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Indian bishops begin ad limina visits; to discuss work in multi-religious society

Catholic World News - March 21, 2011

As the Catholic bishops of India begin their ad limina visits to the Vatican, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai told Vatican Radio that their greatest challenge involved "how to live Jesus in a society that is plur-religious, pluri-cultural, and has many different values."

Cardinal Gracias observed that although Catholics account for just 2% of India's population, their wield disproportionate influence because of their heavy contributions and education, health care, and "outreach to the poor and marginalized in Indian society." In fact some Hindus resent the extent of Catholic groups' work among the poor, charging that missionaries are offering blandishments to entice people to convert.

There are 30 ecclesiastical provinces of the Catholic Church in India, including give 5 of the Syro-Malabar rite and 2 of the Syro-Malankara. These two Eastern Catholic churches trace their roots to the origins of Indian Christianity in the preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle, long before missionaries from Europe arrived.

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