Silence of the Churches

At 8 p.m. today, Rome’s white marble Trevi Fountain–its swirling waters and the charging baroque statues of Oceanus, his sea shell chariot and attendant tritons and horses–will all be turned blood red in a campaign to raise awareness about modern day Christian martyrs.

The popular fountain is decidedly not Christian-themed and historically seems to have inspired only frivolity. The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need and a coalition of other Catholic Italian non-governmental organizations that are co-sponsoring this performance art are counting on this unlikely juxtaposition. They hope that the coin tossing, selfie-taking throngs of tourists, as the frivolous Western public at large, will be given pause, if only briefly, to contemplate the surging pattern of mass murder of Christians purely for reasons of faith, largely by Islamists.

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