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Catholic Church never works for conversions: Cardinal Alenchery

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May 15, 2015

alencherypreviewREFLECTION - Major Arch Bishop of the eastern rite Syro Malabar Catholics in India, Cardinal Mar George Alenchery, said that the Catholic Church never works for conversions.

“There are people who misunderstand the mission of Christians, especially of the Catholic Church,” said Cardinal Alenchery, during his pastoral visit to the diocese of Belthangady in Karnataka state.

This was the 16th year of the establishment of Belthangady as a diocese. The major archbishop’s visit is on till May 5.

"Conversion is a personal response of a person to God. Nobody can force or coerce a person. The church witnesses the charity of Christ and proclaims Christian values—truth, justice, love and harmony—to others. This attracts people. It is not something which we create, it is something they (people) request,” said the Cardinal.

In India, the Catholic Church and missionaries are now under pressure facing allegations of conversion. The attacks on Catholic institutions have increased since the right-wing Hindu party, BJP, led by Narendra Modi assumed power a year ago. Though the government tries to brush off the attacks as law and order problems, many believe these were targeted attacks instigated by fundamentalists on the minority Christian community.

"Evangelization is not converting people. Actually conversion is not a business of a pastor or missionary. Conversion happens in the mind of a person while listening to the word of God. GharWapsi is too simple a reaction to a complex problem," the cardinal added.

The archbishop said his pastoral visit is to maintain a contact with the clergy, laity and an occasion to rejuvenate the energies of those engaged in the work of church.

“A pastoral visit helps the bishop to evaluate the effectiveness of the structures and agencies designed for pastoral services, take account of the circumstances and difficulties and determine more accurately the priorities,'' he said.

The archbishop visited St Alphonsa Forane Church, Kankanady, where he met with Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore, Bishop Mar Lawrence Mukkuzhy of Belthangady and vicar general Fr Joseph Valiaparambil among others.

A religious harmony meet was also held on Bishop's House Campus in Belthangady on May 1. Religious leaders Sri Kshetra Dharmastaladharmadhikari D Veerendra Heggade, Kukke Sri Narasimha Mutt seer Sri Vidyaprasanna Thirtha Swamiji, Maulana Abdul Aziz, Union minister for law and justice D V Sadananda Gowda, ministers B Ramanath Rai, Vinaykumar Sorake, U T Khader and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel were present.

Source: UCA News, May 4, 2015

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