Catholics in Pakistan are called to be “instruments of peace and tolerance” and at the same time to be “courageous” to bring about “positive change” in the country.
This was the call of Archbishop Benny Mario Travas of Karachi in his New Year message, urging the faithful to “go forward with renewed hopes” to do better in 2022.
The prelate said Catholics, through their actions, should unite and continue on the path of peace in their families and communities.
The Church leader recalled the words of Pope Francis calling for “concrete actions” in working for peace “by paying attention to the least.”
A report on AsiaNews quoted the prelate saying that it is everyone’s job to promote justice “with the courage of forgiveness,” thus extinguishing the “fire of hatred” in a nation too often tainted by sectarian violence and targeted attacks against minorities.
He said that as disciples of Christ “our mission is different,” that is to “create harmony.”
“There are people who count on us,” he said, adding that to be effective in the mission it is necessary to entrust oneself to the Lord.
He said Christians “must become a single Church and an instrument of progress and peace” for the nation.
Reports have noted that religious minorities, including Christians, are facing “severe discriminations” in Pakistan.
The South Asia Democratic Forum reported in August last year that the plight of the Christian community in the country “fully illustrates the vagaries, miseries and dangers of life as a religious minority.”
It said the state itself “is one of the main drivers of suppression and persecution” of minority religions.
“Pakistani authorities at all levels, in alliance with radicalized Islamists, actively sponsor violations to human and fundamental (political) rights of Christians,” read the report.