Pope tells Indian Church: 'Mother Teresa is your model of charity'

 Pope John Paul II praised the work of the Church in India, which has been suffering increasing persecution recently, during the 'ad limina' visit of clergy from Calcutta, Guwahati, Impahl and Shillong on Friday. He said: "for centuries Catholics in India have been carrying on the essential work of evangelization, especially in the fields of education and social services, freely offered to Christians and non-Christians alike. ... It is most disconcerting that some who wish to become Christians are required to receive permission of local authorities, while others have lost their right to social assistance and family support. Still others have been ostracized or driven out of their villages. Unfortunately, certain fundamentalist movements are creating confusion among some Catholics and even directly challenging any attempt at evangelization. He said: It is my hope that as leaders in the faith you will not be discouraged by these injustices but rather continue to engage society in such a way that these alarming trends can be reversed." After noting that "obstacles to conversion are not always external but may occur within your own communities," he said: "This can happen when those of other religions see disagreement, scandal and disunity within our Catholic institutions. For this reason it is important that priests, religious, and lay people should all work together and especially cooperate with their Bishop, who is the sign and source of unity." The Pope affirmed that "fundamental to sustained efforts of evangelization is the development of a local Church which is itself poised to become missionary. ... The commitment to follow Christ as a priest requires the best training possible." In this sense, he praised the bishops' initiatives to ensure that their institutes of priestly formation "reach the high standards of education and training necessary for today's clergy." Speaking about the formation of lay people, the Holy Father stressed the need to prepare them to receive the sacraments, especially marriage, to form catechists and to provide "the spiritual and moral support necessary." He said: "India is fortunate to have a direct reminder of the Church's vocation to love the weakest in the witness and example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, soon to be beatified." "Like Mother Teresa," he said to the prelates, "you too are called to be outstanding examples of simplicity, humility and charity for those entrusted to your care. ... You will use the example of Mother Teresa as a model for the works of charity in your communities." Source: VIS

Share this story