Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bishop Says Christianity Is Most Persecuted Faith

Laments Indifference, Ignorance of Western Church

BASEL, Switzerland, MARCH 25, 2009 ( A bishop of Switzerland is lamenting not only growing persecution of Christians, but that the faith is losing its soul by its reduction to a private, individual affair.

In an article published by Giornale del Popolo, Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel said that "80% of people persecuted for their faith today in the world are Christians."

He reported: "The Christian religion is the most persecuted in the world today. In 2008 alone, of the close to 2.2 billion Christians, 230 million suffered discrimination, marginalization, permanent hostility and even persecution because of their faith."

As documented by Aid to the Church in Need in this year's report on "Religious Liberty in the World," the persecution of Christians takes place especially in the former Soviet Republics, in the People's Republic of China and in neighboring countries, as well as in several Arab and North African countries.

Christians are mistreated, imprisoned or killed for their faith in at least 25 countries.

Bishop Koch said that is it "particularly sad" that "in our Western countries this tragedy is not even known by Christians themselves." He added, "A reason for this lack of interest might be the fact that, while persecuted brothers proclaim their faith publicly, we have reduced it to a private matter."

"We shut ourselves up in our own internal problems and do not take serious consideration of our public mission in society, in politics, in the State, if we don't forget it all together," the prelate noted.

Recalling Benedict XVI's words, that "if Christians are resigned to consider faith and Church as a private individual matter, then faith itself loses strength," Bishop Koch pointed out that "the more religion becomes a private matter, the more it loses its soul."

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