Christian forum asks bishops in India to take stand against rising anti-Christian violence

Christian forum asks bishops in India to take stand against rising anti-Christian violence

The Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace, a group of Catholic clergy and laity in India, wrote a letter to Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai urging bishops to attend to the increasing attacks by far-right Hindu nationalist groups against Indian Christians, according to Crux Now.

The letter pinpointed seven well-planned attacks against Christian institutions across India on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone, which contributed to the 486 incidents of violence against Christians in India in 2021, which made it the “most violent year” for the country’s Christians, according to the United Christian Front.

“What shocks us is the complete silence on the part of the official Church, the CBCI,” said the letter to Gracias, who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

A Christian devotee lights candles inside St. Luke's Church on Christmas Day 2021 in Srinagar, India. (Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A Christian devotee lights candles inside St. Luke’s Church on Christmas Day 2021 in Srinagar, India. (Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“The violent acts against the Christian community and Muslim community or any other minority group are in complete violation of the law of the land and the Indian Constitution,” the letter states. “If we do not respond to such acts, the secular fabric of India will be lost causing irreparable damage to the people of India, and an inclusive, democratic and pluralistic India as envisioned in the preamble of the Indian Constitution could be lost forever.”

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A devotee takes pictures of the illuminated CNI Church ahead of Christmas celebrations in Ahmedabad on Dec. 22, 2021. (SAM PANTHAKY / AFP) 

A devotee takes pictures of the illuminated CNI Church ahead of Christmas celebrations in Ahmedabad on Dec. 22, 2021. (SAM PANTHAKY / AFP) 

“We are of the view that we Catholics cannot remain silent spectators when the drama of violent attacks against the minorities is unfolding before us. We need to act and fulfill our prophetic role before it is too late,” the letter continues.

The forum went on to urge the cardinal to send a letter asking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country’s home minister to get involved. It also advised the national bishops’ conference to implore government leaders in their respective states to protect the Christians under their authority.

The CBCI was also admonished to respond immediately after any harassment or attack on Christian institutions, as well as to provide legal assistance. An organized day of fasting was also encouraged, as well as other measures such as closing Christian educational institutions in protest.

Christian nuns wave placards as they march during a demonstration against the tabling of the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill on Dec. 22, 2021, in Bengaluru, India. (Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images)

Christian nuns wave placards as they march during a demonstration against the tabling of the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill on Dec. 22, 2021, in Bengaluru, India. (Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images)

During an interview with Fox News Digital last month, Rev. Joseph D’Souza, archbishop of the Anglican Good Shepherd Church of India, said he is concerned about India’s image in the world because of escalating attacks against Christians in the country.

“The last few months have become an open season for attacks against Christian minorities,” said D’Souza, who is also the founder of Dignity Freedom Network and president of the ecumenical All India Christian Council.

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Anti-Christian vigilantes have been persecuting believers throughout India in recent months by going through villages interrupting church services, burning Christian books and assaulting Christians during worship, according to government documents and interviews reported on in December by The New York Times.

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