Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – To condemn vitiated inquiry, torture and inhumane treatment against young Christians Patras Masih and Sajid Masih; ask for concrete measures to stop the abuse of the blasphemy law, especially against religious minorities: these are the central themes of the protest organized yesterday, March 2, in Lahore by the "Pakistan Christian Action Committee" (PCAC), a body that collects and represents different Churches in Pakistan. As Fides learns, groups that promote human rights and civil society organizations joined the protest. Christian leaders such as Protestant Bishops Azad Marshall and Irfan Jamil were present; Fr. Qasir Feroz, in charge of the Communication Office for Catholic Bishops; Rev. Amjad Niamat of the Presbyterian Church and other leaders: all agreed to invite the government to control the violation of human rights and the Constitution of Pakistan.

The protesters are asking to set up an investigative team to look into the case of Patras Masih, the boy arrested for alleged blasphemy in the Shahdara neighborhood of Lahore, and to ascertain responsibility for the torture carried out by the police during interrogation. They asked to withdraw the charges against Sajid Masih and to investigate the sexual abuse that the police wanted to impose on the two young Christians during the interrogations (see Fides 20/2/2018 and 26/2/2018).

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – To condemn vitiated inquiry, torture and inhumane treatment against young Christians Patras Masih and Sajid Masih; ask for concrete measures to stop the abuse of the blasphemy law, especially against religious minorities: these are the central themes of the protest organized yesterday, March 2, in Lahore by the "Pakistan Christian Action Committee" (PCAC), a body that collects and represents different Churches in Pakistan. As Fides learns, groups that promote human rights and civil society organizations joined the protest. Christian leaders such as Protestant Bishops Azad Marshall and Irfan Jamil were present; Fr. Qasir Feroz, in charge of the Communication Office for Catholic Bishops; Rev. Amjad Niamat of the Presbyterian Church and other leaders: all agreed to invite the government to control the violation of human rights and the Constitution of Pakistan.
The protesters are asking to set up an investigative team to look into the case of Patras Masih, the boy arrested for alleged blasphemy in the Shahdara neighborhood of Lahore, and to ascertain responsibility for the torture carried out by the police during interrogation. They asked to withdraw the charges against Sajid Masih and to investigate the sexual abuse that the police wanted to impose on the two young Christians during the interrogations (see Fides 20/2/2018 and 26/2/2018).

"The civil administration and police of Lahore - says a document issued by the PCAC at the end of the protest - should ensure the security of the Christian population, particularly in the area of Shahdara, so that all displaced families can return to their homes". In fact, Christians had fled from their homes, fearing mass violence. "It is urgent to take concrete measures to stop the abuse of the blasphemy law, especially against religious minorities. The government of Punjab should work actively to instill inter-religious peace and harmony within the national action plan", said the statement sent to Agenzia Fides. The document recalls the sentence issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan concerning the protection of religious minorities on 19 June 2014, requesting its implementation "in the letter and in the spirit". The "Pakistan Christian Action Committee" will prepare a report and submit it to Parliament and the Commission on Human Rights. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 3/3/2018)

"The civil administration and police of Lahore - says a document issued by the PCAC at the end of the protest - should ensure the security of the Christian population, particularly in the area of Shahdara, so that all displaced families can return to their homes". In fact, Christians had fled from their homes, fearing mass violence. "It is urgent to take concrete measures to stop the abuse of the blasphemy law, especially against religious minorities. The government of Punjab should work actively to instill inter-religious peace and harmony within the national action plan", said the statement sent to Agenzia Fides. The document recalls the sentence issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan concerning the protection of religious minorities on 19 June 2014, requesting its implementation "in the letter and in the spirit". The "Pakistan Christian Action Committee" will prepare a report and submit it to Parliament and the Commission on Human Rights. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 3/3/2018)


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Theophany is a Greek word meaning "manifestation or appearence of God".

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky