Act in Time: Protecting Imperiled Christians

Raising awareness of the persecution of Christians, as well as the persecution of religious minorities throughout the world, has been the focus of the Anglosphere Society and its founder, Amanda Bowman. For the past five years, Anglosphere has hosted annual conferences that bring together a wide variety of voices to increase awareness of the rise of intolerance for people of faith, especially Christians in the Middle East.

Held in person in New York in late November, and livestreamed across the globe, this year’s conference was entitled, “Act in Time: Protecting Imperiled Christians in Ancient and Other Lands.” The speakers — including Chinese activist Chen Guangchen, Lord David Alton, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda, and Maronite Bishop Gregory Mansour, among others — discussed the rise in the persecution of Christians and Muslims in China; “Lebanon as more than a nation, but a message”; the Armenian-Azeri war in the southern Caucasus; an update on Iraq; and the violence directed against Christians in western Africa, particularly Nigeria.

As in previous years, CNEWA’s chair, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, offered some thoughts about religious persecution in a keynote address:

Our legitimate and ongoing struggles to protect our ‘first and most cherished freedom’ in the United States pale in comparison to the Via Crucis currently being walked by so many of our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, who are experiencing lethal persecution on a scale that defies belief. If our common membership in the mystical body of Christ is to mean anything, then their suffering must be ours as well. …

We members of one of the most richly blessed communities of faith on the planet, as believers who have spoken with enthusiastic unity in defense of our own religious freedom, must become advocates and champions for these Christians whose lives literally hang in the balance. But, unless we have the enthusiastic backing of all our people, we won’t get too far.

Pope Francis recently invited us all to an examination of conscience in this regard:

“When I hear that so many Christians in the world are suffering, am I indifferent, or is it as if a member of my own family is suffering? When I think or hear it said that many Christians are persecuted and give their lives for their faith, does this touch my heart, or does it not reach me? Am I open to that brother or that sister in my family who’s giving his or her life for Jesus Christ? Do we pray for one another? How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted? How many? Everyone responds in his own heart. It’s important to look beyond one’s own fence, to feel oneself part of the church, of one family of God!”

You can view the conference and hear more from Cardinal Dolan and the speakers below.

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