Prelate wary of new Christian body

November 25, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore

Karnataka, November 23, 2011: The Karnataka government has come under fire from Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore over the composition of a newly established state Christian Development Council.

The pro-Hindu Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) set up the body recently to try to appease Christians in the southern state who still feel aggrieved at attacks on them in 2008.

“This is an honest gesture on behalf of the state government that realizes the gravity of hurt the Christian community felt post-September 2008, when misguided people attacked Christian churches and institutions,” said Franklyn Monteiro, vice-president of the BJP state Minority Morcha (forum) and a member of the council.

The new Christian Development Council (CDC), headed by Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, will have an annual budget of 500 million rupees (US$9.5 million).

The money will be earmarked for church buildings, social welfare and educational purposes.

However, Archbishop Moras has criticized the council’s composition.

He said the chief minister had written to him suggesting members for the CDC but ignored his own recommendations.

The bishop’s concern is that the council will have too many BJP members.

“This is an attempt by the government to fool Christians,” he said.

The prelate said he will clarify whether there are any more additions to be made and then take up the matter with the chief minister, and also remind him of his promise to withdraw cases brought against “innocent” Christian youths who protested against the 2008 attacks.

V . Acharya, state higher education minister, admitted the ruling party has appointed people within its ranks as council members, but tried to appease the archbishop by saying that these people are Christians.

“It would happen with any other party as well. But being Christians, they will work for the Christian community,” he said.

The CDC will meet bi-monthly, examine suggestions by the state Minority Commission and draw up plans for the development of Christians in Karnataka, Acharya said.

– francis rodrigues

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