VATICAN, April 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Christians are facing an “educated persecution” that seeks to restrict their rights to freedom of religion and conscientious objection, Pope Francis warned in a homily Tuesday.
This “educated persecution” of “which not much is being said,” comes “cross-dressed as culture, cross-dressed as modernity, cross-dressed as progress,” the pontiff said during his daily morning Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta Hotel, where he lives.
And it targets individuals “for wanting to have and to manifest the values of a Son of God,” the pope said, according to Ines San Martin’s report in the online journal Crux.
“It’s a persecution that robs man of his freedom, even from conscientious objection!” said Francis.
“We see every day that the powerful countries create laws that force us to go through this path … a nation that doesn’t follow these modern laws, these cultures, or that at least doesn’t want to have them in its laws, is accused, is politely persecuted,” he noted.
Pope Francis has publicly supported conscientious objection before, notably in remarks that appeared to refer to Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, jailed for refusing to comply to a court order that she issue licenses for same-sex “marriages.”
“Conscientious objection is a right, and part of the body of all human rights,” the pope told reporters during an impromptu press conference on the flight back to Rome, following his September 2015 visit to the United States. “If we want to make peace, we must respect all rights.”
The pope told President Obama during that visit that American Catholics, along with “countless other people of good will…are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and the right to religious liberty.”
And Francis spontaneously visited the Little Sisters of the Poor during the United States tour, a visit that Vatican officials later confirmed was intended to show support for the order, which is battling for a conscience exemption from the Obama administration’s controversial contraception mandate.
The pontiff pointed in his Tuesday homily that Christians also continue to suffer the persecution of martyrdom, mentioning those Christians that the Taliban claimed it had targeted in an Easter Sunday bombing in Lahore, Pakistan.
“They are men and women of every day: Today, on Easter Sunday, just three weeks ago … Those Christians celebrating Easter in Pakistan were martyred because they were celebrating the Risen Christ,” he said.
“The persecution, I would say, is the daily bread of the Church,” Francis added. “Jesus told us about this.”
Both martyrdom and the “educated” persecutions have “a boss,” he said. “Jesus named him the Prince of this World.”
“And when the powers want to impose attitudes, laws against the dignity of the Son of God, they persecute and go against the Creator, against God. It is the great apostasy,” Francis said.
“So the life of Christians continues with these two persecutions. The Lord has promised us He will not abandon us. ‘Be careful, be careful! Do not give in to the spirit of the world. Be careful! But always onwards, I will be with you.’”