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A referendum against Muslim 'steeples'

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This week, in a major setback for religious freedom, about 57 percent of the Swiss electorate voted to outlaw the building of “minarets” in their country. These are towers near mosques, and in predominantly Muslim lands, they are used for the Call to Prayer, so it can be heard at a distance. Right-wing political movements in Switzerland apparently convinced a majority of voters that these minarets were some kind of symbol of political Islam, a notion that is patently ridiculous.

This is akin to outlawing church steeples, where the bells in the tower have often filled the same function as the call to prayer in a minaret. Remember the Angelus?

However, many places in the Muslim world are not open to Christian houses of worship. The first Catholic church (without steeple or even a cross) just opened in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, of course, allows nothing but its own form of Islam.

In the arena of religious freedom … there is a lot of work to be done.

Dec. 3, St. Francis Xavier

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O Deus, ego amo te,
Nec amo te, ut salves me,
Aut, quia non amantes te
Æterno punis igne.
Tu, tu, mi Jesu, totum me
Amplexus es in cruce;
Tuliste clavos, lanceam,
Multamque ignominiam,
Innumeros dolores,
Sudores, et angores,
Et mortem, et hæc propter me,
Ac pro me peccatore.
Cur igitur non amem te,
O Jesu amantissime,
Non, ut in cœlo salves me,
Aut ne æternum damnes me,
Nec præmii ullius spe;
Sed sicut tu amasti me?
Sic amo et amabo te,
Solum quia Rex meus es,
Et solum, quia Deus es.


--St. Francis Xavier

Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, a founding member of the Society of Jesus.

"Francis Xavier (Francisco de Jassu y Javier, 1506-1552), was the first Jesuit missionary and the prototype who inspired many men to enter the Society of Jesus and evangelize far off nations."

For prayers in honor of St. Francis Xavier, click here.

Catholics For Choice Runs a Repulsive Ad

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Catholics for Choice (CFC) took out a full page ad in this morning’s Washington Post with the ridiculous charge that “[t]he United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is directing healthcare policy in the United States.” Funny, I did not see any miters making their way down the aisles of the House chamber to cast their votes but maybe I wasn’t watching closely.

Dec. 2, Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan, and Maura Clarke

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On Dec. 2, 1980, Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU., Jean Donovan, Sr. Maura Clarke, MM, and Sr. Ita Ford, MM were beaten, raped, and murdered by five members of the National Guard of El Salvador.

For anyone unfamiliar with their story and with the Reagan administration's reaction, here is a brief introduction.

Many books and articles have been written about Ita, Maura, Jean and Dorothy in the 29 years since their martyrdom, but no one has covered the story with the intensity and thoroughness of the National Catholic Reporter's editors and writers. I have kept a clipping of a letter to the editor since it was published in December 1980. (Was this the first miracle by Dorothy, Ita, Jean, and Maura?)

"NCR sends especially warm Christmas wishes and prayers to James Sipes, a Michigan federal prison inmate who sent us this letter:

Reactions to the Obama Afghanistan Speech

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President Obama laid out his plan for the buildup of U.S. troops in Afghanistan Tuesday night in a speech at the United States Military Academy, saying that "our security is at stake."

The president used the speech to announce the ordering of an additional 30,000 troops to the region, as well as his intention to begin drawing down U.S forces within the next three years. Click here for a roundup of analysis and reactions.

Suddenly, we have caring experts on our faith at Fox News

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This will come as jolt and help wake you up today....

My favorite sentence in this essay by Peter Roff on the FOXnews network, written obviously with great care for the well-being of the Catholic faith, is this one: "While not a Catholic, I understand the hierarchical nature of the [Catholic] church and the role that doctrine plays within it."

Yes, Mr. Roff, go on, we are all ears:

What Obama Needs To Do Tonight

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News leaks tell us that President Obama will announce he is sending another 34,000 troops to Afghanistan. Also, that NATO will be sending another 5,000 – remember, this is the only time NATO has ever declared a war under Article V of its foundational treaty, which provided for mutual shared defense. The President will also explain what the additional troops will be doing.

I do not know if the President’s military prescriptions are the correct ones, although we must all hope that they are. But, what he needs to do tonight is to persuade the American people why we should continue the war, why it still matters, why the options for action are all bad yet still better than the option of doing nothing.

In a word, he needs to do carefully and precisely what his predecessor did with such reckless abandon that many Americans have lost sight of the central reason for our military presence in Afghanistan. President Obama needs to remind us about just how evil Osama bin Laden is, how intractable is his hatred of the West, and how dangerous it is to the actual, physical security of the United States if we do not contain bin Laden and his Taliban confreres.

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September 12-25, 2014

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