Martyrdom is a grace few Christians achieve. But the Catholic relief organization Aid to the Church in Need recently honored the martyrs of the 20th century in an exhibit displayed at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.Elvira Zito
Aid to the Church in Need (Italy) The exhibition goes a bit beyond our lifetime, because it takes into account a historic period that exceeds a hundred years. This deals with the martyrs of the 20th century. Martyrs who found themselves in extreme situations who paid with their lives, their determination not to reject Christ and their baptism.
The exhibit did not have any exact figures on the number of Christian martyrs worldwide during the 20th century. But their stories cover every continent, many of them taking place in Europe, which was rocked by civil wars, world wars, and political revolutions throughout the last century.
Although there is more religious tolerance and freedom now than in the past, the martyrs of the 21st century were also present at the exhibit.
Aid to the Church in Need (Italy)
So we think of the martyrs in India. We also think of the ones in Iraq, which is going through terrible times, with the killings of priests and the kidnappings of Christians, which is a phenomenon we have eyewitness accounts of in some cities like Mosul. The kidnappings are more widespread now. They always end badly.
The group also organized a discussion with four Catholics from India, Iraq, Eritrea, and Vietnam – all places where there is no freedom of worship or there is a threat of violence for those that do. The goal is to highlight the fact that the struggle for religious freedom is not over, with first hand insights from those who have suffered discrimination or violence for their faith.