Pope Francis has been with persecuted Christians during these ten years, highlighting his closeness to Christians who suffer and are persecuted in the world, as well as his special interest in interreligious dialogue and the defense of religious freedom. He has also denounced that many Christians are persecuted in Europe and give their lives for their faith. In March 2017, he asked that persecuted Christians be supported with prayer and material help from the entire Church. And in January 2022, when he called religious persecution “unacceptable and inhumane” and “insane.”
In addition, there have been numerous visits to countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kazakhstan or Iraq are a testimony and a legacy of the Holy Father, who listens and goes to meet the Church that suffers, the more forgotten and thirsty for peace and justice. In Iraq, Francis stepped on churches that were destroyed by Daesh and visited the Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, a gesture that some recognize as a “milestone on the path of interreligious dialogue.”
How can we not also remember his words of support for Asia Bibi’s family so that they convey his affection and his support for this Pakistani woman who was in prison for ten years falsely accused of blasphemy. Likewise, the Pontiff has referred on several occasions to the right to religious freedom. One of them was in 2014, during the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square, when he said that the sacrifice of the current “martyrs”, persecuted for being Christians, reinforces the effort to ensure religious freedom throughout the world.
We must not forget that Pope Francis received the Order of the Holy Trinity and the international delegation of the Brotherhood, International Trinitarian Solidarity (SIT) congratulating his work and commitment to persecuted Christians. Especially, in the Congress hosted in the Vatican itself and organized by the SIT in which all the countries suffering from this persecution were given a voice.