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India Backs Down from 'Shocking' Ban on Mother Teresa Charity's Funding

Homeless people gather beside a portrait of Saint Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, to collect free food outside the order's headquarters in Kolkata, India, on Aug. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Bikas Das, File)

India's government is reversing an anti-Christian move it made a few weeks ago and is now allowing Mother Teresa's charity to receive foreign funds once again. Hindu hardliners had blocked it saying the Catholic organization did not meet conditions under local laws.

Derek O'Brien, a lawmaker from the opposition Trinamool Congress party, has tweeted that Missionaries of Charity (MoC) was back on the list of approved associations after its license to receive funds from foreign contributions was restored.

As CBN News reported late last month, the Indian government blocked the famous Catholic charity founded by Mother Teresa from receiving the funds, rejecting the ministry's renewal application.

Missionaries of Charity found out on Christmas Day that its application, which allows it to receive financial assistance from abroad, was not considered by India's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) due to "adverse inputs," The Guardian reported. 

The move by India's MHA drew strong criticism on social media, with parliament leader P. Chidambaram referring to the rejection as "shocking."

"Nothing can be more shocking than denying future foreign contributions to the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, West Bengal," he tweeted. "This is the greatest insult to the memory of Mother Teresa who devoted her life to care for the 'poor and wretched' of India."

Over the weekend, a spokesperson of the MoC expressed gratitude that it will be able to do more to help the poor once again. 

"We never expected that our registration could be canceled but it happened," Sunita Kumar told UCA News. "We are happy that the restoration of our license happened without much delay," she added.

The charity, which Mother Teresa started in Kolkata in 1950, runs hundreds of shelters that care for some of the world's neediest people. Many leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have accused the charity of forced conversions. The charity has denied the allegations.

According to The Guardian, Christian pastors there face ongoing persecution, and churches have been under attack, including the recent vandalism of a statue of Jesus Christ. 

Known as the "saint of the gutter," Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 1979, and Pope Francis declared her a saint in 2017, two decades after her death.

India is home to the second-largest Catholic population in Asia after the Philippines, but the roughly 18 million Catholics represent a small minority in the largely Hindu nation of nearly 1.4 billion.

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