1. Boko Haram Put a Bounty on My Head.

By Hassan John, The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2018, Pg. A13, Opinion

Nigerian Christianity is under siege from radical Islam. The country’s importance to Africa, and to Christianity as a whole, makes this siege particularly noteworthy. With a population of nearly 200 million—about 50% Christian, 40% Muslim and 10% animist—by 2050 Nigeria will become the third most populous country in the world, the United Nations estimates. No wonder Nigeria has been a strategic target for radical Islamists for several decades.

Boko Haram, a radical Islamic movement whose name roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden,” has ramped up attacks on Christians this year. Since 2009 when Boko Haram began its rampage, about 20,000 Nigerians have been hacked with machetes or shot. Two million have been displaced. Pastors and their families have been specifically targeted for death.

The government’s response has deepened Christian frustrations. President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim, describes the violence as “clashes” between Fulani tribesmen and farmers, who are mostly Christian. But many Christians, who often become refugees, believe the government is telling the world what it wants to hear, that this has nothing to do with religion. Yet why are all the attackers Boko Haram? And why do they target Christians? We sense that Muslims generally are killed as collateral damage, not as primary targets.


2. Indian prelate wary of over-emphasizing abuse crisis in synod document.

By John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin, Crux, October 26, 2018

A leading Asian prelate in the 2018 Synod of Bishops has said that some bishops from the developing world have been concerned that, driven mostly by the agenda of their Western colleagues, too much emphasis could be placed in the summit’s final document on clerical sexual abuse.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, a member of both the drafting committee for the synod’s final synod document and the pope’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers, said his concern was being true to the input coming from participants.

“This was a question for us: You make such a big fuss about sexual abuse, and making it like the number one issue?” Gracias said. “To be fair to the synod, you can’t say that’s the number one thing.”

“[The document] has got to be universally acceptable everywhere, we realize that,” Gracias said. “The statement should answer the needs of the United States, Ireland, Australia, but not just them.”


3. Letters From the Synod-2018: #18.

Edited By Xavier Rynne II, First Things, October 26, 2018

The gospel reading for Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week of the Year began with one of the most striking dominical sayings in the New Testament: “I came to cast fIre on the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12.49). This was preceded by the recitation of Psalm 33, which concludes in these evocative terms: “…the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him / upon those who hope for his kindness / to deliver them from death / and preserve them in spite of famine.” Just before that, St. Paul consoled the Ephesians with the promise of this prayer for them:

Each of these texts prompts a brief reflection on Synod-2018 as its work draws to a close tomorrow. 

From wherever the testimony has come at Synod-2018, it’s clear that the 21st-century world is suffering from a deficit of love. And love, in its supreme form, is what the Church offers a love-starved world. Love and “vocational discernment,” a theme of Synod-2018, go together. For “vocational discernment,” rightly understood, is the discovery of someone’s path toward the love in which, and for which, we all want to live. 

The greatest of modern young-adult saints and the only young adult to be declared a Doctor of the Church—St. Therese of Lisieux—embraced her vocation when it became clear to her that “…love is everything,” that “…love is everlasting,” and that she would “be love in the heart of the Church.” In its Liturgy of the Hours, the world Church read that excerpt from the Little Flower’s Autobiography two days before Synod-2018 opened. St. Therese’s commitment to “be love” ought to have been one of the main motifs in the Synod’s deliberations, and sometimes was. We may hope that it infuses the Synod’s final report and whatever else comes out of Synod-2018, including an apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis. 
– George Weigel 


4. ‘Synodality’ in final doc didn’t come from synod fathers, drafter says.

By John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin, Crux, October 25, 2018

A member of the drafting committee for the final document of the 2018 Synod of Bishops says that language on “synodality” and “discernment” in a draft distributed to bishops earlier this week came from neither synod discussions nor the committee, guessing it was inserted by officials appointed by Pope Francis to run the event.

In terms of the charge that the synod has been rigged, Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles offered a note of caution during an Oct. 4 event sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture with the assistance of the Diocese of Orange in California and Crux.

“Every meeting is ‘rigged’ to a certain extent,” Barron said. “You don’t call something like this in the first place if you don’t have some sense of what you want to get out of it.”