The new cardinal Joseph Coutts says that he was shocked at the news of his elevation to the rank of cardinal. The Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts will be the second Pakistani Christian to be raised to this rank. The Pontiff himself will appoint the 72-year-old Pakistani churchman cardinal on June 29, 2018 in the Vatican.
Talking to Fides Joseph Coutts said, “I am shocked, but ready to humbly serve the Church and to continue to promote harmony in the city of Karachi and throughout the country. In the Archdiocese of Karachi, the faithful are increasing and many Catholics are settling in the suburbs and we are working with priests to build new churches and schools in the suburbs of the city”.
Emphasizing on “harmony” as his motto he has been striving to promote interfaith harmony and peace. As a part of his efforts, he established a diocesan commission for inter-religious harmony. This commission was assigned with the task to promote unity among people of various faiths and ethnic backgrounds in Karachi.
Pakistani churchmen welcomed the announcement expressing great delight. Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM, Bishop of the Diocese of Hyderabad, told Fides: “It was a long-awaited decision, a moment of joy for the whole Catholic Church in Pakistan. Archbishop Joseph Coutts is the most experienced Bishop in the country and knows all the details of the work of the Church’s mission in Pakistan”.
Father Qaisar Feroz OFMCap, Executive Secretary of the National Communications Commission, within the Catholic Episcopal Conference, told Fides:”Archbishop Joseph Coutts is well known in the country for his tireless efforts in promoting inter-religious harmony. It is a joy to have a Cardinal after such a long time. It will be useful for the growth and development of the Church”.
On May 20, Sunday the Pontiff announced that he would elevate 14 churchmen to the rank of cardinal. The new cardinals will come from Pakistan, Japan, Madagascar Portugal, Poland, Iraq, Italy, Spain, Peru, Mexico and Bolivia. Among these is Pakistani churchman Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts.
Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts was born on 21 July 1945. On January 9, 1971 at the age of 25 years, he was ordained as a Priest in Lahore. Later on May 5, 1988 at the age of 42, he was appointed as Coadjutor Bishop of Hyderabad in Pakistan. On September 16, same year he was ordained as a Bishop. On September 1, 1990, at the age of 45, he succeeded the Bishop of Hyderabad.
At the age of 52, on 27 June 1998, he was appointed as Bishop of Faisalabad. On January 25, 2012 at the age of 66 he was appointed a she Archbishop of Karachi. Recently he has been picked by the Pontiff to be elevated to the rank of cardinal, officially on June 29 in an upcoming ceremony. Joseph Coutts has been a priest since 47 years. He has been a bishop since 29 years.