Pakistan Catholic Bishop’s Conference November 2016

We, the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC), held our Second Plenary Annual Meeting in the Renewal Centre in Lahore last weekend of November, 2016. After having reflected prayerfully, on the issues that are affecting the life of the Church and the people of our beloved country, we would like to present the following message to our community and the people of good will:

Year of Mercy

Since the time, His Holiness Pope Francis began his Pontificate he has brought new life to the Catholic Church giving it new vigor and Mission. One step he took was to declare Extraordinary Jubilee, the Year of Mercy, which struck a chord in the hearts of millions of Catholics across the world. The Door of Mercy was opened not only in the Vatican but also in countries across the globe. People have frequented the Sacrament of Reconciliation and visited Churches in pilgrimages. They have increased Works of Mercy dramatically helping people in greater need.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a great saint of our time, has been a great pillar of mercy and service to humanity. She was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone. For Mother Teresa, mercy was the ‘salt’ which gave flavour to her work, it was the ‘light’ which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering”. Abdul Sattar Edhi too instilled a deep sense of love and care for people that transitioned to his lifelong service to the people of Pakistan. Edhi took the resolve to help his fellow human beings by providing medical and basic facilities including the 24 hour ambulance service, shelter home, orphanages and several relief operations that belong solely to his credit. During this year of mercy, we are sad to lose a brother Bishop Rufin Anthony. He was a man of prayer and mercy. His death has reminded us of the need of good holy priests, full of mercy and love. We pray for his eternal rest and are grateful for his services to the Church.

We appeal to all, in particular to those who during the year of mercy have benefitted to share their richness with others, especially the youth and other people who in different parishes helped poor people in greater need, to continue the good works of mercy and be an example to the people around in their lives.

Corruption and poverty

Corruption and poverty go hand in hand. When malpractices of corruption rise, the economies of countries fall. Poverty starts swelling and prosperity begins dwindling. The corrupt go on conning the fiscal resources of the country by fair and foul guiles hurling the greater segment of the society into the bottomless abyss of poverty. They become richer and richer and the general public becomes poorer and poorer. They miss no chance to devour countries’ financial sources and the white ants of poverty start eating up the very roots of the trees of economic produce. Investments lose their pace and the wheel of prosperity slows down. Consequently, vacuums are created for abuses of bribery, injustice, lawlessness, robberies, thefts and killings. Melee and mayhem overtake the state. The nexus between corruption and terrorism, and instability and poverty becomes stronger and stronger in the societies. PCBC thus draws immediate attention of the government to take strong action to get rid of the existing chaos in the society and daringly wipe out every tint of corruption from the sacred face of our beloved motherland.

Census

Bishops expressed deep concern over the extraordinarily belated Census in the country. Timely Censuses are always important for the state’s good governance and better management. PCBC is keenly aspiring to know the Christian population and their ratio in Pakistan, our country, in order to conveniently provide them spiritual and social services. Since presently there are rumors of the upcoming Census in the near future, the Bishops urge the priests, the catechists and the teachers to educate the Christian populace to get their names registered in this process. The Local leaders, Caritas workers, Justice and Peace Commissions and the local government councilors must actively help the concerned department that no Christian is left out to be registered in the upcoming Census.

Minority Quota

One praiseworthy step taken by the previous government was the grant of quota system for minority students to avail employment opportunities against the unfortunate existing trend of discrimination. We strongly support the government to strictly sustain its implementation in face of the present tendency and keep proper check on irregularities caused by the people of vested interest.

The Christian Marriage Act of 1872 and The Divorce Act 1869.  

The Catholic Church and the other Churches of various denominations in Pakistan have taken keen interest in reading and studying the bill to be presented to the Parliament on the following two Acts: 1. The Christian Marriage Act of 1872 and 2. The Divorce Act of 1869.

The Catholic Church along with all the major denominations of Christians has studied the Draft Acts with the Secretarial help of National Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) so that the teachings of the Holy Bible, the Christian tradition and contemporary opinions are fully respected. The teachings of Jesus on marriage and the family are duly conformed to Pakistani laws of Marriage and, Divorce are such that Christians can accept with a clean conscience. The PCBC thanks all the governments of Pakistan, the elected members of the National Assembly and the Senate, the lawyers and theologians for their hard work for more than a decade to deliberate, change and accept the proposed Acts. We hope this will help Christian family life to grow.

A Call for Calm and peace

Calm and peace seems like a forgotten dream in the country since decades. It looks as if our country’s peaceful coexistence and calm have all evaporated into the ether leaving the country in the tight grip of the extremism, sectarian killings, target killings, terrorism, uncertainty and insecurity. Cacophony of the politicos and antisocial actions by various sections of the society are worsening the state of calm and peace in the country.

We salute Pak Army for its efforts and sacrifices for the fight against terrorism and invite all the political leaders to play their role to establish calm and peace in the society. However, we also remind the government of its duty to provide calm and peace to the citizens and pray that the people of good will may come forward to set the country on her peaceful and stable footings.

We live with Hope

We are Christians who believe in the Risen Lord Jesus. He assures us that He is with us at all times till the end of the ages. He is at our side, even in the darkest moments of our life. No matter what the trials are, we do not lose hope. We know we have Him at our side journeying with us. Pakistan has problems like many other countries of the world. In some cases our problems may frighten us, but we pray that our leaders will always do what is right and stand up for the truth. We appeal to all Christians and citizens of good will to contribute liberally to the growth and progress of the nation. Pakistan is our home and we will always be loyal citizens working for its development. May Almighty God bless our country and people!

Report:                                              S. Sheeky

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