The news of murder of Bishop John Joseph was learned with grief and anger around the world on May 7,1998, for confirmation, when I contacted agency France press in New York and wished to record my condolence and demand to arrest the killers, the news manager Informed that situation is contrary to my comments as the catholic church of pakistan have issued a press note that Bishop John Joseph have committed suicide as a protest on death sentence under blasphemy law to Ayub Mash from Sahewal. The news agencies dispatched my opinion and widely published in international press, that possibility of government agencies can not he ruled out in assassination of Bishop John Joseph and killers may be arrested immediately.
On May 25, 1988 the Christian community of North America organized a protest rally before United Nation offices, where again I demanded the probe in to killing of Catholic Bishop John Joseph by a commission, headed by a justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The facts behind my views expanded on decades of experiences witnessed on working of Bishop John Joseph, the true believer of liberation theology and impressions of Bishop Toto of South Africa, in ways of his struggle.
I knew him when he was in Karachi seminary where I used to visit one of my friends, a brother in priesthood training and he becomes rector of the same seminary later on. I liked him when an article appeared in news paper daily Jang Karachi that he is working on Urdu dictionary research which introduced him as a scholar and general christian appreciated him.
In 1970, the Christians of Pakistan, realized that Catholic Church of Pakistan is dominated by GAO and Anglo Indian Christian minority and they are enjoying the privileges of education and social welfare under Catholic Church Administration and Punjabi catholic in Catholic Church are neglected being in majority.
All the catholic Bishops were from GOA catholic minority and such measures were adopted to keep away the Punjabi catholic majority from seminaries, school, hospital and church based social welfare organization administration.
The Punjabi catholic Christian started protest on having a Punjabi bishop in Pakistan in 1972 when Goa bishop's conference signed an agreement with government on nationalization of missionary school, college and hospitals. The majority of catholic Christians were unhappy on this decision and protested against government as well as church administration, keeping in view the situation, the Vatican decided to make a new catholic diocese of Faisal Abad in 1980 and Fr. john Joseph become the first Punjabi christian bishop of this diocese.
The catholic community had great hopes from this Punjabi bishop and Bishop John Joseph organized social, youth and political groups funded by him in Faisalabad.
He invested generously in the election campaigns of Clement George and John Peter Sohtra, who won elections of MNA and blasphemy laws were legislated in the presence of these church supported members of parliament, due to which Bishop John Joseph was much annoyed and started funding, an ordinary youth to establish a 'Front', paying the press conferences, tours and function bills of said Front, to built pressure group on his funded elected members of National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies. His involvement in political affairs of Christian's, encouraged a Rev: father Julius to seek permission from Goan Bishop of Lahore on gunpoint and to provide the election funds. Many relatives and friends of Bishop John Joseph put pressure on him to funding non-government organizations and to establish the future funding recommendations from western countries, his nephew Johnson demanded funds for election of provincial assembly and catholic vote bank support. When the Vatican provided him with the funds for Christian Muslim dialogues the' naukar shahi' enjoyed those funds too.
Bishop john Joseph was a Christian warrior in Pakistan. When he experienced that his funded social, religious and political elements always bargain on principal with government for personnel benefits and his ambition to become a legend and milestone in Christian history of Pakistan, he stepped forward and led.
The processions in person against conviction of Manzoor and other blasphemy laws victims and later on against the inclusion of religion column in national identity card. Its facts that he was fond of leadership and always ready to take daring steps to prove himself the religious as well as the political leader of the Christians. Before discussing the tragic incident of May 6,1998, we must keep in mind that Bishop John Joseph was a scholar of Catholicism as well as a courageous leader and coward step of SUICIDE can not be expected from such a warrior, who's life is full of struggle as a poor student of remote village as priest for his congregation, as a Bishop for his diocese and as politician care for his nation. Now we shall investigate the facts; as, This Press Note;
Rev. Dr. John Joseph, 66, Catholic Bishop of Faisalabad and a high profile human Rights activist, was found dead in the dark corridors of a sessions court in Sahiwal at about 9:30 p.m. on 6 May 1998, he came here to protest against the death sentence recently given to Ayub Masih on 27 April for blaspheming Islam. This is the same spot where Ayub Masih, a Christian of his diocese, was shot at on 6 November 1997.
Bishop John Joseph traveled to the city of Sahiwal in the afternoon of 6 May from his residence in Faisalabad. He went to address a prayer meeting for the Christian parishioners there specially organized for the victims of blasphemy Cases. Since the early 1990s when Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code was Amended, making the death sentence mandatory for the offence of blaspheming Islam, dozens of non-Muslims have fallen victims to the often-abused blasphemy
Laws. And the bishop was deeply shocked by Ayub verdict.
Reverend Joseph presided over the diocese of Faisalabad and was an outspoken leader in the fight for freedoms for all Christians in Pakistan. He had stood by the side of others accused of blasphemy. Only days after well known Christian Ayub Masih was sentenced to death, Rev. Joseph called the diocese of Faisalabad to pray and fast for Ayub Masih.
At dinnertime on 6 May, Bishop John Joseph had little appetite as according to The parish priest, Fr. Yaqoob Farooq, O.P. After others had had their meals, The bishop asked Fr. Yaqoob to accompany him to the spot of the courthouse Where Ayub Masih was shot at exactly six months ago. On reaching close to the Vicinity of the sessions court, the bishop asked Fr. Yaqoob to stay back and Went to the spot himself. Moments after, Fr. Yaqoob heard a gun shot. He then Rushed to the spot and found the bishop dead and had gun shot in the neck. According to Fr. Yaqoob, Bishop John Joseph was instantly dead.
* Immediate Reaction Of Christians.
On hearing the news of the bishops death, the Christian populace of the city Gathered at the spot in the courthouse. As of 12:35 a.m. of 7 May, the Christians there refused to remove the dead body until the prime minister would Come personally to express his sorrow. Bishop John Joseph, a human rights Activist well known locally and internationally, was the founding chairperson of
The National Commission for Justice and Peace under the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan, and he remained in office since it establishment in 1984.
Christians mourning the death of Bishop John Joseph Police in the Pakistan city of Faisalabad have used tear gas to disperse a crowd mourning the city's Roman Catholic bishop, Dr John Joseph, who committed suicide on Wednesday to protest against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Several thousand mourners had accompanied the body of the bishop, Dr John Joseph, from his home village of Khush Pur to the church in Faisalabad where it is to lie until his funeral on Sunday. The police said they used tear gas after people began throwing stones at shops. Court case prompted protest Bishop Joseph was chairman of a human rights commission established by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan He shot he in the head in the corridors of a courthouse where a Pakistani Catholic, Ayub Masih, was convicted and sentenced to death on April 27 for committing blasphemy in a public place. Bishop Joseph was said to have been distraught over Masih's verdict and the way the trial was conducted, and had threatened to protest in an "astonishing" way unless the government repealed the death sentence. Dr Joseph - Bishop of Faisalabad since 1981 - published an open letter on Thursday, urging fellow Christians, Muslims and minority groups to protest
Against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. "We must act strongly in unity, Christians and Moslems, in order not only to get this death sentence suspended but to get (legal articles) 295 B and C repealed without worrying about the sacrifices we shall have to offer," the letter said.
Government defends laws The Pakistani government has rejected criticism of the blasphemy laws. The Pakistani Minister of Information, Mushahid Hussein, said the country's higher courts have invariably overturned death sentences passed by the lower courts. Pakistan's Minister of Information: blasphemy laws not used to discriminate; Critics charge that zealots against religious often misuse the law Minorities. Several Christians have been sentenced to death, but higher courts have overturned their convictions.
* We Shall Fight Till The Dawn Comes
Bishop John Joseph had led two nationwide protests of the Christian community and even went on hunger strike for the cause. The first protest was in 1992 Against the governments proposal to include a column for one religious faith in the national identity cards. Christians and other minorities in the community thought that the new identity card system would lead to further victimization of religious minorities in Pakistan. The second nationwide protest was in 1994
against the murder of Manzoor Masih, a Christian tried on blasphemy, outside the court right after the court hearing on 5 April 1994.
On 20 March 1998, Bishop John Joseph led an ecumenical rally for Christian Solidarity in Vienna in which personnel from both the Catholic and Protestant Church hierarchies took part in the programmed. He gave a homily on the Persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, especially the impact of the Notorious blasphemy laws. The bishop told the rally that "we object to these
(The blasphemy) laws because they are the main hindrance to Christian-Muslim Relations. We shall fight till the dawn comes, (and) the forms (of this fight) may be diverse." Bishop Joseph was said to have been distraught over Masih's verdict and the way the trial was conducted, and had threatened to protest in an" astonishing" way unless the government repealed the death sentence.
Dr Joseph - Bishop of Faisalabad since 1981.
* Published an open letter
On Thursday, urging fellow Christians, Muslims and minority groups to protest against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. "We must act strongly in unity, Christians and Moslems, in order not only to get this death sentence suspended but to get (legal articles) 295 B and C repealed without worrying about the sacrifices we shall have to offer," the letter said. Reverend Joseph presided over the diocese of Faisalabad and was an outspoken leader in the fight for freedoms for all Christians in Pakistan. He had stood by the side of others accused of blasphemy. Which have demonstrated increased intolerance and injustice toward Christians in this dark nation. Dr. Joseph administered the Holy Communion the day of his death. Also it is noted that Dr. Joseph visited Ayub Masih in prison the night before. The Christian leader recruited a fellow parishioner to drive him to the court sight in Punjab where assassins earlier attacked Ayub Masih, but missed him with their bullets. After ordering the driver back to the car, Reverend Joseph shot himself with a gun to the head. His suicide is viewed as a direct protest to the ongoing persecution and injustice toward Christians in Pakistan. His last recorded chilling words before taking his life were, "It is no longer possible for my people (Christians) to live in Pakistan."
* The Catholic Encyclopedia on Suicide.
This article will treat the subject under the following three heads:
* The notions and divisions of suicide;
* The principles according to which its morality must be judged;
* Statistics and explanations of its frequency.
Suicide is the act of one who causes his own death, either by positively destroying his own life, as by inflicting on himself a mortal wound or injury, or by omitting to do what is necessary to escape death, as by refusing to leave a burning house. From a moral standpoint we must treat therefore not only the prohibition of positive suicide, but also the obligation incumbent on man to preserve his life. Suicide is direct when a man has the intention of causing his own death, whether as an end to be attained, or as a means to another end, as when a man kills himself to escape condemnation, disgrace, ruin etc. It is indirect, and not usually called by this name when a man does not desire it, either as an end or as a means, but when he nevertheless commits an act which in effect involves death, as when he devotes himself to the care of the plague-stricken knowing that he will succumb under the task.
The teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the morality of
Suicide may be summarized as follows:
A. Positive and Direct Suicide Positive and direct suicide perpetrated without God's consent always constitutes a grave injustice towards Him. To destroy a thing is to dispose of it as an absolute master and to act as one having full and independent dominion over it; but man does not possess this full and independent dominion over his life, since to be an owner on must be superior to his property. God has reserved to himself direct dominion over life; He is the owner of its substance and He has given man only the serviceable dominion, the right of use, with the charge of protecting and preserving the substance, that is, life itself. Consequently suicide is an attempt against the dominion and right of ownership of the Creator. To this injustice is added a serious offence against the charity which man owes to him, since by his act he deprives himself of the greatest good in his possession and the possibility of attaining his final end. Moreover, the sin may be aggravated by circumstances, such as failure in conjugal, paternal, or filial piety, failure in justice or charity, if by taking his life one eludes existing obligations of justice or acts of charity, which he could and should perform. That suicide is unlawful is the teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Church, which condemns the act as a most atrocious crime and, in hatred of the sin and to arouse the horror of its children, denies the suicide Christian burial. Moreover, suicide is directly opposed to the most powerful and invincible tendency of every creature and especially of man, the preservation of life. Finally, for a sane man deliberately to take his own life, he must, as a general rule, first have annihilated in him all that he possessed of spiritual life, since suicide is in absolute contradiction to everything that the Christian religion teaches us as to the end and object of life and, except in cases of insanity, is usually the natural termination of a life of disorder, weakness, and cowardice. The reason we have advanced to prove the malice of a suicide, namely, God's right and dominion, likewise justifies the modification of the general principle: God being the master of our life He may with His own consent remove from suicide whatever constitutes its disorder.
Thus do some authorities justify the conduct of certain saints, who, impelled by the desire of martyrdom and especially to protect their chastity did not wait for their executioners to put them to death, but sought it in one manner or other themselves; nevertheless, the Divine will should be certain and clearly manifested in each particular case.
The question is asked: Can one who is condemned to death kill himself if ordered to do so by the judge? Some authors answer this question in the affirmative, basing their argument on the right which society possesses to punish certain malefactors with death and to commission any executioner, hence also the malefactor himself, to carry out the sentence. We share the most widely accepted opinion, that this practice, prevalent in certain countries of the East, is not lawful.
Vindictive justice -- and for that matter all justice -- requires a distinction between the subject of a right and that of a duty, hence in the present case between the one who punishes and the one who is punished. Finally, the same principle, which forbids anyone to personally compass his own death, also forbids him to advise, director command, with the direct intention of suicide, that another should slay him.
B. Positive and Indirect Suicide
Positive but indirect suicide committed without Divine consent is also unlawful unless, everything considered, there is sufficient reason for doing what will cause death to follow. Thus, it is not a sin, but an act of exalted virtue, to go into savage lands to preach the Gospel, or to the bedside of the plague stricken, to minister to them, although they who do so have before them the prospect of inevitable and speedy death; nor is it a sin for workmen in the
Discharge of duties to climb on roofs and buildings, thus exposing themselves to danger of death, etc. All this is lawful precisely because the act itself is good and upright, for in theory the persons in question have not in view either as end or means the evil result, that is, death, that will follow, and, moreover, if there be an evil result it is largely compensated for by the good and useful result which they seek. On the other hand there is sin in exposing oneself to danger of death to display courage, to win a wager, etc., because in all these cases the end does not in any way compensate for the danger of death that is run. To judge whether or not there is sufficient reason for an act which will apparently be followed by death, all the circumstances must be weighed, namely, the importance of the good result, the greater or less certainty of its being attained, the greater or less danger of death, etc., all questions which may in a specific case be very difficult to solve.
C. Negative and Direct Suicide
Negative and direct suicide without the consent of God constitutes the same sin as positive suicide. In fact man has over his life only the right of use with corresponding obligations to preserve the object of God's dominion, the substance of his life. Hence, it follows obviously that he fails in this obligation of usufructuary who neglects the necessary means for the preservation of life, and this with the intention of destroying the latter, and consequently
Violates the rights of God.
D. Negative and Indirect Suicide
Negative and indirect suicide without the consent of God is also an attempt against the rights of the Creator and an injustice towards Him whenever without sufficient cause a man neglects all the means of preservation of which he should make use. If a man as usufructuary is obliged in justice to preserve his life, it follows that he is equally bound to make use of all the ordinary means which are indicated in the usual course of things, namely: he should employ all the ordinary means which nature itself provides, such as to eat, drink, sleep, and so on; moreover, he should avoid all dangers which he may easily avoid, e.g. to flee from a burning house, to escape from an infuriated animal when it may be done without difficulty.
In fact to neglect the ordinary means for preserving life is equivalent to killing one's self, but the same is not true with regard to extraordinary means. Thus theologians teach that one is not bound in order to preserve life to employ remedies which, considering one's condition, are regarded as extraordinary and involving extraordinary expenditure; one is not obliged to undergo a very painful surgical operation, nor a considerable amputation, nor to go into exile in order to seek a more beneficial climate, etc. To use a comparison, the lessee of a house is bound to take care of it as becomes a good father of a family, to make use of the ordinary means for the preservation of the property, for instance, to extinguish a fire, which he may easily extinguish, etc., but he is not bound to employ means considered extraordinary, such as to procure the latest novelties invented by science to prevent or extinguish fire.
Application of Principles
The principles which have been outlined in the four propositions or divisions above given should serve for the solution of particular cases; however, the application may not always be equally easy, and thus a person may by an objectively unlawful act take his life and nevertheless consider it permissible and even an act of exalted virtue.
It may be asked whether by performing or omitting a certain act a person may injure his health and shorten his life. To apply the foregoing principles: it is first of all clear (1st and 3rd propositions, A and C) that one may not have in view this hastening of death, but, this hypothesis aside, it may be said on the one hand that to expose oneself without sufficient reason to a considerable shortening of life constitutes a serious injury to the rights of the Creator; but on the other hand if the danger of death be not imminent, although it is to be feared that life may be shortened even by several years, it is not a grave but only a venial sin. This is the case with the drunkard who by his intemperance causes his premature death. Again it must be borne in mind that with the addition of a reasonable motive the thing may be entirely lawful and even an act of virtue; thus the workman does not sin by devoting himself to rough labor, and the saints performed a very meritorious and highly virtuous act when in order to overcome their passions they lacerated and tortured their flesh by penance and fasting and were thus the cause of their earlier death.
III. FREQUENCY OF SUICIDE; CHIEF CAUSES
The plague of suicide belongs especially to the period of decadence of the civilized peoples of antiquity, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. The Christian Middle Ages were unacquainted with this morbid tendency, but it has reappeared at a more recent period, has developed constantly since the Renaissance, and at present has reached such intensity among all civilized nations that it may be Considered one of the special evils of our time.
This suicide rate obviously includes suicides attributable to mental illness, but we cannot accept the opinion of a large number of physicians, moralists, and jurists who, led into error by a false philosophy, lay it down as a general rule that suicide is always due to insanity, so great is the horror which this act inspires in every man of sane mind. The Church rejects this theory and, while admitting exceptions, considers that those unfortunates who, impelled by despair or anger, attempt their life often act through malice or culpable cowardice. In fact, despair and anger are not as general thing movements of the soul, which it is impossible to resist, especially if one does not neglect the helps offered by religion, confidence in God, belief in the immortality of the soul and in a future life of rewards and punishments. Widely different reasons have been advanced to explain the high frequency of suicide, but it is more correct to say that it does not depend on any one particular cause, but rather on an assemblage of factors, such as the social and economic situation, the misery of a great number, a more feverish pursuit of what is considered happiness, often ending in cruel deceptions, the ever more refined search for pleasure, a more precocious and intense stimulation of sexual life, intellectual overwork, the influence of the media and the sensational news with which it daily provides its readers, the influences of heredity, the ravages of alcoholism, etc. But it is undeniable that the religious factor is by far the most important, the increase in suicides keeping step with the de-Christianization of a country.
*Vatican Council Declared Suicide As Sin.
Quotes from Guadium ET Spes, 2nd Vatican Council Quotes from Gaudium ET Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), Second Vatican Council 27. (...) The varieties of crime are numerous: all offenses against life Itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and willful suicide (...) All these and the like are criminal: they poison civilization; and they debase The perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the Creator.
51. (...) God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of Safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. Man's sexuality and the faculty Of reproduction wondrously surpass the endowments of lower forms of life; Therefore the acts proper to married life are to be ordered according to Authentic human dignity and must be honored with the greatest reverence. When it Is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of? Life, it is not enough to take only the good intention and the evaluation of motives into account; the objective criteria must be used, criteria drawn from the nature of the human person and human action, criteria which respect the
Total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; all this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is seriously practiced.
In questions of birth regulation the sons of the Church, faithful to these principles, are forbidden to use methods disapproved of by the teaching authority of the Church in its interpretation of the divine law. (1) let all be convinced that human life and its transmission are realities whose meaning is not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true evaluation and full meaning can only be understood in reference to man's eternal destiny.
Cf. Pius XI, Encycl. Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930), p. 559-561; DENZ.,
2239-2241 (3716-3718); Pius XII, Address to Italian Midwives, 29 Oct. 1951:
AAS 43 (1951), p. 835-854; PAUL VI, Address to the Cardinals, 23 June 1964:
* Testimony Of Fr. Yaqoob on Suicide.
The press note issued by the Catholic Bishop Conference totally based on the testimony of Fr. Yaqoob, who accompanied him to the Session Courts on the night of incident.Fr.Yaqoob, stated that he Bishop John Joseph left him behind and he heard the gunshot, when he approached the Bishop Joseph was dead.
Its crystal clear fact that Fr. Yaqoob was not an eye witness and Bishop John Was not in his sight when he heard the sight and he was on such a long distance that Bishop Joseph died before saying a word to him. The Christians gathered in protest prayers of sentence to Ayub Mash also approached on the site of shoot out of Bishop Joseph and demanded that presence of Chief Minister of Punjab to come personally and screamed for justice from the government.
Its also on record that mourners protested for 24 hours on site with dead body of Bishop John Joseph, if the story of suicide was revealed by Fr. Yaqoob on that moment, the agitation on dead body was never going to procede. Fr. yaqoob was also of the same opinion that some body killed Bishop Joseph and same he told the Christians when he went back to inform them and rush to accompany him with dead body.
The story was fabricated on pressure of some very strong forces to satisfy and calm down the agitating Christians in the country. Its very important question to know about those very strong forces who turned down the services of great christian warrior, religious leader and catholic scholar as sinner of committing suicide according to christian teachings. It's very clear that government was not happy on voice of Bishop John Joseph on national and international forums and extra judicial murders are very normal and daily routine of government agencies to make silent such voices. On other hand the Christian and Muslim elements who have snatched million of rupees in name of donation and funding are also on the list of murderers. Our research team comes to conclusion that "Government agencies killed Bishop John Joseph and those Christian and Muslim blackmailers to save their skin fabricated story of suicide and awarded him degree of a sinner, which shall ever be counted shameful act in history of Pakistan."
* Post Research Team Action investigations.
1. Commission to investigate under Supreme Court justice.
2. Fr. Yaqoob may be taken under protective custody before recording testimony.
3. FIR of the death may be made public.
4. Catholic diocese of Faisal Abad may be investigated.
5. Killers may be brought to justice.