By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/24/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy.
Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the Vatican in what spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said was a "very affectionate" meeting.
Although raised as a Christian, Meriam was accused of apostasy because her father was a Muslim. Meriam defended herself, saying she had only known Christianity because her father had abandoned the family at a young age. However, the court did not accept this line of reasoning and ordered her to recant her faith or be put to death.
Go ahead, light a candle in prayer for all our courageous Christian martyrs. May they keep us in prayer before God.
Her death sentence was to involve 100 lashes, then she was to be hanged. The sentence was postponed only because she was pregnant.
Meriam was handed over to the courts by her own family who were opposed to her marriage to a Christian man, Daniel Wani, who holds both Sudanese and American citizenship.
While in prison, Meriam was compelled to live with her first child, who was four, and she gave birth in the prison clinic. Both children were with her in prison. The court ruled she could wean the child before she would be executed, which granted her a stay of execution for 1-2 years.
All throughout her incarceration, governments, churches, human rights watchdogs and other organizations all protested her sentence. The Sudanese government, in a case that had ups and downs, initially said it would release her, then retracted the claim. Finally, she was released last month only to be arrested at the airport for trying to leave the country. Her crime was using her Christian name on travel documents.
However, she was later released and permitted to leave the country with her family.
The family arrived in Rome and was greeted by Italy's premier before visiting with Pope Francis. They will later continue on to the United States.
Pope Francis has made a point to draw attention to those who are being persecuted for their religious beliefs, along with serving as a voice for the disenfranchised. He has met with prisoners, the poor, and others in an effort to uplift their humanity and to improve their situation by calling it to world attention. He has also spearheaded campaigns to eradicate hunger and poverty.
There are more martyrs for Christianity produced today than at any other time in world history.
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