Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Suffering Church

I am a big fan of EWTN - the Global Catholic Network and the other night I watched a show called "The Suffering Church" which discusses the persecution of Catholics/Christians around the world that is happening right now.  In our time.  Yes, ours.  Did you know that?  Because honestly, I had a very vague understanding of it until I started watching this show hosted by Lord David Alton, a member of the British Parliament who is the force behind the "Jubliee Campaign UK in 1987."  Through his efforts, more than 150 members of Parliament are focusing on the cases of religious discrimination around the world.  

This episode discussed the sad and tragic fate of the Catholics/Christians in Iraq.  I have to admit, I was unaware of a christian presence in Iraq.  Very naive of me, I know, but I really didn't ever think about it until this show.  The guests on this show said "there has been a mass EXODUS out of Iraq  for fear of persecution, extortion, forced conversion to Islam, torture and even death.  There are over 300,000 refugees who have fled Iraq in fear for their lives.  In 2003, there was 1.2 million christians in Iraq and now, only 50,000."  Why are they targeted?  "They're considered weak adversaries because they won't bear arms and fight."  Why are they doing this?  Because they can.  No one is stopping them. 

I read this quote on the EWTN website, "Most Catholics think religious persecution reached its zenith during the Roman Empire, when Nero set Christians ablaze and used them as torches or fed them to the lions. However, the truth is that more Christians have died for their faith in the 20th Century than in ALL the preceding centuries put together."  Shocking.  Unimaginable. 

This horrible atrocity is not unique to Iraq.  One only has to start looking to learn that Christian persecution is a world wide horror.  It's happening in China, Burma, North Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam/Laos, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Eritrea/Ethiopia, India, and Sri Lanka.

So I ask, what is America doing about it?  What are Americans doing about it?  Catholics and Christians- what are you going to do about it?

We can start by praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ who live this reality every day of their lives.

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