UPDATE: The Pope himself made this topic the theme of his Easter message.
The preacher at Pope Francis’ commemoration of Good Friday in the Vatican raised the painful issue of growing persecution of Christians around the world. It is a story that “the institutions” of the world, Fr. Raneiro Cantalamassa said, are not mentioning. Perhaps he was thinking of the United Nations. But he could have been speaking of almost any institutions.
That includes, sadly, the Catholic Church! The mass dispossessions, church bombings, beheadings and other murders, rapes, sale of women and children captives into slavery, etc. go unremarked in parish homilies I have attended in many cities. Isn’t that odd? Maybe there are exceptions, but I have been traveling around a lot lately and have yet to hear the subject broached, let alone made the main topic of a sermon. Oh, on two occasions I did note that the recommended prayers sent out by the Church hinted at the topic, but that’s it.
Yet martyrdom is what happened to the followers of Jesus two millennia ago, isn’t it? It’s a rather important theme in the Christian story. With all its depth and implications, surely this topic should be widely discussed. So should Aid to the Church in Need and other groups trying to get help victims of persecution–often Christians and non-Christians alike. But “silence”, as the Vatican preacher says, is what we get instead.
This is not the first time that the subject of current martyrdoms has been broached lately in the Vatican. Sadly, the message is not getting picked up at lower levels of the
Church, in other denominations or–let alone–the major media.Maybe Pope Francis will have to send out a memo.
Since the political correctness crowd these days seems to have the ear of the media and even Christian preachers, I would like to ask whether the seeming indifference to facts like the genocide of Christians in Syria and Iraq (as well as Kenya, Nigeria, Libya, etc.) is a bit racist. These Christians who are especially targeted by ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and al Shabab, are, after all, Iraqis, Syrians, Egyptian Copts, Nigerians, Kenyans, etc. They are so far away. But so was first century Israel.