VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Commemorating the witness of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the Pakistani Catholic’s death will be a source of inspiration and hope for persecuted Christians.
Speaking to members of the “Missione Shahbaz Bhatti” association Nov. 30, the pope said the group can help overcome barriers and create “dialogue, understanding and reconciliation” among different people and different faiths.
“One of the fruits of the sufferings of Christians is the multiplication of groups and associations — like yours — that build bridges of fraternity throughout the world, overcoming differences in language, culture and sometimes even religion,” he said.
Bhatti, who served as Pakistan’s minority affairs minister, was gunned down in 2011 after he said he would seek the reform of blasphemy laws to stop the laws from being misused to persecute innocent Christians.
The pope paid tribute to Bhatti and said he was pleased “to know that today he is loved and esteemed by many in Pakistan and that his sacrifice is bearing fruits of hope.”
He also encouraged the association to continue to proclaim the Gospel and aid “victims of false accusations” and to continue in the “fight against poverty and modern slavery.”
“May your distinctive sign always be that which shines in the witness of Shahbaz Bhatti and of so many other martyrs of our time, namely the humble and courageous faith in the Lord Jesus and the ability to put love where there is hatred,” the pope said.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: