Source: News.va Synod: Asia's Christian communities
Bishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, O.F.M., bishop of Tino, Apostolic Administrator of Lahore (PAKISTAN)
The New Evangelization has been welcomed by the Church in Pakistan, hoping that through evangelization the Church will find willingness to accept the present realities objectively, and find concrete solutions to live the gospel of Christ today. In view of this, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan felt the need to translate the Catechism of the Catholic Church into Urdu, the national language, so that people may have access to the basics of our faith.
Before I share the activities planned for the New Evangelization I want to highlight that Pakistan is a predominantly Islamic country with a Blasphemy law. I would like to thank the Holy Father and many other Church and state leaders who intervened to save the life of Asia Bibi with regard to the false charges of blasphemy. Pakistan’s population is 180 million but only about 2% is Christian. As such, we cannot depend on any of our neighbouring countries, such as Afghanistan, India, Iran or China for faith formation programs. For the New Evangelization, a healthy sense of human relationships as it was with Jesus is essential. However, a disposable sense of relationships as in consumerism dominates our daily lives today. For example the psyche behind the use of a tissue paper is very relevant in the sense that however expensive or perfumed the tissue paper may be, the relationship with it ends the moment you use it and throw it away; so, it is, unfortunately, the unconscious psyche that dominates our relationships today in families, parishes, places of work, etc.
In spite of the religious fundamentalist challenges to our Catholic faith in Pakistan, we in the Church through interreligious dialogue invite Islamic scholars and civil society, and other religious minorities to endeavor to build up a harmonious society in which all Pakistanis could live the common religious values which we profess together, such as justice, peace, respect for environment, good governance with reciprocal love and concern. Finally, I humbly request you to keep us in your prayers so that we “the little flock” of Christ in Pakistan may continue to be the beacon of faith for the transformation of people, culture and society, energized by the New Evangelization.