October 3, 2011

Despite challenges, hardship and trials, Catholics in India must continue to evangelize, Pope Benedict said.

"You must always be prepared to spread the kingdom of God and to walk in the footsteps of Christ, who was himself misunderstood, despised, falsely accused and who suffered for the sake of truth," the pope told a group of bishops from India Sept. 19.

India has seen a steady rise in anti-Christian violence since the 1990s and the passage of anti-conversion laws in some states.

Without specifying "the challenges that the missionary nature of the Church entails," the pope told the bishops to "not be deterred when such trials arise."

It is the certainty of Christ's resurrection that gives priests, religious and all Catholics the "confidence and courage to face all that may come and to press forward," the pope said.