Hindu guru criticizes Mother Teresa. Msgr. Mascarenhas: 'Better to ignore it'

The famous holy man, Baba Ramdev, claims that the saint of Calcutta would was awarded the highest civil recognition only because she was Christian, and not for having served the poor. Christian groups claim that his opinion is unjustified. Secretary of the bishops: "These divisions on religion are useless".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A famous Hindu radical guru criticized the choice of the then Indian government which in 1980 awarded Mother Teresa with the highest civil honor for her untiring commitment to the poor. The statements of the guru Baba Ramdev date back to January 26 and have sparked bitter controversy not only among Catholics, but also among many Indians who recognize the undisputed value of the saint of Calcutta.

Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI), said: "It is better to ignore such statements. Mother Teresa deserved the prize. She was a symbol of compassion and service. Her commitment is recognized by all of India, regardless of the divisions of caste and religion ".

Participating in a meeting in Prayan, Uttar Pradesh, the guru said that the Mother of the Poor was awarded the "Bharat Ratna" just because she was Christian. Then he lamented the fact that the prize, given for the services rendered to the nation, was given to political actors and exponents, but never to representatives of the Hindu religion.

The bishops' secretary limits the scope of the statement: "If one or two people express a similar opinion, they do not count in the mind and in the opinions of the majority. For us they are insignificant. At the same time, it is a great honor that the country has rewarded one of our saints. What others say does not count, because the state has recognized her value ".

The Bharat Ratna is a prize established in 1954 by the first president Rajendra Prasad. In 65 years, it has been delivered 58 times to activists, actors, and even cricket stars. The only two non-Indian recipients were Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.

Several Christian groups have criticized the Baba to journalists. The Telangana Christian Association and the United Christian Association of the Mahbubnagar district have labeled his words as "motivated and unjustified".

The associations reiterate that "India is a secular country and every citizen has the right to serve the nation and its people". Then they add that Mother Teresa "has served humanity, the oppressed, and even the orphaned children and the sick suffering from leprosy. She spread the message of love and peace in society ".

Msgr. Mascarenhas concludes: "No one gains anything from these divisions carried out by marking religion and caste. The Catholic Church will go on regardless of whether or not awards are given. We will continue to work for the poor and the needy ".