India: Goa Chief Minister Warns Against Conversions to Christianity

“The government will never allow religious conversions [to christianity], but even then I feel, people need to be vigilant… the temple trusts in villages need to be vigilant, families need to be vigilant,” he added.

Newsroom (03/05/2022 11:15 AM, Gaudium Press) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that people in the state need to be vigilant about religious conversions.

“Once again religion is being attacked. I am not telling lies. We have seen that in various parts of Goa, people are moving forward towards religious conversion. Taking advantage of different things – someone is poor, someone is a numerical minority, somebody is backward, someone who does not have food or a job – such people are being taken (in) in this manner. We say that by mistake, in such circumstances, there should be no religious conversion,” he said at the establishment ceremony (sthapana) of the Kudnem Temple at Jalmi Wada in Kudnem.

“The government will never allow religious conversions, but even then I feel, people need to be vigilant… the temple trusts in villages need to be vigilant, families need to be vigilant,” he added.

In his budget speech on March 31, India:  said the state government had allocated Rs 20 crore for the restoration of temples destroyed in Goa during Portuguese rule. Sawant said on Friday, “Sixty years ago (under Portuguese rule in Goa), we had said Dev, Dharm ani Desh (God, religion and country) and moved ahead with this sentiment. If our God is protected, our religion is protected and if our religion is protected, our country is protected. That is why people had fled with their deities in this Goa. But in the last 60 years, many families try to go to the places they were displaced from, they tried to find their family deities. Those families tried to once again re-establish their God and culture that was destroyed during Portuguese rule.”

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Goa has the highest GDP per capita among all Indian states, two and a half times as high as the GDP per capita of the country as a whole. The Eleventh Finance Commission of India named Goa the best-placed state because of its infrastructure. India’s National Commission on Population rated it as having the best quality of life in India (based on the commission’s “12 Indicators”). It is the third-highest ranking among Indian states in the human development index.

According to the 2011 census, in a population of 1,458,545 people, 66.1% were Hindu, 25.1% were Christian, 8.3% were Muslim, and 0.1% were Sikh.

According to the 1909 statistics in the Catholic Encyclopedia, the total Catholic population in Portuguese-controlled Goa was 293,628 out of a total population of 365,291 (80.33%). Since the 20th century, the Christian population of Goa has been facing continual decline. This is caused by a combination of permanent emigration of Christian Goans from Goa to cosmopolitan Indian cities (e.g. Mumbai, Bangalore) and foreign countries (e.g. Portugal, United Kingdom) with the immigration of non-Christians from the rest of India since 1961.

The Catholics in Goa state and Daman and Diu union territory are served by the Metropolitan Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, the primatial see of India, in which the titular Patriarchate of the East Indies is vested.

Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and the churches and convents of Old Goa. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is Saint Joseph Vaz). The relics are taken down for veneration and public viewing, per the prerogative of the Church in Goa. The last exposition was held in 2014.

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Goa has the Sanctuary of Saint Joseph Vaz in Sancoale. Pilar monastery, which holds novenas of Ven. Fr. Agnelo Gustavo de Souza from 10 to November 20 yearly. There is a Marian Apparition at the Church of Saints Simon and Jude at Batim, Ganxim, near Pilar. There is the statue of the bleeding Jesus on the Crucifix at the Santa Monica Convent in Velha Goa. There are churches (like the baroque-style Nixkollounk Gorb-Sombhov Saibinnich Igorz (Church of the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception) in Panaji, the Gothic-styled Mater Dei (Dêv Matechi Igorz/ Mother of God) church in Saligao and each church has its style and heritage.

(Via The Indian Express)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

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