Hope and courage were the two main take-aways from this year’s Symposium, which was on the
theme of Challenges to Being a Christian in the Modern World. VIP speakers working in political, legal, and educational spheres shared their professional and personal experience, giving compelling talks for the Symposium guests, who gathered at the Kartause on September 24.
Kirsten Evans, CEO of the Washington, DC, based organization In Defense of Christians, talked about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, describing the current situation and explaining its root cause. She also elucidated reasons for hope. Joshua McCaig, President and CEO of the National Lawyers Association, spoke on the topic of religious freedom in the USA. Without being alarmist, he outlined the genuine threat to this basic freedom in the USA and what is at stake culturally.
A good historical and spiritual perspective on Christian persecution was provided by Dr. William Newton, Franciscan University’s Chair of Faculty for the Austrian Program, who spoke on martyrdom. Interweaving the Church’s teaching on martyrdom with real stories from the lives of recent martyrs, Newton inspired every listener to pray for courage and to emulate those saints.
The afternoon sessions featured the keynote addresses from two prominent Slovak politicians: Ján Čarnogurský, Former Prime Minister of Slovakia, and Ján Figeľ, Former European Union Commissioner and now Special Envoy for Religious Freedom appointed by European Commission. The European perspective which they gave made for lively and fruitful discussion. The day concluded with a classical music concert in the Baroque Library of the Kartause. A beautiful end to an exceptional day! For video of the main talks, visit LCI’s youtube channel.