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Newsline: Vatican ambassador to India insists caste plays no role in bishop selection

Pope Francis’s representative to India insists that caste status plays no role in the selection of bishops in the country. In a statement sent to Crux, the Apostolic Nunciature in India said it wanted to make “clarifications” about a Feb. 2 meeting of the Dalit Christian Liberation Movement (DCLM) with the Apostolic Nuncio, Italian Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli. (https://cruxnow.com/church-in-asia/2022/02/vatican-ambassador-to-india-insists-caste-plays-no-role-in-bishop-selection) Dalits were formerly known as “Untouchables,” the lowest level on the Hindu caste system. In India, it is common for caste discrimination to exist even in non-Hindu religions, including Christianity. The DCLM had said it was “highly disappointed” with the meeting, which touched on the situation of the Church in the jurisdictions of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, a former French colony that was taken over by India in 1954. Dalit Catholics comprise about 70 percent of the Catholics in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, but there is only one Dalit bishop now among the 18 dioceses in this region. The nunciature said it fully supported the Dalit policy issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), which states: “Caste with its consequent effects of discrimination and ‘caste mentality’ has no place in Christianity.”

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