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One in seven Christians ‘face high levels of persecution’

More than 365 million Christians, approximately one in seven worldwide, face high levels of persecution for their faith [1], according to a top Vatican official, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

In his speech at a conference on religious freedom held in Rome, Archbishop Gallagher said attacks on churches and Christian properties “increased significantly in 2023, with more Christians than ever before reporting violent attacks.”

The prelate went on to describe his concern that “according to some estimates, almost 4.9 billion people live in countries with serious or very serious violations of religious freedom.”

The Vatican diplomat underscored that religious freedom, “although not the only aspect of human rights, is probably the most fundamental,” adding that “the violation of the right to religious freedom has the effect of undermining not only one right but also the entire category of human rights,” he added.

“Religious freedom plays a decisive role in achieving integral human development,” Archbishop Gallagher continued. For this reason, he added, “the state should exercise a detached neutrality and grant religious groups and all individuals an equal right to the public manifestation of their religious convictions.”