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Samuel Gregg: We Need An Encyclical On Christian Persecution

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In today’s Crisis Magazine, Acton’s director of research Samuel Gregg calls for a a new papal encyclical: one addressing ” the on-going brutal persecution of Christians in the Middle East.”

The facts about the deepening subjugation of Christians around the world hardly need repeating. Every day we read of the mistreatment of Christian guest-workers in Saudi Arabia, the violence unleashed against Christians in India by Hindu nationalists, the repression of Christians by China’s Communist regime, or the slaughter of African Christians by Muslim extremists. What is being inflicted upon Christians across the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic terrorists is in a league of its own. It is, in a word, unspeakable.

Gregg grants that the Holy Father has spoken out regarding the genocide in the Middle Ease, but his remarks have lacked a coherent message. For instance, in one public statement, Pope Francis said military force was allowed to help Christians, but then,

… he immediately qualified his remark by saying that this didn’t mean ‘bomb or make war.’What other force, one could ask, does the pope have in mind?

Gregg reminds the reader that, as the Bishop of Rome, Francis most of all has the responsibility to protect this flock from the very real danger many face.

In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invoked a dark vision of a world on the brink of environmental catastrophe. In forthcoming decades, I suspect most of these prognostications will end up in the same category to which we now consign the Armageddon-like predictions made in the 1960s by population-bomb doomsdayers such as Paul R. Ehrlich. Apocalypse, however, is the word that captures exactly what’s happening to some of the world’s Christians. And if—as it surely is—a very basic responsibility of the Church’s shepherds is to protect their flock from the wolves, there’s no good reason why the Church’s chief shepherd shouldn’t speak firmly, coherently, and through the medium of one of the highest forms of magisterial teaching about the onslaught against Christians today.

Read “It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution.”

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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