"Students of Faith" Video
"Hostility is always at the beginning of the persecution of Christians." -Pope Francis
A Catholic priest was burned alive and his assistant pastor was shot in the parish residence in north central Nigeria in January, 2023. "It's a continuation of a situation that's been going on for years," said Stephen Rasche from a center for peace and justice. "Many of the victims go unreported - all sorts of different types of Christians who are living in rural areas." (1) "This is a sad moment. For a priest to be killed in such a manner means that we are all not safe. These terrorists have lost it and drastic action is needed to end this ongoing carnage," said the state governor of Sani Bello. (2)
The World Index of Christian Persecution cites Nigeria as the first in the world for violence against Christians. It is estimated that 89% of Christians killed throughout the world are located in Nigeria with more than 7,600 Nigerian Christians murdered from January 2021 to June 2022. Nigeria is 53.5% Muslim, 10.6% Catholic, and 35.3% other Christian according to the CIA World Facebook.
The Christian churches in India are exhausted by the surge of anti-conversion laws and accusations of illegal proselytization. Mobs are driving out Christians from their villages and many face property destruction and personal violence .Recently, 22,000 Christians from many denominations and around the country gathered at the nation's capital to demand better. "This protest is basically to call the attention of the government to the increasing violence against Christians and our institutions," said the Orthodox Syrian Church in Delhi.(3) "This coming together of all denominations ... is a unity to strengthen the kingdom of God," said the National Council of Churches in India. "It is a cry of our people ... who are suffering in rural areas. They have a right to believe in their God, but that is being curtailed." (4) "Wherever persecution is reported, we approach the authorities to intervene and help Christians who are being targeted, but instead the authorities start to act against the Christians rather than help them ... the situation in the state is worsening with every passing day ...," said attorney Patsy David. (5)
"The age of martyrs is not yet over ... the Church as more martyrs now than in the first centuries." -Pope Francis
(aleteia.org, 1/15/23(1); cna.com, 1/15/23(2); abcnews.com, 1/15/23; africanews.com, 1/15/23; christianitytoday.com, 2/27/23(3)(4)(5); religionnews.com, 3/9/23; persecution.org, 3/9/23)
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Persecution of Christians Increases in Nigeria and India
''We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth that religion, or the duty we owe our creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.
The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these might dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right."
STUDENTS MAY PRAY IN SCHOOL
ARE NOT “GOD-FREE ZONES”
America’s children need not leave their faith outside the school house door.
For students to be silenced or disciplined by a school authority for appropriate religious expression should never happen. Sadly, young students may well conclude…
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Educational resources for parish members who work to support Religious Freedoms.
AT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES: DEFENDING FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Barbara Samuells, president of Catholics for Freedom of Religion and a parishioner at St. Matthew’s, Dix Hills, shares her experience at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RALLY 2018
IN SERVICE TO THE CHURCH
Click here to watch Barbara on TeleCare TV.
Pope Francis has observed that “religion [cannot] be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life.” Evangelii Gaudium. . . , no. 183. In insisting that our liberties as Americans be respected, Pope Benedict XVI said that this work belongs to “an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture.” Therefore, catechesis on religious liberty is not the work of priests alone. If religious liberty is not properly understood, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that individuals make every day, both here at home and overseas.
CATHOLICS FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION
America’s First Amendment guarantees its citizens five freedoms, the first of which is Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion includes the freedom to worship according to one’s beliefs as well as the freedom to practice that faith in everyday life according to one’s conscience.
So that this First Amendment freedom may be practiced and preserved for generations yet unborn it is essential that Americans understand this freedom and the circumstances from which it came. A fitting place for the development of this understanding and protection of Religious Freedom is inside all faith communities.
Catholics for Freedom of Religion offers resources to parish members who work to support Religious Freedom by initiating parish laity groups with these suggested goals:
To educate and inspire for Freedom of Religion
To remain non-partisan, advocating for no candidate or party
To invite and include other faith communities
To become a permanent group within each parish to educate every generation of Catholics about our Freedom of Religion…how rare it is, how dearly it was purchased for us and how certainly it is being lost.
To recognize and oppose attacks on Freedom of Religion from any source
“We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, that religion, or the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.” James Madison
“While Americans presume that the Constitution guarantees their rights, in practice our rights survive or disappear based on how firmly we defend them.” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput