Thursday 23rd May 2019

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Sri Lanka And Martyrdom . . . Amidst Suffering, Martyrs Shine Like Sparks Through Rubble

May 8, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


(Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, It first appeared at on April 29, 2019. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.
(By way of an update about developments in Sri Lanka, AsiaNews reported May 1 that the alert for Islamic terrorism remains high. The authorities reported that at that moment the danger concerns above all the Muslim community that lives on the island that has been preparing to celebrate Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer for the faithful of Islam.
(Meanwhile the tension remains high for the Christian community. On April 30 Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, after refusing the armored car made available by the government, announced the reopening of the churches from May 5, with the celebration of Mass.
(“We will begin with a few Masses and we will see if we can increase them little by little. Everything will depend on developments in the situation.” On the fact that he refused the armored car, he said: “I’m not frightened. I don’t need the escort to move. The Lord is my protector. Rather, I want protection for my people and my country. “
(The announcement of the resumption of liturgical services represents the hope of a return to normalcy for the Christian faithful, who on Sunday, April 28, for the first time in their lives followed Mass with a live television broadcast, after the closure of all the churches in the country following the attacks. The ban on entry into all Christian places of worship was ordered by the ecclesiastical leaders themselves, as a precautionary measure after the massacres carried out while the faithful participated in the Easter services that killed 253 people and wounded another 500. Among the victims, the investigators identified 42 foreigners and 45 children.
(While raids continue in the country, investigators still seem to be groping in the dark. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the massacres, but the authorities in Colombo believe that the responsibility lies with two local Islamic factions [National Thowheed Jamath and the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen] with alleged foreign ties. Amid all this confusion, the voice of Cardinal Ranjith rang out, with blunt criticism of Colombo’s holes in its emergency management.)

+ + +

At 8:45 a.m. on Easter Sunday, about 1,000 Catholics were gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka. That’s when the suicide bomber detonated his bomb. The explosion ripped through the church, killing dozens and injuring countless more. Many of the victims were children. Photos of the destruction show walls splattered with blood and pockmarked by shrapnel. One evocative photo shows a statute of Christ stained with the blood of these newest Christian martyrs.
Within the space of a few hours, several more suicide bombers struck two other Christian churches, and three hotels in multiple cities. In total to date 253 people were killed, and over 400 more injured. Even into the following Monday morning, police continued to discover more bombs around the country, including a van with explosives in it parked outside St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade.
While details about the attacks are still somewhat sparse, with the investigation ongoing, it appears they were carried out by little-known local Islamist groups. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although at the time of this writing their involvement has not been confirmed. However, it is not hard to believe that, at the very least, the attackers were inspired by ISIS.
This is not the first time Islamist terrorists have targeted Christian churches on or around this holiest of Christian holy days. As Fox News reports, ISIS bombed two churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday in 2017, killing 45 people. In 2016, terrorists killed 75 Christians who were celebrating Easter in Lahore, Pakistan.
“These coordinated attacks against churches in Sri Lanka were planned on Easter to strike fear in the hearts of Christians,” said David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, an organization that tracks anti-Christian persecution globally.
“But this sort of tactic will not prevail this Easter. I call on all Christians to unite in their suffering and in their testimony of how Jesus triumphs over death.”

A Church Of Martyrs

The early Christian writer Tertullian famously wrote that “the blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the Church.”
As Pope St. John Paul II observed in an apostolic letter at the end of the second millennium, “the Church has once again become a Church of martyrs.”
“The persecutions of believers — priests, religious, and laity — has caused a great sowing of martyrdom in different parts of the world,” said the Holy Father. “The witness to Christ borne even to the shedding of blood has become a common inheritance of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants. . . .”
Persecution is native to the Church; St. Joseph Vaz (1651-1711), Sri Lanka’s first canonized saint, was imprisoned at a time when he was the only priest in 50 years in then Ceylon.
In the twentieth century, as atheistic regimes attempted to create Godless utopias, Christians were often systematically targeted, hunted down, and imprisoned and martyred on a vast scale.
Nowadays, we are witnessing the increasing resurgence of explicitly religious-inspired persecution, as Islamic extremists seek to terrorize, and even to entirely eradicate, Christian populations in numerous countries around the world.
In their annual World Watch report, Open Doors closely tracks incidences of Christian persecution around the globe. Their latest report found that in the past year 4,136 Christians were killed for their faith. Another 2625 Christians were “detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned.” And 1,266 Christian churches were attacked.
However, in some respects these numbers are merely the tip of the iceberg. According to the report, hundreds of millions of Christians live in countries where their beliefs are illegal, or where they are otherwise subject to systematic and serious persecution. Many of these Christians live under a shroud of fear of violence and face routine social and economic discrimination.
Unsurprisingly, at the top of the list of countries that persecute Christians is North Korea, which has topped the list for nearly 20 years. However, as Open Doors notes, in seven of the top 10 countries on the World Watch list the leading cause of Christian persecution is Islamist ideology.
Sadly, despite the fact that anti-Christian persecution is so widespread, it rarely receives much in the way of media coverage in the Western press. Few, for instance, know anything about the ongoing reign of terror by Boko Haram in Nigeria, where hundreds of Christian churches have reportedly been destroyed. Such ongoing, daily campaigns of terror targeting Christians are often treated as mere footnotes in our daily news coverage.
As Ross Douthat pointed out in an insightful column last week, the notion that Christians are suffering directly violates the secularist liberal dogma that Christians are by definition the privileged oppressors.
The absurdity of elite Western attitudes toward Christian persecution was on full display last week, as several leading Democrat politicians refused to refer to the victims of the Sri Lanka attacks as “Christians,” instead referring to them obliquely — and bizarrely — as “Easter worshippers.”
Meanwhile, Mark Steyn highlights the absurd lengths that some media went to in order to disguise the clear fact that these attacks were instances of Islamic terror targeting Christians, often making vague — and completely irrelevant — connections between the attacks and Sri Lanka’s civil war.
This conspiracy of silence and obfuscation ensures that the injustices being committed against Christians on an enormous scale throughout the world remain unknown and unaddressed, and the heroic sacrifices of our modern-day martyrs go uncelebrated.

We Must Prepare
For Martyrdom

The suffering of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world reminds us here in the developed West both: a) that we are incredibly blessed to enjoy such comparative freedom to worship Christ, and, b) that we must always prepare our hearts to be ready to suffer for Christ.
Indeed, though any form of persecution that Christians in America and other Western countries suffer pales in comparison to what Christians in places like North Korea, Somalia, and Afghanistan daily undergo, it is indisputable that we are also witnessing a growing trend of intolerance. Many Christians are learning that the price of faithfulness is social and professional penalties.
In the face of the growing pressure to compromise our beliefs in the name of comfort, we must reacquaint ourselves with the truth that the cross has a central place in the Christian faith. After all, it was Christ Himself who unambiguously stated the cost of discipleship. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” He said.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
The Church has long distinguished between red martyrdom and white martyrdom. In the West, we are not likely to be called on to sacrifice our lives for Christ in the short term. However, martyrdom is a basic fact of Christian living, and every Christian must embrace to one extent or another the daily “white martyrdom” of asceticism, self-denial, and the willingness to put everything on the line for the sake of the truth.
In his recent letter addressing the sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict identified theological attempts to excise the call to martyrdom from the Christian faith as a root cause of the moral chaos in the Church.
“Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence,” wrote the Pope Emeritus. The fact that some prominent theologians have suggested that “martyrdom is no longer morally necessary” shows that “the very essence of Christianity is at stake here,” he wrote. The point, he said, is that there are some truths that are so foundational, so non-negotiable, that they must “never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life.”
In other words, “There is martyrdom.”
Pope Benedict, too, agreed with his Predecessor that the contemporary Church is “more than ever a ‘Church of the Martyrs’.” It is in this fact, he suggested, that we find the greatest sign of hope for the fate of the Church.
“If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them.”
Pope St. John Paul II, like Pope Benedict, also urged Christians to pay attention to, and to preserve in memory the witness of the modern-day martyrs. The witness of the martyrs “must not be forgotten,” wrote the saintly Pope, urging local churches to collect documentation about their martyrs.
In this Easter Season, let us pray to the new martyrs of Sri Lanka, asking their intercession for the strength to live authentic, heroic discipleship, and that Christ will remove all fear, so that we too will willingly embrace our cross, offering up our minor daily martyrdoms for the Church and the salvation of the whole world.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Fox News religion contributor Fr. Jonathan Morris asks Pope to be released from priestly vows

May 17, 2019, LifeSiteNews — Fox News contributor Fr. Jonathan Morris announced today that he is seeking permission from Pope Francis to be released from his priestly vows so that he can one day be able to “marry and have a family.”…Continue Reading

DC Catholic school will acknowledge LGBT alumnae couples

WASHINGTON – A 220-year-old Catholic girls’ school in Washington, D.C., will now allow news about same-sex unions in its alumnae magazine. News outlets report the president emerita of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Sister Mary Berchmans, announced the change this month. She…Continue Reading

DC Catholic school will acknowledge LGBT alumnae couples

WASHINGTON — A 220-year-old Catholic girls’ school in Washington, D.C., will now allow news about same-sex unions in its alumnae magazine. News outlets report the president emerita of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Sister Mary Berchmans, announced the change this month.…Continue Reading

Hundreds of pro-lifers rally in Philadelphia to call out Democrat ‘bully’ Brian Sims

PHILADELPHIA, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A lineup of leading pro-life advocates gathered in Philadelphia Friday morning outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility where State Rep. Brian Sims filmed himself berating peaceful pro-life activists, including teen girls. Over the…Continue Reading

Vatican issues norms for reports of abuse of minors, seminarians, and religious

Vatican City, May 9, 2019 / 04:01 am (CNA).- New Vatican norms for the Church’s handling of sex abuse, issued Thursday, place seminarians and religious coerced into sexual activity through the misuse of authority in the same criminal category as…Continue Reading

Civil appeals court dismisses legal challenge, says Sheen’s body can go to Peoria

Albany, N.Y., May 6, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- The New York Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal of an earlier judgement allowing Venerable Fulton Sheen’s remains to be moved to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria, in…Continue Reading

U.S. hospital set to euthanize elderly woman who says on video ‘I want to live’

May 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A 64-year-old woman with lung cancer is allegedly at risk of being euthanized by a Minnesota hospital, despite having stated emphatically from her hospital bed in a video that is now going viral that she…Continue Reading

Federal judge issues nationwide block on Trump rule cutting $60 million from Planned Parenthood

April 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction Thursday against the Trump administration’s rule that threatens to cut a tenth of Planned Parenthood’s federal tax funding by disqualifying abortion groups from family-planning funds. In February, the…Continue Reading

Bishop Donald J. Hying appointed to lead Madison diocese

Vatican City, Apr 25, 2019 / 04:04 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Thursday appointed Donald J. Hying the next bishop of Madison, Wis., following the death of Bishop Robert C. Morlino in November. Hying, 55, has been the bishop of Gary,…Continue Reading

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., has died at the age of 91

Fr. James V. Schall, the prolific and much-beloved Jesuit, professor and author, died earlier today. His family states that “he was comfortable and at peace” at the time of his death. He was born in Pocahontas, Iowa, January 20, 1928.…Continue Reading

North Carolina Gov. vetoes bill requiring care for babies born alive after failed abortion

RALEIGH, April 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Thursday morning that would require abortionists to provide basic medical care to newborns who survive failed abortions, just days after the measure cleared the state legislature.…Continue Reading

How Cardinal Wuerl Misled the Papal Foundation

In 2017, Cardinal Donald Wuerl provided false and misleading information to the board of the Papal Foundation to secure a $25 million grant for the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), a scandal-plagued hospital in Rome. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

US bishops oppose Trump immigration plan, say families are foundational

Washington D.C., May 19, 2019 / 03:09 am (CNA).- Leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference voiced concern over President Donald Trump’s new immigration plan, stressing that families should be strengthened and promoted in the immigration system. “We oppose proposals that seek to curtail family-based immigration and create a largely ‘merit-based’ immigration system,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, who heads…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke leads thousands in 9th annual Rome March for Life

ROME, Italy, May 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Thousands of joy-filled pro-lifers young and old from across the world took part in the Rome March for Life today beneath a sunny sky and behind Catholic Cardinal Raymond Burke, who lead the prayerful, song-filled demonstration through the busy streets of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Dutch Cardinal Willem Eijk was also present at the event’s outset.

House passes sweeping legislation to expand LGBTQ civil rights but GOP lawmakers worry it may threaten the rights of women

A Republican-backed motion to block the Equality Act, which would provide civil rights protections to gay and transgender people, failed on Friday as the House of Representatives voted to approve the bill, 236 to 173. The bill had the support of every Democrat in the House, along with eight Republicans. If it also passes in the Senate, President Trump is expected to veto the measure when it reaches his desk. The new anti-discrimination leg

Dominican scholar: Church crisis calls for renewal of Catholic teaching on freedom

Vatican City, May 9, 2019 / 10:57 am (CNA).- According to a Dominican scholar, the crisis of priestly fidelity is connected to a new cultural conception of human freedom – and the solution will require re-embracing the Church’s view of freedom as something which points to God. Fr. Thomas White, OP, is a professor of theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“The Angelicum”) in Rome and is the director of the university’s…Continue Reading

Bishop Olmsted sees ‘renewal’ in priestly formation, despite scandal

Phoenix, Ariz., May 10, 2019 / 12:08 am (CNA).- Despite the scandals of clerical sexual abuse that the Catholic Church has suffered in past decades, the Church in the United States has also enjoyed a “renewal” in priestly formation, says Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona. In a monthly series of columns, Olmsted has been considering various aspects of the Church scandal, as well as ways to move forward in purification. “Having addressed some of…Continue Reading


A Book Review… “Knavish Imbecility”: A Great Study Of Bad Shepherds

By JEFF MINICK Bad Shepherds, by Rod Bennett, published by Sophia Institute Press, 2018; 148 pages. Order at or call 1-800-888-9344. “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted…Continue Reading

Pro-Infanticide Governor Called A Moderate

By BILL DONOHUE (Editor’s Note: Catholic League President Bill Donohue commented May 15 on how the media are covering a supporter of infanticide.) + + + Infanticide is the deliberate killing of infants, either by active or passive measures. In Nazi Germany, they preferred the former; in this country, we prefer the latter. New York…Continue Reading

Tariffs: The Taxes That Made America Great

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN As his limo carried him to work at the White House May 13, Larry Kudlow could not have been pleased with the headline in The Washington Post: “Kudlow Contradicts Trump on Tariffs.” The story began: “National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow acknowledged Sunday that American consumers end up paying for the…Continue Reading

The Primacy Of The Spiritual

By DONALD DeMARCO I was visiting an elderly lady whose refrigerator had broken down. She pointed sadly to the ice-cube tray which contained little circumscribed pools of water. “That’s what keeps the fridge cold,” she said. It would have been inexcusably impolite to correct her on this point. Her thoughts of melted ice cream, soggy…Continue Reading

In China… Workers Making Apple IPhones Start At $3.15 Per Hour

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate distributes his column. All rights reserved.) + + + The workers who assemble Apple iPhones make a starting wage of $3.15 per hour in the People’s Republic of China, according to The New York Times. “Apple has said the…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Thomas Aquinas College Commencement… Let Your Great Souls Be Unleashed!

By MOST REV. ROBERT E. BARRON (Editor’s Note: Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles delivered the homily below at the May 11 commencement exercises of Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif. It is reprinted here with permission. All rights reserved.) + + + It is indeed a high honor for me to be speaking to the 2019 graduating…Continue Reading

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixth Sunday Of Easter (YR C) Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 Rev. 21:10-14, 22-23 John 14:23-29 In the Gospel reading today, our Lord tells us not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid. It seems to be a rare person today who can actually say he is neither troubled nor afraid. With all that is going…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Pope Is A Catholic

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the grip of a frenzy of accusations, some of them rather superficial. It seems we may be in a bit of a correction period after the pendulum of papolatry swung so far during the reign of Pope St. John Paul II. He enjoyed a very high degree of popularity. Held as…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. A visiting priest gave a homily at Mass today and referred to a book entitled The American Catechism. Do you know what this new catechism is, and is it devoted to the truth of the Magisterium? — J.W., via e-mail. A. The only book we know of with a similar title is the St. Joseph New American Catechism, which…Continue Reading

Gratitude In The Sacred Liturgy And Beyond

By JAMES MONTI The flickering glow of a red sanctuary lamp near the Tabernacle in a quiet church has a lot to teach us, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. It is called a “perpetual” lamp, a lamp meant to burn unceasingly by night and by day, whether seen or unseen, and it bespeaks of unquenchable…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Hesselblad

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the movie, The Scarlet and the Black, Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty is remembered for his courageous and ingenious ways of saving Jewish people from execution during World War II. Likewise, Pope Pius XII was remembered by the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaff, as follows: “Jews will always remember what the Catholic Church did for them by…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Paschal Baylon

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the sixteenth century, the Spanish Empire covered the globe, having the most influence and power in its history. For the Catholic Church of Spain, that time was known as the Golden Age. Despite the troubles of the Protestant Revolution, Spain benefited from the work of her saints such as St. Peter of Alcantara, St. John of…Continue Reading