Thursday, September 6, 2012
Notre Dame's Institute for Church Life is hosting what looks to be a wonderful conference in early November: "Seed of the Church: Telling the Story of Today's Christian Martyrs":
The conference intends to raise consciousness inside and outside the Church
regarding the widespread persecution of Christians around the world and to
explore how the Church has responded and might respond vigorously and
faithfully in the future.
It is striking how little attention the secular world pays to this injustice,
despite the fact that the persecution of Christians is one of the largest
classes of human rights violations in the world today. The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community estimates that some 100 million Christians are victims of severe persecution. Yet governments, human rights organizations, the global media, and the western university pay little heed. For example, of three hundred reports that Human Rights Watch has produced since 2008, only one focuses on a case of Christian persecution. Similarly, despite the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act by the U.S. Congress in 1998,
neither U.S. foreign policy nor civil society has ever made the persecution of
Christians a high priority.
A central objective of this conference is to rectify this lack of acknowledgment
of this persecution by the secular media and Western academia, and to
communicate to the world the extent and character of the persecution. Yet the purpose of the conference goes beyond raising awareness. It is also to explore
how the Church can respond to the persecution of Christian believers
prayerfully and liturgically, out of the depths of the Church’s spiritual
theology. In the most profound sense, what does it mean to be in solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer violence for their faith?