A leading bishop in Pakistan gave his heartfelt thanks to the friends and benefactors of leading Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), saying that their prayers and support are desperately needed at a time of increasing suffering for Christians and other minorities.
Speaking to ACN on Saturday, October 17th, Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad said that the faithful in Pakistan were enormously encouraged by the charity’s ongoing aid. He said, “Aid to the Church in Need is very special in that it not only provides material help but gives spiritual help.”
“We feel very encouraged when we know that we are not alone, when we see that there is somebody behind us, helping us, praying for us.”
Bishop Coutts, who has received death threats for his efforts towards inter-faith cooperation, went on to underline that Christians were under greater threat than ever because of worsening oppression and a rise in religious extremism.
The bishop explained, “We [Christians] always experienced some form of discrimination but what we are seeing now is far more serious. We are living in a state of constant tension.”
The bishop said the problems for Pakistan’s three million Christians centered on “the misuse” of the country’s notorious Blasphemy Laws, whereby the faithful are targeted by extremist mobs enraged by alleged offences against the prophet Mohammed and the Qur’an.
Bishop Coutts made clear the commitment of himself and the faithful in Pakistan saying, “We will continue to give witness to Christ despite the difficulties that come from extremists. Even our suffering is a witness to Christ.”