Hate crimes against christians because of secularization and fear of the truth
Speaking about the European situation of Christianity, Apostolic Nuncio Michael Wallace Banach highlighted that the number of hate crimes against Christians is constantly rising.
Speaking about the European situation of Christianity, Michael Wallace Banach reminded that in recent years, hate crimes against Christians have increased and continue to rise. The Nuncio sees the cause of this in secularization and fear of the truth.
Christian churches proclaim the truth about humanity and God, and “the truth we proclaim about humanity often differs greatly from the truth that others perceive,” he stated.
According to the Nuncio, the difficult situation of Christianity can also be explained by various attempts to undermine the credibility of Christian churches, including the Catholic Church. All of these factors have a cumulative effect, he said.
He emphasized that to strengthen Christianity in Europe, it is necessary to remind people of the fundamental principle of religious freedom. “We must stand by the fact that religious freedom also means the freedom to profess one’s faith, and that the public expression of faith should not be considered discriminatory, even if a Christian church formulates something that is not pleasing to the current course,” he stated.
The Nuncio referred to Pope St. John Paul II, who said that if someone wants to gauge the temperature of human rights in a country, they simply need to observe how religious freedom is exercised.
Michael Wallace Banach also highlighted the importance of dialogue with both Christian and non-Christian communities in order to reach mutual respect. He noted that those whom we invite to dialogue become “our companions, guests at the table.” They may not like the food served, but they are present in the room.
When asked about the most serious threat facing European Christianity, whether it is secularization, the arrival of Muslim masses in Europe, or gender theory, the Nuncio replied that all of these pose challenges, but they also have positive effects because they compel us to “deepen our understanding of Christian teachings and try to articulate our own position even more comprehensibly to people.”
According to Michael Wallace Banach, the greatest challenge for Christians today, however, is apathy and indifference. Christians live relatively peaceful and prosperous lives, which leads them to not embrace Christianity or engage with it. Referring to the book of Revelation in the Bible, he reminded that God says to one of the seven churches, “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
The Nuncio emphasized that the Vatican, as Pope Francis does, must encourage Catholics and believers of other Christian denominations to be faithful to their Christian faith, to take it seriously, and be proud of it. They should not be afraid to profess their faith and engage in dialogue with others.