No Forced Conversions, Vatican Tells Hindus

November 11, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Bahrain Tribune

Wire Service: Reuters

The Vatican told Indians yesterday that it was impossible to forcibly convert anyone to another religion, amid accusations by Hindu activists that missionaries are pressuring poor Indians to adopt Christianity. The appeal comes as relations between the two communities are strained by attacks on Christians by Hindu activists in India seeking to stamp out what they see as forced conversions. “There can be no coercion in religion: no one can be forced to believe, neither can anyone who wishes to believe be prevented from doing so,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who heads the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said in a message to Hindus for Diwali, the festival of lights. He said the Catholic Church had been faithful to the teaching on freedom of belief.