Tirana, Albania – FADICA member Andrea Hattler Bramson of The Loyola Foundation represented both organizations as part of the Vatican delegation to the Global Christian Forum’s conference on discrimination and persecution of Christian communities around the world.The unprecedented forum was the first time in modern history that every stream of global Christianity had gathered together to listen to the voices of Christians who experience discrimination, persecution and violence today.
Held November 1-5, 2015 in Tirana, Albania, a nation that in its Communist era experienced structural persecution against faith communities, the conference called on governments and churches globally “to respect and protect the freedom of religion” as a fundamental human right. In a public statement, the leaders urged governments and international organizations to take measures to “respect and protect Christians and all other people of goodwill from threats and violence committed in the name of religion.”
“We are all in this together,” reflected Hattler Bramson, on her experiences at the meeting. “In all the work we are doing with human trafficking and international development, [FADICA] will be well served to open ourselves to collaborate with other faith communities across the globe and do more together.”
In a message of support from the Vatican, Pope Francis said, “I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination, and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and elsewhere throughout the world.” “In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals,” he said.
The leaders gathered acknowledged that Christian denominations have themselves been persecutors of each other or religious minorities, saying: “We repent of having at times persecuted each other and other religious communities in history, and ask forgiveness from each other and pray for new ways of following Christ together.”
The conference also challenged media organizations to report in an “unbiased way” on violations of religious freedom, including the discrimination and persecution of Christians as well as of other faith communities.