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    » 06/12/2008, 00.00

    INDIA

    For the bishop of Bellary, Catholic media are playing a greater role in the Church’s mission

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Mgr Henry D’Souza was consecrated today as the new bishop of Bellary. For years he was a pioneer in the field of social communications in India. About the BJP’s increasing appeal among voters he tells AsiaNews that he is neither pessimistic nor pessimistic.

    Bellary (AsiaNews) – India “is the world’s largest democracy.” In this country, “the Church is not involved in party politics. We work for everyone and shall continue in our mission to improve the quality of life of its people and develop conditions that are favourable to such improvement. As much as the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gets more support in more and more states, I am neither pessimistic, nor optimistic,” said Mgr Henry D’Souza, who spoke to AsiaNews after he was consecrated today as the new bishop of Bellary, a diocese in the southern state of Karnataka where the BJP, a nationalist party closely associated with Hindu fundamentalism, won in recent elections.

    For years the new bishop was the spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). Currently, he is the executive secretary of the CBCI Communication Commission. Through his efforts Catholic media have gained greater visibility in India. For him Christian journalists “play a significant role in the Church’s mission and must be integrated into the Catholic ministry. We should never tire to announce the Good News to the entire world.”

    In the last few years “India has made great strides in the field of communication, and mass media have great influence on people. They create public opinion and can promote religious and ethical values in the social, political and economic fields,” Bishop D’Souza said. “For this reason, communications means proclaiming the values of the Kingdom [of God] in a context of inculturation for the transformation of the whole world.”

    His consecration was attended by representatives from the Vatican, priests from Hong Kong, 35 bishops, 350 priests and 400 women religious.

    As evidence of good relations with the Union government, Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes and President Pratibha Patil’s personal secretary Christy Fernandes were also present at the ceremony as were various local BJP representatives—the party swept the district in which the diocese is located, taking eight out of nine seats.

    “This is democracy,” Bishop D’Souza told AsiaNews about the BJP’s victory. “The BJP won in a democratic way and we always respect democracy. There are situations that are cause for concern in some states where the BJP is in power, but I am convinced that in a society that is civil, political parties will behave in a civilised manner. Still I am neither pessimistic, nor optimistic.”

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    See also

    26/05/2008 INDIA
    Hindu nationalists in decisive victory in Karnataka
    The Bharatiya Janata Party takes 110 out of 224 seats and increases its series of recent election wins. Now BJP is turning its attention to next year’s Union elections. A Karnataka bishops talks about it.

    05/10/2009 INDIA
    Karnataka flood: Catholic churches and schools to shelter displaced residents
    Torrential rains in the northern districts of the Indian State kill more than 150 people, destroy at least 100,000 homes and displace millions. “We are doing our utmost to help everybody, irrespective of religion or caste,” said the bishop of the diocese of Bellary, one of the hardest hit areas.

    01/06/2007 INDIA
    Winds of civil war blowing over Rajasthan cut off from the rest of the country
    Tribal Gujjars are in their fourth day of protest and continue blocking roads. Police have fired upon demonstrators as a solution continues to elude the government. Tribal Meenas warn that they will take to streets against the Gujjars. For experts the problem lies in affirmative action policies that do not take into account the needs of the poor.

    11/09/2013 INDIA
    Rising anti-Christian violence in Karnataka
    Over the past three months, Hindu extremist groups have carried out at least 15 attacks against the state's Protestant communities. According to Christian leader Sajan George, this is part of an "ominous plan by ultra-nationalist forces to discredit the Congress-led Karnataka administration" and win back power.

    28/01/2011 INDIA
    Karnataka government absolves itself over anti-Christian violence
    Ostensibly, the authorities were not involved in 2008 attacks against churches. The Global Council of Indian Christians slams what it calls a biased report, complaining about the double standards applied to Christians and Hindus involved in the unrest.



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