08/17/2004, 00.00
Send to a friend

Bishops against divorce, abortion, and useless spending in families

Lahore (Pakistan) – Two Pakistani bishops will attend the 8th Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) that opens today in Daejeon, South Korea. Mgr. Lawrence John Saldanha, Archbishop of Lahore, and Mgr. Anthony Lobo, Bishop of Islamabad – Rawalpindi, will join the other 90 bishops from the continent in discussing "The Asian Family: towards a Culture of Life".

"It is a great opportunity for bishops from across Asia to interact with one another. It is an experience that cannot but enrich and push us to work and cooperate more closely, Mgr. Saldanha told AsiaNews on the eve of his departure for South Korea.

 "We shall submit to the FABC Assembly the 'Pastoral Letter on Family Life' we released back at Easter, and shall speak about the discriminatory laws Christians endure in Pakistan." Under Pakistan's Blasphemy laws, abuses of and violence against Christians are commonplace. Samuel Masih, 32, was killed by a policeman last May for alleged blasphemy.

In the pastoral letter the Pakistan Bishops' Conference addressed several issues including divorce, abortion, consumerism, and mixed marriages. On the issue of divorce the letter read: "We would like to reaffirm the teaching of the Church that a valid Catholic marriage cannot be dissolved. So we do not accept divorce, even though other religions may allow it."
The bishops also deplored the growing materialism of Pakistani society, which leads some people to sell their organs for gain, and condemn such practices as a threat to both donors and their families.

Consumerism has also come in for criticism. "In this age of high cost of living," the letter further read, "we urge the faithful to adopt a more simple [marriage] celebration, avoiding useless pomp and show."

"We already have family life commissions in every diocese," Archbishop Saldanha said, "but we want them to become more active in helping people prepare for married life according to Christian doctrine."

To do so Pakistan's bishops plan to set up a service involving family life animators –couples trained for the task– who would act as counsellors to engaged or married couples on issues such as natural birth control.

Overpopulation is a serious problem in Pakistan but is primarily dealt with through abortion. However, the bishops cannot but "repeat the Church's condemnation of abortion –the killing of unborn humans– as an act of murder."

There are about 1.3 million Catholics in Pakistan in a population of about 143 million. (QF)

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
"Upholding a culture of life in a globalised world"
A culture of life: a mission for both Church and family in Asia
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
The family: a pastoral challenge for the Church in Asia
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”