Pope asks Pakistan to repeal blasphemy law and mourns murder of Salman Taseer


Vatican City: January 10, 2011. (Vatican Radio/Agencies) Pope Benedict XVI delivered his annual address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See Monday, telling representatives from the 178 states

that now more than ever the right to religious freedom needs to be respected and implemented. The January appointment with diplomats accredited to the Holy See is traditionally when the Pope gives what has become known as his ‘state of the world’ address. Casting his gaze around the world – with one eye firmly on the future – Pope Benedict XVI once again singled out religious freedom as the most pressing issue on a global level. Delivering his speech in French, Pope Benedict denounced the targeted killing of Christians in, even within their places of worship in Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria. He mourned the recent assassination of a Pakistani governor committed to repealing a blasphemy law which the Pope said is used as an “excuse to cause injustice and violence”. Pope Benedict also reiterated his concern for the moment of “difficulty and trial” that the faithful of China are currently experiencing. But he noted all these situations, as diverse as they may be, have one common denominator, a lack of respect for the fundamental human right of freedom of religion and worship. He said “The religious dimension is an undeniable and irrepressible feature of man’s being and acting …Consequently, when the individual himself or those around him neglect or deny this fundamental dimension, imbalances and conflicts arise at all levels, both personal and interpersonal”. Beginning in the East, Pope Benedict praised the European Union’s efforts for the defence of Christians in the Middle East, but also underlined that the right to religious freedom is not fully respected when only freedom of worship is guaranteed, and that with restrictions. He spoke specifically of the Arabian Peninsula, where numerous Christian immigrant workers live, expressing his hope that the Catholic Church will soon be able to establish suitable pastoral structures for them. From East to West, the Pope then spoke of other kinds of threats to the full exercise of religious freedom; its marginalisation from public life, the tendency to tendency to consider religion, all religion, as something insignificant, alien or even destabilizing to modern society, or worse attempts to override religious and moral convictions. Here Pope Benedict spoke specifically of situations when Christians are denied their right to conscientious objection, such as the case of healthcare or legal professionals and once again praised the Europan Council for its adoption of a resolution in October last that protects the right to conscientious objection to acts which “gravely violate the right to life, such as abortion”. However the global panorama traced by Pope Benedict Monday was not completely without glimmers of hope. For example, the news that Vietnam has agreed to the appointment of a papal representative after more than 60 years and the support of some European countries in favour of the displaying of religious symbols in public places. Concluding Pope Benedict once again repeated to the representatives of the 178 states, “religion, does not represent a problem for society,..it is not a source of discord or conflict” and “the Church seeks no privileges, nor does she seek to intervene in areas unrelated to her mission, but simply to exercise her mission with freedom”. Emer McCarthy reports listen: Earlier, Pope Benedict XVI and leaders from around the world have called for this devout Christian wife and mother to be freed. On November 17, 2010, at his general audience in St. Peters square, the Pope called the world's attention to the plight of this contemporary Christian disciple with these words: "Over these days the international community is, with great concern, following the situation of Christians in Pakistan, who are often victims of violence or discrimination. In particular, I today express my spiritual closeness to Ms Asia Bibi and her family while asking that, as soon as possible, she may be restored to complete freedom. I also pray for people who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and fundamental rights may be fully respected. ""The tragic murder of the governor of Punjab shows the urgent need to make progress in this direction," he said, adding that the law against blasphemy was an example of "norms prejudicing the right to religious freedom".

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"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com