» 10/29/2009, 00.00
The Catholic Church in Pakistan (An overview)
Catholics are less than 1% of a total of over 160 million inhabitants. There are two archdiocese in the country, four dioceses and an apostolic prefecture. A small minority but active and appreciated for efforts in education, helping the poor, health care and emergency interventions.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistan has just over 160 million inhabitants and is the second largest Muslim country in the world, after Indonesia. About 95% of the population professes Islam, with 75% Sunni, and 20% Shiite, Christians are approximately 2% of the total (less than 1% Catholic), 1.8% are Hindus, the remaining 1.2% profess other religions, including Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmadis, Buddhists, Jews, bah'ai and animists.
The largest Catholic presence is in the diocese of Lahore, in Punjab, with 390 thousand faithful out of a total of 26 million people; 26 parishes. Following this, the diocese of Faisalabad, with 189 thousand faithful out of about 33 million people, distributed in 28 parishes. Third in the diocese of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, with 174 thousand faithful out of 32 million inhabitants for a total of 19 parishes. Then Karachi, with 145 thousand faithful and 15 parishes out of a total population of 15 million people. Pakistan has two archdiocese, four dioceses and one apostolic prefecture, all of the Latin rite.
In this country there are many Christian schools, institutes and hospitals, that are considered prestigious and are appreciated by local authorities for the quality of the work they carry out in favour of the local populations, regardless of their faith. However, religious freedom, as in other Muslim-majority nations, is not guaranteed and cases of harassment, death threats and assassinations are a constant companion.
The activities of the Church of Pakistan cover various sectors including: education and formation, aid to the poor (one third of the population is at risk from hunger), projects to support agriculture, health care and interventions in cases of emergency or natural disaster. Among the numerous works carried out by Caritas Pakistan, along with Christian-based NGOs of mention is their assistance to victims of the earthquake that struck the country in 2005, killing 75 thousand people and making at least 3.5 million homeless. The organization relies on the collaboration of 500 people and voluntary work of about a thousand volunteers, to assist approximately 500 thousand people across the nation.
Save Christians and Pakistan from the blasphemy law
The blasphemy law - prison and death sentences for those who offend the Koran or Muhammad - is a tool to eliminate religious minorities. AsiaNews launches an awareness campaign for its repeal. Because of this law, since 2001 at least 50 Christians have been killed, families and entire villages destroyed. In the country Islamic and Christian voices appeal for its cancellation.
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From 8 June Kamran Michael is Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping in the PML-N-led government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For 10 years a member of the provincial assembly of Punjab, he is the second Christian (after Shahbaz Bhatti) to play a leading role in the executive. A plan for development and the goal of peace.
Blasphemy law: death threats against teenage girl forces family to flee
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
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