No, this post is not about the once #1 (but now #12) Louisville Cardinals basketball team. Though the Cards are the local favorites, they are led by a coach I don’t particularly support. So, chances are, I won’t ever have much to say about those
Cards. This post is about Cardinals, but not the ones in Louisville. I’m not talking about the Cardinals in Arizona or St. Louis either. The former’s football season was over pretty much after week 5, while the latter’s baseball season has yet to begin.
This post is about cardinals of a different (and more serious) sort. Specifically, I am speaking of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference who, in his opening remarks to the conference this past week, urged Roman Catholic leaders to remember the persecuted church. Cardinal Bagnasco surveyed the worldwide persecution of Christians, noting,
In too many countries, Christians are not allowed any sign of religious affiliation, except by camouflage or in hiding.
The Cardinal went on to say,
Those who suffer and die for Christ, do so for us, and they are our brothers regardless of the distance that divides us. In the mysterious economy through which the kingdom of God on earth is concretely woven, communion with these situations of martyrdom gives truth and vigor to our pastoral work, today focused on re-evangelizing the lands that have long known the Gospel”.
Finally, the Cardinal urged (in accordance with Hebrews 13:3) to remember brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution. The Cardinal noted that such a memory revitalizes our faith, too. And he is right. Remembering those persecuted on behalf of Christ causes us to remember our own faith in Christ. Even more important, we are forced to remember Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith who is undeniably present with those suffering on account of Him.
Thank you, Cardinal Bagnasco and Cardinal Bertone (who joined the call to remember the persecuted). May the Lord raise up an increasing number of Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders who call all followers of Christ to remember the persecuted.
- Are Christians Extinct in the Middle East? (gregoryccochran.com)
- Why Aren’t Christians Persecuted? (gregoryccochran.com)
- Christian Persecution: Holy Father Warns Bishops of Coming Persecution (patheos.com)