Archbishop of Lahore publicizes ‘apology’ over politico-religious feud

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In the wake of outcry against debatable assembly in Lahore’s Sacred Heart Church, Archbishop of Lahore has issued an official statement clarifying his stance regarding the situation. This statement comes after Marriam Nawaz’s visit to Sacred Heart Cathedral that drew political controversy.

Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan

Father Francis Gulzar, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Lahore publicized the official statement which offered public apology. The statement also clarifies Archbishop Sebastian Shaw’s stance over the politico-religious feud. The statement said:

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I Father Francis Gulzar, Vicar General- Spokesperson of Archbishop of Lahore wish to clarify that on September 1, 2017 Mst. Marriam Nawaz visited Sacred Heart Church accompanied by Christian lawmakers. As a matter of fact, two days prior to her visit Federal Minister Kamran Michael and Provincial Minister Tahir Khalil Sandhu and MPA Shakeel Marcus informed him that PML-N’s Marriam Nawaz wished to visit the church in order to offer prayers for her mother Begum Kalsoom Nawaz.

Church administration gave a green signal bearing in mind the fact that “God’s house is a house of prayer.” It was decided unanimously that Mst. Marriam Nawaz will only speaking about herself, her father, mother and rest of the family’s connection with Christian schools. However, after expressing thankfulness, her address took political visage.

Marriam Nawaz’s political address from Sacred Heart Cathedral has caused much grievance to the public; hurting their sentiments. Therefore, Honorable Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and church administration offers public apology. It has been therefore decided the church will not offer space for political purposes in spite of the fact that church will not shut its doors on anyone.

The controversial ceremony was held to offer prayers for recovery of Mrs. Kalsoom Nawaz who had undergone a surgery in London after being diagnosed with throat cancer. Kalsoom Nawaz wife of ex- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was diagnosed last week with lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

As soon as news of this ceremony was aired on national media; local Christians took it to social media in order to express anger over misuse of church for alleged political campaign. They strongly condemned the act saying sanctity of the church had been violated. Church leaders got a lot of flak for allowing the ceremony to be held inside the church.