WAR: Pope says world’s many conflicts amount to piecemeal World War III

from Reuters

popefrancisholylandPope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago….

Click here to read the entire article.

IRAQ-SYRIA: The U.S. and ISIS

by Stephen Zunes
in The Huffington Post

n-US-AIRSTRIKE-large570

At the start of classes one year ago, I was having to explain to my students why the United States appeared to be on the verge of going to war against the Syrian government. At the beginning of this semester, exactly one year later, I’m having to explain to my students why the United States may be on the verge of going to war against Syrian rebels.

It is not surprising, therefore, that while the horrors unleashed by forces of the so-called Islamic State are all-too-real, there is skepticism regarding the use of military force.

Already U.S. planes and missiles have been attacking ISIS forces in northern Iraq. Given the real threat of a heightened genocidal campaign against Yazidis and other minorities and the risks of ISIS control expanding into the Kurdish region, even some of those normally averse to unilateral U.S. military intervention abroad were willing to acknowledge it may have been the least bad option.

Within days, however, there were already indications of “mission creep,” as what had been officially declared an exclusively defensive mission turned offensive when the United States provided air support for Kurdish and Iraqi forces, which seized the Mosul Dam from ISIS forces.

Even if one can make a convincing strategic case for such a military operation, the failure of President Obama to go before Congress for authorization of this renewed military intervention in Iraq is extremely disturbing…

Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

REFLECTION: To be a rock of faith, we must let our thinking be changed

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

Among the various Gospel readings that we have Sunday after Sunday, I think this particular lesson is one that every one of us probably feels we can easily be drawn into that situation, put ourselves there with the disciples as Jesus says, “Who do people say I am?” And I think it’s easy to imagine how they must have kind of chatted with one another, “Well, what have you heard? What have I heard?” And they come up then with these answers: “Some say you’re John the Baptist.” That would be John risen from the dead because he had been put to death by Herod, and Herod was very frightened of that possibility.

“But then others,” the disciples said, “well, they say you’re Elijah or Jeremiah, one of the other prophets.” But then comes the really important question to those disciples and to every one of us: “Who do you say that I am?” “Who do you say that I am?” This is Jesus now, who we learn about through the Gospels: “Who do you say?” And that question, of course, is key to everything in our faith. Are we ready to say with Peter, “You are the Christ, the chosen one, the son of the living God”? And so we try to enter into this and see if we’re ready to say to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the son of the living God.”

There are many various commentaries about this Gospel lesson that then speak about this rock upon which Jesus builds the church, and the most ancient commentary understood that Peter was a type of every disciple, of every one of us. So if we can say, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God,” Jesus is saying to us, “This is a gift of faith. God has helped you to know this.” And so as a disciple, each one of us can also say, “Yes, Jesus is the Christ.”…

To read this entire article, click here.

MIDDLE EAST: Latest Middle East Notes from Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

middle_east_cultureOur partners at the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns provide an excellent resource for anyone or any group that wants to be updated on the situation in the Middle East, analysis of the the events taking place in the region, and more. The latest edition of “Middle East Notes” has just been published with articles concerning the destruction in Gaza, the present “long-term” cease-fire, continued construction of Israeli housing units on the West Bank, growing Israeli intolerance of Israelis’ criticism of their government, and other pertinent articles.

You can subscribe to receive “Middle East Notes” right in your inbox (sign up to receive their action alerts and check off the appropriate box) or visit the MOGC website.

Click here to see the latest editions of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns’ “Middle  East Notes”.

REFLECTION: Why are we silencing women (and lay) preachers?

schenkby Christine Schenk, NCR

Bishop Salvatore Matano, the new bishop of Rochester, N.Y., is in the process of ending a 40-year custom of permitting lay ministers to preach at Mass. Most are women commissioned to preach by the former bishop, Matthew Clark. All have advanced degrees in theology and all have served for many years in various diocesan leadership positions. Many are or were parish administrators in a diocese where one-third of all parishes are without a resident priest. (And things are going to get worse. According to the diocesan website, the number of active diocesan priests is expected to decline from 140 to 62 by 2025 — a decline of almost 60 percent.)

Preaching at Mass by prepared and gifted laity, especially laywomen, flourished under Clark, who interpreted church law broadly, though the practice actually began under his predecessor, Bishop Joseph Hogan. Clark, who retired in 2012, was nationally known for supporting expanded roles for women in the church. In 1982, in “The Fire in the Thornbush,” his first pastoral letter as bishop, he wrote:

Many women have also demonstrated that they have the gift of inspired preaching, that they can explain the Word of God in a way so moving that it reaches the minds and hearts of their hearers and hereby strengthens their faith.

We have such women in this diocese. In our liturgical and other prayer assemblies, and in all events wherein we witness to our faith, we need to be creative in designing ways and providing opportunities for women with such gifts to share this richness with the community.

To his credit, Clark was as good as his word. For decades, Rochester parishioners were gifted with women regularly preaching the Word at Sunday Mass. Along with their pastors, the women carefully observed the letter of canon law by preaching “in dialogue with” the priest and describing their Gospel insights as “reflections” rather than homilies, since church law says only the ordained can preach a homily at Mass....

To read this entire article, click here.