In fact, if we think about this for a moment, we realize that not only do these two covenants not provide common ground between Christians and Jews, but that their opposed beliefs as to whether these covenants were fulfilled in Christ is precisely a defining difference between Christianity and Judaism.  It would thus be contradictory to confirm this covenant as some kind of ongoingly valid covenant for Jews…with as much reason (and no less risk of heresy) the Pope could argue that Christians and Jews are the same thing. Either those covenants with Abraham and David were fulfilled in the coming of Christ or they were not, and if they were, it cannot follow that the pope or anyone else can speak of them, in a Christian context, as having continuing validity for another religion (which explicitly understands them as “not yet fulfilled.”) This , then, leaves only the Mosaic and the (“physical”) Abrahamic covenants. Of course, it is within these, if I’m not mistaken, that the Jews find their expansive hisotrical claims to the “holy land.”  So there is a great moral danger in affirming, even by implication, such covenants…though it would seem that this pope is far less concerned about the future of the Palestinians than he is about the future of the Vatican’s relations with Jews.

Peace,

Ken Freeland

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castlead

Pope Francis and the Jews—Part II

Dear friends,

Here is a continuation (second instalment) of ongoing discussion among our (chiefly Catholic) friends. This was initiated by Ken Freeland who proposed to discuss a very dubious proposition of Pope Francis re Jews and Covenant. I cc-ed this letter to ten persons in hope to get a brief discussion and form an opinion. We received some responses, possibly will get more.

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

Israel Adam Shamir

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From Jeffrey Langtan, Rome

Dear Israel,

I see that I am a late-comer to this discussion. But, here are my responses to the initial questions:

1)  It carries no ex cathedra weight. This apostolic exhortation is theological speculation by the Pope in which he wants us all to consider, in the case, how to better attract others to the faith. He is simply repeating in this document specualtive statements by John Paul II and Benedict. Letters like this one are exercises of the ordinary magisterium of the Church, but they carry less weight than an Encyclical. I suppose the idea is that the faithful are asked to consider with respect what the Pope says (in forums like this one, not by writing editorials in the National Review the day the document comes out), to test whether these kinds of speculations are in fact connected to the faith, or what value, if any they have. As many of the responses have shown, there are problems with the statement.

The Pope does admit in the same paragraph that there are irreconcilable differences, like the “Church cannot refrain from proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Messiah.” This is clearly stated. Something that was not always clearly stated when others in authority speak about the Jews.

2) The official latin translation is not yet available. The Pope tends to write things in Spanish first.

3 & 4) Bob Sungenis seems to be the expert on this one. I see from many of the comments, that there might be a lot of reasons why the Popes are doing what they are doing. At the same time, it is clear in this document that he is searching for ways for Catholics to deal with the Jews and this is a restatement of what has come before.

I suppose Popes feel a certain liberty to engage in theological speculation according to their understanding of where we are in history and how to approach historical problems. Francis spent time in Germany in the 1950s, and I think the fear of many is that he might be one of the last Popes with whom they can use the Holocaust as an image of control.

This is clearly an area where they are not infallible. That is, this is all part of an effort to create a language for dealing with the Jews that will avoid any charges of anti-semitism. Of course, this is an impossible task, as others have pointed out, and leads to other incredibly difficult problems.

I would say that from his actions with respect to Syria and his repeated calls for peace in Syria he is not simply in the pocket of the Israelis when it comes to Syria and the Palestinians. But, playing loose language with the language of the covenant shows the dilemma that has been set up since at least the 1960s. On the one hand, in most public pronouncements when Church leaders meet with Jews they speak about the covenant and how much we abhor anti-Semitism. Then, the same Jewish leaders turn around and promote all sorts of behavior that undermines faith and morals, using the “dialogue language” to accuse anyone of anti-semitism who opposes their efforts. For example, a few years back the US Bishops praised Rabbi Saperstein and 30 Catholic Universities invited to their campuses so they could honor him for his commitment to Catholic-Jewish dialogue. At the same time, he was, according to his own account of events, “single-handedly” bringing about changes in the laws that would recognize same sex marriage in the US.

Yours,

Jeff

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From Leo Schmit:

Thanks Ken and Israel for triggering this discussion. To me the whole affair would have passed by unnoticed even though I downloaded Francis’ text planning to read it later.

Judging from some of the reactions, like the one here below from Edgar, it seems to me that the ‘traditional’ Roman Catholics are not going to agree to the delivery of their Church to jewry, just like that.  Must we fear for a schism on this essential point? Another question that comes to my mind is how the Christian Zionists are going to take this, losing their Chozen Ones to an ecumenical coup in the Vatican.

Edgar and others point to the Council of Florence. A clear statement now overruled by Francis. Ken raises a good question concerning the notion of parallel covenants for both Jews and Catholics. Has all this ‘baptism’ been in vain for the last 2000 years? Because the old covenant is declared still valid? How much closer can one get to heresy?

I checked my old ‘Katholieke Encyclopedie’ of 1936/38 , N.V. Uitgeverij Joost v.d. Vondel, Amsterdam (ed. Titus Brandsma who succumbed to Nazi terror in 1943).

The KE quotes Rom. 25 whereas Francis quotes Rom.28: The KE (Bind 14) says: ‘The Catholic opinion about the continued existence of the Jews (LS: the Jewish faith) is founded on the historically nurtured psyche of the Jews and God’s providence (Rom.25), waiting for their eventual conversion by the end of times’.

Concerning the old covenant, the KE discusses the matter in God’s revelations to Abraham. First the KE makes the claim that monotheistic notions were already existing before Abraham. Then the KE continues: ‘However, Abraham’s call had a deeper significance than just taking up an old tradition. Indeed, God forges a personal bond with Abraham (‘innig verbond’)’, with circumcision as the worldly token, and He not only promises Abraham that he will inherit a strong people, but He makes also the more universalistic promise that through Abraham all generations on earth shall be blessed (Gen. 12.3; 18.18; 22.18)’.

It could well be that Francis bases his coup on the last notion, thus effectively restoring Judaism as the one and only founding religion and discarding Catholicism as its ‘modern’ off-spring.

Now back to 2014. What we see here is a push for this ‘judeo-christian’ ideology, which constitutes a great threat to world peace. As if it is not yet sufficiently threatened.

Regards,

Leo

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From Come Carpentier

I think that is the problem with Christianity, at least in its contemporary version. it still proclaims the special place of certain people in the world, as if there were a natural hierarchy of races and nations. As long as we won’t do away with that idea of the uniqueness of a certain people like the Jews, those who believe in it will keep going, pendulum-like from submission to persecution. They will either put Jews on a pedestal or try to suppress and/or eradicate them.

God has no chosen people or preferred nations. That is that.

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latrun

From Mark Glenn

For what it is worth, from this father who just had his 10th child baptized in the Catholic faith using the old Latin rite–

Bergoglio is a mere continuation of the Judaic-friendly popes beginning with Roncalli (John XXIII) who proceeded him. Given the haste with which his predecessor Benedict ‘retired’, coupled with Bergoglio’s origins (Argentina/Latin America, the next major political hemisphere slated to go through the tumult of CIA/Mossad inspired/guided ‘color revolutions’ that will UNDOUBTEDLY be referred to as the ‘Latin American Spring’) my personal feeling is that Bergoglio’s role is to continue on with the program of suppressing the Catholic world’s immune system with regards to the Judaic virus and then at some propitious moment, will lend his credibility behind the various uprisings that will take place in countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuado and others who are firmly in the pro-Iran/anti-Israel/anti-JWO camp.

Those with the patience and the stomach can read what I had to say on the matter last year at Bergoglio’s ‘ascension’–

http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/habemus-papam-praise-of-new-pope-by-war-hungry-israel-not-a-good-omen-for-a-war-weary-world/

just me 2 lire worth

mg

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From Edgar Suter

What could be more clear than the infallible, perennial, and unchangeable dogmatic statement from the Council of Florence?

Edgar

“§ 712 It [the Holy Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to Divine worship at that time, after our Lord’s coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the Sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors….

“§714 The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, and heretics, and schismatics, can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil, and his angels,’ (Matthew 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, alms deeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

—Cantate Domino, from the infallible ecumenical Council of Florence under His Holiness Pope Eugene IV defining the Solemn Doctrine: Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, promulgated by papal bull, February 4, 1444 [Florentine calendar] in Denziger Enchiridion Symbolorum, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, § 712-714

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From Ed Durst

Blessed John Henry Newman on “The Principle of Continuity between the Jewish and Christian Churches”

http://www.newmanreader.org/Works/subjects/sermon15.html

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From Yousef Salem

Interestingly, the three main religions have a unique characteristic in that Jews own upward (themselves) and deny downward (Christians and Muslims, while Christians own upward (Jews) and deny downward (Muslims), but Muslims own upward (both Christians and Muslims) since the Quran states that if a Muslim denies that God revealed divine revelatons to Christians and Jews then that person is not a Muslim.

Too, the term “Judeo-Christian tradition” is questionable if one reads those many parts of the Talmud that preach and teach extreme hatred against non-Jews, and they are far too many to quote here. One of many sources is http://www.rense.com/general79/talmud.htm  Scroll down to the sentence just above “Some teachings of the Jewish Talmud”.  There are far closer similarities between Christians and Muslims.

However, those Jews who adhere to the hatred taught in the Talmud are generally fundamentalist orthodox Jews and zionist Jews in general, whereas most Reform and Conservative Jews reject those teachings and many of them are very passionate devotees of Palestinan rights who emphatically denounce zionism and its adherents/practioners and well as their Christian supporters.

I am Yousef Salem in the United States of israel… until we take it back!

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From Oscar Porath

Fratres,

I come to think of John Vennaris clearminded and recent article which I want to share with you:

Pope Francis and the Old Covenant

http://www.cfnews.org/page88/files/e37738adb6edd892883b1b12f97030f3-161.html

All the best,

Oscar Porath

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From Tom Mysiewicz

I guess I missed something over the last few thousand years.  Why do Christians talk about a “New Covenant” and a “New Testament”?  I guess when G-d said He “divorced Israel”—as it clearly states in the Old Testament–He was really still married to her?  And, certainly, he could remarry her when convenient?  (Despite Hollywood practice, divorcees can not remarry under the Torah.)  One point of Jesus’ death, if you accept Christian epistemology, was so there could be a “Marriage Supper” of the Lamb, a new covenant, a new heaven and earth, etc.  If the “old husband” had died, the new Israel—including all the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” Jesus said he was sent to find–could remarry G-d.

I hope this pope’s conversion was orthodox!

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From Eric Walberg

JPII was the one who first argued ‘their covenant with God has never been revoked’ or is that part of Vatican II?

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From Sandhya Jain

I am no expert on anything, but I think that John Paul II did the Jews first stuff, Benedict continued it, I can find the references and send them later

Sandhya

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From Maria Poumier

Very interesting discussion about pope Francis. Let us remember there are a lot of tricks in translation, and people who publish about the pope are generally NOT Catholics, so they enjoy misleading us, suggesting what THEY want the Pope to say.

But I am afraid the shamirreaders contributors I have been reading about pope Francis are missing the point, because most of them are quite anti-Jewish, since the beginning, fond of tradition, and admirers of bishop Williamson, the kind of people who consider the church is quite heretical since pope John XXIII. So, in a very lazy attitude, they seem to expect  just a confirmation  that Francis is a kind of crypto Jew, or the new puppet manipulated by Jews, and it would make them happy to shout: “I predicted that since the beginning!”

Though I am also an admirer of Williamson’s  anti-Jewish attitude, I think we should not forget the reality of the political responsibility of the Vatican. On one hand, the pope has to represent the plain people of the whole world, and their demands of exemplarity, visible holiness, open minded modernity. And, on the other hand, he cannot attack easily the Jewish powers (Shamir’s work about the translations of the Bible should remind us how difficult it has been during 2000 years for the Fathers to escape from the imposition of the Jewish rhetoric. In the Christmas gospel, we are still obliged to mention Jesus as “King of the Jews”, which makes no sense at all nowadays, but remains since the old times, when St Paul didn’t succeed to make Christianity become a universal Jewish-free thing.) So getting rid of the subliminal Jewish propaganda is still … something to be, and if no previous European pope could do it, it is probably even more difficult for a pope who is supposed to represent the non European Catholics, the “inferior races” in the ancient colonial mentality, still very strong in many traditionalist Catholics.

As Shamir pointed it, pope Francis’s call for peace in Syria, giving a hand to president Putin, and creating unity of action with the Orthodox patriarchs, was a real victory of spirit and Christianity. He will be able to do more only if he has a mass worldly support. He believes in the natural religious spirit, good faith and good willingness of all the nations. Historically, no one can discuss that Christ was born in the Jewish world, and that we have no answer to the mystery of the steadiness of Jewishness, after 2000 years. In these days, we discover that Whahabbism is a heresy in Islam very similar to Zionism in Judaism, and connected with the same worst tendencies since the XIXth century. So contemporary official Judaism is not the only enemy of manhood, and certainly plain people from Jewish grand-parents are absolutely not our enemies!  The Pope cannot afford to hurt them namely, out of context, falling in the Zionist trap of “antisemitism”.

For plain Catholics all over the world, the important step is to feel accepted in the church, even if divorced, homosexual and a lot of old and new sins. And the Pope’s aura is all embracing: non Catholics too need to feel they are not rejected by him and by Jesus. I am sure plain Jews too… even if they deny it.

The same plain believers are the ones who fill churches with ex-votos, meaning they know we are not almighty, nor the Chosen ones. This is the radically Christian attitude, different from the typical intellectual, pharisaic style attitude.

In my opinion, traditionalist Catholics should avoid feeling themselves as the Chosen ones, because they know a lot about the old and modern Jewish tricks.  It is more important to feel as poor as St Francis, close to the dying drown boat people in Lampedusa and in so many places. The antizionist  Neturei Karta and a lot of nice Jews  have a real sense of compassion, why should we reject or deny that? It is mental health to start with compassion, in order to go further in spiritual elevation.

Our Zionist enemies will feel very happy if there is a schism between the Catholics. They know they are spiritually weak and cannot attack frontally the spiritual health that people are expecting from the Pope.  Don’t give them such a wonderful gift! Let us make all our churches stronger, and people will not fall in the Judaic moral traps, they will resist as a natural reflex of spirit (with God’s help, inch Allah).

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From Mike Robeson

Dear Mr Carpenter,

Are you and I the only ones in this group that perceive an over-identification with a “Covenant” as thinking like Jews when Christ is asking us to go beyond that?

The other writers, and learned were their remarks about the Covenant and knowing were their telling of its history in the Vatican, sounded much to me like school boys in a school yard fighting over candy.

“The Covenant is mine!” “No, it’s mine and you can’t have it anymore.” “I’ve had it from the beginning and so I still have it!” “Well God gave it to me, now, and that’s final!”

If we would like to offer the new Pope advice on more effectively and honestly spreading the Gospel, wouldn’t we do better to suggest he and his cardinals visit people who are being militarily and economically oppressed by the Judeo-Christian West and maybe even living among them and sharing their misery? Wouldn’t their faces on the Evening News in Gaza make a better example for how we Christians can fight against the forces that use our tax money to oppress our brothers in Christ’s suffering?

Mr. Suter may be correct in suggesting that Christianity, at least when practised according to the Sermon on the Mount, cannot become, as was its predecessor, a Master Race creed. But let’s be honest. History is replete with examples of nominal Christians slaughtering unbelievers in the name of Christianizing their race, and of slaughtering Christians in the name of purifying God’s holy name. Cromwell, anyone? British Christianity, up until the 20th century was no less exceptionalist and thought of itself as no less a light unto the world than Judeo-Christian America and Zionist Israel do today. The Brits may not have been Catholic, but didn’t the Spanish and the Portuguese seek Vatican approval for their depravities in the New World and their efforts at Empire building?

The entire human race, not just those who know of Christ’s name, was given his divine gift. And as you clearly stated, there can no longer be a “Chosen people” not after Christ chose to come among us to save each of us from choosing to remain what we were and to become what he is guiding us to be – Brothers in his Brotherhood.

Michael Robeson

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From Edgar Suter

Nonsense, Come. Christianity is not some Master Race creed like Pharisaism/Judaism/Naziism that postulates a racial back door to Heaven and World Domination and a racial chute to Hell.

Instead of DNA or accident of birth, in Christianity one’s “chosen” status depends upon matters of free will—baptism, belief, and behavior according to God’s Law. That is that.

Alas, I am not one of the “chosen” who can post to the group. 🙂

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rachel

From Ken Freeland

SUMMA THEOLOGICA

A week or so ago, I read, for the first time, Pope Francis I’s recently published apostolic declaration EVANGELII GAUDIUM.  I was shocked to encounter the assertion that “We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). ”  I shared my discomfiture with Israel Shamir (who felt similarly on reading this statement by Francis), and he challenged me to register my concerns in summary form, which he would then disseminate to a group of Catholic-oriented colleagues, whose responses he later posted the Shamireaders listserve, which in turn provoked further responses.  I would like to summarize here some of what I’ve learned in this exchange, and make a few concluding remarks.

Many respondents were quick to point out that Francis I is not the first pope to make this stunning assertion.  That “honor”goes to John Paul II, who reinforced this position when challenged by doubtful critics.

Robert Sungenis elaborated the ambiguity of this papal pronouncement: it all depends on which covenant, or which interpretation of the term “covenant,” the pope has in mind, he observed, and tellingly, Francis does not specify.  True, this leaves the pope a lot of wiggle room (or wriggle room, if you prefer).  But the fact remains that by any interpretation it seems to fly in the face of traditional Catholic (and mainline Christian) theology.

Indeed, many examples of this are adduced in the spot-on piece on this very question by John Vennaris, cited by Oscar Porath.  The author can only assure us that papal pronouncements that diverge too widely from settled Catholic theology are to be disregarded, and that this church position trumps all others.

That’s  a kind of worst-case scenario, but not one that we can dismiss under the circumstances. A more sanguine approach was offered by Ed Durst, in linking to a sermon by John Cardinal Newman about the continuity between the Jewish and Christian traditions.  In this edifying piece, Newman argues that the Christian church simply perfects the Judaic understandings, in much the same way, he argues, as the Jewish did the pagan.  One could then argue, according to this interpretation, that God never “revoked” the Jewish covenant, he merely perfected it via Christianity. The problem remains, though, that Newman would not disagree that the Jewish tropes were obsolete, and this is exactly what Pope Francis seems to be implying is NOT the case!

Perhaps the most alarming note in this discussion was sounded by Mark Glenn, who refers us back to his prophetic claxon call written in the immediate aftermath of  Bergoglio’s assumption of the papal office.  He had foretold a pope who would do the Lobby’s bidding as payoff for their promotion of his candidacy by the Lobby.

On that score, however spiritually the Pope may have intended this exhortation, how do we expect Zionist-Jewish readers to interpret his remark?  Clearly, that he is reinforcing their claim to an eternal, divine right to the “holy land,” with all that this means for the oppression of its native inhabitants.  Doesn’t the pope need to be circumspect in his choice of words, and consider their potential political impact on the Jewish State’s long-suffering victims?

The choice of the term “revoke” seems to be particularly dangerous, as it implies that this covenant is irrevocable.  For “irrelevant” read: unconditional.  Today’s Jewish leadership will only too happily agree that their ethnic “chosenness” is forever, and not something for which they need to do anything in particular.  It is a privilege, an entitlement.  As is the moral impunity which appears to be inseparable from it.  How do the Pope’s words not fuel this hubris?

Indeed, it seems that the real issue bubbling below the surface is precisely this question of the conditionality vs. unconditionality of the Jewish covenant with God.  Throughout the Old Testament, there seem to be two opposite threads which develop in tandem, but pull in opposite directions, and this question of conditionality is what divides them.  Those who developed the so-called “oral traditions” that provided a gloss to the Torah (and which were eventually enshrined in the Talmud), tended towards the belief in unconditionality:  Jewishness is a birthright dispensation from universal moral law.  Those who understood it as conditional formed the prophetic line of Judaism (fail to uphold the moral law, and there will be natural consequences). Jesus openly aligned himself with the latter, as he openly repudiated the former.  He clearly warned its adherents that the vineyard could be taken away from them and given to others who WOULD bear fruit, and that their freedom and salvation was in no way grounded in being children of Abraham (i.e., heirs of his covenant).  As the John the Baptist had earlier quipped: “God can make children of Abraham from these stones!”  Jesus represented the culminated of the (persecuted) prophets:  either put up (repent and accept the Kingdom of God in your midst) or shut up (get out of the way and let those who are willing to bear fruit do so, whatever their ethnicity).  For a pope to suggest otherwise, that this covenant was not abrogated due to the unwillingness of the Jews to uphold its responsibilities, seems to blithely ignore this gospel account.

Peace,

Ken

*

peacebewithyou

From Israel Shamir

Not being a Catholic, I was not keen on expressing an opinion, but now, when people spoke, probably I can add. There is another debate, among my Orthodox Christian readers, whether the Catholics are saved; and we know that the Florentine document quoted in a previous installment claimed that the Orthodox Christians (“Schismatics”) are not saved, as well as Jews.

For present-day mentality, it is very difficult to accept that one has to choose which of the Patriarchs, that of Rome or that of Moscow and Jerusalem, is blessed or damned. We feel that both are blessed and blessing. And if you agree that these two branches of  Christendom are both saving, then you are under pressure to accept Muslims and Jews in the Divine plans.

There were no recent pronouncements by the Orthodox divines on the subject, but the Patriarch of Moscow said something quite similar years ago, when he was just a bishop on a visit in the US. Apparently there is a political expediency of such a sort. Perhaps one can view it as a form of politeness with little substance behind. The Russian church is not Judeophilic, but certainly not antisemitic in a racial sense.

The question of converting Jews is not the most important nowadays in the West, while in Russia the conversion of Jews has become a mass phenomenon – without a special effort of the church. As many Russians go to church of Sundays, Jews who live among them also join them and eventually baptise. The Russian Church avoids dialogue with Jews, and this is probably wise.

The problems can’t be localised to Jews: in France, the enforcement of gay marriages and elimination of gender identity are supported by some Jews, but mainly by people in power, who are of Christian parentage. Anyway it is good that we discussed this topic; the Church will learn of it and thus our views will be delivered to the Vatican as a sort of talk-back.

As for my view, God’s mercy and grace are great and He can save anybody of whatever church and faith if he wills so, even a Muslim or a Jew. This is good thing to remember today, on Christmas Eve, by the calendar of Jerusalem where I am now.

My blessings and best wishes to you all from Christ Nativity Church in Bethlehem!

Israel Adam Shamir

Pope Francis Wrongly Accused

by Ariadna Theokopoulos on May 21, 2015

Netanyahu’s speechwriter and adviser on Christianity, Dror Eydar, has accused the pope of attempting to nail the entire Jewish people to the cross.

Pope Francis’ cross is tactfully tucked under his “obi,”out of sight, when in cross-hating company

Bibi Advisor Accuses Pope Francis of ‘Nailing Entire Jewish People to the Cross’

In an open letter to Pope Francis published in U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s newspaper, Hayom,  Netanyahu’s speechwriter and adviser on Christian affairs, Dror Eydar, accuses Pope Francis of attempting to  to nail the entire Jewish people to the cross” through the Vatican’s act of recognizing the (phantomatic) “state of Palestine.

Forgoing the respectful form of address which Benjamin Netanyahu himself used in welcoming Pope Francis (“Hod K’dushat’cha” – Your Holiness) to Israel last year, Eydar’s “Open letter to Pope Francis” makes clear to Hebrew readers of the paper, exactly where the Pontiff and the Catholic Church as a whole, should stand in their estimation; he calls Pope Francis “Mister Pope”….

“Adoni Ha’Afifyor” [“Mr. Pope”], you are hostages to Islam, and, like many others in the West, think that if you just sacrifice the Jews, it [Islam] will leave you alone.”

In Eydar’s view, “What Islam is doing to Christianity today, Christianity did to the Jews for centuries.”

“Generation after generation, you blamed us for the crucifixion and death of your savior and forced us to feel his pain. What was anti-Semitism if not a forced return to the cross? A single Jew was crucified in Jerusalem at the start of the first millennium, and for the 2,000 years since, an entire people has been crucified all over the world.”

At this point, Eydar implicates the Palestinian people, and, by extension, the Pope, in a mirror-image version of one of history’s more ancient libels:

“Mr. Pope, establishing a Palestinian state on the Samarian hills [the West Bank] in the heart of the historic Land of Israel, is the latest attempt to nail the entire Jewish people to the cross.”

He warns to Pope Francis about the treatment he says Christians in Muslim-ruled lands can expect from the Islamic caliphate which, Eydar maintains, will immediately occupy the West Bank if Israel agrees to compromise with the Palestinians:

“… Christians will go on being murdered, raped, and forcibly converted to Islam. Your decision [the Vatican-Palestinian treaty] will pave the way for the disgrace.”

Eydar boasts of a PhD in Hebrew literature and is, in the words of Israel Hayom, “an expert in Jewish thought,” which I guess qualifies him as an expert in “Christian thought” as well. Don’t ask yourself, “What would Jesus say?” Ask Eydar. He’ll tell you that Jesus was a zionist avant la lettre:

“If we were to go back 2,000 years to the time of the Roman rule and ask Jesus to whom this country belongs, he would simply refer us to the verses of promise in the Bible, such as God’s promise to Abraham, the greatest believer: ‘For all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever” (Genesis 13:16).’”

All that aside, Pope Francis is wrongly accused. Look at the photo at the top. The Pope is hiding his cross! Can there be a more menorah-whipped Pope? Whatever Pope Francis nattered on about the so-called “two state” is not something to hold against him. If you see someone walking his dog and the dog relieves itself on your lawn, do you yell at the dog? Take it up with the Pope’s immediate handler, Rabbi Skorka, or with his superiors in the Jewish “Left-ish.”

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Israel hawks to Pope Francis: Stay out of politics

Pope Francis is pictured. | Getty

 

A top aide for Francis recently blasted U.S. politicians for denying climate change. | Getty

 

After Pope Francis moved to recognize a Palestinian state, some gung-ho defenders of Israel suggested the pontiff should stick to preaching and stay out of politics.

“It’s interesting how the Vatican has gotten so political when ultimately the Vatican ought to be working to lead people to Jesus Christ and salvation, and that’s what the Church is supposed to do,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a hawkish defender of Israel.

Story Continued Below

It wasn’t just Duncan. Several House conservatives seemed exasperated that Francis, who will address Congress this fall, approved the Vatican’s recognition of Palestine as a state. On Wednesday, critics said Rome needs to leave the question of Palestinian statehood to be sorted out in the Middle East.

 “I’m disappointed,” Duncan added. “Now the Pope is legitimizing a Palestinian state without requiring those who get recognition to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

Others were frustrated that the pontiff would recognize a place that’s an avowed enemy of a U.S. ally like Israel.

“I’m surprised that the pope would recognize Palestine when they’re still haters who want to eliminate Israel off the map and don’t recognize Israel,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a member of the Israel Allies Caucus.

“The Pope is the head of his religion, and he makes those calls for himself, but I represent 700,000 people from East Texas and a vast majority agree with me.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who co-chairs the caucus, was even bolder, calling the pontiff’s position into question on Biblical grounds.

Rand Paul is pictured. | AP Photo

“He’s a religious figure and he has every right to have his political viewpoint, but someone of that profile should have strong scriptural foundation for whatever positions he takes that are extensively representing the head of the Catholic Church,” Franks said. “I think this is probably one he should not have expressed.”

The Vatican’s policy change comes just a day after a top aide to Francis blasted U.S. politicians for denying climate change, blaming it on capitalism. The pope has also made waves with comments on homosexuality that many considered more moderate than his predecessors and with skepticism of consumerism.

Several Republicans were more forgiving. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), who is Catholic, didn’t seem too worried and said it’s not really in his wheelhouse.

“On faith and morals, he can speak to that … but on foreign affairs, maybe not,” he said.

Another idea some members floated: Maybe he just doesn’t know any better.

“I’m not sure that he’s as good of a politician as he is a Pope,” said Steve King (R-Iowa).

“I’m not sure he’s fully apprised of the circumstances out there,” Franks said.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), also Catholic, has invited the Pope to address Congress later this year, where the whole world will watch to see if he delivers a political message. He has, after all, not shied away from criticizing his own priests for lack of piety at a holiday mass.

Huelskamp said that, when the Pope comes to Washington, he hopes the Pontiff “focuses on issues [where] he can make a difference — the ‘nonnegotiables’”— like abortion, same sex marriage and the like.

“How do you deal with a poverty problem? There’s not a Catholic [fix], contrary to the arguments of certain economists that work at the Vatican,” Huelskamp said, said referring to the pope’s views on economics. “But there’s a Catholic view on life, on marriage, on the rights of parents and education. So I hope he sticks to this.”

Read more 

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Listening to Lavrov and remembering the Crusaders (UPDATED!)

Via the Saker 

Listening to Lavrov and remembering the Crusaders (UPDATED!)

I was just listening to Lavrov’s reaction to the latest grandstanding nonsense spewed yesterday by Obama.  Lavrov mentioned that it is rather clear that the USA refuse to be even the “first amongst equals”.  I had to smile.Lavrov was referring to the notion of primus inter pares which means just that, “first amongst equals”, and which was the primacy of honor the entire Christian world was willing to grant Patriarch of Rome because, at the time, Rome was the capital of the Empire.   But then, just as now, being just the “first amongst equals” was not good enough for the leader of the West which already wanted to subjugate all the other Patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch,  Jerusalem and Constantinople), soon thereafter, the entire planet (spiritually via the Dictatus papae and secularly via the Treaty of Tordesillas).  Apparently nothing has changed in over 1000 years.  The leader of the “Western World” still wants to be the Pontifex Maximus of the entire planet and the leaders of the East as still resisting him.The Saker

PS: I forgot to add: and the Latins still want us, people from the East, to shut up, stop reminding them of their historical record – now they want to pretend like we are brothers.  Yeah, brothers like Cain and Abel I suppose – Russia today sure “feels the love”, no doubt here.   You are only kidding yourselves…

 

Pope Francis: Saudi Arabia is responsible for Middle-East’s current bloodshed

Published on Monday, 19 January 2015 13:25

As Pope Francis bids farewell to Philippines, he urged U.S. administration to alter its general policies in regard to Arab-Israeli peace process which reached impasse.“… I believe the crux of today’s Middle-East problem is laid in the stalled Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, I mean when you side by one group against the other; you are giving the totalitarian regimes and radical groups a plausible excuse for their criminal deeds and heinous crimes,” said the plaintiff as he travelled to the airport in Manila.

For the first time, Pope Francis explicitly criticized U.S. oil-rich Arab ally– Saudi Arabia—for fomenting sectarian tension in Middle-East by invariably supporting hard-line militants.

“…for several times I importuned Saudis to end their catastrophic support for terrorist groups in the Middle-East but my appeals fell on deaf ears,” Qatari News Agency quoted the Pope as saying on Monday.

The pope added by saying that it would be totally inane and hypocritical of Saudis  to condemn Charlie Hebdo attack while they expand their support for the very terrorists who perpetrated the most heinous crimes against the humanity .

Meanwhile a Saudi blogger will be viciously flogged 50 times in the second of 20 such weekly punishment sessions he will receive this year.

Raif Badawi’s crime? Suggesting reforms for Islam.

Raif Badawi

Raif Badawi

The blogger has been sentenced to a total of 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam.

Amnesty International said a prison doctor concluded Mr Badawi’s wounds had not yet healed properly and he would not be able to withstand another round of lashes.

The UN human rights chief this week urged the Saudi king to pardon Mr Badawi and review the “cruel” penalty.

“Flogging is, in my view, at the very least, a form of cruel and inhuman punishment,” UN commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement.

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A couple of short news items

The Saker

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

Dear friends,

I couple of short ones today.

First, according to the EU Parliament member Wolfgang Gerke (sp?) the EU is debating making a list of Russian journalists to be barred from entering the EU.  Banderastan already has such a black list with 35 names.  So much for “democratic” and “European” “free speech” values.  The Russian press is openly laughing.

Feel the love!

Second, those who had any doubts about where the Vatican stood on the civil war in the Ukraine now can simply the article entitled “A Church with verve is at risk in Ukraine” on the website Crux (thanks AB!).  Apparently, the defeat of the Nazi Junta puts the Uniats at risk because, quote, “Greek Catholics have also become prominent players in national affairs. They were major proponents of Ukraine’sOrange Revolution in 2004/2005, and helped lead the Maidan protests earlier this year that swept pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych from power“.

Oh well, karma is a scary bitch I suppose 🙂

Third, a lot of your have been posting comments and sending me emails about Evgenii Fedorov’s predictions that a purge will soon happen.  Alas, I have to disappoint you.  While Fedorov seems to be a very nice guy and a sincere patriot, I don’t find him credible at all and I would recommend you take everything he says with a big amount of salt.  I don’t have the time to post a full refutation of his views, but just ask yourself the following: if the Novorussian authorities began printing their own currency, would you buy it?  QED.

Fourth at least, I leave you with yet another CrossTalk.  Sorry to post yet another CrossTalk right after posting one yesterday, but that is all Peter Lavelle’s “fault”: his shows are too good and the latest one is also spot on: the Bear – Dragon strategic alliance is by far the most important geostrategic development of the last couple of years.

Enjoy!

The Saker

Christian leaders express shock at world silence after ISIS expels Iraqi Christians

Iraqi Christians pray during a mass at the Saint-Joseph church in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on July 20, 2014.(Photo: AFP-Safin Hamed)
Published Thursday, July 24, 2014
The patriarchal residence in the town of Atchanah in Lebanon’s Metn region brought together yesterday representatives of the churches of Mosul five days after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forced Iraqi Christians out of the city. This is the first time that Mosul’s Christian population has been driven out of the city and is the largest forced displacement since the Armenian genocide. Nevertheless, there are people who still believe in returning despite a Western and Arab failure to act.

About 10,000 Christians left Mosul. Nothing like this has happened since the Armenian genocide in Turkey about a hundred years ago.

 

Until last week, ISIS was just a “joke” or a “boogieman created by the Syrian regime to scare minorities and keep them by its side.” That is why kidnapping the two bishops, Boulos al-Yazigi and Youhana Ibrahim, near Aleppo a year and a half ago did not serve as an adequate warning of how serious and extremist these fundamentalist movements are. The occupation of Maaloula and the burning of its churches did not change anything in the Syrian scene and the kidnapping of the nuns was not met with a response proportional to the crime. All this passed in absolute lightness as some Lebanese politicians scoffed at the fundamentalist danger: this is the people’s revolution.
Last February, ISIS issued a decree similar to Mosul’s decree in the Syrian city of al-Raqqa, asking Christians to pay a religious levy in gold and minimize the appearances of any of their religious paraphernalia. Then they began carrying out judgements based on “Islamic law” from lashes to killing, crucifixions and stoning. But it is that same old lightness – intentional perhaps – that drove some to say “there are people extending the life of the regime by fabricating news and videos and misleading journalists and foreign news agencies.” That is why it took ISIS crossing the Syrian border towards Iraq for some people to become conscious of the danger… and recognize it, if only to avoid embarrassment.
Last Saturday was the deadline that ISIS gave Christians in Mosul to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy, leave the city or die by the sword. As a result, about 10,000 Christians left Mosul. Nothing like this has happened since the Armenian genocide in Turkey about a hundred years ago.
Ignatius Aphrem II, patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Antioch and All the East, said that most of the Christian families fled to Kurdistan and the Nineveh Plains while others went to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Remarkably, Aphrem II said that some families insisted on staying in Mosul, adding: “we lost contact with them.” Until now, “there is no information whatsoever about the fate of these families,” he confirmed.
Yesterday Aphrem II headed a meeting at the patriarchal residence in Atchanah – Bikfaya, five days after the “war crime,” as he called it in his message, that included representatives of the five churches found in Mosul to discuss the situation of Christians in the city. The ecclesiastic gathering was large, it included patriarchal vicar of the Syriac Catholic Patriarchal Diocese, Youhanna Jihad Battah, Chaldean bishop of Lebanon, Michel Kasarji, priest of the Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon, Fr. Yathroun Koulianos, general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, Fr. Michel Jalkh, Fr. Carlo Yeshuah, associate secretaries of the Middle East Council of Churches, Deacon Jimmy Danho and Mr. Elias Halabi, bishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Lebanon, president of the Syriac League, Habib Afram in addition to the Iraqi cleric Abdel Rahim al-Musawi, Iraq’s Ambassador in Lebanon Dr. Raad al-Alousi and Iraq’s consul in Lebanon, Dr. Walid Abdel Qader al-Issa.
In his message, Patriarch Aphrem II condemned incidents “considered barbaric and unprecedented in the history of Christian-Muslim relations in this region. ISIS systematically forced Christians out of the city of Mosul labeling them with racist signs and symbols, humiliating and luting them.” He called on Muslims and their leaders to “take a clear stance,” expressing astonishment at the prevailing silence “except for some Muslim religious leaders and civil dignitaries.” He went on to say that injustices such as “burning churches and taking over holy sites will not compel us to ask for Western protection or help.”
He declared however: “We are going to address the United Nations (UN) and the highest international and human rights fora to hold them accountable to the Bill of Rights they claim to support.” He called on the Iraqi government and “Kurdish brothers” to protect Christians. He also said that an urgent meeting will be convened soon with the patriarchs of the East and a Christian delegation from the East will be formed to take this issue before the UN and other international platforms.

“Mosul deserves a united news bulletin like Gaza.”

 

In response to a question on whether the church is in contact with Iraqi authorities, Ephram II said there is no direct coordination with any of the civil or political authorities in Iraq but the bishops are in contact with Kurdish authorities to “secure a decent living for our children.” The patriarch asserted that “these terrorist parties are supported by states.” At the same time, he held the Iraqi government responsible for the security and safety of Iraqi Christians.
 Sheikh Abdel Rahim al-Musawi described what is happening as “ethnic cleansing. It is our moral, national and religious duty to stand in solidarity. Not just stand in solidarity but we should go a lot further than that, we should go to the highest international organizations in the world to put a stop to this abuse of people’s lives, blood and property.”
The conference, which was broadcast live on a number of TV stations, did not last more than half an hour. However, as expected, its resonance ended with the end of the broadcast. Iraq’s Christians were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2003 and now they are going through the same experience again after 11 years amid a lethal Western and Arab silence. One of the churches of Mosul, built 1,500 years ago, was burned and crosses have been removed from other churches.
Mosul’s Christian families have fled to relatively safe areas in Iraq. Most of them today are housed in schools or are simply out on the sidewalks as they wait for refugee camps to be built or to be transferred to decent housing. According to those present, there are no armed Christian groups except those guarding villages and cities.
This is the first time that Mosul is emptied of its Christians amid fear that ISIS might reach other areas in the Nineveh province. Patriarch Aphrem II and the heads of other churches are trying as much as possible to put pressure on relevant parties, for “we still believe in returning.” In the end, they issued a message to the Lebanese media: “Mosul deserves a united news bulletin like Gaza.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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Pope Francis conducts Israel-PA ‘peace prayer’

On Sunday, at the Vatican, Pope Francis along with his two Zionist guests, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas prayed for peace (sic) between Israel and Palestinian Authority, which has lost its credibility even in the eyes of Abbas’ son Tareq.

Jesuit Pope Francis who believes in exorcism, thinks that where John Kerry and other American leaders failed, he can perform the ‘miracle’. Both Netanyahu and Tzipi Levni have admitted that Israel sabotaged the Oslo Accords and the recent John Kerry’s peace plan. Read here and here

I bet Francis and Peres prayers wouldn’t be much different than Israeli finance minister, Yair Lapid’s Passover Wish, “A Palestine without Palestinians“. As far as Mahmoud Abbas (born into an Iranian Bahai family) is concerned, he must have prayed for the destruction of all arms resistance against the Zionist entity – after all, Peres did call him Palestinian Gandhi.

Nobody is fooling themselves that peace will break out in the Holy Land,” said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Order in the Middle East who is organizing the historic event in the Vatican Gardens. The Order is controlled by Zionists who are in pursuit of one world government under Jewish control. Many of the “secret societies” (Templars, Knights of Malta, Blackwater, etc.) associated with Franciscan Order are funded by the Rothschild family.

Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter than to conflict, yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocations; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity,” Francis preached the two lame duck presidents, both of whom have no power to take that courage on behalf of the people they’re supposed to represent. Mahmoud Abbas’ mandate as president of Palestinian Authority (PA) expired in January 2009. Shimon Peres, the conman who even bought Nobel Peace Prize for $100,000. His “ceremonial” presidency ends in July 2014.

If David Ben Gurion had been alive today, he would have called Pope Francis “bigot”. Nahum Goldman quoted Gurion saying:

 “Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I will never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure G-d promised it to us, but what does that matter to them. Our G-d is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler and Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see only one thing: we have come here and stolen their country,” from The Jewish Paradox.

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Pope Hails ’Treason’’ of Abbas, Peres to Pray for Shalom in Vatican, Meanwhile: Zionist Entity Approves 50 New Settlement Units in East Jerusalem

Pope Francis greeted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank

Pope Hails ’Courage’ of Abbas, Peres to Pray for Peace in Vatican

Local Editor

Pope Francis on Monday praised the “courage” of the Zionist President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas after both agreed to come to the Vatican to pray with him for peace.

Abbas and Peres “have the courage to move forward”, Francis told reporters on his return flight from a three-day trip to the Middle East.

“The meeting in the Vatican is to pray together, it’s not a mediation,” the Argentinian pope stressed of the “prayer summit” scheduled for June 6, after both Peres and Abbas accepted his surprise invitation issued on Sunday.

“It is a prayer without discussions,” said the pontiff, who has made interfaith dialogue a cornerstone of his 14-month-old papacy.

He had stated the three-day trip would be “purely religious” but waded into sensitive issues, praying at the controversial West Bank separation barrier in another unscripted move which the Palestinians saw as a silent condemnation of the Israeli government’s policies.

Francis, 77, on Monday capped his diplomatic high-wire act with a mass at a contested Jerusalem site where he made an impassioned call for an end to religious intolerance, saying believers must have free access to sites they consider sacred within the Holy City.

Vatican efforts to negotiate greater rights for Christians to access the Upper Room have sparked angry and sometimes violent opposition from nationalist and Orthodox Jews, who revere part of the building as the tomb of King David.

Touring the holiest sites in Jerusalem’s walled Old City early Monday, he issued a call for the three religions to “work together for justice and peace” as he was shown around the Al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam which Jews also consider sacred.

pope-prays-beside-graffiti-comparing-bethlehem-to-warsaw-ghetto-altagreer

Meanwhile: Zionist Entity Approves 50 New Settlement Units in East Jerusalem

At the Western Wall, the holiest site at which Jews can pray, he left a note in between the ancient stones before sharing an emotional embrace with two close friends travelling with him, Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Islamic studies professor Omar Abboud.

In Bethlehem he surprised his entourage by hopping out of his white open jeep to touch and briefly pray at the Zionist towering concrete separation barrier which cuts through the West Bank city in what the Palestinians hailed as an “eloquent and clear message”.

In Jordan, the pontiff appealed for an end to the bloodshed in Syria, before flying to Bethlehem, in what was seen as a nod towards Palestinian statehood aspirations.

Source: Websites
27-05-2014 – 09:05 Last updated 27-05-2014

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Vatican expresses outrage over Dutch priest’s killing in Syria

aafrans
Father Francis Van Der Lugt Executed In Homs
Frans was a Dutch Jesuit priest that had worked in Homs since 1966, teaching youths how to grow crops amongst other things. He was beaten and shot in the head twice by the gunman. More

Vatican expresses outrage over Dutch priest’s killing in Syria

Published Monday, April 7, 2014
Updated 4:10 pm: The Vatican on Monday voiced outrage over the killing of Dutch priest Frans van der Lugt in Syria’s central city of Homs, saying he had been “a man of peace.”
“According to his companions, he was taken away by two gunmen who beat him and then killed him with two shots to the head,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
“This is the death of a man of peace, who showed great courage in remaining loyal to the Syrian people despite an extremely risky and difficult situation,” he said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans on Monday described the murder as “cowardly,” saying his death should spur efforts to find peace.
“The man who brought nothing but good to Homs, who became a Syrian among Syrians and refused to abandon his people even when things became deadly dangerous, has been murdered in a cowardly manner,” Timmermans said in a Facebook posting.
“Father Frans deserves our thanks and our respect. He must be able to count on our commitment to help end this misery,” Timmermans added.
Van der Lugt spent nearly five decades in Syria, and told AFP in February that he considered the country to be his home.
He was renowned for insisting on staying on in besieged Homs despite daily shelling and dwindling supplies.
A Jesuit, Father Frans arrived in Syria in 1966 after spending two years in Lebanon studying Arabic.
“In this moment of great pain, we also express our great pride and gratitude at having had a brother who was so close to the suffering,” Lombardi said.
The 75-year-old priest warned of the humanitarian suffering of the population in Homs in a video appeal earlier this year, saying people in Homs were living in misery and starvation.
“It’s impossible that we suffer and the world does nothing,” the Catholic priest said, speaking in Arabic.
Christians made up about 10 percent of Syria’s population before the war erupted in 2011. The minority traditionally supported President Bashar al-Assad against the Islamist rebels, a stand for which they have been attacked.
(AFP, Reuters)

The saker

The European Saker - in his own words:First, a short introductory sitrep:  The least one could say is that over the past 2 days the events in the Ukraine moved fast, very, very fast. While I had intended to take 2 days off, I still kept an eye on the most recent development and jotted them down on my computer’s note pad. Here is what I wrote down (sorry for the shorthand):

  • Lukin did not sign
  • S&P downgrades Ukraine from CCC+ to CCC
  • Pogroms in Kiev
  • Attacks on Russian nationals
  • Burned buses (incl. Belarussian)
  • Yanuk did not attend Kharkov congress
  • Yanuk only cares about his security
  • Yanuk’s mansion was looted
  • Kharkov congress 3000 delegates
  • Phone threats to all political opponents
  • Black Sea Fleet on high alert
  • In the East local authorities take full control
  • Two Yanuk minister arrested while trying to flee
  • NOBODY WANTS A SPLIT UKRAINE NOT EVEN RUSSIA
  • BUT ONLY YULIA CAN HOLD IT TOGETHER
  • RADA discusses limiting Russian TV channels
  • Region turncoats bought over and threatened
  • Not referendum but force of arms will decide
  • Hunger is a real risk
  • 7’000’000 Russians in the Ukraine officially
  • 50% of Ukrainians speak Russian
  • 15’000 volunteers mobilized in Crimea
  • Also on Sunday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned Russia it would be a “grave mistake” to intervene militarily
  • Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov 2005 – Head of Ukraine Security Service (SBU)
  • New regime says Ukraine needs 35 billion dollars
  • Hunger now a real risk
  • Russia recalls ambassador
  • Russian language basically banned
  • Appointed Mayor of Sevastopol replaced by Alexei Chalyi, a Russian citizen, directly elected by the local people.
  • EU policians claim they can offer 20 billion dollar to the Ukraine. How they will explain that to Greece is unclear.

Wow!  Clearly, things have gone far beyond the terms of the capitulation of Yanukovich to the insurgency so “brilliantly” mediated by the EU bureaucrats.  Truly, a qualitative change in the terms of the conflict has happened and the country is now in a de-facto situation of civil war.  But first, in order to make sense of what is taking place, we need to take a look far back into the distant past, as far back as the 13th century.

 ——-
Ukrainian nationalism – its roots and nature
PART ONE: a preliminary excursion in ancient history
Innocent III

1204 – The Eastern Crusade of Pope Innocent III:  Most people mistakenly believe that the Crusades only happened in the Middle-East and that they were only directed at Islam.  This is false.  In fact, while the official excuse for western imperialism at that time was to free the city of Jerusalem from the “Muslim infidels” the crusades also were aimed at either exterminating or converting the “Greek schismatics” i.e. the Orthodox Christians.  The most notorious episode of this anti-Orthodox crusade is the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, during the 4th Crusade, in which the city was subjected to three days of absolutely grotesque pillaging, looting and massacres by the western “Christians” who even looted and burned down Orthodox churches, monasteries and convents, raped nuns on church altars and even placed a prostitute on the Patriarchal throne.  This outpouring of genocidal hatred was hardly a fluke, but it was one of the earliest manifestation of something which would become a central feature of the mindset and ideology of the Latin Church. There is, however, another no less important episode in the history of the Latin hatred for the Orthodox Church which is far less known.

Gregory IX

1242 – The Northern Crusades of Pope Gregory IX:  Unlike his predecessor who directed his soldiers towards the Holy Land, Pope Gregory IX had a very different idea: he wanted to convert the “pagans” of the North and East of Europe to the “true faith”.  In his mind, Orthodox Russia was part of these “pagan lands” and Orthodox Christians were pagans too.  His order to the Teutonic Knights (the spiritual successors of the Franks who had pillaged and destroyed Rome) was to either convert or kill all the pagans they would meet (this genocidal order was very similar to the one given by Ante Pavelic to his own forces against the Serbs during WWII: convert, kill or expel).  In most history books Pope Gregory IX has earned himself a name by instituting the Papal Inquisition (which has never been abolished, by the way), so it is of no surprise that this gentleman was in no mood to show any mercy to the “Greek schismatics”.  This time, however, the Pope’s hordes were met by a formidable defender: Prince Alexander Nevsky. Saint Alexander Nevsky’s “civilizational choice”

Saint Alexander Nevsky

Even before dealing with the Pope’s Crusaders Alexander Nevsky had already had to repel an earlier invasion of Russia by the West – the attempt to invade norther Russia by the Swedish Kingdom – which he defeated 1240 at the famousbattle of the Neva.  No less important, however, is the fact that Alexander Nevsky was unable to defeat Mongol invasion from the East and so he was placed between what can only be called a civilizational choice: he understood that Russia could not fight the Papacy and the Mongols at the same time, so the choice was simple: to submit to one and to resist the other. But which one should he chose to submit Russia to? Prince Alexander (who would later be glorified as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church) was truly a deeply pious man who had a deep understanding of the Holy Scripture and who remembered the words of Christ when asked whether Jews should pay taxes to the Romans: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21) and “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28).  Alexander, who was very well informed of the policies of his enemies knew that the sole goal of the Mongols was to extract taxes from the Russians, but that they had no desire to convert anybody or to persecute the Church.  Quite to the contrary, the putatively “savage” Mongols respected the Church and its clergy and they never persecuted it.  In contrast, the Crusaders were given the specific order to convert or murder all the Orthodox Christians they would encounter as the Latins had done many times before, and as they would do many times later.  Thus Prince Alexander Nevsky chose to submit to the Mongol Khan and to fight the Crusaders whom he defeated at the famous Battle of the Ice in 1242. Western Russia occupied, fall of the 2nd Rome, rise of Moscow

Occupied Ukraine in the 14th c.

Having been defeated by Russia twice, western leaders temporarily renounced their invasion plans, but the Russian victory clearly did not endear the Russian people or culture to the western elites.  Predictably the next wave of invasions from the West began in the early 14th century and lasted until 1385 when the Union of Krewo sealed the union of Poland and Lithuania.  At that moment in time all of what would be called later “the Ukraine” was fully conquered by the Latins. In 1453, the Fall of Rome in the East, in Constantinople, marked the end of the “2nd Rome” and the end of the Roman civilization which had survived the Fall of Rome in by a full one thousand years (the western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD; the eastern Roman Empire fell in 1453). The Latins did attempt to submit the Orthodox world by a careful mix of threats and promises to assist Constantinople against the Ottomans at the so-called False Union of Florance, but they had failed, and Constantinople eventually fell to armies of Mehmet the Conqueror.  Thus, Moscow became the “Third Rome”, the last free Orthodox Christian Kingdom, the civilizational heir to the Roman civilization.  Moscow would now become the focal point of the Papist hatred for Orthodox Christianity.  The next western strike would come in 1595 and it would be a truly devastating one.

Clement VIII

1595 – Pope Clement VIII conceives the Ukraine By the end of the 16th century, most of western Russia had been occupied by the Latins for two hundred years (14th-16th), as long as the Mongol Yoke on eastern Russia (13th-15th century).  Predictably the situation of the Orthodox Christian peasants under the Latin occupation was nothing short of terrible.  For all practical purposes, it was enslaved, as Israel Shahak explains in his seminal book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: Due to many causes, medieval Poland lagged in its development behind countries like England and France; a strong feudal-type monarchy – yet without any parliamentary institutions – was formed there only in the 14th century, especially under Casimir the Great (1333-70). Immediately after his death, changes of dynasty and other factors led to a very rapid development of the power of the noble magnates, then also of the petty nobility, so that by 1572 the process of reduction of the king to a figure head and exclusion of all other non-noble estates from political power was virtually complete. (…) This process was accompanied by a debasement in the position of the Polish peasants (who had been free in the early Middle Ages) to the point of utter serfdom, hardly distinguishable from outright slavery and certainly the worst in Europe. The desire of noblemen in neighboring countries to enjoy the power of the Polish pan over his peasants (including the power of life and death without any right of appeal) was instrumental in the territorial expansion of Poland. The situation in the ‘eastern’ lands of Poland (Byelorussia and the Ukraine) – colonized and settled by newly enserfed peasants – was worst of all. Indeed, the local elites had been more then happy to apostatize and sell out to the Polish occupier to enjoy the privileges of slave-owning (before that Russia had never known serfdom!) while the enslaved peasants stubbornly held on to their faith (interestingly, this is also the period of history when Ukrainian Judeophobia was born – read Shahak for details).  Something needed to be done to find a “solution” to this “problem” and, sure enough, a Pope (Clement VIII) found it: the forcible conversion of the local Orthodox Christians to the Latin church: the so-called Union of Brest.  Thus began a long period of vicious persecution of the Orthodox peasantry by the combined efforts of the Polish nobility, their Jewish overseers and, especially, the Jesuits who justified any atrocity under the slogan “ad majorem Dei gloriam” (to the greater Glory of God).  One man, in particular, excelled in the persecution of Orthodox Christians: Josphat Kuntsevich (whose biography you can read about in this text: The Vatican and Russia).  Kuntsevich – who was eventually lynched by a mob of peasants – was buried in the Saint Peter basilica in Rome near, I kid you not, the relics of Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom (!).  The Latins still refer to this mass murderer as “martyr for Christ” (see here for a typical Papist hagiography of Kuntsevich) and he is still greatly respected and admired amongst modern Ukrainian nationalists.  And I can see why – it is during these years of occupation and persecution that modern “Ukraine” was created, maybe not yet as a territory, but definitely as a cultural entity. The ethnogenesis of the “Ukrainian nation” Nations, like individuals, are born, live and die.  In fact, as Shlomo Sands so brilliantly demonstrated in his bookThe Invention of the Jewish People, nations are really invented, created.  In fact, the 20th century has shown us many nations invented ex-nihilo, out of nothing (in order to avoid offending somebody or getting sidetracked, I shall not give examples, but God knows there are many).  A “nation” does not need to have deep historical and cultural roots, it does not need to have a legitimate historiography, in fact, all it takes to “create a nation” is a certain amount of people identifying themselves as a community – all the rest can be created/invented later.  Thus the argument of some Russians that there is no such thing as a Ukrainian nation is fundamentally mistaken: if there are enough people identifying themselves as “Ukrainian” then a distinct “Ukrainian nation” exists.  It does not matter at all that there is no trace of that nation in history or that its founding myths are ridiculous as long as a distinct common is shared by its members.  And from that point of view, the existence of a Ukrainian nation fundamentally different from the Russian one is an undeniable reality.  And that is the immense achievement of the Latin Church – it undeniably succeeded in its desire to cut-off the western Russians from their historical roots and to create a new nation: the Ukrainians. As an aside, but an important one I think, I would note that the Mongols played a similarly crucial role in the creation of the modern Russian nation.  After all, what are the “founding blocks” of the Russian culture.  The culture of the Slavs before the Christianization of Russia in the 10th century?  Yes, but minimally.  The continuation of the Roman civilization after the Fall of the 2nd Rome?  Yes, to some degree, but not crucially.  The adoption of the Christian faith after the 10 century? Yes, definitely.  But the Russian *state* which grew out of the rather small Grand Duchy of Moscow was definitely shaped by the Mongol culture and statecraft, not Byzantium or ancient Rus.  It would not be incorrect to say that ancient Kievan Rus eventually gave birth to two distinct nations: a Ukrainian one fathered by the Papist occupation and a Russian one, fathered by the Mongol occupation. In that sense the russophobic statement of the Marquis de Custine “Grattez le Russe, et vous verrez un Tartare” (scratch the Russian and you will find a Mongol beneath) is correct.  Equally, however, I would argue that one could say that “scratch the Ukrainian, and you will find the Papist beneath”. At this point I do not want to continue outlining the history of the Ukraine because I think I have made my point clear: the Ukrainian nation is the product of the thousand year old hatred of Orthodox Christianity by the Papacy.  Just as modern rabbinical Judaism is really nothing more than an anti-Christianity, the modern Ukrainian national identity is basically centered on a rabid, absolutely irrational and paranoid hated and fear of Russia.  That is not to say that all the people which live in the Ukraine partake in that hysterical russophobia, not at all, but the nationalist hard-core definitely does.  And this point is so crucial that I felt that I had to make this long digression into ancient history to explain it. I have to add one more thing: the Latin Church has undergone tremendous changes in the 20th century and even its Jesuits have long departed from the traditions and ideas of their predecessors of the Counter-Reformation.  Though hatred of the Orthodox Christians and Russian still exists in some Latin circles, it has mostly been replaced by a desire to “incorporate” or swallow the Orthodox Church into the Papacy by means of the so-called “Ecumenical dialog”.  As for the rank and file Roman Catholic faithful – they simply have no idea at all about this history which, of course, is never taught to them The Papacy’s goal end is still the same – submission to the Pope.  But the methods and emotions have changed: it used to be hatred and terror, now its a “dialog of love”.  Amongst the Ukrainian nationalists and Uniats, however, the mindset practically has not changed.  From the likes of Stepan Bandera to his modern successor, Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector, the Ukrainian nationalists have kept the murderous hatred of Josphat Kuntsevich, hence some of the crazy statements these folks have made. We now need to make a 3 centuries long jump in time and look at the roots of Fascism and National-Socialism in the early 20th century.  We have to do this jump not because these centuries were not important for the Ukraine – they very much were – but for the sake of space and time.  The key feature of the time period we will skip is basically the rise on power of Russia, which became an Empire under Peter I and the corresponding weakening of the Polish and Lithuanian states which ended up completely occupied by Russia on several occasion. PART TWO: Fascism, National Socialism and their different roots We are typically taught that WWII war saw the victory of the “Allied Powers” against the “Axis powers“.   While not incorrect, these categories are often confusing.  For example, according to Wikipedia, France and Yugoslavia were part of the Allied Powers.  That, of course, depends on which regime one considers as legitimate, the one of Petain or de Gaulle or the one of Pavelic, Tito or Mikhailovich?  Also – does it really make sense to lump the Soviet Union with the British Empire and the USA?  What about Petain, Hitler and Hirohito?  Well, they were allies, no doubt here, but they were very different entities and their alliance was mostly one against common enemies rather than the result of real kinship.  This is particularly true of Hitler’s allies in Europe: Mussolini, of course, but also Franco, Petain or Pavlic.  Indeed, while both Hitler and Mussolini were atheist (and even rabid anti-clericalist), Franco, Petain and Pavelic were all devout Roman-Catholics.  And if the Papacy never felt comfortable with the secularist, nationalist and socialist ideas of Hitler or Mussolini, it gave its full support to Franco, Pavelic and Petain.  Hitler and Mussolini were primarily the expression of the views and interests of the petit bourgeois and worker classes, while Franco, Pavelic and Petain were very much an expression of the interests of the financial elites and noblity.  In France, in particular, the Petainist movement always had a very strong anti-1789 almost monarchist ethos.  Deeply, of course, there was not much love lost between the atheist-populist and Papist-monarchist groups.  But what did united is a common hatred for Jews, Bolsheviks, Russians and Orthodox Christians in general combined with a profoundly reactionary ideology. The two different Drang nach Osten Both the atheist-populist and the Papist-monarchists factions had in common a very strong “Drang nach Osten” and both saw themselves as Kulturträger, literally “carriers of civilization” to the savage barbarians of the East.  Hitler’s beef with the Soviet Union was, of course, the very high numbers of Jews in the Bolshevik Party (hence his talk of Judeo-Bolshevism) while the Papacy hated Jews, atheists and Orthodox Christians pretty much equally (Franco liked to speak of the “conspiración judeo masonica pagada con el oro de Moscú” or “Judeo-Masonic conspiracy paid for by Moscow’s gold”).  And while Hitler looked towards the East to provide land and slaves for his Master Race, the Papacy saw a fantastic opportunity to finally submit the “Photian schismatics” to Rome: already on the eve of WWI, Pope Pius X (who was canonized in 1954) pronounced “Russia is the greatest enemy Of the [Roman] Church” and “If Russia is victorious, then the schism is victorious” (and keep in mind that according to Latin doctrine – these folks are infallible when speaking ex-cathedra, in the name of the Church and on issues of faith).  Thus these two originally very different movement joined forces and united against the arch-enemy: Russia (whether atheist, Jewish and Bolshevik or Russian and Orthodox – it did not matter to them).  Needless to say, this toxic brew of hatred found an absolutely perfect Petri dish for its views amongst the Ukrainian nationalists, especially, in the Western Ukraine. Again, for a lack of time and space I will no go into a history of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists,Stepan Bandera or the “Ukrainian” SS Division Galizien, you can read about on the Internet.  I will just say that these forces were amongst the most cruel and murderous of any in WWII.  In fact, the most rabid atrocities of WWII were not committed by Hitler’s forces, not even the SS, but by the forces fully inspired and supported by the Vatican: the Croatian Ustashe of Ante Pavelic and the Ukrainian nationalists.  Eventually, the Ustashe and the Banderovsty were defeated, but a lot of its members not only survived the war, but prospered in exile, mostly in the USA and Canada, were the Angloshpere kept them away from actual politics, but active enough to be “defrosted” should the need arise.  And, sure enough, following the end of the Cold War, the AngloZionist Empire saw an opportunity to subvert and weaken its enemies: the descendants of the Ustashe were tasked with breaking up Yugoslavia while the descendants of Bandera were tasked with breaking the Ukraine as far away form Russia as possible.  In the same time, both in Yugoslavia and Russia, the AngloZionists directed another of its terrorist franchises – the Wahabi international aka “al-Qaeda” to join the Neo-Nazis and Papists in a common struggle against the Orthodox/Socialist Yugoslavia and Russia.  We all know what happened to Yugoslavia after that. PART THREE – the Ukraine – back to the future 2014 –  The belly is still fertile from which the foul beast sprang At this point in time I want to say a few things about the (now ex-) Ukrainian “opposition”.  During the past months, we were mostly told that it was represented by three men: Vitalii Klichko and his UDAR movement,Arsenii Iatseniuyk and his Batkivshchyna Party, and Oleh Tiagnibok, notorious leader of the Freedom Party.  Of course, the real leader of the Batkivshchyna Party always was Yulia Tymoshenko, but since she had been jailed by Yanukovich, she could not directly participate in the most recent events.  Most western observers have neglected to ask the question whether any of these political figures really could control the demonstrators on the Maidan square.  Furthermore, they also neglected to look into how a crowed armed mostly with stones, baseball bats, iron bars and Molotov cocktails had “suddenly” been replaced by a well-organized and well-armed force of what can only be called insurgents.  The force which really packed the most strength and firepower, was not composed of members of the UDAR, Batkivshchyna or even Freedom Party – the real owner of the Maidan and now of the rest of Kiev is the so-called Right Sector, a terrorist organization headed by Dmytro Yarosh:   

Dmytro Yarosh and his troops

If the photo above looks like it might have been taken in Chechnia during the war, that is because it could have been: many Ukrainian nationalists fought on the side of the Wahabis in Chechnia, often under the banner of theUNA-UNSO terrorist organization.  They also fought in Georgia against Russia, hence the visit Saakashvili made twice to the Maidan Square. It would be logical to ask what percentage of the people of the Ukraine support Mr Yarosh and his Right Sector.  It is hard to tell, but probably a seizable but small minority.  By most estimates, the most popular leaders of the new regime are Tymoshenko and Klichko, followed by Tiagnibok – at least that was true before the revolution of last Sunday.  But that is hardly relevant: most Chechens were not Wahabis, most Croats were not Ustashe and most Kosovo Albanians were not KLA – that did not prevent these small but well armed groups from having a decisive control over the events. This places the new regime in a very difficult situation: either it complies with the agenda of the likes of Yarosh and his Right Sector, or it risks to be swiped away by an armed insurrection.  Keep in mind that the Ukrainian military basically exists only on paper and that the police forces are in no condition to impose their authority on the extremists.

What is worse, the Presidency of Yushchenko has shown that the so-called “moderate” nationalists constantly kowtow to the extremists.  Thus Yushchenko even made Bandera “hero of Ukraine” (the decision was later rescinded) and printed nice little stamps with his face.  The problem with that is kind of seemingly innocuous action is in reality a rehabilitation of genocidal ideology and that it sends a truly terrifying and revolting message to the East Ukrainians and Russians in the Ukraine: we are back and we mean business. It has mostly been overlooked, but a similar situation took place in Croatia at the moment of the breakup of Yugoslavia: the Croats, even the so-called “moderates” found nothing more intelligent to do than to immediately reintroduce the checkered flag of the Ustashe of Pavelic as a “Croatian national symbol”.  To what degree this encouraged the Serbs in the Krajinas to take up arms is open to debate, but it certainly did not help. The same thing is now also taking place in the Ukraine.  Besides the yellow and blue flags of the western Ukraine, one can also see lots of black and red flags, the flag of the Banderovsty, along with all sorts of neo-Nazi symbols.  And, again, it does not really matter how many Ukrainians are suffering from genocidal tendencies, what matters is how these flags are seen in the eastern Ukraine or by the 7 million Russians who live in the Ukraine. The reaction to the coup in Kiev was immediate.  Check out this screenshot of a video showing a mass rally in the city of Sevastopol:

Mass rally in Sevastopol

Notice the flags?  Before the coup, the rallies in the east featured almost exclusively Ukrainian yellow and blue flags, now the flags are mostly Russian with a few interspersed Russian Navy flags: the people are either angry or frightened.  Probably both.  And the potential for violence therefore rapidly escalates. Check out this video of an attempt by pro-regime activist to hold a demonstration in the city of Kerch and see for yourself how rapidly the situation gets of out control.  The angry crowd begins with screams of “go away!” and “Fascists!” but soon the cops lose control of the situation and a mob begins to assault the nationalist activists.  See for yourself:

Just as in Croatia and Bosnia, EU and US politicians have ignored (whether by stupidity or deliberately) that fear begets violence which, in turn, begets more fear, in an endless positive feedback loop which is almost impossible to stop. So where do we go from here? Frankly, I had some hopes that Yulia Tumoshenko might still save the Ukraine.   No, not because I like her, but because I recognize the strength of her personality, especially when compared to the either terminally stupid (Tiagnibok, Klichko) or spineless (Iatseniuk, Yanukovich) men in Ukrainian politics.  As one Russian journalist put it yesterday: its good to finally see a “real man” entering the Ukrainian political scene.  And indeed, for all her other faults, Yulia has three things going for her: she is very intelligent, she is strong willed and she is very popular.  Or, at least, that was what she had going for her before Yanukovich threw her in jail.  When I saw the footage of her appearance on the Maidan, on a wheel-chair, her face puffed up, sounding hysterical and completely unaware of the fact that she was surrounded by neo-Nazis I began having my doubts.  Clearly, she had a very bad time in Yanukovich’s dungeon.  And to those who will say that she has every bit as corrupt as all the other oligarchs I would say this: while all the other oligarchs see power as a way to make money, Tymoshenko sees money as a way to seize power.  There is a huge difference here. Then, unlike Tiagnibok or Yarosh, Tymoshenko does not look genocidal, not has she ever tried to play the role of a “modern Bandera”.  Then, unlike the typical Ukrainian neo-Nazis, Yulia is nominally Orthodox, not “Greek Catholic” (i.e. Latin).  Not that I believe that any of them are particularly religions, no, but at least Tymoshenko was not raised with the kind of maniacal hatred for everything Russian in which “Greek Catholic” kids are typically raised. Finally, Tymoshenko is definitely smart enough to understand that there is no way to keep the Ukraine as a unitary state if the neo-Nazis are de-facto in power, whether directly of through a number of “moderate” puppets. So maybe I was naive, but I had some hope that Yulia could keep the Ukraine together.  No, not because I am such a true supporter of the “Independent Ukraine”, but because I would find any solution preferable to a partition of the Ukraine which would inevitably become violent. Why is violence inevitable? Paradoxically,  the main cause here are not the followers of Bandera.  Some of them have, in fact, spoken in favor of a separation of the western Ukraine from the rest of the country.  As far as I know, they are in the minority, but it is still interesting that at least some of then are aware that the notion of turning all of the Ukraine into Galicia is simply ludicrous.  Most nationalists are, however, dead set against any partition for two reasons.  Prestige: they know that “their” Ukraine is, in reality, much smaller than the Ukraine inherited form the Soviet era.  Money: they know that all the real wealth of the Ukraine is in the East.  Last, but not least, the real puppet-masters of the Ukrainian nationalists (the US) want to deprive Russia of the wealth of the eastern Ukraine and of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast.  So anybody expecting the nationalists to gracefully agree to a civil divorce between West and Southeast is day dreaming: it ain’t happening, at least not by referendum or any other form of consultations. History also teaches us that it is impossible to force two groups to coexist when the hate and fear each other, at least not without *a lot* of violence. The situation in the East is as simple as it is stark: Yanukovich is politically dead.  The party of regions has basically exploded and new politicians are pupping up in Kharkov, in Sevastopol and in other cities.  Large self-defense forces are being organized locally and the population is basically ready to fight.  Considering the circumstances, these are all positive developments.  On the negative side there is the fact that the eastern oligarchs are still here, still ready to betray their own people for profit (just as the Ukrainian elites did during the Union of Brest) and that the local political forces are, by most accounts, being rather amateurishly organized.  Finally, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what Russia really wants. What about Russia in all this? I think that Russia truly does want to avoid a civil war in the Ukraine and that it prefers a separate Ukraine to a partition.  Why?  Think of it: For Russia a separate and independent Ukraine is first and foremost a way of avoiding being drawn into a civil war. If, say, Tymoshenko managed to supress the neo-Nazis and negotiate some kind of modus vivendibetween, on one hand, the western Ukraine and Kiev and, on the other, the eastern and southern Ukraine there is little doubt that she and Putin could find some peaceful and pragmatic way to coexist.  Oh, I am not speaking about a love-fest, that is simply not going to happen, but at least some mutually beneficial, civil and pragmatic relations are imaginable.  That would most definitely be the Kremlin’s preferred option (which just goes to show how stupid and paranoid the Ukie nationalist – and Susan Rice – are when they hallucinate about a Russian invasion of the Ukraine). The other option is to have the nationalists take full-control over all of the Ukraine.  That seems extremely unlikely to me, but who knows?  I have been disappointed with Ukie politicians enough to put the worst possible outcome past them.  That would mean that the Russian-Ukrainian border would turn into something between the Wall which separated the two parts of Germany during the Cold War or the DMZ between the two part of Korea.  From a military point of view, not a problem at all.  As I wrote in the past, even if NATO deploys troops in the Ukraine, which they would, that close to the Russian territory military assets basically turn into lucrative targets: Russia would deploy enough Iskanders to cover its target list and that’s all.  As for the Black Sea Fleet, it could either simply refuse to leave and see if NATO has the stomach to try for force it, or engage in the costly but possible fallback option of relocating to Novorossiysk (admittedly, not a good option, but better than nothing).  But, again, this is an exceedingly unlikely scenario. Which leaves option three: the nationalist attempt to subdue the south and east and fail. The violence escalates and eventually Russia is drawn in.  Now in purely military terms, Russia could very easily defeat any Ukie army which would attempt to fight it.  As for NATO and the US – they don’t have the means to deploy some “combined joint task force” to repel the Russian military in the Ukraine.  So short of starting a mutually destructive nuclear war, they would have to accept the facts on the ground.  But just imagine the nightmare resulting from a Russian military operation in eastern Ukraine!  It would be back to a new Cold War, but this time on steroids: western politicians would scramble over each other to denounce, declare, threaten, condemn, proclaim, sanction, and pledge God knows what kind of nonsense.  Hysterical russophobia will become the order of the day and the AngloZionist Empire would finally find the kind of eternal enemy it has desperately been seeking for since the end of the First Cold War.  If they got really ugly, and they probably would, China would most likely get involved too and we would have exactly the kind of planet the 1% plutocracy has been dreaming about for so many years: Oceania locked into a total war against Eurasia and Eastasia, just like Orwell had predicted it:

This is most definitely not what Russia – or China – need.  And yet, this is a real risk if a civil war breaks out in the Ukraine.  One “least bad” option to avoid such a scenario would be to make sure that the east and southern Ukrainians are strong enough to repel a nationalist invasion by themselves so that the Russian military can stay out of the conflict. So there is the difficult judgment call the Kremlin needs to make: the Kremlin has to decide whether: a) the eastern and southern Ukrainian people are disorganized, demoralized, made passive by the rule of corrupt oligarchs and basically unable to defend themselves. or b) the eastern and southern Ukrainian people are united, organized and determined enough to really make a stand and fight the neo-Nazis down to the last bullet. In the first case, the Kremlin would have to basically protect the Russian borders and prepare to manage the large numbers of refugees which will inevitably cross the border. In the second case, the Kremlin would have a strong incentive to assist the eastern and southern Ukrainians by all possible means short of an over and direct military intervention. Both of these options are dangerous and none of them is preferable to a united Ukraine lead by a more or less rational leader.  This is why, at least at the initial stage, I expect Russia to *really* support any halfway sane regime in Kiev in the hope to avoid a breakup of the Ukraine. What about the US and the EU in all this? Well, as I recently wrote, the US and the EU have very different objective in the Ukraine: the EU wants a market for its goods and services, the US want to hurt Russia as much as possible.  We have all seen the total lack of effectiveness of the EU bureaucrats and their naive attempts at finding a negotiated solution.  The US foreign policy goal has the advantage of being simple yet clear: fuck Russia and fuck the EU!  From the US point of view, the worse the situation becomes, the better it is for Uncle Sam.  At the very least, this hurts Russia, at the very best, it gives the US a wonderful pretext to “protect” Europe from the “resurgent Russian bear” while standing up for civilization, democracy and progress.  A Neocons wet dream… And then, there is the “S factor”: stupidity, plain and simple.  What often seems to be the result of some machiavellian plan cooked up in a deep basement of the White House, the CIA or the Pentagon is often a mind-blowing example of the truly phenomenal stupidity, ignorance and arrogance of our leaders.  They believe themselves to be so powerful as to be free from the need to understand a culture, a history or even a single foreign language.  After all, if a US policy was to failed somewhere, the response could always be the same: fuck them!  Fuck the Yugoslavs! Fuck the Serbs!  Fuck the Iraqis!  Fuck the Afghans!  Fuck the Pakistanis!  Fuck the Libyans, and the Egyptians, and the Palestinians, and fuck the Somalis, the Koreans, the Colombians and the Venezuelans and, of course, fuck the Canadians, the Mexicans, and the Africans, and, of course, fuck the Russians, fuck the Chinese, and fuck everybody else with it!   No matter how stupid or how destructive a US policy towards another party it – it either works, or fuck them!  Ms Nuland’s words could really become the State Departments or the CIA’s official motto. My conclusion?  Pessimistic, of course 🙂 Those reading my blog for a while already will not be surprised to see that, yet again, I have reached a very pessimistic conclusion: the future of the Ukraine looks absolutely terrible: the country is ruined, it has no economy, it is socially, culturally and politically nonviable, it will most likely be lead either by imbeciles or by racist manics and the biggest power on the planet will spare no efforts to add more fuel on the fire.  Keep in mind that no a single Ukrainian politician has anything even remotely resembling a plan to resurrect the currently dead Ukrainian economy.  The only and last chance for the Ukraine was to survive on the “Russian financial respirator” – but that has now been turned off, at least for the foreseeable future: the Ukies can have their Banderovite Revolution, but the Russians don’t have to pay for it. Last November I wrote a piece entitled The gates of Hell are opening for the Ukraine in which I pretty much predicted what has happened since.  I wrote:

I am assuming that the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will eventually prevail, and that Yanukovich will either fully complete his apparent “zag” and reverse his decision, or lose power. One way or another the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will, I think, prevail. There will be more joyful demonstrations, fireworks and celebrations in Kiev, along with lots of self-righteous back-slapping and high-fiving in Brussels, and then the gates of Hell will truly open for the Ukraine.

We are now at this point: the Ukraine has now crossed the gates of Hell and has fully entered in a long cycle of tragedy and violence.  This is truly immensely sad.  And the blame for what will happen next lies first and foremost with those forces who recklessly opened the Pandora’s box of medieval and 20th century hatreds and who encouraged the nationalist demon to strike yet again and with those who stood by and did nothing: the US and EU politicians amongst whom not one single one could be found to speak the truth.  May they all rot in hell for what they have done! The Saker

Pope needs to condemn US warmongering

Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world’s cardinals.
Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world’s cardinals.
Thu Jan 2, 2014 1:34PM GMT

By Finian Cunningham


In his annual New Year’s address, Catholic Pope Francis sounded particularly vexed when he urged an end to wars and conflict.

“What on Earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on Earth is happening in the heart of humanity?” the pontiff decried to tens of thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square, Rome, earlier this week.
“It’s time to stop!” he added in anguished tone and urged the world to “listen to the cry for peace”.
The Pope’s anti-war sentiment and desire for peace is laudable. But he needs to do more than merely issue vague exhortations.
As the figurehead of some one billion Catholics around the world, Pope Francis needs to show real leadership by specifying the cause and source of much of the violence raging in today’s world.
The Argentine-born pontiff, who was elected to the papacy in March last year, has garnered a reputation for humility and being “a man of the people”. Apparently, he has eschewed living in the plush Apostolic Palace, choosing a simple abode instead. Time magazine voted him “Person of the Year”.
He has previously come out criticizing the excesses of capitalism, and the chasm between a global rich elite and the growing masses of poor. But when those comments caused some media controversy, the Pope back-pedaled and declared: “I am not a Marxist”. The latter comment can be seen as the pontiff indicating that he is not fundamentally opposed to capitalism.
This compromising ambiguity was on display again this week in Pope Francis’ call for “an end to wars”.
Reuters reported: “Pope Francis delivered an impassioned New Year’s peace address on Wednesday, saying the heart of humanity seemed to have gone astray and too many people were still indifferent to war, violence and injustice.”

Perhaps the Pope is spending too much time in solitude – because his assessment of humanity seems way off the mark. For the heart of humanity has certainly not gone astray, and rather than being indifferent to war, violence and injustice, too many people across the globe are increasingly sick and tired of war.

Poll after poll in the US, Europe and elsewhere around the world shows that ordinary citizens are fervently against incitement of further wars. For example, when US President Barack Obama was planning to launch all-out air strikes on Syria last September, the American and European public mobilized swiftly and decisively to face down any attempt by Washington to escalate violence in the Middle East region.
Similarly, polls in the US have consistently shown the American public to be opposed to their government’s belligerence towards Iran – a factor that has undoubtedly led to the White House adopting relatively more reasonable diplomacy in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations.
And it’s not just that world public opinion is ardently against war. The world’s people also know where much of this systematic violence is coming from – the United States of America.
This week a worldwide poll conducted by Win/Gallup reported that most people surveyed from 65 countries view the US to be the biggest threat to international peace.
It’s not just Washington of course. The US plutocracy is but the head of a cabal of Western imperialist powers and their regional proxies, such as the Zionist Israeli regime and despotic Saudi Arabia.
Together, this US-led Axis of Evil is the main wellspring of war in the world. These are the names that the Pope needs to mention, and the system that he needs to specify is imperialism in the service of global capitalism.
A brief review of world violence and potential for war over the past year – which apparently has so vexed the Pope – shows the ubiquitous hand of American-led imperialism.
In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, hundreds of people were massacred in US-led drone and air strikes. This White House sanctioned slaughter has become an endemic perennial war crime.
In Syria and Iraq, thousands of innocents were slaughtered by extremist mercenaries under the guise of al-Qaeda, created and sponsored by Western military intelligence. The lead role adopted recently by Saudi Arabia in fuelling these death squads does not in any way absolve the US and its British and French allies from complicity. These extremist brigades were created by the West going back to late 1970s and supported until the present day – despite Western media obfuscation.
This Western state-sponsored terrorism operating for the objective of regime change in Syria – where some 130,000 have been killed in the past three years – is in the service of Western-based capital and its geopolitics. It has its antecedent in the US-led Iraq War beginning in 2003 – where more than one million were killed – and in the more recent disastrous NATO toppling of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Western imperialism can also be identified in the rising warmongering tensions between the US and Russia, and between the US and China. The relentless expansion of US nuclear missiles on the borders of Russia and the gratuitous provocations towards Beijing over its natural territorial claims are testament to the lust for war inherent in American-led imperialism.
In Africa, violence continues to plague Somalia because of US-led predation in that country which has resulted in a fractious failed state. South Sudan has become beset with tribal strife and civil war largely because its unstable creation in July 2011 was at the behest of Western imperialist meddling.
Killing and a humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic have also increased in recent weeks. That crisis was precipitated by French military invasion of that country last month – under the pretext of humanitarian relief – and with the full support of Washington and other European powers.
This French-subcontracted Western imperialism in Africa with a view to stymieing China’s legitimate commercial gains on the continent is destabilizing several other countries and creating the conditions for a new bloody Scramble for Africa.
In light of all this Western-instigated and fuelled conflict and suffering around the world, Pope Francis’ vague call for peace seems more like a white wash of the culprits.

His call for peace would be more relevant and effective if he condemned specifically and categorically the source of world conflict and war – US-led imperialism. The attribution of this source is not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of provable cause and effect.

For the Pope to merely lament “humanity’s indifference and heart going astray” is meaningless to the problem of conflict facing humanity and how it might be challenged. To remedy a disease effectively, one has to diagnose the disease, accurately and precisely. In that context, the Pope’s anti-war ambiguity is only part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Finally, it should be noted that the Pope’s native continent of South America has in the past year, as in other recent years, enjoyed relative peace and cordial relations between neighboring countries. A major reason for this welcome development in international relations is because South American nations have shown admirable solidarity in quarantining the disease of US imperialism from that continent, thanks

in large part to the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Pope Francis should take note of that glaring beneficial result, draw the appropriate conclusion and speak out. Maybe he should read up more on imperialism. Then he might be able to call for world peace with more clarity and credibility.
In doing so, however, Time Magazine would probably revoke his “Person of the Year Award”. But, at least, the Pope would show himself to speak the truth and to be a real man of the people.

Christians Celebrate Christmas Worldwide, Pope Prays for Syria

Local Editor

Christians celebrated Christmas globally amid festive atmosphere as prayers were read out, hoping peace prevails across the world.

Christmas Celebrations
In Vatican, Pope Francis presided over first Christmas Mass since he was elected and called on adopting the way of loving God and man.

He called for humanitarian aid access in Syria and “social harmony” in South Sudan on his first Christmas in the Vatican after months of shaking up the papacy with his humble style and common touch.

“Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance,” the 77-year-old pope told a crowd of tens of thousands of faithful in St Peter’s Square.

“Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid,” he said.

In Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity, the Palestinians celebrated the occasion as President Mahmoud Abbas and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Union Catherine Ashton attended Christmas mass.

In Syria, the feast’s joy did not appear as the citizens stayed home to shun the terrorist attacks that have stormed the country since over 2 years.

In Iraq, the worshippers took the advantage of the improving stability to fill the churches and asserted the importance of clinging to the land.

In Lebanon, Christmas was marked by masses and celebrations across the country.

In this context, the southern Suburb of Beirut Dahiyeh marked Christmas as its Christian residents read out masses in the different churches and celebrated the occasion amid an atmosphere of joy, peace and coexistence.

The Christians also celebrated Christmas all over the western countries.

Source: Agencies
25-12-2013 – 15:58 Last updated 25-12-2013 – 21:52

Urgent Appeal to Pope Francis to help Gaza PLEASE SIGN & CIRCULATE

URGENT APPEALRef: UA 22 / 13.

Gazan families are suffering. Israel and Egypt have cut off fuel supplies so that Gazans have had no electricity and vital services  for 2 months. Families, in  freezing temperatures  have no light, no heat and hospitals are overflowing while sewerage is flooding the streets and people have to be ferried  by boats and canoes.

Please click http://www.palestinematters.com/Appeal-to-Pope-Francis-to-help-Gaza_Appeal_1117.aspx to send letter of appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis and H.E. Ron Prosor, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations 

and please request your mailing lists click Current Urgent Appeal on www.palestinematters.com

Thousands in Gaza shelters as blackouts cripple emergency response

Gaza1-1   Gaza2-2   Gaza3-3   Gaza4-4

Will the Pope Insist on Seeing Gaza This Time?

Will the Pope insist on seeing Gaza this Time?After the humiliation of the last papal visit,

Or, should he too, Boycott Israel until Jerusalem  and the Christian and Muslim Communities are freed from Occupation?

CNN reports 
[1] on Israeli PM Netanyahu’s reception at the Vatican and plans for the Pope to visit Israel in May.

Recalling the shabby treatment of religious leaders on previous visits to the Holy Land, let us hope Pope Francis takes a firmer line than his predecessor and insists on seeing Gaza and ministering to his terrorised flock there.

In May 2009, when Benedict was Pope, the Vatican told the Israeli press that the Holy Father would refrain from visiting Gaza. The word ‘refrain’ was a peculiar one in the circumstances. “The Pope will refrain from visiting Gaza….” smacks of abstinence, as in refraining from sexual intercourse. Setting foot in Gaza was as sinful as sneaking into a brothel, it seems. Israel’s hoodlums of course were keen to prevent him seeing how the tiny, overcrowded enclave had been devastated 16 months earlier by their murderous _blitzkrieg_ codenamed Cast Lead. And the Pope went along with it.

Gaza’s isolated and besieged Catholic community were none too happy with the Pope’s attitude, judging by the reaction of their redoubtable old priest Fr Manuel Mussallam. “We will ask him why he came, what he intends saying to the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims and why he isn’t coming to Gaza,” said Fr Manuel. “We’ll tell him that this is not the right moment to come and visit the holy places, while Jerusalem is occupied.”

Time For The Pope To Join BDS?

Having decided to go to Palestine (via Israel) it was imperative for the Pope to include Gaza or it would look like he didn’t give a damn about the appalling persecution in the very land where Christianity was born. He might as well hammer one more nail into Christendom’s coffin. Then again, should he be going to Israel at all while Jerusalem, Bethlehem and many other places dear to Christian and Muslim religious belief are under the jackboot?

Indeed, has it finally come to the point where the Pope ought to do the decent thing and boycott Israel… join the BDS movement?  Admittedly, it’s a tough call given the Catholic Church’s considerable interests out there.

But we have seen enough wimpish conduct by Christian leaders while Israel defiles the Holy Land. The previous November, while the regime was planning its vicious assault, codename Operation Cast Lead, on Gaza’s Muslims and Christians after softening them up with two years of blockade and starvation, we were treated to the spectacle of the Archbishop of Canterbury joining the Chief Rabbi on a visit to Auschwitz to show joint solidarity against extreme hostility and genocide. The Archbishop called it “a place of utter profanity” and spoke of the collective corruption and moral sickness that made the Holocaust possible.

Would the pair show the same spirit of righteous solidarity by visiting Gaza? The scale of horror might be different but the moral sickness is just as obscene. And this being the Holy Land the profanity is many times worse.

The Pope too had been to Auschwitz to pray for the people murdered there. “I had to come here as a duty to truth and to those that suffered,” he said and spoke of the Nazis’ mania for destruction and domination.

Very commendable. But he wasn’t so keen to come and pray for those suffering in Gaza, victims of much the same kind of criminal insanity. Nevertheless, he turned up at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Western (Wailing) Wall, and hobnobbed with the chief rabbis.. but not with his brave priest and the shattered congregation in Gaza. What had happened to his ‘duty to truth’?

After my visit to Gaza in late 2007, 18 months after Israel’s merciless squeeze began, I wrote:

FUEL IS RUNNING OUT, SO ARE BASICS LIKE WASHING POWDER. SHATTERED INFRASTRUCTURE AND FOOD SHORTAGES MEAN SERIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS. POWER CUTS DISRUPT HOSPITALS AND VITAL DRUGS CANNOT BE KEPT REFRIGERATED. THOUSANDS LOOK DEATH IN THE FACE AS MEDICARE
COLLAPSES.

A FRIEND EMAILED: “TODAY IN GAZA WE HAVE NO CEMENT TO BUILD GRAVES FOR THOSE WHO DIE.”

THE SUBJUGATION AND DISPOSSESSION OF CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS IN THE HOLY LAND CONTINUES. IT REMAINS A MYSTERY TO ME WHY OUR LARGELY CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY IN BRITAIN SLAVISHLY SUPPORTS THE MIDDLE EAST ETHNOCRACY THAT’S DOING THIS…

The last six years have seen things go from bad to worse – much worse. Palestinians in the Holy Land, and especially Gaza, need to be shown that the Christian Church cares about them even if nobody else does. So where are these extravagantly robed and mitred Men of God when needed?

No Repitition Of The Benedict Debâcle, Please!

Archbishop Rowan Williams, visiting in 2010, did manage to get into Gaza. But as far as I could discover he made no public statement about the wretched conditions there, nor did he reveal his findings to the House of Lords where he had the support of a large gaggle of bishops. This despite his claim to be “in a unique position to bring the needs and voices of those fighting poverty, disease and the effects of conflict, to the attention of national and international policy makers”.

And despite his declaration that “Christians need to witness boldly and clearly”.

And despite his urging greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis to ensure that the people of Gaza were not forgotten.

The Israelis, I heard, refused him access to Gaza from the start and only at the last minute allowed the Archbishop an hour or so, just enough for a quick visit to the Ahli Hospital and nowhere else. For that concession one wonders if he had to sign a gagging order.

His website, however, described how he, like the Pope, hobnobbed with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and paid respects to Yad Vashem and the Holocaust. He also talked with the President of Israel, who no doubt enjoyed his guest’s frustration at being prevented from seeing the horrors that had been inflicted on Gaza.

And news of any get-together with senior Islamic figures on the ground was conspicuously absent, leaving a question-mark over his commitment to inter-faith engagement.

Why on earth did he agree to fraternise with Jewish political and religious dignitaries when it was clear that his wish to carry out his Christian duty in Gaza would be obstructed? Does Lambeth Palace not realise that meekly accepting such insults only serves to legitimise the Israelis’ illegal occupation and gives a stamp of approval to the brutal siege of Gaza, the daily death-dealing air strikes against civilians, the persecution of Muslim and Christian communities and the regime’s utter contempt for international law and human rights?

One can only hope the Vatican realises it too and avoids a repetition of the Benedict debâcle.

The Israelis walk all over fawning sycophants masquerading as Western political leaders. Our spiritual leaders, however, are supposed to be made of sterner stuff and to have the moral backbone to face down evil.

Stuart Littlewood

4 December 2013

New Pope Elected, Urged to Work for Peace

Local Editor
 
The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected on Wednesday a new pope, the first non-European to be elected for almost 1,300 years.New Pope
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, becomes Pope Francis, the first pontiff to take that name.

The new pope appeared on the balcony over the entrance to St Peter’s basilica more than an hour after white smoke poured from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, signaling that the cardinals had made their choice.
Dressed in his new white robes, the bespectacled Argentinean prelate looked pensive and perhaps a little intimidated, as he looked out at the sea of jubilant humanity in the square.

The new pope will face renewed pressure to better handle sex abuse scandals involving pedophile priests, and avoid cover-ups by senior clergymen.

Shortly after the election, world leaders and Catholics hailed the move, urging him to work for religious reconciliation and peace.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said the United Nations and the Roman Catholic Church shared the “common goals” of promoting peace, social justice and human rights, and the eradication of poverty and hunger.

“We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue,” Ban said.

US President Barack Obama and Argentine leader Cristina Kirchner led congratulations from across the Americas, where Roman Catholics rejoiced that one of their own will lead the church’s 1.2-billion-strong flock.

US Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic who will lead the US delegation to the new pope’s inauguration mass on Tuesday, said he would extend his prayers as the pontiff “takes on this holy responsibility”.

“I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome,” Biden said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the “hopes” of “millions of believers in Germany and the world,” now rest “with the new pope,” while EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso urged the pontiff to try to bring the “world’s people and religions closer together.”

French President Francois Hollande said Paris looked forward to pursuing a “confident dialogue” with the Holy See.

In Latin America, the leaders of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico joined the clergy in hailing Bergoglio, who was elected after five rounds of voting in the Vatican — one more than when predecessor Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005.

“The faithful eagerly await the arrival of Pope Francis to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in July,” said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, citing her nation as having “the greatest number of Catholics in the world.”

In Africa, where the number of Catholics is steadily growing, the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference said that, while some had hoped for a younger pontiff, all expect “great things” from Pope Francis.

“The symbolism of choosing a pope from Latin America delights and touches us, most particularly in developing countries,” said Archbishop Stephen Breslin.

Source: Agencies
14-03-2013 – 10:25 Last updated 14-03-2013 – 10:25

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Jews against Cardinal Rodriguez for Pope

Jewish groups have started their smearing campaign against one of the leading contenders, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (born 1942) of Honduras as successor to the retiring Pope Benedict XVI. The first shot was fired by no other than the Jewish academic, Dr. Alan Dershowitz, the welknown hate-mongering and truth-twisting anti-Arab, pro-Israel crusader.

Dershowitz has called Cardinal Rodriguez, “an out and out antisemite”.

The Cardinal has blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! He has argued that Jews got even with the Catholic Church for its anti-Israel position by arranging for the media – which they, of course, control, he said – to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal. He then compared the Jewish controlled media with Hitler, because they are, protagonists of what I don’t hesitate to define as a persecution against the Church,” wrote Dershowitz.

Dershowitz’s above rant is based on Rodriguez’s 2002 interview with the Italian-Catholic publication “30 Giorni,” – in which he said that Jewish-controlled media was exploiting church sex scandals to divert public attention away from Israeli brutality against Palestinians.

On May 6, 2009, Dershowitz, at the Jewish FrontPage Magazine, blasted Father Angelo Idi, Bishop Richard Williamson, Cardinal Joseph Glemp and Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga.

Anti-Semitism in the Catholic clergy transcends ideological lines. Bishop Williamson and Father Idi are fascists of the hard right. Cardinal Rodriguez is a leftist “liberation” theologist. Cardinal Glemp is just an old fashioned Polish anti-Semite who follows in the footsteps of his predecessors who were also Primates of the Polish Catholic Church,” wrote Dershowitz.

Interestingly, ADL website has claimed that Cardinal Rodriguez apologized for his 2002 comments during a conversation with its director Abraham Foxman.

Dershowitz has claimed that if Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga succeed Pope Benedict XVI, “all of Pope John Paul II’s (born to a Polish Jewish mother) good work in building bridges between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be destroyed. This should not be allowed to happen. The campaign against this bigot must begin now“.

Dershowitz’s beef with Cardinal Rodriguez is that he is against Capitalism and abortion – both establishments being controlled by the Jewish elites. However, Cardinal Rodriguez do has something common with Dershowitz. Both hate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, the former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, demanded an apology from Chavez for calling Cardinal Rodriguez “a parrot and an imperialist clown”. However, later Zelaya joined Chavez’s Latin American economic cartel – a move which brought his downfall via a US-sponsored military coup.
 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

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