Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Cardinal urges Pakistan to release Asia Bibi
The Christian mother of five was convicted of blasphemy in 2009 and sentenced to death
- Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
- Vatican City
- February 7, 2013
A high-ranking Vatican prelate has written to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari asking for the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death under the country’s controversial blasphemy law.
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, vice dean of the College of Cardinals, called for a “gesture of clemency” for Bibi, 42, who was sentenced in 2009 and has been jailed ever since.
He said Zardari’s pardon of Bibi would have “an enormous significance and would greatly promote dialogue and reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.”
He added: “In my long life, I have always worked to help Christians and Muslims live together as brothers, ever since Blessed John Paul asked me to organize the historical meeting for peace in Assisi on October 27, 1986.”
On that occasion, leaders from the world's religions met for the first time in St. Francis' hometown at the invitation of a pope.
“We can’t continue ignoring each other or, worse, fighting each other,” he concluded in the letter.
Cardinal Etchegaray’s is the latest appeal from the international community on behalf of Bibi, whose story has captured headlines since her detention and brought further scrutiny on Pakistan’s blasphemy legislation, which rights groups say is often used unjustly to settle political scores or target religious minorities.
In January, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi appealed to the Pakistan government through the Italian embassy in Islamabad to release Bibi.