The Archbishop of Bombay and president of the Latin Rite Bishops of India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, said this week that in light of the recent anti-Christian violence in the country, Catholics are devoted with greater earnestness to “prayer and to faith in the Cross of Jesus.” He also added that the roots of the violence need to be discovered and “we need to ask ourselves how to keep this from happening again in the future.”
Speaking on Vatican Radio, the cardinal pointed out that in Orissa, Christians “live with fear because they don’t know what will happen.” He said that at least 25 churches have been destroyed by fundamentalists and hostility has increased. For this reason he has called on the government “to intervene immediately.”
Cardinal Gracias said the Church has sponsored various initiatives to promote dialogue in India, many of which “have reaped many good results. Unfortunately, in Orissa, this has not been the case.”
Likewise, Cardinal Gracias said the persecution against the Church is aimed at stopping Christian promotion of the person. “These fundamentalist forces do not want the Church to work in support of human rights and the poor. They do not want the Church to contribute to improving the standard of living of these people. For this reason there are problems,” he added.
Despite the difficulties, the cardinal said Indian Christians place their hope “in the resurrection of Jesus. And we know that the victory always belongs to Jesus.”
Sunday, September 7 will be a day of prayer and fasting for an end to violence in India.