Indian Church must accept the challenges of its “missionary nature”, pope says

» 09/19/2011 12:37
VATICAN – INDIA

In welcoming Latin rite Indian bishops, Benedict XVI reminded them of Jesus’ mandate to spread the Gospel. “I pray that the Church in India will continue to welcome everyone, above all the poor, and to be an exemplary bridge between men and God.”

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – Indian Christians must “take into account the challenges that the missionary nature of the Church entails” so that it can “spread the Kingdom of God and [. . .]walk in the footsteps of Christ, who was himself misunderstood, despised, falsely accused and who suffered for the sake of truth.” Such a task, Benedict XVI said, falls on the Conference of Catholic Bishop’ in India for the Latin Rite (6th group: provinces of Agra, New Delhi, Bhopal and apostolic vicariate of Nepal), who came to Castel Gandolfo for their quinquennial “ad Limina Apostolorum” visit.

For the pope, “The most significant concrete resources of the Churches that you lead are not to be found in their buildings, schools, orphanages, convents or rectories, but in the men, women and children of the Church in India who bring the faith to life, who bear witness to the loving presence of God through lives of holiness. [. . .] India has a long and distinguished Christian presence which has contributed to Indian society and benefited your culture in innumerable ways, enriching the lives of countless fellow citizens, not just those who are Catholic.”

“In particular, the Catholic Church is the friend of the poor,” Benedict XVI said. “Like Christ, she welcomes without exception all who approach her to hear the divine message of peace, hope and salvation,” without making differences of any kind.

“If the local churches ensure that an appropriate formation is given to those who, genuinely motivated by a love of God and neighbour, wish to become Christians, they will remain faithful to Christ’s command to ‘make disciples of all nations’. [. . .]Do not be deterred when such trials arise in your own ministry, and in that of your priests and religious. Our belief in the certainty of Christ’s Resurrection gives us confidence and courage to face all that may come and to press forward. [. . .] God welcomes everyone, without distinction, into union with him through the Church. So too, I pray that the Church in India will continue to welcome everyone, above all the poor, and to be an exemplary bridge between men and God. [. . .] I pray that the followers of Christ in India will continue to be promoters of justice, bearers of peace, people of respectful dialogue, and lovers of the truth about God and about man.”

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