In accordance with the motto of our founder “Inform, pray and act”, our communication work gives a voice to those who often no longer have one. We present the pressing issues of the Church locally and serve as advocates for persecuted Christians vis-à-vis other bodies, we create the Religious Freedom Report, and prepare public relations reports for print, social media and audiovisual products.
These materials are provided to the National Sections to forward to the local media, including radio and television stations. With information campaigns, publications, events and conferences, the 23 National Sections advocate the welfare of the Church around the world. We also assist with the construction of radio stations and oversee the training of media professionals in the service of evangelisation.
We give persecuted Christians a voice.Mark von Riedemann, Director of
Public Affairs and Religious Freedom
As the “advocate of Christians”, we raise the voice for disadvantaged and persecuted Christians in many urgent cases. We have already been able to galvanise key people in positions of responsibility with our plea for more humanity and charity. Much of our advocacy work is made possible by maintaining contacts on visits of project partner delegations and also by providing high-quality information. As a result, over the past few years, we have gained a high level of trust and a good reputation among politicians from the EU and other parts of the world. This helps us to launch projects and win over fellow campaigners.
With a donation volume of 110 million euros, a good deal of need can be alleviated, but more is required to create a real difference in the world. One means of leverage is to inform and spur to action of governmental and transnational agencies that can then support larger aid projects. Around the world, ACN acts as an advocate for altruism and for suffering Christians. With success: In May 2019, our foundation was awarded the “Path to Peace Award” by the UN Mission of the Holy See in New York for its commitment.
For us, the award is a great incentive to continue to strive for cooperation and to meet influencers who can inform the world of opinion leaders in the media and at events about the plight of Christians, thereby mobilising them for dialogue and action. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, praised ACN as “the leading organisation in the world putting words to the persecution Christians are suffering in certain places.” The “Path to Peace” award was accepted by ACN Executive President Thomas Heine-Geldern. In his acceptance speech, he emphasised that the honour belongs to “those Christians who, just because of their faith, are persecuted, oppressed, discriminated or silenced. Tonight, in lending them my voice, my hope is that their martyrdom is a little less silent.”
But nothing moves our work forward more than the personal experiences of those affected. That is why once again in 2019, the ACN Public Affairs team took part in international congresses, symposia and conferences, where the situation of Christians was mainly presented with concrete witness reports, in line with the motto “Do good and talk about it”. For example, we were able to help establish a close cooperation between the EU delegation in Pakistan and the local Church which will address the problem of discrimination against religious minorities in textbooks.