Indian Bishops Visit Vatican
Bishops from India on their ad limina visits to the Vatican arrive for a Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy, 2 Sept. Bishops are required to make such visits to the Vatican every five years to report on the status of their dioceses. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
07 Sep 2011 by Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) — The religious nature of the
Indian people, discrimination against Catholics,
interreligious dialogue and evangelization were the main
topics of discussion when two dozen Indian bishops sat
down with Pope Benedict XVI in early September.
It was a real heart-to-heart talk, and that is what
it should be. It was a sharing between him and us, said
Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, who met the pope
Making their ad limina visits to the Vatican to
report on how things are going in their dioceses, the
Indian bishops went to the pope's summer villa at Castel
Gandolfo, where they had a few minutes alone with the
pope, then met with him in groups of six, seven or eight
for a 20-minute discussion.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of
the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, said,
Naturally I invited the Holy Father to India. That was
very important because all of us are waiting for his visit.
The cardinal, who spoke to Catholic News
Service Sept. 2 after concelebrating Mass with the other
bishops at Romes Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls,
did not say how the pope responded to the invitation.
He said his group spoke to the pope about the
challenges the Indian church is facing. We are a small
minority, but we have a great influence in the fields of
education, health care and community building.
The Holy Father was particularly interested in
our efforts at interreligious dialogue, the cardinal said.
While there have been acts of intimidation and violence
against Christians in India, the church is building bridges
with members of other religions and collaborating
together to build peace, to build a better India, to see how
we could bring God back into society.
While the people of India traditionally have been
deeply religious, he said, especially in the lives of people
living in urban areas God is beginning to move from
center stage, getting a little marginalized.
But secularization is having less of an impact
among Indian Catholics than Catholics in many other
countries, he said.
The cardinal said told the pope 85 percent of our
people go for Sunday Mass. He said, ‘Wow, thats a
dream. He was so happy to hear that.
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Indian Bishops