With more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, India has the second-largest population in the world. 80% of Indians are Hindus and 14.2% are Muslims. While the proportion of Christians is 2.3%, the Catholic Church in India has 21 million believers. However, a growing radical Hinduism makes it difficult for religious and ethnic minorities to assert themselves in the country. The local Church faces discrimination and attacks. Our foundation supports the Church, especially in the poor north and northeast of the country.
After the re-election of the Hindu nationalist ruling party under Prime Minister Modi, the situation for religious and ethnic minorities in India further worsened in 2019. In the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, for example, a Jesuit college was ravaged by radical Hindus. The local Church lives in fear.
Radical Hindus threaten Christian life in India.
Laws such as the anti-conversion law, which prohibits the conversion of Hindus to other religions, further exacerbate the minority issue. The law is already in force in eight of 29 federal states.
However, the growing threat does not stop most Christians from actively participating in Church life. The high number of priestly and religious vocations is also pleasing. Yet despite the enormous economic growth, poverty and underdevelopment remain high in many parts of India.
In many places, the Church infrastructure is still being built up. Here we help the local Church with vehicles for pastoral care, provide training assistance for priests, religious and the laity, promote programmes for deepening the faith and support the establishment and maintenance of ecclesiastical institutions.