India    BISHOPS URGE PLURALITY FOR CHRISTIANS' SELF-PROTECTION
Indian Catholic bishops at a civic reception asked Christians to nurture the nation's cultural plurality to counter attacks on the Church and its mission.
   The Christian community has to "preserve India's culture as it really is," Archbishop Alan de Lastic of Delhi, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), told a recent reception in southern India.
   Some 5000 people gathered to greet the country's Catholic bishops, who attended last month's CBCI meeting in Chennai.
   Hindu leader Sri Muthukumaraswamy Thamburan, Muslim leader and Prince of Arcot Mohammad Abdul Ali and state Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi were among guest as the reception.
   Local host Archbishop James Masilamony Arul Das of Madras-Mylapore stressed the Christian "tradition of tolerance" and interaction with other religions.
   The presence of prominent local people of various religions at the reception was proof of Indian Christians' interaction with other faiths, and made the function a multireligious event, he said.
   Such an interreligious gathering to honor India's Catholic bishops assumes significance in the backdrop of some pro-Hindu fanatic groups' attacks on Christian missioners, Archbishop Arul Das told the reception.
   
UCAN 7/2/00

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