Loading
Protestant intimidation in India holding back ‘flood’ of conversions to Catholicism, bishop says
Bishop Jose Muakala with faithful.  Photo credit: ACN
Bishop Jose Muakala with faithful. Photo credit: ACN

.- A leading bishop from northeast India says violence and intimidation by some Protestant groups there are preventing thousands of people from converting to Catholicism.

Bishop of Kohima Jose Mukala told the Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that there has been an upsurge in attacks and propaganda against the Catholic Church in Kohima, a mainly Protestant region.

There have been thinly-veiled threats on his life, church buildings have been destroyed, and a ban on conversions has been imposed by some village elders.

While visiting ACN’s international headquarters in Germany, Bishop Mukala spoke out against some Baptist and Evangelical church groups in the region, charging that people are being denied freedom of religion.

"There is a big increase in the number of people in the diocese wanting to become Catholic but there is very strong opposition among some of the local Protestant leaders," the bishop told ACN. "These issues have got a lot worse recently… If this opposition stopped, there would be a flood of conversions to Catholicism."

He reported that some Evangelicals in local self-governing churches and a number of Baptists in Kohima were alarmed at the growth of Catholicism.

Catholicism arrived in the region as late as 1951, when the first Catholics were baptized. There are now 58,000 among the region’s 1.9 million people, most of whom are Evangelical Christians.

Describing a visit to Catholic families in a small village of the diocese, Bishop Mukala said he was suddenly called to a parish meeting where the elder warned of "something happening to him" if he returned.

"When he told me this, I replied that if something did happen to me, it would be the elder’s responsibility. So far, nothing has happened," the bishop told ACN.

In another village Christian fundamentalists are accused of destroying a Catholic church which could only be rebuilt under police protection.

The threat of further violence has forced the bishop to begin lawsuits against individuals accused of attacks on the Church.

Bishop Mukala said that religious leaders are not to blame for the anti-Catholic activity, but rather local fanatics and village leaders in specific villages.

"They say there should be one state, one tribe and one religion. We are trying to convince them that they must allow people to be free."

He said that Catholicism was growing in the area in part because diocesan schools have a better reputation than government alternatives. Sixteen of the 20 top-performing schools in the region are Catholic, while the diocese’s 150 Catholic schools serve more than 30,000 students.

The bishop credited the religious sisters running the schools.

"Discipline is good and the management of the school is effective. The Catholic Church has placed an emphasis on integrity and hard work and that attracts people… There is also a genuine desire among people wanting to become Catholic. People want to know what we believe and why."

Bishop Mukala also thanked ACN for its support and encouraged prayers for the charity.

The charity has helped with 37 projects in the diocese over the past decade, including aid for poor and persecuted priests, building new churches and presbyteries, and providing motorcycles and other transport for clergy in remote areas.

ACN is also printing and distributing catechetical programs the ACN Child’s Bible in the local languages of Lotha and Angami.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
18

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Gospel
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Homily
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: