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Pope to India's bishops: do not be deterred by threats, criticism

September 19, 2011

Church leaders in India must be prepared “to walk in the footsteps of Christ, Who was Himself misunderstood, despised, falsely accused and Who suffered for the sake of truth,” Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Indian bishops on September 19.

“Do not be deterred when such trials arise in your own ministry,” the Holy Father told the Indian bishops, who were completing their ad limina visits to Rome. The Pope’s message seemed to refer to the assaults on Christians by Hindu extremists.

The Pope also spoke about the duty of the Catholic Church to preach the Gospel to all people, noting that in obedience to the Lord, she continues to do so without regard for tribe and tongue and people and nation.” In India, Hindu nationalists have complained that Christians are making special efforts to convert members of impoverished tribal groups. Pope Benedict seemed to allude to that conflict, too, when he observed simply that “the Catholic Church is the friend of the poor.”


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