Catholics all over the world are suffering persecution, and to them it's a daily part of life. Those of us in the West don't yet have to contend with open persecution, but we do endure attacks on the Church, both from within and without.
Christians in Nigeria are still dealing with the reality of persecution with few Western nations doing anything to stop it. Years of attacks by Islamist militants have sparked growing tensions within Africa's most populous nation. In 2019 alone, hundreds of Nigerian Christians were slaughtered at the hands of terrorists.
In other countries, persecution is even worse. North Korea, for example, has been listed in the annual report released last week by Open Doors, a nonprofit organization assisting in getting the word out about Christian persecution, as the number-one persecutor of Christians.
Prisoners who were able to flee North Korea recounted the horrors they and others endured. While not all cases of imprisonment can be chalked up to Christian persecution, they do show that North Korea is a brutally repressive regime that will think nothing of murdering its own citizens.
For the mere possession of a Bible, North Koreans can be rounded up, along with their whole family, and interred in a work camp. They are tortured, forced to do hard labor and starved. Witnesses claim there are almost no rats, snakes or large insects left around the work camps because they're often eaten — raw — by the inmates.
The World Watch List, Open Doors' annual report, reveals that over 260 million Christians live under extreme threat. While North Korea is the number-one offender, eight out of 10 in the top 10 are Islamic governments, and the majority of the top 20 offenders are Islamic countries.
Nigeria was listed at number 12 on the list despite Christians consisting of almost half the population. The nation's Catholics, in particular, have endured murder, rape and kidnapping at the hands of Islamist organizations like Boko Haram, which kidnapped 276 Christian schoolgirls in 2014 with the intention of selling them into slavery.
Watch the Church Militant panel discuss Christian persecution in today's episode of The Download—Bloodshed in Nigeria.