Israel and Middle East

Pope Francis spoke to President Peres this morning and asked to deliver a message of coexistence, moderation and peace to all the citizens of the region in light of the current security situation.

His Holiness Pope Francis spoke to President Shimon Peres earlier today (Friday, 18 July 2014), and conveyed a messaged of coexistence, moderation and peace to the citizens of the region in light of the security situation.

President Peres thanked Pope Francis who his involvement and concern and said, “Right now there is fire, we are trying to do as much as we can to lower the flames because we do not consider the people of Gaza as enemies. I know that the people of Gaza themselves didn’t decide on this situation that they find themselves in. There is a small group of fanatics who are the cause of suffering in Gaza.

“Our operation is aimed to bring an end to two killing methods – the rockets from the sky and the tunnels from under the earth. We have discovered two tunnels which were supposed to enable them enter into the heart of civilian life and kill indiscriminately. Fortunately we discovered it on time and prevented the murder. Right now t he main thing we are doing is to put an end to these tunnels and we are trying to see how to limit the confrontation, particularly with regard to the rockets which they fire at our civilians.

“I hope it will not be a long lasting operation and I can assure you that our people are careful and will continue to be very careful not to cause damage and death to innocent peoples. We shall continue to search for a road to peace in spite of the fire and in spite of the failure to have a ceasefire because finally the solution must be political and not just military.”

His Holiness Pope Francis said to President Peres, “This is a painful moment; I am convinced that God brings us together in prayer for peace, and please allow me to say it’s a prophetic gesture which in some ways will mark the future path. It’s true that actions on behalf of fanatics don’t leave us anywhere; it’s true that many innocents suffer and pay with their lives.

“But we have to move forward and insist on this path of prayer for peace. I believe in prayer, in the power of prayer and I believe in the hearts of men who are working for peace. I ask God for a quick solution and a political solution. I’m close to you with my prayers and thoughts.

President Peres thanked Pope Francis for his efforts for peace and said, “I thank you for your efforts for peace. The three meetings that I have had the pleasure to participate in have left a lasting impression. I know that there is still a long way and I know there are difficult situations but like on many occasions, crises may give birth to peace and a better time.

“Your visit in Israel and our prayer in the Vatican had an unexpected impact on many people and I believe it planted a small tree of hope in the hearts of many, which we have to continue and develop.

Pope Francis thanked President Peres and said, “I thank you for everything that you do Mr. President and I ask Gold to bless you very much. That he accompany you on the path of peace and please feel my presence close to you as a brother and as a friend.”

STEVE RAY’S COMMENT: Hamas is a renegade group of radical Muslims that hate Israel more than the love their own children whom they use as shields in their merciless fight against Israel. Israel uses missiles to protect it’s people; Hamas uses its people to protect their missiles. Israel had no choice but to respond and I am certain the war will be short lived now that Israel has stepped up the military action.

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Interview with Patriarch Sako with Zenit.org where you can read the whole excellent interview.

Q: There are calls for American intervention to stop the advance of ISIS. What do you think?

Patriarch Sako: No. I don’t view it like that. The Americans have been here and they made a lot of mistakes. The current situation is their fault. Why replace a regime by something even worse? This is what happened after 2003. The Americans deposed a dictator. But under Saddam Hussein at least we had security and work.

And what do we have now? Confusion, anarchy and chaos. The same thing has happened in Libya and Syria. If you want to change the situation here you have to educate the people in the schools, media and mosques in matters of freedom, democracy and the construction of their own country.

It is impossible to install a democracy on the Western pattern here. Under the old regime prior to 2003 we had no denominational problems. We were all Iraqis. Now we talk about Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Arabs and Kurds.”


Q: But wasn’t it only like that because Saddam held the different groups together with an iron fist?

Patriarch Sako: Perhaps in the present context we need in the Middle East a strong leader who is at the same time just and not only looking out for his family or tribe.

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Bishops Seek ‘Rescue Plan’ as Iraq’s Christians Near Extinction

For 1st Time in 1,600 Years, There Was a Sunday in Mosul With No Masses Offered

ROME, June 23, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Catholic bishops from Iraq are meeting this week to come up with a “rescue plan” amid growing fears that the ISIS Islamist attacks have put Christianity at increased risk of being extinguished from the country.

The meeting of the Chaldean hierarchy, which starts Tuesday, comes after the military success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) prompted yet another wave of displacement within a country that has already seen a dramatic decline in the Christian population over the past decade.

Speaking today in an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Sirop of Baghdad said that up to 75% of Christians had left the capital over the past few years.

He said that ISIS attacks elsewhere in the country – and the threat to Baghdad itself – meant yet more Christians were leaving.

The bishop added that in the capital, Mass attendance last weekend was “much lower” than normal.

Speaking after arriving in Erbil, in Kurdish northern Iraq, ahead of the start of the meeting, Bishop Sirop said: “What we need is a rescue plan and this is what we will be discussing at our next synod, which we hold every year.”

He added: “Christians and others in Baghdad are leaving because they are afraid of what is going to happen. So many have left Iraq already.

“It is a very difficult moment for the Church in Baghdad.”

The bishop stressed that the decline of Christian presence is not just restricted to Baghdad.

His comments come as recent reports cast increasing doubt on some figures given for the Christian population in Iraq, which some claim to be as high as 300,000 – down from 1.4 million at the time of the last census in 1987.

For more read HERE and HERE.

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Here is a YouTube Video of my Show with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN

May 24, 2014

I sure hated the suit and tie – first time in a decade I put those things on, but other than that it was fun. It was a last minute thing. They said, “Quick, get a flight, we have a hotel, take a taxi to the NBC studios in Washington DC and be there by [...]

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Radio and TV Shows with Steve about the Pope in the Holy Land and the Situation Over There

May 23, 2014

It has been a busy week. Yesterday EWTN’s “The World Over” that will be repeated three more times this week. It was a good time with Raymond and the segment flew by. All his staff and producers were wonderful.You can find out more here www.ewtn.com/tv/live/worldover.asp. Today I will be on Drew Mariani’s Show on Relevant Radio [...]

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I Will Join Raymond Arroyo Thursday on World Over on EWTN – The Pope in the Middle East

May 20, 2014

The show will focus on the Pope’s visit to the Middle East. We will discuss the sites he will visit, what he will find, the mood of the local Christians, the controversy over his Mass in the Upper Room and more. The show airs at 8:00 PM Eastern time from Washington DC. I have to [...]

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The “Religion of Peace” Strikes Again in Syria as the USA Continues to Support the Radical Muslims

April 7, 2014

Dutch Missionary Priest in Syria Shot Dead: Stayed With Christians Unable to Evacuate Homs ZENIT UPDATE HERE 4/8/14      ROME REPORTS VIDEO HERE ROME, April 07, 2014 (Zenit.org) – A priest helping Christians find shelter in Syria’s Old City of Homs has been murdered. Dutch Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt was shot twice in the [...]

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Amazing! Pope will Celebrate Mass in the Upper Room

March 27, 2014

This is quite incredible since it has not been done since Pope John Paul II received permission from Israel to celebrate Mass there on his visit to the Holy Land. Pope Francis will do the “not allowed”–he will celebrate Mass in the Upper Room. Seems odd, eh, that the place where the first Eucharist was [...]

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Pictures from Nazareth over 100 Years Ago (see the Virgin Mary :-)

March 25, 2014

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation. These pictures are over a hundred years old from Nazareth. Not much changed between then and the first century. When you look at these old pictures and hundreds more I have in a book I purchased in Nazareth (written in Arabic), you can imagine Mary as [...]

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Our Pilgrimages Mentioned on FoxNews.com

December 27, 2013

I received an email requesting an interview on Holy Land pilgrimages. It was from Fox News. I agreed and the following article is the result.  “6 Out-of-the-Ordinary Ways to Experience the Holy Land” During the holidays, thoughts turn to the Holy Land as the center of Christian and Judaic history. With so many preserved relics [...]

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Christians Targeted by Rebels in Syria

December 8, 2013

DAMASCUS (AP) – Syrian Christians offered prayers Sunday for a group of more than a dozen nuns and orphanage workers held by rebels for nearly a week, fueling fears in the minority community that they are being targeted by extremists among the fighters seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. The seizure of the 12 Greek [...]

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Save Syria, Church on it’s Knees Petition Drive

December 5, 2013

   America is supporting the “rebels” who are not rebels at all but radical Muslim insurrectionists mainly from other countries like Iran. They are routinely kidnapping and slaughtering Christians. Just last week a convert full of nuns were all kidnapped.  As a country to we should be defending the Christians and doing all we can [...]

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The Three Tombs – Which is the Real One?

November 23, 2013

For a journey to visit three tombs in Jerusalem, click here.

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“You are Peter” in Jesus’ language of Aramaic

November 21, 2013

Since we recently visited Caesarea Philippi, the site where Jesus renamed Simon as “Peter” or Kepha (Matt 16:13-20), I thought you would find this interesting. So, what did it sound like at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus renamed Simon and made him the rock of the Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter [rock], and [...]

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Israeli Government Bulldozes Catholic Bishops Property in Jerusalem

November 8, 2013

Latin Patriarchate house razed 7 November 2013 The Patriarch of Jerusalem has vowed to take legal action against the Israeli Government after bulldozers of the Jerusalem municipality demolished a house belonging to the Patriarchate. The attack on the house on the Jerusalem-Hebron road, which was inhabited by a family of 14, endangered the future of [...]

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Are You SURE Syria Used Gas on its Own People? – linkfixed

September 9, 2013

I’ve said before that I doubt that President Assad gassed his own people. He would have everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain. The Islamist terrorists invading Syria under the name of “freedom fighters” would have everything to gain by implicating Assad with using gas and nothing to lose. If we bomb Syria under [...]

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