He expresses the hope that this “Timely Initiative” to raise awareness about the critical situation of persecuted Christians may “attract well-deserved attention on the part of everyone”.
The Holy Father has expressed the hope that the “timely initiative” launched under the title of “VENICE IN RED” and organised for this evening by the patriarchate of Venice and the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) will “draw the well-deserved attention of all people to the grave problem of discrimination facing Christians in so many parts of the world”. In a message to the Patriarch of Venice, Archbishop Francesco Moraglia, and signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, the Pope conveys his “warmest greetings” to the young people who will be participating in the diocesan pilgrimage, which will in turn precede the main “VENICE IN RED” event, namely the illumination in red of the Basilica of the Madonna della Salute, the main section of the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge, along with other symbolically significant buildings of the city of Venice. As the Pope’s message makes clear, the purpose of the event is to “raise public awareness about the critical situation of so many Christians who are persecuted on account of their faith.”
The message also recalls that “indeed there are countries where a single religion is imposed, and others where we are witnessing a violent persecution or systematic cultural denigration of the disciples of Jesus”. This is why it is vital to organise events like this one in Venice and all the other similar events sponsored by ACN, involving the illumination of important historical monuments such as the Colosseum, in order to draw world attention to the many violations of the right to religious freedom. A “fundamental human right” which, as the message makes clear, “must be respected, because it reflects the peak of human dignity”.