2010-11-29 16:15:40

Visiting Vatican official meets Pakistan leaders

(November 29, 2010) A Vatican official has stressed the need for interreligious dialogue during his first visit to Pakistan. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, visited an ecumenical Christian study centre, inaugurated a peace centre in Lahore run by the Dominicans, celebrated Mass at the cathedral there and met Catholic bishops and Religious superiors. “The purpose of my visit was to encourage the Catholic community and its pastors in their daily life to listen, understand and share,” Cardinal Tauran said in a statement on Sunday while in Lahore. “I tried to help them reflect on the necessity of a dialogue with their fellow citizens of other religions, which must rest on honesty, mutual respect and clear-cut spiritual identity,” he said. He added that he was impressed by the Christian community’s vitality to remain loyal citizens in building a harmonious Pakistani society, and was confident that the government’s goodwill towards the needs of the Catholic Church of Pakistan, will continue and will be ever more effective in making the Christian citizens feel they are appreciated. One of the main concerns of Christians in Pakistan is the controversial blasphemy laws that Church leaders say are often abused for personal gain and to harass religious minorities in the country. Recently, Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman was condemned to death for alleged blasphemy. The high-profile case of Bibi, known as the first woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s controversial laws, has invited worldwide condemnation.

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