Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cardinal Dias: anti conversion attempts interfere with God's competence

Indian Catholic (the news site of the CBCI) has the full text of Cardinal Dias' statement in response ot the recent contretemps over the Pope's remarks to the new Indian Ambassador to the Holy See. Here's point number one:
Conversion from one religious belief to another is a strictly personal matter between God and the individual concerned. The freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise and propagate one’s religion have been enshrined in the Constitution of India. This is but an affirmation of the human rights to which every man, woman and child is entitled. Conversions, however, should never be induced by force, fraud or allurement: the Catholic Church considers all such conversions as invalid. But, any opposition by law or de facto to a genuine conversion, besides being a grave violation of the code of human rights and of the spirit of the Indian Constitution, is, above all, an unwarranted interference in God’s unique competence in the matter.
(Emphasis added.) In futher points: Christians are a small minority, but their influence in society (especially in work with the poor, education, health-care) is completely disproportionate to their numbers. Other communities should ask themselves why this is so, and whether it is not unreasonable that some might be attracted to Christianity because of this witness? Why do so many wish to enroll their children in Christian educational institutions? Despite two millenia of presence in Indian society, Christians are still a tiny minority (Catholics making 1.8% of the population): conversion as a mass-phenomenon simply isn't a reality.

[Aside: while I completely agree with the Cardinal that conversion is an individual and personal issue, one must add that there are social ramifications, serious social ramifications. Especially when it comes to issues of caste. Which may indicate why there is such virulent opposition to the work of the Church among the poor.]

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