Mani 'Paves' the Way for Cardinal Cleemis’ Modi Pilgrimage

Published: 24th August 2014 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2014 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Nar - endra Modi’s guest on the occasion  of Janmashtami was a priest in saf - fron robes. In a politico-religious  twist, the guest in the saffron robes  wore a cross. The president of Cath - olic Bishops Cardinal Baselios Cl - eemis, on behalf of the Indian  Church, extended support to Modi  for his agenda of good governance  in a meeting held last week. The  Catholic country-head passed the  word down to the folks to ‘’set aside  their religious differences for devel - opment.”

The meeting between Modi and  Cardinal Cleemis was given promi - nence by “Radio Vaticana”, the of - ficial broadcasting service of the  Vatican. The changing political-re - ligious scenario in the country shows  an increasing bonhomie between  the BJP and Christian leaders. Both  sides are careful not to raise touchy  issues like Kandhamal and conver - sion. The Cardinal has requested the  PM to invite Pope Francis to India.  The issue and the timing of the  meeting between Modi and the Car - dinal assume significance amidst  rumours of Kerala Congress leader  K M Mani, the most prominent  Catholic face in the Congress-led  UDF Government in Kerala, joining  the BJP.

“There is an increasing  bonhomie between the Christian  leaders and the BJP. It is bound to  increase regardless of K M Mani  joining hands with the BJP,” said a  Christian Congress leader.  Cardinal Cleemis said that it is  “immature to discuss hypothetical  questions” as there has been no ma - jor incident of sectarian violence in  the country after the Modi Govern - ment came to power.“He (Modi) has  just begun the rule. When the Prime  Minister declares moratorium on  violence based on religion, it is not  right for us to read anything beyond  that,” he said. The picture wasn’t this rosy a few  months ago. Narendra Modi was a  PM candidate and he had ap - proached the same CBCI seeking a  chance to address their conference  where Bishops from all over the  country had assembled. Modi had  wanted to make use of the opportu - nity to send a message to the minor - ity communities, especially Chris - tians, by addressing the Bishops’  meet in the election season. His re - quest was turned down.   


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