Martyrology today.

Author:Griffiths, Paul J.
Position:Letter to the editor

I was pleased, as I always am, to be instructively rebuked by Fr. Neuhaus in the December issue of FIRST THINGS ("While We're At It"). But can he really mean it when he says that Christians should not be ready to shed their own blood in the service of, and as a sign of solidarity with, other Christians? Does he forget the martyrs ?

Among the points I was making, ineptly no doubt, in the Christian Century essay he criticized was that martyrdom is a properly ecclesial death and that willingness to accept it is a properly ecclesial act. This means (among other things) that willingness to shed one's own blood in this way is a sign of deep solidarity with other Christians, past and present, living and dead. We American Christians, I argued, have been taught to make our fellow citizens the only proper recipients of...

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