Politicians cannot remain silent
Fr Waldemar Cislo, Director of the Polish section of ‘Aid to the Church in Need’
In his message for the World Day of Peace Benedict XVI reminded us, ‘At present, Christians are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith. Many Christians experience daily affronts and often live in fear because of their pursuit of truth, their faith in Jesus Christ and their heartfelt plea for respect for religious freedom. This situation is unacceptable, since it represents an insult to God and to human dignity; furthermore, it is a threat to security and peace, and an obstacle to the achievement of authentic and integral human development (cf. Benedict XVI, encyclical Caritas in veritate, 29. 55-57). In the context of this and other messages as well as the events that we can hear today and that dramatically confirm by numbers the words of the Holy Father that every three minutes a Christian is killed in the world, in the light of 170,000 martyrs a year – we must not remain silent!
The Catholic media and Aid to the Church in Need, which has issued its third report showing the situation of Christians in various regions of the world, try to be the voice of this Church of Martyrs. We were glad to hear the voice of the European Parliament of 15 November 2007 about the threats to religious communities, of 21 January 2010 and many others, including the resolution of 6 May 2010, the statement about the attacks in Jos, Nigeria, the resolution of 20 May 2010 concerning religious freedom in Pakistan, and especially the last statement of the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek on the tragic events in Alexandria, Egypt, and the meeting of foreign ministers, held on 31 January 2011, the theme of which was to be the persecutions of Christians and seeking the possibility of counteraction to these situations in the future. One should add that the Polish minister of foreign affairs was one of the four initiators of this meeting.
Unfortunately, it soon turned out that the discussion on the situation of Christians was replaced by such politically correct formulations as, ‘increasing number of attacks of religious discrimination and intolerance’ and ‘terrorist acts aiming at the places of worship and pilgrims.’ In this situation the words of the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference Archbishop Jozef Michalik, who stressed the omission of Christianity within the EU, giving the explicit example of the calendar (published in 3 million copies and sent to schools) that lacks Christian holidays, become valid again. It looks as if Europe forgets Christianity again in the name of some strange principles of political correctness. One can see the bitter ascertainment: in these countries where Christians constitute a minority they are persecuted because they are a minority, and in Europe where there are a majority they are discriminated because of the political correctness of some environments that try to impose their ways of seeing history and values. As Christians we cannot remain silent and agree to such lies.
The latest report of Aid to the Church in Need, entitled ‘Persecuted and Forgotten’ on the persecutions of Christians, showing the data of the years 2009-2010, states that in every third country there is no full religious freedom and in over 70 countries there are cases of discrimination of Christians on account of their faith in Jesus Christ.