‘Christianity is the world’s most persecuted religion’

INTRODUCTION

Brutal forms of persecution are happening to Christians in many countries throughout much of the world. According to international reports, the great majority of all religiously motivated violence and oppression is suffered by Christians.

WRITTEN BY

SHARE THE WORD

PUBLISHED ON

Imagine being at your parish church this Sunday celebrating the Eucharist. Just as your pastor finishes his homily, gunfire erupts from the back of the church. As you quickly turn around you see several armed men firing their weapons into the assembly. And with added horror, you see numerous fellow parishioners lying dead. Amid screams and cries, peoplerush toward the exits, running for their lives. Some escape, others are shot and killed. The assailants then proceed to burn the church to the ground.

May this never happen to you. But tragic scenes similar to this, as well as other brutal forms of persecution, are happening to fellow Christians in many countries throughout much of the world.

In the just released 2021 annual report “More Precious than Gold,” the international ecumenical organization Open Doors reports that over 360 million Christians live in areas where they are subject to high levels of discrimination and persecution.

The report further highlights that last year, 6,175 Christians were unjustly arrested or imprisoned, 3,829 followers of Christ were abducted for faith-related reasons, 5,110 churches or Christian buildings were attacked, and 5,898 fellow believers in Jesus were murdered for their faith.

The international Catholic assistance organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) states in its 2021“Religious Freedom in the World Report” that in the last two years, the human right of freedom of faith was not respected in 62 countries. And in 42 countries changing or renouncing one’s religious affiliation can bring on serious legal and social consequences – even death.

ACN reports that at least 75 percent of all religiously motivated violence and oppression is suffered my Christians.

The ACN report adds that authoritarian governments have also intensified religious persecution. In some Hindu and Buddhist majority countries in Asia persecution against religious minorities has increased.

Many places in Africareflect a worsening situation for Christians which is due most often to Islamist violence, says Fionn Shiner, press officer for ACN in the UK. (see: https://bit.ly/3RisBPf).

ACN, in their report “Persecuted and Forgotten” states that “Christianity is the world’s most persecuted religion.” Itcites that Islamist violence in Africa is a major cause of persecution. And it highlights that Nigeria is the sad country where most African Christians are killed (see: https://bit.ly/3Kw0KsI).

And regarding religious persecution in the West, Pope Francis has coined the phrase “polite persecution” to describe how new cultural norms clash with individuals’ right to freedom of conscience, attempting to limit religion “to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques.

Please contact your national and regional government representatives urging them to protect everyone’s right of freedom of faith.

And in the U.S. please regularly email and phone your two U.S. senators and congressperson (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) urging them to pressure all countries engaged in hostilities toward Christians, other people of faith and minorities, to completely stop the persecution. And urge that far more aid to those suffering persecution be appropriated in the 2023 budget.

Also, please sign up to receive advocacy updates from Open Doors (see: https://bit.ly/2URRK5G).

Additionally, please assist Aid to the Church in Need’s efforts to provide persecuted Christians with the financial help they need to survive (see: https://bit.ly/2vxeFsz).

And let us regularly in private and liturgical prayer remember those suffering for the Christian faith. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot look the other way while they suffer.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Share Your Thoughts

All comments are moderated

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

Frontiers

Transform the world!

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage

WM SPECIAL

Presents, discusses and draws readers to reflect on issues of outmost relevance to the world today.


FRONTIERS

Very often, mission is carried out in frontier situations around the world. Those who embrace these situations have much to share.


UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Writer Ilsa Reyes will be exploring the richness of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti with a view of helping our readers to get a grasp of the this beautiful papal document.


FRONTLINE

Puts to the front committed and inspiring people around the world who embrace humanitarian and religious causes with altruism and passion.


IN FOCUS

Focus on a given theme of interest touching upon social, economic and religious issues.


FAITH@50

As the Philippines prepares to celebrate 500 years of the arrival of Christianity. Fr. James Kroeger leads us in this series into a discovery journey of the landmark events in the history of faith in the Philippine archipelago.


INSIGHT

Aims to nurture and inspire our hearts and minds while pondering upon timely themes.


FILIPINO FOCUS

The large archipelago of the Philippines, in its richness of peoples and cultures, offers varied and challenging situations for mission.


FOLLOW ME

Reflections and vocation stories that shape up the lives of young people.


MISSION IS FUN

As humor and goodness of heart are qualities of Christian and missionary life, the new column “Mission is fun” will be publishing some anecdotes and stories that have happened in a missionary context to lighten up the spirits and trigger a smile in our faces.


LIVING COMMUNION

To help readers of World Mission live this year dedicated to Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, Tita Puangco, writer and lecturer, shares in this section insights on the spirituality of communion.


WINDS OF THE SPIRIT

A historic view of the Catholic movements that emerged from the grassroots as an inspiration by the Holy Spirit.


BRIDGE BUILDERS

On the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, radio host and communicator Ilsa Reyes, in her monthly column, encourages Christians and people of good will to be one with their fellow people of other sects, religions and tribes.


INTERVIEW

Questions to a personality of the Church or secular world on matters of interest that touch upon the lives of people.


WORLD TOUCH

News from the Church, the missionary world and environment that inform and form the consciences.


CARE OF THE EARTH

A feature on environmental issues that are affecting the whole world with the view of raising awareness and prompting action.


EDITORIAL

The editor gives his personal take on a given topic related to the life of the Church, the society or the world.


YOUNG HEART

A monthly column on themes touching the lives of young people in the Year of the Youth in the Philippines by radio host and communicator I lsa Reyes.


SCROLL

A missionary living in the Chinese world shares his life-experiences made up of challenges and joyous encounters with common people.


EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE

Life stories of people who deserve to be known for who they were, what they did and what they stood for in their journey on earth.


ONE BY ONE

Stories of people whom a missionary met in his life and who were touched by Jesus in mysterious ways.


INCREASE OUR FAITH

Critical reflection from a Christian perspective on current issues.


SPECIAL MOMENTS

Comboni missionary Fr. Lorenzo Carraro makes a journey through history pinpointing landmark events that changed the course of humanity.


PROFILE

A biographical sketch of a public person, known for his/her influence in the society and in the Church, showing an exemplary commitment to the service of others.


WM REPORTS

Gives fresh, truthful, and comprehensive information on issues that are of concern to all.


LIFE'S ESSENTIALS

A column aimed at helping the readers live their Christian mission by focusing on what is essential in life and what it entails.


ASIAN FOCUS

Peoples, events, religion, culture and the society of Asia in focus.


THE SEARCHER'S PATH

The human heart always searches for greatness in God’s eyes, treading the path to the fullness of life - no matter what it takes.


INDIAN FOCUS

The subcontinent of India with its richness and variety of cultures and religions is given center stage.


AFRICAN FOCUS

The African continent in focus where Christianity is growing the fastest in the world.


JOURNEY MOMENTS

Well-known writer and public speaker, Fr. Jerry Orbos, accompanies our journey of life and faith with moments of wit and inspiration based on the biblical and human wisdom.


IGNATIUS STEPS

On the year dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyala, Fr. Lorenzo Carraro walks us through the main themes of the Ignatian spirituality.


THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS

Fr. John Taneburgo helps us to meditate every month on each of the Seven Last Words that Jesus uttered from the cross.


INSIDE THE HOLY BOOK

In this section, Fr. Lorenzo delves into the secrets and depths of the Sacred Scriptures opening for us the treasures of the Sacred Book so that the reader may delight in the knowledge of the Word of God.


CONVERSATIONS

Reflections about the synodal journey on a conversational and informal style to trigger reflection and sharing about the synodal path the Church has embarked upon.

Shopping Cart