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Miami prelate laments persecution of Christians, criticizes bishop’s post-Orlando remarks

June 24, 2016

In his homily at a Fortnight for Freedom opening Mass, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami lamented the persecution of Christians and took issue with remarks made by Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg following the June 12 Orlando nightclub shooting.

Preaching in Coral Gables, Florida, Archbishop Wenski said that “in the second decade of the 21st century, some 150,000 Christians are killed for their faith every year” and that “these modern-day martyrs are victims of a despotism in its hardest and harshest form.”

“A new religious intolerance is being established in our country,” he continued. “We see this when Christian pastors are stalked and threatened for being ‘Christian’ pastors, when social scientists are expelled from universities for having turned up ‘politically incorrect’ facts, when charitable organizations and confessional schools are harassed if they take seriously their faith’s moral precepts and require their employees to support their missions. We see this in the refusal of the Administration to accommodate Catholic institutions and businesses because of their conscientious objection to subsidizing contraception and abortions.”

Archbishop Wenski also took issue with some of the reaction to the Orlando nightclub shooting, including comments made by Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg:

CNN's Anderson Cooper rejects Pam Bondi's expressions of sympathy because she opposed same sex marriage. The New York Times editorialized that the victims were "casualties of a society where hate has deep roots.” They weren't talking about ISIS's caliphate but America. And one bishop who should know better even opined, and I quote: “It is religion, including our own which targets…and often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgendered people.”

Where in our faith, where in our teachings — I ask you — do we target and breed contempt for any group of people? … Christians who support traditional marriage did not kill 49 people. Omar Mateen did.


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  • Posted by: schndj2254 - Jun. 27, 2016 8:32 AM ET USA

    Thank you Archbishop Wenski!! As a member of the St. Pete Diocese for the past 17 years, we have been suffering this kind of silliness for a long time. It's gratifying to finally hear the voice of a faithful shepherd...ala Jn. Chapter 10

  • Posted by: pja - Jun. 24, 2016 9:45 PM ET USA

    You go Archbishop Wenski! You're what every diocese needs - a good strong Polish shepherd!

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Jun. 24, 2016 6:28 PM ET USA

    We need more prelates like Bishop Wenski and Bishop Merlino who talk common sense instead of out of emotion. Bishop Lynch needs to think before he speaks. He is playing into the hands of those who are looking to place blame It's like Nero blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome. . Catholics do not condemn homosexuals we condemn sodomy, which I recall caused the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah. Telling sinners when they are sinning is showing love.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 24, 2016 7:51 AM ET USA

    Thank you, Archbishop Wenski! May God continue to bless you and your ministry in His Church.