Goa Archbishop regrets priest’s dismissive comments on other gods, vows action
The incident had prompted sharp reaction from chief minister Pramod Sawant, who warned that action will be initiated if anyone makes statements that offend others’ religious sentiments
Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao on Saturday expressed his “deep regret” over a video in which a member of the clergy was heard speaking dismissively of other gods and said that the Church leadership has taken appropriate action with regard to the people involved and has also sternly warned them to avoid such utterances in the future.
The video in question was circulated on social media, prompting sharp reaction from chief minister Pramod Sawant, who warned that action will be initiated if anyone -- whether Hindu or Catholic -- makes statements that offend others’ religious sentiments.
“No one should accuse another’s religion in this way. Who should follow which god is an individual choice. Neither Hindu nor Catholic should make such statements and if, going forward, there are such kinds of statements, and people’s sentiments are hurt, action will be taken,” the chief minister said on Friday.
On Saturday, the Archbishop said the utterances by the priest “have gone against the authentic spirit of inter-religious dialogue and reciprocal respect.”
“It is distressing to note that certain expressions used recently in public by some members of the Catholic Church may have hurt the religious sentiments of people of other religious traditions. According to the teachings of the Church, Catholics are called to acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral truths found in the social life and culture of other religious traditions,” the Archbishop said in a statement.
“Pope Francis has reiterated the Church’s commitment to promote religious harmony and has cautioned against using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism, and to refrain from using God’s name to justify acts of violence, injustice and oppression, which degrade the dignity of human life,” he added.
“India is blessed with a confluence of different religions, languages and cultures. This enriching diversity constitutes the very identity of our nation, and every citizen has the sacred duty to value and respect others’ cultural heritage and religious integrity,” the statement said.
“We wish to assure that the Church leadership has taken appropriate action with regard to them and has also sternly warned them to avoid such utterances in the future,” it added.