A ‘bolt out of the blue’: Pope Francis sets off an ecumenical earthquake

“These martyrs were baptized not only in water and the Spirit,” said Pope Francis during the audience with Pope Tawadros in Rome on Thursday, “but also in blood, with a blood that is a seed of unity for all followers of Christ.”

A photo of some of the 21 Coptic martyrs who were beheaded by ISIS on a beach in Libya on Feb. 15, 2015. (Photo: CNS)

Pope Francis made history on Thursday, when he added to the Roman Martyrology the names of twenty-one Coptic Christians martyred in Libya in 2015, giving them a date on the Roman calendar of saints and allowing Catholics to honor them publicly in the Catholic liturgy.

The date for the optional liturgical commemoration of the Coptic Martyrs of Libya is February 15th, the anniversary of their martyrdom at the hands of terrorists belonging to the so-called Islamic State.

The spiritual leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, canonized the Martyrs of Libya in his Church only a week after their murder. Almost immediately, shrines and other celebrations and commemorations of the victims as heroes of the faith sprang up in Catholic and other Orthodox Churches and Protestant communities around the world, including in Rome.

Though not entirely without precedent – there is little utterly unexampled in the history of a two-thousand-year-old global institution – it would be gross understatement to characterize Pope Francis’s move on Thursday as a mere surprise. Francis’s announcement has captured the attention of the entire world – not only professional Christians of the chattering classes – and stirred frequently emotional discussion across the spectrum of opinion and discourse within the Catholic community and beyond it.

Two distinct but related reasons explain why Pope Francis’s extraordinary act is of great moment, one psychological and the other political.

The gruesome mass-murder of twenty Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians and one man from sub-Saharan Africa happened only eight years ago, at the high water mark of the brutal Islamic State’s brief and blood-soaked career of destruction and desolation. The man from Ghana, named Matthew Ayariga, was either a Protestant or nominal Christian, or else unbaptized. Ayariga drew strength and inspiration from the great courage of his companions, who died with the name of Our Lord on their lips. “Their God is my God,” Ayariga said when the IS killers offered to let him live if he forswore Jesus Christ. Ayariga thus chose martyrdom with them.

Video of the martyrs’ murder spurred outrage at the bloodthirsty and wanton destructiveness of IS, and briefly but powerfully focused the world’s attention on the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and throughout the globe. Coming at a time of tension in Egypt in the wake of protracted upheaval, the Martyrs of Libya united a nation and captured the not only the attention but the moral imagination of people everywhere.

Pope Francis spoke – with great power of eloquence and repeatedly – of the martyrs’ heroism, calling it expressive of the deep unity in Christ that precedes and transcends institutional divisions, giving the world a fleeting glimpse of the indivisible oneness of the mystical body that is the Church.

“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis told the Moderator of the Church of Scotland one day after the brutal murder of the Martyrs of Libya, “is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians!”

“Their blood is one and the same,” Pope Francis said. “Their blood confesses Christ.”

Though Pope Francis did not use the precise term in his remarks to the Church of Scotland’s Moderator on the day after the martyrdom, the “ecumenism of blood” had already become a major motif of his pontificate.

“Today there is an ecumenism of blood,” Pope Francis told Italy’s La Stampa in 2013. “In some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or having a Bible and before they kill them they do not ask them whether they are Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic, or Orthodox.”

“Their blood is mixed,” Pope Francis said. “To those who kill [us], we are Christians,” Francis also said. “We are united in blood, even though we have not yet managed to take necessary steps towards unity between us and perhaps the time has not yet come.”

With the announcement on Thursday of his decision to include liturgical praise of the Coptic Martyrs of Libya in Catholic worship, Pope Francis has decided to help time along.

Within the worldwide Christian community, it was immediately apparent that there were manifold ecumenical ramifications to Pope Francis’s decision allowing Catholics to offer the Coptic Martyrs of Libya public liturgical cult.

While Catholic doctrine contains nothing in principle to prevent the faithful from believing that Christians who kept imperfect communion with the Church of Rome in life may attain salvation or practice heroic virtue or be killed in hatred of the faith – the traditional criterion for recognition as a martyr – the Catholic Church has been reluctant to recognize persons who lived outside the bounds of visible unity with the Roman Church in any such way.

Popes have been careful to avoid the appearance of ecclesiastical imperialism – as though the Church of Rome alone “makes” saints worthy of the name – even though recent pontiffs have spoken warmly and with great admiration for the witness of Christians from both Protestant and Orthodox traditions.

So, what changed?

In large part, Pope Francis’s decision to add the Coptic Martyrs to the universal calendar is implicit though unmistakable recognition of the juridical act of Tawadros II, the Pope of Alexandria – the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, founded by St. Mark the Apostle and based in Egypt – rather than a decision taken entirely of his own accord and initiative.

Pope Francis’s addition also follows the recognition that Catholic Copts gave the Martyrs of Libya, whose bishops heartily welcomed Pope Tawadros’s 2015 canonization of the Martyrs in the Coptic Orthodox Church of which he is the head.

“The Church in Egypt has been strengthened by the murder of our brothers in Libya,” the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Sohag, Youssef Aboul-Kheir, told Aid to the Church in Need mere days after the mass beheading. “[T]hey are true martyrs—for us Catholics as well,” Kyrillos Samaan, the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assiut in Egypt, told ACN in March of 2015, a little over a month after the Coptic Orthodox canonization.

Pope Francis also had the placet of Pope Tawadros.

“I am pleased to announce today [Thursday, May 11th],” Pope Francis said, “that, with Your Holiness’ consent, these 21 martyrs will be included in the Roman Martyrology as a sign of the spiritual communion uniting our two Churches.”

“These martyrs were baptized not only in water and the Spirit,” said Pope Francis during the audience with Pope Tawadros in Rome on Thursday, “but also in blood, with a blood that is a seed of unity for all followers of Christ.” The move, in short, comes with the blessing of the Coptic Orthodox leader and follows the development of ecumenical sensibilities.

The addition of the Martyrs of Libya to the universal calendar is also the result of Pope Francis following his own public thinking about the “ecumenism of blood” to some, at least, of its logical conclusions.

The powerfully eloquent term encapsulates the idea that martyrdom bears perfect witness – terrible and glorious – to the basic unity of all who confess Christ in their lives. Martyrdom on account of Christ, whose own blood is the ultimate instrument of reconciliation, entails perfect communion.

Fr. Hugh Somerville Knapman OSB is a theologian currently pursuing a doctorate at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, whose Ecumenism of Blood: Heavenly Hope for Earthly Communion (Paulist Press, 2018), favorably considered the possibility of a development such as the one that came to pass on Thursday.

“Martyrdom for Christ is the act of perfect discipleship,” Knapman told the Catholic World Report in response to queries sent via email, “it establishes perfect communion with Christ, and thus by extension, if only in heavenly terms, perfect communion with Christ’s Body the Church.”

Subterranean rumblings indicative of this massive change have made themselves felt on the surface before, as when Pope Francis made St. Gregory of Narek – an Armenian monk who lived long after the split between the Church of Rome and the Armenian Church, for centuries venerated by Catholic and Orthodox alike – a Doctor of the Church.

There is also Sergius of Radonezh, a great master in the Russian spiritual tradition much beloved of Russian Catholics, as well. In 1940, Russian Rite Catholics received permission to honor him liturgically. In the context of the Great Jubilee of 2000, Pope St. John Paul II added other saints venerated in the Orthodox world to the Catholic calendar.

Still, the development with the Copts “came as a bolt from the blue,” Knapman said in a telephone conversation following the email exchange.

Beyond the concerns over ecumenical sensibilities, there had been a certain unease among some Catholics, at the willingness of Pope Francis to express with such forcefulness his confidence in the martyrdom of Christians who did not live in full communion with the universal Church.

Knapman said he hopes Catholics in the Latin Church will understand the theological nuance and cultural context into which this latest development has come, and appreciate in that light the power and beauty of Pope Francis’s gesture.

“For all its beautiful clarity,” Knapman said, “there is a tendency in the Latin Church to value schematics and rules and procedure over the substantial goods they are supposed to serve.” “Some will take elements of the Church’s tradition and apply them in a decontextualized way,” is his fear. “Some people may fail to see in our liturgical embrace of the Coptic Martyrs of Libya an authentic example of how doctrine is the servant, not the master, of Church unity.”

Knapman also foresaw another possible response, arising from a different sort of impulse.

“I’m afraid that those who see Pope Francis almost entirely in negative terms will write off this inspired act of his,” Knapman said. “I fear that some people will hate this thing that he has done, simply because he is the one who has done it.”

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About Christopher R. Altieri 198 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, editor and author of three books, including Reading the News Without Losing Your Faith (Catholic Truth Society, 2021). He is contributing editor to Catholic World Report.


  1. “I’m afraid that those who see Pope Francis almost entirely in negative terms will write off this inspired act of his,” Somerville Knapman said. “I fear that some people will hate this thing that he has done, simply because he is the one who has done it.”

    I am one of those who see Pope Francis in ‘negative terms’. However, St. Mary’s Coptic Church in Zeitun Egypt, on the other hand, had one million people receive apparitions from the Blessed Mother in 1968-70. Wow! Hands down, blows away the total combined number of Catholics over 2000 years who have seen the Blessed Mother.

    The Virgin Mary’s Apparition in Zeitun 1968 | Apparitions of Mary

    I have vigorously sought out and studied Apparitions of Mary for the past 30 years of my life. I cannot think of even one other time there was a non-Catholic seer of the Blessed Mother, other than Zeitun 1968.

    I have always thought that the reason the Blessed Mother does not appear to the Protestants, is because the Protestants are going to have to concede to receive our Catholic Sacraments to survive what the Blessed Mother is warning us about in our near future.

    In my thoughts, the Blessed Mother already sees Coptic Christians as in full union with our Catholic Church.

    • On July 31, 2016 Francis expressly refused to identify violence in any manner whatsoever with Islam, but he did associate violence with Catholicism since he assumed the domestic violence he read about in an Italian newspapers had to have been performed by Catholics since Italy is a “Catholic” country. This was in response to specific recent acts of Islamic terrorism on children. Francis went on to equate all acts of free market economies as acts of terrorism since, in his mind, the exchange of goods, can only have bad intentions. Yes, I am one, who will not take seriously any personal magnanimity on the part of Francis when he uses his role as Pope in a proper manner, and I resent anyone claiming my common sense observations were motivated by hatred.

  2. If these red martyrs are now considered Saints of the Catholic Church, I don’t see why Archbishop Lefebvre should not be considered a saint for his life-long white martyrdom for the faith.

    • Mark Tabish: He very well might be some day, but that’s not the point. Don’t use the brutal martyrdom of these Christians to make some sort of Trad argument for Archbishop Lefebvre’s actions and canonization. If the literal beheading of 21 Christians instantly makes you think of Archbishop Lefebvre and his bucolic exile at a Swiss Catholic seminary overlooking a vineyard, then I question your understanding of many things. Sorry bro, but I think your spiritual priorities are seriously messed up.

      • On a related note, while we are at it, we should also consider raising his Mother and Father to the high altar, after having given 5 of their 8 children to the Church, then, themselves languishing until death in Nazi concentration camps because of their faith. There have been FAR MORE men and women raised to the High Altar that have done FAR LESS than Arch-Bishop Marcel Lefebvre. May God reward him, one day, with the honor he rightly and justly deserves!

        Deo Gratius, AB LeFebvre!

  3. Cantate Domino, Eugene IV, Florence… Chalcedon… all the Fathers on schism, heresy, and martyrdom… out the window?

    • Yes, I think that stuff does go “out the window” as the terrorist slits your throat and beheads you with a dagger. These men died for Christ. The last words of the martyrs was Ya Rabbi Yassou, “O Lord Jesus”!

      Show some respect.

      • Lefebvre died excommunicated from the Church. His followers hate the Catholic Church, the Pope, and want nothing to do with Rome. The Coptic Orthodox are light years ahead of SSPX-ers in the martyrdom department.

        • Have you ever been to a Coptic Mass? Makes a SSPX solemn high Mass look like a latter day guitar Mass. Strictly speaking the Orthodox Coptic Church doesn’t want anything to so with Rome either.

        • SSPX Catholics aren’t sedevacantists. There’s certainly a disconnect between the SSPX and Rome but I don’t believe they’re in formal schism. As far as hating the Pope , I frequently read uncharitable comments directed at Pope Francis from non-SSPX conservative Catholics. I don’t know if anyone actually “hates” the Pope but many certainly disagree with him. Or like me are quite puzzled by his words.
          I don’t think this article should be used to steer the conversation to the SSPX though. The men who were martyred by ISIS should be the focus here.

        • Sadly, you’re mistaken about the nature of the relationship of the SSPX with the Papacy and the NO Church. There is a much broader, much more enlightened perspective than yours, thankfully, guiding many of the minds of those involved in this issue. “His followers hate the Catholic Church” . . . his followers ARE the Catholic Church – the same church that has an uninterrupted heritage and sacramental system dating back to the Christ Himself. Please get familiar with this issue before you attempt to teach it. A good place to start is with Michael Davies trilogy beginning with “Cranmer’s Godly Order”. It’s a historical perspective on the rebellion of the Heretic protestants in England giving rise to the Anglican Protestant Church. Eerily, much of what happened in V2 mirrors the rebellion against the church that led to much woe and anguish in the Catholic faithful of the mid-sixteenth century. By the way, I don’t think there is a better way to understand the current nature of the church than to examine what it was prior to V2 and what it was at its apex, when better than 80% of those that professed their faith LIVED their faith. God bless you and keep you!

        • Wow, nothing like a little unhinged defamation in the morning! Are you a speech writer for Pope Francis by any chance?

        • Porter Girl, One of many Catholic points Lefebvre emphasized throughout his life is that we must never commit sins of presumption about what exists in the heart, mind, and soul of others. He would never condone hatred, nor sinfully assume the motivation of hatred in others.

      • This is a valid observation, but a completely different issue and should be considered separately. Red and white are not the same.

        • Hello James, I respectfully and cordially disagree. Martyrdom for the church, white or red, should be recognized and lauded – especially when those that have given so much TO the church are being overlooked to include faithful OUTSIDE the church in the next edition of the Butler’s Lives of the Saints. Yes, “red” and “white” are not the same. Adding non-Catholics to the sacred list of Catholic Church Martyrs will be “a completely different issue”, too.

  4. These men are martyrs and saints. Period. I’m very frustrated and disappointed by some out there who are nitpicking about the fact that these holy martyrs are Copts. The bottom line is these people died for their belief in Christ. The finer points of Chalcedon don’t matter when weighed against their monumental sacrifice and witness to the Gospel!

    In my area of Canada we have many Coptic Christians. They are truly good people and faithful Christians. Anyone who complains about this is completely missing the big picture. And if you’re complaining about this from the safety of a Western nation you should be ashamed of yourself. May these holy martyrs pray for us!

  5. Pope Francis could very well help reunite some of these Orthodox Churches back into full communion with the Catholic Church with decisions like this.
    Being finally reunited with the Orthodox Churches could put an end to the Latin Mass/Novus Ordo liturgy wars because it’ll give people a chance to see that every Catholic rite, if done correctly and reverently, is beautiful and reverent in and of itself.

    • There are Eastern Catholics now. It has helped only a little because TPTB see it only as diversity, not as an opportunity to study universal principles of proper liturgy. (Ad Orientem, for example.)

  6. I propose that Francis name as “White Martyrs” those Catholics (I am not one) who preferred entering into the Mysteries via the Usus Antiquor. After all, they’ve now been persecuted and vilified because they proclaimed Christ in the Latin Mass. Only it wasn’t Isis that persecuted these Christians.

  7. I note that it was Martin Mosebach (one of the leading “ideologues” among “the-Catholics-who-fail-to-venerate-1970”) who was among the very first, perhaps the very first, to publicly venerate the 21 martyrs.

    That Christian voices such as Mosebach and the Pontiff Francis should be raised together to venerate the 21 is fitting. And thanks to Martin Mosebach for raising his voice to do so, years ago, that others may join even today.

  8. Oddly enough, one person who did not exhibit outrage at this slaughter was Barak Obama, who denied it was part of a pattern of persecution of Christians by Islam. Just as we know from the Biden administration that the Muslims are the victims when they slaughter Nigerian Christians.

  9. Show some respect.

    Get over yourself.

    One can admire the courage of these martyrs while questioning the wisdom or even the possibility of adding them to the Roman canon.

    • Agree Rich, we allow Anglicans who have no valid rites to say “Mass” in the Lateran, but a catholic priest has a better chance of winning the lottery than receiving permission to say Latin Mass in his own parish. The point is that the Pope is ignoring the magesterium of the Church regarding those outside the church while treating those who are in the church as if they were out. It seems the dogma of “outside the church there is no salvation” no longer applies. Our Lady of fatima did warn us.

  10. My understanding is that all martyrs must be Catholic to be recognized as saints by the Catholic Church. This action isn’t legitimate.

    Also, I am much more interested in support for the overthrow of the stranglehold of Islam on the Middle East. I don’t believe that colonization would be wrong. The spiritual is more important than the temporal.

    What would be necessary would be the vigorous prosecution with the death penalty of all murders motivated by belief in the errors of Islam. Also, all discrimination against non-Muslims must be removed from “law.” In fact, no Muslim should be allowed in government employment.

  11. Is Patrick Henry soon to be included in the Roman Martyrology?
    To be in the Roman Martyrology and provided a feast in the Roman calendar you need to be a Catholic. The Coptic Church, indeed Eastern Orthodoxy, practice a different faith than Roman Catholicism. Their faith cannot be seen as a heroic practice of virtue since it is not the one true faith. What has been the process the Coptic Church employed to determine how these 21 men lived their lives? How do we know what their intention was to be a witness to Jesus Christ? Should the zealous devout Islamic executioners also be conferred recognition for their adherence to the prescripts of Allah [presently equated with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — indeed the Most Holy Trinity] in the Koran?
    This is madness. We are drowning in a chaos which is not theological.
    Individuals are recognized after scrupulous investigation as having practiced heroically all the virtues — the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, and the cardinal virtues of Temperance, Justice, Prudence, and Fortitude.
    Among other things which are considered is the reputation of the individual during their life and is there devotion to the individual after their death. Indeed, the process is intricate as it must be.
    I too was deeply moved by the execution of these men, but I don’t know what the disposition of each of them was during their life and at their death. Neither is there any evidence of popular devotion to them.
    There is an endless list of Roman Catholic men and women who have deliberately offered their lives in witness to Christ who don’t even have their cause in Rome. What of them? What of us deprived of coming to knowledge of them? Chinese Catholics enduring the iron fist of atheistic Communists all under the cover of the Vatican’s secret agreement with genocidal tyrants. The weekly news of Catholic Nigerian martyrs come to mind as well.
    This move appears vacuous, an assault on the causes of Saints, rendering it a popularity contest yet again. Another popularity stunt from the woke Vatican. It will not do. Koochy-Koo Katholicism is nothing less than a scandal.

  12. Many of the world’s Catholics today can easily relate to the Martyrs of Libya. All of them were non-ordained lay persons. All of them were migrant workers who left family and country for employment in another country. While in their host country they faithfully witnessed to the faith and in a way evangelized their co-workers such that one showed solidarity with them declaring: Their God is my God. They encountered enemies of the faith, in this case Muslim extremists and they stood up (in video pictures: knelt down) for Christ boldly. Like these fresh martyrs, most of the world’s Catholics do not care or do not even know about the culture and liturgical wars in the West waged between Catholics and between a small minority of Catholics and the Pope, who for example are quick to debate about the technicalities and propriety of recognizing these Coptic saints to be Catholic too. The big majority of the world’s Catholics do not care about these technicalities and are simply grateful in receiving together with Pope Francis the gift of these new martyrs who are so contemporaneous to them having watched video images of their actual sacrificial death for Christ in real time. These martyrs are their latest models and inspiration in living out the Christian faith. These saints are very much like them: unordained; migrant workers; in their new country and facing enemies of the faith remaining faithful and bold witnesses for Christ even unto death. Reminiscent of the early Christian martyrs of Rome facing death as they were fed to wild animals in the Colosseum, they prayed and sung hymns as they were lead to their ultimate sacrifice. Martyrs of Libya, pray for us.

  13. Well, there is the precedent of the Anglican youths who were some of the Martyrs of Uganda.

    Heretics in good faith, who are in a state of non-culpable ignorance of the true Church, and who die in the state of sanctifying grace die in the “bosom and unity of the church” and so meet the requirement of Cantate Domino. In the supernatural elan within their souls, perhaps in what Maritain calls the “supra-conscious of the spirit” they affirm the one true and Catholic Church even if they fail to explicitly recognize her.

    • Charles Lwanga and twenty-one Catholic companions were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964. During the ceremony of canonization of the Catholic martyrs, Pope Paul mentioned also the Anglicans, saying: “Nor, indeed, do we wish to forget the others who, belonging to the Anglican confession, confronted death in the name of Christ.”
      The Anglicans were not beatified or canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

      • Interesting, I did not know that, thank you James. I was misled by what I had read in other sources.

        In that case, this shows that Paul VI was more traditional and careful in his language than is generally thought, and that Francis’ act cannot be defended as in line with tradition.

        In any event, the moral/theological point remains: it seems in principle possible to be in (non-culpable) error about some divine things, and yet live and die in a state of sanctifying grace, enduring death due to a persecutor’s hatred of the Catholic faith (even if the victim is in (non-culpable) ignorance/error in regard to some of its dogmas and precepts); in this sense, then, “martyrs” who died in the “bosom and unity” of the Church, even if they failed in life (through no fault of their own) to acknowledge that Church explicitly and consciously.

        We are free to believe that these Anglican youths died in the state of grace, and, duly enlightened on the other side, are now Catholics.

  14. I’m trying to find a way to accepting this, but the fact remains that the Copts are not in Communion yet with Rome. Does this mean that the the legacy of Mary Tudor will direct Rome to canonise Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley? Expect the unexpected from papa Francie!!!

    • Glad to see that situation came to your mind as well as it did to mine. And I would never doubt that it comes to pass — at least on the Catholic side, never from the protestant. Having inhabited the ecumenical sphere for a decade sometime back rest assured, there is not the slightest impulse among protestants, let alone protestant clergy and academics to give an inch to Roman Catholicism. A critical number of Catholic laity, clergy and academics want nothing more than to sport the laurels of the academy which, essentially, is an atheistic enterprise.
      They thirst for the pedestal of secular acknowledgement.

  15. Setting aside for the moment the (very important) theological/ecclesiastical issues raised by Francis’ action, it should be pointed out that:

    a) there is a reasonable view, not wholly speculative, that ISIS/ISIL, far from being organically Islamic, is a black operation of the Western and Israeli intelligence services, an operation set in motion to continue the “dem Moslems/Ay-rabs are bad” theme, thus keeping the Western people on the steady aggressive course so beloved by their masters.

    b) the videos look staged (US prison orange jumpsuits? Where’d they get them–from “Orange is the New Black”?) and we do not see the actual throat slitting.

    Just a possibility to consider. Peace to all. Have a happy Ascension day!

    • Of course the video was staged in order to be filmed. ISIS filmed a number of ghastly videos on purpose. That doesn’t mean the deaths were faked for publicity purposes.
      A quick web search reveals that Iraqi prisoners were seen wearing orange jumpsuits. The state correctional facilities I’m familiar with do not issue orange jumpsuits to inmates. They wear shirts and britches. The orange jumpsuits are used more in jails.

      • Perhaps I should have used a more exact term. I meant “staged” in the sense that both the protagonists and antagonists are working together–as in a play.

        Look at the captives: none resistant, none trying to escape. Look at their faces: they have neither a drugged look, nor a defiant scowl, nor are they indignant. Above all, they do not have the beatific smile of a martyr who expects to see God soon.

        They are like walk-on extras in a movie: “march here, kneel down successively on cue, etc.”

        And again, *we do not see the actual slitting of the throats.*

        Moreover, if, as you say, Iraqi prisoners were given orange jumpsuits, then that connects the uniform with the US military/intelligence complex, thereby dove-tailing with the point I was trying to make.

        ISIS “Moslem” terrorists appeared literally out of nowhere, costumed and armed to the hilt, *when the US was thinking of leaving Iraq.* Iraqi army units were ordered to stand down, and allow terrorists to parade for miles in cool spanking new camouflaged toyota trucks with machine guns, and recently “captured” AFVs,–and yet US Army Intel was unable to summon a few jets to destroy their long parade?

        Needless to say, this show had the desired effect. Al Qaeda had, after all, become passe and we needed a new Moslem bogeyman to worry about–hence the theatrical speeches from the ISIS leaders threatening Western Christians. That way, the Western peoples are kept on point–perpetual war against “dem Moslems and Ay-rabs.”

        Well, whatever the truth about all this, Peace of Christ to all and have a Happy Ascension day!

        • Perhaps the Iraqis & ISIS got their jumpsuits from US surplus. Who knows?
          From all I’ve read, those Coptic martyrs never came home & King Charles sent money to be given to each of their families.
          I think it’s a shame to cast doubt on their martyrdom. One can admire their heroic faithfulness without disrespecting Muslims. ISIS killed Muslims also, including one in this group as I understand it.

          • Their acquisition and use of US orange jumpsuits is a secondary point, though a reasonable one. There still remains the larger issue of the video showing everything *except the throat slitting.* Why? According to the narrative, these are bloodthirsty Moslems who want to terrorize us. Why not show to the world their barbaric cruelty, since they are so proud of it?

            On the other hand, if this costume/death parade on the beach is a false flag/staged event done by US/Israeli intelligence services, it makes perfect sense.

            Libya has been US/Israeli controlled territory since the US/Israeli overthrow and murder of Qaddafi (with the use of, tellingly, Al-Qaeda–our supposed enemy–as an asset)

            God Bless everyone on this holy day!

        • As someone who never accepts the official story at face value without considering all the other possibilities, I do find this kind of conjecture based on the thinnest evidence ridiculous and damaging. You make it more difficult for serious people who are trying to get to the truth.

          • So, then, as a serious truth seeker who considers all possibilities, what do you think is the most reasonable conclusion to reach, i.e., the one that best explains the origin, nature, power, operations, and range of operations of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, etc.? (It seems that they can never settle on the proper acronym/name). Peace–and Happy Ascension of our Lord!

  16. What insane and unhinged comments. Not even worth a sarcastic quip. Feel bad for Mr. Altieri to have his analysis crowded around by this nonsense.

  17. So Catholics are just one element in a watery «Christian» soup, very Küngian.
    Protestants and self styled Orthodox are not interested in becoming Catholic, they both actively proselytize among Catholic populations, what they are interested in is Catholics becoming more like them, schismatic, nationalist and nondescript.
    What next,Saint Martin..Luther, Saint Thomas..Cranmer, Saint John..Knox, Hey Holy Father, planet Earth calling! The pastor neglects his flock.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The 21 Coptic Martyrs: More Orthodox Saints in the Catholic Church – Building Catholic Culture
  2. Pope Francis recognises Coptic martyrs: Is there a precedent? – The City and the World
  3. Schismatic Martyrs: What says the Church? - AKA Catholic

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