Aide Reflects on Miracle of Christian Martyrs

Says They Ask for Pardon, Not Revenge

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2007 ( The miracle of Christian martyrdom is that it doesn’t give way to revenge and hostility, but rather calls for pardon and peace, said the Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this in the latest edition of the weekly Vatican Television program “Octave Dies.” He commented on the Oct. 28 beatification ceremony of 498 Spanish martyrs, victims of the religious persecution of the 1930s.

He said the ceremony “was deeply impressive, but it is even more so when one thinks about the thousands of other witnesses to Christ who traveled the same road in those same years in the same country.”

“In a time when a horrible and uncontrolled violence is unleashed, Christians of every condition can be defenseless victims simply on account of their faith,” said the Vatican spokesman.

“But so much blood does not arouse vendettas and hostility,” Father Lombardi explained. “This is the true miracle of the Christian martyr: He calls instead for pardon, mercy, reconciliation, peace, paradoxically also for joy.

“Like Jesus, who defeats hatred with love, the price of this strange victory is precisely his death.”

“Some have feared that this event is an occasion for historical recrimination and division,” he added. “The Spanish Church knew how to make it an occasion for internal unity and unity with the society in which it lives.”

“And Rome,” said Father Lombardi, “universal home of believers in Christ, was the right place for this event of prayer and celebration: precisely in the place where Peter himself was martyred.”

The 20th century, he said, “which had more martyrs than the rest of history, continues to bear its fruits of inspiration for the renewal of Christian witness.”

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