Fundamentalist attacks strengthen faith of Catholics in India

The president of the Bishops Conference of India, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, stated this week the attacks by Hindu fundamentalists, rather than causing fear, strengthen the faith and witness of life Christians.

Speaking to the Fides News Agency, Cardinal Toppo said there will always be attacks by extremists, but he said these episodes “make us more careful and prudent but they also strengthen our faith and our witness of life. They are a sign that the Catholic community is alive and active and that our presence and witness are visible”.

The cardinal said such acts “prove that there exist forces contrary to Christianity,” adding that the Church is frequently “regarded with prejudice, suspicion, and its social service and charity works are regarded as proselytism”.   

The Church in India should have a greater presence in the media, so that the truth will prevail and everything being done in education, health care and development be made known.

Regarding the recent change of government, the cardinal explained that according to the rules of democracy, “governments bring change, and this is democracy. But changes do not happen overnight, they take time.

He also mentioned that the Hindu nationalist party Baratiya Janata Party has held power for six years and that therefore “the heritage of the old government will linger but with the Congress Party leading the country we hope for a change in mentality. The last elections were a success for democracy and tolerance and we are sure the new government will work to eliminate the major problems afflicting India: poverty, illiteracy and a precarious healthcare situation.”

Lastly he said Christians look to the future with optimism, “ready to make our contribution for the good of the country”.

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