Let church bells ring in Europe for victims of terrorism and for persecuted Christians, East and West
Last year, many French Bishops, at the request of the faithful, designated the Feast of the Assumption/Dormition (15 August) as the day to ring their church bells to call the faithful to pray for Eastern Christians, persecuted by ISIS.
Less than a year later, Western Christians and the Church in Europe have been struck by Islamic terrorism. This blow has been particularly hard in France, where Fr Jacques Hamal was killed in his church as he said Holy Mass, and also in Nice where 85 people were killed on Bastille Day.
However, Belgium and the UK have also been the target of Islamic terrorism. And, now, Germany, too, has been hit by Islamic extremists.
As Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers, we cannot allow Europe to continue to fall under these blows of the madness of ISIS. We must now show solidarity with all victims, East and West, regardless of their religion or opinion. We must also consider the police and military, responsible for order in Europe, some of whom have lost their lives in the line of duty as they tried to save civilians and repel attackers.
But, now, by attacking the clergy in their churches, ISIS threatens to "profane" Europe, as French President, Hollande, aptly said in regards to France and the murder of Fr Hamal.
We cannot allow this profanation to occur.
Therefore, to repair this desecration done to our Church and to our Continent, we want a sign of Christian unity. Taking the lead of the French in 2015, we are now petitioning for church bells to sound, again, on 15 August, 2016. But, this time, all throughout Europe.
The ringing of the bells, at 12noon, 15 August, will be a call for all Christians to pray, for all victims of terrorism in Europe and in the East. Non-Christians may pray in their own way, or, for those who have no faith, they may observe a minute of silence.
This petition is directed to the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I. We ask that they both make this petition known to all of their brother Bishops in Europe, so that many churches, throughout Europe, may participate in this signal of solidarity and faith.
It is time that we gather Europeans around our church steeples and recognise our Christian roots.
We hear so clearly the call of all Europeans, believers or not, for unity and resistance against hatred and barbarism -- and, for all persecuted Christians of East and West.
Thank you ringing the bells for life and peace. May God bless our efforts.
Sign this petition now!
Petition to: Secretary of State of the Vatican and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople