Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, reported at the time that Indian Catholic leaders had been in touch with Modi’s government about a papal visit, but that “they were not able to obtain a commitment.”
According to Vatican protocol, the pope only visits another country if the head of state sends an official invitation.
The last pope visit to India was John Paul II in 1999.
The Vatican’s Diwali message called on both Christians and Hindus to “bring the light of hope in people's lives in such challenging times.”
“The power of solidarity unleashed in alleviating the suffering and assisting the needy, more so with an interreligious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope by putting in evidence the response which adherents of all religious traditions are called upon to make in times of despair and darkness. Bringing light together in people's lives through interreligious solidarity also validates the usefulness and resourcefulness of religious traditions in society,” it said.
“A growing awareness of the need to be with and to belong to one another in the present pandemic period calls for finding, more and more, ways of bringing the light of hope where there is discord and division, destruction and devastation, deprivation and dehumanization.”