Church of Pakistan rejects sex allegations against Archbishop

A suspended priest has accused Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore of being a ‘gay’ in a video posted on social media

Fr. Asif Sardar, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lahore, released a video in response to allegations against the Archbishop of Lahore by a suspended priest.

Posted: Aug 09, 2022 10:42 GMT

Updated: Aug 09, 2022 12:27 GMT

A Church official in Pakistan has condemned a suspended priest accusing Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore of homosexuality and said the priest needs psychological treatment.

The archdiocese’s vicar general, Fr Asif Sardar, says “there is no truth” to the allegation Fr Rashid Alfonse made on August 4, a week after he was suspended from the priesthood.

“I strongly condemn the video [posted] by Fr Rashid Alfonse hanging against our archbishop on social media,” Fr Sardar said in a video broadcast on August 8 on Catholic television.

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He said that during the last season of Lent, a Catholic family had complained that Alfonse had repeatedly visited their house, inciting them and offering them money “to kill the rector of the seminary”.

Alfonse, who was then vice-rector of the minor seminary of Sainte-Marie, accused the rector of illicit relations with a girl and wanted the family to make his porn video and give it to him.

As if to frame the rector in a criminal case, Alfonse also asked the family to place weapons and alcohol in the rector’s room and call the police, the vicar general said.

“After suspending the priest, the bishop formed an investigation team,” which revealed that Alfonse planned over a year ago to kill three other priests in the Archdiocese of Lahore.

“We wanted to give him psychological treatment so that he wouldn’t harm others,” the vicar general said, adding that Alfonse confessed, “to these things, asked for an apology and returned home.”

Vicar General says Alfonse started ‘personality assassination’ of Archbishop Shaw’ to distract public attention. Our bishop trained 40% of Pakistan’s priests. There is no truth in the controversial video.

Alfonse in a video posted to his social media page Aug. 4 called Archbishop Shaw a “gay bishop.”

He further accused the Archbishop of making advances to him while providing graphic details of events during his pastoral work at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

“I denied. My faith and my spirituality were shattered. We want to get rid of this leadership,” said Alfonse, dressed in his cassock, with a Bible laid out in front.

“The bishop threatened me. I lived under pressure but I did not refuse my vocation. I’m ashamed to admit that a gay bishop ordained me. I was repeatedly asked for sodomy and I was threatened with transfer and losing a chance to become a priest.

“My life would be in danger after discovering this truth,” he said, asking the government, the chief justice of Pakistan, the army chief of staff, the apostolic nuncio and the conference bishops of Pakistan to ensure the security of his life.

“My aim is to get rid of the heinous and dictatorial attitude of the religious leaders in the Archdiocese of Lahore,” he said.

The video quickly went viral and has 6,000 views, but Catholic leaders discouraged sharing it on social media.

“Please don’t share these things on social media to harm the image of the community. You are doing the worst thing. I’m not asking to go under the rug, but rather to bring it into the l ‘Church,’ Asiya Nasir, a Christian and former member of the National Assembly, said in a post on social media.

Nasir said Pakistani Christians “are already facing so many challenges here. These issues (sex allegations) should be resolved within the Church, not publicly.

Shahid Rehmat, Executive Director of the Youth Development Foundation urged the Archdiocese of Lahore to review the training of young priests.

“If a priest is planning to kill his elders and go against his bishop a few years after graduating from seminary, then the Church needs to revise training standards and revise its policies,” UCA told News the former coordinator of Catholic Youth Ministry Lahore.

“There was no need to respond if the allegations were false. By releasing an official video, the Archdiocese of Lahore has technically increased its reach and dissemination,” he said.

Church officials and leading priests declined to discuss the matter or provide further details on the allegations.

Alfonse was also unavailable for comment and his social media page is locked.

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Martha J. Finley