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Martyrs for Christ, Purity

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The Ugandan Martyrs (d. 1886), young male pages in the court of King Mwanga II, were killed for their adherence to chastity and fidelity to Christianity in defiance of their king.

The king turned to the male pages of his court for sexual favors, you see, and the Christian pages — many of them catechumens, some baptized — began to say "no" under the influence of their faith. So the king turned on the Christians in his court. He made martyrs of two different Catholic chief pages, Joseph Mukasa and Charles Lwanga. With Charles Lwanga, 14 other Christian pages were put to death.

As Christian history attests again and again, when the faithful say "no" to kings, quite often martyrs are made. In an age of rising anti-Christian persecution, more and more of our fellow Catholics are being called on to love the Lord more than they love their own lives. Such persecution isn't yet a routine occurrence in the United States, but that doesn't mean we can overlook or forget the suffering of our brethren all across the world.

So as we celebrate the feast of the Ugandan martyrs on June 3 and look forward to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual Fortnight for Freedom, let us ask the Ugandan Martyrs for their intercession for our country and for persecuted Christians around the world. Let us turn to them for prayers for all those affected by the sexual revolution, that chastity and obedience to the morality of the natural law become the norm.

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