Speaking to the las group of Bishops from India who have comew for their Ad Limina visit, Pope John Paul II for an end to all kind of discriminations prevailing in the Asian subcontinent.
Adressing the bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Madras-Maylapore, Madurai and Pondicherry-Cuddalore, the Pontiff underscored the importance of a “true spirit of solidarity in the Church and in society.”
“Like so many places in the world,” said the Pope, “India is beset by numerous social problems. In some ways, these challenges are exacerbated because of the unjust system of cast division which denies the human dignity of entire groups of people.”
“In this regard –he continued,- I repeat what I said during my first pastoral visit to your country: ‘Ignorance and prejudice must be replaced by tolerance and understanding. Indifference and class struggle must be turned into brotherhood and committed service. Discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex or ethnic origin must be rejected as totally incompatible with human dignity’.”
John Paul II praised the many initiatives implemented by the Bishops’ Conference and individual Churches “to fight this injustice” and said that “any semblance of a cast-based prejudice in relations between Christians is a countersign to authentic human solidarity … and a serious hindrance to the Church’s mission of evangelization. Therefore, customs or traditions that perpetuate or reinforce cast division should be sensitively reformed so that they may become an expression of the solidarity reformed.”
New Evangelization in India
Speaking about the new evangelization, the Pope said that it is of “special importance in modern societies, in which large portions of the population find themselves in desperate situations often leading them to seek quick and easy solutions to complicated problems.”
“This sense of hopelessness may explain, in part, why so many people … are attracted by fundamentalist sects offering short-lived emotional fervor andan assurance of wealth and worldly achievement.”
“Our response to this must be one of ‘re-evangelization’,” he continued, “to show people the emptiness of such promises, while convincing them that Christ and his Body share their sufferings.”
At the end, John Paul II recalled that “a firm commitment to mutual support ensures our unity in mission which is founded on Christ himself and enables us to approach all cultures, all ideological concepts, all people of good will. … The Church also urges the faithful to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions.”
“I encourage you to continue these frank and helpful discussions with those of other religions. Such discussions will help us to cultivate this mutual search for truth, harmony and peace,” he concluded.