01/09/2020, 10.24
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Card. Gracias: Solidarity and secularism are needed in India

The president of the Episcopal Conference inaugurates a new office for the Latin rite bishops in Goa. He returns to invoke peace and harmony in the face of the tensions that are tearing the country apart over the citizenship law. The city chosen for the new office is Benaulim, the birthplace of Saint Giuseppe Vaz, an example of "peace and reconciliation".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - An appeal to "promote solidarity and respect throughout our country” was addressed yesterday to the Church in India by Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and President of the Indian Episcopal Conference (CBCI).

The cardinal again called for peace in the face of renewed social tensions after the approval of the new citizenship law which includes some persecuted minorities (including Christians), but excludes Muslims.

In light of the latest serious incidents, including the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (Jnu) in Delhi by young Hindu radicals affiliated to the Bharatiya Janata Party (Bjp) ruling party, the Cardinal says: "The Citizenship Amendment Act is a cause of great anxiety for all citizens and there is a danger that there could be a polarization of our peoples along religious lines, which is very harmful for the country. It is the responsibility of all to promote solidarity and respect for all in our country".

The opportunity to reiterate the need for the Indian Church to stand by the population was offered by the inauguration of a new office of bishops conference. The secretariat of the Conference of Latin Rite Bishops has been opened (CCBI) in Benaulim, in the state of Goa. It has been named "Shanti Sadan" (house of peace) and was inaugurated in the presence of 12 prelates, numerous priests, religious and lay people.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, CCBI president and archbishop of Goa, discovered the plaque of the new secretariat and blessed the ground floor of the building. Later other bishops sprinkled holy water on the other two floors. The structure consists of 25 rooms and can accommodate up to 40 people. Inside there is a chapel, a conference room and a dining room.

The location where the building stands was not chosen at random: in fact Benaulim is the birthplace of Saint Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, a model of peace and promoter of interreligious dialogue. At his canonization mass, during the apostolic journey on the Asian island in 2015, Pope Francis remembered him as an "exemplary priest", in the service "of peace and reconciliation", who knew how to "offer truth and beauty of the Gospel in a multi-religious context, with respect, dedication, perseverance and humility ". At the end of the day, Card. Gracias launched an appeal to "all Christian faithful, to pray incessantly for our country, so that peace and harmony prevail".

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