There is no harm in backtracking if the government thinks it has erred in amending citizenship laws, says Cardinal Oswald Gracias, head of the Catholic Church in India.
“Religion should never be made a dividing factor,” asserted the cardinal when asked about the political turmoil in India over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) and the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
However, the prelate disapproved people indulging in violence to get their voices heard. “Violence is not right. A continuous discussion must take place,” the Bombay arch-bishop told friends and well-wishers who on December 24 greeted him on his 75th birthday.
Cardinal Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and an adviser of Pope Francis, says he is “very keen” on inter-religious dialogue between people of different faiths. “This will knock off any prejudices and eventually help to understand and appreciate each other. I want the Catholic community to be at the forefront of this… to build bridges,” he added.
The Indian Church leader termed the love for the nation as an important trait of citizens. “If we truly feel strongly about India, then we must work for the country, to the point of being ready to sacrifice for it,” the cardinal asserted.
To foster patriotism, the cardinal suggests people engage in reflection and exchange of ideas. “Reading and knowing the thoughts of others helps one’s own thoughts to mature and conceptualize a better India, in which everyone is like one big family. This is what should be our priority,” Cardinal Gracias explained.