The Fishwrap‘s solitary boast, the nearly ubiquitous John L. Allen, Jr., has good text on (inter alia) the persecution of Christians – a topic on which he is über-credible. He includes comments made by Card. Turkson. This deserves your attention:
Next came the Council for Justice and Peace, which held its own press conference Thursday to unveil an Oct. 2-4 conference on the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris, the 1963 peace encyclical of Pope John XXIII.
The press conference provided a welcome relief from the usual insider baseball of Catholic discussion, affording top officials of the council, including Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana and Bishop Mario Toso of Italy, to address a staggering cross-section of external questions, including reform of the United Nations, water as a source of global conflict, and the best way to engage Islam.
Describing the upcoming conference, Turkson said one of the issues it will consider is what he called the “new frontiers of peace,” including “the persecution of Christians in the world.” In light of recent anti-Christian violence in both Pakistan and Kenya, I asked if there was any particular project or initiative regarding anti-Christian persecution Turkson’s council was considering.
In response, he said he hopes the Vatican’s representatives to international bodies such as the United Nations and the European Parliament can raise the profile of the issue. He also talked about the difficulties of engaging Muslims on the issue, saying that because Muslims “believe they have the final revelation,” they often “don’t enter into dialogue believing they have anything to learn.”
For instance, Turkson said when some Muslim nations wanted to press the United Nations to adopt a resolution condemning religious defamation, Christian leaders asked them to also support a resolution against religious persecution, but with limited success.
In light of the ferment, this may be a good moment to remind readers that I have a new book that comes out Tuesday, The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution. Information can be found here.
Allen has been on top of this issue for a long time and he is passionate about it – as we all should be. I predict his book will be informative. It is available at a pre-release price at the time of this writing.
His article, at Fishwrap, also includes interesting comments on the reform of the Roman Curia and the possible integration of several smaller curial dicasteries. I think that the Curia will not be slimmed down under Francis. It is going to get fatter. But that’s another pot of soup.