During the Easter season, it is a good time to remind ourselves of the degree to which Catholics are the targets of violent extremists.
The U.S. State Department recently released its annual report on religious violence around the world. It found that “80% of the world’s population cannot practice their faith without serious restrictions or risk.” It listed 12 nations as the worst offenders. We researched who controls them and who their principal victims are. They are listed in alphabetical order.
• Burma. Run by Buddhists, Christians and Muslims are the targets.
• China. Run by the Communist Party, Christians, especially Catholics, and Muslims, are the targets.
• Cuba. Run by the Communist Party, Catholics are the target.
• Eritrea. Run by the Communist Party, Christians and Muslims are the targets.
• Iran. Run by Muslims, all non-Islamic religions are the targets.
• North Korea. Run by the Communist Party, all religions are the targets.
• Nicaragua. Run by the Communist Party, Catholics are the target.
• Pakistan. Run by Muslims, Christians and Hindus are the targets.
• Russia. Run by an ex-KGB agent, Jehovah’s Witnesses and evangelicals are the targets.
• Saudi Arabia. Run by Muslims, all non-Islamic religions are the targets.
• Tajikistan. Run by Muslims, all non-Islamic religions are the targets.
• Turkmenistan. Run by Muslims, all non-Islamic religions are the targets.
The Observatory for the Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe recently documented more than 500 anti-Christian hate crimes, including four homicides, in 2021; the most vicious attacks were against Catholics. In addition to murder, there were approximately 300 acts of property damage. There were about 80 cases of theft, ranging from religious objects to consecrated hosts.
A new report from Canada showed that hate crimes against Catholics rose 260 percent in 2021; they were the most targeted of any religious group in the country.
In the United States, Catholic churches were targeted over 300 times since 2020. Recently, a Catholic church in Nebraska was ransacked.
Pro-abortion protesters have resorted to violence in several cities, and in the wake of the transgender mass killer in Nashville, many in that community have made violent threats against those who are critical of their radical agenda. The urban terrorist group, Antifa, is among the worst of the pro-abortion thugs.
In 1989, when St. Patrick’s Cathedral was invaded by gay terrorists from ACT-UP—they interrupted Mass and spat the Eucharist on the floor—Fr. Benedict Groeschel tried to calm down Cardinal John O’Connor by telling him it is a backhanded compliment that we Catholics were chosen for violence. The enemy knows who stands the strongest against them.
Much the same could be said today, though that should not be read as a plea for passivity. The violence against Catholics must end, whether it is coming from religious or secular extremists.