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Persecuted Christians: Mgr. Martin (Armagh), “called to be prophetic, even when it brings ridicule, insult, criticism”

“Sadly the suffering” of persecuted Christians “often goes unnoticed – most of us go on about our business, unaware of the injustice and discrimination which affects our brothers and sisters throughout the world”. In the parish of Armagh, too, a Mass was celebrated yesterday evening, 28 November, to remember Christians who suffer because of their religious beliefs. The Mass was presided over by Archbishop Eamon Martin. Having focused on today’s persecutions, the prelate in his homily recalled that “Ireland has historically been no stranger to persecution and martyrdom for the faith”; for this reason, a shrine with the relics of Saint Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop and martyr in the 17th century, will be erected in the cathedral, also to remind “all those who, like him, were persecuted and martyred for the faith in this diocese”. Persecution, Mgr. Martin continued, invites us to “consider how we ourselves witness to our faith in Irish society”, for we are called to be “prophetic in shining the light and truth of the Gospel into the world, even when it brings ridicule, insult, criticism or leads to our being ostracised in public discourse”. For instance, by reaffirming “the sacredness of all human life” or that abortion “is always gravely wrong” in a post-referendum context where “we might be shouted down, told to ‘go away’, or even have our right to freedom of conscience and religion questioned because they do not ‘fit in’ with the prevailing attitudes and opinions around us”.

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