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india 4109108 640ROME - For almost a decade under St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, then-Monsignor Felix Machado was a primary architect of the Vatican’s inter-religious outreach, including putting together a star-studded 2002 summit of religious leaders in Assisi as a follow-up to John Paul’s historic, and deeply controversial, first such gathering in 1986.

Machado, born in Vasai, India, outside what was then Bombay, served as under-secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue from 1999 to 2008. There he worked shoulder to shoulder with Michael Fitzgerald, the British prelate whose own passion for inter-faith dialogue will be rewarded Oct. 5 when Pope Francis inducts him into the College of Cardinals.

Together Fitzgerald and Machado designed that 2002 event, which featured rabbis, muftis, shamans and sages all hopping aboard a rarely-used Vatican train - quickly dubbed the “Peace Train” by the media, in a belated tribute to Cat Stevens - for a quick ride to Assisi to talk, reflect and “pray in the same space,” if not quite “together.”

Crux - Indian prelate urges dialogue with Hindus over ‘forced conversion’


Christian accused of selling beef lynched in India

MUMBAI, India - A Christian member of India’s marginalized Tribal community was murdered by a lynch mob in the eastern state of Jharkhand after being accused of selling beef. The Sept. 22 attack in Khunti district - about 30 miles from the state capital Ranchi - left two other men in critical condition.

The police identified the deceased as Kalantus Barla, and the two injured men as Fagu Kachhapand and Phillip Hahoro. All three are Christians.

Crux - Christian accused of selling beef lynched in India


Priest says he ‘almost died’ after being arrested for ‘forced conversion’ in India

MUMBAI, India - Father Binoy John says he “almost died in jail” after being arrested in India over allegations of “forced conversion.”

The priest was released on bail after a week-long detention in India’s eastern Jharkhand state on Sept. 16, after the intervention of local politicians. The Kerala native told his story to Malayala Manorama, a daily newspaper.

Crux - Priest says he ‘almost died’ after being arrested for ‘forced conversion’ in India