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Vatican officials decry global persecution of Christians

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi (Photo: CNS)

Thousands of Christians are killed each year because of their faith, while millions more face bigotry and marginalisation, a Vatican official has said.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told the Human Rights Council that “credible research” by Massimo Introvigne, a former representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians, “has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more that 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year.”

Archbishop Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to UN agencies in Geneva, also added: “In some western countries, where historically the Christian presence has been an integral part of society, a trend emerges that trends to marginalise Christianity in public life, ignore historic and social contributions and even restrict the ability of faith communities to carry out social charitable services.”

During a meeting in Tirana, Albania, Bishop Mario Toso, the secretary of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that “examples of intolerance and discrimination against Christians have not diminished, but rather increased.”

Bishop Mario Toso, addressing the OSCE in Europe’s high-level conference on tolerance and non-discrimination, said that throughout all 57 nations in Europe “a sharp dividing line has been drawn between religious belief and religious practice.” He insisted on the fact that Christians’ beliefs and worship is tolerated only when it is “inside church walls, but they simply cannot act on those beliefs in public.”