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
Pakistan Christians increase security
Fears about extremists using the basphemy laws as cover for terrorismArchbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore
- Mike MacLachlan, London
- March 8, 2011
The countryâ€™s 2.5 million Christians fear for the future more than ever before and as a result security had been increased so much that his Sacred Heart Cathedral was â€ślike Fort Knox,â€ť he said in an interview with the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
â€śThe murder means that we have lost a great leader in our community. Our people are quite down. They are fearful of the future â€“ more so than before. People feel like second-class citizens. We cannot speak out. We feel oppressed, repressed and depressed.â€ť
Accusing the government of failing to tackle fundamentalism effectively, he said: â€śThe religious parties have put a lot of pressure on the government which is very weak and cannot make a stand against the menace of extremism.â€ť
However, Archbishop Saldanha told ACN: â€śOur people are very resilient and determined. For centuries, they have been suffering. This is nothing new for them. They have always been under the thumb. We carry on with Godâ€™s grace.â€ť
The archbishop was speaking five days after Bhatti, the only Catholic minister in the federal government, was gunned down on the streets of Islamabad, and less than two months after Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, was killed by his own bodyguard.
In its report of the interview, the London office of ACN pointed out that both men had spoken out against Pakistanâ€™s blasphemy laws. It said their criticism came amid widespread concern that extremists use the laws â€śas the pretext for acts of violence in response to unproven allegations of disrespect towards Islam.â€ť