Monday, May 2, 2016

Todays's Christian Martyrs

Perhaps you saw the news reports about the Trevi Fountain being dyed red last week in honor of the Christian martyrs suffering around the world. Nina Shea explains the background in First Things:

The popular fountain is decidedly not Christian-themed and historically seems to have inspired only frivolity. The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need and a coalition of other Catholic Italian non-governmental organizations that are co-sponsoring this performance art are counting on this unlikely juxtaposition. They hope that the coin tossing, selfie-taking throngs of tourists, as the frivolous Western public at large, will be given pause, if only briefly, to contemplate the surging pattern of mass murder of Christians purely for reasons of faith, largely by Islamists.

This threat has become existential for various Christian communities in Asia and Africa. In northern Nigeria, worshippers are slaughtered in their churches and in their living rooms. In Kenya, Christians have been hunted out and killed for their religion in their university dorm rooms, at shopping malls, and on public buses. In Libya, it was the Egyptian Coptic and Ethiopian Christian migrants who were singled out and beheaded. In Pakistan, Christian families were blown up while celebrating Easter in a park. In Yemen last month, the nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity were tied up, shot to death and mutilated; their staff was murdered and their priest, the last surviving Christian in the port city of Aden, was kidnapped. For the past three days, at the outset of the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the Armenian Christian quarter in Aleppo has come under jihadi siege though there are no military installations there—only defenseless civilians.

Read the rest there.

As we near the Feast of the Martyrs of England and Wales in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, I can't help but think of how powerless Catholics in England, Wales, Ireland, and then on the Continent felt when seeing or hearing of martyrs suffering at that time. We may feel the same way, wondering what we can do. Now we can give humanitarian aid to those in exile and suffering, and we can always pray for the martyrs as witnesses for Jesus, admire them, and even hope to imitate them in their devotion and faith, even if "not to the point of shedding blood." (Hebrews 12:4)

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