Vatican City, Sep 19, 2011 / 14:50 pm
Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged Indian bishops not to allow anti-Christian laws or violence deter them from spreading the Gospel in India.
“You must always be prepared to spread the Kingdom of God and to walk in the footsteps of Christ, who was himself misunderstood, despised, falsely accused and who suffered for the sake of truth,” he told the bishops at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, Sept. 19.
“Do not be deterred when such trials arise in your own ministry, and in that of your priests and religious.”
Although anti-Christian persecution has afflicted much of India, it seems that in recent years the problem persists only in areas governed by Hindu nationalist parties. Of the country’s 28 states, five have enacted “anti-conversion” laws, which impose heavy fines and jail sentences for those “forcing” others to change their religion.
“They talk of forced conversions but they haven’t been able to find out one case of a forced conversion,” said Archbishop Vincent Concessao of New Delhi in remarks to CNA, just before meeting with the Pope.