The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister who defended Asia Bibi, is assassinated

September 9, 1968 - March 2, 2011

Although not directly related to the Pastoral Provision, Anglican Use or Ordinariates, I commend to you this story of a fellow Catholic Christian, who stood up for the oppressed Christians and other minorities of his native Pakistan. This morning, this sole Christian member of the Pakistani government was gunned down in hatred for the faith, as was made clear by the notes left at the site of his murder.

Jesus warned us of persecution, as did the Apostles. And Jesus prayed for us as well, knowing the world into which he was sending his disciples:

That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

Unity is central to mission; and if we would be evangelists, we must also seek unity.

March 2, 2010
by Jibran Khan

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The Pakistani minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti was killed this morning by an armed commando. The attack was carried out in the I-8 / 3 neighbourhood by a group of masked men who ambushed the minister on the street. They pulled him out of his car and opened fire at point blank range before fleeing in a car.

The grandson of Shabhaz Bhatti was traveling with him when the attack took place. The terrorists continued to fire for about two minutes. There was no security guard with Bhatti when the attack occurred. The minister was immediately rushed to Shifa hospital, where, however, the doctors failed to save him. The killers left a note at the scene of the crime: "Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claims responsibility for the assassination of Bhatti for speaking out against the blasphemy law". Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan 'is an umbrella organization of various groups of Islamic militants...

Read in full at Asia News

Mr. Bhatti had recorded an interview several months ago predicting this end, but declared his faith in Christ and his determiniation to continue his struggle and witness, even at the risk of death. The BBC has a video of this interview.

I agree with commenters on Rorate Coeli that Mr. Bhatti is a martyr. May his prayers for the people of Pakistan and for the Church, and our prayers through him, be received in the Divine Presence.

See also this earlier story at Asia News on Bhatti.

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