Jesuit journal sees Shahbaz Bhatti as a martyr
April 14, 2011
Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal whose articles are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State, has paid homage to Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic Pakistani cabinet minister who was killed because of his criticism of the country's blasphemy law.
Civilta Cattolica notes that the Bible owned by Shahbaz Bhatti is now being kept in Rome, in the basilica of St. Bartholomew, as part of a collection honoring the martyrs of the past century. The magazine also publishes Bhatti's explanation for his bold defense of religious freedom, even in the face of threats against his life:
I have been asked to put an end to my battle, but I have always refused, even at the risk of my own life. My response has always been the same. I do not want popularity, I do not want positions of power. I only want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak of me and say that I am following Jesus Christ. This desire is so strong in me that I consider myself privileged whenever--in my combative effort to help the needy, the poor, the persecuted Christians of Pakistan--Jesus should wish to accept the sacrifice of my life. I want to live for Christ and it is for Him that I want to die. I do not feel any fear in this country.