Card. Gracias on reform, inter-faith and indigenous people

April 19, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

The archbishop of Mumbai is one of the cardinals chosen by the Pope to help in the governance of the universal Church and to study the revision of the Roman Curia. He speaks to AsiaNews about his contribution to this new mission. The experience of the Church in Asia, a land “rich in ancient cultures, languages and religions, a victim of poverty, injustice, marginalization and pollution”, but also “home to a deep sense of the sacred and the family.”

Card. Gracias on reformMumbai, April 15, 2013: ” I am humbled by this appointment, and deeply grateful to be at service of the Universal Church and Pope through this mission The Holy Father wanted  the universal church to be represented and we are there from all the continents , and to know and understand the sentiments of the people, with direct contact of grassroots  from all corners of the globe”. With these words Card. Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), spoke to AsiaNews about his appointment to the group of cardinals chosen by Pope Francis as advisers to study a reform of the Roman Curia.

The Pope has indicated names from all continents, indicating the “universal” character and the concept of collective responsibility in leading the Church. As the only Asian and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), Card. Gracias will bring his experience of a varied and complex continent. “Asia he said  is known to be a rich mosaic of ancient cultures and languages, the world’s largest and most populated continent, home to almost 60% of humanity.  It is a continent of the young (about 40% are below 15 years of age); there are more than 30 mega-cities in Asia with populations ranging from 5 to 20 million. ”

But the Asian continent, notes Card. Gracias, is not only a fact of large numbers: ” Asia is a continent rich in non-Christian cultures.  It is the homeland of three eminent world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam; 85% of all the world’s non-Christians are in Asia and they adhere to several of the great religions”.  However he added “Asia is also characterized by diversity of peoples, cultures, languages and religions. It is confronted with realities of poverty, injustice, powerlessness, marginalization and ecological degradation. Asia is facing problems resulting from fundamentalism, ethnic and religious rivalries, power and arms race”.

Another important aspect of Asian cultures “is our sense of the transcendent: a deep sense of the sacred still prevails among Asian peoples. the Asian value of strong family-centeredness. economic globalization is also bringing cultural globalization in its wake and this is gradually  reshaping the value systems of Asian families”. In his apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, recalls the cardinal, Pope John Paul II speaks of ” an innate spiritual insight and moral wisdom in the Asian soul, and it is the core around which a growing sense of “being Asian” is built. This “being Asian” is best discovered and affirmed not in confrontation and opposition, but in the spirit of complementarity and harmony”.

Faced with this complex and varied reality, the Cardinal Archbishop reiterates the importance of “dialogue, which should focus on both the celebration of the good Asian values, as well as on a critique of market-oriented culture, consumerism and hedonism of today.”

After the election of Pope Francis Card. Gracias had the opportunity to talk informally to him. “During one of our conversations – he says – the Holy Father spoke about indigenous people.  During my tenure as Chancellor in the Diocese of Jamshedpur, I had first-hand knowledge of the lives of the indigenous people, their way of life, simple lifestyle and their bonds with traditions, and nature.  The objective of the  Church in Asia is to protect indigenous peoples, affirming the dignity of the persons concerned, promote social development and safeguard against discrimination arising from unchecked globalization. Today in Asia there are millions of lay Christians who belong to indigenous groups, hundreds of priests and religious, dozens of bishops and cardinals”.

– asianews

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.