Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi Visits a Catholic Cathedral at Easter in Solidarity with Persecuted Christians

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited a Catholic Cathedral at Easter in solidarity with persecuted Christians. The PM made a visit to the Sacred Heart Church as a gesture of concern for Christians. He released several Twitter messages about the visit with pictures and video (see below).

He hoped holiday would "raise the spirit of harmony in our society." Fr. Thelakat told AsiaNews: "A positive fact that recognizes India's pluralism. But now Christians also expect him to come out of his silence on growing anti-Christian intolerance and control extremist elements within his party."

Asia News called it a rare and significant gesture for India. PMO Narendra Modi visited the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Delhi on the occasion of Easter 2023. Modi was welcomed by Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto and spoke to the faithful; he also lit a candle in front of the image of the Risen Christ. Afterwards. he planted a tree in the garden of the complex. 

Earlier in the morning Modi had already posted greetings to Christians on Easter Day with a Tweet on his profile. In the text he wrote that he hoped "this special occasion will deepen the spirit of harmony in our society. May it inspire people to serve society and help the marginalized. On this day let us remember the pious thoughts of Christ."

The Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi welcomed the visit as mentioned in a statement reported by India's official Ani news agency, cathedral pastor Fr. Francis Swaminathan called it "a great message."

 India, is a country where unfortunately confessional divisions are fueled by Hindu nationalists that often make headlines.

In recent days Modi also had a meeting in Delhi with Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, the leader of the Malankara Orthodox Church, a Syriac rite. The prelate also extended an invitation to him to visit his seat in Kottayam in Kerala.

"We are happy with the messages about cooperation between the communities," Baselios Mathews III had commented, "but at the same time we have problems in different regions, attacks against Christian churches. And these facts are a reality that needs to be addressed." 

In Kerala, too, some prominent BJP leaders visited churches on Easter Day. 

Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. Paul Thelakat, former spokesman of the Syro-Malabar Church, commented, "I welcome Prime Minister N. Modi's visit to Delhi's Sacred Heart Cathedral on Easter Day. It is truly a gesture of celebration with the Christians of this country. This is a plural nation and I am glad that the prime minister celebrated the plurality of India. Christians in this country, however, fear the anti-Christian attitude of the BJP with its Hundutva ideology. I believe this is not a pre-election political stunt, but an honest attempt to reach out to everyone in this country. Christians now expect Prime Minister Modi to come out of his silence on the growing anti-Christian intolerance and control extremist elements within the party. The Christian attitude should be neither one of prostrate abstention nor outright condemnation, but one of political prudence. It is a positive attitude, but it must also be aimed at other communities; no section of Indian society can be considered an enemy of the country and treated as such."

Sources: Asia News IT and the Official Twitter Account of Narendra Modi