Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Cry of Jesus on the Cross

And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?* which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46).47

Friday, June 15, 2018

Black Holes in the Cosmic Inflation, Quantum Physics, and New Technology


The Cosmos, Quantum Uncertainty, Artificial Intelligence, and Faith

Two phenomenal lectures by two outstanding professors in two countries have enlightened research about the vast cosmos we live in and its quantum fields that penetrate every creature on earth.
The first lecture was given by Professor Leo Kowenhoven at Delft University in the Netherlands, 2015 (here). In his talk Professor Kowenhoven showed how nature itself works through quantum processes...As an example, a plant leaf takes the light of the Sun and, through quantum superposition, electrons find a way to efficiently bind to the oxygen molecule thus they together produce oxygen that is necessary for human life...Professor Kouwenhoven was speaking about building quantum computers already made in the lab - But the most interesting ideas come near the end of the talk where starting around the 11th minute he talks about the big challenges that people face such as spoiling energy, wasting materials, and not getting the right medicine,  then shows how (with investment by big IT companies), super quantum computers would help solve these problems and others such as electrical cables with zero loss of energy, better airplane design,  optimization for robotics,  machine learning, of providing healthcare to needy people using nanotechnology, or  avoiding the risk of climate change. The second lecture was given by Professor David Tong at Cambridge University in Britain, 2017 (here). Meanwhile, some 10,000 physicists have been busy at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN, Switzerland looking for new findings of sub-particles that have so far generated more questions than answers. Some of the insights explained refer to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (space-time flow), J. J. Thomson's discovery of the electron, Ernest Rutherford's model of the atom in which he showed by experiment that the mass of the nucleus of an atom fundamentally consists of protons and neutrons while electrons are much lighter that move around the nucleus,  Faraday's discovery of electromagnetism, James Maxwell's work that demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves at the speed of light, Schrodinger's Wave-Particle Equation used in Quantum Mechanics, Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty and the thought-experiment of Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen (EPR) referred to "Quantum Entanglement." 
Professor Tong spoke about the inflationary universe that started 13.8 billion years ago. He said that in the first milliseconds, the universe was a huge energy that with time solidified in the galaxies, stars, creating the so-called Black Holes since a Black Hole is that fearsome cosmic phenomenon created when a star dies which then would swallow everything in its surrounding...It is possible that the entire universe would be long dead before a Black Hole eats up the rest of things in its way. But a better understanding is found in this presentation at the World Science Festival in 2015 in the presence of the late British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking here
I studied most of the above introduction to quantum physics in my undergraduate studies in electronic engineering at Ain-Shams University in Cairo. My interest in space has been intensive since my late teens. I have continued to follow developments in quantum physics and space since our arrival to Canada. In reading, I found much material written by Sir John Polkinghorneretired professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University, on quantum physics starting in the 1980s.  In 1982, Alain Aspect and his team were able to experimentally prove that two photons emitted from the same atom will still be in contact tens of miles away... The reader may wish to listen to his lecture hereJohn Polkinghorne, too, wrote, in one of his latest books: Quantum Physics and Theology in 2008, about relationship as science is attempting to discover it at the subnuclear level: “Quantum theory brought to light a remarkable form of entanglement between subatomic particles that have once interacted with each other (the so-called EPR effect), which implies that they remain effectively a single system however far they may subsequently separate spatially- a counterintuitive togetherness-in-separation that has been abundantly confirmed experimentally as a property of nature. The physical world looks more and more like a universe that would be the fitting creation of the trinitarian God, the One whose deepest reality is relational.” (Cf. John Polkinghorne, 2008, "Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship" Published by Yale University Press). Dr. Stephen Barr has written extensively on the relationship of quantum physics and theology (See, for example, his article in First Things here).
The above findings support the 2 most important observations in quantum physics:
1. The probabilistic nature of particles which yields the Uncertainty Principle
2. The communication between particles at long distances (quantum entanglement)
From 2 above, everything must be in a relationship to live. In Christianity God is a relatedness or a relationship of selfless love. It is our belief that God the Father being love (1 John 4: 8) abandons the fullness of divinity and gives all he has to his image the Son (John 10:30; Col 1: 15-19; Phil 2: 6-11 ) who in turn returns this  love in the Holy Spirit who is the binding love of Father and Son (John 15). The concept that God is relatedness or relational is found not only in Holy Scriptures but also in doctors of the Church including St. Thomas Aquinas and, in our days,  Joseph Ratzinger (Bishop of Rome Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI).
If this is true, then we can say that the cosmos is signed by the stamp of the Triune God of Christians. 

From 1, we all live in a cosmos still in development. Certainty is achieved beyond this life when we are in the togetherness of the family of the kingdom of God.  The reader may wish to read two posts here written in 2013 and 2017 respectively:

Fr. Georges Farah added to my knowledge about another great scientist. Georges LeMaitre, Professor of astronomy and physics at the Catholic University of Louvain from 1923 to the late 1930s is also well-known for his research on the origin of the universe and the Big Bang. He had several discussions with Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and in the United States participated in research at Harvard and MIT, and in Toronto with Ludwik Silberstein. His interest in Catholicism is shown in his Thomist approach to the distinction between "creation" and "beginning".  In order to reconcile the scientific approach with Biblical Christianity, he interpreted Genesis in a non-literal interpretation...Pope Saint John XXIII made him president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences...Georges LeMaitre passed away in 1964.
I would ask my readers to watch the two talks by the two professors Kowenhoven, and Tonk (at the top).

I should add my experience with, and graduate Masters study of, new technology to the above.
The advances in robotics are related to the advances in quantum computers that work fast and both are related to advances in Artificial Intelligence.
The search engine in Google uses a form of artificial intelligence that allows readers to search the Internet for any combination of words and pictures. Scientists are learning to predict psychosis years in advance. Now they want to prevent it. Read the PDF file here... Two years ago FP published an article on how advances in neural technology can help erase traumatic memory but also use the brain as a weapon (Sign up for the free website and read the article here).   On November 10, 2017,  IBM announced  its marketing for the first quantum process system -  its "20 qubit IBM Q Commercial Quantum Computer." Microsoft is working on its "quantum computer" to be released shortly. Artificial Intelligence is also used for marketing of Amazon.com products online...If you look for a book/item on Amazon.com, the next time you open the Amazon.com page associated with Google’s YouTube, you will notice that it displays a set of books/items that you would be interested in buying. More info about the benefits and risks of using artificial intelligence can be found here.
Movies that show futuristic-machines usually give the impression that humanity may one day be enslaved to artificially-intelligent computers. The use of such automated systems by military forces is already found in missiles owned/used by current armies in battles. However, the human mind is still in control. International treaties are signed to protect humanity from the calamities of going to war with the threat of using advanced technology as weapons! But can this technology be used for the good of humanity?

The above technology might very well be used by parishes to market programs for attracting sleeping and lost young adults to churches and by Christian charitable organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul and the Knights of Columbus to show the benefits gained by helping those in need and the old and lonely people. Pro-lifers will do well to use the advice by a well-known psychiatrist who teaches at the University of Toronto that society should strive to keep the family intact and minimize divorce. How much more would families benefit when their members see or hear it in their Smart iPhones or other computers that use some form of technology (e.g. Artificial Intelligence)? It is particularly important in the month of June as the Church celebrates the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

All of the above could be used for reflection and deep thought about the implications as well as the benefits of applying new insights to help humanity.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Fear of Death ?

I have been particularly blessed by God since my mother of blessed memory asked St. George in her heavy pregnancy to intercede for her well-being and made a vow to call her son "George". After the doctor pulled out the baby from my mother's womb, my dad wanted to name him "Shaker"after his own dad. My mother could not do anything. However, the assistant doctor saw her womb slightly big, so he advised the main doctor to reopen the womb - Here they found me in a little corner and immediately pulled me out. The response of heaven has now begun. As per my mother's vow, I was called "George."  Baptized with my twin by the giant Jesuit priest Henri Ayrout in Minia, Egypt, my little imagination started to grow.  At the age of 6, I  started imitating the priest in the Mass at home. My grandmother, mother of my dad, sew a little garment to wear when I carried out this acting and my twin followed me. I also heard "fake" confessions of my 3 brothers. When we moved to Cairo in 1962, we used to attend Mass at St. Cyril's Melkite Catholic parish. For years the pastor was Fr. Nicholas Kanakri - We served the Divine Liturgy as candle-carriers who go in the processions before the deacon and the priest. In 1969, the Lebanese scholar Fr. Ignace Sarkis Naggar became the pastor. By then, I had started to read most of my dad's spiritual magazines in Arabic .These included 'Al-Macarrat' published by the Paulist printer in Lebanon, and 'Al-Resalla-Al-Mokhalissia' by the Basilians. 
In 1982, my aunt Victoria and her husband Georges Medawar sponsored my wife and me upon my request to immigrate to Canada. 

Back to Cairo: In 1972, I was invited to attend a meeting of young adults in the Melkite Catholic Patriarchate. I quickly got involved in spiritual activities as the youth published a little newsletter called "The Encounter" in Arabic. In 1973, the late saintly Bishop Paul Antaki chose me to represent the Melkite Catholic patriarchate in meetings with leaders of the Apostolic organizations such as the Christian Youth Workers as he was charged by the College of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt to develop these organizations. In 1978, he elected me the first leader of the "Supreme Council of the Youth" in Egypt's Greek Melkite Catholic Church. There I developed close relationships with many talented young adults in the parishes of the Melkite Catholic Church in Cairo. In 1978, I addressed the late Patriarch Maximus V in the name of some 300 Melkite Catholic Youths in Egypt. Again in 1979, I addressed the same late Patriarch in the same Patriarchal hall and, this time, I mentioned some of the directives given by the Second Vatican Council on the importance of the participation of laypersons in the active mission of the Church. I also resigned my role in the "Supreme Council of the Youth" as I found many other talents of the youths that are capable of leading them. I was also dating my future wife, the only one that I ever dated. Once was enough for a relationship with a woman. 

Immigration to Canada did not deter us from participating in Christian life. As we raised our children, we attended a few meetings of Opus Dei (a Personal Prelature of Pope Saint John Paul II) and a few highly-attended conferences of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Ministries such as Ralph Martin and his collaborators such as Sr. Ann Shields.

In 1996, Fr. Dr. Georges Farah (who is armed with a doctorate in theology and another in philosophy from the renowned Sorbonne University in Paris) started his lectures at Jesus the King Melkite Catholic Church, north of Toronto. His lectures lasted until his retirement around 2013. Under his directions, I gave lectures to young adults and adults from 2004 to 2011. I also gave a couple of lectures with participation of Fr. Ibrahim El-Haddad – He has a Master’s degree in Church history from Rome. From my graduate studies started in 2009, I earned a Master’s degree by 2010 in Information Systems from the University of Phoenix in the United States that is recognized by the University of Notre Dame (and, according to a supervisor at the time, by Harvard University).

In 2009/2010 I assisted Fr. Dr. Daniel Callam in the RCIA program at Holy Rosary parish in Toronto and developed a personal spiritual relationship with him since then.  

In the Gospel and the acts of Jesus Christ there is much forgiveness. In fact, Christians believe that by his death on the cross, Jesus opened the doors of heaven to his followers. To be precise, Christ gave committed and repentant people the possibility of having eternal joy with God, his immaculate mother, angels and saints in heaven. In that vein, I hope that the late Bishop Paul Antaki who was a great friend that sacrificed his health in his old age climbing stairs only to reach out to his fellow Christians being a very humble person, intercedes for his beloved (see herehere and here). Everyone must repent before he dies in this world. That is my understanding. However Jesus frequently warns his followers of the consequences to their thoughts and acts if they are not charitable (e.g. Matthew 5:22). He calls them to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5: 48)...But who can be "perfect"? Again, Jesus warns his followers to not fear those who  kill the body but cannot kill the soul, "rather be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna" (hell?) (Luke 12: 5; Matthew 10: 28).
Yes, many relatives and people whom we know died - We pray to the merciful God that his profound mercy and love, for every one he created in his image and likeness (Genesis 1: 26), may grant them eternal life...
Ordinary people like me do not want to die; This is why I pray every night that God in his mercy and care may grant me and my family more life and that, in his profound mercy, he may heal the sick. It is true that God has really given me much more life than great doctors thought. See my post "A Living Miracle" in which I thank God here; and the recent ones too here and here. I particularly thank God for the care given to me by Professor Dr. Michael Sole my cardiologist since 1986 who retired a few years ago; Dr. Michael Vecchio, my physician who is also a missionary Christian; Dr. Ryan at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) who followed me up since my hospitalization at TGH last August and on January 10, 2018 ordered the BiPap machine for my peaceful sleep; and Professor Dr. Antonio Rocca, my new cardiologist who did an echocardiogram for my heart and examined me on May 29, 2018.
In my spiritual quest I cannot fail to thank my confessors: Fr. Dr. Daniel Callam who continues to lecture at St.Thomas University; and Msgr. Dr. Robert Nusca (a well-known Biblical scholar and Professor at the Toronto School of Theology, the Augustinian Seminary associated with the University of Toronto) who is the Pastor at Holy Rosary Roman Catholic parish near our home in Toronto where we attend Mass on Sunday. 
Since last August, after having been hospitalized,  I had the great chance of a dialogue with two Jesuit scholars: Fr. Henri Boulad and Fr. Samir Khalil Samir who both were professors, lectured and gave seminars/talks at universities/high institutes of theology in a number of countries notably the United States, France, Canada, Italy, and Egypt. The correspondence at the time was generated by my questions raised in my post here. There I raised my doubts that God may send me to hell. In their replies, Fr. Boulad wrote: Please George, forget about hell and think only in God’s infinite love and mercy - Trust and confidence! Fr. Samir wrote: It is true that God does not send any one to hell. God loves everyone whom he created and never wants them to be separated from him. Due to his love, God respects the choice of everyone. He quoted  Pope Saint John Paul II in what he wrote on July 28, 1999: “Damnation cannot be attributed to the initiative of God because in his merciful love, he does not will other than the salvation of beings that he created. In reality, it is the creature that closes itself to his love.”    The reply given by each of them was reassuring… 
As I approach the age of a senior citizen (65) with my health issues, I need much prayers from everyone who cares about me. As Fr. Boulad, in his delicate health, is recovering from a surgery regarding an obstruction in the intestines, we need to pray for him too. I do pray for him.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Man Who Inspired My Soul When I Was Young...

I am already over 64. In my age, I have become much less patient than when I was young. My confessor understands me when I tell him that I shouted at my beloved family members...When I was in my late teens, I was introduced to the man, Paul Antaki, who taught me by example how to be good and patient with others. Although Paul Antaki was Patriarchal Vicar and Bishop of the Melkite Catholic Church in Egypt and the Sudan, his humility was extraordinary. Every time he called me by phone, he would say "This is Fr. Antaki..." In 1971, I met Bishop/Archbishop Paul Antaki in the Patriarchate after a lecture given by then Bishop Paul Minas of the Antiochine Orthodox Church. It was his overture to Orthodox Christians following the declarations of Vatican II in which the Melkite Catholic Patriarch Maximus IV prominently defended the Tradition of the Eastern Churches. In 1973, he introduced me to the leaders of the Apostolic Movements including Michel Farah,PhD., and the late Dr. Boutros Kassab, the prominent lawyer who was in charge of the Christian Worker movement and whose cause for beatification has been started recently. In the same year, he participated in the ordination to the priesthood of our beloved Georges Bakar who is today Bishop of the Melkite Catholics in Egypt.  He held small Bible study meetings in the Patriarchate in which I participated. This and other spiritual conferences deepened our relationship. In 1979, he blessed my engagement ring to my future wife in the presence of my mother of blessed memory, and her parents of blessed memory as well as my brothers who were in Cairo, and her sisters in Cairo. The event took place at their home in Garden City. Upon Paul Antaki's recommendations, I worked as a teacher of math at the Patriarchal College in Heliopolis under Fr. Jules Zerey for two years. Most Reverend Joseph Jules Zerey has retired this year after serving the Melkite Catholics in Jerusalem and its surroundings.  In our wedding on April 25, 1982, Bishop Paul Antaki headed the celebration at St. Cyril's parish in Heliopolis. Upon my request, he said a homily on the bond of marriage and the symbolic meaning of the rings we exchange. The choir of Our Lady of Peace headed then by Habib Naccache and the gifted Rafic Greiche (who is today the popular and married-pastor of St. Cyril in Heliopolis) sang the service  In the same year, as he knew of our plan to immigrate to Canada, he encouraged us with words that we could be apostles to the atheist Western world. 
Again, when my wife was away in Egypt, he visited me in our one-bedroom apartment and slept in our bed while I slept on the couch in the living room. He visited us again in 1990 and said Mass in our apartment. The last time I saw him was in 1993 as he celebrated Mass in a Ukrainian parish with the Homsy choir that sang the Divine Liturgy.

When Bishop Paul Antaki departed to God on December 30, 2011, I wrote a post:

Paul Antaki The Great

and again here a few days later: An Inspiration
http://todayquestions.blogspot.com/2012/01/inspired.html
Today as ever, Paul Antaki inspires us to be followers of Christ. He was one such great follower.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Lamb of God - Update


In the New Testament, John the Baptist calls Jesus "the Lamb of God" (John 1, 29); In Apocalypse written by St. John, the New Jerusalem is described with such symbolic majesty that according to the visionary the city needed no light "for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb" (Revelation: 21: 23).
Since the beginning of Christianity, the recognition of the risen Jesus Christ being one with God the Father was at the core of the Apostles preaching. Over so many centuries the Church kept the doctrine of the Mystery of God in all her Councils and this Mystery always inspired saints - Some of them had private revelations of Christ and/or his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The month of June is dedicated in the Catholic Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The private revelations of our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque between 1673 and 1675 are the most authentic sources of the visions confirmed by her devotion, humility, and charity towards those opposed to her claims in the Visitation Convent at Paray, France. In the first revelation, our Lord made known to her his ardent desire to be loved by everyone and his design of manifesting his heart with all its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification, and salvation. He asked that the Friday after the Octave of the feast of Corpus Christi be dedicated as the feast of the Sacred Heart. She was also inspired by Christ to establish a Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday every month to share in the mortal sadness he endured when abandoned by his Apostles in his agony before his trial and crucifixion and to receive Holy Communion on the first Friday every month.  From that time on she was consumed by the fire of the love of the Sacred Heart until her death in 1690. In 1824, she was pronounced Venerable by Pope Leo XII; In 1864, Pope Blessed Pius IX beatified her; and in 1920 Pope Benedict XV canonized her (Cf. The Catholic Encyclopedia here or here). This beginning of frequently receiving Holy Communion was followed by Pope St. Pius X who admitted children as young as 7 to receive Holy Communion.

Historically, Christian humanism formed the civilization of Europe since the Renaissance which, for some historians, started with the Carolingian empire (Cf. G.W. Trompf; "The Concept of the Carolingian Renaissance"; Journal of the History of Ideas; 1973:3ff). A more detailed treatment of Christian humanism can be found in my post dated March 28, 2018 (here). It is within the second millennium in the Catholic Church that St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) is regarded as possibly the first to have venerated the shoulder wound of Jesus as he was dragged and hit by the Roman soldiers on his way to be crucified (see here); St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) promoted the worship of the humanity of Christ. In his contemplation, he called the Moon "brother"; and did not fear "death" for he called death a "sister" and composed his hymn to Christ: "Make me an instrument of your peace"(here and here); St. Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) too had private mystical revelations of Christ and experienced devotion to the Sacred Heart of the Lord.  St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque was not the first nor was she the last to experience devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars, (His life can be found here in French and here in English) used to sit in the parish and look to the Blessed Sacrament. When asked, why he looks to the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle, he simply answered "I look to him and he looks to me" - It was a conversation with Jesus!

Since the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation produced much polemics which did not spare any disagreements in interpretation of the Biblical texts. Exegesis became problematic for the average Christian.

On the larger scale in secular Europe and the West in general, much doubt about the existence
of immaterial beings developed especially with the availability of printed material and philosophical discussions starting with the 18th century Enlightenment (e.g. Voltaire; Diderot; Montesquieu, Adam Smith; David Hume; G.E. Lessing; Emmanuel Kant; Hobbe; Locke; Descartes; Leibniz; Niesztche; Sartre...)

In the 20th century, the Second Vatican Council issued a number of declarations that marked a number of developments that affirm the faith, yet reformulate it in modern language (see particularly the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church "Lumen Gentium" here; and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World "Gaudium et Spes" here); See too the decrees of the Council on the Catholic Church's openness for dialogue with other Christian Churches and Christian Communions (here). For dialogue with followers of non-Christian religions, see this declaration here...

An expert advising the German Bishops in the Second Vatican Council, Joseph Ratzinger wrote his masterpiece "Introduction to Christianity in 1968. See this post for an excerpt on the truth of the Resurrection.

In the long pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II that followed the departure to God of Pope Blessed Paul VI, John Paul II continued to uphold the decrees of the Council, initiated the World Youth Day (once every four years starting 1984); prayed with leaders of other religions at Assisi (1986); In March 2000, Pope John Paul II publicly apologized for wrongs by sons of the Catholic Church in the past centuries since the start of the Church - To the surprise of some cardinals and bishops he said at a service in St. Peter's that the New Evangelization (which he issued in an Apostolic Letter to Catholics at the close of the Jubilee Year 2000) requires purification of memory. He also made courageous steps toward Muslims in a number of addresses including one to Muslims in Morocco and another in his 2001 pilgrimage to holy places in the Middle East including Damascus where he prayed at the Umayyad Mosque fully respecting Muslim tradition. John Paul II called for mutual forgiveness of wrongs done by Christians in the past towards Muslims, and Muslims towards Christians.

Looking at the contemporary history of Christianity, probably the most enlightening declaration on the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed at the time by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in an audience granted by the Holy Father Saint John Paul II in which Saint John Paul II approved the publication of the "Declaration" on June 16, 2000 and the "Declaration" was officially published on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, August 6, 2000. The reader may wish to read it here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html Of particular importance are three sections: # 16; #17; #18; as well as these eye-opening sections # 20; # 21; # 22 and the Conclusion section.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God - He sits on the throne in heaven together with the Father and the Holy Spirit (who is the eternal bond of love in the Trinity of one God).

But on September 11, 2001, two commercial-passenger-airplanes were hijacked by Islamic extremists that hit the two Trade Towers in New York causing the sudden death of thousands while they shouted words of hatred towards America, the symbol of Western power that influenced much of the Islamic world.

Radical Islam made itself known in America and Europe on that day. George W. Bush retaliated by invading Iraq claiming that Saddam Hussein who had planned to fight Israel was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Hatred begot hatred. When Saddam was found hiding and was taken to be tried by the court under the new Iraqi government, he used the words of Islam "Allahu Akbar..."

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) gave his Lecture on faith, reason and the university at the University of Regensburg where he had taught earlier. Some of the professors at Munster included Fr. Adel Theodore Khouri, a Greek Melkite Catholic priest who studied history of Islam and experienced Islam in his earlier days in the Middle East. In the Lecture found here, Benedict XVI used references obtained from Khouri to show the truth of radical Islam. Here are the words quoted: "In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”[3] The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".[4]

The above raised much protests in the Islamic world breaking any references to Christ and Christianity as Benedict XVI presented it. Turkey's Erdogan became reluctant to receive Pope Benedict XVI in his visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and Al-Azhar cut off dialogue with the Vatican. Not only was Iran an Islamic Republic, but now Saudi Arabia and the countries in the Arabic Gulf felt it was necessary to react to the Vatican. In the same vein, as Saddam was executed, his supporters of the Sunni Iraqis soon started the so-called ISIS or the IS in the hope of restoring the Islamic caliphate.

Millions of dollars were spent on renewing the Muslim Brotherhood; and forcefully attacking innocents in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Turkey always wanting to become a member of the European Union found itself isolated. However in more recent years, Germany (leader of the European Union) agreed with Turkey to return suspected fundamentalists in Europe for, in turn,  allowing Turkish Muslims to thrive in European industries.

Pope Francis was careful to seek cooperation and re-open dialogue with Al-Azhar and other Islamic institutions in his bid to help poor people. He received Dr. Altayeb of Al-Azhar and visited Egypt in 2017. See this report.

The headache of Islamism continued to invade Europe with no interruption. The American President Trump promised to support Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities although European countries objected as they have trade deals with Iran that benefit their exports.

At last, Europe seems to have awaken from its sleep while mosques erected in every city were a sign of the increased political power of political Islam and the forced conversions of inhabitants to Islam by the so-called Islamic State (Daech) funded by militant Islamic countries and possibly other powers with the ultimate goal to impose Islamic Sharia in all societies of the West. The good news were published on June 1st, 2018 by Gatestone Institute International Policy Council (here).

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)







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