Church of martyrs

Pope challenges world leaders’ silence on persecution of Christians
Catholic World News – April 06, 2015

The international community cannot remain “silent and inactive” in the face of persecution of Christians, Pope Francis said during his midday audience on Easter Monday April 6.

The Pope spoke of “our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, exiled, killed, behead, for the only reason of being Christians.” He said: “They are our martyrs, and they are many.”

“I sincerely hope that the international community does not look the other way,” the Pope said. Such silence, he said—breaking from his prepared text– would be “an alarming failure to protect basic human rights” At his Easter Monday audience the Pope led the faithful in praying the Regina Caeli, the prayer that replaces the Angelus during Eastertide. “To one and all,” the Pope said, “do not tire of repeating: Christ is risen!” He led the crowd in repeating that exultant proclamation, “Christ is risen!” three times, each time with greater emphasis.

We proclaim the resurrection of Christ when his light illuminates the dark moments of our existence, and we are able share it with others; when we know when to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we accompany those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of faith to those who are searching for meaning and happiness.

Today’s Church is a Church of martyrs, Pope says
Catholic World News – April 21, 2015

“The Church today is a Church of martyrs,” Pope Francis told his congregation at daily Mass on April 21.

Reflecting on the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounted the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the Pope said that “the true history of the Church is that of the saints and the martyrs.” He continued:

In these days how many Stephens there are in the world! Let us think of our brothers whose throats were slit on the beach in Libya; let’s think of the young boy who was burnt alive by his companions because he was a Christian; let us think of those migrants thrown from their boat into the open sea by other migrants because they were Christians; let us think – just the day before yesterday – of those Ethiopians assassinated because they were Christians… and of many others. Many others of whom we do not even know and who are suffering in jails because they are Christians.

Pope Francis also mentioned “hidden martyrs: those men and women who are faithful to the voice of the Spirit and who are searching for new ways and paths to help their brothers better love God.” These people, he said, often face the wrath of “so many modern Sanhedrins who think they are the possessors of truth.”

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