A Remembrance Day for Modern Martyrs?

Proponent Notes Ignorance About Present-Day Persecution

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STRASBOURG, France, JAN. 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is proposing a remembrance day for modern martyrs, in tribute of the many Christians killed over the last decades in hatred of the faith. 



This was the proposal voiced by Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist, at an intervention today at the Council of Europe. The proposal came during a hearing sponsored by the European Centre for Law and Justice on the "Persecution of Oriental Christians: What Answer From Europe?" 

"Awareness of intolerance and of persecutions against Christians is not enough," Introvigne stated. "Three quarters of the cases of religious persecution in the world regard Christians, but few know it." 

Introvigne recalled the ecumenical event that Pope John Paul II organized in the Colosseum on May 7, 2000, with eight "stations" that pointed to the principal groups of Christian martyrs of our time: the victims of Soviet totalitarianism, of communism in other countries, of Nazism, of Islamic ultra-fundamentalism, of violent religious nationalism in Asia, of tribal and anti-missionary hatred, of aggressive secularism, and of organized crime. 

"Precisely May 7, in memory of that great event, could be the date of a remembrance day for Christian martyrs," Introvigne suggested. "The success of the Day of Remembrance for an effective fight against anti-Semitism, also held in schools, suggests something similar -- certainly not to concur with it -- but to remember the very many martyrs -- a word that means 'witness' -- of the persecution and intolerance against Christians." 

The OSCE representative proposed the day as an annual examination of conscience and a review of Europe's response to the problem of minority protection. 

Introvigne recalled John Paul II's appeal in 2000: "In the century and the millennium just begun may the memory of these brothers and sisters of ours remain always vivid. Indeed, may it grow still stronger! Let it be passed on from generation to generation, so that from it there may blossom a profound Christian renewal!" 

The establishment of a European remembrance day, he said, would be a beautiful response to this appeal, timely more than ever today. 

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On the Net: 

Pope John Paul II's May 7, 2000, homily: www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/homilies/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20000507_test-fede_en.html