Biblical Archaeology

War Crimes Charges Now Extend to the Destruction of Ancient Monuments

Here’s why.

A view of the side of a damaged house in the historical city of Sanaa

For the first time, the International Criminal Court in The Hague has opened war crimes proceedings against an Islamist militant accused of leading in the destruction of historical monuments.

The charges reflect a heightened global concern about the safety of antiquities across the Middle East and North Africa, including in UNESCO world heritage sites. Islamic State and al Qaeda affiliates are increasingly launching deliberate assaults on treasured religious monuments…

Reuters has the rest here.



A Drunk Reckless Driver

Ended this precious childs life.

Her father writes:

My Darling Little girl Nadia Stephanie Bond has been brutally ripped from us by a Drunk speeding driver on Friday 18th at approximately 17:45 on the corner of Denne str and 9th avenue, Kraaifontein. We are shattered and broken, our pain has no boundaries. Her battered and torn little body suffered a broken leg, broken pelvis, massive internal bleeding, a broken neck, unbearable brain damage and a severed spinal cord. She gave up a brave effort to survive at 13:00 today. This world has lost an Angel…

My Darling I cannot begin to comprehend this world without you, your joyous manner, your bountiful love, your laugh, your hugs and kisses our Daddy and Daughter time…Daddy, Mommy and your Brothers will never be the same. An aspiring little actress that has completed multiple International TV ads, has just completed a small role in her first Movie yet to be released, multi talented little model and dancer, the world was your oyster untill this brutal, cruel day…

I PRAY FOR JUSTICE – As a family in deep mourning we have not been able to pursue the case, we call on the SAPD detectives, all witnesses and the media to prevent this tragedy happening to another family by assisting us in pursuing ultimate justice for our Beautiful Little girl. Case No: 1398/09/2015.

I don’t think one can begin to imagine their anguish and pain. Let’s join them in prayer for justice, and that the comforting presence of the Lord will be with this family at this desperate time.


Terrorists Disguised as Nuns

DSS issues alert:

The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned the general pub­lic to be wary of persons of questionable charac­ters who may disguise in Catholic Church Reverend Sisters’ regalia to perpe­trate heinous crimes on innocent citizens.
According to a release signed by Deputy Director, Public Relations (DSS), Mari­lyn Ogar, msi, the warning became necessary following the alleged theft of some pieces of Catholic Church Reverend Sisters’ regalia at Sabon Gari, Kano, by unidentified persons, and the possibility of using same to launch terrorist attacks on the innocent citizens.
It reads: “On 20th August, 2014, about 0400 hours, some unidentified persons broke into a tailoring shop located at No.55 Odutola Street, Sabon Gari, Kano, and stole about thirteen (13) pieces of Catholic Church Reverend Sisters’ re­galia. With the recent trend of female suicide bombings in the country, the theft of these rega­lia heightens concerns about the possibility of terrorist ele­ments using same to perpetrate acts of terror.”
The security operative fur­ther called on the citizens to be vigilant and report any suspi­cious persons to the appropri­ate authority. “Consequently, this Service wishes to draw the attention of the public to this development, and to call on all citizens to be more cir­cumspect and exercise greater vigilance with users of such peculiar attires. We therefore enjoin all to continue to co­operate with law enforcement agencies through the provision of useful information on sus­picious activities within their immediate environment. This Service will continue to col­laborate with all stakeholders as we strive to keep our coun­try safe,” it added.



Farm Workers Accused of Pelting Colleague to Death with Oranges

The Independent:

Police in South Africa have launched an investigation as two rural farm workers are suspected of pelting their colleague to death with oranges.
The man died after the suspects allegedly argued with him, before they collected oranges and began throwing them at him, police Lt. Col. Moatshe Ngoepe said citing witness accounts.
“They started pelting the deceased with all those loose oranges, killing him on the spot,” Ngoepe said of the incident which took place near the town of Tzaneenm in the Limpopo province of northern South Africa.
Mr Ngoepe cautioned that an investigation was still underway and aspects of a case he described as “complicated” still had to be verified.
The man was declared dead at the scene and he had no “visible injury,” suggesting he may have suffered blunt trauma, according to Ngoepe. He did not comment on the cause of the argument that led to the assault.
The suspects were detained Tuesday and later released pending formal charges, which could include murder.
Police and prosecutors are now awaiting the results of an autopsy in the hope it will uncover more details of the man’s death.

Britain Arrests Over 600 Suspected Paedophiles

London — Over 600 suspected paedophiles have been arrested in Britain as part of a six-monthabuse 2 investigation, the UK’s National Crime Agency said on Wednesday. The NCA said that doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and former police officers are among those detained. The operation targeted people viewing what it called “indecent” images of children online.

The NCA said that some of those arrested had “unsupervised access to children in the course of their work.” The NCA said 39 people were on a list of registered sex offenders. Commenting on the operation, NCA Deputy Director General Phil Gormley said: “Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation. A child is victimized not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimized every time that image is viewed by someone.”




Archbishop Confirms Death-Row Inmates

A deacon distributes Communion to a death-row inmate at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Ind. Father David Link of the Diocese of Gary, Ind., a prison chaplain, sees one-on-one relationships as a key to helping prisoners build healthy new lives. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Northwest Indiana Catholic)

Portland Archbishop Alexander K. Sample confirmed one of Oregon’s most infamous prisoners May 28 in a heavily guarded private ceremony in the maximum security prison in Salem.

In 2007 Gary Haugen was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering a fellow inmate while serving a life sentence for the murder of his former girlfriend’s mother. In November 2011 Haugen gained notoriety for dropping his appeals and asking to be executed.

A second death-row prisoner, Jason Van Brumwell, who was an accomplice with Haugen in the prison killing, wants to die, too, arguing that pursuing appeals is pointless.

Haugen was scheduled to be put to death for his second murder in December 2011, but his execution was put on hold by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, despite Haugen’s pleas to end his life.

The Democratic governor has halted all executions for the duration of his time in office.

Oregon State Penitentiary — or OSP, as the high-walled, Belgian razor wire-topped prison fortress on the outskirts of the state capital is known — houses 2,100 inmates, nearly half of whom are behind bars for sex offender convictions.

Thirty-five men are confined to special housing, single-occupancy cells on death row. The last execution at the penitentiary occurred May 16, 1997.

On the afternoon of May 28, a shackled Haugen entered the small room followed by three other Catholic death-row inmates plus guards. Haugen, who said his heart was pounding, went to the floor and lay face down before Archbishop Sample, saying, “I am not worthy to be here.”

The prisoners — Haugen, Ricardo Serrano, Conan Hale and Jeff Tiner — were then closed in individual cages that included only a small opening. There were no chairs or pews, so Haugen stood through the entire Mass with a peaceful, gentle expression on his face.

Though only a few feet from the archbishop, a sturdy crosshatch of iron kept them apart. Death-row inmates are forbidden to touch anyone, so it was unusual when the archbishop reached in to anoint the inmate’s head gently.

Haugen was baptized earlier this year. Tiner, who has written letters to the editor to support Catholic causes, is Haugen’s sponsor.

During his homily, Archbishop Sample told Haugen and the other men that Jesus experienced being a criminal. He reminded the men they are not alone.

“God died on that cross because he loves you,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Sample explained the holy oil used for confirmation. It is infused with sweet-smelling balsam. He told Haugen that now he is to be “the fragrance of Christ in this place.”

The inmates received Communion kneeling as the archbishop reached through the small opening. No photography was allowed.

“I have seen confirmations all spring and there was nothing like this one,” said Deacon Tom Gornick, who directs prison ministry in the Portland Archdiocese.

Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments Christ instituted. Catholic teaching says confirmation — which along with baptism and first Communion is a sacrament of initiation — seals the faithful with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, strengthening them in their Christian life.

The Catholic woman who heads the state’s Department of Corrections was pleased with the confirmation.

Collette Peters said she hoped that the media-savvy Haugen just “may be on the cusp of saving his soul.”

Peters, a member of a suburban Portland parish, has transformed life in prison for Oregon inmates through her reforms, introducing many innovative programs to guide prisoners for eventual re-entry into civilian life.

For his part, the archbishop is partnering with Peters so he can have better access to his parishioners who live behind bars and cannot get to Mass on weekends.

His next series of prison ministry visits will be to women’s prisons.

Archbishop Sample was transformed himself as he passed through tight security screening and was escorted to the chapel by correctional officers, no longer called guards.

The 6-foot-2 churchman, a youthful-looking 53-year-old, has been actively involved in prison ministry since his days as a young priest in the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, along Lake Superior in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.



Thieves Steal Pope John Paul’s Blood

UPDATE:  Arrests have been made – but no recovery as yet.

Undated handout photo of a reliquary with the blood of Blessed John Paul II


Thieves broke into a small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole a reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said on Monday.

Dozens of police with sniffer dogs scoured the remote area for clues to what the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana called “a sacrilegious theft that was probably commissioned by someone”.

Franca Corrieri told Reuters she had discovered a broken window early on Sunday morning and had called the police. When they entered the small stone church they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.

John Paul, who died in 2005, loved the mountains in the Abruzzo region. He would sometimes slip away from the Vatican secretly to hike or ski there and pray in the church.

Polish-born John Paul, who reigned for 27 years, is due to be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in May, meaning the relic will become more noteworthy and valuable.

In 2011, John Paul’s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, now archbishop of Krakow in Poland, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff’s blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area.

It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L’Aquila.

Corrieri, who is part of an association that looks after the small church, said the incident felt more like a “kidnapping” than a theft. “In a sense, a person has been stolen,” she said by telephone.

She said she could not say if the intention of the thieves may have been to seek a ransom for the blood.

Apart from the reliquary and a crucifix, nothing else was stolen from the isolated church, even though Corrieri said the thieves would probably have had time to take other objects during the night-time theft.

Some of John Paul’s blood was saved after an assassination attempt that nearly killed him in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.