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Commission for New Martyrs– Witnesses of the Faith

Press Release

The “Commission for New Martyrs – Witnesses of the Faith” met on 9 November 2023 at the Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints under whose auspices it works at the behest of Pope Francis, so as to render operative his mandate in view of the 2025 Jubilee. The recognition of Christian victims and the offering of life by laypeople, pastors, and consecrated men and women will make use of the efforts already made by Fides and other agencies, but also new research, assisted by the bishops, religious congregations and those who preserve the memory of these Christians. The service of commemoration to be rendered in this first phase will regard Christians whose lives were cut short or given in various ways in obedience to the Gospel, in the time span from the year 2000 to the present. There are currently over 550 witnesses whose circumstances of death and their service to the Church and God's people are known. A website has now been set up to accompany the work of the Commission and provide some essential information.

Lines of action and methodology were drawn. In addition, collaborations external to the members of the Commission were envisaged, particularly with regard to the reconstruction of the continental, regional and national contexts in which the shedding of blood and the gift of life took place. The contribution of many among the faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches was noted, with particular attention to the Middle East and Asia. Likewise, the ecumenical value of martyrdom in a broad sense, and the need to take into consideration the wealth of the testimony offered by Christians of other denominations, were also noted. The Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, in the person of the President of the Commission, Bishop Fabio Fabene, gave the Commission the tools necessary to carry out its task, assigning human and technical resources. Along with the vice-President, Professor Andrea Riccardi, previous research was reviewed, providing suggestions for the future. In a spirit of friendly collaboration, the Commission is therefore preparing to enter into the heart of the recognition and encounter with these witnesses, whose life and death are marked by the Gospel, love for the weakest, the search for peace, and the painful confrontation with multiple evil designs, without however ever abandoning faith in goodness. They constitute a light of hope and a humble but eloquent voice calling to the supreme good of life, to the unity of the human family, and to the unarmed strength of Christians.