Pope Francis Meets Former Pakistani Minister Paul Bhatti

Dr. Bhatti Says Pope is a Father Figure for World's Persecuted Christians

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter | 849 hits

Dr. Paul Bhatti, whose brother, Shabhaz, was assassinated by Islamic extremists, says Pope Francis is a father figure for persecuted Christians.

The Holy Father met and spoke briefly with Dr. Bhatti, former Pakistani Minister for National Harmony and Minorities, and his mother - both Catholics - at the conclusion of Wednesday’s General Audience, reported Vatican Radio.

Dr. Bhatti who served as Pakistan’s first Minister for Minority Affairs in 2011, and his mother, invited Pope Francis to visit Pakistan’s small Christian community and described their meeting with the Pope as a special moment.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Dr. Bhatti criticized the international community's lack of speaking out against persecution of Christians and condemned the “abuse of children” who, he said, are sometimes “brainwashed” as early as age 6 to kill.

Despite praising the courage of some Muslims who defend Christians, he maintained the root causes of religious extremism and terrorism must be identified and tackled.