Pope Francis spoke strongly yesterday to those in power ignoring ISIS and particularly the terror group’s murderous actions against faithful Christians:
“Dear brothers and sisters, there is no Christianity without persecution. Remember the last of the Beatitudes: when they bring you into the synagogues, and persecute you, revile you, this is the fate of a Christian. Today too, this happens before the whole world, with the complicit silence of many powerful leaders who could stop it. We are facing this Christian fate: go on the same path of Jesus.”The Pope recalled, “One of many great persecutions: that of the Armenian people”:“The first nation to convert to Christianity: the first. They were persecuted just for being Christians,” he said. “The Armenian people were persecuted, chased away from their homeland, helpless, in the desert.” This story – he observed – began with Jesus: what people did, “to Jesus, has during the course of history been done to His body, which is the Church.”“Today,” the Holy Father continued, “I would like, on this day of our first Eucharist, as brother Bishops, dear brother Bishops and Patriarch and all of you Armenian faithful and priests, to embrace you and remember this persecution that you have suffered, and to remember your holy ones, your many saints who died of hunger, in the cold, under torture, [cast] into the wilderness only for being Christians.”The Holy Father also remembered the broader persecution of Christians in the present day. “We now, in the newspapers, hear the horror of what some terrorist groups do, who slit the throats of people just because [their victims] are Christians. We think of the Egyptian martyrs, recently, on the Libyan coast, who were slaughtered while pronouncing the name of Jesus.”Pope Francis prayed that the Lord might, “give us a full understanding, to know the Mystery of God who is in Christ,” and who, “carries the Cross, the Cross of persecution, the Cross of hatred, the Cross of that, which comes from the anger,” of persecutors – an anger that is stirred up by “the Father of Evil”:“May the Lord, today, make us feel within the body of the Church, the love for our martyrs and also our vocation to martyrdom. We do not know what will happen here: we do not know. Only Let the Lord give us the grace, should this persecution happen here one day, of the courage and the witness that all Christian martyrs have shown, and especially the Christians of the Armenian people.”
Pope Francis, presiding at the traditional Good Friday Colosseum procession, decried what he called the“complicit silence” about the killing of Christians.
The evening, torch-lit ceremony at the ancient arena recalls the suffering and death of Jesus by crucifixion.
After listening silently, often with head bowed and eyes tightly shut, to reflections read aloud about Jesus’ suffering, Francis pressed what lately has been an urgent concern of his papacy — the present-day martyrdom of Christians in parts of the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.
“We see, even today, our brothers persecuted, beheaded and crucified, for their faith in you, in front of our eyes or often with our complicit silence,” he said, as he prayed.
That in April of this year.
I understand the risks of increased American involvement and abhor the notion of sacrificing our blood and treasure in yet another politically hand-cuffed attempt in stemming the tide of rising Islamism but I also believe that we’ve not really sought to put our best and brightest minds on the problem.
I don’t have a decent answer in how to solve this, all I can honestly do is pray that the West will try harder in figuring things out.
In the meantime, praying folks should be regularly doing so for all threatened Christians.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.