Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao on Saturday expressed his "deep regret" over a certain recent "pronouncements" made by "some members of the Church", which according to him have "gone against the authentic spirit of inter-religious dialogue and reciprocal respect".
“We exhort the Catholic community to abide by the teachings of the Church and avoid saying or doing anything that could hurt the religious feelings of others. May God bless our country," the Archbishop said in a statement.
"We deeply regret that certain recent pronouncements made by some members of the Church have gone against the authentic spirit of inter-religious dialogue and reciprocal respect. We wish to assure that the Church leadership has taken appropriate action with regard to them and has also sternly warned them to avoid such utterances in the future," he said.
"It is distressing to note that certain expressions used recently in public by some members of the Catholic Church may have hurt the religious sentiments of people of other religious traditions. This statement is issued to clarify the Church’s stand with regard to other religions," Ferrao added.
He further said: "India is blessed with a confluence of different religions, languages and cultures. This enriching diversity constitutes the very identity of our nation and every citizen has the sacred duty to value and respect others’ cultural heritage and religious integrity. 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' is a value that is embedded in our ethos."
"According to the teachings of the Church, Catholics are called to acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral truths found in the social life and culture of other religious traditions (Vatican II's Declaration on the Relationship with other Religions, 28 Oct 1965). The Church's Apostolate of Inter-Religious Dialogue is precisely meant to foster this," the Archbishop said.
"Pope Francis has reiterated the Church's commitment to promote religious harmony and has cautioned against using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism, and to refrain from using God's name to justify acts of violence, injustice and oppression, which degrade the dignity of human life," he added.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday took note of a video circulating on internet, in which a member of the clergy was heard speaking dismissively of other gods, had said that strict action will be taken against those who make statements against other religions and disturbs the communal harmony.
"Nobody should criticise other religions. It is up to every individual to which god they should admire or worship. Neither Hindu nor Christian should speak against the other religions. If peoples’ sentiment gets disturbed with such statements then the government will take action," Sawant said, referring to the video.