Card. Gracias, violence against women: bringing God back to center of our lives at Christmas

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

During his homily on December 25, the archbishop of Mumbai spoke of the New Delhi gang rape and of a “contempt for women” prevalent in Indian society. In the Year of Faith, the enemies of peace are those who marginalize God from life: even Christians who close their hearts to others.

Card. Gracias, violence against women: bringing God back to center of our lives at ChristmasMumbai, December 27, 2012: The New Delhi gang rape is a “terrible example of the malaise of India” and therefore “the marginalization of God” from life, says Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Indian Bishops’ Conference, to AsiaNews commenting on the violence that took place on December 16 last, which has rocked the Indian society. Today the victim, a girl of 23 years, was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for further treatment and rehabilitation. In the homily for Christmas Mass, the cardinal spoke of the various forms of violence against women, spread across the country: the rapes, such as that against the young woman or the one suffered by Sister Meena Barwa during the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal; female feticide. According to the Archbishop, against the contempt for women and to affirm the peace of Christ, we must “bring God and Christian values ​​to the center of our lives,” especially “at Christmas in the Year of Faith.” Below, we publish a reflection written by Card. Gracias for AsiaNews.

The horrific incident of rape in the capital (New Delhi) is one example of the malaise of society and most regrettably, it is not an isolated event.  It is most unfortunate, in our country. Violence against women exists even before her birth, where in female foeticide she is murdered in the safest place of the womb of her mother.

This violence against women in different parts of the country reflects the  deeper disregard of the women coupled with the disregard for law and also the criminal justice system, The destructive forces against peace are found everywhere: in greed; in corruption; in power; in violence; in not caring for the poor, the homeless, the migrant, the mentally ill and the voice of the unborn child. The greatest enemies of Christmas are not those who do not know or believe in Christ, but those Christians who have become hard-hearted, self-righteous and have closed their hearts to the human needs of others.

This is the consequence of  “Marginalization of God”. We are pushing God from the center of our lives to the periphery and sometimes he is not a factor. Christmas is the time to put God back and to bring Christian values back with the living of the gospel of Jesus. Christ brings the light so that we might see beyond our self-centredness, beyond our desires to acquire more and more, beyond taking care of only “me”. The birth of Christ challenges us to reassess our priorities, our values, our very way of life

Our young people, university students and people of all ages are protesting this horrific and unspeakable gang rape incident. This has got the whole nation’s attention because of the horrific nature of this despicable crime. We ask for Justice for Sister Meena Barwa who was raped in the Kandhamal carnage, and whom Justice continues to elude. . All these violations against women should be examined in context to the interest of society. The root is the same, the disregard for God, being manifest in these forms.  The woman is being commoditised, disrespected and done away with; the  girl child is discriminated against in life and also before she is born.

This calls for an attitudinal change that  goes beyond the law, beyond self-interest, beyond self-preservation in always seeking what is truly good for the wellbeing of others, as indeed of themselves. Authentic peace – SHALOM – the peace of Christmas, the peace of Christ, is total wellbeing for the individual, right relations with others and with God, and a justice that puts an end to any rationale for war and exploitation.

Every celebration of Christmas affirms our Faith that Christ has come to redeem us from those inner disturbances that destroy our composure of mind and heart. When we believe, we bring Christ into the world by acting responsibly towards our families, in our jobs, in our relationships with others. When we believe, we bring Christ into the world by being generous and compassionate.

In this Year of Faith, as we celebrate Christmas,, we pray for our beloved motherland, whose daughters are in anguish and agony and we pray for the peace of Christmas , Peace is what we all yearn for. It is not an empty desire. It is a hope, a hope founded on faith. We will not see the fullness of peace realised until Christ comes again at the end of time. But we cannot wait until then. We need to pray and work for peace now. When we believe, we give birth to Christ in the world by working for peace.

May the courageous living of our Faith help us experience the Peace, Joy and Love of the Christ-Child this Christmas.

– asianews

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