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Indian Archbishop defends opposition to religious conversions

Conversion is not the work of the Church, but rather of the Holy Spirit, said Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, in an attempt to defend people's right to change their religion.

"We only proclaim the Gospel, the message of Jesus Christ," the archbishop-elect of the Gandhinagar Archdiocese told SAR News. "That is our right and the proclamation of the Gospel will go on. Nobody can take away this right. Anybody can proclaim and promote his/her religion."

The archbishop compared the proclaiming and promoting of one's religion to the ongoing electioneering in the state of Gujarat.

"All parties proclaim their ideology and try to win people to their side," he said. "But it is for the individual to hear the parties, read about them, and then finally vote for the party he/she thinks best."

Antagonism and opposition to religious conversion is not justifiable, the archbishop added.

"In the final analysis anybody who changes religion is taking a very courageous step," he said. "In spite of the opposition, some people do convert because God has given them the grace to do so. Nobody can oppose this change brought about by the Holy Spirit in the inner self of a person."


India's Christians fearful after Hindu Nationalists sweep election (17/12/02)
Gujarat bishop denounces Hindu extremist violence (13/3/02)
Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes, S.J. (
Attacks on Indian Catholics meet protest (Fraternity of St Sebastian)

20 Dec 2002