Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Tomorrow we Bishops of the Permanent Council will dedicate a special moment of prayer for the martyrs, missionaries and lay people, of today: we want them to feel the closeness of our love and of our communities, and the overwhelming gratitude for the example of intrepid faith. The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians!". This is what Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) said yesterday afternoon, March 23, in his speech during the opening session of the Permanent Council of CEI.
The Cardinal dedicated a considerable part of his speech to the theme of the persecution of Christians: "We cannot but remain painfully astonished before the persecution against Christians that grows and becomes cruel. The world of faith, of common sense, the human world remains baffled and beaten". Questioning the reasons for the persecution, he said: "One cannot but condemn such barbaric and studied cruelty against minorities, especially against Christians only because Christians. One cannot but condemn crazy and bloody strategies. Religion can never be challenged to kill or do violence". Finally, he stressed: "While it remains an urgent responsibility to ensure the rights of religious freedom in the world, once again we urge Europe to a serious examination of conscience on the phenomenon of Westerners who enlist in the death squads". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 24/03/2015)