The Presidents of Churches Together in England, which includes Cardinal Vincent, have expressed their deep sorrow at the alarming increase in violence and murder against Christians in many parts of the world following their meeting on 13 May. Receiving reports of martyrdom in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, among other places, the Presidents called upon all people of goodwill to uphold respect for the sanctity of life and the flourishing of every human being. Stressing the fundamental God-given right and freedom to practice one’s faith and belief, they called for peaceful co-existence of diverse communities everywhere.
In this vein, they remembered Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was assassinated while celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980 because of his Christ-centered stand against the perpetrators of injustice and oppression. They join in prayer with the people of El Salvador where on Saturday 23 May Archbishop Romero will be beatified, the penultimate stage before sainthood in the Church.
Archbishop Romero stands in a historic line of those who have been martyred for their faith. The Presidents encouraged all to work and pray that his death thirty five years ago and the deaths of other Christian martyrs are not in vain; and that the day comes when the peace of God reigns in all our hearts and lives.