THE Diocese of Bacolod will spearhead a prayer rally tomorrow, November 22 dubbed “The Red Wednesday Campaign” to call for an end to religious violence.
Bishop Patricio Buzon said in a press conference Monday, November 20, the prayer rally aims to raise awareness among the faithful as the number of persecuted Christians are far more compared to the Church’s early beginnings during the Roman times.
Buzon also said the advocacy they are pushing is for religious freedom.
He expressed his belief that the five-month conflict between the government and Maute terrorists is not a war between Christians and Muslims as both religious faithful suffered equally due to the terror group’s twisted beliefs.
The extremists are using the religion of Islam to drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians, but the leaders from both sides have agreed to combat religious extremism, the bishop added.
Fr. Chris Gonzales, director of Social Action Center, said that in 2016 alone, there are 90,000 Christians, may it be Catholic, Orthodox, or the Protestant faithful, who were killed for following Jesus Christ.
Gonzales said the number tantamounts to one Christian being murdered every six minutes, with the number further increasing.
He noted that even the Philippines, which is a predominantly Christian country is not exempted, with the latest happening in Marawi City, where several faithful were killed by the Maute terror group for refusing to convert to Islam.
“The call is not only for all Catholics, but to all followers of Christ as we are currently the number one most persecuted religion in the world today,” Gonzales added.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on November 21, 2017.
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