Posting Roman Catholic & Pro-Life News & Views

Monthly Archives: October 2011


Today's stories –
– Governor Gone Activist
– Gender Free Scouting
– Embracing a Cure
– Satanic Murder
– Faithful Succession



Dear Friend in Christ,

The New Evangelization will go nowhere fast WITHOUT preaching about the Mother of God. She is the Star of the New Evangelization. Please watch this episode of The Vortex and share it with as many friends and family as you can.

Check out the talks on Mary here;

GOD Bless you and your loved ones,

Michael Voris

~senior executive producer at

Check out this website I found at


Collier Pregnancy Centers, Inc.
940 5th Avenue North
Naples, FL 34102
Visit Website

Email Them

Immokalee Pregnancy Center
106 South 2nd Street, Suite 4
Immokalee, FL 34143
Visit Website

Shepherds House aka Catholic Charities of Central Florida
Visit Website

Crisis Hotline for Pregnant Mothers, Teenagers or Anyone with Questions Call 1-800-395-4357

Post Abortion Support

Center Point Community Church Rev. Jim Nite
6590 Golden Gate Parkway
Naples, FL 34105
Visit Website

First Baptist Church Naples Dr. Hayes Wicker
3000 Orange Blossom Drive
Naples, FL 34109
239-596-8600 X265
Visit Website

Project Rachel
Lorretta Judy
Naples, FL
Visit Website
Email Them

Spiritual Support – Fr. Luis Pacheo St. Leo Catholic Church
Se Habla Espanol
Bonita Springs, FL
Visit Website Pro-Life News Report
Monday, October 31, 2011

For pro-life news updated throughout the day, visit

Current Headlines

Top Stories
• Planned Parenthood Caught Misleading on Birth Control Pills

• Cain Hits Planned Parenthood as Racist, Abortion Biz Responds

• Congress to Hold Hearings on China s One-Child Policy

• 40 Days for Life Up to 417 Babies Saved From Abortion

More Pro-Life News
• Campaign Launched to Support Forced Abortion Opponent Chen
• Abortion Biz: Medicaid Would Pay $16K to Kill Down Syndrome Baby
• Perry Tells New Hampshire Voters He s Strongly Pro-Life
• Welcome, Baby Seven Billion: The World Needs More People
• Clinic Mocked Post-Abortion Women Who Are Now Pro-Life
• Dutch Doctors Expanding Euthanasia to Lonely People
• Canada: Poll Shows 72% Want Pro-Life Protections for Unborn
• Sex-Selection Abortions a Possible Opening to Overturn Roe
• Exploring Gardasil Vaccinations From a Pro-Life Perspective

—> Please inform others of President Barack Obama's pro-abortion record, link to it on your web site.

Planned Parenthood Caught Misleading on Birth Control Pills
The Planned Parenthood abortion business has been caught misleading Mississippi residents about the availability of the birth control pill should state residents approve Amendment 26 this November. The ballot proposal has the state of Mississippi defining the beginning of human life as at conception.

The pro-life group Live Action responded to public claims from Planned Parenthood attacking the personhood amendment, which will appear on the November 8 ballot asking state residents: Should the term person be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof?

A Salon story several days ago claims, By its own logic, the initiative would almost certainly ban common forms of birth control like the IUD and the morning-after pill, call into question the legality of the common birth-control pill, and even open the door to investigating women who have suffered miscarriages.

Kay Scott, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast has said, It s so extreme it could even ban common methods of birth control like the pill.

But the activists at Live Action released audio and transcripts of calls to Planned Parenthood, legitimate health care providers and local pharmacies asking if the birth control pill would still be available after November s vote even if Mississippi residents approve Amendment 26.

So far as we know, birth control will still be available, a Planned Parenthood official in Hattiesburg told the caller.

Cain Hits Planned Parenthood as Racist, Abortion Biz Responds
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain went after the Planned Parenthood abortion business in a weekend interview on Face the Nation, saying the abortion giant was founded on racist roots and continues that racism today.

The host of the CBS program asked Cain about comments he made in January saying he opposes the racist agenda of Planned Parenthood, the nation s biggest abortion business.

I absolutely would defund Planned Parenthood not because I don t believe in planning parenthood, [but because] Planned Parenthood as an organization is an absolute farce on the American people, he said then. People who know the history of Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood, they know that the intention was not to help young women who get pregnant to plan their parenthood. No it was a sham to be able to kill black babies.

In the new interview, Cain says, I still stand by that. If people go back and look at the history and look at Margaret Sanger s own words, that s exactly where that came from What I m saying is, Planned Parenthood isn t sincere about wanting to try to counsel them not to have abortions.

Congress to Hold Hearings on China s One-Child Policy
Members of Congress will hold three days of hearings related to China s one-child policy next week and the human rights abuses such as forced abortions and sterilizations that accompany it.

Chai Ling, founder of humanitarian organization All Girls Allowed and a former Tiananmen Square activist, informed LifeNews of the hearings, which will spotlight the coercive family planning policy for three days straight. The hearings comes as new reports have surfaced that Chen Guangcheng, a blind attorney who exposed one campaign of more than 100,000 forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi, China, has been killed by local family planning officials who had subjected him to home confinement.

Tuesday s hearing is an emergency hearing, devoted to exposing the beatings, four years of imprisonment on false charges and other abuses Chinese officials subjected Chen and his family to since he brought to light the brutal population control campaign. Chen and his wife were recently beaten almost to the point of death, in front of their elementary school-age daughter and activists are concerned he may have been killed.

Chai Ling will ask U.S. leaders to take action to speak out on his behalf as he spoke out for women and men victimized by the one-child policy.

40 Days for Life Up to 417 Babies Saved From Abortion
Are you ready for another serving of Monday morning good news? Here it is! So far during this 40 Days for Life campaign, we now know of 417 babies whose mothers decided to reject abortion!

Here are some of the stories we ve received from local 40 Days for Life teams:

A woman left smiling as she spoke to those praying in front of the abortion facility. She told them, I can t go through with this! The prayer volunteers all rejoiced in her decision to choose life. The very next day, said Ernie in Pensacola, three more women changed their minds about abortion. That s four witnessed turnarounds! Praise be to God! Ernie also reports that a former worker at the abortion facility has now found a new job as a medical assistant. Thank you for all your prayers for her, he said. We were with her last evening and she expressed how seeing our peaceful, prayerful presence made all the difference in her life. It is truly beautiful how God uses this simple act to draw hearts and minds to him.

Campaign Launched to Support Forced Abortion Opponent Chen
The pro-life group Operation Rescue has released a second undercover call it recorded exposing how abortion businesses are using money from Medicaid to pay for late-term abortions.

The first call showed how the Southwestern Women s Options abortion center in Albuquerque, New Mexico offered information on how Medicaid would cover the $9,000 cost of a late-term abortion. This second call has the same abortion business telling a caller Medicaid would cover the estimated cost of $10,000-$16,000 for an abortion at 30 weeks gestation on an unborn baby diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

The call was placed on October 12 to Southwestern Women s Options, a late-term abortion clinic in Albuquerque that has had issues with sending women to the hospital because of botched abortions.

I m pregnant with a Down Syndrome baby, the caller says. But I m 30 weeks now but I have Pregnancy Medicaid. I was just wondering if that would cover the termination at your office?

And you live in New Mexico? the abortion facility worker asks. And it s New Mexico Medicaid? That does cover the procedure for you.

Abortion Biz: Medicaid Would Pay $16K to Kill Down Syndrome Baby
Today s story is not one you d hear every day. Two years ago this month, former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson experienced a conversion after witnessing a live abortion on an ultrasound at her office in Texas.

She walked into my office at the Coalition for Life next door, told me her story, then resigned from the abortion industry.

I had known Abby for eight years before that day and I d had multiple conversations with her through the fence outside Planned Parenthood. But after her conversion, I realized how much I didn t know.

I didn t know that her parents were pro-life and had been praying for her to leave Planned Parenthood. I didn t know her husband was pro-life and her job created tension in their family. I didn t know that before Abby saw that ultrasound, even she was starting to see that Planned Parenthood cares more about abortion than anything else.

Perry Tells New Hampshire Voters He s Strongly Pro-Life
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry appeared at a conservative event Friday night and touted his pro-life views, saying he supports de-funding the nation s biggest abortion business and urging Republicans to stand for pro-life values.

As conservatives we believe in the sanctity of life, Perry told 500 activists gathered for a conservative event, according to the Christian Post.

Perry touched on efforts by New Hampshire officials to end taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business and said some candidates haven t gone as far as she has, in signing a bill in Texas to cut off much of the funding.

For some candidates the issue of life is a slogan for the campaign. It s how to get some votes, he said. To me it s about an enduring principal that innocent human life should be protected in all forms and at all stages of life.

If you want to stop Washington s big violations of the (constitution), especially when it comes to the most basic principle of protecting life, then we must make President Obama a one-term president, Perry continued.

Welcome, Baby Seven Billion: The World Needs More People
A few seconds after midnight a baby emerged from the womb of her mother, drew her first breath, and announced her arrival into the world with a tiny cry. This is Baby Seven Billion. Today, 31 October 2011, is her birthday.

Clinic Mocked Post-Abortion Women Who Are Now Pro-Life
There was a framed single-panel comic that hung in the hallway just outside of the Executive Director s office at the abortion clinic where I used to work: it was a pen-and-ink drawing of an umbrella bucket next to the entrance of an office building with a picket sign in it that read, STOP ABORTION in large block caps with right after my turn scratched under it in script.

Dutch Doctors Expanding Euthanasia to Lonely People
The Dutch Medical Association is seeking to expand the practice of Euthanasia in the Netherlands to include more people under the unbearable suffering that allows physicians to kill patients and the elderly.

Canada: Poll Shows 72% Want Pro-Life Protections for Unborn
Canadians are perceived to be more supportive of legalized abortion than their American neighbors, but a new poll released by LifeCanada today shows 72 percent want to see more legal protections in place for unborn children.

Sex-Selection Abortions a Possible Opening to Overturn Roe
The Supreme Court s abortion jurisprudence appears to protect a right to abortion even for reasons of sex selection. Yet this gruesome reality might provide an opening for a frontal assault on the premises of Roe v. Wade.

Exploring Gardasil Vaccinations From a Pro-Life Perspective
This is a mess. It s also one of the thorniest questions in vaccination medicine to have surfaced in a long time. From the outset, it must be clear that I am neither endorsing, nor dismissing the question of vaccinating boys. Get a cup of coffee, and let s kick this one around for a bit.


Encourage Friends to Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From


There are times and periods when the “veil” between the natural and the supernatural seems especially thin. They say it’s like a partition that scrolls and opens unto itself (at least as viewed from the “other side”). There’s an intersection.

There are times of day:

At three p.m. — the Mercy Hour — many prayers seem to be answered. It is a special time.

There is the antithesis of that: three a.m.:

Many wake up precisely at that moment with the urge to pray — either because they experience a heavenly presence or an evil one. Different spirits seem to move (including the deceased).

Some claim it’s because three a.m. is when occultists, having initiated rituals at midnight, conclude them and release dark spirits. Many things seem to occur at the hour: healings, attacks, deaths (holy and otherwise). Others say it gets back to the night-time version of Mercy. Whatever the case, the middle of the night seems when we can best pray.

There are also — obviously — times of the year when the veil seems thin — and Halloween, along with All Souls’ Day, is among them.

Occultists may thin the veil with their rituals, but let’s concentrate on the help we can offer the departed — who can see us (Mary once said) when we pray.

Read the whole article here:

.- During a Mass on Oct. 28 on the feast of the Lord of the Miracles—the most popular religious devotion in Peru—Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima encouraged Catholics to be strong in their defense of life and the family.


“Lord of the Miracles, thank you for giving us this great gift of faith to Peru, to the world, to Lima.  Today you look upon us, you bless us, you hear us and you forgive us. Today you walk our streets, and we all will seek after your gaze, which fills us with peace and joy,” the cardinal said during his homily. Following the Mass, a massive procession took place in downtown Lima.
“The Lord loves us so much that he has left us teachings from the law of God that tell us that marriage is a wonderful sacrament between one man and one woman that is lifelong, and we must fight to build up marriage,” the cardinal said. 
“The Lord also says that the family is the privileged place to teach the faith, to educate children, to help one another. Consequently, it is normal that those charged with enacting laws would protect the family, protect marriage and defend life. Year after year we repeat it: we will never be unfaithful to God’s law,” Cardinal Cipriani added.
“Lord of Miracles, enlighten those who have the duty to watch over those laws and customs so that our people will continue to look upon you with trust, because we protect life from the moment of conception. We forever say no to abortion! We are not afraid to repeat it a thousand times. Your Catholic people say yes to life!”
Cardinal Cipriani highlighted the importance of the processions in honor of the Lord of Miracles, which are a reflection of our own journey of faith in the Christian life. “The Lord does not love you because of what you are worth; he loves you because of who you are: you are a child of God …  And he tells you: be humble, accept yourself,” Cardinal Cipriani insisted.
Turing toward the image of the Lord of Miracles, the cardinal said, “Lord, Lima is yours, Peru is yours, each one of us is yours.”
“During this holy Eucharist may he embrace us all in his heart and make Peru a more united, brotherly, just and honest country, in which the Catholic people truly continue to practice their faith.  Long live the Lord of Miracles! Long live Peru!” the cardinal exclaimed.


3 Whitacre Mews, Stannary Street
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Telephone: (020) 7091 7091


  Welcome baby 7 billion, says Population Research Institute president


John Smeaton, SPUC director

Monday, 31 October 2011

Welcome baby 7 billion, says Population Research Institute president

Steve Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, has made a statement today which deserves a very wide readership:

A few seconds after midnight a baby emerged from a mother's womb, drew a first breath, and announced his or her arrival into the world with a tiny cry. This is Baby Seven Billion. Today, 31 October 2011, is this baby's birthday.

As our numbers have grown, incomes have soared. In 1800, when there were only 1 billion of us, per capita income worldwide was a mere $100. By 1927 our numbers had doubled, but incomes had already increased five times to $500. By the time we reached 3 billion in 1960, income had tripled again to $1500. Today, as we pass the 7 billion mark, per capita income has soared to $9,000.

In 2100, when the population will be between 7 and 8 billion (and falling), it is projected to be $30,000 in current dollars.

Driving the so-called "population explosion" has been a real explosion in health and longevity. As late as the 19th century, four out of every 10 children died before reaching age five. Today under-five mortality is under 6 percent and falling. Two hundred years ago, human life expectancy was under 30 years. Today it is 69 years and climbing.

As people live longer, naturally there are more of us around at any given time.

By nearly every measure of well-being, from infant mortality and life expectancy to educational level and caloric intake, life in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has been getting dramatically better. According to the World Bank, the average income in the developing world has quadrupled since 1960.

Enough grain is produced for every person on earth to consume 3,500 calories daily. There is no need for anyone to starve in the midst of this plenty.

Population has more than doubled since 1960, but crop yields per hectare have kept pace. World food and resource production has never been higher.

Economies continue to expand, productivity is up, and pollution is declining. Life spans are lengthening, poverty is down, and political freedom is growing. The human race has never been so well off.

In fact, underpopulation, not overpopulation, is the real threat that much of the world faces today. Some 80 countries representing over half the world's population suffer from below replacement fertilitydefined as less than 2.1 children per woman.

The populations of the developed nations today are static or declining. The UN predicts that, by 2050, Russia's population will have declined by 25 million people, Japan's by 21 million, Italy's by 16 million, and Germany's and Spain's by 9 million each. Europe and Japan are projected to lose half their population by 2100.

Countries with below replacement rate fertility will eventually die out. It's just a question of time.

Even in the developing world family size has shrunk, from around 5 children per woman in 1960 to less than 3 today. And the decline continues.

According to the UN's "low variant projection"historically the most accuratethe population of the world will peak at 8 plus billion in 2040 or so, and then begin to decline.

High fertility rates are becoming rare. The UN numbers for 2010 show only 10 countries with population increase rates at or above 3.0 percent.

By 2050, persons aged 65 and above will be almost twice as numerous as children 15 years and younger. The economic consequences of population aging will be closing schools, declining stock markets, and moribund economies.

Ignoring these facts, the population controllers continue to spread their myth of overpopulation.

The UNFPA and other population control organizations are loath to report the truth about falling fertility rates worldwide, since they raise funds by frightening people with the specter of overpopulation. They tell us that too many babies are being born to poor people in developing countries. This is tantamount to saying that only the wealthy should be allowed to have children, and is a new form of global racism.

We should stop funding population control programs, and instead turn our attention to real problems, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and infectious diseases. As mortality rates fall, so will birth rates.

Let us also join together in celebrating the birth of Baby Seven Billion. He or she is a sign of our future, our hope and our prosperity.

People are our greatest resource. Extraordinarily gifted people have helped to enrich civilization and lengthen life spans. But the fact is, everyone, rich or poor, is a unique creation with something priceless to offer to the rest of us.
Baby Seven Billion, boy or girl, red or yellow, black or white, is not a liability, but an asset. Not a curse, but a blessing. For all of us.

© Society for the Protection of Unborn Children 2011


October 31, 2011 ( – Advocates of abortion and birth control often speak of “empowering women” with unbiased and vital information about reproductive health, but their silence following the most recent warning from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) calls into question the nature of their concern for women’s health.

On September 26, 2011, the FDA announced that it “remains concerned by the potential increased risk of blood clots” associated with the use of one of the most popular types of birth control pills.

As irony would have it, the date of the FDA announcement was also recognized as “World Contraception Day” (WCD) by organizations dedicated to the promotion of contraception, such as Marie Stopes International, Population Council, and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

The stated mission of WCD is to “improve awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health.”

Note the emphasis on helping women make “informed decisions.” With such a mission statement, one would expect that the FDA’s concern about the side-effects of certain birth control pills would receive serious attention from the defenders of women’s health in a press release or on the WCD web site. Yet weeks after the FDA’s announcement, nary a mention of the new studies has appeared.

The pills in question contain the progestin drospirenone, and have in recent years been marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals to young women under such trade names as Yaz, Beyaz, Yasmin, and Safyral. Following publication in the British Medical Journal of two studies in early 2011 that indicated these birth control pills brought their users a two to three times greater risk for venous thromboembolism (blood clots), the FDA announced on May 31, 2011 that it would undergo an investigation into their safety.

The recent FDA press release reports that the “preliminary results of the FDA-funded study suggest an approximately 1.5 fold increase in the risk of blood clots for women who use drospirenone-containing birth control pills compared to users of other hormonal contraceptives.”

In addressing these “other hormonal contraceptives,” the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) states that users of birth control are three times more likely to develop superficial venous thrombosis, and have a four to eleven times greater risk for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism than non-users. The risk goes up by a factor of 1.5 – 6 for those women who are genetically predisposed to clots.

In summary, the PDR notes that, “An increased risk of thromboembolic and thrombotic disease associated with the use of oral contraceptives is well established.”

According to the preliminary conclusions of the FDA’s recent analysis, however, Yaz and other drospirenone containing pills increase these “well established” risks by a factor of 1.5. Awareness of this increased risk is vital for consumers, especially for parents as they make health-care decisions for their teenage daughters, and for college-aged women as they make health care decisions for themselves.

The WCD organizers who claim to provide “accurate and unbiased information” make scant reference to any of the many and scientifically established negative side-effects of combined oral contraceptives. The site brushes aside the increased risk of blood clots, stating that “a few women might suffer from thrombosis, but this is very uncommon.” No mention whatsoever is made about the FDA’s ongoing safety review.

Why is a site dedicated to contraception, and which boasts of its desire to help women make informed choices about their health, either downplaying or ignoring serious threats to the health of women who use the products being promoted? A closer look at the site reveals what may be the answer: the financier of World Contraception Day is Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the very company who manufactures all four of the brand name drugs (Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, and Safyral) currently under safety review by the FDA. Yaz and Yasmin alone earned Bayer $505 million in the first half of 2011, which makes it the third highest earning drug for the company.

Is it any wonder that the WCD organizers are silent about the side-effects of the drugs sold by their sponsor?

Bayer has other reasons to downplay the potential negative side-effects of the birth control pills they market and distribute. As they report in their stockholder newsletter, the company is currently facing a “number of lawsuits pending in the United States and served upon Bayer” numbering “about 9,300 as of July 16, 2011.” Bayer notes that, “Plaintiffs allege that they have suffered personal injuries, some of them fatal, from the use of Bayer’s oral contraceptive products Yasmin™ and / or YAZ™.”

Regardless of the outcome of these lawsuits, the findings of ongoing safety studies, and in spite of the virtual silence by organizations that promote birth control to young women, consumers have a right to this information as it is made available.

Thankfully, the FDA, by all appearances, seems to be taking the side-effects somewhat seriously. They note that while the department “has not yet reached a conclusion” regarding the two 2011 studies, they have scheduled a joint meeting of the Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee for this December to discuss the increasingly worrisome risks associated with drospirenone-containing birth control.

The promoters of World Contraception Day are hocking a product that makes billions annually for companies that know the harm their products cause, but seem to have calculated that the profits outweigh the risks to women’s health. Adding insult to injury, they are doing so with funds provided by those who profit from the sale of these drugs, all in the name of helping women make “informed choices” about their health.

In the face of this conspiracy of silence, where are the real champions of women’s health?

Reprinted with permission from


Dr. Kristin Neuhaus testifies in a hearing where the state is attempting to revoke her medical license. Neuhaus recently told a reporter with the Lawrence Journal World that she was working with “young girls” who had been raped when she worked for Dr. Tiller. Yet, investigative records and testimony reveal that these rapes were not reported to child welfare officials as required by law.

In an effort to save her medical license, last week, Dr. Kristin Neuhaus granted the Lawrence Journal World in exclusive interview. The resulting article primarily focuses on Neuhaus’ concerns about her safety. Neuhaus’ statements in the article, however, again highlight how Dr. Tiller and Neuhaus refused to report child sexual abuse.

Read more here:…


insidethevatican's avatar

insidethevaticanOct 31, 2011…
One year ago today in Iraq
, 42 Iraqi Christians, two of them priests, were shot to death by terrorist gunmen in Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral in Baghdad.

A commemorative Mass was celebrated yesterday here in Rome in memory of those killed.

The Mass was celebrated at the Santa Maria della Concezione church, a Syrian-Catholic church in Rome, by Monsignor Mikael Al Jameel, representative to the Holy See of the Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate.

The homily was delivered by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches.

“Peace and forgiveness”

“The Church and the world cannot and must not forget,” Cardinal Sandri said in his homily. “We must remember, yes, certainly, but to offer forgiveness and to pray fervently for peace for the living and for the dead.”

Also present were Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, ex-Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, and Habib Al Sadr, the Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See, as well as many priests, nuns and students.

Sandri said he was united with the Patriarchs of the Oriental Churches, Syrian-Catholic, Maronite and Chaldean, who were today in Baghdad to attend a Mass of remembrance celebrated by Bishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman.

“May Christ’s love conquer death”

Coming three days after the day of dialogue for peace held in Assisi on October 27, Sandri invoked the gift of peace: “All the Syrian-Catholic communities,” he said, “are united with us and with many other communities. Together let us pray that the love of Christ may always conquer death.”

Sandri recalled that Pope Benedict XVI, in his Angelus message of November 1 last year, the day after the massacre, denounced “this absurd violence, all the more ferocious in that it struck helpless people, gathered in a house of God, which is a house of love and reconciliation.”

“Let us pray that the sacrifice of these our brotehrs and sisters may be a seed of peace and of true rebirth and may all those who have at heart reconciliation, fraternity and peaceful living together find motive and strength in ithis to do good.”

At the end of the Mass, Father Mukhlis Shasha, friend of the two martyred priests, Thair Saad Allah and Waseem Sabeeh, spoke about the way they died.

He also said that the Christians in Iraq are still the objects of attack, and that this has led many to leave the country.

Here below is another report on the Mass by Alan Holdren of Catholic News Agency, who works here in Rome.

On anniversary of cathedral massacre, 42 Iraqis remembered as martyrs

By Alan Holdren

Oct. 30 Mass at Santa Maria della Concezione

Rome, Italy, Oct 30, 2011 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On the first anniversary of the massacre at Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral, the 42 worshipers killed were remembered as martyrs and their intercession was sought on behalf of Iraq’s still besieged Christian community.

Three children, two priests and a pregnant woman were among those killed when five Islamic militants linked to the terrorist group al-Qaida scaled an outer wall, entered the church and opened fire on Oct. 31, 2010.

Today, in an intimate memorial Mass held at Rome’s Santa Maria della Concezione Church, Catholics prayed for the living — the “persecuted Iraqi Christians … that they never cease to give testimony to the truth, though it may cost their lives.”

Despite the sadness of the anniversary, the tone was hopeful.

During his homily, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Vatican official in charge of Eastern Catholic Churches, spoke of the sacrifice of the deceased. “Our brothers by a mysterious way passed us in the chase for the award and the goal of our path, Christ himself,” he said.

The Mass was celebrated in the Syro-Catholic rite, but Iraqi Chaldean as well as Egyptian and Israeli priests came to show support.

Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, patriarch emeritus of the Syro-Catholic Church, and Archbishop Mikael Al-Jamil, the Syro-Catholic procurator in Rome, led the celebration.

Later, worshipers remembered the horrible events and spoke of their hope for an end to the persecution of Christians in Iraq.

An Iraqi priest, Father Mukhlis Shisha told CNA that his two best friends — both priests — were killed in the attack.

“Their martyrdom was more valuable for having taken place within the church. It is more beautiful to be killed within the church than outside it,” he said.

Large posters emblazoned with the images of the two priests adorned either side of the altar during the celebration.

“Fr. Thair Sa’adallah was just beginning his homily after having read the Gospel,” Fr. Shisha remembered. “When he saw the terrorists enter, he took the Gospel in hand and held it up, saying, ‘In the name of the Gospel, leave them and take me. Me for them!”

The attackers quickly killed Fr. Sa’adallah before turning on the rest of the congregation. Witnesses say they aimed particularly to kill the young men of the parish. In addition to the dead, more than 100 people were wounded.

Fr. Wasseem Sabb’ieh was hearing confessions at the time of the attack. He managed to rush two families to safety through a secret door before turning back to face the attackers.

“Before he closed the door, one of the people he helped said to him, ‘Father, leave them and come with us and you will be saved,’” Fr. Shisha recounted. “He answered, ‘I won’t leave them like this,’ and he locked the door.”

Fr. Sabb’ieh proceeded directly to the attackers, shouting: “What do you want from us?”

He was killed with a bullet to the head while at the same time one of the attackers detonated a suicide bomb beside him.

Fr. Shisha is very aware of how close he himself was to death. He would have been at the Mass had he not been called back to his hometown in northern Baghdad to speak at a conference that day.

Stories of those saved are remarkable.

A little girl –- Fr. Sa’adallah’s niece –- survived the attacks in a cupboard, where she was hidden during the more than four hours of terror. Many took refuge in the sacristy. Another 80 were saved as they packed themselves into a tiny side room that measured just 9 feet by 12 feet.

The memory of the dead is still graphically present in the cathedral. The bloody handprint of a pregnant woman who was killed has been conserved as a reminder of her martyrdom.

“There are too many stories to tell,” Fr. Shisha told CNA. “Essentially, those who died, who lost their lives in the church gave themselves for the cause of the others.”

“My life is Christ”

In some ways, he said, his priest friends were prepared for the moment.

Just one day before the attack, Fr. Sa’adallah sent a text message to all of his friends which read simply: “My life is Christ.” Fr. Sabb’ieh was known to say out loud to God, “My heart beats with your love. May my tongue speak your glory.”

Their lives were taken by five radical Muslims, two from Syria and one each from Yemen, Libya and Iraq.

The Islamic State of Iraq, a reported al-Qaida associate, claimed responsibility for the massacre.

During the attack, Fr. Shisha received cell phone calls from people trapped in the cathedral. They said the attackers told them they were “infidels” and that they “had to be killed.”

The terrorists killed themselves, but others who planned the attacks were later detained. Fr. Shisha was given the chance to speak with them, and he asked them simply, “(w)hy did you do this?”

“Their response,” he said, “was that you (Christians) are all ‘kafara,’ that is, ‘infidels,’ and we (Muslims) cannot coexist with you.”

According to the Vatican’s representative to Eastern Catholics, the attack should not be forgotten.

“The memory of the past is very important for the future of the Church in the Middle East,” Cardinal Sandri told CNA.

“This situation in the Church is difficult — being a minority and being the object of terrorist attacks and violent acts even within the very church walls. But, it has also brought with it, on the other hand, the fact that the blood of those who have died will certainly be the seed of hope and life for the future.”

Today’s Mass, Cardinal Sandri said, honors the memory of the victims and expresses hope for better days.

“Today’s reflection is to pray for them but at the same time to ask that they – through their death, with their oblation – intercede for the Church in Iraq, so that there might be peace in Iraq and all the Middle East and that there might be greater awareness to security,” he said.

“In the future, we cannot forget the blood of the martyrs which has to give us a feeling of hope, hope against everything. Christ will conquer all,” he added.

The cause for the beatification of the martyrs is now being pursued in Rome.


Open Questions

Certain facts about the attacks have never been made clear.

The number of gunmen involved is not certain; different accounts put the figure as low as six and as high as 15 gunmen.

Who the gunmen were is not certain; an eyewitness said the attackers shouted at them saying “All of you are infidels. We are here to avenge the burning of the Qur’ans and the jailing of Muslim women in Egypt.”

The US military said it suspected the attackers were al-Qaeda operatives because of their “tactics, techniques and procedures.”

An official from the church later said: “The men who carried out the attack were very organized: the way they entered… how well-prepared and armed with machine guns, explosive belts, and everything they could need… how they quickly closed the doors and shut in the faithful.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Bloom of the US Army said the raid was a “robbery gone wrong. We’ve seen them resort to robbery to get financed. It has been very challenging for them to get outside financing, so they are resorting to small, petty crimes to try to finance themselves.”

Abdul Qader al-Obeidi, Iraq’s defence minister, said one of the attackers’ phone calls were “fully intercepted” and that he believed he and his fellow gunmen were not Iraqis because he spoke classical Arabic “perhaps in an attempt to conceal his identity.”

Hussain Nahidh, a police officer, reported that the suicide vests brought in by the attackers were filled with ball bearings, designed to kill as many people as possible when they exploded. Many people went to the hospitals “without legs and hands.”

A security spokesman in Baghdad, Major General Qassim al-Moussawi, said the attackers were dressed like guards working for a private security firm and also had fake IDs.

One of the questions about the attack was how such a large number of terrorists managed to reach a church in the heart of Baghdad without being stopped.

According to the SITE Institute (SITE stands for The Search for International Terrorist Entities; it is an organization that tracks the online activity of terrorist organizations), the Al-Qaida group called “The Islamic State of Iraq” claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s claim of responsibility also said, “Let these idolaters, and at their forefront, the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican, know that the killing sword will not be lifted from the necks of their followers until they declare their innocence from what the dog of the Egyptian Church is doing,” referring to calls for the Egyptian Coptic Church to release two wives of priests who were detained after they allegedly converted to Islam.

However, there is no evidence confirming this claim of responsibility.…