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Narendra Modi has invited Pope Francis to India

Narendra Modi

INDIAN PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU | AFP

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 10/30/21

A papal trip could assist the precarious situation of the country's small Christian population.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he had invited Pope Francis to India, via his Twitter account, after the private audience he had with him at the Vatican on October 30. The two men spoke just under an hour. A trip by Pope Francis to the country would be a first.

Narendra Modi was also received by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States, Bishop Paul Gallagher. The statement from the Press Office of the Holy See was quite concise: “During a brief conversation, the cordial relations between the Holy See and India were discussed.”

Modi presented the head of the Catholic Church with a three-branch silver candlestick and a book on India’s climate commitments. As for the Pontiff, he presented the Prime Minister with a bronze engraving bearing the writing “The desert will become a garden.”

Organized on the sidelines of the G20 in Rome, this visit by Narendra Modi was particularly important for the Holy See because of the complexity of the relationship between the Indian government and the country’s Christian communities, which represent less than 5% of the predominantly Hindu population.

Narendra Modi’s official invitation could therefore be a signal of bettering relations. Already in January 2021, he had confided to Indian cardinals that he intended to invite the pontiff, which he had long refused to do, especially when the Pope could have come to India in 2017 during a trip to the region.

If Pope Francis were to visit India, it would be the third trip of a Pontiff to the country after John Paul II’s visits in 1986 and 1999.

Tags:
IndiaPersecution of ChristiansPope Francis
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