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Q: Why was the visit of Pope Francis to Bangla-desh and Myanmar not extended to India? Is it because of the BJP’s opposition to Christia-nity?

A: I suppose there are complications involved in a possible visit of the Pope to India. A papal visit is on the one hand a pastoral visit and on the other hand it is a visit of a head of state. As per protocol, a papal visit is a state visit, because the Pope is the sovereign of the state of Vatican City. As Vatican is a theocratic, autonomous and independent state, I suppose there has been some understanding between the government of Vatican and the government of India regarding the Pope’s visit to our neighbours. I think the Pope has skipped India in accordance with that understanding. I am not privy to the exact reason. It is very difficult question to clarify, because the government does not disclose the reason for not inviting the Pope at this stage. So I think, in the given situation, it is better not to speculate on the reasons. The Indian Church would only be too happy to receive Pope Francis. We would welcome him with open arms. He is our Father.

Bp Thomas Dabre
Pune

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