Pakistani archbishop praises Christmas security measures
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- 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


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20