Loading
Pakistani archbishop praises Christmas security measures

.- Following a year in which Christians in Pakistan were attacked by extremist Muslims, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, Archbishop Lawrence Suldana of Lahore praised the increased security provided by the police for Christians celebrating Christmas. Although attendance was down, those who made it to church were “strong in faith,” he said.

Archbishop Saldana said that many of Pakistan’s three million Christians were frightened of attacks by suicide bombers. Much of this fear was propagated by unsubstantiated rumors that were disseminated via text message. “We told people to stop texting messages of this kind. It was obvious that this was spreading a sense of panic,” he told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Suldana also said that attendance at Mass was down by as much as 40 percent in certain areas.

This year's Christmas season saw Pakistan on “red alert” because the Shiite Islamic holy day of Ashura fell close to Christmas.

However, the archbishop praised the nation’s security forces for their response to the threats. Police used metal detectors and other security devices to screen the faithful before they entered the church. “A sophisticated security apparatus” was utilized in various churches in Rawalpindi, which is near the country’s capital of Islambad, said Archbishop Saldana. Across the country, churchgoers were also protected by both uniformed and plain-clothed police.

The police also advised that many after-Mass activities such as fairs and get-togethers be scaled back or canceled. To this end, many Christmas celebrations in hotels and schools were affected.

“The police protection was really very good.  It wasn’t just the size of the security presence; it was the fact that there were a higher number of police commanders than usual. The whole operation was well resourced,” Archbishop Suldana told ACN.

“Morale here has been very low,” he added. “For many people, the security apparatus meant that going to Mass was very cumbersome. “There were big queues of people getting into church, all standing in single-file. Many people were very worried for their safety.”

Nevertheless, the faithful who made it to Mass were determined to celebrate the feast of the Lord’s birth. “There was a wonderful atmosphere in the churches. People were determined to celebrate and they participated with great enthusiasm,” the archbishop said.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: