2016-03-01 15:46:00

Church in Pakistan to open the diocesan process to declare Bhatti a ‘martyr’

On the occasion of the fifth death anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic minister for minorities killed on March 2, 2011, in Islamabad the local Church will begin collecting the testimonies to open  the diocesan process to declare Bhatti a ‘martyr’.

The 42-year old Bhatti – a leading voice for religious freedom and peace in Pakistan – served as federal minister for religious minorities. He was shot to death by three masked men on March 2 as he left his mother's home in Islamabad by car.

In a video he recorded to be released in case of his death, Bhatti stated: “I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of ‘cross,’ and I follow Him to the cross.” “Pray for me and for my life,”

Bhatti told Fides ahead of his murder. “I am a man who has burnt his bridges. I cannot and will not go back on this commitment. I will fight fanaticism and fight in defense of Christians to the death.” In the second week of April, Pakistan's bishops and Catholic faithful will gather in Islamabad to commemorate Bhatti, 40 days after his death.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the death of Mr. Bhatti, Archbishop Coutts said, “He spoke with faith and demonstrated courage. Thanks to him the voice of Pakistan's Christians was heard. He paved the way for us. He was a good Catholic and gave his life for his mission."

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