"I am convinced that the persecution against Christians today is stronger than in the first centuries of the Church. Today there are more Christian martyrs than in that period. And, it's not because of fantasy, it's because of the numbers." Pope Francis
June 9th interview with Andre Tornielli for La Vanguardia
I think the pope's other oft-quoted statement from the same interview shows his own willingness to expose himself to possible martyrdom:
"I know that something could happen to me, but it's all in God's hands. I remember that in Brazil they had prepared a Popemobile closed with glass. But I cannot greet people and tell them that I love them from inside a sardine can, even if it is crystal. To me this is a wall. It is true that something can happen to me, but let's be realistic, at my age I don't have much to lose."It's wonderful to have a pope who makes you laugh!