- Dec 5, 2019
The grisly murders of missionary priests and a local priest, a lay volunteer and 40 seminarians in Burundi are the focus of a recently opened investigation into their sainthood cause.
Burundi’s Catholic bishops have expressed their concern at rising political intolerance in the east African country.
An ongoing political crisis in Burundi is being ignored by an international community distracted by other problems around the world, according to a Catholic aid worker.
As the campaign heats up in Burundi ahead of a May 17 referendum that could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to rule the central African country until 2034, the Catholic Church has said it opposes the change.
Earlier this month, a United Nations inquiry claimed that crimes against humanity are being committed in Burundi. The report said killings, torture, sexual violence, degrading treatment, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests have been taking place since the controversial 2015 election. The bishops said in a statement, “We want to once again insist on the inclusive dialogue that must be prioritized for the greater interest of the nation and with a view to blocking the way to all those who choose the path of war.”
By creating a new pathway to sainthood for the “offer of life,” meaning giving up one’s life for others, Pope Francis in effect has short-circuited a longstanding debate about many victims of contemporary anti-Christian persecution, which is whether their deaths were strictly for religious motives, and thus in keeping with the traditional test for martyrdom of being killed “in odium fidei,” or “hatred of the faith.”