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 those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

'Wine makes glad the heart of man' (Ps. 104:15). But you who have professed sorrow and grief should turn away from such gladness and rejoice in spiritual gifts. If you rejoice in wine, you will live with shameful thoughts and distress will overwhelm you.

St. Theodore of Edessa