Since 1988 the Augustinians of the Assumption have been working with the riverboat community on the River Seine in the northeast Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte Honorine. One of the things making their ministry different from other parishes, however, is its location. Like the people it serves, it is on a barge, or rather a group of barges.
|THE COMMUNITY chapel on Le Je Sers|
The community’s ministry also functions as a place for emergency shelter. It welcomes former prisoners and streetwalkers and currently offers temporary housing to about 40 persons looking to get back on their feet. The office at the rear of the barge community, called La Pierre Blanche (“White Rock”), takes in a dozen or so people every day who are living at life's edge. Volunteers help those temporarily housed in the community with navigating government bureaucracy, searching for work or permanent housing, or learning French. The barges also house the headquarters for six social agencies.
Every morning after breakfast two teams leave to pick up food donations from various agencies and stores for the community’s cooks to prepare. Other residents or volunteers are responsible for the upkeep and repair of the barges.
Though the riverboat population is smaller than it was at the beginning of the 20th century, there is still plenty to do on Je Sers. The community has 6 employees, 20 regular volunteers, and over 100 other volunteers. Its nine barges—six owned by the community and three on loan from the Voies Navigables de France (Navigable Waterways of France)—include houses and apartments and have 50 residents. The community owns vans and cars and also uses vehicles on loan.
|PLAN of the four main barges making up
the community's living quarters
The chronicle for Nov. 26, 1946 of the convent of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri included this cryptic note: "Arrangements were made also for the Empress Zita who is expected tomorrow afternoon."
“Empress Zita” was Zita von Hapsburg, the last empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and widow of its last emperor, Charles I. Two days after the above entry, having arrived with her daughter at the convent, she went to Thanksgiving Day Mass at the nearby Benedictine Conception Abbey.
What was a deposed member of European royalty doing in northwestern Missouri? Charles, Zita, and their children had been forced to leave Austria-Hungary at the close of World War I. Charles died at the age of 34, leaving behind 7 children and another on the way. When the Nazis invaded Belgium in 1940, Zita and her children had to flee again. Experiencing poverty and war-time suffering firsthand, she sympathized with the poor families of post-war Austria and, settling her family in Quebec, began a two-year trip across Canada and the United States to raise money for Central European war relief.
That explains the reason she was in the U.S. But why Missouri? For many years she had wanted to pray at the grave of Father Lukas Etlin, who had died in an auto accident in December of 1927 and was buried on the convent grounds in Clyde. Born in Switzerland in 1864, Etlin had served as the Clyde sisters' chaplain and had worked to raise funds on behalf of Austria's poor following World War I.
“Am I to live the sacrament of marriage? If so, when? Am I to live the single life? Live as a chaste single person? Am I to be a priest? Am I to be a lay minister? Part time? Full time? Am I to be a religious brother? A religious sister? Am I to be a consecrated lay person? Is it time to make a first step toward commitment? To this person? To the church? To this religious order? To this organization?
“When discerning about something, it is important to be a person of faith. Believe that God has a plan for you. Each of us does the hard work of dating, inquiring, studying, volunteer activities, prayer, and searching. We must be engaged in the process. Passivity is not discernment. God will not spoon-feed us into a life commitment. Yet, when we turn our action over to guidance from God, situations, persons, and circumstances will be tools to illuminate the direction. Prayer is necessary. In prayer, mention the person or the actions or the circumstances around the process of one’s search.
“Talk with people. The gospel uses the image of the lamp on the lamp stand which illuminates the entire room. We cast light onto our experience when we talk about it. Parish marriage preparation or Engaged Encounter helps a person to see clearly that this person is choosing me as her or his life partner. Sharing our spiritual journey with a mentor helps to clarify God’s will for our lives. A trusted friend or an experienced person can help clarify confusing experiences. Searching for a call to serve as a priest or a consecrated person is nourished by the lives of the saints, involvement in ministries, making sacrifices, and living with sisters, brothers, or priests for a short time."
The end of one year and the beginning of the next prompt many journalists to identify what they think to be the major events of the previous 12 months. The acclaimed public television program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly assembled its annual reporters roundtable to discuss the most important news and ethics stories of 2010.
The panel was made up of E.J. Dionne, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a professor at Georgetown University; Kevin Eckstrom, editor of Religion News Service, and Kim Lawton, managing editor of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. The story includes a video overview of 2010's major events.
For decades Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa has prepared young men for global service as Divine Word Missionary priests and brothers. This month Sister Ana Julita Bele Bau, a 39-year-old member of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters (the women’s community cofounded by the Saint Arnold Janssens, who established the Divine Word Missionaries), will become the first female graduate since the school refocused its mission to include new coeducational and lay formation opportunities.
SISTER JULITA walks the halls
Facing declining enrollment—"we were at a critical point for student enrollment and we had a wealth of resources to share," said college president Father Mike Hutchins, S.V.D.—the school allowed Catholic sisters to enroll in its English classes and undergraduate degree programs four years ago. As of next month, 35 of the 122 students at the college will be women. Though the women are all Catholic sisters, in January two lay leaders from Society of the Divine Word parishes in Jamaica will begin undergraduate work.
"Our beginnings were low-key to see how it would work out," Hutchins told Mary Nevans-Pederson of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. "Now I don't think anyone would go back." The new students bring "new life and vitality" as well as maturity and experience to the campus. “The women religious set a really good standard for the guys—they out-study and outwork them," Hutchins said.
Sister Julita, who has taught in Indonesia and Antigua, completed four years of cross-cultural studies and will return to her community in Anitgua to accept her next assignment on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean.
"I don't too much feel like a pioneer," she said, even though she was often the only woman in her classes and was 15-20 years older than most of her classmates. "They helped me with my math and I brought life experience and someone to talk to," she said. She says fellow students or staff never made her feel unwelcome.
Hutchins confronted the possibility of romantic male-female relationships head-on, calling a general assembly to discuss it. "It's something natural that can happen, falling in love, and there is nothing to be ashamed of," he said. "I urged them to be up-front and talk about it to our spiritual directors if it happens.
"The common denominator here is mission,” Hutchins said. “Everyone is committed to missionary service."
There has, however, been a previous female graduate of Divine Word. In 1994 Pat Cline, a working mother from Dubuque, Iowa, entered the college as the sole recipient of a scholarship designed to promote diversity. She completed her degree in 1998.
When the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri decided to do a makeover of their monastic facilities, they resolved that the demolition, construction, and finished product would be as ecofriendly as possible.
|THE GEOTHERMAL heating and cooling system
requires the digging of 132 wells to be connected
into in-ground loops.
Levelled floor variances and more accessible entryways will make the building easier for the sisters and their guests to navigate.
In gutting certain parts of the monastery, workers have also uncovered layers of past artwork and paint, The removal of the drop ceiling in the community room revealed not only the top of an arched mural but also original tin ceiling tiles and a crown molding.
You can follow the project's progress on the sisters' Sacred Stones, Sacred Stories blog.
The tradition of making and exchanging Christmas sweets goes back a long time—including recipes created by 16th- and 17th-century nuns in Mexico.
After sugar arrived in the country, sisters began to make sometimes complicated holiday confections, which they used as ways to thank donors and raise money.
|CIRUELAS RELLANAS de Almendra|
During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were murdered, the Benebikira Sisters sheltered hundreds of orphans and others who sought refuge in their convents. At the Benebikira motherhouse in the village of Save, a militia stormed the convent and demanded that the sisters separate themselves by ethnic groups. The sisters said no—aware that at other convents 20 sisters had been killed for standing up to the militants. The militia then looted all their food, cut the water lines, and told the sisters they would return to kill them.
When the genocide ended, the sisters found themselves caring for about 350 orphans, most of them traumatized after witnessing the brutal murders of their parents. The children “had food and clothing,” Sister M. Juvenal Mukamurama told Kathleen L. Sullivan of the National Catholic Reporter, “but it was no life for them. Family is very important in our country. They needed a family. So we decided to build community houses and make families.” The sisters built 39 houses and grouped the orphans into “families” of six to eight children.
Benebikira means "Daughters of Mary" in Kinyarwanda, the native language of Rwanda. About 56 percent of Rwanda's population of more than 10 million is categorized as Catholic. Founded in 1919, the Benebikira Order is native to Rwanda and today has about 380 women religious whose primary mission is education. They run two preschools, eight primary schools, three vocational schools, and 13 secondary boarding schools in Rwanda and Burundi. Since the genocide they have opened four new schools.
Last September the Benebikira Sisters were honored with the Courage of Conscience Award by the Peace Abbey, a Sherborn, Massachusetts multifaith retreat and teaching center dedicated to nonviolence, peacemaking, and social justice. At the award presentation, Sister Mukamurama said: “It is nice to know people appreciate what we did and what we do. We do not do the work to be appreciated, but this appreciation does give us encouragement.”
“The sisters,” said Dot Walsh, program coordinator at the Peace Abbey, “told us it was the first time they had publicly been acknowledged for the courage and faith they displayed during the genocide, and they were very touched.”
The sisters have also established the Ministry of Hope, Healing, and Reconciliation in Rwanda to provide pastoral counseling for those affected by the genocide and to train young adults to serve as peer counselors.
“Rwanda wants to move forward,” said Sister Mukamurama, who is marking her 40th anniversary as a Benebikira sister. “We want to build our country, our relationships, a new life. We are no longer seen as Tutsi or Hutu. We live together. We are no longer separate. We are Rwandans.” A Benebikira Sisters Foundation Scholarship Video:
After returning to the U.S. from working in Papua New Guinea, Sacred Heart Missionary Sister Dorothy Fabritze was at a convention of the United States Catholic Mission Association when she heard about an opportunity to answer a pressing need—in circus ministry.
Keeping in mind the charism of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to reach out to those who have not heard the message of God’s love or are lax in their response, she asked Sister Bernard Overkamp, another Sacred Heart Missionary with whom she had worked in New Guinea, to join her. Although both were hesitant at first, they soon fell in love with their new mission. They eventually landed jobs with the “Greatest Show on Earth,” the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Sister Dorothy is one of the circus’ schoolteachers. “We have 19 schoolchildren, and I’m responsible for nine of these, grades one, two, and three,” Sister Dorothy says. She is also available for religious education and preparing children for sacraments. Occasionally adults approach her for marriage preparation or instruction in the Catholic faith. She has led interdenominational Bible studies and taught English.
A seamstress in the ladies’ wardrobe, Sister Bernard helps to maintain and handle the women’s costumes before, during, and after the shows. With others in her department, she makes sure everyone is dressed correctly before they go out on the floor, fixing dresses and shoes if necessary. “And then my ministry is to be with the young girls,” Sister Bernard says, “listen to them, listen to their stories, listen to their heartaches.”
|SISTERS Bernard Overkamp, left, and Dorothy Fabritze
walk toward their trailer at the Ringling Bros.
and Barnum & Bailey Circus
(Photo: Laura Seitz, Deseret News).
The 300 members of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus come from 18 different countries. For some of the younger artists it is their first time away from home. Others have grown up in the extended circus family.
New performers soon find out they can “go to Sister” to talk about faith matters or other personal issues. In her contacts with the artists, Sister Bernard always stresses the idea of circus as family. “I see her forming this oneness in how she deals with the young women,” says Sister Dorothy, “how she deals with their relationship issues at that time in their lives, how she encourages them and directs, guides . . . . She tells them, ‘Let’s stay together, let’s work together, let’s be a family, let’s respect one another.’ ”
“Faith is alive and well, whatever faith tradition it is,” Sister Dorothy says, pointing out that religion has always played an important role among circus people. “When you have a job that is more dangerous than some, you rely on your faith.”
“This is my goal,” says Sister Dorothy, “to be a living, breathing presence of God in this society called circus. The message that God does love, God does forgive, God is continually there for us, is a very unifying, making-us-one concept.”
Adapted from the Focolare Movement’s monthly Living City magazine (October 2009) (livingcitymagazine.com).
Sister Jane Omlor, O.S.F., a Franciscan sister of Tiffin, Ohio, lived for 10 years in Mingo County, West Virginia where she saw mountaintop-removal mining leave her and her neighbors without well water. Seeing environmental destruction firsthand, she coordinated the construction of the Web of Life Ecology Center, built primarily with recycled materials. Earlier, while living in Spencer, West Virginia, she organized and assembled a “straw bale” chapel. Now, in Tiffin, she’s project manager for the building of a straw bale house she will live in.
The house, named Little Portion Green, is an effort of Project STRAW (Saving Today’s Resources In Awesome Ways), which itself is part of the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin. The home will serve as a demonstration and educational facility to show how a house does not have to “use any more energy than we can produce ourselves,” Omlor says, and save resources by using passive solar design, solar panels, straw bale insulation with earth plaster, Energy Recovery Ventilation, and other systems. It will be the first certified passive-energy structure in Ohio and the first certified passive straw-bale house in the United States.
Designed in the style of a “little Ohio farmhouse," as Omlor describes it, the 1,500-square-foot home will have two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. What it won’t have are a furnace and an air conditioning system. The house will be heated and cooled with an energy-recovery ventilation system or electric air-exchange unit. It will have electricity but rely on solar power.
Underneath the house’s concrete slab are four feet of a material called millcell, a product from Germany made from recycled glass, which prevents cold from radiating up into the house and helps keep heat inside. The roof will be made largely of recycled steel. Interior doors, railings, and other elements were salvaged for reuse from the St. Francis convent when a portion of the building was razed. Extra-large, triple-pane, high-efficiency windows will be mostly south-facing with deep-set sills. The rounded walls—and that’s where the bales come in—will be insulated with bales of locally grown straw and covered with an earth-tone clay plaster—all sustainable materials.
The house is expected to cost about $100,000, about half of which has been raised so far. Straw-bale houses cost more to build, but the savings come on utility bills. Almost 300 donors have "bought" a bale of straw for $100 each and will have their names etched into a glass "truth window." "In every straw-bale house there's a 'truth window' because there's always a skeptic that walks in and says, “This is not built of straw” because you can't see the straw," Omlor told the Toledo Blade. "So you open up this door and there's the straw."
Illustrating the continuing fascination with Hildegard is a new film, Vision (like the title!), from German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta and starring Barbara Sukowa as Hildegard. Filmed in medieval German cloisters, Vision follows Hildegard’s life from her childhood entrance into a convent to her becoming its leader 30 years later. The film is in German with English subtitles.
Watch the film’s trailer, and watch what I guess you could call a Hildegard music video:
|Award-winning DVD on Sisters Under
Sylvania Franciscan Sister Judy Zielinski, O.S.F., writer/producer for NewGroup Media in South Bend, Indiana, recently received a Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy for Communication Art Professionals for her documentary Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism. This one-hour film tells the story of sisters in Eastern Europe imprisoned from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 for openly practicing their religious faith.
These survivors—now in their 70’s, 80‘s, and 90’s—lived through various attempts of Communist regimes to suppress religion and religious expression. Almost 60 sisters were interviewed in cities ranging from Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary to Bratislava, Slovakia, Bucharest, Romania, and L’viv, Ukraine. Additional filming was done in the Toledo, Ohio area using Sylvania Franciscan Sisters as actors.
View the film’s trailer here.
|Award-winning DVD on Sisters Under
|THE T206 from 1909
A mint-condition card sold for $2.6 million in 2007, and although the sisters’ card is not in good condition, it is expected to fetch up to $200,000 at auction.
"It just boggles your mind," said Sister Virginia Muller. "I can't remember a time when we have received anything like this."
Religious communities are recognizing the need to expand their online communications, especially in the area of social media, if they want to get the word out about themselves and attract potential new members. Helping to lead the way are the Sisters of Providence, who were recognized for their social media marketing "best practices" by the National Communicators Network for Women Religious at their annual conference last September in Denver.
The Sisters of Providence use various forms of social media to help share their community's mission and ministry. In the last year the Sisters of Providence have seen a growth of interest in vocations, as well as other activities, that they believe to be directly related to their social media and website work.
During the past 26 years Reverend Michael Pfleger, a white Catholic priest who pastors a black Chicago parish, has never been far from the spotlight. His aggressive, innovative leadership has empowered thousands, making St. Sabina church one of the largest and most active black Catholic congregations in the country. At the same time, Pfleger has been continually criticized as a trouble-making maverick, a renegade cleric, and a publicity hound.
This biography concentrates on Father Pfleger’s work at St. Sabina from his earliest days there and covers his efforts to build up the parish, his activism, his work to rejuvenate the community, his battles with church leaders, and his strong relationship with his parishioners. It provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Catholic Church, the traditions of the black pulpit, and what it takes to change laws in a major American city.
There are Nun Runs. These are come-and-see events where women discerning their vocation visit several women’s communities in succession (in fact there’s a Nun Run coming up November 12-13 in the Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area—click on the link and scroll down).
Then there is the Run for Nuns, where people run to raise money to help prospective members of religious orders pay off their college debt. And don't forget nuns who run, like triathlete Sister Madonna Bruder and ultramarathoner Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd.
Now we hear about the upcoming fourth annual Run with the Nuns Motorcycle Rally and Show this Saturday, October 23, 2010 at the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino & Racetrack in Bossier City, LA. The event benefits children's health through parent education, services to abused children, teen obesity prevention, and other child-welfare programs.
Born in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico and the eldest of 15 children, he has served as the Chicago archdiocese’s liaison for Hispanic ministry and is a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.
The “Inspired images” and “More about the artists . . . .” articles here on the VISION website feature the work of several members of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, including Sister Mary Baird, P.H.J.C., who is involved with the MoonTree Community, a Poor Handmaid ministry devoted to art, spirituality, and ecology.
|THE SITE of MoonTree Lodge, gallery, and shop
timber-raising and wind turbine installation.
The current project consists of three separate buildings that will target Gold Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification: a two-story heavy-timber residential lodge for the staff, a gallery with studios for clay, painting, and textiles, and a shop studio for wood and metal arts. The construction of the LEED buildings and solar water heating and wind turbine reflect the Poor Handmaids’ belief in the wise use and care of resources.
What do the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God and the Pittsburgh Pirates have in common (besides being located in the city of Pittsburgh)? A connection to the singer and actor Bing Crosby (yes, there was a “Bing” before the Microsoft search engine).
If you go to the vestibule of the Mary Immaculate Chapel at the sisters’ motherhouse, you’ll find listed in bronze among the thousands of other donors to the Chapel Fund of the 1940s and 1950s the name of Bing Crosby, writes Franciscan congregational archivist Mr. Dennis Wodzinski in the fall 2010 issue of The Whitehall Franciscan.
Bing’s name got there because of the determination of the then-motherhouse chaplain, Father Joseph Skripkus, who was so impressed with Bing’s performance in the movie The Bells of St. Mary’s, in which Crosby played a Roman Catholic priest attempting to save a New York City parish school from closure, that he wrote Bing a letter saying: “I want to say that I admire you and your work greatly. The roles you play are clean and will do much to prove to Hollywood that decency in films pays.” (Skripkus also included a copy of a short work by one Harold Bell Wright called The Uncrowned King which he thought “could become a pearl of the silver screen.” Father Joe, by the way, was not shy about letter-writing. In his personal papers is correspondence from members of the Roosevelt family, including a proclamation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.)
After Crosby acknowledged the note, Father Joe kept writing, including a letter about the motherhouse building that he concluded by saying: “Dear Friend, on account of your great charity, I . . . ask you to erect one more eternal monument, which will speak loudly of your charity as long as the St. Francis convent will exist.” Apparently the appeal succeeded.
BING CROSBY with Pirates manager
Bing was so nervous about jinxing the team that he couldn’t bring himself to watch the seventh and deciding game against the Yankees, played at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field 50 years ago on October 13, 1960. So he flew to Paris and listened to it on the radio. Some of his employees, however, filmed the game on kinescope so that he could see it in its entirety when he returned. (Kinescope recorded television programs by filming the picture from a video monitor. It was just about the only way to record TV before the widespread use of videotape. By the way, Crosby had a role in the development of videotape, when in 1951 engineers at Bing Crosby Enterprises demonstrated a black-and-white videotape recorder; Crosby backed the effort not only because of the commercial possibilities of the new medium but also supposedly so he could play golf and watch programs later.)
And watch the game when he got back we assume he did, because it ended up being one the most dramatic in World Series history: Pittsburgh second-baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run against Ralph Terry to give the Pirates a 10-9 win and a World Series victory over the mighty Yankees (who between 1947 and 1964 appeared in the World Series 15 times, winning 10 of them, including five in a row from 1949-1953).
Like most games of the era, it was thought no complete recording existed, its video documentation limited to newsreel highlights. But, as first reported in the New York Times, the entire kinescope copy of NBC’s TV broadcast of Game 7 was recently found in a wine cellar at Crosby’s old home near San Francisco. The films, which record every out of the game, are being transferred to DVD, and the game will be shown during a special on MLB Network this December.
“Maz’s” historic homer from a newsreel:
Two weeks ago many prominent Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders held what they called an emergency summit in Washington, D.C. to address the interreligious tensions in the United States. The group released a statement denouncing anti-Muslim bigotry and urging respect for this country’s tradition of religious liberty. R. Scott Appleby, professor of history and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, was interviewed on PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly about the current situation.
While anti-minority sentiment in American history is nothing new, he’s sees something different in what’s going on now. “First of all, stories like this are immediate. They are broadcast right away, and we quickly hear not only the story itself but the echo of the story, what other people are saying about it. It takes on a life of its own. The second quality is the pervasiveness. It’s everywhere, that is to say, a story that has this kind of charge to it, by that I mean anti-Islamic feeling of whatever type, can be broadcast in a way and the media covers everything in such a way that someone who really doesn’t have a great standing or any expertise or knowledge but who wants to stir the pot, wants to get some attention wherever they may be from, can attract attention by pushing the envelope, doing something outrageous, and the cycle begins again. Another story, immediate echo, and we’re in the middle of a controversy.
“One thing that’s similar to other periods in our nation’s history of nativism, of attacks against people perceived as foreign, whether they are from another nation or another religion, what’s in common is we’re in an economic crisis. These episodes flare up when Americans are feeling displaced or threatened that their economic well-being and even their citizenship is somehow called into question by a threatening minority. And, of course, Islam in America is a tiny, tiny minority. Why pick on Islam? Because for nine years, almost a decade, the popular mentality is we’re in some kind of war with Islam, which of course is a distorted reading that’s not sufficiently shouted down by the right people. We are not in a war with Islam. We are in a conflict with a tiny minority of radicals who are denounced by the majority of Muslim leaders and Muslims around the world.
“There’s nothing about Islam itself that makes Islam stand apart from other religions. All the major world religions have texts and traditions that can be twisted, that can be interpreted to condone violence, including Christianity. Islam is not better or worse in that regard, that is, in what the sources of Islam say about violence. There are verses in the Quran and in the Hadith of the Prophet, the traditions of the Prophet, that can be read in either direction. Islam itself as a religion is in a different context today in the United States than Christianity or Hinduism in India, and so there are a lot of factors that make parts of the Islamic world and parts of the reaction in this country more vehement, more charged, and it doesn’t have a lot to do with the religion itself.
“The assumption [is] that Islam is inherently, that in its very nature Islam is violent, evil, that it’s a religion that produces murderers, liars, thieves, unpatriotic, etc. I’m a Catholic. The same thing was said about Catholics, and there are some parts of Catholic history, by the way, that can be interpreted as being anti-democratic and anti-American. The popes denounced religious freedom in the 19th century. So there are parts of a tradition, whether it’s Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, that can be lifted up, twisted, and used as a cudgel, as a weapon, against people you don’t like because you are fearing them for a variety of reasons, and that’s what’s happened to Islam today.”
On a related issue, here's Appleby commenting on President Obama’s June 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world: