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Request to PM to invite Pope

New Delhi, Feb. 21: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) today requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to invite Pope Francis.

CBCI deputy secretary general, Father Joseph Chinnayan, today met Singh in his office and handed over a letter requesting the Centre to invite the Pope.

Chinnayan was accompanied by Union minister for surface transport and highways Oscar Fernandes.

The four cardinals from India — Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Cardinal George Alencherry and Cardinal Telesphore Toppo — met Pope Francis on different occasions in the Vatican and invited him to visit India.

“The Pope showed interest in visiting India but the formal invitation has to come through the Indian government with the Pope being the head of the state of Vatican,” said a CBCI statement.

A recently concluded CBCI plenary in Kerala discussed the prospects of the Pope’s visit and decided to approach the Centre to invite him.