Tag Archives: religious liberty

St Shahbaz Bhatti? — Paul Bhatti fills brother’s shoes

Some people are
suggesting that the Catholic bishops of Pakistan may petition the Pope to say
that the recently murdered Shahbaz Bhatti is a martyr. More will be known
on or after the March 25th meeting of the bishops. Bhatti was gunned down on Marc in Islamabad. 
Pakistan has about 2.5 Christians. 

Bishop Andrew Francis
of Multan: “Bhatti is a man who gave his life for his crystalline faith in
Jesus Christ. It is up to us, the bishops, to tell his story and
experience to the church in Rome, to call for official recognition of his

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore and president of the
Conference of Bishops said: “The murder of Shahbaz Bhatti means that we
have lost a great leader of our community who stood up for us and articulated
the concerns and fears of our people. We do not have a leader now. Our people
are quite down. They are fearful of the future.”

In the meantime, Paul Bhatti, MD, has been appointed by Pakistan’s Prime Minister to work with minorities, the same job his brother had.

Shahbaz Bhatti remembered by Pope

Last week’s murder of Pakistani Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti, 43, was remembered by Pope Benedict. Bhatti was the Minister for Minorities in Pakistani government. Mr. Bhatti leaves behind his Mother, 4 brothers and a sister; his father died in January. He was not married.

Shahbaz Bhatti said “I want to send a message of hope to the people living a life of disappointment, disillusionment and despair. Jesus is the nucleus of my life and I want to be his true follower through my actions by sharing the love of God with the poor, oppressed, victimized, needy and suffering people of Pakistan.”
Benedict prayed to Jesus that death of Minister Bhatti would be an occasion for renewed work, awakened consciences, for religious freedom and human dignity in Pakistan but in other parts of the world where Christians are persecuted, like Libya.
Rome Reports’ news story of the Pope’s recent remarks is here.
Sara Angle’s CNS story speaks of Bhatti as being a martyr.

Shahbaz Bhatti, Christian, murdered in Pakistan

Shahbaz Bhatti.jpg

Yesterday, Pakistani Christians –indeed, the world– lost a voice of reason and hope in the heinous, tragic death of Shahbaz Bhatti. He was the minister for minorities for the Pakistan government. 
Let us pray for the peaceful repose of Shahbaz Bhatti, his mother and siblings. We’d do well to pray for the Church in Pakistan!
Read the story.

Pope’s State of the World address, 2011

We have the
state of the school address, the state of the state address, the state of the
nation address, and even have the state of the world. Today, Pope Benedict XVI
delivered his ‘state of the world’ speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to
the Holy See. Depending on how you count, there are between 178 to 181 diplomats
at the Holy See. Please note the Pontiff’s concentration on religious freedom; he is, head and shoulders above all world leaders, the voice for religious freedom as the path to true, lasting peace. The
Pope’s address, the original was delivered in French:

Your Excellencies, Ladies
and Gentlemen,

Pope sits with Vatican Gentluomini in the Sala Clementina Jan 10 2011.jpg

I am pleased to welcome you, the distinguished representatives
of so many countries, to this meeting which each year assembles you around the
Successor of Peter. It is a deeply significant meeting, since it is a sign and
illustration of the place of the Church and of the Holy See in the
international community. I offer my greetings and cordial good wishes to each
of you, and particularly to those who have come for the first time. I am
grateful to you for the commitment and interest with which, in the exercise of
your demanding responsibilities, you follow my activities, those of the Roman
Curia and thus, in some sense, the life of the Catholic Church throughout the
world. Your Dean, Ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, has interpreted your
sentiments and I thank him for the good wishes which he has expressed to me in
the name of all. Knowing how close-knit your community is, I am certain that
today you are also thinking of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands, Baroness van Lynden-Leijten, who several weeks ago returned to the
house of the Father. I prayerfully share your sentiments.

Read more ...

Respect for religious freedom leads to peace, Pope’s message affirms

Thumbnail image for BXVI arms.jpgThe Pope released his message for the World Day of Peace today which celebrates the XLIV World Day of Peace. It’s a New Year message all peoples. The themes of the message are:

  • the nature of religious freedom
  • the right to religious freedom
  • religious freedom is a duty of public authority
  • religious freedom and the search for truth
  • religious freedom and identity
  • communal dimension of religious freedom
  • religious freedom and dialogue
  • religious freedom and the state
  • religious freedom is motivated by solidarity and not reciprocity
  • religious freedom and the missionary charge
Evangelization and the carrying out the missionary charge, then, do not contradict and oppose the sense of religious freedom. Rather evangelization stirs up the religious freedom of every person and drives it towards the truth that saves, in the hope that persons in their religious freedom would desire it and embrace it. In the embrace of the truth that saves, all religious freedom enjoys the peace that, on earth, is bestowed “on all on whom his favour rests”!
The papal text of “Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace
Rome Reports covers the story
Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Taso’s presentation of the message
Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. 200-300 million Christians face persecution yearly. 7 of out 10 can’t live in freedom with the faith. And about 150 thousand are killed for being Christian. The countries which are known to not respect Christians are: Myanmar (Burma), China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Eritrea.
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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms



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