25 September 2013

Pope: How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted?

The increasing persecution of Christians - both Catholic and otherwise - across the globe is a matter of great concern to me, as long time readers of these pages will know.  Yesterday, after a hiatus of far too-long a time, I resumed blogging at Persecution Watch to help highlight and draw attention to the attacks that our brothers and sisters face in so many parts of the world.

It has always saddened me greatly that so many Christians in the United States of America - and other countries, as well - know far more about television programs such as Dancing with the Stars or Honey Boo Boo (all the while claiming to have no time to help in the parish or even to pray) than they do about the deplorable plight that growing numbers of Christians face each day.

This lamentably reality is also close to the heart of the Holy Father Pope Francis, who today bluntly asked those gathered for his General Audience today in St. Peter's Square:
How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted? Ask yourselves, do I pray for that brother or sister who’s in difficulty for confessing their faith?
I have every confidence that he would desire to ask this question of each one of us, of you and of me.

John Allen, Jr. provides today a succinct summary of the current situation of the world that so many are content to ignore:
According to the International Society for Human Rights in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that over the last decade, an average of 100,000 Christians have died each year in what the center calls a “situation of witness,” meaning for motives related to their faith.
Though some experts regard that estimate as inflated, it works out to an average of 11 Christians killed each hour throughout the past decade.
Each of us must fast and pray in solidarity with those who are members with us of the Body of Christ.  We cannot be indifferent!

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