The Archbishop of Westminster has welcomed the launch of an independent review into the persecution of Christians around the world ordered by the government.
Speaking at the launch of the report on Wednesday at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cardinal Nichols said that religious faith was becoming increasingly important across the world and pointed to the vitality of Christians as people of hope. He added that being a Christian always involved giving a critique of power.
The report, due to be published at Easter, will provide an analysis of current UK government support for persecuted Christians and offer recommendations for a "cohesive and comprehensive policy response”.
The Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mountstephen, who will be leading the investigation, said he is determined to “ask tough questions”.
He said there were a number of reasons, including post-colonial guilt, which had led to the UK being “blind to the issue” of Christian persecution.
"This is not about special pleading for Christians; rather, it's about ensuring that Christians in the global south have a fair share of the UK's attention and concern. So, in that sense it is actually an equality issue,” he said.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Sunday's deadly bombing at a cathedral in the Philippines served as a "vivid reminder" that persecution against Christians is ongoing.
"We wanted to do this [review] not just because freedom of worship is a fundamental human right but also because freedom of worship is the invisible line between open societies and closed societies," he said,
On announcing the report on 26 December last year Hunt said that the UK “must do more to help persecuted Christians”.