By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, Feb. 7, 2019: An Indian magazine has asked the federal government to derecognize the Vatican as a state for the Church’s alleged interference in the country’s politics.
Church’s political interference should make Indian government sit up and formally take note, says an article swarajyamag.com published on February 4.
The Indian government “must either issue a cease and desist demarche to the Vatican’s representative in Delhi, or derecognize the Vatican as a state altogether. No country is bound to recognize any religious organization as a state with sovereign rights in a secular world,” says the article.
The magazine accuses the Church leaders of asking their people to vote against the National Democratic Alliance led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“They have thus pitched their tents fully in the opposition camp. This happened in December 2018, when a bunch of bishops, pastors and priests from many south Indian churches promised support to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s M K Stalin,” it says.
“It is one thing for priests to articulate their own personal political preferences in private, quite another to misuse the pulpit to influence elections formally,” adds the article by Ragannathan, the magazine’s editorial director.
While it justifies similar interference by various Indian religious leaders, it opposes the Church leaders “meddling” because of their allegiance to the Vatican, a state represented by an ambassador in India.
“And all cardinals and bishops are appointed by the Vatican. This implies that an outside state is appointing multiple ambassadors under the guise of practicing religious freedom, when they are really trying to influence politics in India. This is unacceptable in a secular state,” it asserts.
The article also refers to the Vatican-China agreement in September 2018 where the Holy See agreed to accept all bishops appointed by China as legal. Future appointments will now involve both parties having to agree to the names, it adds.
“What this implies is that the Chinese have formally recognized the Vatican as a state, and the Vatican has accepted that what it does in China must have the concurrence of the Chinese state. It is a state-to-state deal.”
The article also accuses the Indian Churches of “feeding” stories against the BJP to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that it says has appropriated to itself the role of the supervisor of religious freedom around the world.
“If the Indian government has any self-respect, it should send the Vatican packing and downgrade the embassy to a mere representative office of the Pope. A Christian version of the Shankaracharya deserves to be treated with respect, but not the kind of respect due to a head of state,” the article concludes.