Pakistani Christians Honor Bishop Joseph Who Committed Suicide

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Christians in Faisalabad, Pakistan, gathered at the city’s cathedral for a memorial Mass honoring Bishop John Joseph, who took his own life in 1998 in a protest against the country’s blasphemy laws.

More than 600 people gathered to honor the “martyr bishop,” with Father Khalid Rashid Asi, the vicar general of the Faisalabad, presiding at the memorial Mass.

Bishop Joseph’s case is problematical because he committed suicide. In his effort to call attention the suffering of Christians who are targeted for blasphemy prosecution, the bishop shot himself in the courtroom where a Christian man had recently been convicted and sentenced to death on questionable charges. Friends of the bishop say that he was suffering from depression at the time of his death.