“Traditionally, Christians in Iraq (specifically in Christian towns) put a Cross that lights up at night on top of their homes starting the first week of September in preparation for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Although the refugees are out of their homes and they themselves are carrying their cross every day, some maintained the tradition by placing a Cross by their tents in their refugee camps as a reminder of their tradition and faith. May their faith increase more and more and may the Cross of Jesus give them light, strength and life instead of darkness, weakness and death that they are experiencing every day.”

–Sister Luma Khudher OP
Photo by Sister Sara, OP


Angela Valavanis had already had one bad encounter with the Catholic health care system when St. Francis Hospital, the hospital in Evanston, Ill., where she delivered her second baby, refused to allow her OB/GYN to tie her tubes because of Catholic restrictions on the procedure. When she went to her doctor’s office for a check-up after the birth and asked about going back on the Pill, since she hadn’t gotten the sterilization she wanted, she got another shock: “My doctor told me that she couldn’t prescribe birth control because she had sold her practice to a Catholic health system,” said Angela. “My mouth dropped open. I was so confused to hear those words coming out of the mouth of an OB/GYN.”

Eight of the largest health systems in America are now Catholic-owned. More and more won’t prescribe conraception

Alonso Cano

Saint Agnes, c. 1624-38

‘St. Agnes’ is one of approximately 417 works of art from the Kaiser Friedrich Museum that was deposited in the Friedrichshain flak tower, or Flakturm, for safekeeping during the Second World War. The painting is presumed to have been destroyed when the tower was burned in May of 1945. (source)


John of Austria “The Last Knight of Europe” (1547 – 1578), in English traditionally known as Don John of Austria, in Spanish as Don Juan de Austria and in German as Ritter Johann von Österreich, was an illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. He became a military leader in the service of his half-brother, King Philip II of Spain and is best known for his crucial participation at the head of the  naval forces of the Holy League in the decisive victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 against the Ottoman Empire.

After Lepanto he was appointed General Governor of the Low Contries taking the command of the Imperial Catholic forces against the Protestant insurrection. He died on Octuber 1 1578 of what contemporaries called camp fever (Typhus). He was a beloved commander and was  mourned deeply by his troops who remembered him as a righteous, courageous and affectionate military leader

10 Tips for Becoming a Happier Person by Pope Francis:

(Credit: thehigherlearning.com)

1. “Live and Let Live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

2. “Be Giving of Yourself To Others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3. “Proceed Calmly” in Life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.

4. A Healthy Sense of Leisure. The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety”, and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.

5. Sundays Should Be Holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.

6. Find Innovative Ways To Create Dignified Jobs For Young People. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.

7. Respect and Take Care of Nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

8. Stop Being Negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9. Don’t Proselytise; Respect Others’ Beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising,” the Pope said.

10. Work For Peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

Do Catholics care more about reducing poverty or controlling people’s sex lives?

By Jay Livingston, PhD

At the New York Times, Ross Douthat has called out liberals who think, and declare, that churches today are more focused on “culture war” issues like abortion and homosexuality than on poverty.

Ridiculous, says Douthat. Religious organizations spend only “a few hundred million dollars” on pro-life causes and “traditional marriage” but tens of billions on charities, schools, and hospitals. Douthat and his sources, though, lump all spending together rather than separating domestic U.S. budgets from those going to the developing world.  But even in the U.S. and other wealthy countries, abortion and gay marriage are largely legislative and legal matters. Building schools and hospitals and then keeping them running – that takes real money.

Why then do liberals get this impression about the priorities of religious organizations? Douthat blames the media. He doesn’t do a full O’Reilly and accuse the media (liberal, it goes without saying) and others of ganging up in a war on religion, but that’s the subtext.

Anyone who tells you that America’s pastors are obsessed with homosexuality or abortion only hears them through a media filter. You can attend Masses or megachurches for months without having those issues intrude.

Actually, the media do not report on the sermons and homilies of local clergy at all, whether they are urging their flocks to live good lives, become wealthy, help the needy, or oppose gay marriage. Nor is there a data base of these Sunday texts, so we don’t know precisely how much American chuchgoers are hearing about any of these topics. Only a handful of clergy get media coverage, and that coverage focuses on their pronouncements about controversial issues.  As Douthat says, liberals are probably reacting to “religious leaders who make opposition to abortion more of a political priority than publicly-funded antipoverty efforts.”

Of his own Catholic church, Douthat adds, “You can bore yourself to tears reading denominational statements and bishops’ documents (true long before Pope Francis) with a similar result.” Maybe he has done this reading, and maybe he does think that his Church does not let “those issues intrude.” Or as he puts it, “The belief that organized religion is organized around culture war is largely a conceit of the irreligious.”

But here, thanks to the centralized and hierarchical structure of the Church, we can get data that might reveal what the Church is worried about. As Douthat implies, the previous pope (Benedict XVI, the former Joseph Ratzinger), was more concerned about culture-war issues than is the current pope.

How concerned? I went to Lexis-Nexis. I figured that papal pronouncements on these issues would be issued in masses, in official statements, and in addresses.  For each of those three terms, I searched for “Pope Benedict” with four “culture-war” terms (Abortion, Homosexuality, Condom, and Birth control) and Poverty.

Abortion was the big winner. Poverty was referred to in more articles than were the other individual culture-war terms. But if those terms are combined into a single bar (see above), its clear that poverty as a papal concern is dwarfed by the attention to these other issues. 

This is not the best data. It might reflect the concerns of the press more than those of the Church. Also, some of those Lexis-Nexis articles are not direct hits. They might reference an “address” or “statement” by someone else. But there’s no reason to think that these off-target citations are skewed towards Abortion and away from Poverty.So it’s completely understandable that liberals, and perhaps non-liberals as well, have the impression that Big Religion has a big concern with matters of sex and reproduction.

Cross-posted at Montclair SocioBlog.

Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University. You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

First step to having an Abundant: Life: http://www.theabundantlifecoaches.com/the-abundant-life-blog/first-step-to-having-the-abundant-life

You Christians do worship God, but then - believing yourself to be the only true ones - you despise nations other than those you consider worthy of having your grace bestowed upon them.
—  Güyük Khan, third Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, in a letter to Pope Innocent IV.

An overview of the Polish post-war churches 

[1] Map, showing churches in construction in a given year

[2] Chart, showing start date and construction period and. Each line represents one church and is color-coded by the political era church’s construction started.

More info (Polish only) in the article on official website of the project


I can’t help but notice the similarities between Gamergate and the Spanish Civil War. Think about it: People from all walks of life are banding together to defend their cherished way of life from a corrupt leftist elite. This elite, supported by Soviets/SJWs and Western media, declares war on Catholicism/gamer culture and attacks the innocent faithful. But in the end, the good guys triumph, and General Franco/Vivian James becomes the symbol of the movement.

To honor the Kameraden of Gamergate, I designed two flags, the one above to represent gamer culture and the one below to represent the Gamergate movement.