In an alarming trend in the realm of Christian persecution, we again today see a story of kidnapping. Italian Father Giancarlo Bossi was kidnapped by at least 10 men in the Philippines after celebrating Mass in the parish church of Payao. This comes on the heels of a Chaldean Catholic priest and three deacons being gunned down in Mosul last week.
Kidnapping, particularly anti-Christian kidnapping, seems to be on the rise. So much so that the Pope issued a special plea for kidnap victims. From Zenit:
“Unfortunately, I receive frequent requests for intervention on behalf of persons — some of whom are even priests — who have been seized for different reasons and in different parts of the world.”
We often think of Christian persecution as something of the ancient past. We conjure images of the early Christians being thrown to the lions. It all seems like tales from a long bygone era. It is not.
It might surprise many to learn that in two millennia of Christian history, about 70 million faithful have given their lives for the faith. Of these, 45.5 million – a stunning 65%, were in the last century, according to Italian journalist Antonio Socci.
We now see Christian persecution in full swing in places like Iraq, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, East Timor, some countries of South America, and the Sudan. The list goes on.
We must fervently pray for those who have been wounded or martyred during this ongoing persecution and for those who commit these unthinkable deeds. What is more, we must also remain ever vigilant for if we think that it cannot happen here, Satan and history are always ready to prove us wrong.