Friday, March 21

Here's a good list of online journals and blogs by embedded journalists.

Iraqi Christians consecrate their country to Mary, Queen of Peace

Iraq-Caritas is fully stocked and ready

As the coalition forces advance into Iraq, Caritas is providing humanitarian aid in 14 centers throughout Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk and Mosul. The centers are fully equipped with stocks of basic provisions to last for several weeks: crackers of high vitamin content, powdered milk, water-purifying equipment and electric and combustible generators, Caritas sources told ZENIT. Caritas personnel in Iraq reported that in the Baghdad area people are leaving their homes and seeking shelter in churches and schools. Caritas-Iraq, which anticipated the population's movements, has stocked Catholic churches throughout the country with basic necessities, to provide Iraqi citizens with a measure of security in anticipation of the bombing.

From the Tablet:

Stars and Stripes or Keys of Peter?

It has often been observed that American Catholics sound more like American Baptists or Presbyterians than like Old World Catholics. They share with their Protestant compatriots an intensely privatised religiosity, an intensely privatised conscience. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, has given an amazing interview to the National Catholic Reporter explaining that, despite her views on women priests and abortion, she remains a conservative Catholic because she enjoyed a “strict upbringing in a Catholic home where the fundamental belief was that God gave us all a free will and we were accountable for that, each of us”. In the United States, that does not seem an eccentric definition of Catholicism.

American Catholicism is ethnic, not dogmatic. The descendants of Irish and Italian and Polish immigrants, long bereft of the old country’s language, maintain their ancestors’ religious identification, which does for them what Catholic nationalism did for Ireland and Poland in the days of British and Soviet rule. It makes a people where there would otherwise not be a people. Yet in this land of voluntarist and intensely subjective Protestants, Catholics who are, in the sense of ethnic identity, “more Catholic than the Pope”, still share the radical Protestant “fundamental belief” that, to quote Pelosi, “God gave us all a free will and we are accountable for that”. Each believer stands alone with his God, and no Pope intervenes on that solitude

From the Tablet:

No Quick Fix in Iraq

George Bush Sr and his propaganda machine exhorted the Iraqis – the Shia, the Kurds, the dissident Sunnis, north and south – to rise against Saddam. They did so, at different stages seizing 13 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Then, as Iraq’s destiny seemed on the verge of transformation, the Americans not only denied the rebels support but actively allowed Saddam and his security forces to reassert their primacy. The United States betrayed these Iraqis because it was afraid of the revolution’s consequences and shy of being seen to be responsible for it.

Since that miscalculation, the Iraqis have suffered the dictator’s continued rule overlaid with a harsh and pointless regimen of economic sanctions. These enhanced his and his State’s dominance at the centre and enfeebled and demoralised a population that had, with spirit and bravery, almost unseated him. The Iraqis I have talked to inside and outside Iraq agree that the trade sanctions were vindictive and counterproductive. From the very first, the Americans, and later the British, made clear that however comprehensively Saddam Hussein disarmed – and he did disarm, quite extensively – and however diligently he might try to obey UN Security Council resolutions, there would be no end to the embargo on oil sales, as spelled out in Resolution 687, and no end to Iraq’s misery, until he was gone.

Thus the West – the Americans and British – undermined the validity of their own case, destroyed any incentive for Saddam Hussein to co-operate and beggared the Iraqi people. The Iraqis’ hatred of Saddam is therefore overlaid with blame for us, for their lost years and the destruction of their hopes and future.

Peter Nixon breaks his fast.

Please go to Catholic Light to read about the Iraqi bishops' request for the world to join them in prayer for their country.

Also in Baghdad:

6 members of the Christian Peacemakers' Team remain

On Wednesday flashes lit up the sky like lightning. The ground shook. Explosions, air raid sirens, and anti-aircraft fire roared in a horrific cacophony of noise. Yet, hours after the first military exchanges between Iraq and the coalition, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams walked to an orphanage to comfort sobbing children and feed toddlers.

Six CPT staff members remain in Iraq as the war heats up. Almost daily since October, CPT volunteers and staffers have visited the orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa. After the attack they also went to the Al Monsur Hospital to encourage staff and pray with patients. Later they erected a tent beside the Al Wathba water treatment center, yards from the spot where they had planted a tree and prayed for peace just six days before.

From Detroit:

Chaldean Americans ponder the future:

Chaldean Americans -- concerned that military action has cut contact with family members still in Iraq -- lobbied U.S. political leaders Thursday to ensure that Catholics in Iraq are included in a transition government. Leaders of the local Chaldean community said they feared "Chaldeans are not represented in the future government," said Martin Manna, president of Chaldean Americans Reaching and Encouraging. "We are doing everything we can to be included," said Manna, 30. Manna of Bloomfield Township said he is coordinating his efforts with various groups, including the Chaldean National Congress. The congress represents about a million Chaldeans, about 200,000 of whom are living outside Iraq.

Sign at a Fort Wayne strip club:

"Sadaam You Suck"


Andrew Greeley today

You'll like the first line...

A while back, the New York Times sent one of its reporters who writes fiction about the Catholic Church out to interview Catholics about the conflict they feel when they make up their minds whether to side with the pope or the president over the war....

But dunno how you'll feel about the rest of it...

The Wall Street Journal also warned the pope that he ought to rein in the Vatican publications and the Curia cardinals who are clearly anti-American.

Maybe they are. Like most Europeans, the Curia has been anti-American for a long time. His Holiness minimally has been impatient with American foreign policy. Might one say that is his right? Does not a moral and spiritual leader have the obligation to speak up against evil when he sees it? Does he not have an obligation to apply the just war doctrine to the events he observes? His opinions on the subject deserve attention and respect from Catholics--and everyone else.

However, he is not telling Catholics what they should think, only what he thinks. He is not obliging us in conscience to accept his reading of the situation. One should not have to say that; yet so strong is the current surge of anti-Catholicism in America, one has to repeat it over and over again--and not expect to be heard. The people in the major media know that Catholics have to agree with the pope.

Those of us who have grave doubts about the war will quote the pope often, if only to challenge the fundamentalist piety of the Bush administration, if only to suggest that God is not always on the Republican side. Maybe, just maybe, the pope knows a little bit more than George W. Bush about war and peace.

Some of the Republican pundits shade their criticism of the pope with allusions to the moral problems in the Catholic priesthood. Those who write letters pull no punches. Usually in obscene terms they suggest that the pope should both shut his mouth and do something about clerical sexual abuse.

That argument merely shows how morally and intellectually bankrupt many Republicans are these days. Bush's war has corrupted them.

BBC reporters in the Gulf have a blog

Via Blogs of War


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