The Catholic Church in India and other Christians have come under attack by suspected Hindu militants after a fundamentalist Hindu leader was killed last Saturday. The Holy See has reacted to the violence by expressing its solidarity with the Church and by calling on Catholics not to over-react to the attacks.
According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, thousands of Hindus from the militant Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) stormed the pastoral center of the Diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar on Monday, shouting “kill Christians and destroy their institutions.” The mob reportedly destroyed the center. A social center in K. Nuagam, a church and parish residence in Kandhamal, and a chapel in Sundergarh were also said to be demolished.
Elsewhere, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity came under attack as they traveled to Bhavanipatni in their van. In Udayagir, a van owned by the Daughters of the Most Precious Blood was torched by militants.
The latest wave of violence against Christians began when Hindu leaders incited people to attack Christians, blaming them for the death the Hindu leader Swami Laxanananda Saraspati and five of his followers.
The Holy See reacted to news of the attacks by on Tuesday by expressing its “solidarity with all local churches and religious congregations involved,” and rejecting “these actions that hurt the dignity and freedom of the people and compromise a peaceful civic coexistence.”
The Vatican also called on “everyone to put an end, with a sense of responsibility, to any over-reaction and help rebuild a climate of dialogue and mutual respect.”