Dolan: Christian Persecution is “a Humanitarian Catastrophe’

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God love Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

He took the podium at the annual fall assembly of Catholic Bishops to speak out for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Public Catholic reader, Manny, sent a wonderful letter to Cardinal Dolan a few weeks ago, encouraging the Cardinal to do all that he could to help persecuted Christians. Perhaps we should all take to our word processors and send letters.

Christians need to stand in unity with persecuted Christians and not be intimidated by foul-mouthed attacks from those who seek to silence us. People who try to deny the persecution of Christians and who attack those who speak out for them are fellow travelers and enablers of those who carry the guns, wield the clubs and light the flames. 

From Catholic News Agency:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York addresses the USCCB Fall meeting Nov. 11, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York addresses the USCCB Fall meeting Nov. 11, 2013. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

.- Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, urged his fellow bishops to be advocates of Christians persecuted for their faith around the world, encouraging prayers as well as action on their behalf.

In his address to the assembly, Cardinal Dolan said one million Christians have been killed for their faith in the first years of the 21st century, which he called “a new age of martyrs.” Citing the Pew Research Center, he said that over 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with restrictions on freedom of religion.

He declared a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Syria, where two Orthodox bishops have been kidnapped amid the ongoing civil war. He said the Iraq war and its consequences have “devastated” Iraq’s ancient Christian community. The 2012 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad resulted in a massacre of 58 Christians.

The cardinal also noted a “serious escalation of violence” against Christians in Egypt, where dozens of Coptic churches have been burned. An August attack on a school run by Franciscan nuns resulted in the rape of two teachers. Three nuns were paraded “as prisoners of war.”

There have also been attacks on African Christians, such as shootings of priests and church burnings …

Cardinal Dolan said the situation in India is “grave” in the aftermath of the 2008 Orissa massacres that killed hundreds of Christians and displaced thousands more. Thousands of homes and about 400 churches were destroyed. 

In addition, the cardinal noted the pressures on Christians in China, such as the state supervision and imprisonment that faces Catholic bishops and other religious leaders.

In light of these grave global challenges, Cardinal Dolan made several suggestions for action.

The bishops should encourage “a culture of prayer for persecuted Christians,” both in private prayer and in liturgical intercessions …

He encouraged the bishops to make others aware of the suffering of other Christians through their columns, blogs, speeches and pastoral letters … ask pastors to preach on the topic … encourage Catholic media to “tell the stories of today’s new martyrs.”

The bishops can insist that U.S. leaders listen to persecuted Christians and make their protection “a foreign policy priority,” he added, observing that this has not been a high priority for presidential administrations of either major political party.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Ha! Thanks for the mention. And His Eminence wrote back almost immediately. He didn’t get into specifics of what he and the Church are doing to bring up this issue, but he wrote this:

    “How grateful I am , Mr. —-, for your kindness in bringing your concern–one that I certainly share–to my attention. The persecution of and attacks on Christians across the world, especially in Islamic countries, is a serious matter which must be given careful attention by our government and religious leaders. You can be certain that I am as involved as possible–as is the Vatican.”

    And he hand wrote on the margin, “Read John Allen’s new book, Global War.”

    It was a very gracious letter in which I will frame. I don’t know if my letter had any effect (probably not) but it’s great to see he is publically speaking up on the issue. We need more of that, and a push by our government to do something.

    • hamiltonr

      Your letter was great Manny. If you are comfortable with doing so, I wish you would post it. If you aren’t, I understand. Your call.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        I am comfortable with posting it, I just don’t have a vehicle to post it any longer. My personal blog is non-political. The blog where three of us shared to comment on the issues of the day disbanded. Would you want me to post it in a comment box here?

        • hamiltonr

          Send it to me. I’ll post it here. (If that’s alright.)

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            After thinking about it, i decided my letter wasn’t really political that I couldn’t post on my current blog. I’ll post it tonight and send you the link.

            • hamiltonr

              Great!

  • FW Ken

    I read the entire speech last night and it’s wonderful. I’m surprised some folks are finding the nuncio’s speech more compelling.


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