Once again, Christians found themselves on the firing line last Sunday, with 19 people killed in Nigeria and one in Kenya in attacks on three churches. Those atrocities, alas, have rated no more than a blip on the global radar screen, largely because such things have become chillingly familiar.
The consensus estimate is that about 150,000 Christians are today killed around the world every year, either out of hatred for the faith or for works of charity inspired by the faith. That translates into one victim every three and a half minutes. In effect, we are witnessing the rise of an entire new generation of Christian martyrs.
Every time something like this happens, the Vatican, to its credit, is usually quick to speak out. Again this time, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson, denounced the "horrible and despicable acts" in Kenya and Nigeria and urged the populations to resist a "vicious circle of homicidal hatred."
Yet more and more, an unavoidable question looms: Isn't there something the Vatican could do beyond issuing statements?