Work to overcome divisive forces active in Goa: Archbishop's Easter message
Panaji, April 16 (IANS) In his message to the state on Easter eve, Goa Archbishop Fr. Filipe Neri Ferrao on Saturday urged people to overcome "divisive forces", which he said were active in Goa.
"Easter invites us to make this joy infectious by extending our hands to all the people of good will and working together for peace, harmony and mutual respect among men and women of different social, cultural and religious traditions and by overcoming divisive forces that seem to be active even in our own state," Ferrao said.
"May Easter inspire us to live as responsible citizens in our country and state, working towards genuine human development and integral sustainable advancement," Ferrao also said.
The Archbishop's statement comes on the heels of a controversial statement by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant who has claimed that religious conversion was on the rise in Goa.
"I'm not telling lies but, in various parts of Goa today, people are stepping up conversions. And various people are trying to take advantage of trying circumstances... someone is poor, someone is in a minority, someone is backward, doesn't have food, doesn't have a job..." Sawant had said at a function at Kudnem village in Bicholim in North Goa.
"I'm saying that such religious conversions should not take place... the government will never allow conversions to take place, but I believe the people need to awaken, the temple in each village needs to awaken, small temple communities need to awaken," the Chief Minister had also said.
The Archbishop is the spiritual leader of the Catholic community in the state, which accounts for 26 per cent of the state's population.