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Ecumenism is needed

LAHORE (AsiaNews): “Unity must be a visible thing in Pakistan. Instead of meeting only when a church is attacked or in crisis situations, we should meet in times of peace,” Father Inayat Bernard, from St. Mary’s Seminary, said in the run up to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

He said, “Church leaders still have many reservations about other denominations and not everyone feels comfortable in going to another Church.”

But on January 18 the Anglican bishops attended a prayer service in the Catholic cathedral in Lahore led by Bishop Sebastian Shah, from Lahore, who is a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

But Father Bernard explained that even at times of anti-Christian violence joint public statements are not issued. 

He believes that religious extremism is the biggest challenge to Christian unity in Pakistan, as fanatics from all religions are responsible for the disruptions and instability.

“In my country, Christians are discriminated against every day. Job seekers are rejected. Church property is also not safe,” he said.

“All this makes it even more important to share other people’s points of view. Catholics could benefit from the biblical interpretation of others. Theological expansion deepens our knowledge and may have positive effects on the local Church,” Father Bernard concluded.

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