Blog – 2016 4th Quarter
Weekly Commentary December 25-31, 2016
We finally have a nearly full list of the victims of the December 11, 2016 Saints Peter and Paul Church bombing in Cairo, Egypt in this week’s report. The stories are heart rending. One family lost both of their children. A young wife told her family the night before that she was going to die that day. A medical doctor and expert in the Coptic language was killed: she had always said that she admired the martyrs and wanted to be like them. God granted her request.
Christians were killed in Iraq in attacks on liquor stores.
Two ministers in Myanmar (Burma) have disappeared in an area where the military continues to fight rebels; they had previously reported on the military bombing of a church on December 3, 2016. Fr Tom Uzhunnalil has been confirmed as still alive in captivity in Yemen.
Churches were reported attacked in Chile, Egypt and India. Christians were attacked, abducted or arrested in China, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Uganda.
Aside from the release of an abducted Christian in Egypt, about the only good news is the dismissal of illegal missionary charges against two Russian citizens. Thankfully the Russian courts appear to be having some difficulty in upholding the controversial 2016 law, although they are inconsistent and none has declared the law unconstitutional.
Again, you may read this week’s report by clicking here.
Please pray that 2017 will be a better year than 2016.
Weekly Commentary December 18-24, 2016
This week’s report contains several stories of Christians appealing for protection and security during Christmas. We now know of a church bombing in the Philippines (no names reported as of yet), but so far no other reports of Christmas attacks have come in. Of course, Western Christians need to remember that Christmas falls on January 7 in the Eastern Calendar, so we need to still pray.
More news has continued to come in from the December 11, 2016 Saints Peter and Paul Church bombing in Cairo, Egypt. The death toll rose to 27 with the death of 10 year old Magy Momen. Magy was a fourth grade student, Scout, volleyball player, ballerina, and actor. God love her and console her family!
The other Christian reported as killed this week was the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov. His killer was partly motivated by politics and certainly would have killed the ambassador if he were Muslim. But, the Islamic State motives and the ambassador’s diplomatic work on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church in North Korea gave some meaning to his death beyond his possibly nominal Christianity. His funeral was held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow and was led by Patriarch Kirill.
A priest was abducted in Nigeria, as was a young newlywed on her way to church in Egypt. A pastor in Vietnam continued to be abused by prison authorities. More details have emerged concerning the continuing fighting in Myanmar. A priest in Jordan reported on a terror attack at a tourist site. Christian schools in the United Kingdom were inspected and students grilled about their sexuality and sex education.
In Nepal four Christians were sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment for having prayed over a mentally ill woman! Everyone involved in this case testified that no harm was done, but a guilty verdict was still imposed. Thankfully a fifth person was acquitted.
In Indonesia a Catholic Mass was disrupted by four men who claimed to be Protestants. At this time we do not know if they were in fact Protestants, but we do know that some Catholics wrote social media posts that were rather unchristian. The people on our report this week reminded their fellow congregants of the need for Christian forgiveness. Let us all pray that we Christians will all remember the same no matter how difficult times may be.
Weekly Commentary December 11-17, 2016
Truly we believe in One God, God the Father, the Almighty, creator of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; True God of True God; begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us and for our salvation descended from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became man. He was crucified for us during the reign of Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. He arose from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to the heavens, and sits at the right hand of His Father. He will come back in His glory to judge the living and the dead; and His Kingdom shall have no end.
Truly we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giving Lord, who proceeds from the Father; we worship and glorify Him together with the Father and the Son, Who speaks through the prophets. We believe in one Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church, and we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. We await the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
– The Nicene Creed, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Imagine that your church has been attacked by a suicide bomber. Your friends were inside. You rush to the scene, and join a growing crowd to see the smoke still rising from the shattered windows and roof. People can be heard to say “They set it off where the women and children were sitting!” Your thoughts of family Christmas celebrations now destroyed – of families destroyed – cause anger to rise in your throat to choke you.
Then it starts. Someone in the crowd starts to chant “Truly we believe in One God, God the Father, the Almighty, creator of…” Within seconds hundreds are chanting the Creed at the top of their lungs. It is an act of faith, but also one of defiance. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages…” Never has this happened in public before. You have just affirmed the Trinity, and committed the sin of shirk, the worst sin of Islamic blasphemy, by citing words that in Islam are deemed polytheistic. You know that any extremist, were he present, would want to kill you with his suicide vest for saying these words. “Truly we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giving Lord…We await the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come”. The Creed ends, and everyone starts again while the smoke rises. And again. And again. And you do not care if anyone wants to kill you. The warm smoggy sky could open in a flash to the glory of heaven, and your time on earth would come to an end, and you don’t care.
These events happened in Cairo, Egypt this week (thank you to Raymond Ibrahim for his translation). The church was Saints Peter and Paul, also known as el-Butrusiyya Church, located next door to Saint Mark’s Cathedral. Twenty-four were killed, and dozens wounded. You may read our full report by clicking here.
There is nothing more that can be said, other than the words of the survivors themselves, and of Pope Tawadros II at the funeral the following day: “God, protect us and your people from the conspiracies of the evil ones…It is the destiny of our church to offer martyrs”.
el-Butrusiyya Church, Cairo, Egypt, after the explosion
el-Butrusiyya Church, Cairo, Egypt, with St. Mark’s Cathedral in the background
Christians were also reported this week to have been killed in India and Nigeria, and to have suffered various forms of persecution in a total of a dozen lands.
With Christmas upon us (in one week for Western Christians, in three weeks for Eastern Christians), let us recall once again just how much God loves us, to have sent us His Son who “was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary” for our salvation, and how we respond with love to such a little Child. Truly we believe. Truly we know.
Announcement December 13, 2016
Papal encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Anxiety) – dated March 14, 1937, publicly read March 21, 1937
We are pleased to announce the creation of a new page on the Today’s Martyrs web site. This page lists useful and important historical church documents and where possible contains links to their full texts. As with all of our resources we look forward to its future growth. It is hoped that today’s and tomorrow’s students will be able to make full use of these documents in their research.
This page can be accessed at http://todaysmartyrs.org/index.php/documents/
Weekly Commentary December 4-10, 2016
In this week’s report (click here to read) we have accounts of the killing of Christians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Germany, and Iraq – the last surfacing after the retreat of the Islamic State. We also have a story of the continuing civil conflict in Myanmar (the former Burma) in which another church had been bombed in a government air strike – fortunately no one was killed because the Christians had fled across the border into China. Over 60 churches have been destroyed in Myanmar since 2011. As an aside, Christians are not the only victims of persecution in Myanmar: Muslims on the southwestern coast are also victimized by the government.
St Francis Xavier Church, Mongkoe, Myanmar – courtesy Hkun Awng Nlam
Christians in twelve countries experienced other forms of persecution or discrimination. The good news is that your prayers concerning persecution have been rewarded with the successful resolution of legal problems for Christians in Nepal and the United Kingdom, and a partial resolution in Uzbekistan. Let us continue to pray for Christians and all others with all of the fervor and love we can raise in our hearts.
Weekly Commentary November 27 – December 3, 2016
We have a relatively short report this week – click here to read. At least twelve Christians were reported killed in Nigeria, and we have the names of eight. A Christian has died in prison in China. The son of a priest in Egypt was murdered in his pharmacy. Christians and others are still dying in Syria. In the Mexican state of Jalisco over 3,000 people have disappeared this year so far, most likely at the hands of organized criminals, and fear has grown to the point that their families have asked the churches to no longer read their names during services.
A church was bombed in the Philippines: three parishioners were hospitalized. Christian properties were attacked in Egypt. A priest was reported expelled from Turkmenistan, and another Christian is still in captivity in Burkina Faso (the former Upper Volta). Christians in Germany are being intimidated by Middle Eastern refugees. A priest in the United States was arrested for asking clients at an abortion clinic if they wanted him to pray with them.
Our Lady of Hope Church Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat province, Philippines – courtesy NDBC News from Mr Manan and Esperanza Redthunder
Two further stories highlight the legal situations that Christians face in democratic countries.
In France the government is about to pass a law that will criminalize “false” statements on pro-life internet sites. Church leaders have rightly stepped up and criticized this attack on civil liberties. The government has shown itself to be more concerned with supporting abortion than with opposing terrorism, since terrorist web sites are not included in the law. This follows the government’s ban of an anti-abortion television ad that showed happy children with Down’s syndrome.
In India the government has decided to fight organized crime by withdrawing high denomination rupee notes from circulation. Almost half of the value of the country’s currency has been demonetized, at great cost to the average citizen. This motive is certainly not anti-Christian. However, there are two related issues that are worth inclusion of this story on this week’s report. First, churches have attempted to help alleviate their parishioners’ suffering by exchanging money, and this may leave them open to investigation by the tax authorities. Second, this action cannot help but further the kind of social tensions that can rebound on religious and other minorities. Please pray that these potential conflicts can be avoided.
Weekly Commentary November 20-26, 2016
In this week’s report (click here to read) named Christians were reported killed in Colombia and Egypt and unnamed Christians in Cameroon and Nigeria. The Colombian attack occurred in a church in Cali during a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop; it appears that the parishioner killed was the target. The Archbishop wrote “Unfortunately not even the fear of God stops the absolute disregard for human life that has roots in the soul of vast sectors of our Colombian society”. Please pray for Colombia!
Santa Cecilia church, Ciudad Cordoba, Cali, Colombia
The other reported killing was of a fish vendor in Cairo, Egypt. He got into a traffic altercations with a policeman (the police cruiser had collided with his horse drawn cart), the policeman arrested him, and he died in custody after horrific torture.
A double suicide bombing from February in Cameroon reportedly killed at least 20. Five villages in Nigeria were attacked and at least 45 were killed, and 75,000 children are at risk of death by hunger due to the fighting. Please pray even more so for Africa!
There was also an attack on a missionary retirement home in France in which a caregiver of unknown faith was killed.
Christians were abducted, arrested, and beaten in Armenia, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India and Pakistan. The Congo story ended with good news: the abducted deacon was released after a widespread protest. Other good news included the continued defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq, the conviction of the murderers of a Christian couple in Pakistan, and the release of a prisoner on parole in Uzbekistan.
Western style attacks included a proposed education policy in India that appears designed to enable the caste system, an internet crime law in Pakistan which could be used to shut down Christian activity, more news on the Pakistani closure of all Christian cable television stations, and two attacks in the United States on Christian pro-life locations.
Please pray for all of these people.
Weekly Commentary November 13-19, 2016
We will begin with one of the most atrocious accounts in recent weeks. A jihadist with self-described affiliations with the Islamic State attacked an Indonesian church with Molotov cocktails. He threw them at the preschool children who were playing in front of the church. Please click here to read and add the names of the dead and injured and other grieving survivors to your prayers.
Batak Society Christian Church, East Kalimantan, Indonesia – courtesy AFP
Another church bombing attempt happened in Egypt.
Over 30 Christians were reported killed in Nigeria in the preceding weeks, eight are named on this week’s report. Several villages were attacked and burned.
Christians were reported abducted or imprisoned in Algeria, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Nigeria. The Mexican victim was released after torture. Christians were also freed from captivity in Iraq.
Attacks and threats of attacks occurred in Nigeria and Pakistan. One attack in Nigeria was apparently intended to kill foreign Christians who had come to investigate the atrocities.
There are many other people who need prayers. Islamists have continued their attacks – both political and threatening of violence – against the only Christian governor in Indonesia. A Christian school was allowed to reopen in Sudan after its closure by the secret police. A Philippine bishop complained of the anti-Christian motives behind the widespread internet disinformation. A Spanish judge basically ruled that there is nothing sacred about the Eucharist and so its desecration is legal. And the Turkish government refused to honor its commitment to aid the burial of a Christian, and to return seized land to the world’s oldest Syriac monastery. Please do not forget them.
Mor Gabriel Monastery, Tur Abdin, Mardin province – courtesy Nevit Dilmen Wikimedia Commons
Announcement – November 18, 2016
Meditations – Down the Memory Hole
A new meditation, Down the Memory Hole, has been added to our web site. It recounts an interesting historical event and, perhaps more importantly, the ways by which history itself has been limited and deformed. Please read it over and pray that we do not forget our history.
Weekly Commentary November 6-12, 2016
This week’s report (click here to read) lists fourteen countries where Christians have been arrested or they or their church buildings have been physically attacked or threatened. In one story Bangladeshi Christians fought back with bows and arrows. A Christian in Algeria was denied a Christian burial. Sexual assaults were reported from Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Western-style persecution was reported to include an attempt to remove crosses from public display in Switzerland and attempts to compel Canadians to perform euthanasia on pain of losing their medical licenses.
A funeral was held in Winchester Cathedral in the United Kingdom. The honored Christian was Margaret Dehqani-Tafti, the widow of the Anglican Bishop of Iran, Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti. In 1979 she was wounded in an assassination attempt on her husband, and the following year she buried her only son after he was assassinated in Tehran. One Iranian Christian eulogized her with these words:
Throughout their life together, Margaret was a constant support to Hassan and as the mother of a martyr, an uncompromising witness to truth. The events of our time remind Christians that the history of their faith is inseparable from the sacrifices and examples that people like the Dehqani-Tafti family set, representing the eternal challenge that believers witness in this fallen world. Their lives have influenced the way we think about faith in God, justice, social engagement and what it means to be the follower of Christ, and stand as testimony to the vast violence that we experience in the present age.
The present age. Please pray for it, and for all of us destined to pass through it.
Winchester Cathedral – courtesy WyrdLight.com
Announcement November 7, 2016
A new documentary, Under Caesar’s Sword: Christian Response to Persecution, has been released by the Religious Freedom Institute and the Notre Dame University Center for Ethics and Culture, with assistance from Aid to the Church in Need. This half-hour documentary is available free of charge via instreamed video from http://ucs.nd.edu/film/ Many of the people interviewed in this video have been featured on the Today’s Martyrs web site. Please watch it when you have the time.
Weekly Commentary October 30 – November 5, 2016
In this week’s report (click here to read) there is a beautiful story from Lebanon of interfaith respect growing amid the war in Syria. If you read nothing else please read this story.
This report also continues the news of the war against Christians in Nigeria. Dozens were reported killed this week from attacks in September. Please pray that Nigerians have seen more peace since September.
A Christian was murdered in Egypt, and several Christian elementary school students were reported in separate revolting incidents to have been beaten by teachers for not memorizing Quranic passages.
A Christian was killed in India under sickening circumstances. A family had been hospitalized following a beating by Hindu extremists in a home invasion. A week later the police threw them out of the hospital after an aid worker recorded their story. The 60 year old father died of his untreated injuries two weeks after that.
Christians were also beaten in Uganda. A priest was arrested in China, and Christians were threatened with arrest in Cyprus and Pakistan – the Cypriot case involving an archbishop.
In this week’s irony prize, a prominent U.S. academic and translator of Dante has been under pressure to resign from his tenured position after he criticized the “Totalitarian Diversity Cult” on his campus and compared their modus operandi to that of an organized crime syndicate. His opponents appear to not notice that their actions prove his point.
The Totalitarian Diversity Cult. That title appears to be rather harsh for a description of millions of idealistic people in our liberal democracies, but it seems appropriate given the illiberal impulses to which these idealists are succumbing. In this week’s report they try to force a Catholic professor to resign in the United States, the criminal prosecution of an Orthodox archbishop in Cyprus, and the closure of an Evangelical law school in Canada. The best news of the week is that these cultists within the legal system of Canada have lost their fight and the law school will stay accredited. It is now obvious that Christians in Western democracies are nearing persecution. A fully realized persecution may be many years or decades away, but the legal changes and the propaganda needed to radicalize a larger segment of the population into a frame of mind that will support and abet persecution are well underway. Yes, we need to pray, in fact nothing we do will succeed without faith and prayer, but we also need to speak out, and we will need to act together as Christians against this cult that is converting so many people and democratic institutions to its cause.
Weekly Commentary October 23-29, 2016
The major news this week (click here to read the report) is the Iraqi military offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. Already Christian towns such as Bartella, Karamlesh and Qaraqosh have been freed. The Islamic State mounted a major diversionary raid into Kirkuk and attacked one of the universities there, but the seven Christian girls they trapped in their student housing went undetected and managed to be rescued. However, not all is well in Iraq: a Christian grocer in the south was killed after the government passed a law further restricting the sale of alcohol. Also, the Islamic State has been killing Mosul residents by the hundreds.
St. Barbara church, Karemaish, outside Mosul, Iraq
We have an account of horrific atrocities by the Islamic State in Syria in 2014 which are only now becoming known.
The full names of the six Christians killed in the October 6, 2016 terror attack in Kenya have been released, and 12 more unidentified Christians have been killed on October 25 – we do have the account of a wounded survivor.
Christians have also been killed in Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Chinese bishop who had been imprisoned for 15 years has died of natural causes, and a missionary was killed in a train accident in Cameroon that killed 79. Christians were beaten in India, Pakistan, and the United States. A bishop in Myanmar warned of further violence against Christians and others in the civil conflict there. The persecution of many people, not only Christians, continued in Turkey under the state of emergency.
Christians were wrongfully prosecuted or discriminated against in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Kyrgyzstan story is particularly ugly: a Christian family attempted to bury a loved member, only to have mobs repeatedly dig up the body.
In the West we have a follow-up story about a religious liberty case in the U.S. state of Georgia. Here is our original commentary from April 2016:
…the Georgia Department of Public Health is being sued by Dr. Eric Walsh. In addition to his medical work Dr. Walsh is a part-time minister. He had been hired by the department in May of 2015 and then had the offer of employment revoked several days later, after the department became aware of – rather, hunted down – the contents of the homilies he had delivered in his church. The homilies in question concerned traditional Christian morality. This is an almost unbelievable attack on religious liberty, and shows that the anti-religious among us who want ‘freedom of religion’ emasculated into ‘freedom of worship’ really don’t want freedom of worship either
Now, in its attempt to defend itself against the religious freedom lawsuit, the state of Georgia has repeated its actions by demanding the homilies (and ministerial training documents) as evidence! Just what is the state planning to do with them? Defend itself by trying to demonstrate that the victim here is somehow defective as a Christian? Is that not how this got started in the first place? Why should the state think that the illegitimate action of a Department of Public Health can be legitimately repeated by a court? In trying to defend the indefensible, the state of Georgia is perpetuating its’ invidious discrimination and repeating the radical secularist logic that led to persecution in such places as the Soviet Union. The court should deny this application for evidence, for if it does not it becomes an accomplice.
We will end with two accounts of vandalism and domination, an attack on a church wedding in Germany and a burglary at the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in Israel. The last is, of course, one of the more important sites of Jesus’ earthy ministry and revelation.
Christianity is a faith of revelation. It did not arise from a less-than-rational examination of the natural world, as did many pagan religions. It did not arise from a scientific examination of the natural world; such revelation would be at best indirect. Christianity arose from the direct revelation of Jesus as the Christ as told in the Gospels. Once the Resurrection of Jesus is accepted as historical fact there is no going back, and the persecution of today’s martyrs is simply a reflection of that. On Mount Tabor three apostles received a hint as to who Jesus is. May we hold on to this revelation at our weddings, our careers, our trials, our wars, and whatever else may behoove or befall us.
Kamel Church, Duisburg, Germany – courtesy CEN
Church of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor, Israel – courtesy Bantosh / commonwiki
Weekly Commentary October 16-22, 2016
We have several good things to report this week (click here to read them). A pastor held in prison in China since 2009 has been released. An Iranian Christian has also been released after six years in prison, and three were released on bail after two months’ detention.
On the other hand, eight named Christians were killed in Nigeria and others were injured. A number of underground priests in China have recently died of natural causes at young ages – one must wonder if stress is a factor in these deaths. At least one other Chinese priest is severely ill. A Pakistani bishop who has fought persecution has died of natural causes.
A U.S. missionary in Niger has been abducted. A pastor in Kyrgyzstan has been arrested. Three detained Chinese Christians have been tried on various charges but no verdict has been announced, and another is languishing in jail with health issues. An 18 year old in Ethiopia has been re-arrested just hours after her release from jail.
Christians were threatened in Pakistan and Vietnam.
Refugees continue to pour from the war in Mesopotamia, with reports from Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey.
Western incidents include an odd story from Estonia of a Protestant art exhibit that desecrated an image of Mary, and which was condemned by a Protestant bishop. We also have a more typical legal attack on a church in Spain for ringing the bells it has had for centuries.
Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Mostoles, Spain – courtesy Wiki
Please pray for Christians everywhere.
Weekly Commentary October 9-15, 2016
This week’s report – 18 pages of evil – may be read by clicking here. Not everything is evil, for example 23 young women have reportedly escaped, been released or otherwise freed from Boko Haram in Nigeria, but even here the news is tainted by forced marriage and pregnancy (one where the husband was a Muslim forced to join the jihad against his will). Four Egyptians were released after a ransom was paid.
Seven priests and evangelists were reported as murdered in Latin America, six identified Christians in Africa were killed, two in Asia, and one in Australia. The actual number killed was much higher, but most were unidentified – see the article on the Central African Republic for a large number of such events. Christians were arrested, abducted or continued to be held in captivity in several nations.
Church in Chak 66, Bhai Pheru, Kasur district, Punjab province, Pakistan, which has been attended by blasphemy defendant Nabeel Masih – courtesy British Pakistani Christian Association
The lives or freedom of many more Christians were threatened, some in traditional Western democracies:
- The irony prize goes to the pro-abortion feminists who attacked a cathedral in Neuquen, Argentina and damaged a mural dedicated to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (who had courageously opposed the Dirty War of the early 1980’s in which their daughters and sons disappeared). Sisterhood has been surpassed by me-hood, but then we knew that when most pro-abortion feminists refused to criticize the sex-selection practices which abort mostly females.
- Pakistan has ordered the closing of all Christian cable television stations.
- Christians in Turkey have begun to be harmed by the judicial system breakdown caused by the mass arrests of judges and attorneys following the failed July 2016 military coup; missionaries have been jailed and denied access to assistance.
- An Anglican archbishop spoke in Egypt concerning pending martyrdom, and stated that some Western churches and organizations were pushing “ideological slavery” on non-Western Christians. Another bishop presented a history of the original Arab conquest of North Africa and the role of Christian disunity in that conquest.
- A bishop in the United States described how a major political party has attempted to deliberately sow disunity in the Catholic Church.
Please try to spend some time with this week’s report and pray over the people and events listed. It might seem to be long, but if you follow the links in it to the sources you will read about many more people who are unnamed. Please pray for them all.
Weekly Commentary October 2-8, 2016
We have no report this week, illness having made proofreading nearly impossible. Reporting should resume this week.
We do have one item to note. Pope Francis has announced the appointment of seventeen clerics to the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals. Included in the seventeen are four who have appeared on our pages, not as martyrs in the strict sense but as witnesses to the persecution of others. One more from Albania will be added to our pages: he was previously unknown to us, but today’s research has shown that this man spent years in prison for his faith. These five are:
Archbishop Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican Ambassador) to Syria
Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga CSSP, Bangui, Central African Republic
Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario CSC, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Merida, Venezuela
Father Ernest Simoni OFM, Albania
So, nearly a third of the new cardinals have firsthand knowledge of persecution. At least three have defended non-Catholic Christians from persecution, and two (Mario Zenari and Dieudonne Nzapalainga, who has a biography on our web site) have defended Muslims alongside Christians. This announcement is quite notable. It means that the leaders of the Catholic Church will stay grounded in the painful truth of today’s, and tomorrows’, martyrdom. Please pray that we all will.
Weekly Commentary September 25 – October 1, 2016
This week’s report (click here to read) is short, covering nineteen Christians in nine countries. Another priest has been killed in Mexico, the third in a month, and state officials are now trying to deflect the responsibility for this anarchy from them to the Church. Other examples of Western style persecution include the government inquisition of a Greek bishop for this defense of traditional marriage and the denial by the Nicaraguan government of a public square for a Christian event.
Another elderly bishop in China has died of natural causes after years of persecution and service.
We have multiple refugee accounts from Iraq and Lebanon.
Christians were beaten in Pakistan and Uganda. Another church in China has been ordered to close.
Lastly, Dr Naguib Gibrael, an Egyptian Christian, has brought a suit against a Salafist Muslim leader on religious contempt charges for stating that the rape of Christian women is permissible because Christianity is not “respectful”. Please read this account and pray for Dr Gibrael’s protection from retaliation.
Blog – 2016 4th Quarter