Pope Francis has once again show himself to be one of the only world leaders willing to give a voice to the Christians being slaughtered by Islamic radicals:
With pain, with much pain, I learned of the terrorist attacks today against two churches in the city of Lahore in Pakistan, which have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries. They are Christian churches. Christians are persecuted. Our brothers spill their blood only because they are Christians. As I assure you of my prayers for the victims and their families, I ask the Lord, beseech the Lord, source of all good, for the gift of peace and harmony to this country, that this persecution against Christians, that the world tries to hide, ends and there is peace.
I was there, and caught the end of his remarks (I posted the video below, in Italian). What struck me is that this is one of the surprising (and sad) ways that the papacy has been relevant in the twenty-first century:
- Pope Francis gives a voice to the voiceless Christians — Catholic, Protestant, and Coptic — who are being martyred for their Christian faith. It turned out that this time around, one of the churches bombed was Catholic; another was Protestant. The Vicar of Christ spoke on behalf of both, just as he did for the 21 Coptic martyrs.
- The Vatican is actually urging an international coalition to intervene militarily against ISIS, calling upon both Western and Middle Eastern nations to step up to the plate to stop thi genocide.
- The pope has also been a voice of rebuke: both against those who are killing innocent Christians in the name of their agenda, and against those too cowardly to stand up to them. ISIS has threatened his life, which the pope shrugged off, placing his life in God’s hands. (This isn’t the first time someone has sought to kill Bergoglio).
Given all this, I’d encourage you to take seriously the very last thing that the pope said to us today: “Please don’t forget to pray for me.”