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Pope hails persecuted Christians as modern martyrs

ICC Note: This message from the Pope is an encouraging reminder to all Christians that suffering for the gospel is an act of love for Christ and for our persecutors.

12/26/07 Vatican City (Reuters) – Pope Benedict said on Wednesday that Christians faced persecution, torture and death in some parts of the world and continued to be made martyrs for their faith.

In a message to pilgrims on the day after Christmas — the feast day of St. Stephen, considered the first Christian martyr — the Pope said Christians who die for their faith pray for forgiveness for their killers.

“We should always note that this is a distinctive characteristic of the Christian martyr — it is exclusively an act of love, towards God and towards men, including the persecutors,” he told crowds in a rainy St. Peter’s Square.

“Christian martyrdom reminds us of the victory of love over hatred and death,” he said… [Go To Full Story]

(Reporting by Robin Pomeroy, editing by Tim Pearce)