Pope Francis reminded visiting pilgrims Wednesday that Christians today continue to be persecuted and to give their lives as martyrs throughout the world, even in Europe.
“Around the world today, in Europe, so many Christians are persecuted and give their lives for their faith,” the pope told the thousands gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for his weekly audience, “or they are persecuted with white gloves, that is, ostracized and marginalized.”
The pope also recalled that persecution and martyrdom are part and parcel with Christianity, from its beginnings until the end of time.
“Martyrdom is the life’s breath of a Christian, of a Christian community,” he continued. “There will always be martyrs among us: this is the sign that we are traveling on the path of Jesus.”
As painful as it is, persecution is not a curse for Christians, the pontiff insisted, since it conforms them to Christ.
“It is a blessing from the Lord that among the people of God there is someone who gives the witness of martyrdom,” he said.
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