The persecution of Christians is worse than at any time in history, according to a new report issued on October 12. The report, entitled ‘Persecuted and Forgotten?’ concludes that the persecution of Christians 2015-17 reached its highest ever point.

The report, edited by John Pontifex, is the work of Aid to the Church in Need. It mentions the persecution by Boko Horam and Isis as well as the ever-increasing problems in a number of Muslim-majority countries and in authoritarian States, such as Eritrea and North Korea.

Pontifex said: “It is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history. Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.”

Pope acknowledges risk of interviews

While acknowledging the risk in replying to questions and giving interviews Pope Francis said he thinks this “pastoral risk” is worth it as it is the best way to know and respond to people’s real concerns.

The Pope Francis said this in a collection of his interviews published last Thursday in Italian under the title Adesso Fate le Vostre Domande (‘Now, Ask Your Questions’). The book, edited by Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, has an introduction by the Pope.

“I know this [giving interviews] can make me vulnerable, but it is a risk I want to take,” the Pope wrote in the introduction to the book collecting transcripts of question-and-answer sessions he has held all over the world.

“I want a Church that knows how to enter into people’s conversations, that knows how to dialogue,” Pope Francis wrote.

Defend life, family and democracy

More than 1,500 people who participated in the VII National Missionary Congress held in Sucre, Bolivia, agreed that the Church should commit itself to intervene more decisively in defence of the lives of the most vulnerable, against human trafficking, migration and the danger of losing democracy.

The missionaries concluded that the Bolivian Catholic Church should be more involved in the fight against human trafficking, for the protection of victims, and must face the problem of migration from the countryside to the city with greater strength.

Missionaries should be present in social organisations, neighbourhood councils, trade unions, universities, even at a political level, especially for the defence of life and human rights. Likewise, greater attention is needed towards the family, for situations of abandonment, separation and divorce.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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