Christians want greater say

October 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, Bangladesh, Church, newsletter-asia

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Participants release balloons to mark the start of the event

Participants release balloons to mark the start of the event

Bangladesh, October 25, 2011: Three government ministers attending the fourth national council of Bangladesh’s largest inter-denominational Christian forum over the weekend have vowed to examine several of their demands.

“The nation can’t deny the direct and indirect contributions of the Christian community in Bangladesh’s education, health and socio-economic and moral development, including the country’s liberation war in 1971,” said Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) president and state minister for cultural affairs Promod Mankin on Saturday.

Mankin, a tribal Garo Catholic, added that various Christian institutions are among the finest in the country and that the government should pay heed to Christian views.

BCA secretary-general Nirmol Rozario handed Mankin, home minister Shamsul Haque Tuku and religious affairs minister Shahjahan Miah 10 demands to present to the government.

These included declaring Easter Sunday a national holiday, an allocation of seats in parliament and in the cabinet and revoking discriminatory land ownership transfer processes.

In his address, Tuku said Christians, like all other people in the country, should be allowed to enjoy their rights equally, adding that the BCA demands are legitimate.

“We all shed blood for liberation of the country. The term ‘minority’ should be avoided and all should have equal dignity as well,” the home minister said.

Miah echoed his colleague’s speech and assured the gathering that the association’s demands will be duly addressed.

“Bangladesh has been a non-communal country since the beginning where we can exercise our right equally,” the religious affairs minister added.

Vincent Rozario, a BCA activist from Gazipur, near Dhaka, said that the gathering was very important in that it sent a message that Christians in the country should be taken seriously and listened to.

– ucan

Politics not for priests, says Indonesian meet

October 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, Church, Indonesia, newsletter-lead

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Politics not for PriestsIndonesia, October 25, 2011: The executive secretary of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference’s Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs has said that the involvement in practical politics is the task of lay people instead of priests.

“Lay people should not get bishops or priests into practical politics. Getting them involved means that lay people have no self-confidence,” Father Antonius Benny Susetyo told 40 politicians attending a forum held on the weekend in the diocesan office’s hall in Samarinda, East Kalimantan.

Asserting that the hierarchy has got into politics by voicing their consciences, he called on lay people to change their way of thinking. “The hierarchy’s role is merely to guide in terms of morality,” he said.

Blasius Watu of the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) suggested that both hierarchy and lay people should find a common understanding about their roles in politics.

“A medium in which the hierarchy and lay people can exchange views on the issue is needed,” the politician said.

Margaretha Rini Puspa Nereng, however, blamed the hierarchy for not supporting Catholics willing to take part in politics.

“The hierarchy should be brave in giving such support,” the legislator said.

– ucan

Prelate advises high standards for nurses

October 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, Bangladesh, Church, newsletter-asia, Services

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Holy Cross coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addresses Catholic nurses at a seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Holy Cross coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addresses Catholic nurses at a seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, October 17, 2011:  An archbishop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has urged Catholic nurses to uphold Church teachings and maintain good standards in their professional lives during a seminar held over the weekend.

Holy Cross Coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addressed 65 male and female nurses at the event marking World Standards Day on October 15 at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh in the capital.

“Catholic nurses render pastoral care through their health service to patients. We thank you for your frontline contributions but would like to call upon you to deliver better services in line with Church teachings.”

The prelate further spoke about the general role of Catholics in the country’s health care institutions.

“The Church fully acknowledges your great efforts … and believes you can improve on the delivery of your services. I would like you to maintain and step up your efforts as we have seen in other institutions that standards have fallen.”

Archbishop D’Rozario told nurses to call on priests to administer pastoral care or the sacraments for their terminal patients and advised nurses of other faiths to do the same for their patients by calling on other religious leaders.

Teresa Rebeiro, 73, president of the Bangladesh Catholic Nurses Guild, said that while nurses in the country have improved their academic and technical proficiency, there is still a concern about a decline in the standards of health care.

“In various hospitals and clinics, Christian nurses have taken major roles and have earned a reputation for their service. If they work well, others will follow their lead.”

Fulkumari Rozario, 40, an attendee of the seminar and a practicing nurse, said the archbishop’s advice was useful.

“I have learned today that attending to a patient’s needs is more than a professional duty. It is also a spiritual duty. Even under unfavorable conditions, I will try to evaluate my patients’ states of mind more accurately and encourage others to do the same.”

There are about 12,000 Catholic nurses working in the country, and about 4,000 of them are employed in various health institutions in Dhaka, according to data from the guild.

– ucan

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