‘Solve Maoist issue through dialogue, service’
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 23:33
Thakurpukur: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D'Souza on Wednesday said that the Maoist issue in West Bengal could be solved by opening a dialogue with the ultras in a spirit of reconciliation and initiating humanitarian service in the affected areas.

"Our solution to the (Maoist) problem is one of prayer, reconciliation and service," he said at a press conference when asked whether the Church had any solution to the Maoist issue.

D'Souza, who was talking to the media on the sidelines of the Regional Mission Congress here, said the Church's work in education and healthcare can help bring about reconciliation and can pave the way for a dialogue.

"Our missions in West Midnapore, mainly those of the Missionaries of Charity, are working well in the Maoist areas and were quite reconciled with the people there," he said.

The Church, however, has not been able to reach out to the Maoist squads active in the deep jungles of the three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, the Primate said.

On Pope Benedict XVI's reported remark that communism had lost relevance to the world, D'Souza said, "Whether communism or Christianity, the love for the poor is common to both. But (Communist) methodology to achieve this may be irrelevant."

Asked to comment on CPI(M) Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai's reported call to the Catholic Church to collaborate with the party in improving the lives of the poor, he said, "We believe whoever is not against us, with us."

Recalling the close friendship between late Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and Mother Teresa, he said, "They both treated each other with respect because both had concerns for the poor. The Church is not against working with others in improving the lives of the poor."

Earlier, Vatican Nuncio (Ambassador) to India Salvatore Pennachhio celebrated Mass to mark the close of the Mission Congress, attended by the Bishops, priests and laity from the diocese of Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raigunj.

Church Art, a firm which specialises in Christian art motifs, presented Pennachhio with a replica of 'The Good Sheperd.'


First Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 23:33

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