Misuse of Word 'Persecution' Playing Into Hands of Extremists, Say Bishops

Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land Call on Christians and Muslims to Stand Together to Prevent Violence

Jerusalem, (Zenit.org) | 995 hits

Repetition of the word ‘persecution’ among some circles in the West is playing into the hands of extremists at home and abroad, bishops of the Holy Land have said. 

The Bishops of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land have said that persecution in many parts of the Western world is on people’s lips, but the prelates question what is really happening. 

“How should we speak in truth and integrity as Christians and as Church about the suffering and violence that are going on in the region?,” the bishops said in a document released on April 2 by the Commission Justice and Peace. 

“In certain circumstances the peoples of the Middle East find their only consolation and hope in Jesus’ words: ‘Happy are those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven’”, the bishops said.

But they added: ”Repetition of the word 'persecution' in some circles - usually referring only to what Christians suffer at the hands of criminals claiming to be 'Muslims' - plays into the hands of extremists, at home and abroad, whose aim is to sow prejudice and hatred, setting peoples and religions against one another". 

The bishops said Christians and Muslims need to stand together against new forces of extremism and destruction, and stress that all Christians and many Muslims are threatened by these forces that seek to create a drive out Christians. 

"All those who seek dignity, democracy, freedom and prosperity are under attack,” they said, according to Fides news agency. “We must stand together and speak out in truth and freedom. All of us Christians and Muslims must also be aware that the outside world will not make any real move to protect us. International and local political powers seek their own interests".  

The prelates, noting a general break down in law and order since the ending of totalitarian regimes, said Christians had lived in relative security under such regimes. But they asked whether their loyalty to their faith and concern for the good of their country should perhaps have made them speak out much earlier, telling the truth and calling for necessary reforms.

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On ZENIT's webpage:

Full text of bishops' statement