Cardinals meet PM Modi, urge him to invite Pope Francis
Three Cardinals of the Catholic church on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to invite Pope Francis to the country. Talking to reporters after the meeting in Delhi - Cardinals George Alancherry, Baslios Cleemis and Oswald Gracias - said the PM agreed to their request and promised to take a decision soon.
The meeting was part of the PM’s interaction with various church heads initiated by Mizoram Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai.
There is a long pending complaint that central funds for minority welfare were not distributed proportionately between different communities in the country. Similarly, the PM tried to broker peace between two warring Christian communities in Kerala: Jacobite and Orthodox factions.
Cardinals said they have been asking for an invite to the Pope for quite some time and expressed hope it will be realised soon. In 2018 there was a growing demand for the Pope to be invited to the country when he visited two Asian neighbours, Bangladesh and Myanmar. “It is overdue. We expect a decision from the PM soon,” said Cardinal George Alancherry. He said they requested the PM about an equitable distribution of the minority funds.
He also said they also discussed the two expert committee reports on Western Ghats (Gadgil and Kastuirangan), continued incarceration of Father Stan Swamy, among other issues.
Swamy, 83-year-old human rights activists and priest, was held in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case and charged with alleged Maoist links.
Politics did not come up during talks, they said adding the PM lauded the church’s contribution in education, social work and health.
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