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Archbishop Expresses Regret Over Controversial Remarks by Church Members in Inter-Religious Dialogue

“Against Authentic Spirit of inter-religious diologue” Archbishop Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao regrets remarks by some Church Members



The Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao, has expressed deep regret after a video surfaced online, allegedly showing a member of the clergy making offensive remarks about another religion. He lamented that these recent pronouncements by certain individuals within the Catholic Church have strayed from the genuine spirit of inter-religious dialogue and mutual respect.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Archbishop highlighted the distress caused by recent public expressions that may have offended the religious sentiments of people belonging to other faiths. He emphasized that, as per the teachings of the Church, Catholics are called upon to recognize, safeguard, and promote the spiritual and moral truths present in the social fabric and cultures of other religious traditions.

Archbishop Ferrao pointed out that Pope Francis has consistently reaffirmed the Church’s dedication to fostering religious harmony. The Pope has also cautioned against exploiting religion to incite hatred, violence, extremism, or blind fanaticism. He stressed the need to refrain from invoking God’s name to justify acts of violence, injustice, and oppression that undermine human dignity. In light of these principles, the Archbishop expressed deep regret that some recent statements made by certain Church members contradicted the authentic principles of inter-religious dialogue and reciprocal respect.

The Church leadership has taken appropriate measures regarding the individuals involved and issued warnings against making such statements in the future.

In response to the controversy, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that action would be taken against anyone who makes statements that offend or hurt religious sentiments. He stressed that both Hindus and Catholics should refrain from making such statements, and anyone causing hurt to people’s sentiments would face consequences.

In August, a Catholic priest faced legal action for allegedly making remarks about Shivaji that hurt religious sentiments. The priest had, during a sermon, commented that while Shivaji was undoubtedly a national hero deserving respect, he should not be regarded as a deity. This incident led to public outrage, with a group staging a protest and demanding the priest’s arrest.