7/22/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)
In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave.
(CNA/EWTN News) - "They are persecuted; our brothers are persecuted, they are driven out, they have to leave their houses without having the possibility of taking anything with them," Pope Francis voiced in his July 20 Angelus address.
"I want to express my closeness and my constant prayer to these families and these people," he continued. "Dear brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of the one who has conquered evil!"
Live Catholic, Shop Catholic -- go here --
Members of ISIS, a militant group that operates in Iraq and Syria with the aim of establishing a caliphate in northern Syria and Iraq, overtook the country's second-largest city, Mosul and the city of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, June 10.
The group had seized portions of Ramadi and Falluja earlier; Tal Afar was seized by ISIS June 16; and the group briefly held parts of Baquba, 37 miles outside of Baghdad, the following day.
ISIS currently controls much of the Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq, as well as cities along the Euphrates river in northwest Syria.
Thursday the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate declared to the remaining Christian community of Mosul that they either needed openly convert to Islam, pay an unspecified jizya tax in exchange for their safety while observing certain conditions, or leave their homes with only their clothes, nothing more.
Following Thursday's declaration, the houses of Mosul Christians were marked with an "N," signifying "Nazarenes." As a result, the few remaining Christians have left, marking the first time in history the city has been without Christians.
Pope Francis encouraged those gathered in St. Peter's Square as well as those watching on television to pray for "the situations of tension and conflict that persist in different parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and in Ukraine."
"The God of peace will awaken in all the authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence will not win over violence. Violence is won over by peace!" he said, and led the pilgrims in a moment of silent prayer.
During his address before the traditional Marian prayer, the Roman Pontiff recounted the parable of the day's Gospel, in which the owner of a field plants wheat, but one of his enemies comes during the night and plants weeds in the field as well.
Observing how the Hebrew root for the word "enemy" used in scripture is the same as that of "Satan," the Pope described how the name gives the connotation of division, and explained that the devil "always seeks to divide individuals, families, nations and peoples."
Observing how there is a twofold meaning to the parable, the pontiff noted that first of all it reveals to us that "the evil in the world does not come from God, but from his enemy, the devil."
Another lesson we learn is when we look at "the contradiction between the impatience of the servants and the patience of the owner of the field, who represents God," he continued, referring to how the servants wanted to burn all the weeds, but the field owner instead waited and had the wheat and weeds grow together so that he could save the good seeds later.
"Sometimes we are very quick to judge, classify, put the good over here, the bad over there," the Bishop of Rome noted, stating that instead "God knows how to wait. God is patient" and "waits with heart in hand in order to welcome, to forgive. He always forgives if we go to him."
Going on, the Pope drew attention to the attitude of the field owner, saying that it is that of the hope founded on the certainty that evil will have neither the first nor the last word."
"It is thanks to this patient hope of God that the same weed, which is the evil heart with many sins, in the end can become wheat," he said, "But be attentive: evangelical patience is not an indifference to evil; we cannot confuse good and evil!"
"In front of the weeds present in the world the disciple of the Lord is called to imitate the patience of God, and nourish the hope of the ultimate good, which is God."
Concluding his address, Pope Francis explained that "we will be judged with the same measure we have judged others."
"The mercy that we have shown to others will also be shown to us," he stated, and prayed that Mary, "our Mother," help us "to grow in patience, in hope and in mercy with all of our brothers."
Founded in continued response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world.
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Each year, millions of people across the United States rush to grocery stores and prepare to visit their families in celebration of Thanksgiving. Visiting loved ones and enjoying a specially prepared meal are both wonderful parts of celebrating, but don't forget to ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading
By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News
Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading