BAGUIO – With the launching of the Red Wednesday campaign in the Philippines on Nov. 22, a Church official in this diocese expressed hope that the initiative will encourage greater awareness among Filipinos about the severity of the Christian persecution abroad but will also move them to stand up for the faith in their own country.
“Filipinos might think that Christians are persecuted only in some areas of Mindanao, as shown by the relentless attacks of terrorist groups or the recent siege of Marawi. Many are not even aware of the scale of Christian persecution in the rest of the country,” lamented Fr. Manuel G. Flores Jr., director of the Diocesan Commission for Promoting Integral Human Development, in-charge of the Red Wednesday campaign in the Diocese of Baguio.
“Filipino Catholics cannot rest on the fact that our country is predominantly Christian which can make them complacent [about] a ‘creeping persecution’ against the faith and the basic rights of the human person,” warned the priest.
Modern, hi-tech persecution
The Social Action Ministry coordinator pointed out that many Christians in the country today, as in the days of the early Church, cannot fully practice their faith without fear or obstruction.
To prove his point the priest cited issues currently affecting Philippine society: extra-judicial killings, destruction of the environment, corruption, gambling, the approval of contraceptives, the push for divorce in the guise of “Dissolution of Marriage”, undermining the institution of the family through same-sex unions, and the blurring the definition of man and woman in the name of equality.
According to the priest, practicing the faith, defending human rights, or upholding basic truths about the human person “exposes the Christian to lawsuits, threats, bashing, name-calling, or ridicule.”
“Persecutors of Christians,” he added, “instead of dialogue, resort to personal attacks or to the obfuscation of the issues through ‘fake news’ generated by ‘trolls’.”
The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Pontifical charity dedicated to serving the needs of persecuted Christian communities worldwide, launched the Red Wednesday campaign to raise awareness about the persecution of Christians who have suffered and died for the faith.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) endorsed the Red Wednesday campaign by inviting all cathedrals, minor basilicas, and national and diocesan shrines to illuminate their façade in red on Nov. 22.
The faithful are also encouraged to wear red clothing or markers on the same day.
In Baguio City, the main celebration of Red Wednesday will be a 5:15 p.m. Holy Eucharist, to be presided over by Bishop Victor B. Bendico, at the Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral.
Aside from the Mass, parishes and other institutions are invited to offer the holy Eucharist and pray the Angelus Prayer for Persecuted Christians from Nov. 22 until 24. Source: CBCPNews