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An education in respect for life is urgently needed

· Bishop Machado after yet another act of violence on a girl in India ·

“In families, there is no education in respect for life”, said Bishop Felix Anthony Machado of Vasai (northern India). He was talking about latest rape, this time of a 17-year-old girl, attacked in New Delhi at a New Year's Eve party. The act of violence was perpetrated only a few days after the attack on a 23-year-old medical student who died from the injuries inflicted on her. Following the two disconcerting episodes in India, a law against sexual violence has been proposed. In the meantime, lawyers to defend those accused of the girl's rape are to be officially appointed since not one of the 2,500 lawyers affiliated to the District Court of Saket has agreed to defend them.

“Today”, the Bishop explained to Vatican Radio, “Indian families are influenced by globalization and young people are not given an education in values and ethics. The world has become excessively oriented to consumerism and to moral relativism. And in this case, it seems to me that the fault lies not only with those who commit violence but also with a society that all too often undervalues the life of women and girls. However, not all India is like this”.

The prelate stressed that the Catholic Church in India is committed to ensuring that this mindset and this kind of behaviour is combatted. “The Church”, he said, “has always spoken out against the enemies of life and I believe that people today should admit how right the Church is when she takes a pro-life line”.

In the next few hours one of the five trials of five of the six men accused of the rape and death of a girl in New Delhi last 16 December will be taking place in the fast track court. The district attorney of Saket – where the trial is to be held – will present the accusations at the expense of the culprits, contained in a report of more than 1,000 pages. The sixth man arrested, a boy of 17, will be tried at a court for minors. If they are recognized as guilty, the five risk the death penalty.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 19, 2018

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