Secular fabric under threat: Archbishop Anil Couto


NEW DELHI: In a letter written to all parish priests in the capital, the Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, asked for a prayer campaign to be launched and also appealed for fasting on Fridays ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Citing the “turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation”, the letter says, “It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time but all the more so when we approach the general elections.” “As we look forward towards 2019 when we will have new government let us begin a prayer campaign for our country,” states the letter.

The Archbishop’s secretary, Father Robinson Rodrigues says “such prayer campaigns took place before every general election, but the exercise was being politicised this time.The call for prayer for peace and free and fair elections happens before every election. It happened in 2014 and before that too. Only this time a political colour is being deliberately given to the whole exercise by some people,” .

On the reference to “turbulent political atmosphere,” the Archbishop’s office clarified that the current situation was indeed a cause for concern but “in no way were they referring to any particular regime or party.” “The use of “new government” in the letter is being misinterpreted. After every election a new government is formed whether it is of a new party or a party that may return to office again,” Father Rodrigues said.

The letter, written on May 8, contains an instruction that it should be read at all Sunday mass prayers on May 13. In it, Archbishop Couto requests that “…we observe a day of fast every Friday of the week by forgoing at least one meal and offering our penance and all our sacrifices for our spiritual renewal and that of our nation”.

He also calls for an hour of special prayers — “eucharistic adoration” — every Friday at a convenient time in “all our parishes, religious houses and institutions specifically praying for our nation”. The letter was accompanied with a special “prayer for our nation”, which says, “Let the dreams of our founding fathers and the values of our Constitution – equality, liberty and fraternity – be always held in highest esteem. Let the people of all castes and creeds, all denominations and persuasions live in harmony and peace steering far away from hatred and violence.”

The prayer further says, “Protect our legislature as a place of discerning minds. Raise our judiciary as the hallmark of integrity, prudence and justice. Keep our print, visual and social media as the channels of truth for edifying discourses. Protect our institutions from the infiltration of the evil forces.” The prayer also focuses on the poor and the marginalised, saying, “Let the poor of our country be provided with the means of livelihood. Let the dalits, tribals and the marginalised be brought into the mainstream of nation building. Let justice and integrity prevail in every sphere of our life.”








  1. It is important History should be taught to all the priests of all the religions.

  2. The Church is the antithesis of democracy , especially in India. It is inimical to the unity of Dharmic India. There is enough love for humankind, and the Universe taught by the Dharmic traditions of India, so the message of love from Christ is really unnecessary and not required to be preached to convert the unsuspecting in India.
    The Church is far removed from many of the original teachings of Christ.. he stood against the mighty Roman Empire. Yet paradoxically the missionaries helped the expanding British Empire. There is a legacy of people such as Xavier and others, who showed less than love for the people of India, especially for the Hindus.

  3. The message is typical of religions from the Abrahamic faith (except Judaism) trying to send indirect message to their followers not to vote for the incumbent BJP as they fear a second term will mean curb on their ever growing ‘conversion’ activities. I have seen this in villages in Gujarat and we all know what happened in Goa. During my visit last to Cuba I visited the indigenous people’s temple. Colonised by the Spanish, their missionaries were so desperate to convert the local mainly slave population that a baby Jesus statute was put in the hands of their Goddess Yamala just to instil Catholicism in their hapless minds. Luckily Hinduism does not convert and being tolerant would not worry about others its just that Modiji has reminded all of us what rich heritage we had and the injustices we suffered under the Mugals and the British which is irksome to the so called secularwalas. It is laughable comment by the priest who really should disclose the funding they receive from interested parties in continuing to convert the vulnerable of India.