Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be non-committal on welcoming Pope Francis to the country despite demands from church leaders as sporadic violence and intimidation against Christian believers continue across India.
Less than a year after the Vatican gave up in disappointment on a planned visit by the pontiff to the second most populated country in 2018, turning instead toward strife-torn Myanmar and Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Cardinal Oswald Gracias did not get obtain a papal trip from the best of the Hindu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party in a unique conference with Modi on March 20.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told us he would very much like for the pope to come. The difficulty is to get an appropriate time, partly because many other recognized people are coming and because we are having so many elections. The Holy Father would not want to get involved in local politics. So, we are trying to find a time that is fairly neutral for him to come, without individuals instrumentalizing his visit.
Apart from New Delhi, Pope Francis’ schedule may also include Kolkata, Mumbai and a few other places, based on the number of days he would spend in India.
Pope Francis has so many ideas for the government of the church. It’s clear the Holy Father wants to keep in touch with the reality on the ground on the world.