English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has concluded a 10 day tour of India, representing
Pope Benedict XVI on a visit recalling Pope John Paul II’s historic journey to India
in 1986. The Cardinal was asked by the Holy Father to serve as his official representative
to celebrate the achievements of that apostolic pilgrimage and to confirm the Church
in India in its ongoing work of support to the poor and most marginalised people.
his tour which concludes on Friday, the Cardinal travelled to New Delhi, meeting with
the Indian President and visiting the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. In Ranchi he took
part in a symposium on the Church’s work among tribal people, while in Calcutta he
met with the Missionaries of Charity and then travelled on to Mumbai where he met
with young people and blessed a new statue of Pope John Paul II.
spoke to him on the last leg of his journey to hear his impressions and to find out
more about the legacy left by the late pontiff during his visit a quarter of a century
in India is of course a very small minority but it seems to have grown in confidence
since the visit of Pope John Paul....the Church has become more enculturated into
this extraordinary Indian culture but with a very distinct voice - and a voice that's
very much valued..
Cardinal Gracias, myself and the papal nuncio were invited
to a meeting with Hindu and Muslim leaders in Mumbai to talk about the limits of dialogue
but also the usefullness of dialogue and working together on ethical values, the family,
the role of religion in public life..
There are a number of people, especially
among the tribal peoples, who wish to become Catholic - this is a very sensitive issue
and the bishops are handling it very sensitively....Cardinal Gracias is very concerned
that those who wish to become Catholics have a prolonged catechesis, one to three
years.....so there is no question of the Catholic Church in any way proselytising...
was very, very moving when we went to (Mother Teresa's) house in Calcutta to see how
they are caring for these abandoned children....there is no doubt that religious life
here has flourished and is flourishing - one can only rejoice at that!