We are witnessing martyrs for the faith in our own time. In the latest string of attacks on Christians in the Middle East by Muslim extremists,
A car bomb exploded last night [New Year’s Eve] outside a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, just before Mass ended. The death toll from the bloody attack is, for now, 21 dead and 43 wounded.
On October 31, Al Qaeda attacked and killed Assyrian Catholics in a church in Iraq during Mass. They made a promise to rid Iraq of Christians; they’re succeeding.
The Islamic effort to cleanse the Middle East by Christians has increased,” writes a Coptic website. In a statement published by the Egyptian press, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appealed to Egyptians, “Copts and Muslims, to maintain their unity in the face of the terrorist forces that undermine the stability of the homeland and its unity.
Pope Benedict XVI has invited the leaders of the world’s religions to come together at a summit planned for October 25, 2011 with the theme of working toward world peace. This date will mark the 25th anniversary of a similar summit convened by John Paul II in Assisi in 1986.
Benedict told pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square the aim of the meeting would be to “solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith in the service of the cause for peace.”
World leaders can make promises to try and contain their more radical members, but we all know extremists desire only to destroy, not to cooperate with peacemakers. The leaders at the summit ought to condemn the acts of their radical members. To speak of peace without reference to the destruction perpetrated on innocents is like burying one’s head in the sand. It does no good.
It really doesn’t matter if you agree with the Catholic faith and its practices, or whether you think the Pope is the devil. No one should be killed because of his or her religious beliefs. Just as the first Christian martyrs were slaughtered simply because they followed Jesus, so too our present day Christian brothers and sisters in humanity are being murdered for their faith.