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Indian state discusses ban on sacramental wine

Catholic World News - August 27, 2014

In India’s Kerela state, a proposal to ban alcoholic beverages has spawned a debate about the use of wine in the Catholic Mass.

Vellappally Natesan, the general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana, a powerful Hindu movement, has argued that a ban on alcohol should apply everywhere in Kerela, including the churches. V. M. Sudheeran, the local head of the Congress Party, disagrees, saying that churches should be exempt from any ban because of their longstanding sacramental practices.

Churches should set their own rules, Sudheeran told reporters. “The interference of external forces is not proper.”

Kerela, in southwestern India, is the country’s most heavily Christian state. The Christians of Kerela, who trace their origins back to the missionary work of St. Thomas the apostle, account for about 20% of the state’s population.

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