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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

No one has to be embarrassed over his sinful state. ‘There is no man who, while living, does not sin,’ and the more sinful the man, the stronger will be God’s help in leading him out of his sinful mire. But the help of God comes only when the sinner repents with heartfelt contrition and has the will to reform. Not seeing in himself enough strength of soul to break away from sinful deeds, he asks for God’s help. This is where the mercy of God, Who does not wish the death of the sinner but wants him to be converted and live, is often evident.… If the voice of conscience awakens in us a feeling of remorse or repentance, then we must pray fervently to the Guardian Angel of our human existence that he may keep us from corrupt downfalls and help us ‘serve God with fear and trembling.’

Elder Macarius of Optina