Last April, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote these words:
“It is very important to oppose the lies and half-truths of the devil with the whole truth: Yes, there is sin in the Church and evil. But even today there is the Holy Church, which is indestructible. Today there are many people who humbly believe, suffer and love, in whom the real God, the loving God, shows Himself to us. Today God also has His witnesses (martyrs) in the world. We just have to be vigilant in order to see and hear them.
“The word martyr is taken from procedural law. In the trial against the devil, Jesus Christ is the first and actual witness for God, the first martyr, who has since been followed by countless others.
“Today’s Church is more than ever a ‘Church of the Martyrs’ and thus a witness to the living God. If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them. One of the great and essential tasks of our evangelization is, as far as we can, to establish habitats of Faith and, above all, to find and recognize them.”
More than ever, Christians are being martyred for the faith throughout the world and, sadly, that sacrifice wasn’t recognized as persecution by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 6.
At the event, Pelosi prayed for the following:
“Oh, Lord, we thank all gathered at this prayer breakfast for lifting our voices for the poor and the persecuted, the millions who are missing or murdered because of their faith … Let us pray for the Panchen Lama and all the Tibetan Buddhists imprisoned in China or missing for following their faith.”
She then prayed for the “1 to 3 million Uighurs in China forced from their homes and incarcerated in camps,” as well as for “Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia and for all the writers and religious free thinkers imprisoned for speaking their minds.”
Finally, Speaker Pelosi prayed for “priests, rabbis, pastors and religious leaders around the world whose freedoms have been stolen because of what they believe … countless Muslims and other religious minorities, often unseen and unnamed, who have been abducted, oppressed, and abused because of who they are and what they believe, their faith.”
The word Christian wasn’t mentioned once, despite the incontrovertible evidence that it is Christians who are persecuted more than any other group in the world.
But if Pelosi forgets to pray for persecuted Christians, we Catholics should remember to.
Be aware of the daily witness of the martyrs for Christ. Pray for those who suffer for their faith in the Lord. And let your voice be heard reminding politicians, those who have power to act on behalf of the greatest persecuted religious minority in the world, that you care that Christians are dying daily.