Viewing cable 09VATICAN86
Title: VATICAN ON CHRISTIANS IN PAKISTAN, RECONCILIATION IN SRI

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VATICAN862009-08-07 15:19:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
VZCZCXRO7577
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHFL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH
RUEHNP RUEHPW RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHROV #0086/01 2191519
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071519Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1144
INFO RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0009
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 1182
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000086 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  8/7/2028 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KIRF PHUM PK CE VT
SUBJECT: VATICAN ON CHRISTIANS IN PAKISTAN, RECONCILIATION IN SRI 
LANKA 
 
VATICAN 00000086  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Rafael P. Foley, A/DCM. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
¶1.  (C) Summary:   The Vatican expressed solidarity with the 
Christian community in Pakistan following recent attacks, and 
pointed to education, jobs and changes in blasphemy laws as the 
way forward.  In Sri Lanka, the message of the newly-installed 
Catholic Archbishop of Colombo to the Government of Sri Lanka 
would be to give the Tamils wide margins of autonomy to foster 
reconciliation.  With a new Archbishop in Colombo, the Church 
would be more active in advocating concrete steps to maintain 
peace.   End summary. 
 
 
 
¶2.  (C) Monsignor Joseph Murphy, director for South and Central 
Asia at the Vatican's Secretariat of State, told A/DCM on August 
5 that extremist groups were behind the organized violence 
against Christians in Gojra and elsewhere in Pakistan.  Murphy 
said that according to the bishop of Faisalabad, the 
particularly difficult to extinguish fuel used in burning the 
Christian homes was not easy to obtain, an indication of 
advanced planning on the part of the violence instigators.  The 
Holy See's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sent 
the bishop a message of solidarity following the attacks (see 
paragraph 5 for the text of the message). 
 
 
 
¶3.  (C) Murphy said that Pakistan's blasphemy laws created an 
environment that led to discrimination against Christians and 
Ahmadi Muslims.  While he did not foresee that such laws would 
be repealed any time soon, Murphy thought that removing 
blasphemy cases from the jurisdiction of lower, local courts 
could help decrease their use as a tool to blackmail, extort or 
carry out revenge on religious minorities.  Other measures to 
protect poor Christians in Pakistan included, according to 
Murphy, increasing the number of poor Christians attending 
Catholic private schools (which he said are the best in the 
country and are mostly educating children from wealthy Muslim 
families) and to have more civil service jobs go to religious 
minorities. 
 
 
 
¶4.  (C) Regarding Sri Lanka, Murphy was excited about the new 
installation of the new Archbishop of Colombo, Malcom Ranjith. 
Murphy said that Ranjith, who is Sinhalese and was previously 
the second-in-command at the Vatican's office in charge of 
worship and the administration of sacraments, "has the ear of 
the Sri Lankan government and of Tamil leaders."  Murphy 
expected Ranjith to deliver a clear message to the government of 
Sri Lanka that the Tamils should be allowed wide margins of 
autonomy in order to foster reconciliation and prevent a return 
to violence.  Ranjith would also encourage the government to 
allow internally displaced persons in camps to return to their 
homes.  Murphy said that health reasons had prevented the 
previous Archbishop to be very active.  Murphy predicted that 
the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka would have a higher profile 
with Ranjith. 
 
 
 
¶5.  (U) Text of the August 3 telegram from Cardinal Bertone, 
Secretary of State of the Holy See, to the Most Reverend Joseph 
Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad. 
 
 
 
Begin text: 
 
 
 
The Holy Father was deeply grieved to learn of the senseless 
attack on the Christian community of Gojra city which resulted 
in the tragic killing of innocent men, women, and children, and 
immense destruction.  He asks you to convey his heartfelt 
condolences to the families of the victims and to express his 
solidarity with all who have experienced this wanton act.  At 
the same time His Holiness charges you strongly to encourage the 
whole diocesan community, and all Christians in Pakistan, not to 
be deterred in their efforts to help build a society which, with 
a profound sense of trust in religious and human values, is 
marked by mutual respect among all its members.  In the name of 
God he appeals to everyone to renounce the way of violence which 
causes so much suffering and to embrace the way of peace.  To 
the families and to all who mourn their dead in faith and in the 
hope which draws its certainty from the resurrection, the Holy 
Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of 
consolation and strength in the Lord. 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN 00000086  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
End text. 
NOYES