Accessibility links

In South and Central Asia, Pope Stressed Dialogue, Spreading Faith

Pope John Paul's travels to South and Central Asia reflected his stated belief that spreading the Catholic faith and dialogue with other religions were not mutually exclusive but complimentary.

During his long papacy, the pontiff took trips to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and, twice, to India.

During his second and final trip to India, in 1999, he repeatedly praised that country's religious and cultural heritage. He called for building what he called a "civilization of love," founded on "universal values of peace, solidarity, justice and liberty."

However, Hindu nationalist groups reacted angrily in 2003 when Pope John Paul criticized laws, passed by some Indian states, that he said impeded religious freedom and the work of Catholic missions in India. The laws prohibit so-called "forced conversions."

Some information for this report provided by AP.