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

Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Jul
26

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-30

Gospel
Date
07/26/14
07/25/14
07/24/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 7: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 24-30

Saint of the Day

Blessed William Ward »

Saint
Date
07/25/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:24-30

Homily
Date
07/26/14
07/25/14
07/24/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: