Archbishop Emeritus Ignatius Paul Pinto of Bangalore, a renowned liturgist who found a middle path to solve the language controversy in the archdiocese, died February 8. He was 98.
The death occurred at 1:30 a.m. at the Senior Citizens Home managed by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Bengaluru, says a message from Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore. The funeral is scheduled at 10 am on February 10 at Francis Xavier Cathedral, Bengaluru.
Archbishop Pinto succeeded Archbishop Alphonse Mathias to head the Bangalore archdiocese at a time when it faced a dispute over the language of liturgy.
The language issue had plagued the archdiocese for more than three decades. Native Kannada-speaking people wanted their language to be prominence in liturgy, but migrants from neighboring Tamil Nadu state favored Tamil. Confrontations had often turned violent, especially during Christmas and Easter seasons.
Church statistics showed only 20 percent of the Catholics in Bangalore are natives who speak Kannada, the official language of Karnataka state. Nearly 70 percent of the Catholics are Tamils, and the rest migrants from other states.
Kannada people alleged that ever since Bangalore became a diocese in 1940 and an archdiocese in 1953, all its bishops have been “outsiders.”
Father Faustine Lobo, the spokesperson of the Catholic Church in Karnataka, said Archbishop Pinto, a strict liturgist, faced the language controversy courageously by following “a middle path” along with silence.
Father Lobo told Matters India that Archbishop Pinto was a well-disciplined, strict and meticulous person who had never compromised on liturgical matters.
Archbishop Pinto was born on May 18, 1925, in Bantwal in Mangalore diocese and was ordained a priest on August 24, 1952.
He studied at St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, and at Loyola College, Madras (now Chennai). He did his seminary formation at St. Mary’s Seminary, Bangalore, and Papal Seminary, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
In 1953, he served as assistant parish priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mariapura and during that year, he was also appointed the secretary at Bishop’s House and Professor at St. Mary’s Seminary, Bangalore.
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