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» 08/24/2009
INDIA
Cardinal Gracias: A year from the pogroms in Orissa, hope "for a new beginning"
by Card. Oswald Gracias
According to the Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops, the anti-Christian violence in Orissa was "one of the saddest moments in the history of India." The country "needs to restore its glorious multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tradition”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - It was a terrible year marked by so many serious incidents of religious intolerance and the killings that took place in Kandhamal (Orissa) are one of the saddest moments in the history of India. Now, a year later, we ask God to bless our nation with peace and harmony and to take care of the painful memories and wounds caused by this horrific anti-Christian violence.

Our prayers are also for those who perpetrated these crimes, those who instigated and those who carried them out, that they may realize the evil they have done.

Today we ask God to give our people the grace of a new beginning because so they can live in peaceful coexistence, mutual acceptance, tolerance and peace

Inter Religious meetings between peoples of different religions will be one of the ways of seeking harmony, dialogue at all levels, in communities, societies, in schools and institutes of higher learning.  India has to regain its pristine glory of being a  multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual nation with values of peace and harmony,  understanding and tolerance.

I was very saddened by the image that India offered of itself and I still am. What happened in Kandhamal is a disgrace to the nation. The anniversary of the violence against Christians [24 August, ed] is a day of prayer in all the churches in India. We pray for our country, so everyone can live as brothers and sisters in our beloved homeland and so the anti-Christian violence no longer offend the rich heritage of culture and tradition in India.

In Kandhamal our Christian community, which is a minority, was not protected. Religious freedom was completely trampled on. I myself have criticized the government for not having ensured the safety of a minority: our people were left at the mercy of the fundamentalists, law and order were altogether demolished.

Now I am still worried for our minorities and also for religious freedom. I realize that in Kandhamal and in many other places, our people have suffered threats and often do not have the freedom to pray together. Many of our churches have yet to be restored and fear still lurks in the hearts of Christian communities. Our government must have religious freedom and the security of minorities as its priority. There are many situations of concern that must be monitored and addressed appropriately.

I see that the new government in Orissa really wants to help the minorities and the federal government also intends to guarantee their safety. I hope that both are much more aware and responsive compared to a year ago when they proved themselves to be completely unresponsive. Our pleas fell on deaf ears then and killings, kidnappings, burnings and violence against Christians went on for a long time.

My hope for a future of freedom and security for religious minorities does not erase my concerns, but I base my confidence on the signs I see in reality and I hope that my trust in the future of the country is well founded.  

(With the collaboration of Nirmala Carvalho)

 

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See also
09/02/2010 INDIA
Christian leaders: Orissa government still ignores pogrom victims
by Nirmala Carvalho
07/23/2009 INDIA
Orissa: Maoist couple surrenders because of their involvement in swami’s murder
by Nirmala Carvalho
02/25/2009 INDIA
Government blocks rebuilding of church in Orissa
by Nirmala Carvalho
11/09/2010 INDIA
The daily persecution of Orissa’s Christians
by Nirmala Carvalho
09/27/2010 INDIA
Karnataka: police arrest Pentecostal pastor beaten by Hindu extremists
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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