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Card. Gracias: The desecration of the crucifix targets Mumbai’s interfaith harmony

Earlier this week in Mumbai, India, a crucifix dating back to the 1800’s was desecrated for the second time in seven months. The archbishop of Mumbai, while acknowledging the incident as hurtful and urging police to fully investigate, exhorted Christians to respond by being the hands of Christ, “to do good, to reach out in service and in forgiveness to those who have committed this crime.”

By Nirmala Carvalho

7/16/2014 India (AsiaNews) – “The desecration of the Crucifix in Vile Parle, indeed attacks against any religious community is hurting the entire cosmopolitan multi religious city  of Mumbai”: This is the reaction of Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, to the act of vandalism on an ancient Crucifix.  A gesture, said the cardinal, that “pains me and I want to strongly condemn it. I appeal to the police to seriously investigate the episode that has hurt the feelings of our people.”

The arms of the Crucified were broken. “This” – the archbishop told AsiaNews – “reminds us that we are the hands of Jesus in this world, we have to be Christ’s hands, his mediators to do good, to reach out in service and in forgiveness to those who have committed this crime.”

To this he adds, “I have appealed the people to be calm as such acts should not destroy the harmony between the people of all faiths.  May the wounds in Jesus’ hands, heal the wounds, which this desecration has inflicted on our community and city.”

Contacted by AsiaNews, Fr. Theodore Fernandes, parish priest of the church of St. Xavier in Vile Parle, said: “Last night we celebrated a Mass of reparation at the foot of the Crucifix, and recited the rosary. This is the second time in less than a year that the statue has been vandalized. For the moment we have replaced it with a fiberglass figure.”

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