Indian Catholics: New Citizenship Law is Unconstitutional
Report from the Vatican City
An interesting report by Ms. I. Piro, editor of the Vatican City, informed regarding Indian Catholics: “About 30,000 faithful have participated in the meeting organized by the Latin-rite Catholic Church in Mangalore in the Indian state of Karnataka in recent days.
“The event, dedicated to the theme of unity, was also attended by faithful from the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankarese rites, as well as hundreds of priests and nuns. To open the work of the meeting in Mangalore, Monsignor Pierre Paul Saldanha, Bishop of the Latin-rite of Mangalore, … stressed the importance of living ‘in peace and respectfully as followers of Jesus Christ.’
“We believe in the good that dwells in the heart of humanity. By organizing this meeting, we remind ourselves that we will remain firm in faith in the only God who unites us and teaches us his love.”
The prelate then stressed the importance of national unity, “As Indians, we are united by our constitution which emphasizes unity in diversity.” This was echoed by the Syro-Malabar Bishop of Beltangady, Lawrence Mukkuzhy, who said, “We respect all religions and beliefs, and we will continue to serve the country.”
At the end of the event, the organizers asked the government to declare a holiday on September 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary.
Among protected minorities there is no mention of the Muslim faithful
It should be noted that the meeting was held at a time in India when there is an atmosphere of political and religious tension: the national Parliament, in fact, approved the new law on citizenship, which orders its concession to Hindu; Sikh; Buddhist; Jain minorities; Parsis; and Christians from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
On the list of protected minorities, however, there is no mention of the Muslim faithful, thus effectively excluding from the protection the minorities of Hazaras, Baluchis, and Ahmadiyyas – already victims of persecution.
For the church, the law is discriminatory
The Catholic Church’s opposition to this legislation, defined as “openly discriminatory,” was unanimous: for example, the bishops of Gujarat in Western India asked the national government to “immediately suspend this provision, until adequate consideration is given to all the human aspects related to it, so as to protect the good of the entire human community residing in India.”
Along the same lines, the “Justice Coalition of Religious,” a group comprised of several religious congregations, have qualified the new law as “unconstitutional” as the Basic Charter states that India “accepts that people of all faiths, beliefs, caste, language, and gender are Indians in the same way and without discrimination.”