Pope Benedict decries growing Christianophobia in Europe

December 16, 2010


(Photo: Pope Benedict XVI blesses a nativity scene at the Vatican December 15, 2010/Tony Gentile)

Pope Benedict voiced the Catholic Church’s deep concern over “hostility and prejudice” against Christianity in Europe on Thursday, saying creeping secularism was just as bad as religious fanaticism. In the message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace, marked on Jan. 1, he also reiterated recent condemnations of lack of religious freedom in countries in the Middle East where Christians are a minority, such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

He said Christians were the most persecuted religious group in the world and that it was “unacceptable” that in some places they had to risk their lives to practise their faith. But he reserved his strongest words for Europe, where the Church says it is under assault by some national governments and European institutions over issues such as gay marriage, abortion and the use of Christian religious symbols in public places.

“I also express my hope that in the West, and especially in Europe, there will be an end to hostility and prejudice against Christians because they are resolved to orient their lives in a way consistent with the values and principles expressed in the Gospel,” he said in the message.  “May Europe rather be reconciled to its own Christian roots, which are fundamental for understanding its past, present and future role in history.”

The Pope put what the Vatican has termed “aggressive secularism”, such as gay marriage and restrictions on religious symbols such as crucifixes, nativity scenes and other traditions, on the same level as religious fanaticism: “It should be clear that religious fundamentalism and secularism are alike in that both represent extreme forms of a rejection of legitimate pluralism and the principle of secularity.”

Church officials have expressed concerns over what they see as growing “Christianophobia” in the developed world. A top Vatican official addressed it at a recent summit of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Kazakhstan and Christian groups have set up the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians to record cases of perceived disadvantages.

Read the full story here. The full text of the pope’s message is here in English.

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The Pope is right — anti-Christian prejudice is rampant.

Not only in Europe, but in the U.S. and in my home town of Madison. So much so, that I have a blog category “Don’t diss my Church” — http://sytereitz.com/category/catholic/.

Posted by SyteR | Report as abusive

Nonsense – Nearly every business in North America is closed for your holidays. There is a tax-exempt church on nearly every corner. Christians of various denominations go door-to-door trying to convert people across the continent.

Persecution does occur in places like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, but to say you are persecuted in the western world is ludicrous. I hate to break it to you, but ridicule is not persecution.

Posted by Scott-K | Report as abusive

This should be put in perspective. What that creep in a frog refers to as “christianophobia is: the fact that they are not allowed anymore to cheat and abuse (on the european taxpayer’s expenses). And further that they ought to be subject to civil law just as any other human being. Their imaginary friend up there might tell them it’s ok to be criminals. But Europeans are done with it.
There just one step left: make an end to the funding of this criminal organisation by euro govs. That then will be the end of them. AT LAST.
We tackled fascism and communism, this is just another abberation of humanity (admitted way tougher to crack)that needs to be dealt with on our way to enlightenment. The rest of the world will follow some 200 years later as always I suppose! Apparently some are only just now learning that the world is not flat!

Posted by Middlewave | Report as abusive

@Scott-K – You alone have used the word “persecution” on this page. Neither the article, nor other commentators have used it.

Prejudice is being discussed; and yes, ridicule is prejudice.
Prejudice is “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.”

Midddlewave’s post illustrates very well the ill-informed prejudice against Christians that is so rampant in Europe and in the U.S.

Aggressive ridicule not tolerated towards other groups– religious, racial, gender, or other– is tolerated towards Christians.

http://sytereitz.com/2010/12/christianop hobia/

Posted by SyteR | Report as abusive

@SyteR – Perhaps you missed this part of the article: “He said Christians were the most persecuted religious group in the world”

As to ridicule being equivalent to prejudice… Satire is a form of ridicule. Satire is perfectly acceptable in a free society. Plenty of people make an honest living as satirists…

Are you saying all satirists are prejudiced, or just the ones who poke fun at your faith?

Posted by Scott-K | Report as abusive