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(BBC) Wingate grave error caused by ‘perfect storm’ of problems

A “perfect storm” of problems led to a family grieving at the wrong grave for 17 years, an inquiry has found.

The Bell family found the headstone for their father Thomas had been put on the wrong grave at Holy Trinity in Wingate, County Durham in 2005, when they went to bury his wife Hilda in June.

A church probe found records had been poorly kept.

The report said it could not guarantee other historic errors had not been made.

The Venerable Bob Cooper, Archdeacon of Sunderland, said it was a case of “great sadness” but his recommendations going forward should ensure similar problems “do not happen again”.

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Posted in Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup are now Set

Eight great teams, four wonderful matches.

Posted in Globalization, Men, Qatar, Sports

David Harsayni–The Future Of The First Amendment Hinges On The 303 Creative Case Before The Supreme Court

But neither Lorie Smith nor Jack Phillips turned away any customer because of an immutable characteristic or sexual preference or religious belief. Rather, they refused to create a message that conflicted with sincere convictions. If a straight cousin of a groom asked for a same-sex wedding site, Smith would have turned that person away, as well. If a gay customer wanted a website for his business, Smith would have created it. If a straight couple asked for a bawdy website or a website that declared Xenu the one true Lord of the universe, they too would have been rejected, because that idea also runs afoul of her evangelical Christian beliefs. It’s a shame that Cole and Sotomayor pretend not to comprehend the distinction.

Progressives like to act like Christian (or Islamic or Jewish) opposition to same-sex marriage is some newfangled ruse cooked up by activists to allow them to put “no gays allowed” signs in the shop windows. I assure you that the notion that true marriage is exclusively between one genetic man and one genetic woman is a generational notion. Before his “evolution” on the question, Democrat icon Barack Obama had tethered his opposition to gay marriage to theology.

Whether you agree with this stance or not is entirely irrelevant when it comes to the matter of speech. There is no Hurt Feelings clause in the Constitution. Rather than dealing with the question, Cole, who has a difficult time seeing anything in nonracial terms, lists a slew of scary slippery slope hypotheticals — among them: “Should an architecture firm that believes Black families don’t deserve fancy homes be permitted to turn away Black clients because its work is ‘expressive’?”

Here is a better question: Would Cole, who says the “A.C.L.U. has been this nation’s leading defender of free speech for more than a century,” call for the state to intervene in the case of an evangelical customer who wants to compel a gay designer to create a website for an organization that works to overturn same-sex marriage laws or preaches that acts of homosexuality are a mortal sin? Christians, after all, are also a protected group under anti-discrimination laws. The answer is: highly unlikely.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Language, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court, Theology

(CT) US Commission ‘Outraged’ By Omitted Offenders of Religious Freedom

The United States has expanded its list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.

Two new nations—Cuba and Nicaragua—were added on Friday to the State Department’s list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC). Two others—Vietnam and the Central African Republic (CAR)—were added to its Special Watch List (SWL). And one new organization was added to its list of Entities of Particular Concern (EPC): Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, due to its cited offenses in CAR.

“Around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs,” stated Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State. “The United States will not stand by in the face of these abuses.”

His own watchdog, however, is unconvinced.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) tweeted its “outrage” over the non-inclusion of Nigeria and India. It is “inexplicable,” the independent bipartisan organization continued, given the State Department’s own reporting.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, India, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religious Freedom / Persecution

(NYT) Ukraine Targets Bases Deep in Russia, Showing Expanded Reach

Ukraine executed its most brazen attack into Russian territory in the nine-month-old war on Monday, targeting two military bases hundreds of miles inside the country using drones, according to the Russian defense ministry and a senior Ukrainian official.

The drones were launched from Ukrainian territory, and at least one of the strikes was made with the help of special forces close to the base who helped guide the drones to the target, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity to convey sensitive information.

The strikes signaled a new willingness by Kyiv to take the fight to bases in the heart of Russia, raising the stakes in the war, and demonstrated an improved ability to attack at a distance. Shortly after the attacks on the bases, Russia sent a barrage of missiles streaking toward Ukrainian cities.

The Kremlin said that the weapons launched by Ukraine were Soviet-era jet drones and were aimed at bases in Ryazan and Engels, about 300 miles from the Ukrainian border. It said that its forces had intercepted the drones, and that “the fall and explosion of the wreckage” had “slightly damaged” two planes, killing three servicemen and wounding four others.

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Posted in Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas of Myra

Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

Almighty God, who in many and various ways didst speak to thy chosen people by the prophets, and hast given us, in thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the hope of Israel: Hasten, we beseech thee, the coming of the day when all things shall be subject to him, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.

–1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Posted in Theology: Scripture

C of E Christmas film ‘geared towards people who don’t normally attend’ worship services

The Church of England has released a new video which dramatises the church life of one woman at Christmas.

The film, set to dramatic music, shows her consecutive experiences within different churches at Christmas time — from first appearing in a nativity play as a baby, through childhood, marriage, family life, and finally into widowhood. In this last scene, she is seen sitting alone at the end of a service. Her sadness is turned to joy as she is encouraged by members of the congregation to join in carols and mince pies outside.

It ends with the message: “Wherever you are on life’s journey, you’re invited to church this Christmas.” This is the theme of the Church’s advent campaign this year: Follow The Star: The great invitation, for which a variety of resources were published last week, including daily reflections, a short liturgy, and printed and online materials for the festive season (News, 2 December).

A C of E press release accompanying the film, which went live on Sunday, explains that the campaign, which is featured across its social-media channels, is “geared towards people who might not normally — or ever — attend church”.

Read it all and follow the link to the video.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(NYT) ‘Innovation Hubs’ Aim to Lift Distressed Areas. Congress Just Has to Fund Them.

The Economic Innovation Group report is the most detailed effort yet to steer that selection, by trying to balance the needs of left-behind areas with their potential for an economic rebirth. It measures that potential using data on regions’ industrial composition and economic complexity, along with two key human ingredients for innovation: the number of working-age science and technology graduates and the number of patent authors in an area.

To measure need, the report looks at the share of a region’s prime-age adults who are not employed or are looking for work, two measures of so-called “brain drain” — the flight of college graduates from an area — and the distance from a “superstar” city like New York or Chicago.

The top 10 cities on the list are a mix between higher potential (like Phoenix and Salt Lake City) and higher need (like a pair of Ohio cities, Toledo and Akron). Many are college towns, Mr. Fikri noted, that are not quite large enough to have yet sustained a thriving industrial sector that grows out of scientific research.

Greenville, S.C., tops the list with a score balanced almost evenly between potential and need, followed by Provo, Utah, and Tucson, Ariz.

The report’s researchers say their data suggests policymakers could — and should — spread the hubs across various areas with different bases of technological expertise and differing levels of need, in hopes of maximizing both the advancements and the regional economic gains they produce.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Economy, Science & Technology

(Economist) Suicide is now the second-biggest killer of ten- to 18-year-olds in America

In the 1950s, when the term “teenager” had been popularised, it brought to mind trouble. Spotty youths who engaged in risky behaviour outside the house—getting drunk, pregnant or into car crashes—were “the number one fear of American citizens”, wrote Bill Bryson in his memoir, “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid”. Today, the risks American teens face come from within. Boys are now more likely to kill themselves than to be killed in a motor crash. Girls are nearly 50% more likely to injure themselves in a suicide attempt than to face an unplanned pregnancy. Suicide is the second-biggest killer of ten- to 18-year-olds, after accidents.

The rise in youth suicide is part of a broader increase in mental-health problems among the young. This preceded the pandemic but was probably accelerated by it. In 2021 nearly half of American high-school students said that they had experienced persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness in the past year, up from 26% in 2009; one in five seriously considered suicide, up from 14%; and 9% attempted to end their life, up from 6%…. Although the rates for 15- to 19-year-olds are not unprecedented (there was a similar peak in the early 1990s), the rates for ten- to 14-year-olds are higher than ever before.

The fact that it has become more acceptable for young people to discuss their feelings has surely contributed to some of the changes, such as the rise in self-reported sadness. Better screening may also play a role. But neither explains the most alarming data: suicide rates. Attempts, injuries and deaths have all risen among young Americans over the past decade. Last year, no age group saw a steeper rise than men aged 15 to 24, according to preliminary data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth

For His Feast Day–Clement of Alexandria: To the Newly Baptized

Cultivate quietness in word, quietness in deed, likewise in speech and gait; and avoid impetuous eagerness. For then the mind will remain steady, and will not be agitated by your eagerness and so become weak and of narrow discernment and see darkly; nor will it be worsted by gluttony, worsted by boiling rage, worsted by the other passions, lying a ready prey to them. For the mind, seated on high on a quiet thrown looking intently towards God, must control the passions. By no means be swept away by temper in bursts of anger, nor be sluggish in speaking, nor all nervousness in movement; so that your quietness may be adorned by good proportion and your bearing may appear something divine and sacred. Guard also against the signs of arrogance, a haughty bearing, a lofty head, a dainty and high-treading footstep.

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Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Clement of Alexandria

O Lord, who didst call thy servant Clement of Alexandria from the errors of ancient philosophy that he might learn and teach the saving Gospel of Christ: Turn thy Church from the conceits of worldly wisdom and, by the Spirit of truth, guide it into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Geneva Bible

O Gracious God and most merciful Father, who has vouchsafed us the rich and precious jewel of thy holy Word: Assist us with thy Spirit that it may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to thine own image, to build us up into the perfect building of thy Christ, and to increase us in all heavenly virtues. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the same Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Turn thou to me, and be gracious to me;
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
and bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

–Psalm 25:16-18

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the ACNA Prayerbook

Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!

–Isaiah 5:1-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) U.S. Eliminated From World Cup With 3-1 Loss to the Netherlands

The Dutch, too, had spent the past four years resetting under a coach who plays the kind of soccer that Berhalter has always tried to emulate. The Netherlands manager, Louis van Gaal, is considered to be one of the finest tacticians in the world. And 10 minutes into the match, his team reminded the Americans why with a stunning buildup to its opening goal.

Memphis Depay’s strike came at the end of a 20-pass move that started with a gentle ball back from Van Dijk to his own goalkeeper and couldn’t have been more Dutch if it had been grown in a tulip field.

Over the course of 61 seconds, Van Gaal’s players eluded the American pressing game, dribbled away from tackles, and seemed to find a passing solution every time they looked up. Van Gaal’s Netherlands had been accused repeatedly of straying from Dutch soccer principles, but the players’ movement as they carved up the U.S. could have come straight from an orange textbook.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Globalization, Men, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Francis Xavier

Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day based on the words of Jan Huss

Help us, O Christ, to seek your truth and bear it; to learn your truth and love it, to tell your truth and live it, and to defend your truth and die in it. Amen.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

–1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Posted in Theology: Scripture

New date confirmed for historic Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan

Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will make an historic Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan from 3rd – 5th February next year.

The long-awaited visit was due to take place in July of this year, but was postponed after the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would not be able to travel on advice from his doctors. The visit was promised during a spiritual retreat held at the Vatican in 2019, in which South Sudanese political leaders committed to working together for the good of their people.

The three spiritual leaders have often spoken of their hopes to visit South Sudan – to stand in solidarity with its people as they face the challenges of devastating flooding, widespread famine and continued violence. Pope Francis has said: “I think of South Sudan and the plea for peace arising from its people who, weary of violence and poverty, await concrete results from the process of national reconciliation. I would like to contribute to that process, not alone, but by making an ecumenical pilgrimage together with two dear brothers, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, --Scotland, --South Sudan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ecumenical Relations, Pope Francis, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sudan

(Gallup) Stark Gender Gap in Gun Ownership, Views of Gun Laws in U.S.

Men and women in the U.S. differ starkly in their propensity to own a gun and their preferences for the nation’s gun laws. Gallup’s trends show that gun ownership among men has consistently been at least double that of women, and women are much more supportive than men of stricter gun laws.

Since 2007, when Gallup began to track Americans’ personal gun ownership annually, men have been much more likely than women to say they are gun owners, but aggregated biennial data show gun ownership has been more variable among women than men. Gun ownership among women has swelled from the low teens to more than 20% over the past 15 years, while it has remained in the low to mid-40s among men during the same period.

The most recent findings, from 2021-2022, show a 21-percentage-point gender gap in gun ownership, with about twice as many men (43%) as women (22%) saying they personally own a gun.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A.

(WSJ) The U.S. Coach Wanted a Soccer Education. He Went Dutch.

…when [Gregg] Berhalter leads the U.S. team into its first World Cup knockout match in eight years on Saturday, he will be up against an opponent that has taught him practically everything he knows about soccer. Nearly every fundamental belief that Berhalter holds about how the game should be played was learned during the six years he spent as a player in Holland.

“A lot of my basic ideas of the game are formed around the Dutch style,” Berhalter has said. “That had a huge part of forming who I am.”

Berhalter’s self-styled immersion program started in Zwolle in the Dutch second tier, where he found, like all Americans who travel to the Netherlands, that everyone spoke surprisingly excellent English. When he had questions, there were actually people who could answer them. This would not have been the case in, say, Genoa.

“He was humble, but not shy—he wasn’t afraid to speak in the dressing room about mentality or about work,” says Marco Koorman, a teammate at Zwolle during Berhalter’s first season there. “But when it came to tactics, he was quiet and he listened.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Sports, The Netherlands

Announcement of the Appointment of the Archbishop of York’s Mission Enabler for the North

The Archbishop’s Mission Enabler for the North is a new and exciting role which will focus on revitalising parishes and planting new churches across the Northern Province.

The role was made possible following a successful bid to the Strategic Development Fund and will focus on the northern dioceses’ goal to establish hundreds of new worshipping communities over the next decade. It will also have a particular emphasis on working with the most deprived communities and seeking to help the Church become younger and more diverse.

Commenting on the appointment, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell said, “This is an exciting time in the life of our church and this role has emerged after much prayer and collaboration with Diocesan Bishops and Theological Education Institutions across the Province. Mark brings with him a wealth of experience around empowering individuals and teams to flourish and is passionate about revitalisation of the church in the UK. I very much look forward to working with Mark as we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this pioneering role.”

Mark will work with the 12 dioceses of the Northern Province to produce a bold and achievable strategy supporting step-change in church planting and parish revitalisation, alongside church mission agencies, established church networks and Theological Education Institutions.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby pledges solidarity during three-day visit to Kyiv

The Archbishop of Canterbury has pledged solidarity with Ukrainians during a three-day visit to Kyiv, in which he deplored the suffering inflicted on them during the war, now in its tenth month.

“The people of Ukraine have shown extraordinary courage in the face of Russia’s illegal, unjust, and brutal invasion,” Archbishop Welby said on Wednesday.

“This visit is about showing solidarity with them as they face a profoundly difficult winter.” He said that he was looking forward to meeting church leaders and Christians in Kyiv, “and learning how we can continue to support them amidst the ongoing devastation, loss and destruction of this war”.

The Archbishop spoke after arriving in the Ukrainian capital from Poland, where he said that he had been “deeply moved” by stories told to him by refugees at a crisis centre in Warsaw.

He said: “In this season of Advent, we remember that Jesus was born into conflict and persecution — and became a refugee when his parents fled violence and persecution to seek safety in Egypt.

“I urge Christians in the Church of England and around the world to keep praying for the people of Ukraine in this Advent season — and all people around the world caught up in conflict. Let us keep offering our solidarity and support in every way we can”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Harold Anson

O great and glorious God, holy and immortal, who searches out the policies of nations and tries the hearts of men: Come, we pray thee, in judgment, upon the nations of the world; come and bring to destruction all that is contrary to thy holy will for mankind, and cause the counsels of the wicked to perish. Come, O Lord, into our hearts, and root out from them that thou seest, and we cannot see, to be unlike the Spirit of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The Lord has taken his place to contend,
    he stands to judge his people.

The Lord enters into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
    the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
                says the Lord God of hosts.

–Isaiah 3:13-15

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Crux) Ukraine Catholics warn that priests arrested by Russia could be tortured

After two of its clergy were detained by Russian forces last week, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Exarchate of Donetsk has warned they could be victims of torture and has called for their immediate release.

In a Nov. 30 statement labeled as “urgent,” the exarchate voiced their solidarity with the clerics, who serve in the city of Berdyansk, in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.

The priests are Father Ivan Levytskyi, who serves as abbot of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos parish, and Father Bohdan Geleta, who assists at the parish.

They were detained several days ago for allegedly housing explosives with the intention to commit “guerilla” activities against the Russian army.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence