Rev. Fr. Francis Tanveer reveals facts of Liberation Theology and inadequate administrative measures of Catholic Church in Pakistan. Interview by PCP team. New York.
21 Apr 2003
Prominent religions leaders, poet and writer Rev. Fr. Francis Tanveer was born on Jan 10,1959 in Gujarat, a City, on famous Mughal era route, Grand Trunk through Punjab Province. He was student of St. Joseph School Gujarnwala and graduated from Govt.
His devotions to the Church remained a guideline to his family and Fr. Francis Tanveer, s first step in St. Mary's seminary Lahore in 1978 was the impact of the dedicated Catholic family. In 1982 learned theology in novitial Seminary and joined Christ the king seminary Karachi and completed religions studies in 1988, when the motivation of liberation Theology in seminary students was under discussion after tours of local priests abroad. A Goa origin Fr. Larry suldana, now the Bishop of Lahore Diocese was Rector of the Karachi seminary at that time. On July 8,1988 Fr. Tanveer was ordained as priest at Lahore and his first services were as first local in charge of capuchin students at Lahore for five years. He went abroad for religious studies in 1992 and remained in Dublin, Ireland for Two years. He came home in 2000 and served sailkot cantt Parish. In the Sialkot, a city of culture and values he was well respect among the Christian writers as poet and writer and congregation loved his services and uplift works for poor and needy community. He wrote five famous books, one by the name "Mukshafa" was published from Fasial Abad, it was fine piece of research work on Christian religion, but his book named ~Noha~ published by Shalom, Islamabad made him very famous and popular among the Christian Youth of Pakistan. In Noha, Rev. Fr. Francis Tanveer discussed the socio religious events of Christian from 1947 to 2000. Noha shall remain as Christian historical documents for future generations. His other books are, Religious hymes, Blasphemy law 295C and youth message No V. He is counted among the intellectual community of Pakistan. He is serving as priest in Immaculate Church New York. The Pakistan Christian Post recorded his Interview at New York when he attracted the attention of Christians and International Community by organizing the memorial service in memory of Victims of Sept 11,2001 of World Trade Center by the Pakistani Christian Community in his church.
PCP: The Catholic Church is divided on the Liberation theology. What are the reasons of these differences in clergy of Pakistan?
Fr. Tanveer: The liberation theology came in discussions of the seminary students of Pakistan when some of the local priests, I mean the Punjabi speaking priests, attended some international seminars and meetings in 1980,s on this theology. The Vatican was also not clear on this issue, because in Latin America, the catholic priests were directly involved in militant movements against governments and in some countries the priests were leading militant groups with the church funds. Catholic church of Pakistan was very much interested in social, religious and political uplift of the Christians of Pakistan but the majority of the seminary students and clergy opposed the liberation theology in terms of militancy.
PCP: It is taken among Christian community that Bishop John Joseph was impressed by liberation theology and he funded the organizations in Pakistan to promote this theology?
Fr. Tanveer: Yes, he pleaded liberation theology but he believed in peaceful struggle for
the rights of Christians.
PCP: Do Catholic teachings announce Suicide a sin? What you shall consider the act of Suicide of Bishop John Joseph?
Fr. Tanveer: Catholic teachings are very clear on Suicide action of any individual and saying it a Sin. As for as the committing suicide of Bishop John Joseph shall be counted on the special circumstances of prevailing blasphemy laws in Pakistan. He was advocating against this law by his press conferences and hunger strikes. He was worried on the arrests of Christians under section 295 B and C of blasphemy laws. He was in Sahiwal in the same evening to address protest gathering against bail plea denial of one the victims of Blasphemy laws and much depressed on this situation. His suicide was a sacrifice against this law and Christians are deeming fit to announce it a heroic action.
PCP: Catholic Church owns many Schools in Pakistan. Why they have not established any Engineering or Medical Colleges or University?
Fr. Tanveer: Yes, every one in Pakistan always feels the need of professional colleges or University. The missionaries before partition of India have established all the present schools. If the Catholic Church have established any University in that period in Indian subcontinent like Sir Syed's 'Ali Garh 'University for Muslim youths higher studies. The situation of Christian youth might have been different now, but unfortunately the administration of Catholic Church failed to pay any attention on this issue after the independence of Pakistan.
PCP: Why the Catholic Clergy demands for the joint Electorate for minorities?
Fr. Tanveer: Because the joint Electorate provide them with the equal rights in society and separate Electorate makes them second-class citizens. If there was joint Electorate the Blasphemy laws have been not used against Christians and Muslims representation have taken care of minority. Voters in their constituencies like the Muslim Voters.
PCP: You want to give any message to the Christian of Pakistan?
Fr. Tanveer: Yes I appeal them to make their family prayers and take more interest in Education because Education and better Education can enable them to compete on merit in Muslim Society of Pakistan in all walks of life.