Religious-Freedom Advocate Nina Shea: ‘Ora et Labora’ Needed to Address Persecution Worldwide

National Catholic Register
April 10, 2023

Original article

The 2023 Benedict Leadership Award was presented to Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, March 30 at Belmont Abbey College.

In her acceptance speech, she said: “St. Benedict saved Western civilization. … We need him again. The world is feeling the threat of another dark age.”

She continued, “Pope John Paul observed that the 20th century saw more Christian martyrs than all the other centuries combined. And it seems like the first quarter of the 21st century is continuing this pattern.”

“360 million Christians are persecuted today around the world on all continents, according to Open Doors,” she underscored.

She proceeded to highlight such persecution, from Finland to Mexico, in addition to crimes against pro-life pregnancy centers and churches in the United States.

She underscored how religious freedom is “central to our heritage, culture and history,” mentioning U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s efforts with Pope St. John Paul II to end the Cold War.

She also emphasized the plight of the Uyghurs and others, including in China.

But she also discussed the place of practical, prayerful work, encouraging all people of goodwill to ora et labora (pray and work) and called attention to the effort of GlobalPrayerforChina.org and asked that people contact their representatives and senators about current religious-freedom legislation.

“… how important it is to safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, as the cornerstones of the structure of human rights and the foundation of every truly free society.” Pope John Paul II at the United Nations, 1995