Catholic bishops convene biennial meet *Bishops challenged to offer hope to disillusioned Indians

February 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Catholic, Church, India, Karnataka, newsletter-lead

Catholic bishops convene biennial meetKarnataka, February 01, 2012: Call on church leaders to work together for a better future. Cardinal Oswald Gracias today called the Church “the conscience of the nation” during his presidential speech at the opening of the 30th general body meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in Bangalore.

During his speech, he called for the Church as a whole to meditate on what it has done for good and where it has failed. Noting that the CBCI is committed to the welfare of the nation and its people, Cardinal Gracias said “we will dedicate all our energies towards that goal.”

The cardinal, who is also the archbishop of Mumbai, said the growing gap between the rich and poor was one of the biggest challenges facing the nation. He regretted that the opportunities offered in the country were limited to the rich and the prosperous.

Cardinal Gracias expressed the hope that the biennial meeting, which had as its theme “The church’s role for a better India,” will generate enthusiasm and hope among the Christian community. A record 170 bishops and church leaders from different dioceses of the country are attendeding the February 1-8 meeting in Bangalore, called the Vatican of the East.

The proceedings began with Mass of the Holy Spirit led by Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio. He urged the Christian community in the country to work with “single-heartedness” and without expecting honor or profit for a better future for all. In his keynote address, Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, called the Christian leaders to be “trustworthy in the household of God and to themselves.”

He reminded the leaders that God has entrusted the people into their hands and it was the responsibility of the leaders not to abuse that trust. Archbishop Albert D’Souza, secretary general of the CBCI, presented the bishops’ report for the year 2010-2011 during the inaugural meeting. The CBCI is an umbrella organization of all the Catholic bishops of India, belonging to the Latin, the Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara Rites.

Bishops challenged to offer hope to disillusioned Indians

Father Rudolf C Heredia

Father Rudolf C Heredia

Karnataka, February 02, 2012: A Jesuit social scientist has challenged Catholic bishops in India to review and revise the Church’s works to help create a better India.

“We need a renewal of our vision and mission to inspire an agenda for action,” Father Rudolf C. Heredia told the 30th biennial meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

Around 170 bishops from India’s 164 dioceses are attending the February 1-8 plenary meeting to address the theme, “The Church’s role for a better India.”

Father Heredia, the keynote speaker, urged the prelates to discern what Christ would do in modern world instead of just repeating what he did in his time.

“A slavish repetition of what was done centuries ago can only mean a dead one,” he warned.

The challenge in India now is to offer hope to millions who seem disillusioned with democracy’s failure to bring justice to the poor and the marginalized.

“A just society no longer seems to be the first priority of our ruling elites, who have been the principal beneficiaries of our first freedom struggle,” said Father Heredia.

According to him, the current social unrest and corruption in India are the outcome of the rulers pursuing in the name of good governance a “hidden agenda of growth” that only benefited them.

So much so, those excluded see no difference between present democracy and the old colonial rule, the Jesuit priest remarked.

Vote-bank politics that encourage exclusive cultural and religious identities now threaten India’s multi-cultural , and pluri-religious society, he warned.

For him, slums, poverty, destitution and farmers’ suicide amid opulence and while venture capitalism prospers are “disgraceful, despairing other side of the slogan “India shining.”

In this context, the Church should give “prophetic witnessing” not individually but through its vast network of institutions as shown by Blessed Teresa of Kolkata and her Missionaries of Charity nuns.

Father Heredia noted that the saintly nun is the second most recognized name after Mahatma Gandhi in India because people of all religions could see hope in what she did for the poor.

He urged the prelates to bring the Church from out of its current positions on the margins to the mainstream and create critical citizenry that would demand justice from the government.

He noted that better organized groups have taken advantage of popular movements in independent India.

The Jesuit social scientist questioned if the bishops are serious about their commitment to integral development of all people or just satisfied with “partisan gains for our institutions and people.”

– ucan

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.