Rural Mexico a gut check for Catholic Church on religious freedom

By John L. Allen Jr. | Crux

ROME – Recently – and, many observers would say, belatedly – the Catholic Church has awoken to the reality of anti-Christian persecution around the world. The emblematic case is the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, where Catholic organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and Aid to the Church in Need have meant the difference between life and death for a resilient Christian minority struggling to rebuild post-ISIS.

Pope Francis routinely talks about anti-Christian persecution as a fact of life in the early 21st century, invoking an “ecumenism of blood” to express the reality that oppressors don’t generally make distinctions among the types of Christianity practiced by their victims.

This activism is warranted by the threats faced by tens of millions of Christians around the world – to invoke the language of the Catholic Mass, it is “right and just.” For a Catholic witness to be effective, however, it must be consistent and apply across the board, lest it seem mere confessional self-interest.