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Baptism of Blood

It is a scrupulously made short film, shot with several ­cameras in 2015. Arabic letters dance atop a black background, as if afloat on a whirling current of water, finally coming together and forming a droplet of closely intertwined characters. In Arabic calligraphy—one of Islam’s most . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

Death Penalty Sad to say, but as surely as night follows day, when Pope Francis speaks on doctrinal matters, confusion results. And so it is with the pope’s August revision to section 2267 of the Catechism. Although taught by the Church for two millennia as a legitimate punishment for . . . . Continue Reading »

Where Liberalism Helps

A vast oblong of Islamist, authoritarian, or sectarian persecution stretches from Egypt, Eritrea, Turkey, and Sudan, all the way to China and North Korea, across India and Pakistan. According to a recent report published by Aid to the Church in Need, “the persecution of Christians is today worse . . . . Continue Reading »

Aleppo and a Layman

Cohen declares, “No outcome in Syria could be worse than the current one.” He seems to have a high degree of confidence that if the United States had bombed the Assad regime, it would have produced a more peaceful Syria. Maybe it would have. Or maybe bombing—or perhaps better to say, merely bombing—the Assad forces would have produced only a different kind of hell. Continue Reading »

Christian Freedom Amidst Persecution

This volume accompanies another substantial collection, Christianity and Freedom: Volume 1, Historical Perspectives, prepared by the same editors. Professor Hertzke is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences as well as the faculty of the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and associate professor in the Government Department at Georgetown University.
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The Havana Declaration

For me, the text of the Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill’s joint declaration came as a surprise, as did their meeting and its location in Havana. This document is significantly better in style and content than any earlier official document or statement from the Russian Orthodox Church. Simply . . . . Continue Reading »

Eastern Christmas and Egypt's President

Egypt’s Coptic Christians follow the Julian calendar in celebrating Christmas on January 7th of each year. For the second consecutive year, Egyptian president Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi surprised them with an exceptionally kind gesture, once again personally attending their Coptic Christmas Eve mass and . . . . Continue Reading »

Looking Toward November 8

To redeploy a phrase from President Ford, our “long national nightmare”—in this case, the semi-permanent presidential campaign—will be over in eleven months, or at least suspended for a year or so. It’s not been an altogether edifying show to date; one may hope that, as the fields get . . . . Continue Reading »

Endangered Faiths

Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East by gerard russell basic books, 354 pages, $28.99 We were on Saturday, and you are on Sunday. Now your Sunday has come.” So goes an oft-quoted warning from the Jews of Iraq about the fate of the country’s . . . . Continue Reading »

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