Future of Catholics in Pakistan Linked to Education

Retired Archbishop Analyzes the Growth of the Church

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KARACHI, Pakistan, MAY 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A retired prelate in Pakistan says that the growth of the Church is a hope in the country and depends on the education of its baptized.

Retired Archbishop Simeon Pereira, 76, who led the Karachi Archdiocese from 1993 to 2000, told the weekly Christian Voice that he has studied the development of the Catholic community in the last decades and attributes it in particular to the growth of the Church’s schools.

He recalled that in the 1970s and 1980s some “schools were raised to become middle or even high schools, and the diocese had become more self-sufficient. We were now getting more educated Catholics, especially in the cities, who take on more responsibilities of the Church in their own areas.”

These schools have helped to form native Pakistani priests and to produce Catholics who are aware of their duties and rights, the retired archbishop emphasized.

“I have great hopes for the future of Catholics in Pakistan,” he continued. “On the whole, they are aware of the common problems faced by their fellow Catholics, and most of them are willing to take up issues, especially the more educated.”

“But our priests and bishops may have to guide them so that they can succeed,” Archbishop Pereira said. “In some of the Urdu parishes of Karachi, I find some groups that are poorly motivated and have priestly guidance to fight for their rights.”

Of Pakistan’s 143 million inhabitants, 75% are Sunni Muslims, 20% are Shiites. Christians represent 2%. There are 1.2 million Catholics.

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