Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The massacre of Peshawar "shows the failure of Pakistani authorities to protect the country's vulnerable Christian community. The integrity and moral authority of a nation depends on its firm commitment to ensuring the rule of law and defend its minorities," said Mgr Thomas Dabre, bishop of Pune (Maharashtra).
In remembrance of the victims of the attack, he has decided that every parish in his diocese will hold a solemn Eucharistic celebration on 29 September.
"At every Mass after the reading of the Gospel," the prelate said, "we shall say a prayer for peace, harmony, respect and the security of all minorities of Pakistan." The bishop himself will celebrate the liturgy in Pune cathedral.
"I am deeply saddened," the prelate said, "for the terrible and cruel attack on innocent Christians. The failure of the authorities [to protect them] is discouraging and a cause of great concern. The primary task and obligation of a nation is to protect minorities. I am proud of Pakistani Christians for the way they maintain and preserve their faith despite all the difficulties and the challenges they face every day in believing in Christ. "
"The Christians of Pakistan are deeply integrated into the local culture," Bishop Dabre said. "Urdu is their mother tongue, which they use in worship. This is significant because it shows complete and genuine inculturation. The fact that this community is often persecuted and its members killed is even more serious."
"Freedom of religion," he added, "is an inalienable human right, which is intrinsically connected to human dignity and moral compassion for a nation. It is urgent that the international community not remain silent in the face to the growing persecution of Christians in the world."