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Desperate times for Iraqi Christians

21 Aug

AUG. 21, 2014 — We live in difficult times. Others live in desperate times. Despite the 24-hour news cycle, most Americans are seemingly unaware that terrorists are wiping out Christians in Iraq — Christians with roots going back to St. Thomas the Apostle.

Christians flee Mosul earlier this summer

Christians flee Mosul earlier this summer

Under Saddam Hussein, the brutal dictator driven from power in 2003, radical Islam was held at bay and anti-Christian violence was minimal. However, after Saddam’s regime fell, Christians have been under fierce attack. Millions have fled and many thousands have been killed, often brutally.

Proclaiming a caliphate (a new Islamic state) straddling Iraq and Syria, radical Islamists have swept across northern Iraq, pushing back Kurdish regional forces and driving tens of thousands of Christians and members of the Yazidi religious minority from their homes.

The sign of genocide

The sign of genocide

With the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) over the summer, anti-Christian violence has gotten worse. Christian homes have been painted with the Arabic letter ن (nūn) for Nassarah (an Arabic word for Christian) and a declaration that they are the property of the Islamic State. On 18 July, the jihadists announced that all Christians would need to leave or be killed. Many have been slaughtered, often beheaded. Today, there are no Christians left in Mosul for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.

The situation is so bad that Pope Francis told reporters on the plane back from South Korea last week that force is necessary to stop the progress of the insurgents. Reporters asked the Pope if he approved of U.S. strikes against ISIS.

Journalists asked Pope Francis about the situation in Iraq during his trip back to Rome from Korea

Journalists asked Pope Francis about the situation in Iraq during his trip back to Rome from Korea

“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor,” he said, stopping short of calling for bombing or all-out war.

Being so far removed from the violence, most Americans are more concerned about the national economy, the upcoming mid-term elections and their own personal issues — whether that be health, employment, finances or family problems. In a country with a relatively stable political environment, it’s hard to wrap our heads around the situation in Iraq. But we must for two important reasons.

First, Jesus made it clear that his followers make up his Body, the Church (Rom 12:5-6). When one part of the Body of Christ is threatened, we are all threatened. We must be in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world, praying for them and with them.

Cowardly terrorists prepare to murder journalist James Foley

Cowardly terrorists prepare to murder journalist James Foley

Second, military analysts say that the U.S. is more vulnerable to attack now than before 9/11. ISIS is armed, wealthy, and determined. Their leaders have made it clear that they have no intention of stopping with Iraq and Syria. They intended to ride the wave of violence all the way to North Africa, perhaps further. Jihadists beheaded American journalist James Foley in a video released earlier this week, and they say that America is on their hit list.

The bottom line is that it’s sackcloth and ashes time. Christians in America must repent and turn back to the Lord with all their hearts or the prospect for peace will remain out of reach.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine.

Deep Adventure Radio: The exclusive Novecosky interview

21 May
Bear Wosnick (left) interviews Patrick Novecosky on Deep Adventure Radio

Bear Woznick (left) interviews Patrick Novecosky on Deep Adventure Radio at the Catholic Leadership Conference

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (May 21, 2014) — Deep Adventure Radio’s Bear Woznick took it out into the deep water today, interviewing Patrick Novecosky — editor of this blog and editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine — for his AdventureCast program, heard on stations across the country.

Woznick asked Novecosky about his snap decision to run the Rome marathon a few days after Pope Francis was elected in March 2013. They then discussed Legatus, the membership organization for Catholic business leaders founded by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.

In the third segment, the two talked about the cultural and political challenges for Catholic and other Christian business leaders, most specifically the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate. Legatus members are leading the fight to overturn the mandate. They also talked about the influence of business leaders and their responsibility to be steeped in the virtues.

BearswavecompodcastartBear Woznick is a two-time Masters World Champion tandem surfer. He is featured in TV’s “Clean Break” reality adventure series, has a weekly four-minute “Deep in the Wave” radio segment and posts weekly podcasts, blogs and video logs at Woznick lives on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, and is married to his Swedish bride Talin and is the father of four: Fawn, Jeremiah, Shane, and Joshua.

CLICK: Listen to the entire interview.



The battle for souls

16 Apr

by Patrick Novecosky

If there’s one thing that Lent has reminded me of, it’s that we’re at war. We’re in the thick of a battle for souls, and our eternal destination is one of two places.

Scripture and Church teaching are clear that heaven and hell are real — and that all souls in purgatory are destined for heaven. There’s nothing new in this. The battle for souls has been going on since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. However, it seems we’ve forgotten about the battle. In the comfort of our modern world, it’s easy to forget that 3,400 children are murdered via surgical abortion every single day in America. It’s easy to forget that the multi-billion-dollar porn industry is destroying marriages and warping people’s sense of reality. It’s easy to forget that Christian values are under assault from our own government.


Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the 2014 Legatus Summit

Sen. Rick Santorum reminded Legatus members at its annual Summit last February that secularists are relentless in their efforts to change the culture, to remove every vestige of God and faith from the public square. Christians, he said, seem to have surrendered without a fight in the culture wars. His point is that we need to be equally relentless in our efforts to win back the culture — and, similarly, we need to be relentless in our efforts to win souls for Christ.

“America is broken because we’re afraid to fight,” he said. We must be committed, be all in, we must know what is on the line: “souls, eternal souls,” he said. “We don’t live in a time in America when we can afford to stop fighting.”

Legatus is the perfect venue for business leaders and their spouses to be formed for battle. Legatus exists to help its members “learn, live and spread the Catholic faith.” Formation happens at monthly chapter events, at conferences and pilgrimages, and through Legatus magazine. But that formation needs to be rooted in each member’s personal prayer and friendship with Jesus Christ. Without those roots, sunk deep into fertile soil, the culture will rip us out of the ground and blow us away like a tumbleweed rolling across the desert.

Bishop Daniel Jenky (left) strolls with Cardinal Raymond Burke

Bishop Daniel Jenky (left) strolls with Cardinal Raymond Burke

Post-Christian America is rarely friendly to those who take their faith seriously. In 2012, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky told a group of Catholic men in his diocese: “We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction. In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work … we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.”

We are on the front lines of this battle for souls, where every person we encounter has an eternal destiny. Let’s do all we can to get to heaven and take as many people with us as possible.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief. This article appears in the May issue of Legatus magazine. It is reprinted with permission.

Overcoming the darkness

1 Nov

NOVEMBER 1, 2013 — For most people, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to allow Catholic priests contracted by the government to voluntarily minister to our troops, including Sunday Mass during a partial government shutdown.

Military+Chaplains+Travel+Afghan+Battlefield+qSydjrkwiXPlBut that wasn’t the case last month. One priest — Fr. Ray Leonard, a contractor at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia — sued the federal government for access to his base. He did not withdraw the lawsuit after the government ended the shutdown in mid-October.

Contrary to what the mainstream media were saying, 83% of the federal government was still funded and operating during the so-called shutdown. And for two Sundays in early October, President Obama’s Department of Defense prohibited 50 Catholic priests from saying Mass and administering other sacraments at U.S. military facilities across the country. While Catholic priests were barred from military bases — even to voluntarily administer the sacraments — Protestant ministers were unaffected by the shutdown. The government has not explained the discrimination.

rtxlxh4By singling out Catholics, military leadership tipped its hand to a deeper vein of contempt for Christians in the U.S. armed services. Christian men and women in uniform are being told to park their beliefs at the door or face the consequences of a military that is rapidly being secularized. But our First Amendment freedoms do not end when we enter the classroom, the courtroom, our business place — nor should they end when we enlist to serve our country in the military.

Christian civilians and all citizens of good will need to take notice of how men and women of faith are being weeded out of leadership positions. They’re either being demoted or forced to retire, while secularists and those with a socialist bent are advancing. There’s a lot at stake here. In his farewell address, George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” John Adams made it clear that “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

If Americans want the Republic to continue as we’ve known it — one nation under God — we have very little time to reverse course. We can only expect to maintain our rights and freedoms if we exercise them. We must always remember that knowing and living our faith publicly is the first step. As St. John wrote, we’re called to be “the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness [will] not overcome it.”

 PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine. This article appeared in the November issue of Legatus. It is reprinted with permission.

For life and peace

16 Sep

by Patrick Novecosky

The world has been on edge for more than a month over the civil war in Syria, and whether or not the U.S. should intervene militarily after the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime on Aug. 21.

Pope Francis called for a day of fasting and prayer on Sept. 7. Catholics and non-Catholics alike from around the world prayed for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and more than 100,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square with the Pope for a five-hour vigil on the eve of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis prays during a Sept. 7 vigil in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis prays during a Sept. 7 vigil for peace in St. Peter’s Square

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace; it is always a defeat for humanity.”

Incredibly, some in the mainstream media were critical of the Holy Father’s message. Mark Phillips, reporting for CBS This Morning, said that the Pope had “taken sides” and waded into “politics” by calling for peace. He hinted that Pope Francis has chosen Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position over that of President Obama.

There are several lessons to be learned here. First, the Church will always stand against violence when there is an opportunity for peaceful dialogue. Blessed John Paul II pleaded for peace in the lead-up to the first and second Gulf Wars. The secular media embraced his position. Pope Francis is doing nothing different. The message is the same. The difference is politics — specifically the politics of the man in the Oval Office.

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

My critique here is not of President Obama, but of the liberal secular media whose members stretch their news reports to fit their political ideology. This leads to the second lesson: Do not trust the secular news media. If you haven’t picked up on it, the mainstream news machine has an undeniable bias against Christianity — and in particular against the Catholic Church. Case in point: Their blind mission to destroy Sarah Palin and Tim Tebow.

Informed citizens must have access to truthful, unbiased reporting. Unfortunately, that’s a rare commodity these days. Fortunately, alternative media — blogs and web-based news sites like Breitbart, LifeSiteNews, OneNewsNow, The Blaze and others are delivering what the mainstream media refuse to give us.

No matter what side the secular media comes down on, the Catholic Church will always stand for peace over war, life over death, and Christ over the world. And it’s our job to make sure we are on His side because our choices have eternal consequences.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of this blog and Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.

Our man in the Vatican: The SiriusXM interviews

23 Mar
Steve Peroutka

Steve Peroutka

MARCH 23, 2013 (VATICAN CITY) – Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog, was a guest on SiriusXM’s Family Talk Channel for two consecutive weeks. Steve Peroutka, president of National Pro-Life Radio and host of Sirius XM’s Face the Truth Coast 2 Coast, interviewed Patrick during his March 16 and March 23 programs.

On the first program, broadcast March 16, Patrick talked about being part of history during the election the dynamic new Roman Pontiff — Pope Francis — the former Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the 266th successor of St. Peter. The Argentinian cardinal took the name Pope Francis.

On the second program, they spoke about Patrick’s last-minute decision to run in the 19th Rome Marathon. Other topics of conversation: Pope Francis, his audience with journalists, and how John Paul I set the stage for a new era of the papacy.

FamilyTalkListen to the March 16 program by clicking here.

Listen to the March 23 program by clicking here.

The growing pro-life culture 40 years after Roe v. Wade

29 Jan

kwky-Jean-MarkJANUARY 29, 2013 — Patrick Novecosky, editor of this blog and editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine, was a guest on KWKY Radio in Des Moines, Iowa, this morning.

He appeared on the Catholic Radio Iowa Morning Show with Jeanne Wells and Dowling Catholic Hall of Famer Mark Amadeo. They interviewed Patrick about his experience at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. It was Patrick’s first March in 10 years, and the Jan. 25 march also commemorated the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion across the United States. More than 55 million children have died at the hands of abortionists since 1973.

Listen to the full interview by clicking here.