Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christianity around the World: Lent 2013

Church Triumphant

The big news for global Christianity recently is Pope Benedict XVI's plan to resign the papacy.  He will become the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.  Most people are focusing on the possibility of having another non-European pope.  However, I personally believe the big news story is Benedict XVI's move to increase the papacy's involvement with the world.  The Pope knows he is fading away, dying, and is unable to interact with the world as he once could.  He knows that a Pope needs to be a shepherd not only in deep theological matters but also have the energy to take that theology to the world.  The true spirit of Vatican II triumphs as Benedict shows what a Pope needs to be capable of.

Church Militant

The Catholic Church in Latin America has long been lax with its outreach.  Its assumption that it has a strangle hold on the parties of party and people has allowed various Protestant movements to grow and heresies like Liberation Theology to take off as church leadership did nothing.

Now, however, church leadership is taking a more active role by trying to help heal the harm caused by everyday drug violence in Latin America.  The Catholic Church took the lead in El Salvador to bring about a truce that is still working between the violent international nacro-terrorist-gangs MS-13 and Min 18 (M18).  Meanwhile, a priest of the Society of Saint Paul is releasing a mini-series movie about forgiveness during the Mexican Drug War.  According to First Things
The ten-minute segment tells the story of thirteen-year-old Miri, who, despite family members’ urging her on to vengeance, comes to forgive the drug dealers who killed her parents, even hugging one of them as he crashes her parents’ funeral.
Here is the first part

Church Suffering

Meanwhile violence against Christians is up, primarily in but not limited to the 10/40 Window.  Success is threatening government and social status quos in Asia and in response the People's Republic of China is trying to shut down independent Protestant churches while Hindu ultranationalists work with police to close down churches and arrest local pastors in India.  Meanwhile, Islamists are targeting the growing Christian population on Zanzibar.

Elsewhere the rise of Islamism is strangling dying ancient Christian populations.  Coptic Oriential Orthodox are being targeted in Egypt.  The violence is going global as two Copts were beheaded by an Islamist in New Jersey.  In Syria, elements of the Free Syrian Army video taped an old Armenian Oriental Orthodox who was clearly under duress and emotionally broken as he cried to denounce Christianity, convert to Islam, call on other Christians to convert, and declare Syria to be an Islamic state.  Things like this happen everyday.

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