September 1, 2014

VATICAN: Former Minister Describes Pope as a ‘Figure for Persecuted Christians’


VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 29, 2014(CISA) - Dr Paul Bhatti, former Pakistani Minister for National Harmony and Minorities, in Pakistan whose brother, Shabhaz, was assassinated by Islamic extremists, termed Pope Francis “a father figure for persecuted Christians.”

Dr Bhatti was speaking after he and his mother – both Catholics – met and spoke briefly with The Holy Father at the conclusion of Wednesday’s  26 General Audience, reported Vatican Radio.

The former minister described his meeting with the Pope as “a special moment” and together with his mother invited the pontiff to visit Pakistan’s small Christian community.

Dr Bhatti further criticized the international community’s lack of speaking out against persecution of Christians and condemned the “abuse of children” who, he said, are sometimes “brainwashed” as early as age 6 to kill.

While praising the courage of some Muslims who defend Christians, he maintained the root causes of religious extremism and terrorism must be identified and tackled.

During the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis said that in a Christian community division is one of the worst sins because it comes not from God adding that the sins against unity, such as jealousy, envy, and antipathy come about when we place ourselves at the centre and even occur even in our parish communities. 

The Pope stressed that God’s will, “is that we grow in our capacity to welcome one another, to forgive and to love, and to resemble Jesus.” 

“While we, the members of the Church, are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us daily to conversion,” he told an estimated ten thousand pilgrims and tourists present in St Peter’s Square.

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