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» 09/08/2004
PAKISTAN
Bishop Saldanha in Mariamabad says no to attacks against life and the family
by Qaiser Felix

A local Christian politician gets public funds to build a road to Marian shrine.



Mariamabad (AsiaNews) – Speaking to the faithful gathered for Saturday mass during the 55th National Marian Pilgrimage in Mariamabad (80 km from Lahore), Mgr Lawrence John Saldanha, Archbishop of Lahore, said that respect for and openness to others are the instruments for a true family life, whilst "abortion is murder of the unborn".  In his message to Christian families, the Bishop emphasised the importance of the themes raised in the recent assembly of Asian bishops on the family. As the Gospel commands –"What God has joined, man must not put asunder" (Mt. 19:6)–, Bishop Saldanha condemned divorce reminding those present that the Church forbids divorced people from remarrying. He urged couples to accept and love one another, only thus shall we promote a "real Christian family life". In the same breath, he said abortion was the "murder of the unborn".

"We must acknowledge", he added, "that the birth rate in our country is very high and can negatively affect our quality of life. Never the less, the Church remains opposed to methods that limit the number of children according to the guidelines set by family planning organisations and that are not in accordance with its teachings."

Bishop Saldanha went on to decry the sale of human organs and lavish spending on weddings and warned the faithful against the dangers of an uncontrolled access to the media in the family. "Movies, TV and internet," he pointed out, "can convey immoral ideas about love, sex and marriage. Parents should monitor mass media use in the home."

Akram Masih Gill, a Christian member of the National Assembly, spoke after the bishop. "I have always been devoted to Our Lady," he said. "Some years ago when I was a district councillor, I often came here to pray to her. I pledged that if I could reach an important political position I would get a road built leading up to the shrine and make it easier for pilgrims to reach it. Now I am in the National Assembly and have kept my word." Mr Gill got the government to pay for a two-way road now bearing his name linking Mariamabad to the main highways of the area.

On Sunday, the last day of the pilgrimage, Bishop Joseph Coutts celebrated a mass in which he reasserted the need for unity in the family. He also encouraged pilgrims to take the Holy Family as the example to follow.


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See also
09/06/2004 PAKISTAN
Whether on foot or by bycicle people come to Pakistan's Lourdes
09/09/2008 PAKISTAN
Pilgrims’ spontaneous devotion in Mariamabad
by Margaret Piara
09/06/2004 PAKISTAN
In Mariamabad the faithful gather by the thousands for the 55th National Marian Pilgrimage
by Qaiser Felix
09/15/2004 INDIA
Kerala's Our Lady of Ransom becomes a National Pilgrim Centre
by Nirmala Carvalho
08/13/2004 POPE - LOURDES - INDIA
Sick Hindus and Hindu students join Christians in prayer before the statue of Mary
by Dario Salvi

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
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pp. 176
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