All Things Catholic: Now that the election is over, Catholic attention can be turned to the global problem of the deaths of Christians.
All Things Catholic
All Things Catholic: Was Pope John Paul I, who was pope for only 33 days, murdered? Did he actually support women's ordination? John Allen explores.
All Things Catholic: The Synod of Bishops is drawing to a close. Here are some of the things we've learned in the last three weeks.
All Things Catholic: The delegation of bishops heading to Syria next week signifies that more is being done at the Synod of Bishop than just chatting.
All Things Catholic: The synod has really pointed out the differences in evangelization around the world -- each regional prelate has different concerns.
All Things Catholic: What to expect from the Vatican's synod, which begins Sunday and will last through Oct. 28.
Media theorists like to talk about the power of a "narrative," meaning a storyline that's often more influential than reality in shaping perceptions. For instance, violent crime rates in the United States are at historic lows, yet popular psychology, shaped by Quentin Tarantino and "CSI," remains gripped by a narrative of pervasive danger.
Beyond any doubt, religious freedom has emerged as the premier social and political concern of the Catholic church in the early 21st century. Pope Benedict XVI offered confirmation as recently as last Saturday, during his trip to Lebanon.
Speaking to politicians, diplomats and religious leaders (including representatives of all four major branches of Islam in Lebanon -- Sunni, Shi'ite, Druze and Alawite), the pope insisted that "religious freedom is the basic right on which many others depend."
In advance, Benedict XVI's three-day trip to Lebanon shaped up as a balancing act, both reaching out and pushing back -- that is, extending an olive branch to the Muslim majority of both Lebanon and the entire Middle East, while at the same time defending its beleaguered Christian minority and rejecting the radical currents in Islam which exploded anew this week with violence in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.
Most people, most of the time, are fundamentally decent. Hence if they knew that there's a minority facing an epidemic of persecution -- a staggering total of 150,000 martyrs every year, meaning 17 deaths every hour -- there would almost certainly be a groundswell of moral and political outrage.