Pope Francis has urged all Christians to pray for fellow believers who are persecuted for their faith, saying that “those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong”.
“How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!” Francis says in the video that shows three representatives of different denominations: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox – standing as if in a police line-up accused of a crime.
“They are persecuted and killed because they are Christians,” the Pope continues, adding, “I ask you, how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?”
The one-minute video, which also includes images of broken religious statues and a burnt-out church, is the latest to be produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and contains his prayer intention for March: the support of persecuted Christians through prayers and material aid from all the Churches.
Francis has spoken frequently about an “ecumenism of the blood” to emphasise that persecution is affecting many parts of the Church and should be met with ecumenical solidarity.