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Franciscan Missionary Sees Hope For Dialogue Among Different Religions in Pakistan


Attacks, bombs in front of Christian churches (Catholic or Protestant), extreme violence and fear are the norm for a Christian living in Pakistan. Christianity represents only 2 percent of the population; the majority is Muslim.

Pilar Ulibarrena a Franciscan Missionary of Mary works in Pakistan. The Spanish Pontifical Missionary Works asked her, “Is there hope for dialogue with people of different beliefs in Pakistan?” Her answer is “yes.”

“There are various groups engaged in dialogue among different religions. All of these groups are composed of people who are well positioned in this subject and respect each other,” she said.

People of different religions in Pakistan who have joined dialogue groups “try to help. Thus, there is hope that these groups may be the leaven in the dough. It will take time and we need people to ask the Lord to keep enlightening us,” Sister Pilar said.

The Catholic minority currently lives in fear because of the recent attacks on churches. Sister Pilar admits, “Our apostolate is that of example. We cannot try to convert people directly.”

Fear has taken hold of Catholics. “At this time, Catholics, like other minorities, live in fear of the situation. We [the sisters] have not had any problem so far. We respect them and they respect us. We have a small hospital, a hospice, where people are admitted according to their need and not their religion; the first condition is that they be poor and not have a family.”