BY Ryan McDougall | April 26 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Officials look over the damaged  St. Sebastian Catholic Church April 22, 2019, following a bomb blast in Negombo, Sri Lanka. (CNS photo/Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters) See SRI-LANKA-EASTER-BOMBINGS, DINARDO-SRI-LANKA-ATTACKS, and EASTER-SEASON-ATTACKS April 23, 2019.

‘Scale of Christian persecution has not been recognised’, ACN says

Governments and the media have failed to recognise the scale of Christian persecution, a Catholic charity has warned following attacks on churches in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic organisation that aims to help persecuted Christians across the world, has launched an urgent prayer appeal following the bombings, and called on the world to wake up to the reality of Christian persecution.

The attack, which is believed to have been perpetrated by Islamic terror groups, hit Sri Lanka’s Christian community on Easter Sunday.

 

Bombings

Six near simultaneous explosions at three hotels and three churches took place at around 9.05am local time.

In the afternoon, a seventh explosion was reported at a hotel near a zoo in the Southern Colombo region of Dehiwala.

Just 30 minutes later, an eighth explosion was reported in Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers.

The death toll is continually rising and was last reported at 321 as the SCO went to press. A further 500 are wounded.

 

Prayers

ACN’s John Pontifex told the SCO: “We call on people to pray for those who have died, all those injured and all those mourning lost loved ones.

“We also urge people to pray for those who carried out the atrocities and we pray that those responsible may be brought to justice and that healing and reconciliation can take place.”

 

Kindness

Mr Pontifex added: “The level of support—prayers and selfless acts of giving—show that those who support Aid to the Church in Need are passionate in their support for those persecuted for their Faith.

“We are frequently overwhelmed by such acts of kindness.

“However, while there have been some steps forward, the truth is that the government and the media have yet to recognise the scale of persecution against Christians in our world today.

“If there is any good that comes out of the suffering we are now seeing in Sri Lanka it would be that from now on there is zero tolerance of persecution against Christians and that it is given the attention it deserves both by government and by the media.”

 

Merciless attacks

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland said that Christianity ‘continues to be the world’s most persecuted religion and this sad reality is reflected in these most recent and devastating attacks in Sri Lanka, carried out calculatingly, mercilessly on Easter Sunday.’

“The Church in Scotland stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka at this time,” they said.

“Globally, over 200 million Christians face severe persecution on account of their faith, and live in countries where they are minority populations.”

“It is vital that such senseless and targeted attacks are described and acknowledged as part of a global persecution of Christians, to ensure any response is appropriately directed to the most vulnerable.”

“At home, Catholics may wish to support the vital work of Aid to the Church in Need which provides help to persecuted Christians worldwide, and which has funded many projects in Sri Lanka.”

In a letter to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow expressed the ‘sorrow of the Catholic community’ of Glasgow Archdiocese, ‘among whom are devout Sri Lankan Catholics.’

 

 

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