In a wide-ranging question and answer session on Saturday, Pope Francis said it is “reductionism” to describe the violence against Christians in the world; the correct word, he said, is persecution.
“I want to say clearly, I do not like it when one speaks of a genocide of Christians, for instance in the Middle East,” the Pope said. “This is reductionism! The truth is a persecution which leads Christians to have fidelity to the consistency of their faith.”
This “sociological reductionism” does not apply to “that which is a mystery of the faith, the martyr!”
Francis made this remarks during his June 18 visit to the Villa Nazareth University College in Rome, during which he answered seven questions put to him by students on topics ranging from Christian persecution, to the economy, to being witnesses of the Gospel message.
Addressing the issue of persecution during his evening visit to the campus, the Pope recalled the Coptic Christian martyrs who were killed on the beach in Libya, all of whom died saying “Jesus, help me!”