Deputy Director of the Catholic Union, James Somerville-Meikle, writes:
I found myself in two packed rooms this week. The first occasion was on Monday evening when we held our Pub Talk with Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP on the theme of “China, the Church, and Christian persecution”. The second was at an event in Parliament on Wednesday when Open Doors published their annual watchlist on Christian persecution around the world.
Both events showed the urgency and concern about freedom of religion and belief, which has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Sir Iain Duncan Smith painted a very bleak picture of the situation facing Catholics, and all people of faith, under the Chinese Communist Party.
Worryingly, China only ranked 19th on the list of countries published by Open Doors where Christian persecution is worst. This means that there are 18 countries in the world where the situation is even worse for Christians than under communist China.
There are legitimate questions as to how the Catholic Church is responding to what we know is happening in these countries, especially in China. But as lay Catholics we can do our bit to help through prayer, charitable giving, and lobbying our political and Church leaders about these important matters. It’s time to turn those packed rooms of people into action.