Mumbai(dna print edition): The Catholic community in the city demanded an apology from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for his remarks about the late Mother Teresa. On Monday, Bhagwat had stated that Mother Teresa’s aim behind serving people was to convert them to Christianity.
“I am deeply pained and saddened that Mr Bhagwat could make such a remark about Mother Teresa, a person loved and revered by all Indians and indeed the world over. I met Mother Teresa many times, and I sensed the great joy she felt when she reached out to the poorest of the poor, the sick, the abandoned and the dying. One only would need to visit any of the homes of Mother Teresa’s sisters to witness the tremendous selfless service they are doing. Mr Bhagwat just does not know Mother Teresa and is totally misinformed. Such statements are unfortunate because besides being inaccurate, they also cause damage to the harmony and goodwill between people of different religions. I do hope Mr Bhagwat retracts the statement,” said Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop Of Bombay.
A similar sentiment was voiced by Dr Abraham Mathai, the founder president of Harmony foundation. The foundation has been hosting the Mother Teresa Memorial International Awards for Social Justice. Mathai said that the constitution of the missionaries of charity says that ‘We shall not impose Catholic faith but give profound respect to other religions.’ “Mohan Bhagwat does not represent the crores of Hindus who still revere her. It is a fringe school of thought. Mr. Bhagwat should realise that the person he is questioning was someone praised by international dignitaries worldwide, including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He even paid a courtesy call to her shortly after being sworn in,” Mathai said.
“We demand an apology for what he has said and want the prime minister to not sit back and let the wrong impression pass. RSS is considered to be the guru (of the Bharatiya Janata party) and they (BJP) should make their stand clear,” said Willie Shirsat, chief secretary of the Church in the City, a political arm of the Catholic Church.