by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON MALE GROUPS - THE CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD: In 2012 there were 414,000 priests across the earth. That is five thousand less than 1970. There were 650 million Catholics in 1970, 1.2 billion in 2012. Catholic Priesthood and Masculinity - why the shortage.
THE EASTER MASSACRE IN PAKISTAN AND THE KILLING OF THE SISTERS IN YEMEN: The killing on Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan was Salafists against Christians. Muslims were killed too, but that does not change the religious motivation of the attacks. Ripple effects of the Salafist purges in Thailand.
A harrowing eyewitness account of killing the Daughters of Charity in Yemen reported at National Catholic Register. The new freedom of the Salafist Sunnis in Yemen is a direct consequence of the Saudi bombing of Shiite Houthis. The Saudis are not trying to control the ISIS or AQAP groups (both Salafist Sunni) in Yemen who target Shiites, Christians, Jews, and pagans. The sisters needed protectors -- this is why men form nations and governments. We are on the wrong side of this war, and the nuns have paid for our religious blindness and political ineptitude. This cannot be solved by the Pope, but by Christian nations in a new alliance who must stop supporting the regimes trying to eliminate Christians, Jews, and Shiites from the Mideast. Secretary Kerry has broken ranks from previous formulations by describing the religious purges as genocide. If he follows with action, this could be a very important step forward.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
SAUDIS MAKE THE NEWS: IS THE REAL STORY BEGINNING TO BE TOLD? PBS on Uncovering Saudi Arabia. Senator John McCain foundation gets a million from the Kingdom.
CAN THERE BE PEACE OR VICTORY IN THE MIDEAST WITHOUT IRAN? A former Bush advisor explains the failure and the need to negotiate with Iran.
AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE KORAN WITH COMMENTARIES: The authors are not trying to make Islam coincide with modern liberalism nor the Salafist disruption.
III. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
SEXUAL POLITICS AND MR TRUMP: The two most damning columns have been: this David Brooks column is hard to refute; and Foer on Trump with lots of quotes.
Mr. Trump's interview with Chris Matthews on abortion, however, was not as damning as anti-Trump pro-life professionals made it out to be. Mr. Trump is like the Pope in that the only real way to find out what he said is to get a transcript or a video, because reporters and analysts treat both men as convenient mountains from which to proclaim their own gospels. Watch the video from about 9:40 to see the full discussion of abortion. Mr. Trump, unlike any other candidate I have seen, was able to turn the tables on Catholic Chris Matthews and ask him many questions about the Catholic Church and her opposition to abortion. None of this was reported. Trump tells Mathews he is not living according to the Catholic Church. Watch the whole exchange. The idea that Mr. Trump shouldn't talk about abortion because he hasn't adopted the woman-as-victim narrative of the professional pro-life experts is more arrogance from the consultant class. Our article here: The Woman Caught in Abortion.
Robert George says Trump isn't one of us. National Catholic Register columnist asks Trump to stop talking about abortion.
RULE 40 AND REPUBLICAN CONVENTION: Cruz says keep Rule 40. Kasich says it can be changed by the Rules Committee. Here is what Pat Buchanan says:
"And if they (Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) set aside grievances, and act together, they can block any establishment favorite from being imposed on the party, as was one-worlder Wendell Willkie, “the barefoot boy of Wall Street,” in 1940.
All Trump and Cruz need do is instruct their delegates to vote to retain Rule 40 from the 2012 convention. Rule 40 declares that no candidate can be placed in nomination who has failed to win a majority of the delegates in eight states. Trump has already hit that mark. Cruz almost surely will. But no establishment favorite has a chance of reaching it. With Cruz and Trump delegates voting to retain Rule 40, they can guarantee no Beltway favorite walks out of Cleveland as the nominee—and that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump does."
IV. RELIGION & GEOPOLITICS REVIEW ROUND-UPTHE US AND MEXICO - HOT PURSUIT SINCE PANCHO VILLA: A good short history of some of the US cross-the-border law enforcement pursuits in Mexico. Why money is being given, but victory over the drug cartels isn't happening.
ISRAEL IS A JEWISH STATE, THE U.S. IS A CHRISTIAN NATION: In Israel there is a Sorrow on the Left as it becomes demographically clear there will not be a two-state solution and Israel is a Jewish state, not a secular democracy.
ON RACE: Profile of Reverend Al Sharpton. You won't fall in love - but cords of sympathy may be pulled.
ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN NEAR RENEWED WAR: Fighting has resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan over an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabak. A civilizational fault line runs through Caucasus region as a whole, dividing Christian Armenia, Georgia, and Russia from the Islamic middle east. Resumption of hostilities will likely bring Russia in on Armenia's side, and the Turks supporting Azerbaijan. A good historical review of Russian-Turkish relations.