New papal representative faces great challenges in Pakistan, says Mexican archbishop

.- Archbishop Christophe Pierre of Mexico recently remarked that the new apostolic nuncio to Pakistan will have an important mission in proclaiming Christ to the Muslim country.

Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra was recently named nuncio – or papal representative – to Pakistan. He had previously served as an advisor to the Nunciature in Mexico.

“I am thrilled about the Holy Father’s decision to choose Msgr. Edgar Pena Parra. He has been a great collaborator,” Archbishop Pierre said in an interview published by the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s News Service on Feb. 4.

Archbishop Pierre is the apostolic nuncio to Mexico.

Archbishop Pierre called Archbishop Pena Parra “a man of great human experience.” Born in Venezuela, he has served the Church in Africa, Europe and Latin America for 18 years. “The nature of the work he is taking on will be different than in Mexico. Circumstances will require that he work closer with a minority Church,” he said. “As a member of the Catholic Church he will be charged with proclaiming Christ …  in Pakistan.”

The new nuncio will face “great tensions that result from the differences between religions and cultures, and he will have to observe, listen, accompany and dialogue. He will have the important task of maintaining diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Pakistani government,” Archbishop Pierre said.

Archbishop Pena Parra is “a good priest, devoted to the mission of the Church, a good servant of the Church. Personally I admire the way in which we have formed a community of brothers at the Nunciature, working together in service to the Church and to Mexico,” he continued.

The new nuncio to Pakistan comes amid debate over the country’s blasphemy law, which punishes any speech or action against Allah, Mohammed or the Koran.

The blasphemy law is linked to the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother accused of insulting Mohammed. Since her detention, she has denied the charges and argued she is being persecuted for her Christian faith.

The bishops of Mexico will hold a ceremony on Feb. 18 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to thank Archbishop Pena Parra for his work at the Nunciature.

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