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November 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Several well-researched studies released this year show that Christianity remains the most persecuted religion in the world, with some form of harassment occurring in 145 of 198 countries in the world.

Pew Research conducted a study, the 11th of its kind, dealing with data in 2018, which is the most recent year included in the survey. Pew defined harassment as “a wide range of actions – from verbal abuse to physical violence and killings – motivated at least in part by the target’s religious identity.”

The report distinguished between government and social harassment. While government harassment of Christianity occurred in 79 countries in 2007, that figure rose to 124 countries in 2018. Similarly with social harassment, the number rose from 74 countries in 2007 to 104 countries in 2018.

Pew also noted the trend in certain parts of the world to become centers for Christian persecution. In the “Middle East-North Africa region,” Christians are harassed in 19 out of 20 countries. While social persecution occurred in 15 of those, government harassment existed in 19.

In the Asia-Pacific region, too, “Christians reportedly were harassed by governments or social groups in 80 percent of countries.”

Reporting on the plight of persecuted Christians in 2019, Fr. Armand de Malleray of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) compiled a summary of the Second Budapest International Conference on Christian Persecution, in which he learned that 245 million Christians are persecuted every day, precisely because of their religion.

Aid to the Church in Need’s (ACN) own 2017-2019 report noted, “Around the world, Christians are a favoured target for violent militant extremists who operate without boundaries and who perceive local Christians as a legitimate alternative to a direct strike on the West.”

The website Open Doors USA compiled its own 2020 World Watch list, in which it gave astonishing statistics. The records showed that in the last year, there were “2,983 Christians killed for their faith, 9,488 churches and other Christian buildings attacked, 3,711 believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned.”

Open Doors stated that “Christian persecution is higher today than at any other time in modern history.” It also highlighted, “In seven of the countries in the World Watch List’s top 10, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression.”

ACN emphasized that “Church attacks in Sri Lanka and the Philippines show that there is now an unholy trinity of threats facing Christians in South and East Asia: Islamic extremism, popularist nationalism and authoritarian regimes.”

Islamic oppression was a theme that Fr. de Malleray also mentioned. “Since its inception, Islam has been a major factor of anti-Christian persecution,” he wrote.

However, despite the threat to Christians that Islam poses, he noted that “Communism under its political and now cultural guises is even more harmful than Islam, if ever possible.”

“The anti-Christian Marxist ideology wants us to hide, compromise and eventually forget our Christian faith,” de Malleray continued.

Fr. de Malleray further commented that in the U.K. and the West, generally “most of the recent laws undermining the natural and Christian order indicate further Marxist oppression.”

His statements are vindicated by ACN’s own designation of North Korea, headed by communist dictator Kim Jong-Un, as “the world’s most dangerous place to be a Christian.” Open Doors added, “If North Korean Christians are discovered, they are deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot.”

London-based Korea Future Initiative (KFI) recently published a very detailed account of religious, specifically Christian, persecution in North Korea and China between 1990-2019. The investigators conducted 117 interviews with survivors or witnesses of the North Korean prison camps. “273 victims of religious freedom violations” were recognized, with 215 of them having been Christians.

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PETITION: Ask Pope Francis to clarify and rectify scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions
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Remarks attributed to Pope Francis (and, not denied by the Vatican) in support of homosexual civil unions have caused grave scandal to the faithful.

Please SIGN this urgent petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify these heterodox and scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions, and which will be delivered both to the Vatican and to the Papal Nuncio of the United States (the Pope's official representative in the U.S.).

As the last guarantor of the Faith, the Pope should clarify and rectify these remarks, which go against the perennial teaching of the Church, even including the teaching of his living predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

"What we have to create is a law of civil coexistence [meaning civil union law, for homosexuals]...," Pope Francis is reported to have remarked, in what is arguably his clearest statement of public support for a practice morally prohibited by official Catholic Church teaching.

In fact, the Church has been crystal clear in Her opposition to homosexual unions.

Just in 2003, Pope Saint John Paul II approved a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, titled 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons' and written by Cardinal Ratzinger (now, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), which concludes with the following:

"The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself."

It could not be more clear: the Church is calling people to repentance, not to be left to indulge in grave sin.

Since becoming public, several senior prelates as well as other notable Catholic figures have voiced their opposition to these remarks attributed to the Pontiff.

Cardinal Raymond Burke stated: "It is a source of deepest sadness and pressing pastoral concern that the private opinions reported with so much emphasis by the press and attributed to Pope Francis do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church, as it is expressed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition."

Cardinal Gerhard Müller commented: "Where there is tension between the plain and obvious Word of God and the infallible interpretation on the one hand, and private expressions of opinion even by the highest church authorities on the other, the principle always applies: in dubio pro DEO [When in doubt, be in favor of God]."

And, Catholic theologian and apologist Scott Hahn, without directly quoting Pope Francis, shared on Facebook the 'Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,' published by the CDF in 1986, with the statement: "Holy Father, respectfully and humbly, I beg to differ... if that is indeed what you said. In any case, please clarify and rectify your statement, especially in view of the official teaching of our Lord through the magisterium of His Church."

But, the silence from the Vatican has been deafening, with no clarification forthcoming.

We must, therefore, ask the Pope for clarification in this serious matter.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify remarks attributed to him in support of homosexual civil unions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Cdl. Burke: Pope’s homosexual civil union remarks ‘contrary’ to Scripture, Tradition' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/cardinal-burke-on-popes-homosexual-civil-union-remarks-contrary-to-the-teaching-of-sacred-scripture-and-sacred-tradition

'Cardinal says Catholics ‘can and should’ disagree with Pope’s ‘opinion’ on gay civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/cdl.mueller-popes-words-on-gay-civil-unions-purely-private-expression-of-opinion-which-every-catholic-can-and-should-freely-contradict

'Archbishop Vigano, Bishops Tobin and Strickland respond to Pope’s approval of homosexual civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/archbishop-vigano-and-bishops-tobin-strickland-respond-to-popes-approval-of-homosexual-civil-unions

'Pope’s comments on gay civil unions cause shockwaves around the world' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/deepest-sadness-cardinal-burke-condemns-pope-franciss-remarks-supporting-civil-unions

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Prisoners noted that “the harshest punishments were reserved for Christians.”

“Documented violations included: 244 incidents of arbitrary arrest; 195 incidents of arbitrary detention; 125 incidents of arbitrary imprisonment; 111 incidents of arbitrary interrogation; 79 incidents of refoulement; 36 incidents of punishment of family members; 36 incidents of torture or sustained physical assault; 32 incidents of sexual violence; 20 incidents of execution; and 19 incidents of public trial or resident exposure meetings,” according to KFI. “In many cases, a single victim experienced multiple violations.”

The victims were between ages 3 and over 80 years old. One prisoner said, “There is no religion in the world and Kim Jong-il is God,” and as a result Christianity was particularly singled out in the public schools as an area for “anti-religious education.”

One victim was found to possess a Bible, for which the punishment was being sent straight to a prison camp. Another person, also found owning a Bible, was shot “in front of 3,000 residents.”

KFI documented that among the 273 identified victims, there were 32 “incidents of sexual violence and forced abortions that were perpetrated against persons who experienced criminal charges based on their religious adherence.” Communist prison guards would suffocate to death all babies born alive when the abortion procedure did not previously kill the baby.

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