To American Catholics: Under Caesar’s Sword Is the Solution to Not Doing Enough About Persecuted Christians

This post originally appeared on Arc of the Universe on March 7. It is reposted here with permission.

In a piece at Crux, Journalist John Allen discusses a new survey conducted by Aid to the Church in Need on a topic of great interest here at Arc of the Universe, the persecution of Christians around the world. The survey assesses the attitudes of American Catholics towards this persecution and shows that they are aware of it but that they don’t think bishops are doing enough to address it.

American Catholics get it, he says:

[P]resented with a list of sixteen nations and asked to rank the severity of anti-Christian persecution in those places, American Catholics more or less nailed it, identifying North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan as the worst offenders

And yet:

[T]he results also reveal a relatively low level of urgency among American Catholics about coming to the aid of persecuted Christians. Asked to choose in terms of level of concern among five issues – human trafficking, poverty, climate change, the refugee crisis, and anti-Christian persecution – the persecution of Christians finished last.

And they don’t think their church is doing enough:

34 percent of American Catholics . . . believe their bishop isn’t doing anything on anti-Christian persecution, or, if he is, they don’t know about it, and 35 percent [believe] the same thing is true about their parish – in both cases, above one-third of the total Catholic population.

What can increase the sense of urgency and lead Catholics to urge their bishops and their parishioners to do more?

 Daniel Philpott joins Sebastian Francis Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, India, and scholar Elizabeth Prodromou to discuss the findings of the Under Caesar’s Sword project (  What is to Be Done?    symposium, April 2017) Photo: Nathan Mitchell Photography

Daniel Philpott joins Sebastian Francis Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, India, and scholar Elizabeth Prodromou to discuss the findings of the Under Caesar’s Sword project (What is to Be Done? symposium, April 2017)Photo: Nathan Mitchell Photography

The Under Caesar’s Sword project! Based on the fieldwork of 17 leading scholars of global Christianity, the project offers ready-to-use curricula for schools and parishes, a 26-minute documentary and guide for showing it to audiences, a public report that summarizes the findings, and much else. The project’s very purpose is to raise awareness and motivate action on behalf of Christians where they are most persecuted. Explore here.

The project works closely with Aid to the Church in Need and is based at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture and the Religious Freedom Institute.


Daniel Philpott is a professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and a Senior Associate Scholar of the Religious Freedom Institute.