Dr. Tim Gray on Middle East Christians: ‘They have an amazing witness’

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On Sept. 25, he was the keynote speaker at the 2014 edition of the Orange Count Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held at the new Christ Cathedral campus in Garden Grove, California (where the Augustine Institute has a new location).

Here’s the entire address, which focuses on another one of his passions, getting Catholics to be more knowledgeable and excited about Scripture (more info at this link)…

Dr Tim Gray-Keynote from The Showpros on Vimeo.

After the breakfast and a book signing (he has several), we sat down for a chat at the Cultural Center on the campus. Part one of our conversation was posted yesterday; here are more of Dr. Gray’s thoughts.

On the witness of Middle East Christians who flee or die rather than renounce their faith:

“They have an amazing witness, amazing courage. Somehow, we’ve got to get these stories of these wonderful people told and shown. I know a community in Amman, Jordan, beautiful Catholic church there, and the Muslims buy the land right next door, they put a mosque to blast through the loudspeakers the call to prayer — and yet they go on. They keep going on. It’s important that they be known.”

On the Vatican standing up for Christians in the region (click here for a 1999 New York Times piece on the story Dr. Gray references below):

“In Nazareth, the Muslims bought a large piece of land right next to the Basilica of the Annunciation. They wanted to build the world’s biggest mosque, to crowd out and block out the Basilica of the Annunciation. It was only the Vatican that stopped that, that appealed to Israel over and over again. The Holy Father had to get involved to stop that.

“So, really, it’s the Vatican and the Holy Father that is the voice for Christians in the East. We have to let that voice be heard.”

On why the lack of assistance for Middle East Christians is not just a tragedy for the Christians:

“It’s a sad thing. The problem is, I’ll give you an example why this is so important — Christians there bring about education, so in the Catholic schools in Palestine, for example, in Israel, most of the students are Muslim.

“The Catholics bring a witness of values and education, and of the good and the true and the beautiful there, that is an important witness there. … What hope is there in Gaza for there ever to be moderates if we don’t allow people to be educated?”

On what Catholics can do to regain confidence in the value of their own Faith and culture:

“I think we have a false sense of charity, in that, if ‘m going to be nice to somebody, I’m not going to say they’re wrong, or I’m right, or that the Church is right. We have to realize that charity means we have to share the Truth. We can’t keep it to ourselves.

“Just as we know that charity is not to keep bread for ourselves but to feed the hungry, we also have to teach and share the truth of our Faith and not be afraid to do that. If we realize that it’s a duty of charity, maybe we’ll do it, feel free to impose and propose.”

On what Christians are up against:

“ISIS has claimed they want to kill the pope. What they mean by that is not just that they want to assassinate Pope Francis, but the fact that they want to kill the pope, they want to blow out the flame of Christianity in the world.

“I hope people will wake up and realize that today it’s the Middle East; tomorrow it’s Europe; following it’s in America.”

On preaching about Scripture in Christ Cathedral:

“Yes, it’s fun to have Catholics expounding Scripture. That’s the passion, to get that to turn around. This is the moment when Catholics are going to have to start learning, in the information age, if we don’t know our Faith, we’ll lose it.”

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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A native of the Adirondacks and Saratoga Springs in northern New York State, journalist and fiction writer Kate O'Hare now lives in Los Angeles, where she's on a neverending quest to find a parish in the L.A. Archdiocese with orthodox preaching, excellent traditional music and parking.

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