.- The health, educational, and social projects of the Catholic Church in India have “no ulterior motives of conversions,” assured Cardinal Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Mumbai, at a farewell ceremony in his archdiocese Sunday evening.
The cardinal, who begins his role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples today, urged the people of Mumbai to engage in more inter-religious dialogue and to undertake common action for communal amity, reported the Indo-Asian News Service.
There has been an ongoing battle in parts of India against the Church and conversions to Christianity, with some areas even passing anti-conversion laws. Some Indians have accused Catholic charitable and missionary organizations of proselytizing rather than being there to simply serve the people.
The prelate said his dream is that Indians will, “progress and flourish in human, humane and spiritual virtues.” He also challenged Indian politicians to demonstrate noble intentions and selfless love for the poor and the marginalized. Politicians should be “outstanding in moral integrity,” he said.
Cardinal Dias, who is fluent in 18 languages, is well respected for his staunch orthodoxy, his efforts in inter-religious dialogue, and as a defender of the unborn, human rights, and religious freedom.
As a young priest, he studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy for Vatican Diplomats. Since then, it has been a steady rise for him at the Vatican, including as a high profile ambassador to various European, African and Asian countries during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.