Conservative Anglican group backs away from split with Anglican Communion


(WoW with bradyArchbishop Foley Beach is the head of my own ACNA group.

We, too, are part of Gafcon.

Fr. Orthohippo

Retired ACNA, MSJ, priest

Fredrick Nzwili Religion News Service | Apr. 22, 2015

Widely viewed as a schismatic movement, the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON, a grouping of conservative Anglicans, says it is not leaving the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Instead, the movement says it is committed to renewing the 85 million-member communion from within.

GAFCON members from Africa, Europe, America and Asia, met in London last week, where they discussed the future of global Anglicanism.

“The members of our churches stand at the heart of the communion, which is why we are committing to its renewal,” the GAFCON Primate Council said in a statement at the end of the April 13-17 conference. “We belong to the mainstream, and we are moving forward.”

The movement started in Jerusalem in 2008 as a response to the consecration of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson by the Episcopal Church.

It has gained ground, planting 483 new congregations in North America since 2009, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America reported at the meeting.

Beach, who heads a rival group to the Episcopal Church, was elected to the GAFCON Council, the top decision making organ of the movement. Fellowships of Anglicans in Australia, England and Ireland are affiliated with GAFCON.

According to the statement, the movement says it has prioritized clear theological education and training of leaders, especially bishops.

At the London meeting, the primates said they are concerned the mother church has drifted away from biblical faith and voiced a new concern: interfaith relationships with Muslims.

“We do not regard the recent use of a Church of England building for a Muslim service as a minor aberration,” the council said. “These actions betray the Gospel and discourage Christians who live among Muslims, especially those experiencing persecution.”

In the past, some GAFCON bishops have criticized the Anglican Communion for being supportive of gays and lesbians.
Global Anglican Future Conference
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Norway to become first country to switch off FM radio in 2017 as country moves over to DAB


hippo cartoon

Fr. Orthohippo

You may be surprised by the government…..

No FM?

The government claimed digital radio would allow more stations to broadcast
Lizzie Dearden

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/norway-to-become-first-country-to-switch-off-fm-radio-in-2017-as-country-moves-over-to-dab-10191847.html

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Norway is to become the first country in the world to switch of FM radio in 2017 as it goes completely digital.

The government is scrapping the traditional broadcasting method in favour of DAB radio, which it claims will allow more channels to go on air.

Thorhild Widvey, the culture minister, said in a statement that the criteria for the proposed modernisation had been met and FM will be phased out gradually.

“Radio digitisation will open the door to a far greater range of radio channels, benefiting listeners across the country,” she added.

“Listeners will have access to more diverse and pluralistic radio content, and enjoy better sound quality and new functionality.” An exterior general view of the Stortinget,,the Norwegian parliament Norway’s government set criteria that had to be met before FM is switched off

There is only room for five national channels on FM in Norway, Ms Widvey said, but there is space for more than 40 on DAB.

Norway’s culture ministry also said that digital radio offered an advantage over FM during emergency situations because it is less vulnerable to transmitter failure and can be used to communicate with people underground with simultaneous broadcasts.

Proposals laid down in the Norwegian parliament in 2011 set down criteria to be met by January this year in order for radio digitisation to go ahead.

Requirements stipulated that the national broadcaster’s stations and those run by the biggest commercial broadcaster must cover at least 90 per cent of the population and digital radio must offer “added value” for listeners. FM radio will soon be a thing of the past FM radio, which largely replaced AM radio, may soon be a thing of the past

The government also demanded “affordable and technically satisfactory solutions” for car radios and ensured that half of all radio listeners already used a digital station every day by the end of 2014.

A spokesperson for the culture ministry said the cost of transmitting national radio channels over the FM network was eight times higher than with DAB, which will save more than 200 million kroner (£17 million) a year.

DAB was launched publicly in the UK in 1995 and the country is now believed to have the biggest digital radio network in the world.

According to the latest statistics by national monitoring body Rajar, 89 per cent of the population tune in to the radio every week and more than half of those – 27.8 million people – listen digitally.

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Sexual Abuse by Clergy spans the Denominational spectrum. Not just Catholic


2012-03-09T155048Z-01-RJO101-RTRIDSP-3-BRAZIL-jpg_134703Mennonite seminary apologizes to victims of famed theologian John Howard Yoder

Source: http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/mennonite-seminary-apologizes-victims-famed-theologian-john-howard-yoder

Evelyn Shellenberger, a former board member of the Goshen Biblical Seminary, speaks during a special service to acknowledge and apologize to the victims of John Howard Yoder March 22 at the Chapel of the Sermon on the Mount in Elkhart, Ind. (Sarah Welliver)

Elkhart, Ind.

The Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary community gathered for an emotional service March 22 to acknowledge the pain and trauma inflicted on more than 100 women who were sexually violated by renowned theologian John Howard Yoder.

It was the first time the seminary publicly took responsibility for the abuse and neglect, which happened in the ’70s and ’80s and was first publicized by The Elkhart Truth in 1992.

It was also the first time leaders in the seminary publicly apologized to the women who were victimized.

“What was done to you, whether sinful acts of commission or omission, was grievously wrong,” current seminary president Sara Wenger Shenk said during a lengthy apology. “It should never have been allowed to happen. We failed you. We failed the church. We failed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Yoder, who died in 1997, was a professor of theology at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary from 1960 to 1984 and also briefly served as dean and president of the Goshen Biblical Seminary. Those two seminaries combined in 1994 and changed the name to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 2012.

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Yoder also taught theology at the University of Notre Dame for 30 years.

Yoder was a theologian and ethicist known widely for his teaching on Christian nonviolence and pacifism. The Politics of Jesus, first published in 1972, was his best-known work.

Nearly two decades after he left the seminary, a denominational task force launched an investigation and confronted Yoder with 13 charges of sexual abuse. The Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference suspended Yoder’s ministerial credentials in response and referred him to counseling.

Although Yoder maintained he never intended any harm to the women, he never disputed the charges and he cooperated in the disciplinary process.

The women, who experienced sexual violations ranging from sexual harassment in public places to sexual intercourse, were largely left without closure — until recently.

Mary Klassen, communications director at the seminary, said there has always been an undercurrent of stories and innuendo that surfaces and wanes.

About five years ago, when Shenk came to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary as president, it surfaced again.

Women approached her to inform her there was unfinished business regarding Yoder’s actions, and she listened. Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, was hearing the same calls to action.

“The two of them decided it was time to move,” Klassen said. “It was the sense that there was unfinished business that made them open it up, because that’s the only way to move toward some type of healing.”

Shenk and Stutzman convened a discernment group to continue reconciliation work and answer ongoing questions about how the church responded to the allegations. Part of that effort included commissioning historian Rachel Waltner Goossen to tell the full story.

Goossen was provided access to previously closed files related to Yoder, and she interviewed 29 individuals, including Yoder’s victims, his colleagues and former seminary administrators.

Her report, titled “Defanging the Beast: Mennonite Responses to John Howard Yoder’s Sexual Abuse,” was published in the January 2015 issue of The Mennonite Quarterly Review.

The March 22 services were another step on behalf of the seminary to admit to wrongdoing and help the women harmed by Yoder heal and find closure.

About 50 gathered at an intimate morning session where women harmed by Yoder’s actions and the seminary’s inadequate response shared their stories. Current and former faculty, administration and board members were also in attendance, only to listen.

That portion was not open to the media, but Klassen said several of the women told her that they had never been invited to share their pain openly and it was helpful. The session was also helpful to Klassen, who had read the articles and research but had never put a face with the names of the abused.

“It made it so real in ways that nothing else had, and that made the afternoon service that much more powerful,” she said.

Evelyn Shellenberger, who served on the Goshen Biblical Seminary board from 1976 to 1987 and was chair from 1983 to 1987, also met with the women and heard their stories for the first time March 22.

She apologized for her part in allowing the abuse to continue, and said she did not know how to use her power as a board member to stop Yoder’s abusive behavior. She said she met with Yoder regularly for three years in attempts to change his way of thinking, but she now realizes that was not enough.

“As I listened to your personal stories, your painful stories, I couldn’t imagine why I was so silent about what was happening,” she said. “I realize now by speaking about you as a letter or a number, this was very depersonalizing. It made the pain you were dealing with seem less real.”

Shenk then read a public apology on behalf of the entire church community. She said she struggled at first with the thought of confessing to something that happened on somebody else’s watch. But eventually, she realized she must denounce the acts of evil that happened under the watch of the seminary.

“Along with so many others, we fell prey to our desire for a hero,” she said. “Enamored by the brilliance that put our treasured peace theology on the world stage, we failed to truly listen to those whose bodies, minds and spirits were being crushed. There is no excuse.”

Shenk apologized on behalf of the seminary for neglecting to listen and for isolating those who were abused.

Seminary faculty and board members stood together during the afternoon service and read statements of commitment, pledging to do all in their power to prevent future abuse and promising to listen to men and women who have experienced sexual abuse.

They resolved to be diligent in educating themselves about sexual misconduct and to follow the procedures set out in the seminary’s sexual misconduct policy. They pledged to create a safe campus environment for all students, employees and guests.

“We are not left without hope,” Shenk said. “We long for your restored trust, even on some distant day, for your forgiveness.”

[Michelle Sokol is education reporter for The Elkhart Truth, where this article first appeared. Reprinted with permission.]
This story appeared in the April 10-23, 2015 print issue under the headline: Mennonite seminary apologizes to victims of famed theologian .

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Posted in abuse, christian, Christian Ethics, church, sin and sinners, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

TV plots often begin with real life events such as this one…. Really? 17?


NewsChinaSociety

Chinese Casanova who dated 17 women at the same time leaves hospital with police escort

Mother takes him home, but now he is under suspicion of defrauding as much as 500,000 yuan from his victims

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 April, 2015, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 April, 2015, 3:30pm

The young man who made headlines last week for dating at least 17 girlfriends at the same time has been taken home early from hospital by his mother – with a police escort – the Xiaoxiang Chen Bao reports.

The man, surnamed Yuan, returned to his hometown of Fulin, near the provincial capital Changsha, on Thursday. Yuan is suspected of fraud in his dealings with the women, the report said.

The latter-day Lothario’s multifaceted love life began to unravel after a traffic accident – in a car believed to have been borrowed from a girlfriend – put him in hospital on March 24. When doctors contacted his relatives, one girlfriend after another started turning up at the hospital at the same time.

The news spread rapidly in conventional media and on social media, where it drew thousands of comments.

The hospital said Yuan left the hospital in a hurry before fully recovering from his injury, according to the newspaper.

“The hospital did not recommend that he should leave. The request was made his mother,” a doctor was quoted as saying.

Most of the girlfriends are from Hunan province and have been with Yuan from between three months to nine years. The oldest is 40 while the youngest, a student, is 21.

Yuan had married one of the women, identified as “Jingjing,” in 2012, but they divorced two years later.

Another girlfriend had a son with Yuan, while others had given him money – sometimes large sums – every month. One woman provided financial support for nine years.

The girlfriends said Yuan told them he was rich, but often borrowed money from them using various excuses. The women told Thepaper.cn that they lent Yuan more than 500,000 yuan between them.

They had provided details to the police, who said they would try to get their money back.

The girlfriends said there were other women in relationships with Yuan, but did not want to step forward.

Before making his dash from hospital, Yuan sat up in bed and hugged his girlfriends one after another, telling them: “Don’t blame me. You are all [my] wives,” Thepaper.cn reported.

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San Francisco Catholics Petition God To Remove Jesus From Trinity. Delivery may be a problem.


(WoW with bradyNothing which comes out of San Francisco surprises me.  It is an absolutely marvelous place to visit, but a rather dangerous place to make your home. Source is a satire publication –  Fr. Orthohippo)

San Francisco Catholics Petition God To Remove Jesus From Trinity

April 17, 2015 by
Filed under Libs & Trads

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent San Francisco based Roman Catholics signed a petition and ran a full-page ad Friday calling on God to remove Jesus from the Trinity for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

The plea follows months of dissent within the archdiocese over Jesus’ emphasis on traditional, conservative doctrine, including asking all Catholics to accept that both sex outside of marriage as well as homosexual relations are “gravely evil.”

In their open letter to the God, Jesus critics say his morality-clause push is not only mean-spirited, but that it “sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.”

San Francisco Catholic Leonard Nibbi, who signed the letter, said the Second Person of the Trinity “is just causing a lot of discord, especially with the young people in the diocese.”

“The crux of our worry is that the faithful are going to become very disenchanted and stop going to church because they don’t like the message that Jesus sent when he preached the kingdom of God some 2,000 years ago,” Nibbi said.

According to a source familiar with the drafting of the open letter to God, the frustrated Catholics first considered running the ad weeks ago. They held off while they appealed to saints, including John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene, to address their concerns. When nothing came of that, they went public.

Incidentally, don’t expect Jesus to start soft-pedaling his opposition to same-sex marriage. He’s encouraging Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco to join him at a large march in Washington D.C. in favor of “traditional” marriage on April 25.

Posted in catholic, cultural blinders, culture differences, heresy, popular culture, theology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Archives Show Vatican Tried to Stop Armenian Genocide


 

Image: Secret Archives Show Vatican Tried to Stop Armenian Genocide Monument to the Armenian genocide of 1894-96 and 1915-16, in Yerevan, Armenia. (Pietro Basilico/Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 10:15 AM

By Aleteia.org

 VATICAN CITY — Why did Pope Francis’ controversial comments on Sunday about the “Armenian Genocide” cause such a furor in Turkey?To help understand the true history behind the 1915-16 atrocity, Aleteia interviewed German historian and author Michael Hesemann, who was in Rome for Sunday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica commemorating the 100th anniversary of the genocide, otherwise known as Metz Yeghern, or the Great Evil.The atrocity involved the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the territory constituting present-day Turkey. The total number of people killed in what is also known as the Armenian Holocaust is estimated at between 1 million and 1.5 million.In a new book entitled, “The Armenian Genocide” [Völkermord an den Armeniern], Hesemann reveals for the first time the content of never-before-published documents on “the greatest crime of World War I,” and how Pope Benedict XV and Vatican diplomacy tried to stop the deportations of the Armenians into the Syrian desert, save the victims and prevent the massacre of an entire people.

In this interview, Hesemann shares his findings, which include evidence of Masonic involvement, and expresses both his admiration for Pope Francis for drawing attention to the genocide of Christians and ethnic minorities, and his disappointment over the absence of the German Ambassador to the Holy See at Sunday’s commemorative Mass.

Dr. Hesemann, what led you to write a book on what documents contained in the Vatican Archives reveal about the Armenian Genocide?

Actually it was a kind of coincidence. I work as an historian for the “Pave the Way Foundation” in an intensive study of all the aspects of the life of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who eventually became Pope Pius XII.

From 1917-1925, Pacelli was Nuncio in Munich, so I went through the files of the Apostolic Nunciature in Munich, only to discover one folder with the title “Persecution of the Armenians.”

I opened it and found a letter of the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal von Hartmann, to the Chancellor of the Reich, Graf (Count) Härtling, in which he calls the persecution of the Armenians “not less brutal than the persecutions of the Christians in the first centuries of Christianity.” The Archbishop requested an urgent German intervention, unfortunately in vain.

In the same file I found a copy of a letter written by Pope Benedict XV to the Sultan, asking for mercy for the innocent Armenians. These documents both touched me and aroused my curiosity. I felt I had just touched the tip of an iceberg and was sure I would find more data, and indeed I did — some 2,500 pages so far.

I soon realized that no historian had ever worked with most of these documents, and that all this information was obviously unknown even to the leading experts on the Armenocide.

Given the importance of their content, I decided to write a book, putting the documents in the context of what we already know about the events of 1915-18.

What was the most surprising and unexpected insight you discovered in the Vatican Archives about the Armenian genocide?

The most surprising insight was that the Armenian genocide was in fact just part of a bigger plan — the extermination of all non-Muslim minorities in the Ottoman Empire.

The ruling “Young Turk” movement came in contact with European ideas of nationalism and the concept that only a homogenous state can be a strong state. That is why they believed that the weakness of the Ottoman Empire was caused by its multi-religious and multi-ethnic character.

They wanted to “heal” this “weakness” by eliminating all foreign elements, which first meant the Christians who numbered 19 percent of the population in early 1914. Besides the Armenians, also Aramaic and Assyrian Christians, Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christians were persecuted and murdered.

The Turkish claim of a conspiracy between Russia and some Armenian leaders was nothing but a lie to justify those measures. If that were really the case, why did they kill innocent women and children, too? And why didn’t they spare the other Christian groups, which were never under suspicion? Indeed, the Turkish secretary of the interior, Talaat Bey, quite frankly told Johann Mordtmann of the German Embassy, according to a report to Berlin: “The (Turkish) government uses the war to get rid of our internal enemies — the indigenous Christians of all denominations — without diplomatic interventions by foreign nations.”

This is also what we read in some of the Vatican documents, e.g. a report written by Fr. Michael Liebl, an Austrian Capuchin missionary, who learned in Samsun: “Not the Armenians, the Christians were sentenced (to death) at a secret meeting of the Young Turks 5 or 6 years ago in Thessaloniki.”

What measures did Benedict XV take diplomatically to help save the Armenians from deportation into the Syrian desert?

Already in June 1915, the Vatican had a vague idea of what had happened in Eastern Anatolia. One month later, there was no doubt about the horrible massacres carried out against most of the male Armenian population. For the whole of August 1915, Msgr. Dolci — the Apostolic Delegate in Constantinople — did everything humanly possible to interfere diplomatically — without any success.

When drastic reports reached the Vatican in September 1915, Pope Benedict XV wasted no more time and decided to act. He sent an autograph to Sultan Mehmet V, pleading for mercy for the Armenians. The Turks refused even to receive it. For two months, Msgr. Dolci tried everything to present it to its addressee, but it was not received by the Sultan.

Only when he asked both the German and the Austrian ambassador for help was he granted an audience. When another four weeks later the Sultan answered, most of the deportations were already completed. All promises of the Turks to end the massacres or spare one group or the other — or to let them return home — turned out to be lies.

In December, Pope Benedict referred to the failure of any diplomatic intervention in his allocution to the Cardinals at the Consistory of December 6, 1915. In it, he spoke of “those sorrowful people of the Armenians, almost completely driven into their extermination.”

In June 1916, the Armenian Catholic Patriarch had to inform the Holy See: “The project of the extermination of the Armenians in Turkey is still going on. (…) The exiled Armenians … are continuously driven into the desert and there stripped of all vital resources. They miserably perish from hunger, disease and extreme climate. (…) It is certain that the Ottoman government has decided to eliminate Christianity from Turkey before the World War comes to an end. And all this happens in the face of the Christian world.”

Why is this only coming to light now?

Well, good question. Of course, the files from the pontificate of Benedict XV have only been open since the 1990s. Besides this, not too many historians have access to them. And perhaps just nobody had any idea what he would find there — it’s only a guess.

Among the documents contained in your book, you include a letter written by the Superior of the Capuchins in Ezrurum, Fr. Norbert Hofer, to the Vatican in October 1915, which states: “The punishment of the Armenian nation (for alleged uprisings) is merely a pretext used by the Masonic Turkish government to exterminate all Christian elements in this country.”

Many readers may be surprised to hear mention of the Masons in relation to the Armenian Genocide, particularly in light of the desire at the time to unite Turkey with Sunni Islam as the state religion? Can you explain how the Masons factor in to the Armenian genocide, and who are the “Young Turks” which you referred to earlier?

Yes, of course. It would have been easy and rather populist to blame Islam for the Armenian genocide, especially as we are facing the horrible events of our own time in the very same region, with Islamic States’ massacre against Christians and Yazidis in the north of Syria and the Iraq.

But none of the responsible politicians, neither Talaat nor Enver nor Cemal Pasha, was a fanatic Muslim. The Young Turks were anything but fundamentalists. They were a young, revolutionary movement started by Turkish academics who had studied in most cases in Paris, where they came in contact with both the ideals of Masonry and European nationalism. Many of them were accepted by Masonic lodges and indeed the lodge of Thessaloniki became a kind of national headquarters for them.

Pope Francis’ controversial comments on Sunday about the “Armenian Genocide” cause such a furor in Turkey?

To help understand the true history behind the 1915-16 atrocity, Aleteia interviewed the German historian and author, Dr. Michael Hesemann, who was in Rome for Sunday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica commemorating the 100th anniversary of the genocide, otherwise known as Metz Yeghern [the Great Evil].

 

The atrocity involved the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland which lies within the territory constituting present-day Turkey. The total number of people killed in what is also known as the Armenian Holocaust is estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million.

In a new book entitled, The Armenian Genocide [Völkermord an den Armeniern], Hesemann reveals for the first time the content of never-before-published documents on “the greatest crime of World War I,” and how Pope Benedict XV and Vatican diplomacy tried to stop the deportations of the Armenians into the Syrian desert, save the victims and prevent the massacre of an entire people.

In this interview, Hesemann shares his findings, which include evidence of Masonic involvement, and expresses both his admiration for Pope Francis for drawing attention to the genocide of Christians and ethnic minorities, and his disappointment over the absence of the German Ambassador to the Holy See at Sunday’s commemorative Mass.

Dr. Hesemann, what led you to write a book on what documents contained in the Vatican Archives reveal about the Armenian Genocide?

Actually it was a kind of coincidence. I work as an historian for the “Pave the Way Foundation” in an intensive study of all the aspects of the life of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who eventually became Pope Pius XII.

From 1917-1925, Pacelli was Nuncio in Munich, so I went through the files of the Apostolic Nunciature in Munich, only to discover one folder with the title “Persecution of the Armenians”.

I opened it and found a letter of the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal von Hartmann, to the Chancellor of the Reich, Graf (Count) Härtling, in which he calls the persecution of the Armenians “not less brutal than the persecutions of the Christians in the first centuries of Christianity.” The Archbishop requested an urgent German intervention, unfortunately in vain.

In the same file I found a copy of a letter written by Pope Benedict XV to the sultan, asking for mercy for the innocent Armenians. These documents both touched me and aroused my curiosity. I felt I had just touched the tip of an iceberg and was sure I would find more data, and indeed I did — some 2500 pages so far.

I soon realized that no historian had ever worked with most of these documents, and that all this information was obviously unknown even to the leading experts on the Armenocide.

Given the importance of their content, I decided to write a book, putting the documents in the context of what we already know about the events of 1915-18.

What was the most surprising and unexpected insight you discovered in the Vatican Archives about the Armenian genocide?

The most surprising insight was that the Armenian genocide was in fact just part of a bigger plan — the extermination of all non-muslim minorities in the Ottoman Empire.

The ruling “Young Turk” movement came in contact with European ideas of nationalism and the concept that only a homogenous state can be a strong state. That is why they believed that the weakness of the Ottoman Empire was caused by its multi-religious and multi-ethnic character.

They wanted to “heal” this “weakness” by eliminating all foreign elements, which first meant the Christians who numbered 19% of the population in early 1914. Besides the Armenians, also Aramaic and Assyrian Christians, Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christians were persecuted and murdered.

The Turkish claim of a conspiracy between Russia and some Armenian leaders was nothing but a lie to justify those measures. If that were really the case, why did they kill innocent women and children, too? And why didn’t they spare the other Christian groups, which were never under suspicion? Indeed, the Turkish Secretary of the Interior, Talaat Bey, quite frankly told Johann Mordtmann of the German Embassy, according to a report to Berlin: “The (Turkish) government uses the war to get rid of our internal enemies — the indigenous Christians of all denominations — without diplomatic interventions by foreign nations.”

This is also what we read in some of the Vatican documents, e.g. a report written by Fr. Michael Liebl, an Austrian Capuchin missionary, who learned in Samsun: “Not the Armenians, the Christians were sentenced (to death) at a secret meeting of the Young Turks 5 or 6 years ago in Thessaloniki.”

What measures did Benedict XV take diplomatically to help save the Armenians from deportation into the Syrian desert?

Already in June 1915, the Vatican had a vague idea of what had happened in Eastern Anatolia. One month later, there was no doubt about the horrible massacres carried out against most of the male Armenian population. For the whole of August 1915, Msgr. Dolci — the Apostolic Delegate in Constantinople — did everything humanly possible to interfere diplomatically — without any success.

When drastic reports reached the Vatican in September 1915, Pope Benedict XV wasted no more time and decided to act. He sent an autograph to Sultan Mehmet V, pleading for mercy for the Armenians. The Turks refused even to receive it. For two months, Msgr. Dolci tried everything to present it to its addressee, but it was not received by the sultan.

Only when he asked both the German and the Austrian ambassador for help was he granted an audience. When another four weeks later the sultan answered, most of the deportations were already completed. All promises of the Turks to end the massacres or spare one group or the other — or to let them return home — turned out to be lies.

In December, Pope Benedict referred to the failure of any diplomatic intervention in his allocution to the cardinals at the Consistory of Dec. 6, 1915. In it, he spoke of “those sorrowful people of the Armenians, almost completely driven into their extermination.”

In June 1916, the Armenian Catholic Patriarch had to inform the Holy See: “The project of the extermination of the Armenians in Turkey is still going on. (…) The exiled Armenians … are continuously driven into the desert and there stripped of all vital resources. They miserably perish from hunger, disease and extreme climate. (…) It is certain that the Ottoman government has decided to eliminate Christianity from Turkey before the World War comes to an end. And all this happens in the face of the Christian world.”

Why is this only coming to light now?

Well, good question. Of course, the files from the pontificate of Benedict XV have only been open since the 1990s. Besides this, not too many historians have access to them. And perhaps just nobody had any idea what he would find there — it’s only a guess.

Among the documents contained in your book, you include a letter written by the Superior of the Capuchins in Ezrurum, Father Norbert Hofer, to the Vatican in October 1915, which states: “The punishment of the Armenian nation (for alleged uprisings) is merely a pretext used by the Masonic Turkish government to exterminate all Christian elements in this country.”

Many readers may be surprised to hear mention of the Masons in relation to the Armenian genocide, particularly in light of the desire at the time to unite Turkey with Sunni Islam as the state religion. Can you explain how the Masons factor in to the Armenian genocide, and who are the “Young Turks” which you referred to earlier?

Yes, of course. It would have been easy and rather populist to blame Islam for the Armenian genocide, especially as we are facing the horrible events of our own time in the very same region, with the Islamic States’ massacre against Christians and Yazidis in the north of Syria and the Iraq.

But none of the responsible politicians, neither Talaat nor Enver nor Cemal Pasha, was a fanatic Muslim. The Young Turks were anything but fundamentalists. They were a young, revolutionary movement started by Turkish academics who had studied in most cases in Paris, where they came in contact with both the ideals of Masonry and European nationalism. Many of them were accepted by Masonic lodges and indeed the lodge of Thessaloniki became a kind of national headquarters for them.

Talaat Bey — the man responsible for the Armenocide — was even Grandmaster of the Grand Orient of the Turkish Masonry. That’s a historical fact. The ideology of the Young Turks can be described as “proto-fascism.” Only race did not play any role as the unifying element, since there is nothing like a “racially pure” Turk. Rather, it was substituted by religion, namely Sunni Islam.

Islam was therefore instrumentalized for political reasons. It gave all those who were involved in the killings a rationale, a justification for their deeds. But behind it was the master plan of a political ideology, which misused religion for its purposes, and so sought the homogenization of the Turkish nation.

As an historian who has studied in depth the events and circumstances surrounding the Armenian genocide, particularly those documented in the Vatican archives, what do you make of Turkey’s reaction to Pope Francis’ statements on Sunday in which he called the Armenian massacre a “genocide”?

I am very grateful to the Holy Father. On Sunday, we not only saw a beautiful, worthy and solemn commemoration of the Armenian martyrdom, we also experienced the victory of truth over diplomacy.

If you know how fanatically Turkey tries every means to debunk the events of 1915-1916, if you follow the chronology of their threats against nations much bigger and more powerful than the Vatican — nations such as France, Germany and the U.S. — you get an idea what it takes to stand up and call a “genocide” what was indeed the first genocide of the 20th century. Thank you, Pope Francis! What a great, wonderful, political Pope, who indeed acted as the moral conscience of the world and taught us that, as Christians, we should never be afraid of the truth.

The Turkish reaction to his brave remark could be expected. It is always the same. They claim that the Pope was misinformed, although he knows the truth from his own archives. By the way, when will the Turks open theirs?

The Turks even spoke of racism. Should we now assume that, from the Turkish point of view, it is not racist at all to kill nearly a whole nation, a religious and ethnic group, but it is racist to call this a genocide?

It is so sad that the Turks don’t realize how they exclude themselves from the community of civilized nations by such acts. I mean, I am German and my nation committed the most horrible crime in history, the Shoah. But at least we admitted what we did, we deeply regret it and we tried anything possible for reconciliation and compensation.

As a Catholic, I believe that every sin and every crime can be forgiven, if you only confess and regret. But what you neither regret nor confess cannot be forgiven either. Turkey only has one chance to overcome the trauma and guilt of the darkest chapter of its history, and that is to confess and regret! And we will all forgive. If not, these wounds will always be wide open, even after 100 years.

What lessons do the history of the Armenian genocide hold for us today, particularly in light of present-day persecution of Christians in Africa and the Middle East?

If there is one lesson we should learn from the Armenian genocide, it is this: Never turn around, never look away when your brother suffers persecution.

We all, all nations of the civilized world and first of all Germany — Turkey’s ally — share the Turkish guilt, because we allowed this to happen. By opportunism, by giving other topics priority, by what Pope Francis rightly called “the globalization of indifference,” which is so evil. “Cain, where is your brother Abel?” That’s why nobody can ever say that he has nothing to do with the Armenian genocide, the holocaust or the fate of our Christian brothers in Syria and Iraq.

For ignoring their fate and their suffering makes us guilty, too. Not preventing a crime which happens before your very eyes makes you an accomplice of the perpetrator. We should never be ignorant, we should never be indifferent, but rather learn to act responsibly.

This is why I was so very ashamed that, of all the diplomats present in St. Peter’s Basilica that morning commemorating the Armenian martyrs, the one who was missing was Annette Schavan, the German Ambassador to the Holy See. Especially since, as I explained before, Germany as Turkey’s ally holds a special responsibility for their martyrdom. In her case, opportunism won over the truth. And that is a shame. We can only be people of the future if we are not afraid of the past.

 
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