03/07/2011, 00.00
VATICAN - PAKISTAN

Shahbaz Bhatti “an authentic martyr", Card Tauran leads suffrage mass

The Pakistani Christians in Italy association organized the celebration, held in Urdu. A deeply moved Cardinal. Tauran recalls the Pakistani minister in his homily.

Rome (AsiaNews) - Recalling Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for Minorities,assassinated March 2 last, a deeply moved Cardinal. Jean-Louis Tauran spoke of their last meeting on 28 November at Lahore airport: "Before I boarded the plane for Rome, we said goodbye. Shahbaz said, 'I know that I will die assassinated, but I lay down my life for Christ and for interreligious dialogue. He already knew, he had already offered his life".  Yesterday Card. Tauran presided at a suffrage mass for the assassinated minister, attended by several priests, nuns and lay people, both Pakistani and Italian. The function was organized by the Pakistani Christians in Italy association, at the Pontifical College St. Peter Apostle in Rome.

"Being a Christian - the cardinal said during his homily – means always making a choice between good and evil, between being a servant or master".  The hardest thing, he explains, is to ensure that "words are accompanied by actions: we have before us a shining example, Shahbaz Bhatti. We should thank God for this authentic martyr. He chose God as his Savior for his life, the Church as his mother, and human beings as his brothers. "

"In his spiritual testament – continued the card. Tauran - Bhatti wrote ‘I am no longer afraid, I dedicate my life to Jesus I do not want positions of power, I just want a place at Jesus' feet’: if he exercised a power, it was the power of his heart”.

Yesterday morning during the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the Pakistani minister’s "poignant sacrifice of life". And speaking of the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pope expressed the hope that his death will "awaken in consciences, the courage and commitment to protect the religious freedom of all men and, in doing so, promote their equal dignity" .

 

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