India: interview with bishops and the Prime Minister of Orissa

“The district of Kandhamal has become a symbol of faith, hope and perseverance for the Indian Church.” These are the words of John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. Together with Archbishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the Indian Bishops’ Conference, he met the prime minister of the Indian state of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik. Their meeting marked Kandhamal’s 10th year of anti-Christian violence and was held July 2.

“The Church in India has received abundant blessings from the sacrifices of the martyrs and the suffering victims of Kandhamal,” said Archbishop Barwa. During these 10 years, the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar remained close to the victims and was the main driving force in the search for justice for the victims.

In the meeting, Bishop Mascarenhas assured the Prime Minister of the full cooperation of the Catholic Church in government development programs, focusing particularly on health, education and community development. On issues related to the Kandhamal incidents 10 years ago, the Church called for government support to address the issues that are still pending.

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