‘Suffering’ Category Archives


CHILD ABUSE: the Pope makes a definitive move

by Arnold Jago in Faith, Justice, Modern Church, Suffering, Youth

Last week, Pope Francis warned Catholic clergy never to try to cover up sexual abuse.

“Families need to know,” he said, “that the Church is making every effort to protect their children….

“Consequently, priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature — such as the desire to avoid scandal — since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors.”

A new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is to be led by America’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley plus priests and lay people from many countries, including two victims of paedophile priests.

Last November, a former altar boy, now 25, wrote to Francis saying he had been molested by priests in Spain from the age of 7 to 18.

The pope called him back personally and told him to go straight to his bishop, to whom Francis wrote with orders to open an investigation.

And he has written reminding all bishops that they must ensure that Vatican instructions on how to handle sexual abuse cases are implemented.

“Pastors and those in charge of religious communities should be available to meet with victims and their loved ones: such meetings are valuable opportunities for listening to those who have greatly suffered and for asking their forgiveness,” he said.

I was very happy to hear this news.


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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ROYAL COMMISSION: not just window-dressing, one hopes

by Arnold Jago in Australia, Common Sense, Family, Suffering

The Victorian government plans a Royal Commission seeking “the most effective ways to prevent family violence”.

Sounds good, but….

The Commission’s report probably won’t mention that:

(i) in a country aborting 200 unborn babies per day, the habit of resorting to fatal violence to deal with frustrations is deeply entrenched.

(ii) a common form of “violence” is humiliating others and destroying reputations. Unlike most physical bruises, the effects don’t go away. Perhaps mental violence inflicted by women against their menfolk explains Australia’s high young male suicide rate?

(iii) reducing accessibility of alcohol would slash violence rates — ask any policeman, paramedic or doctor.

So isn’t the “social problem” of violence really a spiritual problem?

Nothing will improve unless people’s inner motivations re-direct towards personally living (with God’s help) in a more virtuous fashion.

That means all of us.



NOT ALL RELIGIONS ARE EQUAL: but how to fight false religion without descending to a similar mentality?

by Arnold Jago in Faith, Forgiving, Modern Church, Suffering, Truth

What it feels like to be a Christian in the Middle East:

“Dear all,
We continue to share our daily struggle with you, hoping that our cry will reach the world. We are like the blind man of Jericho (Mark 10: 46-52), who had nothing to express himself, but his voice, asking Jesus for mercy. Although some people ignored his voice, others listened, and helped him. We count on people, who will listen!

We entered the third week of displacement. Things are moving very slowly in terms of providing shelter, food, and necessities for the people. There are still people living in the streets. There are still no organized camps outside of schools that are used as refugee centres. An unfinished, three story building has also been used as a refugee centre. For privacy reasons, families have made rooms using UNHCR plastic sheets in these unfinished buildings. These places look like stables. We all wonder, is there any end in sight? We appreciate all efforts that have been made to provide aid to the displaced people. However, please note, that providing food and shelter is not the only essential thing we need. Our case is much bigger. We are speaking about two minorities (Christian and Yezedians), who lost their land, their homes, their belongings, their jobs, their money, some have been separated from their families and loved ones, and all are persecuted because of their religion.

Our church leaders are doing their best to solve the issue. They have been meeting with political leaders, with the President of Iraq and Kurdistan, but initiatives and actions of these political leaders are really slow and modest. Actually, all political meetings have led to nothing. Until now, there has been no decision made about the current situation of the displaced minorities. For this reason, trust in the political leaders has diminished, if it exists, at all. People cannot tolerate it anymore. It is too heavy a burden. Yesterday, a young man expressed that he would rather die than live, without dignity. People feel that their dignity has been stripped from them. We are being persecuted because of our religion. None of us ever thought we would live in refugee camps because of that . . . .

. . . the struggle is not only in the camps, with the displaced people. What has happened in our Christian towns that have been evacuated is even worse. The IS forced out of their homes those who did not leave their towns up to the night of August 6th. Yesterday, seventy-two people were driven out of Karakosh. However, not all of them arrived; those who arrived last night were in miserable condition. They had to cross Al-Khazi River (a tributary to the Great Zab) on foot because the bridge had been destroyed. There are still quite few on the side of the riverbank. We do not know when they will make it to Erbil. It depends on the situation and negotiations between the Peshmerga and the IS. There are some people who went to fetch the elderly and the unable to walk. One of our sisters went to bring her parents, and told her story. Another woman, said that she was separated from her husband and children, and she knows nothing about them; they are probably among the others who are on the other bank, or they might be among the hostages taken by the IS. Also, a three-year old daughter was taken from her mother’s lap, and she also knows nothing about her. We do not know why the IS are sending people out of Karakosh, but we have been hearing from those who just arrived, that IS are bringing barrels into Karakosh and the contents are unknown . . . there is no way to negotiate with the IS.
As for our community, we know that our convent in Tel Kaif is being used as an IS headquarters. Also, we know that they had entered our convent in Karakosh. Those that recently arrived have stated that all the holy pictures, icons, and statutes are being destroyed. Crosses have been taken from the top of churches and they have been replaced with the IS flags.

In Baqofa, one of our sisters heard the situation was calm, so she went back with few people, to get her medicine. She found the convent had been searched; everything was open and strewn across the rooms. The minute they entered the convent, three bombs hit the town. They left immediately.

Apart from what is happening to the Christians, yesterday, Friday the 22nd, a Shi’ite suicide bomber and gunmen attacked Sunni mosque of Abou Mussab in village under Iraqi government control in Diyala province leaving 68 dead. It is heartbreaking to hear about people get killed while praying. In terms of the media, this massacre overshadowed what is happening to the Christians in Nineveh Plain. We are afraid that our struggle will become only our own affair, and it will not have impact on the world anymore.

At last, we have to say that people are losing their patience. They miss everything in their hometowns: churches, church bells, streets, and neighbourhood. It is heartbreaking for them to hear that their homes have been robbed. Although they love their towns, most people are now thinking of leaving the country so they can live in dignity and have a future for their children. It is heard to have hope in Iraq, or to trust the leadership of the country.

Please, keep us in your prayers.
Sister Maria Hanna OP
Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena-Iraq

P.S. Please share the letter with other people. Let the world hear the cry of the poor and the innocent.

(24 August 2014)



EASTER SATURDAY: what is on your mind?

by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Death, Jesus, Suffering

Easter Saturday?

A bit of a non-day you might say.

Yesterday, Good Friday, was the day for sadness, tears and quiet contemplation.

Tomorrow, Sunday, will be the day for expressions of Easter joy and thankfulness.

But today– commemorating that in-between day of apparent disappointment and disillusion — how best to occupy our thoughts?

Is it a day to ask: do I, in fact, really believe in God?

Really believe?

Even when the life he is giving me is giving me suffering?

* * *
Perhaps spare a few minutes to consider the deceptively simplistic words of Sarah Adams’s hymn:

“Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Even though it be a cross that raises me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!”

* * *

Even though it be a cross . . . ?





by Arnold Jago in Ethics, Justice, Modern Church, Money, Suffering

Despite being illegal everywhere, slavery exists almost everywhere.

In today’s world, 30 million men, women and children are enslaved.

We can be proud that an Australian — mining magnate Andrew Forrest — is funding a Global Freedom Network seeking to exterminate slavery by 2020.

On March 17, Mr Forrest, along with spiritual heads from the Vatican, the Anglican Communion and a Muslim dignitary, signed an agreement to that effect.

In a joint statement, they said, “Only by activating, all over the world, the ideals of faith and of shared human values can we marshal the spiritual power, the joint effort and the liberating vision to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking from our world and for all time.

“This evil is man-made and can be overcome by faith-inspired human will and human effort.”

* * *

The Global Freedom Network signatories are promising to set the example by ensuring their supply chains and investments neither use nor profit from slave labour.

This will cost these religious communities money.

But they must do it to show they are serious.

* * *

The Network will challenge governments, starting with the world’s 20 most developed nations — and also private business worldwide — to “slavery-proof” the goods and services they handle.

To do so will cost businesses and tax-payers money.

So will they put their money where their mouth is?

You and I may also decide that certain “bargains” are not really good things to purchase, ethics-wise.

Eradicating the slave trade may make our shopping bills bigger, too . . . .



JOHN TAVENER R.I.P: he had some interesting ideas.

by Arnold Jago in Celebrities, Faith, God, Modern Church, Suffering

Last Tuesday Sir John Tavener died.
He was an important person for a few reasons.
Mainly as a composer of serious music — probably his most famous composition being “Song for Athene” which was sung at Princess Diana’s funeral.
See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=II_QgNkG5jg
John T was also a thinker, as revealed in a BBC interview shortly before his death:
* * *
Tavener was brought up a Protestant Christian.
But his music explored both Islamic and Hindu and other worldviews.
He was on record saying that all religions have become “senile” and “decrepit”.
The media’s atheist bright persons loved him for that.
Also that both the Catholic and Orthodox churches are “corrupt”.
More applause.
* * *
On the basis of which conclusions, did he quit the Christian faith and encourage others to do the same?
He did not.
He did the opposite.
He converted to Russian Orthodox worship and remained a practising Orthodox for the remaining years of his life.
His belief was that you cannot have a relationship with God that doesn’t involve you in a discipline.
Which has to involve joining an organised body of fellow-believers, imperfect or worse as many might be.
* * *
Sir John regarded atheism as a mental cop-out.
He could never accept atheism as being a reasonable worldview for any thinking person.