Bishops apprise Pope of concerns, challenges facing Church

Published 05 September 2011  |  
On their "ad limina" visit to Rome, Catholic bishops led by Archbishop of Mumbai, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, conveyed to Pope their concerns and challenges faced by their dioceses in India.

In an interview with the Vatican Radio, Cardinal Gracias said the Pope was interested in knowing the situation of Indian Christians, the efforts taken for inter-religious dialogue and the developments in the pastoral work.

"It was a very good meeting with the Pope. We spoke about the situation in India, the challenges, the good news and also about the hopes we have for the future," said Cardinal Gracias.

The bishops who were on their ad limina visit were from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India and comprised of mostly bishops from Karnataka.

Cardinal Gracias said the Pope specifically enquired on any fresh violence against Christians in that state.

"Fundamentalist forces have tried to take advantage of a situation and are creating problemswhen in reality there is none," said Cardinal Gracias, who is also president of the Bishops Conference of India.

This has resulted in "certain animosity towards Christians and the Gospel making it appear as if the whole of India is in danger because of the activities of Christians and the missionaries which is not true at all."

Cardinal Gracias pointed that violence was seen only in certain pockets and the situation was "much better than before".

Allaying fears and fallacies over intolerance, Cardinal Gracias said "Gospel is a message of love and peace and joy and human growth and does not threaten anybody".

The four phase ad limina visit of bishops from India entered its final stage with the spiritual pilgrimage taken by bishops from the eastern region.

The prelates that were part of last week's visit included bishops Peter Machado of Belgaum, Henry D'Souza of Bellary, Anthony Thomasappa of Chikmagalur, Derek Fernandes of Karwar, Robert Miranda of Gulbarga and Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore.

All bishops who are charged with the leadership of a diocese are required to make an ad limina visit every five years during when they will report to Pope on the pastoral situation.


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