Catholic bishops denounce burning of Hindu deities in Mizoram: it is fundamentalism
by Theodore Mascarenhas*

Young Protestant Christians set ablaze images of deities and the Indian national flag. Msgr. Mascarenhas: “We are shocked that anyone could show disrespect to members of another religion in the name of Christ.” “Religion is meant for building bridges.”

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – It is with great sadness and sorrow that we have learnt from sections of the National Press of an unfortunate incident in which members of a sect calling themselves Christians, have burnt images of Hindu deities and our Indian National Flag in Lunglie District of Mizoram. We have been in touch with the local Catholic Bishop of Aizawl, Bishop Stephen Rotluanga, who is upset about the happenings.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India strongly and unequivocally denounces this deplorable act. We want to state very clearly that we stand firmly against any sort of fundamentalism, wherever it may come from. Any attempt to cause division and sow hatred is against the principles of Christianity and against humanity. The Catholic Church along with other Christian Churches has always stood for national unity and for peace and harmony among all peoples.

As is well known, the Christian community is a peace loving community, known for its love for India and we condemn in the strongest possible terms the burning of our Flag.

Those who have committed these acts cannot and should not profess to be Christians because Our Lord Jesus Christ has taught us “to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to give to God what belongs to God.” We, as Christians, love and worship God and, in the same way, love and serve our Country and people selflessly.

We are shocked that anyone could show disrespect to members of another religion in the name of Christ. We remind these misguided youth about the episode in the Bible when Jesus wanted to visit a Samaritan village, the people of the village refused to accept him and two of his close disciples asked him “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”. And the Gospel says – “But Jesus turned and rebuked them. And they went to another village.”

Following the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church along with all the Christian Churches, rejects intolerance and professes its profound respect for every religion. We share the pain of our Hindu brethren, who would be hurt and upset by this unfortunate and unacceptable incident. The Catholic Church reiterates that religion is meant for building bridges and constructing lives of people. It cannot be used and should never be utilised for spreading hatred against fellow human beings.

We exhort the miscreants to give up their wrong ways and pray that they may see the light.

God bless India.

*Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India