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Visiting India, British cardinal reflects on Hindu fears about conversions

February 10, 2011

As he concluded a 10-day visit to India, acting as the Pope’s personal representative, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor reported to Vatican Radio that the Catholic Church “is of course a very small minority but it seems to have grown in confidence since the visit of Pope John Paul II” in 1986.

The retired Archbishop of Westminster said that the growth of the Catholic Church has raised a “very sensitive issue,” because of resentments roused by the desire of many Indians—especially among tribal minority groups—to become Catholics. These conversions raise suspicions among Hindus, and “the bishops are handling it very sensitively,” Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said. He noted that India’s bishops have called for a lengthy process of instruction before conversions, to allay fears that Hindus are being tricked into switching their religious affiliations.


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