Tag Archives: Persecuted Christians

For Pope Francis, Good Friday shrouded in grief over persecuted Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Pope Francis at Good Friday liturgy held at St. Peter’s Basilica on April 3, 2015. Credit: Bohumil Petrek/CNA

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2015 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Both Pope Francis’ Good Friday service at the Vatican and the Stations of the Cross held at the Colosseum later in the day zeroed-in on the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

“In you, Divine Love, we see again today our persecuted brethren: beheaded, crucified, for their faith in you, beneath our eyes, or often with our complicit silence,” he said in a brief reflection April 3 following the Way of the Cross.

The Pope’s remarks come one day after the massacre of 147 students – mostly Christian, separated from their Muslim colleagues at the start of the attack – at Kenya’s Garissa University College at the hands of Somalian Al Shebaab gunmen.

Earlier today, Pope Francis condemned “this act of senseless brutality,” in a letter of condolence to the Kenyan Bishop’s conference, praying “for a change of heart among its perpetrators.”

According to the letter which was signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy Father called on authorities to increase their efforts in bringing an end to violence, promoting justice and peace.

Earlier in the day, during celebrations for the Passion of Our Lord in Saint Peter’s Basilica, papal preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa also touched on the Kenya massacre, and other recent examples of Christian persecution.

Speaking also of the 21 Coptic Christians killed by ISIS last February, Fr. Cantalamessa said Christ gave them “the strength to die whispering the name of Jesus.”

Pope Francis has spoken out repeatedly on Christian martyrs of today. He has stressed that there are more persecuted Christians throughout the world now than there were in the early centuries of Christianity.

At the conclusion of the Way of the Cross – or Via Crucis – Pope Francis reflected on the suffering which Christ endured during His Passion.

“In the cruelty of your Passion, we see the cruelty in our heart, and of our actions,” he said.

“Oh Victorious Christ Crucified, your Way of the Cross is the synthesis of your life, the icon of your obedience to the will of the Father, and the realization of your infinite love for us, who are sinners.”

Pope Francis also spoke of those who, like Christ during his passion, feel abandoned, “disfigured by our negligence, and our indifference.”

The pontiff concluded his address by asking God to “teach us that the Cross is the Way toward the Resurrection,” and that “Good Friday is the path toward the Easter of Light.”

“Teach us that God never forgets any of his children, and never tires of forgiving us and embracing us with his infinite mercy. But also teach us to never be tired of asking for forgiveness, and believing in mercy, without limit, from the Father.”

Tags: Persecuted Christians, Pope Francis, Holy Week, Good Friday

via For Pope Francis, Good Friday shrouded in grief over persecuted Christians :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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Catholic News Agency: For Middle East Christians, UN indifference is deadly


Refugees who have fled from ISIS and arrived in Ankawa, in the northern part of Erbil, Iraq. Credit: www.ankawa.com.

Refugees who have fled from ISIS and arrived in Ankawa, in the northern part of Erbil, Iraq. Credit: http://www.ankawa.com. Refugees who have fled from ISIS and arrived in Ankawa, in the northern part of Erbil, Iraq. Credit: http://www.ankawa.com.

For Middle East Christians, UN indifference is deadly

.- Inaction on the part of the United Nations and international community toward the brutality of ISIS has drawn criticism from a refugee and scholar who says the lives of Christians are at risk.

Raad Salam Naaman, a Chaldean Catholic and professor of Islamic Studies, sees a “totally deplorable and very strange” attitude on the part of the United Nations and the international community in the face of “the murders and crimes” of the Islamic State.

He told CNA that the international community is acting “as if Middle Eastern Christians mean nothing to them,” despite their sufferings under the violent Islamic radicals.

“They don’t care about the expansion and growth of this group,” said Naaman, who teaches Arabic philology and Islamic Studies at Complutense University of Madrid.

Born near Mosul, the professor has lived as a political refugee in Spain since 1991.

For Naaman, the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, is not a state but a “band of murderers and thieves.”

He charged that the group is “the fruit of the so called ‘Arab Spring,’ one of the many mistakes made by the West.” He said the Arab Spring uprisings “aided these revolts and protests pulled off by Islamic radicals.” Many of the radicals had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and helped overthrow governments run by secular Arab dictators, he argued.

The year 2010 marked the beginning of several popular “Arab Spring” uprisings that has toppled the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.  Political instability and sometimes violence followed. An uprising against Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad unleashed a civil war now in its fourth year.

There is continued political instability in Iraq, which has worsened since the withdrawal of American troops between 2010 and 2011.

The Islamic State group, especially active in Iraq and Syria, witnessed significant successes in 2014 when it took the major city of Mosul. The group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, then proclaimed an Islamic caliphate in its territory in both countries. The group has imposed a strict version of Islamic law and persecuted Christians, other religious minorities, and Muslims they consider to be apostate. The group has enslaved women, murdered children, and destroyed churches.

It has encouraged radical groups such as the Libyan group Ansar al Sharia to join them. The Libyan group in February released a video of the beheading of 20 Coptic Christians from Egypt and a non-Christian from Chad.

Naaman said the Islamic State group “threatens our Western civilization and is a danger for the future of our human rights, for liberty and democracy which western society was able to attain after centuries of struggle.”

He said that the West should “correct its mistakes” and eliminate “this radical gang of Islamic murderers.”

In that respect, the Iraqi refugee echoes the call of the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who warned that rise of the caliphate in Libya demands “quick intervention.”

However, the cardinal said any military intervention should be “under the auspices of the U.N.”

Naaman said that bombing Islamic State targets will not eliminate them. He said the U.S. and the U.N. need to call for a U.N.-led coalition to attack the group and its followers “on the ground, and with a resolute army.”

“That is the only solution,” he said.

Naaman’s statements came as the Islamic State perpetrated a mass kidnapping of more than 200 Assyrian Christians in northwestern Syria. While at least 19 of the victims were released, it is feared the rest will be executed en masse.