Pope condemns caste system

Such prejudice "denies the human dignity of entire groups of people"
( [email protected] ) Nov 25, 2003 11:12 AM EST

Vatican City, Nov. 25 - Pope John Paul II told visiting Roman Catholic bishops from India that Christians must reject divisions based on caste, saying such prejudice "denies the human dignity of entire groups of people."

He repeated condemnations of the caste system made during a 1986 visit to India and applauded steps by India's bishops to set an example in fighting these divisions.

The pope said caste-based prejudice violates "authentic human solidarity" and is "a threat to genuine spirituality."

"Customs or traditions that perpetuate or reinforce caste division should be sensitively reformed so that they may become an expression of the solidarity of the whole Christian community," he said on Monday.