ROME, Italy – A three hour convention took place in the Roman City Hall at Campidoglio’s Carroccio Hall, 3 February. The topic of the evening was entitled: Christians in the World Today (Cristiani nel mondo oggi). Among the speakers were: Fr Guiseppe Caramazza (Joint-director of MISNA – Missionary News Agency); Prof. Scaria Thuruthiyil former dean of the Philosophy Faculty (Salesian University Rome) expert on problems confronting Christians in India; Fr Livio Tagliaferi, Comboni Missionary expert on Sudan; and Fr Agostino Bita (Chaplain of the Congolese Community in Rome) speaking on Congo, Ruanda and Burundi.
“It is important that we give an institutional voice to the tragedy that continues to befall the Christian community,” said moderator of the evening Prof Gabriella Picchini introducing the topic. Some 120 people packed the hall.
Rome Corporation’s young Councilor Honorable Antonio Stampete of the Democratic Party lamented “the lack of media support in keeping the issue alive in the public eye.”
Each speaker spoke briefly on their topic of expertise for about 25 minutes. While all speakers used the lecture method, Prof Scaria’s presentation opened with a five minute video on the recent anti-Christian violence in India, particularly in Orissa with a commentary in Italian language. It was followed up with a 25-minute power point presentation on Christianity in India, rise of Hindu revivalism with fundamentalist tendencies.
“I tried to answer the question: how is it that Hinduism which has preached and practiced ‘tolerance’ for millennia (in fact the most tolerant of all religions) suddenly became so intolerant?” says Dr Thuruthiyil.
“The scope of the convention was not only to give information but also to take decisions and propose concrete action against such violence and ensure basic human rights are upheld,” adds Dr Thurutiyil who was assisted in preparing by two doctoral students from the faculty Frs. Thathy Reddy (INH) and Fr Francis Vattukulam (INK).
The convention was held under the patronage of Roman Corporation Councilor Honourable Antonio Stampete and Collector of the Lazio region Honorable Marco Di Stefano.
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