- Dec 5, 2019
A group of former students of Joseph Ratzinger – who later became Pope Benedict XVI – will gather this weekend in Rome to discuss the persecution of Christians and martyrdom. The annual gathering is called the Ratzinger Schuelerkreis, and the group has been meeting for nearly 40 years to discuss the teaching of their former professor.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States promotes religious freedom as a moral imperative. “As importantly, we promote religious freedom because countries that effectively safeguard this human right are more stable, economically vibrant, and peaceful,” — Tillerson continued — “The failure of governments to protect this right breeds instability, terrorism, and violence.”
Citing the example of saints such as Thomas More and John Fisher, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori talked about the continuing persecution of Christians around the globe. The archbishop spoke to the U.S. bishops on an annual observance highlighting the importance of religious liberty.
In Iraq, once-flourishing Christian towns have been destroyed and vandalized by Islamic terrorism before being liberated. The Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad has encouraged a more than 80-mile peace march during Holy Week to demonstrate the bond among Iraqi communities and churches around the world.
The Vatican welcomes three new families of refugees coming from Syria to Italy. Two of the families are Christian and have faced persecution back in their countries due to their faith while the other is Muslim. Since Pope Francis’s 2015 call to parishes and churches to welcome migrants, about 145 people have been brought over to Rome.
The pope’s monthly prayer intention for March is dedicated to persecuted Christians, who around the world face daily threats of physical violence because of their religious beliefs. An estimated 200 million Christians are believed to be at risk of physical violence, arrest, torture and death.