Maronite Martyrs of Damascus (1860)

Clinging to Onions: “The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism,” declared Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky in 2012. “We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.” This is especially the case when religious tolerance is lacking and when faithfulness to Christ can – and often does – lead to death, a situation not restricted to our current age.

Consider, for example, the persecuted Christians of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. In 1856, following the Crimean War, the Ottoman Sultan granted full and universal religious freedom to his subjects. It was an unacceptable concession for the majority Muslim population, and it was particularly noxious in the view of the minority Druze sect, a gnostic offshoot of Shiite Islam. The story is here.