Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith of the Catholic Herald always has something interesting to say on his online blog at the paper. I would like to draw your attention to his most recent offering.
Responding to an article by the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Jonathan Sacks in which he discusses the persecution of Christians, Fr Lucie-Smith asks a simple question: What can we do to help our persecuted brothers and sisters? To be honest it seems no one cares about them: certainly not governments nor even the UN, and yet every day Christians are being killed, driven out of their homes and lands, treated as second-class citizens.
Fr Lucie Smith offers a few suggestions. First of all for us Christians to boycott those countries which persecute our brothers and sisters in terms of our vacation. We should decide not to visit those countries - he mentions China, Egypt and the Maldives, the latter being considered an island paradise which is in reality a hell for its native Christian. That is a good point - why should we spent our hard-earned money to prop up a persecuting regime. I note that many Irish used to visit Middle Eastern kingdoms for shopping expeditions. I'm not sure if they have the money for that now, but certainly a rethink there would be a good idea.
Secondly, it is suggested that we put pressure on our governments to protest the treatment of Christians. Citing the pressure Evangelical Christians put on the American government with regards to Sudan, Fr Lucie-Smith says we can urge our governments to break off cultural and sporting links with these countries. A good idea too. That may be difficult here in Ireland at the moment, our current government prefers to break links with the Holy See and is actually courting China: they follow the money. I suppose given that one of the partners in government is socialist and members have had links with communist countries in the past, we can hardly expect a move there. But pressure can still be applied.
And finally, Fr Lucie-Smith suggests that Christians join the ranks of those who protest whenever leaders from those countries visit our country: embarrass them and our government during these unacceptable cosy encounters.
A few good ideas. I would also add that we must make others aware of the persecution. One of the problems we have in Ireland is an anti-Christian media, so most people here are not aware that our fellow Christians are being persecuted because the media is not reporting it: it goes against their agenda. Priests should speak of this persecution in their sermons, we should include regular intercessions in the Prayers of the Faithful. And of course we must pray for them and support them as much as we can, financially in so far as we can. Time for solidarity.
If you have any other ideas, please let us know.