Election of new President of USCCB takes place tomorrow, November 12th
November 11, 2013 09:23 EST
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addresses the annual fall meeting of the bishops Nov. 11 in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec) (Nov. 11, 2013)
From the USCCB site, some excerpts from Cardinal Timothy Dolan's Presidential Address to the USCCB General Assembly:
This morning I want to invite us to broaden our horizons, to "think
Catholic" about our brothers and sisters in the faith now suffering
simply because they sign themselves with the cross, bow their heads at
the Holy Name of Jesus, and happily profess the Apostles' Creed.
Read the entire address
Brother bishops, our legitimate and ongoing struggles to protect our
"first and most cherished freedom" in the United States pale in
comparison to the Via Crucis currently being walked by so many of our
Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, who are
experiencing lethal persecution on a scale that defies belief. If our
common membership in the mystical body of Christ is to mean anything,
then their suffering must be ours as well.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly referred to victims of
Christian persecution as "martyrs." We are living in what must be
recognized as, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, "a new age of
martyrs." One expert calculates that half of all Christian martyrs were
killed in the twentieth century alone. The twenty-first century has
already seen in its first 13 years one million people killed around the
world because of their belief in Jesus Christ one million already in
this still young century. ...
Of course, it's not just Christians who suffer from religious
persecution, but believers in other faiths as well. Much religious
persecution is committed by Muslims against other Muslims. Buddhists in
Tibet suffer under government torture and repression. In Myanmar Muslims
suffer at the hands of Buddhist mobs. All of us share apprehension over
reports of rising anti-Semitism.
But there is no escaping the fact that Christians are singled out in far more places and far more often. ...
We as bishops, as shepherds of one of the most richly blessed
communities of faith on the planet, as pastors who have spoken with
enthusiastic unity in defense of our own religious freedom, must become
advocates and champions for these Christians whose lives literally hang
in the balance. ...
In general, my brothers, we can make supporting the suffering Church a
priority not one good cause among others, but a defining element of
our pastoral priorities. As historians of this conference know, speaking
up for suffering faithful abroad has been a hallmark of our
soon-to-be-century of public advocacy of the gospel by the conference of
bishops in this beloved country we are honored to call our earthly
Protecting religious freedom will be a central social and political
concern of our time, and we American bishops already have made very
important contributions to carrying it forward. Now we are being
beckoned by history, by Pope Francis, by the force of our own logic
and the ecclesiology of communion to extend those efforts to the
dramatic front lines of this battle, where Christians are paying for
their fidelity with their lives. As the Council reminded us, we are
bishops not only for our dioceses, not only for our nation, but for the
May all the blessed martyrs, ancient and new, pray for us, as we try to be confessors of the faith.
About the Author
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
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