Statement from Bishop Declan Lang on Pakistan Massacres

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“The weekend massacres in Lahore showed in the most terrible way just how vulnerable Pakistani Christians, and other communities, are to extremist political violence.

“The statement by Archbishop Coutts makes clear what the Pakistan government’s responsibilities are and how much more needs to be done to protect its citizens.

“My prayers and thoughts are with the victims, their families and with those supporting them pastorally within the Pakistani Church.
“I will be remembering the victims of the attacks and the Church in Pakistan during a Mass celebrated at the Clifton Cathedral on the Feast of St Joseph this Thursday (19 March 2015).”
Right Rev Declan Lang
Bishop of Clifton
Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department for International Affairs

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Statement by Archbishop Coutts

Terrorists have struck once again without any respect or concern for human life. Once again the state has not been able to provide safety to its citizens. Millions of citizens continue to live in a state of constant tension and fear, not knowing what to expect next.
We have grown tired of condemning such atrocities so freely carried out at the will of terrorists. I appeal to all citizens of good will to be united in this time of sadness and loss. Our solidarity is essential to show the terrorists that we condemn their methods of senseless violence. As citizens of Pakistan we should stand up as one body to support each other for the good of our country.
I particularly appeal to all Christians to voice their protests in a peaceful manner, and not to resort to violence and destruction of public property which serves no purpose. During this period of 40 days of prayer and fasting, we must now put our thoughts to how we can give generously to those who are injured and traumatized and be a support to our suffering brethren.
As a sign of mourning for this tragic loss of life and in solidarity with those who have lost their friends and dear ones, all schools and educational institutions of the Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi and of the Church of Pakistan in Karachi will remain closed on Monday, 16 March 2015. Prayer services will be held in all churches throughout the city at 6pm.
We appeal to the government to intensify their efforts to provide security to all citizens. In June 2014 the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had issued an order to the Prime Minister and all Chief Ministers to provide protection for all minority religious places, and to appoint a Task Force for this purpose. This order of the Supreme Court has not been implemented. This new act of terrorism has cruelly shown how defenceless we are due to this neglect.
Most Rev Joseph Coutts
Archbishop of Karachi