Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Florida Catholic staff - Florida Catholic
VATICAN CITY | Two out of three people suffer persecution because of their faith: “This is unacceptable!” says Pope Francis in his latest video for the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.
This video inaugurates the seventh year of Pope Video: a global initiative that promulgates the prayer intentions that Pope Francis entrusts to the entire Catholic Church.
Francis dedicates his first prayer message of 2022 to combatting religious discrimination and persecution.
He opens his prayer intention with two direct and incisive questions which cry out for an answer: “How is it possible that many religious minorities currently suffer discrimination or persecution? How can we allow there to be people who are persecuted simply because they publicly profess their faith?”
He then reminds us that religious freedom is not limited to freedom of worship; rather, it is tied to fraternity.
The Holy Father invites all people to choose “the path of fraternity. Because either we are brothers and sisters, or we all lose.” To achieve this, it is fundamental that we put an end to the numerous restrictions that many people encounter when they profess their faith.
With an appeal to all the governments of the world, the Pope Video — which is supported this month by Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity and pontifical foundation, with the mission to help the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in need, through information, prayer, and action — emphasizes the idea that, in the societies in which we live and grow, the recognition of the rights and dignity which we all have as persons must flourish.
According to the Religious Freedom in the World report published by Aid to the Church in Need in April of 2021, religious freedom is violated in a third of the countries around the world, in which live close to 5.2 billion people. The same document reports that more than 646 million Christians live in countries where religious freedom is not respected.
Similarly, since 2020, reports have denounced how many ethnic and religious minorities, especially Islamic ones, do not enjoy full rights of citizenship in the countries where they live.