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Beyond powerlessness over anti-Christian persecution


JOHN L. ALLEN

Source:
Crux
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
4/18/2015

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ABSTRACTBeyond powerlessness over anti-Christian persecution | Crux Skip to navigation Skip to content  Follow Crux on Twitter  Like us on Facebook menu    search   close Crux Covering all things Catholic Church Faith Life Skip to content  Hot topics Catholic college revolt Centering Prayer The Masters Quiz: The Eucharist About Crux Skip to content follow crux  Follow us on Twitter  Like us on Facebook Share on Twitter  Share on Facebook  comment on this story  All Things Catholic Beyond powerlessness over anti-Christian persecution PLUS: A final lesson from Cardinal George, the pope’s possible Cuba stop, a tightrope on financial reform, and examples of Catholicism's range John L. Allen Jr. Associate editor  @JohnLAllenJr John L. Allen Jr., associate editor, specializes in coverage of the Vatican. Full bio More John L. Allen Jr. stories Hundreds of thousands of Christians have abandoned their homes in Iraq and walked to Syria to escape violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State. (Reuters Photo/Rodi Said)   Share on Twitter  Share on Facebook  email this story  comment on this story  By John L. Allen Jr. Associate editor April 18, 2015 Though it seems almost perverse to seek a silver lining in the rise of ISIS, nevertheless there actually is one. It has at least put an end to a longstanding climate of denial that violent anti-Christian persecution around the world is a genuine, and mounting, human rights menace. The point is not that Christians deserve special privileges, or that they’re the only ones at risk. It’s rather that for a long time, the threats they face couldn’t penetrate Western consciousness, where the typical American or European is more accustomed to thinking of Christians as the authors of religious persecution rather than its victims. Today, however, two-thirds of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians live in the developing world, where they’re often convenient targets for anti-Western rage – even though their churches have deeper roots in those places than most of their persecutors. Christians are also disproportionately likely to belong to ethnic and linguistic minorities, putting them doubly or triply in jeopardy. continues below  Advertisement All that has been true for some time, but the religious cleansing campaigns carried out by ISIS and its self-described “caliphate” has made anti-Christian hatred an utterly inescapable fact of life. The question is no longer whether it’s real, but what to do about it. That’s where outfits such as the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) step in. Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA is an agency of the Vatican sustained primarily by the Church in the United States and Canada. Its first president was a legendary American Jesuit priest named Edmund Walsh, who was also the founder of the prestigious Georgetown University School of Foreign Service . continues below  Advertisement (As a footnote, Walsh was a fervent anti-Communist and confidante of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the architect of the “Red Scare” in the 1950s, proving that no accomplished life is ever without its ambiguities.) CNEWA’s mandate is to support the Eastern churches in Catholicism, meaning the Catholic communities scattered across the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India, and Eastern Europe that draw on Eastern Orthodox traditions. In recent years, that’s made CNEWA a prime mover in delivering aid to persecuted Christians in some of the world’s leading hot spots. Today, CNEWA is among the largest providers of aid to Middle Eastern Christians anywhere in the world. Though it’s a Catholic organization, it helps Christians of all sorts. Get Crux by e-mail Daily highlights John L. Allen Jr. Thank you! We've sent an e-mail to you with a confirmation link to click. That e-mail address is already subscribed. Thanks. Please provide a valid e-mail address. Please complete the CAPTCHA. Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later. This week, CNEWA announced the release of grants totaling $686,000 to aid the Christian community in the Middle East, targeted at places that have absorbed the heaviest blows. They include three six-figure projects: $100,000 to rebuild churches and other Christian sites destroyed during anti-Christian riots in Egypt in 2013, the most violent pogrom directed at Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority in at least a century $150,000 to help parishes in Jordan cope with an influx of Christian refugees from Iraq by providing necessities like bedding, clothing, and food $100,000 to provide medical care for impoverished families in Syria, largely administered by religious orders of women and men in the country Other recipients include a community of Sacred Heart nuns in Iraq that runs a home for the elderly and disabled, a community of St. Catherine of Siena sisters that lost its mother house in Mosul and seve.......