DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 25, 1999     vol. 10, no. 203

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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RELIGIOUS LEADERS CALL FOR "WHOLEHEARTED WELCOME" OF POPE TO INDIA

        NEW DELHI (CWNews.com) - Several Indian religious leaders made a joint plea on Friday urging their countrymen to extend a "wholehearted" welcome to the Pope at a news conference in New Delhi along with Muslim, Sikh, and Jain leaders, in response to extremist Hindus' protests.

        "The Pope comes here with a message of love, not of conversion. If any one is afraid that the visit of the Pope will lead to conversion of Hindus, it shows the weakness of their moral caliber and faith," declared Jagatguru Sankaracharya Madhavanand Saraswati -- one of the five Hindu religious leaders -- denouncing the Hindu extremists' negative campaign against the upcoming visit by Pope John Paul II to India.

        "There is nothing wrong in speaking about one's religion. Our own leaders (Hindu monks) roam the world freely, especially in Christian majority countries like America and Britain, spreading our faith. It is when you denounce another faith, you make a mistake," pointed out the Hindu leader at the press conference organized by the Forum of Religious Leaders for Social Harmony.

        Mohinder Pal Singh, a noted Sikh scholar, urged all Indians "to give a rousing reception to the Pope and clear the misunderstanding already created about the visit of the Pope" due to the negative campaign. "When the Pope comes here, we should live up to our tradition of embracing our guests," added the Sikh scholar.

        Besides a nationwide "awareness campaign" on the papal visit, Hindu extremists led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Council of Hindus) launched on Tuesday a march to New Delhi from western Goa state demanding an apology from the Pope for "forced conversions and atrocities committed against Hindus." After winding through several states, the 15-day march will conclude in New Delhi on November 4, on the eve of the arrival of the Pope in New Delhi.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 25, 1999       volume 10, no. 203
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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