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History of Israel
Moreno Navarrini's (Forum, Nov. 18) reference to the theft that occurred when Israel was created is false. Israel was created out of British Palestine as a result of a vote of the United Nations. British Palestine was created out of Ottoman lands at the end of World War I as spoils of war. Prior to World War I Ottoman Turkish rulers had allowed Jewish immigration to Palestine, with most of the Jews coming from Eastern Europe.
The motivation for this did come from Zionists prior to World War I, but no one was stealing any land in Palestine. From 1880 to 1946 Jewish immigrants purchased land from Arab sellers, mostly arid and semi-arid at an average cost of $1,100 per acre. At the same time prime Iowa farm land was selling for $110 per acre. Many Arab land owners sold out at enormous profits thinking the Jews would fail at farming and they would be able to repurchase the land for substantially less.
At the time of the formation of Israel in 1948, 8.6 percent of the land in British Palestine was owned by Jews, 3.3 percent by Arabs that stayed in Israel, 16.9 percent by Arabs that fled relying on the promise of the combined Arab armies to wipe out the Jewish state, and 71.2 percent was owned by the British Palestine government. Ownership of the government land was transferred to the Israeli government in 1948, according to a report issued by the British Palestine government, "Government of Palestine; Survey of Palestine."
This lie about the Jews stealing Israel from the Arabs is false and has to be refuted whenever its ugly head appears. Israel is one of two fully functioning democracies in the Middle East and does not deserve to be defamed in that way.
Enforce Canon 915
Cardinal Raymond Burke has indicated that "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's repeated support for abortion is a grave sin" that means she should not be admitted to Holy Communion, out of concern for her spiritual state, and that Canon 915 of canon law must be applied in Pelosi's case. That canon states that people who are "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin" should not be admitted to Communion.
But more is at stake here than the salvation of the soul of Congresswoman Pelosi. Pelosi is only one of dozens of "Catholic" members of the U.S. Congress who are individually responsible, on a daily basis, for the legal killing of 3,000 unborn children each day. Each refuses to support a constitution amendment that would legally protect the unborn.
However, when their bishops admit them to Communion, they are conveying to these politicians that their positions/actions are morally acceptable; for regular reception of Communion in the Catholic Church conveys that the person is a practicing Catholic, in the state of grace, in good standing and in good communion with the Catholic Church.
At the same time, these legislators' reception of Communion conveys to Catholic citizens that their support of abortion is morally acceptable. These citizens feel then that they can in good conscience vote for a pro-abortion candidate. A significant number of practicing Catholics do so, permitting many persons to be elected and re-elected to office who otherwise would not be. This prevents obtaining sufficient votes to protect the unborn.
We can expect the legal killing of the unborn to continue (now at 55 million) until the US bishops withhold Communion from pro-abortion "Catholic" legislators, conveying that it is morally wrong to support legal abortion and for citizens to elect legislators who do so.
What is the Good News? It is the essence of the confession of faith we recite each Sunday: God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. God raised Jesus from the dead, and through Baptism in Christ we have forgiveness of sins and the promise of resurrection to life everlasting.
This message has brought great healing to the world, but is resisted by many: "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear their deeds will be exposed." (John 3:20). Today Christians are persecuted in many places because the Good News requires an admission of sin and a change from the status quo.
Those who resist the Good News have settled on a simple strategy to neuter it: deny the existence of sin altogether! If there is no sin, there is no need for a Savior. As Pope Francis said in his first papal homily: "We can build many things, but if we don't proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We become a compassionate NGO (nongovernmental organization) and not the bride of Christ."
Personally, I would rather talk about God's love and grace. That is easy. Addressing the subject of sin in the public square these days is harder to do, but also is necessary.
Our best message to the world is always one that is clear about sin and, in the same breath, clear about God's tender mercy and forgiveness through Christ.
Stand against oppression
Pope Francis as Time magazine's "Man of the Year" has a platform to do much good. In addition to restating Catholic and Christianity's ongoing commitment to help the poor, I hope he will also speak up against the Islamic Jihad being carried out throughout much of the world. Catholics and Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, the Sudan, the Philippines and even in Jerusalem are being oppressed with churches being burned or bombed and followers being persecuted, terrorized or murdered, depopulating these areas of Christians.
This worldwide onslaught along with atheist campaigns throughout Western Europe and the United States to downplay and ridicule faith seem to be today's larger challenges in addition of course, to poverty.
Speaking of gifts in this beautiful Christmas season, many knowledgeable people say that the greatest gift of Pope John Paul II (soon to be St. John Paul) to the Church was "The Catechism of the Catholic Church."
There have been so many dissident voices in the last several decades that multitudes of the faithful have asked in their great confusion, "What does the Church really teach? How can we know the voice of the True Shepherd?"
The answer is in the authentic teaching of the Magisterium — what the Church has always believed, taught and confessed.
I offer this example from the "YouCat" (Youth Catechism) which you can have sent to your email inbox each day for free. Simply go to flocknote.com/catechism.
Anyone who wants to believe needs a heart that is ready to listen (see 1 Kings 3:9). In many ways God seeks contact with us. In every human encounter, in every moving experience of nature, in every apparent coincidence, in every challenge, every suffering, there is a hidden message from God to us. He speaks even more clearly to us when he turns to us in his Word or in the voice of our conscience.
Also look into The Family Catechism — www.familycatechism.com — with beautiful resources such as videos, teaching geared for children, cross references to Scripture, papal documents and the Catechism. The best gift we can give to our families and friends.
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