» 03/16/2015, 00.00
Bishops call on Pakistanis to stand with fellow Christians, against extremists
Official statement of the Bishops' Conference (PCBC), signed by Mgr. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi. The provincial and federal government must "take effective measures to provide security to the churches of Pakistan, so as to guarantee freedom of religion and worship". Card. Oswald Gracias tells AsiaNews: "May the blood of these innocent bear fruit of mutual tolerance between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan."
(AsiaNews) - "The Catholic Church of Pakistan strongly condemns the brutal
suicide bombings against churches of Youhanabad, Lahore. Government, political
parties, religious leaders and all citizens of Pakistan must stand alongside
their Christian brothers and sisters, against extremist forces", reads the
official statement released by Msgr. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, President
of the Bishops' Conference of Pakistan (PCBC). "The government of Punjab
and federal government - he underlines - must take extraordinary measures to
protect churches and religious minorities in the country".
morning two al-Qaeda linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militants, blew
themselves up at the entrance of two churches in Lahore, killing 14
people and injuring about 80 people. Today the police announced two separate investigations
for the attacks which have sparked protests across the country, the most
violent of which took place in Lahore, where about 4 thousand Christians
(mostly young) took to the streets and destroyed vehicles and some bus stops.
At one point, an angry mob lynched and killed a suspect.
In the statement, the Catholic bishops also addressed an appeal to the
Christian community, asking them to "avoid violence and to cooperate with
the police in their investigations. We pray to our Lord Jesus Christ for the
health of the injured and to grant grace to the families of the martyrs ".
"of such atrocities," says Msgr. Coutts, "requires the whole
nation to join hands and show itself united against terrorism. We can belong to
any religion - Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha'is or other - but we
should always promote peace and social harmony, protecting each other against
"On behalf of the Catholic Church - said the president of the PCBC - I ask
the provincial and federal government, to take effective measures to provide
security to the churches of Pakistan, so as to guarantee freedom of religion
attacks in Lahore have provoked a global outpouring of solidarity. From India Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of
Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), tells
AsiaNews: "We offer our
condolences to the bereaved families. May God comfort them in this time of
suffering and pain. The Church in India, accompanies them in prayerful
solidarity , through this Via Crucis, that they may find Peace and Strength to
bear their loss".
"I feel very
much for our Christians in Pakistan" - the Cardinal adds to AsiaNews. "In this time
of Lent they have participated fully in the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Surely there will be a resurrection for them. As President of the FABC I am
personally very committed to inter religious dialogue and this incident
will make me pursue this more forcefully".
concludes: "May the blood of these innocent Christians, bear fruits
of mutual tolerance and harmonious co-existence and dialogue between
Christians and Muslims in Pakistan".
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed)
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