On August 28, 2014, Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington offered brief, yet particularly poignant, closing remarks at the conclusion of the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This Eucharistic celebration was offered for the Catholic University of America community to usher in the 2014-2015 academic year. In his conclusive remarks, Cardinal Wuerl asked, “Where are the voices?” in order to underscore the profound and inexcusable silence of world leaders in the face of the widespread oppression of Christians around the globe, particularly in the Middle East.
Below are seven groups who have broken the silence and are dedicated to raising the awareness of the plight of Christians who comprehend on a daily basis the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as we read them in Matthew 10:22-33:
“You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! Therefore, do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Please spread the word to support these groups, because as Cardinal Wuerl and other leaders of good will have indicated, we cannot remain silent against such a dire category of injustice.
1. Aid to the Church in Need
Aid to the Church in Need is a Vatican-backed agency whose charitable initiatives bring a greater awareness to the plight of Christians around the globe, and likewise offer multiple ways to support Christians who are living under persecution. Aid to the Church in Need recently published their thorough and comprehensive Religious Freedom Report 2017.
2. Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus has been instrumental in highlighting the plight of Christians, especially in the Middle East. This Catholic fraternal organization’s 278-page report Genocide Against Christians in the Middle East played a key role in convincing the United States Department of State to finally declare that what has been occurring to Christians under the oppression of ISIS constitutes genocide.
3. Open Doors USA
Founded over six decades ago, Open Doors USA offers numerous resources to help increase awareness and enhance education on how to address the plight of Christians in various regions.
4. Persecution.org – International Christian Concern
Persecution.org – International Christian Concern provides a copious amount of news on the state of religious freedom for Christians around the globe. They offer up-to-date information on the difficulties that many Christians face, as well as stories of hope and inspiration in the midst of severe challenges.
5. The Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University
The Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs offers multiple presentations, panel discussions, and publications covering the condition of religious freedom on a global scale.
6. “Under Caesar’s Sword”
The University of Notre Dame’s “Under Caesar’s Sword” documentary initiative is, according to their site, “a collaborative global research project that investigates how Christian communities respond when their religious freedom is severely violated. It is a partnership of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute, and Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Research Project, with the support of the Templeton Religion Trust.”
7. The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs, as its name implies, offers multiple resources to bring awareness of the particularly troublesome cases of violations of religious freedom around the globe. The Voice of the Martyrs’ mission statement is “Serving persecuted Christians through practical and spiritual assistance and leading other members of the Body of Christ into fellowship with them.”
If you can do nothing else during this era in which it is arguably more dangerous for Christians worldwide than it was during the infancy of the Church in the midst of the Roman Empire, please take a moment to pray the “Prayer for Persecuted Christians” (composed by Archbishop William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus).