This month, 50 innocent Muslims were murdered in Christchurch, New Zealand. Many more were hospitalized due to their injuries. We read of the horrible atrocities inflicted upon people whose only crime was prayer. In the name of all of the faithful parishioners from this parish, I sent flowers to the local mosque located on this same block. I asked that the flowers be placed in the mosque so that all who visited would know that we share their grief and pray for the end to such senseless violence against humanity and against people of all faiths.
The story was the lead story in every news media outlet in the world in the days following. The horrific story was everywhere. Every political leader very publicly and rightly condemned this sin. Every celestial body from Hollywood voiced protest. Condolences and consolations were offered by everyone, everywhere.
During the very same week, on another continent and in another part of the world, 120 Christian men, Christian women and Christian children in central Nigeria were macheted to death and slaughtered for the crime of being a Christian. This murderous rampage against African Christians occurred at the same time. Did you read about this? Did you see it on the news? Had you heard about this latest Christian massacre? Of course, you didn’t because all of the newspaper and media outlets across America never reported it.
Also, during that same week over 12 Catholic churches across France were desecrated. One of the most famous Catholic churches in Paris—Saint-Sulpice—was set on fire after Mass. Notre-Dame des Enfants was desecrated by painting a cross with human excrement as well as looting of the altar and tabernacle. Holy Communion hosts were thrown into the dumpster, other consecrated hosts trampled underfoot. The French government and law officials are reluctant to name those who desecrated these dozen Catholic churches. 80 percent of the desecrations of places of worship in France occur in Christian churches—on average two churches every day in France.
On our own continent, during the same week, a Catholic priest was attacked and stabbed while saying Mass at the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal, Canada. You had to hunt around to find any coverage of this attack.
The simple fact is that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. Seventy five percent of all religious persecution in the world—is done against Christians.
Perhaps the reason the media never cover Christian massacres is that they are so frequent and no longer sensational enough to sell newspapers or attract viewers. Perhaps they yawn at “just another Christian persecution”.
The world rightfully is outraged by these most recent atrocities perpetrated in New Zealand. We join in this outrage, and we pray for all affected by such heinous sin.
Let us be just as mindful of the many more Christians throughout the world who suffer from this “last acceptable prejudice” of Anti-Christian hatred.
As a youth many of us were taught that one day we would be persecuted and suffer for our Catholic faith. Long before that, however, it was Jesus Himself who taught us this in the Gospel of Saint John:
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” John 15: 18