Daughter of Ex-Prime Minister made a controversial speech inside the Catholic Cathedral in Lahore , acts and talks considered political are currently banned in church buildings throughout the archdiocese in Pakistan.
“We do not agree with political usage of sacred pulpit by the daughter of Ex- Prime Minister. This has hurt the sentiments of Christians not only in Pakistan but around the world. We officially apologies for what happened,” said Mgr Sebastian Francis Shaw, archbishop of Lahore, in an exclusive
The Franciscan bishop has now restricted political leaders from using Church buildings as a venue for political campaign. “A mandate has been issued to all churches in Pakistan.” he said. “Although Church doors are still open for prayers and blessings of anyone who comes in’.
Likewise Father Francis Gulzar, vicar general of Lahore Archdiocese issued the order on Sept. 4 after Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to Sacred Heart Cathedral on Sept. 1.
It was the second church that Maryam visit amid decision battle for the seat in the National Assembly, the three-time Prime Minister was excluded from holding open office July 28 for neglecting to proclaim a few resources in his nomination papers.
“Pakistan does not need a change of prime minister but a change of judicial system,” Maryam said addressing worshippers inside the cathedral. She called on worshippers to support her father and criticized her political rivals.
Photos of the event quickly went viral on social media.
Maryam Nawaz failed to make the address agreed with the archdiocese. She was only supposed to ask for prayers for her sick mother. “I wanted to stop her but millions were watching live on their television screens. At one moment, I decided to walkout as boycott, but then it could have been detrimental for Church relations with authorities.” News media have political interests.
“In just two days, 6,000 people shared them on Facebook alone. Those who reacted or commented on them were in the thousands,” Samuel Pyara, the Christian chairman of the Implementation Minority Rights Forum, told CIP.
Social media strongly condemned her for holding such an event inside the house of God (Cathedral). Many remarked negatively about how Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore favored Maryam amid her visit.
Father Gulzar via a circular said federal minister Kamran Michael, provincial minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu had requested Archbishop Shaw on behalf of Maryam who wanted to visit the church to pray for the recovery of her mother.
“Considering that the house of God is the house of prayer, church administration gave permission. With mutual consent, it was decided that she would thank Christian schools for her family members’ education in Christian schools,” said Father Gulzar.
“But after expressing the gratitude, her discourse became political. Her political speech at the Sacred Heart Cathedral has vexed us as well as all of you. Our sentiments have been hurt,” he stated.
“His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, himself, and church administration apologizes for this. It has been decided that although the doors of the church are open for everybody to pray, the church will not be used for political purposes by anyone in future.”
However, Father Bonnie Mendes former secretary of the Pakistani Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace, described the incident as “a grave error.”