Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi reflected on current anti-Christian persecution in his recent appearance on a weekly television show. Religious minorities, he said, suffer because of the "hate and violence" that religious extremism generates.
Thinking of recent examples of anti-Christian acts, particularly in Iraq and India, Fr. Lombardi reflected, "Again, in these days, violence against Christians is rekindled."
His comments came during his weekly editorial on the Vatican Television Center show "Octava Dies."
Fr. Lombardi reported that in the past he was shown flyers that were being "systematically” distributed to individual houses in Mosul. The flyers contained "terrible threats" meant to convince Christians to abandon the city.
"The recent brutal homicides confirm the same systematic strategy, against which the local authorities don't seem capable of bringing effective remedies," he said.
"How will the Christian community be able to survive in these conditions?" he asked.
The Christians of Mosul, he said, are a part of the local community and culture and are a "vital component" of the region’s history.
Thus, he observed, "It is not hate of the West or of the foreign, but against the Christian community."
"Religious fundamentalism generates hate and violence, and the religious minorities - and Christianity is a minority in many parts of the world - pay for it," said Fr. Lombardi. He noted other cases of anti-Christian violence in some Indian states, Pakistan and parts of Asia and Africa.
Commenting on calls for international mobilization against these acts and citing "many forces" in the Western world that seek to "contest and demolish" the presence of Christians and their influence even where Christianity is, or historically has been, the majority.
"Is it realistic to expect an earnest defense where it is a minority and doesn't count much from the point of view of political or economic interests?" Fr. Lombardi asked.
Regardless, he said, "Christians - mindful of the fate of their Teacher - cannot be astonished at being persecuted, but justice and rights should be valid everywhere also for them."
Vatican Television Center's "Octava Dies" program offers weekly insights into activities, events and issues concerning Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican and the global Church.