No gentle death: memorial service for murdered Christian Pakistan politician

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(ACNS) Preaching at the memorial service held at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster , London , on 17 March 2011 for Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan Minister of Minorities, Bishop Tony Robinson, Chair of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pakistan Focus Group, reflected, "Death came with the fire of the gun. There was no gentle death for Shahbaz Bhatti – as there is also not for many other Christians who are suffering as part of the of minority population of Pakistan."

Shahbaz Bhatti, a Roman Catholic Christian who was part of the Cabinet of the Federal government of Pakistan was murdered by gunmen in Islamabad on March 2.

The service, held in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the High Commissioner of Pakistan was a tribute to a remarkable man who had made a practical difference for the minority populations in his country even though his life was cut short at the age of 42, but also an act of dedication by those present to seek to continue the tasks he had set himself.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

Posted March 18, 2011 at 10:01 am

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1. deaconjohn25 wrote:

A number of Catholic internet sites and organizations are already advocating Bhatti’s canonization as a saint-martyr.  They also argue that there is no patron saint for religious freedom and because of his struggle for religious rights would make the perfect patron saint for such endeavors.

March 18, 12:28 pm | [comment link]
2. the roman wrote:

They ought to know you gotta have the miracles to go with it otherwise matryr yes..saint no.

March 18, 2:10 pm | [comment link]
3. deaconjohn25 wrote:

After double checking on the internet it appears roman is partially right. In the early church martyrs were frequently acclaimed as saints without there needing to be an investigation to prove a miracle. (although at that time miracles were much more common than today and people claimed miracles in abundance at saint’s graves. Today, however, we have extremely narrow rules for calling an event a miracle).
  In modern times, persons who died as martyrs do not have to fulfill the miracle requirement for the early steps to canonization such as beatification—only for the final step—canonization.
  Sister Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) who was murdered in Auschwitz, was thus quickly moved forward to canonization because she was deemed a martyr.
    Interestingly, the miracle that was recognized as coming through her intercession was the curing of the daughter of a married Catholic priest—a priest of the Melkite-Byzantine Church (an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with Rome.)
  Of course,  most canonizations come about because large numbers of people hear about the person and seek his or her intercession asking for some help. So the very, very first step to canonization is some publicity, some notice that attracts the faithful to the person. And, that is starting on a very small scale on Catholic internet sites.
I truly hope miracles follow as word of this martyr’s courage spreads as an example (canon-yardstick) for us to emulate.

March 18, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
4. NoVA Scout wrote:

One could make the case that it was a miracle that, in a country as dysfunctional and riven as Pakistan, that a Christian cabinet minister managed to live as long as he did before being murdered by fanatics.

March 18, 7:38 pm | [comment link]

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