Catholic, Hindu Leaders Promote Harmony In Wake Of Anti-Christian Violence

June 15, 2009

Author: Babu Thomas

Source: The Christian Post

During an interfaith dialogue in Mumbai, Hindu and Catholic leaders denounced religious conversions and recent anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district in India.

The two-day meeting, held at Mumbai's Shanmukhananda Hall, was organized in the wake of recent violence against Christians and the still-paralyzing consequences of the Kandhamal carnage.

The Hindu pontiff, Jayendra Saraswati, pointed to "conversion" as the chief reason for the growing violence on minorities. He sought an assurance from the Catholic Church to halt such activities. Catholic leaders denied engaging in any proselytizing and blamed Protestants.

"Although conversion is a personal choice, I want to endorse that there will be no forced conversions. It has no meaning, and is considered invalid. The Catholic Church is totally against forced conversions. The Vatican documents are clear about that," Mumbai Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias said.

At a press conference, religious leaders from both sides condemned the attacks against Christians that were carried out last August by Hindu extremists and that forced thousands to flee their homes. They further agreed to work together in social and charity works.