Indian Vice President praises Christians: they build the nation
Venkaiah Naidu was the guest of honor at the Christmas greetings ceremony. Catholics "manage the best educational institutions in the country". "Continue your service with special attention to the disadvantaged sectors of society".
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Indian vice president has praised the Catholic Church for "its efforts to build the nation and for the altruistic service rendered to the members of society". Venkaiah Naidu participated as a guest of honor at the Christmas greetings ceremony. Organized by the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI), the event took place yesterday at the center of the archdiocesan community of Delhi. The second highest representative of the State affirmed that "Jesus is the Son of God. He brings Good news to all seasons, peoples, cultures and nations. His message is the message of peace. If there is tension, we cannot have attention to any activities of peace".
Naidu emphasized that "people, in every part of the world, regardless of caste, creed or nationality, celebrate Christmas with great joy ". Then he reaffirmed the importance of Catholics for the development of India, "in particular for the well-being of the people. They manage the best educational institutions in the country, which create awareness of the need for education and training for those in need ".
According to the vice president, " “Education is the most important tool for social transformation. It helps impart values compassion, morality and ethics,". For this reason, he added, "I invite you Christians to continue in your service with special attention to the disadvantaged sectors of society".
The politician, an exponent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalist party), recalled that the Catholic Church has opened thousands of dispensaries and hospitals throughout India, to reach the most remote areas.
Fr Renold Pascal, of the CBC press office, reports that "in the country Catholics manage 25 thousand schools and universities, and guarantee in hospitals 85 thousand beds for the sick, even in the most inaccessible areas. We also operate in more than 5,000 registered NGOs, which take care of the primary needs of over five million poor and marginalized every year ".
At the end of the ceremony, Card. Baselios Cleemis, president of the CBCI, gave the guest of honor a nativity scene and a picture with the image of India, on which the Child Jesus lies in the manger. Then he reiterated the need for the government to "bring relief and aid" to the thousands of fishermen displaced by the Cyclone Ockhi in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. "Christmas, a feast of love, sharing and joy, is the time to renew service in families, in the community and in society, to work for the social and economic inclusion of all, to promote lasting peace", concluded Naidu.