Ensure religious freedom: Catholicos

December 13, 2014 12:19 pm | Updated 12:20 pm IST - KOTTAYAM

Catholicos Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose II addressing a press conference at Devalokam, near Kottayam, on Friday. Photo: special arrangement

Catholicos Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose II addressing a press conference at Devalokam, near Kottayam, on Friday. Photo: special arrangement

Catholicos Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose II, head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, has underscored the need for authorities to take steps to ensure the constitutionally given religious freedom so that communal amity and secularism could be upheld in the country.

Talking to mediapersons here on Friday to announce the valedictory of the 50th death anniversary observance of his predecessor Catholicos Baselius Gheevarghese II, the pontiff said while he was upset over the incidents of forced reconversion attempts and burning of churches reported from north India, he viewed them as isolated incidents. The Catholicos, who had courted controversy by praising the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his administrative acumen during the run-up to the last general elections, said he still stood by his earlier stance about Mr. Modi.

The important thing was for the government to put things in order and rein in the extreme fringes who engaged in such activities, he said. Unless those in power take steps to ensure the confidence of all sections of society, they will not be able to put the developmental agenda into practice, he said.

Reacting to a question, the Catholicos said corruption had pervaded the whole society and it was for the political leadership to take corrective measures. “People are losing faith in their leaders and the nation was witnessing a major crisis on account of the leadership vacuum, not only in politics, but in all sections of society,” he said.

There was a drastic fall in adherence to values and unbridled consumerism had led to a scramble to make money at any cost, he said. The political leadership was not insulated from this trend, he said. The political leadership should address the issue and take steps to regain the confidence of the people, he said.

Referring to the schism in the Church, the Catholicos said he had not received any information from the Patriarch of Antioch (Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim) regarding any peace moves.

Reacting to a question, he said the perception of the Orthodox church was that the government was moving back from its avowed policy on the liquor issue.

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