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Date :23 October 2012
Statement of the Catholic Biblical Association of India (CBAI) 2012
“Immigration in the Biblical Perspective”
7th-9th October 2012, NBCLC, Bangalore
Catholic Biblical Association of India (CBAI) promotes and fosters biblical research and various forms of biblical apostolate in India. We the members of Catholic Biblical Association of India (CBAI) came together at NBCLC, Bangalore, from 7th to 9th October 2012, which coincides with the commencement of XIII Synod of Bishops and the Year of Faith, for its annual conference. On this occasion, we, 43 participants, engaged in Biblical research and teaching, reflected and shared on the theme: “Immigration in the Biblical Perspective.”
Presenting a social analysis of migration, in his key-note address, Father M.K. George SJ., director of ISI, Bangalore, described the concept of migration, its history and its impact today. Father Joseph Titus, associate professor at Saint Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore presented a paper on “Land, Exile and Immigration in the Old Testament.” Sister Mary Prasad DM enlightened the gathering with a presentation on “Migration and Mission in the Early Christian Communities.” Father Assisi Saldanha CSSR, professor at Nava Spoorthy Kendra and Saint Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore presented a paper on “Migration in the Perspective of 1 Peter.” Sharing of personal experiences by migrant youth under the guidance of Sr Daisy OP was a special feature of the Seminar. Group discussions, sharing of personal contributions to biblical field and briefing on the history of CBAI were also part of the deliberations. Sister Prema CSST, president of CBAI, Father Stanislas, secretary of CBAI and other executive members took the lead in organizing the annual Seminar and Meeting. Here is the Final Statement adopted by the CBAI at the end of its Annual Seminar.
In general, human migration is the movement of people from one place in the world to another for the purpose of taking up permanent or semi-permanent residence, usually across a political boundary. It is as old as human existence. Migrations have occurred throughout human history. Today, globalization and improved means of transportation and communication assist a large scale migration across the world. Human migration affects population patterns and characteristics, social and cultural patterns and processes, economies and physical environments.
In OT terms, migration designates persons living in a place other than their own home or home country, not being a native member of the community in which they resided, but who had certain rights as a resident.
Human migration remains an important theme in the OT, having at least six instances of immigration: 1. Abraham’s migration from Ur of Chaldeans to the land of Canaan; 2. Abraham’s sojourning in Egypt; 3. Migration of Jacob’s family at the time of Joseph to Egypt; 4. Israel’s exodus from Egypt, under the leadership of Moses to Canaan; 5. Judeans’ exile to Babylon; 6. Judeans’ voluntary movement to Egypt. The last two migrations to Babylon and Egypt gave rise to two thriving Jewish Diasporas that brought life back to the community by reinterpreting the earlier patriarchal immigration stories.
Migrants in OT are seen in different levels: ger, who stays permanently, nokri, a foreigner in transit, toshab and sakir, foreign paid labourers and laws are formulated to protect these immigrants socially and economically and space also has been created to integrate them into the larger community.
There is a mixed feeling about foreign women in Israel, some texts being very negative about them (e.g., marriage with them is prohibited; children born through such unions were excluded from the Israel assembly) and other texts being positive about the relationship with foreign women (e.g., Ruth).
Flight of child Jesus to Egypt from Judea, the return and migration to Galilee, his movement from one place to the other during public ministry and his command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19) and “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mk 16:15) remain motivations of NT migration “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Persecution in Palestine and Roman Empire and the presence of Jewish Diaspora in Egypt, Persia, Median, North Africa and Asia as far as India, and also apart from the Petrine and Pauline missions to Judea, Samaria, Syria (Damascus and Antioch), Cyprus, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome, physical factors that existed in the Roman Empire like better roads, communication and trade routes contributed to the migration and spread of Christianity.
In the light of 1 Peter migrants are paroikos or parepidemos (1:1, 17; 2:11), the former designating ‘resident alien’ and the latter referring more generally to the ‘transient visitor,’ who is temporarily residing as a foreigner in a given locality. The first readers of 1 Peter being in a strange land become ‘elect strangers of the Diaspora.’
As resident aliens and sojourners 1 Peter’s audience are persecuted or harassed and abused in various ways. But the innocent suffering of Christ (2:21-25) remains as an example to the migrant Christians. Therefore, their suffering is not merely to imitate Christ’s suffering but to follow him as faithful disciples.
In a foreign land the believers of 1 Peter become “living stones,” “chosen race,” “holy/royal priesthood,” “holy nation,” “God’s own people,” “people of God” and those who have “received mercy,” representing a community that is socially oriented as a household reaching out to one another in the midst of the unbelieving Gentiles, remaining as a source of honour, not shame.
Yahweh is truly an immigrant God, who accompanied the immigrant Israel as an immigrant thus travelling with them as a living God, speaking new words in new situations to inspire his people and to lead them to new horizons.
Two Jewish Diasporas in Babylon and in Egypt, which remained open to new cultures, set models for successful integration of the immigrants in the foreign land. They show how to fight against the natural tendencies to depression and passivity that could lead to rapid assimilation and disappearance in a foreign land and encourage having a strong faith and a hope of renewal.
In the modern world where hospitality entails some risk of moving towards the stranger with less than full certainty as to how one might be received, Abraham, the great immigrant, remains a model of hospitality to immigrants. He welcomed God into his tent, without knowing it, as he warmly cared for the three strangers who stood before his tent.
Millions of people migrate over a thousand kilometres in search of work in India each year. While we talk about ‘one India’ and ‘one people,’ our fellow beings who migrate from other states meet with inhuman treatment. Labour is extracted, but they are not valued. Most of them lack sufficient facilities for a dignified human existence. The migration which began with Abraham’s departure from Ur continues to happen even today.
Migration of early Christian communities reminds us that being alien is a golden opportunity to spread the Good News to different continents, cultures, people of different languages and societies.
Hailing from a Jewish migrant family of Tarsus, Cilicia, Saint Paul, migrant apostle of the peoples (Pope Benedict XVI) remains an excellent example of migrant missionary of the early Christian era, who was sent ‘far away to the Gentiles’ (Acts 22:21).
1 Peter encourages us to remain loyal to our faith because to the respectable identity we enjoy as christianoi. Our hope in the midst of suffering is not shifted to an eschatological future; our hope is here and now in the midst of a distinctive and a collective experience of God and others in community.
1 Peter invites us not to compromise our identity as Christians even in the midst of suffering. Our identity as Christians is for the glory of God and for the whole world to see.
The author of 1 Peter calls us free people but slaves only to God. We are to honour all for the reach of God’s love is the scope of our respect. In other words, everyone has to be loved and only God is to be feared.
The theology of migrants needs to discover the heart of hospitality, not in “giving” or “doing” but “being,” which signifies human relationships. Therefore, hospitality means not simply “to do something for” or “to give something to” somebody, but “being with” somebody.
Our Action Plan
Issuing “notable writings” for the pastoral care of migrants and develop a solid biblical theology of migrants, taking into account the Indian context and culture.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb 13:1-12)
Considering the phenomenon of migration as a providential opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world.
Preaching the Gospel to migrant students far from home, immigrants, refuges, displaced people and evacuees, including victims of modern forms of slavery and human trafficking.
Extending support and training for migrants to become missionaries in new territories, people and cultures.
Contributing articles in leading and popular periodicals both in vernacular and English language with biblical and theological backing on respecting the migrants.
Teaching people “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; cf. Rom 10:12; Col 3:11).
Taking our theology beyond the notion of partnership with strangers to partnership of strangers and from hospitality to strangers to hospitality of strangers.
Offering our strangeness and otherness as resistance, we remain open to cultural assimilation and social conformity.
Showing respect, love and sensitivity to all human beings, to different cultures and faiths.
We are on a pilgrimage, an exodus. We are people on the move. It is a journey to the Promised Land. We make this journey as Christians here in our land, where we feel the pressures every now and then. Then, it is also the journey of others, the migrants, who become strangers precisely because they are on the move. As Christians we need to address them as well. May Yahweh the migrant God, his Son Jesus, the refugee and migrant in his earthly life and the Holy Spirit, the guiding power of the migrant Church through the centuries enlighten and empower us on our journey and ministry to migrants!
Date :8 March 2012
Final Statement of the 30th CBCI General Body Meeting The Church’s Role for a Better India
1.We, 161 Bishops, gathered at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, for the 30thGeneral Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India from Feb. 1 – 8, 2012, prayerfully reflected, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, on the theme: “The Church’s Role for a Better India”. We were helped by the deliberations of the Catholic Council of India which reflected on the same theme at its XIth General Body Meeting. At the end of our meeting, we address this Message to all people of good will.
2.We sensed in our hearts our country’s Yearning for a Better India. Our country has been noted for its deep spirituality, its saints and sages, its rich diversity of cultures and religions. People yearn for the ideal enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India of a Sovereign, Socialist Secular Democratic Republic which will secure for its citizens JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.
3.But this yearning has remained largely unfulfilled. Economic development has brought about increasing inequities, an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor with consequent tensions spilling over into violence. We see around us a betrayal of the poor and marginalized, the tribals, dalits and other backward classes, women and other groups who live in dehumanising and oppressive poverty. We witness rampant exploitation of children. There is disappointment with those in public life for whom ethical concerns matter little.
4.What has been the Church’s Response so far? Our Christian faith enjoins on us the belief in a God who created all men and women equal and destined all to live a life of fullness in justice, peace, freedom, love and truth. We believe that God came to us in Jesus so that we “may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10). Jesus himself spelt out the reason of his coming in the words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me … to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
5.In the footsteps of Jesus, the Church has sought to serve the country. In the field of education, she has established a vast network of schools and colleges. Noteworthy is the fact that 59.3% of these institutions are in the rural areas. Girls constitute 54% of the students. 71.7% of our students are from other religious communities.
6.The range of our health-care services, most of them in rural areas, is immense with 788 hospitals, numerous dispensaries and centres for mental health, leprosy, tuberculosis, and terminally ill. We mention in particular those centres catering to people afflicted with HIV/AIDS. All these centres have been serving people irrespective of creed or caste without any discrimination.
7.Well known too is the Church’s involvement in development and social projects in the country from water harvesting to establishing self-help groups and so on. The Church has also entered, in a big way, into capacity building and empowerment programmes. Special mention must be made of Caritas India, the coordinating Agency of the Catholic Church in India for Social Work which which celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year. It rendered yeoman service to our country. Pope Benedict XVI states: “The entire activity of the Church is an expression of a love that seeks the integral good of man… It seeks to promote man in varied arenas of life and human activity” . (Encylical letter, Deus Caritas Estno. 19)
8.But the Church does not wish to rest on her laurels. She recommits herself to being a prophetic Church, taking a decisive stand in favour of the poor and marginalized. How does she as a prophetic Church plan to contribute towards a Better India? The Assembly of Bishops accepted the following as guidelines for future action:
8.1 In the first place, the Church will look at herself. We admit that oftentimeswe have not succeeded in living up to Jesus’ invitation to be the light of theworld and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). We bishops ourselves willgive the lead by an austere and prayerful life and we will inculcate in ourfaithful a spirit of true contentment as against unbridled consumerism. We willset in place systems to ensure transparency and accountability. To strive for aBetter India, she herself must become a Better Church.
8.2. We will make better known and implement the Church’s SocialDoctrine, which underlines the centrality of the human person in all activitiesalong with a commitment to the common good, aiming at the integral humandevelopment of all with a view to creating a just society.
8.3. Inspite of the attacks on the Church, we will continue our work for the disadvantagedand marginalized, enlisting our doctors, lawyers and other qualified personnelinto their service. In reaching out to the least and the last of society, theChurch portrays the compassionate face of Christ.
8.4 We will inculcate the sacredness of human life from the very firstmoment of conception to its natural end in death.We are painfully aware of female foeticide which has led to an imbalancein the male/female ratio of our population. We are saddened to witness thebaneful effects of substance abuse on the individual himself/herself, the family and society.
8.5. Following up on the CBCI Education Policy, the Church will use hernetwork of educational institutions as agents for social transformation, takingspecial care that our students imbibe ethical and spiritual values which will enable them to be citizens ofour country who will serve the country with honesty and integrity.
8.6. Since one of the major causes of violence is injustice, the Churchcommits herself to the liberation of the weaker sections like tribals, women and dalits. In particular, shewants to reach out more to unorganized groups like fisher-people, farmers,migrants, domestic workers, victims of trafficking and so on. She will engagein advocacy and networking with NGO’s and other like-minded groups andindividuals dedicated to the cause of the poor. She will cooperate withgovernment in its efforts to improve the lot of the poor and help them avail ofthe benefits and grants set aside in government schemes for them. The Church will be a voice for the voiceless.
8.7. Recognizing that untouchability and castediscrimination are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus, we will root out this evil,wherever it exists, from within the Church and make concerted efforts toempower dalits. We commit ourselves to join hands with our dalit brothers andsisters in their fight for equal rights and the Constitutional benefits whichare denied to them on the basis of religion. We assure the marginalized andweaker sections that we will do everything possible to train and equip them for leadershippositions at local, regional and national levels.
8.8. We stand for the protection of the environment. We are stewards ofGod’s Creation and we must use our resources for the good of all, keeping inmind also our duty to future generations. Illegal mining, deforestation, somemega projects, pollution of water, air and land are destructive of ecology. We will resist such moves and encouragegreater use of natural sources of energy, promote organic farming, encourageproper methods of waste management and other such initiatives.
8.9. The Church will seize opportunities to be an instrument ofreconciliation, seeking to be a bridge-building community among peoples. Wewill encourage our lay faithful, especially our Small Christian Communities, toengage in a dialogue of life wherebythey interact with people of other religious traditions, being open to them,sharing their joys and sorrows. We will encourage our faithful to enter into adialogue of action whereby people ofdifferent persuasions work harmoniously with a common concern for the good ofsociety.
9.As leaders of the Church in India, we re-affirm our commitment to build up a Better India. We realize that we cannot achieve our goal in isolation. We invite all sections of the Church, priests, religious men and women, lay faithful and all men and women of goodwill to be fully involved in this noble endeavour. In the realization of a Better India, the role of the lay faithful is of decisive significance. In particular we appeal to our youth, with their dynamism and vibrancy, to be involved in this task. We count on our brothers and sisters in the Christian Churches and communities to work with us in a collaborative effort. And we can never forget that it is not just by our efforts that we build up a Better India. As a Church, we want to pray for the realization of this goal. “In the example of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata, we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbor, but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service” (Deus Caritas Est, no. 36).
10.We envision an India with more attributes of the Kingdom of God such as justice and equity with its consequent fruits of love, peace and joy. We will, to use the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future” (Encylical Letter, Caritas in Veritate, no. 21).
11, We entrust our efforts to Mary,the mother of Jesus, a woman of integrity, compassion selfless service andendurance, whose feast of the Assumption we celebrate on August 15, the sameday as we celebrate the fruit of India’s Liberation Struggle, Independence Day.
Date :8 January 2013
ASSEMBLY OF WORLD FELLOWSHIP OF INTERRELIGIOUS COUNCIL
STATEMENT OF THE TENTH ASSEMBLY OF WORLD FELLOWSHIP OF INTERRELIGIOUS COUNCIL (WFIRC) HELD AT KOCHI, 15-18 DECEMBER 2012
1. Transparency is an integral part of spirituality and so, one cannot have genuine religious or spiritual experience without proper accountability to one’s own conscience, society and God. The lack of transparency breeds corruption at all levels of human behaviour, which is one of the greatest evils of the present day World Community. Lasting peace and harmony at the personal and social level can be achieved only if one is true to oneself and to God or the Universal law of Nature (Dharma).
2. This is the message brought out by the participants of the Tenth Assembly of World Religions organized by the World Fellowship of Inter-Religious Councils (WFIRC) at the Renewal Centre, Kochi, Kerala from 15-18 December 2012 on a very relevant theme, viz, “Transparency-Accountability and Religious/Spiritual Experience. Around 75 pilgrims belonging to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism and Zorastrianism from the different parts of India and abroad, a good many of them representing Inter-religious Councils, actively and prayerfully participated in this unique Sangamam (gathering) of dialogue partners and pilgrims.
3. The Inaugural Session got started on 15th December at 10am,with the invocation Bhajans by Master Sai Krishna and the welcome words of Justice P.K. Shamshuddin, President, WFIRC,who emphasised on the importance of value based education of the youth on spirituality, in the prevailing consumeristic and materialistic scenario. His Eminence Mar George Cardinal Alancherry, in his inaugural address mentioned that the human hearts, the meeting points of man’s search for God and God’s search for man, are unfortunately overshadowed by the clouds of personal and social evils. Non transparency and irreligiosity of some followers and leaders of religious communities have almost destroyed our social order and public life and so a return to the moral values and authentic spirituality is the need of the hour.
4. This was followed by the ‘Lighting of the Lamp’ ceremony by the representatives of all the religions attending the assembly.
5. Dr. K.S. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Govt of Kerala, and the President of the Inaugural Session, exhorted the delegates to be honest in their daily lives. Man’s body is a spatio-temporal entity and to satisfy its needs and greed, the man has become today a pressurized victim of market economy which conceals the real, and projects the unreal. Religions have to lead their followers to an authentic spirituality of transparency, transcending the differences in belief systems and ritual ceremonies. We have to follow the teachings and examples of the great religious leaders like Jesus Christ, Buddha, Sri Guru Nanak, Guru Maha Vihr, Prophet Mohammed, Ramakrishna Pramahansa, Zarathushtra and so on. The Key-note address was delivered by Dr. Hussain Madavoor, Principal R.U. College Farok. According to him, transparency and accountability is a must for the well-being of all humans, since every human being shares one common brotherhood, forming the member of one human family. Felicitations were offered by the representatives of various religions and groups. Professor N.R. Menon the treasurer WFIRC, proposed the Vote of Thanks. Rev Fr Roby Kannanchira CMI, Director, Chavara Cultural Centre, Kochi performed as the Master of Ceremony.
6. The afternoon session , was dedicated for a panel discussion on the theme: Corruption in Society and our Spiritual/Religious Experiences. The panellists dealt with the various aspects of corruption, its causes and remedies. As a whole, what is needed is a spiritual transformation of human hearts and a deep commitment to the moral values in our daily lives, as against craze and competition for money, comforts and power.
7. The programmes on the second day, 16th December began with a panel discussion on Market Economy and our Value System, in which we realized that there is a dichotomy between the two. The arrival of multinational companies has changed our culture, ways of life and our traditional moral values. They have exploited the weaker sections of our society, especially the youth with their method of hire and fire and use and throw. As a result, our ethics, morals, and religious values are eroded and promiscuous ways of life have crept into the fabric of family and society. The farmers, the backbone of our economy, and other working classes are side lined. Even our educational systems and medical institutions, including those run by religious communities, have become profit oriented. Genuine love for the elders and other weaker sections of the society is gradually disappearing. The print and electronic media have invaded the hearts and minds of our people replacing our traditional culture and respect for hard work and hardship, suffering and service.
8. The third panel discussion on 17th December on Gandhian Way of Life for a Transparent Life was dedicated to draw inspiration from the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation. He was presented as a Bodhisathwa of the 20th century who made a strong decision that he would not move away from the Truth, whatever be the situation and occasion. It is good to understand the meaning and importance of the seven deadly sins of our society, which he had laid down as:-
(a).Politics without principle. (b).Worship without sacrifice.(c).Science without humanity.(d).Religion without spirituality.(e).Wealth without labour.(f).Education without character.(g).Commerce without morality.
9. His simple living, simple food and simple clothes are certainly a message for people of all nations at all times. His words, “Nature can provide for everybody’s need but not for anybody’s greed” are an apt citation for the theme of our Assembly. Though he was a married man he did not accumulate wealth and power for his family members. He considered all the members of the human race as his brothers and sisters, especially the poor, the downtrodden and the harijans and so he advocated ‘sarvodaya’ and ‘satyagraha’ as his method for achieving his guiding principles of truth and nonviolence.
10. Reports on the ongoing dialogues were a great source of inspiration for the participants. Though we may not hear much about the organized dialogues in these days, the dialogue of life in various forms is practised in all sincerity at the grass-root level. Reports from the workshops based on the panel sessions, revealed the relevance of the theme of this Assembly and also how seriously it was taken up by the participants.
11. The cultural programme arranged by the Chavara Cultral Centre and the moments of recreation together refreshed the minds and hearts of all.
12. The moments of meditation and evening prayers provided rich opportunity for spiritual nourishment. The solemn inter-religious procession with lighted candles and silence and prayers at different places dedicated to remember various religious communities gave us a real experience of our onward pilgrimage to fullness and wholeness of our eternal abode.
13. Transparency and spirituality are the two sides of the same coin for a follower of any religion. Even an atheist is bound in his conscience to lead a transparent life. However, we notice that corruption in its various forms has invaded all the sections of our community all over the world. The greed for money, power and comforts continually allure the humans to gain them through immoral means and corrupt practices. The poor, the marginalized and other vulnerable sections of our society are being exploited and denied even their basic amenities of life by the unscrupulously greedy and influential people, more specially by those who have power, position and money. A sincere attempt to lead a transparent life with proper accountability is the only remedy for this most dangerous evil of the day. But the believers in religious traditions have to undergo genuine spiritual transformation and lead a simple and contented life. Any attempt to amass wealth and power should be eschewed by all people of the society. We should minimize our needs and increase our love and care for our neighbours. Maximum attention should be given to the proper education for a righteous living to all, especially our young generation. An appropriate syllabus for Value Based Education in consultation with religious leaders and experts in the field should be prepared and got approved by the Governments concerned for implementation in all our educational Institutions. Parents, teachers, and leaders, both political and religious, should inspire those committed to their care, through words and deeds to lead a transparent life with proper accountability, which is the core of any religious/spiritual experience.
14. We would like to place on record our great appreciation and gratitude to the organisers of this Assembly for their generous hospitality and concern for us ,from our arrival to the departure.In particular, we have to mention the names of Justice .P.K.Shamsuddin, the President, Rev.Fr. Albert Nambiaparambil, the Secretary General, his assistants, Mr.Joseph Puthiyadam, Jebin Jose, Prof. N R Menon and his family and Rev.Fr.Roby Kannanchira and his team,for the commendable and memorable manner in which the whole event was conducted.
”May Peace be upon all of us and the whole mankind.”
Fr.Dr.George Koovackal CMI (Convener,Drafting Committee)
Sr.Teresa Joseph fma,
Swami Sadashivananda & Colonel.Sayed Makkar (Members).
Date :24 January 2013
Statement by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
The Office Bearers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, recently gathered in a special session in Mumbai, profoundly shared the concerns and distress of the people across the nation over the recent developments seen at our society. Instances of sexual violence against women and children have increased in an alarming rate, the most shocking being the gang rape and murder of a young medical student in the capital city of Delhi. This dastardly act of violence had evoked unprecedented protest and anger from all well-meaning people, cutting across all barriers. But the fact remains that this is not an isolated incident. Besides, according to sources, hundreds of rape cases are being reported everyday across the nation and female feticide, infanticide, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, dowry deaths, trafficking for sex and slavery continue to be perpetrated in several parts of the country. This is indeed a very alarming situation.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India urges the Union Government and the State Governments to address these issues without delay, mindful of the fact that violence against women and children will crumble the pillars of our society and eventually cripple the nation in its march towards peace and prosperity. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is happy that the Central Government, the Judiciary and some State Governments have already initiated strong and stringent measures to curb the violence on women and children. We hope that this awakening should not be momentary, but it should result in evolving and implementing comprehensive laws and effective measures to ensure the security and safety of women in our metropolitan cities and in villages as well.
Different views were expressed from different quarters, suggesting ways and means to curb this type of incidents. Capital punishment, Chemical castration were some of the means suggested. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India feels that while dealing with such issues, emotions should give way to wisdom, and desire for vengeance should give way to forgiveness. Any punishment meted out to the culprits is expected to be deterrent of such evil practices in the future.
The Church has a clear stand on the capital punishment. Life is a precious gift of God and no one has the right to take away that life. Chemical castration is a dehumanising act and an assault on the dignity of the human person. We feel that the Church, society and the nation should address these problems at their roots. In the overall formation of a person, the parents, teachers, elders, spiritual leaders, people in authority, all have their role to play. Social conscience when well formed, all citizens will be guardians of law. Gang-rape or any such deviations in human behaviour are disorders and social diseases. Let us all come together as a nation and put in all our efforts to guard against any such horrendous incident and irresponsible behaviour, totally inconsistent with our lofty ethos and age-old cultures and traditions. We need to bring God and spiritual values back to the centre of our lives.
As the nation is getting ready to celebrate its 64th Republic Day, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India appeals to all people of good will to take up this confidence and hope our responsibilities as citizens of India to guard against all such evil forces that weaken the moral and ethical fibre of our nation and to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better India.
Archbishop Albert D’Souza,
Secretary General, CBCI
Date :13 March 2013
Election of the new Pontiff, Pope Francis I
March 14, 2013, 1.00 a.m.
Election of the new Pontiff, Pope Francis I
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is pleased to express its deep joy and happiness on the election of the new Pontiff, Pope Francis I. The Church in India joins with millions of Catholics around the world in raising our hearts and minds in thanksgiving to the Heavenly Father for providing us a shepherd after the pattern and image of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Supreme Shepherd.
The Church in India pledges its total loyalty and allegiance to the new Pope, Francis I and assure His Holiness of our fervent prayers that the Holy Spirit who inspired the Cardinal-electors to choose Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the successor of St. Peter, may continue to guide and strengthen His Holiness in the discharge of the duties of the Petrine Ministry for the good of the Catholic Church and for the well-being of the entire humanity.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, with humility and satisfaction, takes note of the fact that five of its Cardinals took part in this Conclave, which is unique in the history of the Church in India.
Archbishop Albert D’Souza
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
Church in India
Dioceses of India
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