Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao in his 15th pastoral letter released on June 3, at a ceremony organised at the Church of Our Lady Mother of the Poor, Tilamola, has advised Catholics to play an “active role” in politics while warning that the “the Indian Constitution is in danger.”
Ferrao wrote, “It is easier to trample on the rights of the poor, because those who will raise their voice for them are very few. In recent times we see a new trend emerging in our country, which demands uniformity in what and how we eat, dress, live and even worship: a kind of monoculturalism. Human rights are under attack and democracy appears to be in peril. The various minorities fear for their safety, respect for law is on the decline in this country, he added.”
In his letter, Archbishop wrote, “At the time of elections, the candidates confuse the minds of many people by making false promises. And the people, on their part, often sell their precious vote for selfish, petty gain. Today our constitution is in danger. Having this concern in mind, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India had declared in its plenary assembly that the Church should diligently promote and stand by values like secularism, freedom of speech and freedom to practise one’s religion enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Particularly as the general elections are fast approaching, we must strive and work harder to protect the constitution,” he wrote.
Goa’s Archbishop letter comes days after Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto wrote in a letter that India is “witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere” and the community should begin a “prayer campaign” ahead of the elections.