Two key Vatican officials who were to address a conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) in Bangalore were declined a visa at the last minute by the government.
The two officials- Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, President of Pontifical Mission Societies and Adjunct Secretary to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, were key speakers for the February 3-9 conference on ‘Liturgy and Life’ being held at St John’s Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore.
Home Ministry officials said they played no role in declining the visas. CCBI president Cardinal Oswald Gracias informed 140 bishops from across the country, who had come to attend the assembly, that the two officials were denied the visa.
Though both Vatican officials had applied for visa in mid-December, the application was kept pending till the last minute and then rejected, a CCBI official said. “We contacted the embassy officials in Vatican and we were told that visas were rejected on technical grounds. We do not intend to attribute any other motive to it,” said a senior CCBI official. CCBI is now planning to hold the session with the two officials through video conferencing.
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