A World Day Against Christian Persecution

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A top Vatican official called for the establishment of a world day dedicated to raising awareness of religious injustices suffered by Christians.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s top foreign affairs official, addressed members at the 18th meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Dec. 6 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

“There may be more than 200 million Christians, of different confessions, who are in difficulty because of legal and cultural structures that lead to their discrimination,” the archbishop said.

“The celebration of an international day against persecution and discrimination of Christians might prove to be an important sign that governments are willing to deal with this serious issue,” he said.

The Lithuanian OSCE chairmanship had organized a conference held in Rome in September themed, “Preventing and Responding to Hate Incidents and Crimes against Christians.” In his December speech to the OSCE, the archbishop called that event “successful and hopeful” because it recognized the need for dialogue between Christians, other religious groups and nonbelievers.

The archbishop praised the Lithuanian OSCE chairmanship for its efforts “to combat intolerance against Christians” by holding the September conference and said another similar gathering is needed in the future.

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