Christians ‘world’s most oppressed religious group’

Bells to be rung at noon in parishes all over Ireland in solidarity with persecuted

Catholic  Iraqis attend Mass. Christians “face persecution in over 100 countries”. Photograph: Reuters/Ali Jarekji

Catholic Iraqis attend Mass. Christians “face persecution in over 100 countries”. Photograph: Reuters/Ali Jarekji

 

Catholic bishops across the world will be ringing church bells in their dioceses at noon today, Feast of the Assumption, in solidarity with persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

In Ireland, Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey, chair of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace, has invited parishes throughout the island to support this expression of solidarity.

“Christians are now the world’s most oppressed religious group, facing religious discrimination and persecution in over 100 countries. Each year, thousands of Christians are being tortured and killed because of their faith.

“Yet the international community has been slow to recognise Christians as victims of religious persecution. The lack of protest at their treatment is truly shocking.” he said.

On the Feast of the Assumption this “global silence on the persecution of Christians will be broken by the sound of church bells at midday,” he said, recalling that “our fellow bishops in Iraq have told Irish bishops how important spiritual solidarity and prayer are to them in their suffering.”