Lord Alton and I talk a little bit about Pope Francis and why so much of what he is saying and doing is fundamental: “If we don’t re-evangelize ... we’re not going to win the legislative battles. If we don’t change people’s hearts and minds, we’re not going to change the world around us. The heart of the human problem is the human heart. We have to soften hearts and challenge minds.”
Campion died praying for his executioners: “I recommend your case, and mine, to Almighty God, the searcher of hearts, to the end that we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.”
The world is one large conversion opportunity — when we forget this, we shut down.
In the ups and downs of campaigns and headlines, we so often just don’t think things through. The challenges seem too great, the biases too hardened. But what does that lead to? Cheerleading for a so-called Arab Spring that created a situation where one could steal a bulldozer, demolish a church with it, all in plain sight of the military, as Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos put it during a visit to Washington, D.C.
His Grace was in Washington for a hearing on minorities in Egypt that wasn’t — it was canceled on account of the government shutdown. It gave him an opportunity to become “fast friends” with human-rights champion Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., among others, and he plans to return for that hearing at a time when the government is open for operations again.
It also gave him an opportunity to say on behalf of what he estimates to be 10 to 15 million Christians in Egypt: “Out of pain and suffering comes identity.” He says that the Copts in Egypt “are not broken.” They are “resilient” and in their challenges they ask only that a new Egyptian constitution respect everyone’s dignity and religious freedom. Here at home, we had better be good stewards of these gifts.
(Kathryn Lopez is the editor-at-large of National Review Online www.nationalreview.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)