Missionaries of Charity Lose Recognition in India

‘Government Agencies Have Made a Cruel Christmas Gift to the Poorest of the Poor’

Missionaries of Charity
© Fides

Missionaries of Charity are losing recognition in India at the end of the year, reported Fides News Agency.

“In the failure to renew the license to the Missionaries of Charity, government agencies have made a cruel Christmas gift to the poorest of the poor,” said  Father Dominic Gomes, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Calcutta. “The Missionaries of Charity Sisters and Brothers are often the only friends of the lepers and the marginalized, whom no one comes close to. The latter disrespect to the Christian community and its social commitment is, even more, a cowardly attack on the poorest of India’s poor”.

The Indian federal government has not renewed the permission of “recognized charity” to the congregation of the “Missionaries of Charity” founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, effectively preventing the possibility of obtaining foreign funding and carrying out all the works of the institute. According to a note from the Missionaries of Charity, sent to Fides, “the renewal application pursuant to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) for the renewal of the registration of the Missionaries of Charity was rejected on December 25, 2021, for not having met the conditions of eligibility”.

As reported to Fides, the “Missionaries of Charity” body was registered with FCRA and its registration was valid until October 31, 2021. The validity was subsequently extended until December 31, 2021, together with other associations, whose applications for renewal were awaiting examination.

What weighed on the lack of a positive response to the request for renewal were “some negative inputs” deriving from the complaint presented in recent weeks in Gujarat by some extremist groups who accuse the Missionaries of Charity of “converting people to Christianity through their works of service”.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks between Christians and other groups in India. In early December, a crowd of about 500 extremist militants devastated and committed vandalism in a Catholic school in the state of Madhya Pradesh, central India.

An unidentified man attacked a Catholic priest with a knife in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, two weeks ago.

Two Catholic nuns are still reeling from being grabbed by a Hindu mob at a bus stop and marched to a police station in Bhopal, in the Mau district of northern India’s Uttar Pradesh State in the fall.

Sister M. Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity in a statement confirmed that, pending the review of the file, “we asked our centers not to carry out operations and not to accept foreign contributions until the matter is resolved”.

The Capuchin, Fr. Suresh Mathew, director of the weekly “Indian Currents”, told Fides: “If the renewal is not granted for the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation will not be able to function. The 22,000 patients and people assisted will be left without food and medicine. This social and humanitarian commitment must not be compromised”.

The Missionaries of Charity were founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, who lived in Calcutta for most of her life, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In September 2016, she was canonized by Pope Francis. The Missionaries of Charity in India have about 5,200 nuns who run 277 houses and institutes with social and charitable activities, hospices, community canteens, schools, leper hospitals, and homes for abandoned children.