The Archbishop of Karachi will be created cardinal on June 29th. "The world must know the real Pakistan". "There will be no progress if we continue to remain divided". Sharing the values of the founding father Ali Jinnah. Special prayers in various dioceses. Cardinal hopes to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit of Catholics.
Lahore (AsiaNews) - "Harmony was my motto ever since I became the bishop. Faith, Unity and Discipline is also the national motto of the country. My selection as a senator of the Pope will give a clear message. Not all people who live here are barbarians and terrorists", states Msgr. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi. He was speaking with some journalists after news that Pope Francis will raise him to the college of cardinals in the consistory next June 29.
The meeting with the press took place last week in the cathedral of St. Patrick's in Karachi, after a meeting between the future cardinal and chief minister province of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah. Msgr. Coutts, 73, said he shared the vision of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan [who supported the respect and equal dignity of all religious communities].
" Around the world, many journalists ask me if there are churches in Pakistan. Do Muslims permit you to pray there?” The image of Pakistan at international level is very negative. There will be no progress if we stay divided,” said Cardinal-designate Joseph Coutts of Karachi.“We are working together to produce a society where everybody lives as one nation and accept each other. This is not my work alone but a task for everybody.”
Since Pope Francis announced the appointment of 14 new cardinals, including three Asians, many have expressed their solidarity with the cardinal-designate. In addition to the local chief minister, Msgr. Coutts has received congratulatory messages from politicians, government officials, Christian leaders and common people, who pay him homage by bringing flowers and gifts to the archbishopric.
Yesterday all over the country there was a special prayer for the second cardinal that Pakistan has ever had [the first was Card. Joseph Cordeiro, who died in 1994 - ed.).
Inayat Bernard, rector of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart [of Lahore] wanted to project a documentary on the life of the archbishop. Msgr. Samson Shukardin, bishop of Hyderabad, offered other moments of prayer in the Cathedral of St. Francis. He tells AsiaNews: "A cardinal from a Muslim majority country, such as Pakistan, can help in bridging the increasing gap between Islam and the west. He should continue the efforts for interfaith dialogue with more vigor ".
Father Kamran Taj, vicar general of Faisalabad diocese (where Coutts served as a bishop for 14 years) says the good news from the Pope has boosted a new confidence among the minority community.
“This is an honorary thing for the local Church which is now more empowered. Now it’s time to strike good deals with the government especially in Sindh province to facilitate the minorities,” he said.
Shahid Rehmat, the Catholic Executive Director of Youth Development Foundation called for a revival of local Church. “We need priests who care more for their parishioners. It can help losing the Catholics to other Churches. Church organizations should start promoting small business platforms and social entrepreneurship,” he said. “Smaller religious communities like Ahmadis and Aga Khanis have these advantages. Churches run some of the best schools in the country but our community lacks business skills. A holistic approach, besides prayers, is needed and that’s where Cardinal Coutts effect is needed.”