The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Persecution Watch: Indoneisa

According to the Indonesian constitution, citizens of every religion have the right to practice their faith, and no one can prohibit religious celebrations and services. In this Muslim-majority country, however, extremist Islamic groups have been putting pressure on local governments to prohibit Christian worship. And in direct violoation of the nation's constitution, these local officials have been going along with the extremists.

In West Java, for example, Catholics have been denied a building permit and so the local officials have prohibited them from conducting religious celebrations of any kind, even on their own property. Despite the government's illegal prohibition, the 3,000 parishioners of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church decided to hold their Christmas celebration anyway, and to hold it in the parking lot of their elementary school. Hundreds of parishioners attended the outdoor Mass.
Indonesian Catholics celebrating Christmas outside
This kind of not-so-subtle persecution is typical in Indonesia. These same parishioners were prevented from celebrating Mass at Easter due to threats of violence by Muslim extremists.

Interesting, isn't it? The future of the Catholic Church seems to be in Asia and Africa and South America, and not in Europe and North America. It is in these former mission territories that the church is suffering its greatest persecution; and yet, in the face of that persecution, the Church is growing in both numbers and in faith.

Pray for these courageous Christians and for their persecutors.

To read more, click here:  Java Catholics Deny Ban

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