Ethos of tolerance threatened: Goa archbishop

Panaji: Goa is plunging into a “new and ever-greater form of intolerance” which includes crime against women and children and that an attempt to “polarise” majority against minority is being made by inciting hatred among people, the state’s archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao said Monday.

He also observed that the ethos of openness, tolerance and unity is being “threatened” at present.

“Most of us were brought up in traditional families, veritable schools of love, of understanding, of forgiveness, which are values that we not only lived within our families, but cultivated in our social and professional life, irrespective of the religion we professed,” he said.

He was addressing the traditional reception held here to mark Christmas.

“By and large, our families were abodes of peace. The whole of Goa was a haven of peace. On the social front, people from different walks of life, religious and social traditions lived in harmony and mutual respect.

“But what do we see today? …New and ever-greater forms of intolerance. It has become quite frequent to read in our newspapers stories of wives and kids being hacked to death, of gruesome murders caused by petty quarrels and, what is more, of fiery speeches made in public platforms, trying to incite hatred between communities and polarising the majority against the minorities in this state,” the priest claimed.

The reception was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and others, Economic Times reported.

He said decisions having far-reaching consequences are being taken by a few people without taking into confidence legitimate stake-holders.

“The last Popes, and specially the present one — the Pope Francis, have been reminding us that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race and regional conflicts, but also by a lack of due respect for nature and by plundering of natural resources by vested interests,” he said.

Referring to earlier statement by the Pope Francis, the priest said, “Does this say something to the local situation in our state, where we are witnessing far-reaching decisions being taken by a few people, without taking into confidence legitimate stake-holders and the people for whose benefit these decisions are being professedly taken?”

“At a time when the ethos of openness, tolerance and unity in our country is being threatened, the celebration of Christmas becomes a reaffirmation of the Rig Vedic maxim that says let noble thoughts come from all directions,” he said.

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