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LA CATECHESI NELLA MISSIONE EVANGELIZZATRICE DELLA CHIESA IN PAKISTAN: Sr. Arya Rifat

La Chiesa ha sempre considerato la catechesi uno dei suoi compiti principali, alla luce del comando di Cristo ai suoi discepoli: “Andate e fate miei discepoli tutti i popoli… insegnando loro ad osservare tutto ciò che io vi ho comandato” (Mt 28, 19-20). Il catechismo ha lo scopo di nutrire e approfondire il dono della fede di ciascun individuo e comunità verso una maturazione che porti frutto. E’ il processo di formazione alla fede, o di educazione nella fede. E’ un viaggio che dura tutta la vita verso la maturità in ciò in cui crediamo, in ciò che celebriamo, nel modo in cui viviamo la nostra fede. In alcuni documenti catechetici magistrali, quali l’Esortazione Apostolica”Catechesi Tradente” e il Direttorio Generale per la Catechesi, vediamo che Cristo Gesù non è solamente colui che nella sua missione manifesta, in parole e opere, il regno di Dio tra gli uomini ma è Egli stesso il centro e l’oggetto della missione della chiesa e della stessa catechesi ecclesiale. Al centro della catechesi troviamo una persona Cristocentrico, che obbliga la catechesi a trasmettere ciò che Gesù insegna riguardo a Dio, all’uomo, alla felicità, alla vita morale.

Il catechismo diventa significativo per le persone quando parte da una situazione concreta. Il contesto particolare contribuisce alla sua interpretazione, rilevanza e gioiosa espressione. E’ in questo senso che descriverò brevemente alcuni aspetti del contesto della catechesi in Pakistan e delle sue difficoltà.

Sono arrivata a rendermi conto che la nostra Chiesa fronteggia molte sfide nella educazione alla fede della nostra gente. la missione della Chiesa di proclamare il Vangelo di Cristo richiede oggi un nuovo tipo di catechismo, adattato ai tempi in cui stiamo vivendo. La grande maggioranza della nostra gente è povera, oppressa e analfabeta. Mi pare che due ambiti sono molto importanti per la catechesi e sono i seguenti:

1. LA FAMIGLIA

Se il catechismo in Pakistan vuole essere efficace, deve mettere le proprie radici nella famiglia. Io credo che la famiglia debba essere uno dei punti centrali del nostro sforzo catechistico. La nostra catechesi deve essere una fonte di speranza e di liberazione per la nostra gente. Il primo luogo dove la fede deve essere sviluppata è la famiglia. Se il catechismo non diventa parte essenziale della famiglia, la fede cristiana non fiorirà come dovrebbe. La casa è la prima scuola di vita cristiana e di arricchimento umano. La famiglia esercita il suo ruolo catechistico principalmente attraverso la preghiera, l’educazione e la testimonianza di fede.

2. LA PARROCCHIA

a) I giovani
I giovani sono il futuro della Chiesa in Pakistan, e quindi devono avere una preminenza nella redazione dei programmi di evangelizzazione. La Chiesa in Pakistan considera importante aiutare i giovani a superare gli ostacoli nel loro sviluppo personale: l’analfabetismo, l’ozio, la fame, le droghe, ecc. La cura pastorale dei giovani è nel piano di lavoro di tutte le diocesi e delle parrocchie.
La catechesi dovrebbe essere prioritaria a livello parrocchiale. I pastori dovrebbero fornire cibo sostanzioso per la fede, attraverso le liturgie e le omelie ben preparate e formare gruppi di catechisti e di coordinatori che aiutino la parrocchia a preparare i fedeli per ricevere i sacramenti.

b) Il ruolo dei Catechisti
In Pakistan i Catechisti hanno un ruolo molto importante, siano essi a tempo pieno o parziale; un ruolo di grande valore all’interno delle nostre parrocchie, specialmente in quelle zone dove non ci sono parroci o missionari. I catechisti guidano la preghiera del mattino e della sera e preparano le persone ai sacramenti. Tuttavia, a volte, alcuni dei nostri catechisti non sono ben preparati per fare questo lavoro. Loro mancano delle conoscenze e delle competenze necessarie per l’insegnamento del catechismo. Materiale formativo e sussidi per la catechesi non sono facilmente reperibili in lingua Urdu. C’è quindi una urgente necessità di fornire loro programmi formativi per una formazione umana e spirituale.
I catechisti nelle parrocchie e, gli insegnanti di religione nelle scuole, devono considerare la trasmissione della fede come la loro prima responsabilità. Il catechismo, a livello scolastico, deve essere intensificato e i direttori scolastici devono fare attenzione ad assumere insegnanti motivati, e dare loro un posto e una remunerazione appropriata.
La catechesi ovviamente, non è solo trasmissione dei contenuti della fede cristiana, metodologia o adattamento linguistico, ma principalmente educazione del credente a inserirsi sempre più profondamente nel mistero di Cristo, per la maturazione della sua fede e della vita cristiana. La catechesi deve iniziare il credente all’incontro personale con Cristo e aiutarlo, al contempo, a progredire nella vita del Discepolato.
Mi piacerebbe qui citare le parole che il Beato Giovanni Paolo II fece all’Angelus nel Novembre del 1992: riguardo al nuovo Catechismo “… sono certo che la pubblicazione del nuovo Catechismo costituirà per i fedeli un’occasione preziosa per ravvivare la fede e per riscaldare lo spirito missionario, favorendo in tale modo l’autentico rinnovamento ecclesiale”.

The dialogue dimension of terror: Peter Jacob

Taliban’s new maneuver may increase the political and legal costs of negotiations for Pakistan:

Regardless of what the Taliban are – misguided elements, insurgents, or terrorists – the government of Pakistan has elevated their status from non-state actors to a recognized entity engaging in a dialogue with the state of Pakistan. And when the Taliban offered to host the talks and ensure protection to the negotiators, their claim to the territory they control was reinforced.

Insurgencies end in three possible outcomes – i) political autonomy, like in East Timor, South Sudan and Palestine, ii) partial or complete failure, such as in the case of the LTTE in Sri Lanka and the insurgencies in Indian Punjab and Kashmir, and iii) the insurgents are incorporated into the political system of the government, such as in El Salvador, Nepal and Chechnya. While dialogue can lead to all three outcomes, successful talks should lead to the third outcome. Insurgencies succeed in achieving territorial political autonomy by militarily means when the state they are fighting against can no longer rein them in. However, their success essentially comes by either a legal-moral claim or a political justification seen in the examples of East Timor, Palestine and South Sudan.

Terrorists may control some territories, but making a territorial claim is only a strategic move for them, because they prefer using guerilla tactics. Nihilist and anarchist by characteristic, terrorism cannot be negotiated with because dialogue in the wake of continuing violence legitimizes and prolongs that violence.

If a dialogue seeks to alienate non-state actors, it must include credible interlocutors and entail new political arrangements, such as in Northern Ireland. In the case of South Africa as well, negotiations resulted in a remarkable peace agreement. The moral worth of the African National Congress in the 1990s at least equaled the legal authority of the South African government.

In Pakistan, the groups affiliated with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) continue to exercise lethal violence against the citizens of Pakistan despite the ongoing dialogue. Before the May 2013 elections, the TTP carried out attacks only against specific political parties, while allowing others to campaign freely. They continued to kill innocent civilians, members of minority communities, and soldiers even after the new government assumed power. After successful drone strikes last year including the one that killed their leader Hakimullah Mehsud left the TTP fragmented and desperate, the government only needed to be a little stronger in its resolve to re-establish its writ and restore law and order in the areas controlled by the Taliban.

Instead, it opted for an unconditional dialogue with the groups. In principle, this is tantamount to assuming that a moral or legal equation exists between the TTP and the government of Pakistan – a position that would be hard to defend because the state is assigned to protect the life and liberty of the citizens, whereas the TTP has credentials that start and end with human rights violations spanning over several years and thousands of deaths.

The Taliban’s choice of representatives to negotiate on their behalf shows that they are reading Pakistani politics very well and can make political moves to maneuver support for themselves and marginalize political forces that oppose them. The government must review its stance by looking at what they might lose and what has already been sacrificed.

If the political cost of the dialogue surpasses any gains for the state of Pakistan, and the TTP gains credibility and manages to make logistic advances, the negotiations may cost us the time and opportunity that we may not have after 2014.

Peter Jacob is a human rights activist studying international human rights, law and public policy at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

Email: jacobpete@gmail.com

– See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/the-dialogue-dimension-of-terror/#sthash.OabJjeTg.dpuf

Federation of Pakistani Christian Associations has been constituted in Rome

In the week of the unity of christians all the associations of the Pakistani Christians organized a roundtable on the 21st of January 2014 to give international visibility to the present situation of the Christians in Pakistan. The organizers were Associations of Pakistani Christians in Italy, All Pakistan Minority Alliance (Italy), All Pakistan Christian League – Oversees Section, South Asian Minorities Association, South Asian Christian Writers Association and Pakistan Orient Christian Organization. All the associations felt the need of unity and a common platform to work for the development of christians in Pakistan. In this regard it has been decided that a Federation of Pakistani Christian Associations be formed so that there could be harmony in action.
Fr. Nadeem Albert Yaqoob (OAD) led the prayer before any decisions to be taken in the meeting. Associations of Pakistani Christians in Italy, All Pakistan Minority Alliance (Italy), All Pakistan Christian League – Oversees Section, South Asian Minorities Association and South Asian Christian Writers Association agreed unanmously to form an executive body which consists of the Presidents of all the associations. Pakistan Orient Christian Organization neither adhered nor refused the suggestion and abstained themselves from the vote. Mr. Tari Pervaiz has been elected as the President of Federation for Euroupe. Mr. Adan Farhaj has been nominated President of Italian Federation.
All the christian associations and christian political parties are invited to join the Federation. The Statutes and deontological code will be defined soon in detail. Federation will also have its website where important decisions will be published and it will also give room to the latest highlights from Pakistan and abroad.
We congratulate Mr. Tari pervaiz and Adan Farhaj for the offices entrusted to them!

Extremist threats hamper Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder trial

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ISLAMABAD (Dawn): Extremist threats have hampered the murder trial of Pakistan’s former minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was gunned down in Islamabad in March 2011, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said Saturday.

Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, had been a vocal opponent of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in a country where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim and can carry the death penalty.

“Threatening pamphlets claiming to be from the Punjabi Taliban were found in the office of our key witness, whose name cannot be disclosed for security,” Shamoon Gill, spokesman of APMA, told AFP.

He said the pamphlets had warned the witness to “stay away from the case or get ready to be eliminated along with his family.” “He is terrified, he continues changing his place and faces serious life threats,” Gill said.

The witness is supposed to appear before an anti-terrorism court on February 19.

Paul Bhatti, brother of the former minority minister who had also served as a federal minority minister after his brother was gunned down, is the complainant in the case.

He is currently in Italy after facing warnings from extremists that he too would be murdered.

His lawyer Rana Abdul Hameed said his absence from the country has affected progress of the case.

Hameed said he too had received death threats but would stand up to extremists and bring the trial to its logical conclusion.

“I constantly receive death threats but I have pledged myself to pursue the case,” he said.

Hameed also represented Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl who fled to Canada with her family last year after the charges were dropped.

“Pamphlets are dropped in my office warning me to disassociate myself from the case” he said.

“They say you freed Rimsha, now you are trying to convict our comrades, you should be taught a lesson,” he added.

“Paul Bhatti is abroad, he cannot come to Pakistan, our witness has been threatened, we are receiving constant threats, what can you then expect from the case, it won’t go anywhere,” he added.

Pakistan’s tough blasphemy laws have attracted criticism from rights groups, who say they are frequently abused to settle personal scores.

Last month, a 69-year-old British-Pakistani with dual nationality was sentenced to death for blasphemy.

In 2011, Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated for demanding that the blasphemy law be reformed.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, remains in prison after being sentenced to death in November 2010 in a blasphemy case.

See the link: http://x.dawn.com/news/1085703/extremist-threats-hamper-shahbaz-bhattis-murder-trial

No room in law for talks with terrorists? Banned Terrorist groups in Pakistan!

No room in law for talks with terrorists, Iftikhar A. Khan, (Dawn.com)

ISLAMABAD: The government faces a moral dilemma as it gets ready for talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, one of the 60 outfits officially banned and declared as terrorist organisations.

The government keeps on saying that negotiations with the TTP would be held within the framework of the Constitution, but experts believe that there is no room in the Constitution to enter into a dialogue with terrorist groups.

Asked if the government was considering lifting a ban on TTP before the start of talks, Information Minister Pervez Rasheed told Dawn there was no such possibility and the status quo would be maintained.

The TTP, with Baitullah Mehsud as its head, came into being in Dec 2007 – five months after the Lal Masjid operation. The organisation was banned on Aug 25, 2008.

The TTP has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings on military convoys, and it is accused of killing a number of civilians.

Before the last general elections, the TTP had agreed to hold peace talks with the government, but the killing of one of its key leaders changed the scenario. A fresh initiative taken by the government for talks after adoption of a unanimous resolution by an all-party conference did not work either because another drone attack killed TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud.

But the government kept on saying that the dialogue was its top priority. When the TTP killed a number of Frontier Corps personnel in Bannu it was thought that the government was ready for a final showdown and that a military operation was imminent. But Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the formation of a four-member committee for talks with the TTP.

When a government official was asked to comment on the idea of holding talks with an outlawed organisation, he said it was a decision taken by all political parties represented at the all-party conference in September.

He pointed out that several political parties had supported formation of the committee to hold talks with the TTP.

The government has banned 60 terrorist organisations so far.

Al Qaeda, Tehreek-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-i-Jafria Pakistan, Tehreek-i-Islami, Ansarul Islam and Balochistan Liberation Army are among the groups that were banned from 2001 to 2010.

People’s Amn Committee, Lyari, Karachi, Markaz Sabeel Organisation, Gilgit, and Tanzeem Naujawanan-i-Sunnat, Gilgit were outlawed in 2011.

Anjuman-i-Imania Gilgit-Baltistan and Muslim Students Organisation, Gilgit-Baltistan, Al-Harmain Foundation, Rabita Trust and Tanzeem Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat were among the outfits that were outlawed in 2012.

Khana-i-Hikmat, Tehrik-i-Taliban, Bajaur, Tehrik-i-Taliban Mohmand, Tehrik-i-Taliban Swat, 313 Brigade, Abdullah Azam Brigade and Baloch Students Organisation Azad were banned in 2013.

See the link: http://x.dawn.com/news/1084316/no-room-in-law-for-talks-with-terrorists

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