Christian churches are under attack at an epidemic rate right now. Why aren’t we hearing about this?

Killings in the Congo have church leaders worried about an organized campaign.

A Catholic priest and a nun were killed in the Bukavu
archdiocese, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in separate
incidents that took place within hours on December 6 and 7. Father
Daniel Cizimya Nakamaga was killed by assailants who burst into his
residence on Sunday night. On Monday evening, Sister Denise Kahambo
Murahirwa was killed by armed men in uniform who attacked the monastery
of Our Lady of Light in Muresha. The archdiocese, noting that the
attacks appeared quite deliberate, expressed fear of an organized
campaign against the Catholic Curch.

Another missionary priest is killed in South Africa.

Father Louis Blondel, a French missionary priest of the
White Fathers, was killed in Pretoria, South Africa, on December 6. He
was shot down by one of three young men who broke into the White
Fathers’ residence in Diepsloot, a township of Pretoria. Father Blondel
is the 4th Catholic missionary to be killed in South Africa this year.

Christians in Mosul have been given a deadly warning to leave….or else.

Security sources in Mosul confirmed the murder of two
brothers originally from Batnaya, a Christian village 20 km north of
the city. Yesterday morning the two had arrived in the industrial area
of Mosul, to repair their truck. The police found the bodies last
night: Both were killed with a gunshot to the head. The dynamics of the
attack speak of an execution style killing.  Suspicions fall on Sunni
extremists who previously attacked the Christian community.

Frightened Christians are preparing for a quiet Christmas in Pakistan.

Pakistani Christians are preparing for a silent and low
key Christmas without much public pomp and display. The community is
still reeling from last summer’s attacks against the villages of
Koriyan and Gojra. The army’s offensive against Islamic extremists and
the latter’s wave of attacks are not helping either. Indeed, fear of
more violence remains high…

In previous years, schools and parishes used to organise outdoor
recitals, carols and other events associated with the festivities. This
year, many people “have already cancelled events” and “outdoor
decorations will not be put up on homes and buildings.”

“This year, the atmosphere and mood are not happy because people are
fearful and upset by the country’s current situation,” the archbishop
said. Still, liturgical functions and Midnight Mass will go ahead as in
the past, and “the number of people will not be less because their
faith is firm.”

That should be another headline. Their faith is firm, in the face of such repression and threat.

And then there are the attacks unforeseen in our own neighborhoods, where we believe we’re ’safe’.

A converted church in the Bronx was torched.

“We have no idea who did this,” said the Rev. Raymond
Talavera, pastor of the 150-member nondenominational Glory of Christ
Church.

Only the hard plastic pulpit survived, the pastor said.

More than 100 firefighters were called to the scene at about 4 a.m.
Wednesday, just before morning prayers at 5:30 a.m. By then, the flames
in the two-story building were under control, according to fire
department officials. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Words scrawled in big black letters on a wall by the church entrance
– “GET OFF OUR BLOCK” – offered no clue as to who was responsible for
the fiery attack, said Talavera, speaking on his cell phone outside the
building.

However, subsequent details reported in this story offered clues
about the attackers and their rage, though no one saw it coming.

The congregation had a clothing outreach and a soup
kitchen set up with a donation from the late Yankees broadcaster Bobby
Murcer. It also had prepared Christmas gifts for children in the
Parkchester area, and medicines to send to Africa.

The pastor was mystified.

“Nobody has ever expressed animosity against us,” he said. “We’re at a complete loss. It was a hateful thing.”

Which makes it all the more newsworthy. Silence is an enabler.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....