Udaipur: Mission of the Church in a secular country *Bareilly CRI takes on corruption

March 16, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Udaipur: Mission of the Church in a Secular CountryRajasthan, March 14, 2012: We have done much for the development of the Church and the nation. Now it’s time for us to reflect and introspect what went wrong amidst all our great work? said Fr. Norbert Herman SVD to 40 religious from Udaipur district who participated in the CRI meeting organized at Maitri Sadan on 11 March.

Fr. Norbert led the prayer and spoke to us about the relevant issues of the church and its mission in a secular country today. He elaborated on three texts:

John 10:10 – I Have come that you May have life – Life in all its fullness. Luke 4: 18 – The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Mt 5:13-14 – Salt and Light have their worth as long as salt remains salty and light shows light to others for the church is not just an institution but a people of God.

The participants were then divided into groups to share on ‘What is the role of the church in the secular country, India?’ Is our role limited to the secular only? What does our Conscience tell us? What emerged from the groups was that:

We need to work together for the transformation of cultures and be concerned with the whole person and the promotion of the human person in their struggles for justice and peace. Renewal of humanity means to have a new vision of the world and collaborate with the other denominations and other religious groups.

We need to reach out to people of other faiths to build communal harmony and transform the value systems they hold. We say some fanatic groups are against us but if we are honest sometimes we too are fanatic in our approach. Peace Rally is one of the ways of showing the Kingdom message to all people although it will involve inconveniences.

To be aware of the problems in our country we should be in touch with the media. We are involved in various ministries like school, hospitals and dispensaries and our conscience says that we are doing well. How to reach out to people when our superiors are extra cautious with regard to life? What does the attitude of Christ tell us? Some where we need to compromise our schedules.

To be effective in our mission we need to treat all equally. A competitive spirit in the community signifies we are influenced by the worldly things. We want to change others and not ourselves. If our life style needs a change, then we are to change.

Our basic mission is to work for the upliftment of the poor to experience peace, love and joy. Our lives should be a communitarian witness based on love. We need to come out of comfort zones and face the real hard facts of life.

To make sure that we are serious about what we shared we decided on an Action Plan:

– The decision making body of the communities should make an effort to participate in all CRI local meetings.

– In our ministries, we need to be loving and compassionate to all. In spite of all the odds we need to find time to go and meet people

– Public relation and media as a wing could be started.

The Eucharist was presided by Fr. Antony Punnoth CM. Later Sr. Sheila FSMA thanked Fr. Norbert Herman SVD and Sr. Ancy SSPs and her community for the delicious meal.

– cri re;ease

CRI Bareilly takes on Issue of Corruption


CRI Bareilly takes on Issue of CorruptionUttar Pradesh, March 14, 2012: Speaking about the widespread corruption in India to the members of the religious of Bareilly, Bishop Anthony Fernandes said, “Today corruption has become an inevitable issue. Corruption is seen in almost every part of our country.

“HONESTY is the best policy” is an old and outdated saying today. “Be shameless and enjoy” slogan has been encouraged in this world. Money paves a way for all sorts of luxuries required in comfortable life.

In view of this scourge in our society the Bareilly CRI local unit organized a seminar on “Corruption in the Church and society” on March 10 at Suchetna, Bareilly. Fr. Pius, Director of Suchetna along with his supporting staff welcomed 64 CRI members to the Centre.

Bishop Anthony Fernandes of Bareilly animated the sessions with elaborate examples from the Bible and day to day life. We have first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully.

He said, “Corruption is both a major cause and a result of poverty around the world. It occurs at all levels of society, from local and national governments, civil society, judiciary functions, large and small businesses and other services… It is easy to see corruption as it affects the poorest due to unjust systems which are controlled and manipulated for the elite of society.

Enumerating the various events from the Bible on corruption Bishop Anthony started with Adam and Eve, Jacob stealing his brother’s blessing, King David taking the wife of Uriah, Saul’s jealousy to kill David, Joseph’s brothers selling him, the temptations of Jesus, the mal distribution of food for which deacons were appointed in the early Church. He said, even today bishops are appointed, not elected.

In Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII speaks of rights of workers. He exhorted owners to make workers equal partners in the enterprise. The Bishop said, “When we do not follow God’s ways, God works in other ways, when owners in Europe refused to share equally with workers the end result was Communism.

Bishop also spoke about Anna Hazzare and his zealous team who awakened in us the reality of corruption in the country. Today the youth are attracted to Anna because they want a transparent society.

He expressed his deep concern over the electoral process in UP and the disinterest of the educated people to cast their votes.

During the workshop session, we were asked to list some common acts of corruption we see in our society, the Church and in our congregations and to lists groups and individuals who fight against corruption and what can we do to address corruption?

We realised that often power is misused by those in authority in Church and religious circles,that we do not pay our workers a just wage and deprive them of rest and holidays, that we have a wrong understanding of charity and justice, that we are inclined to nepotism, favouritism, discrimination, influencing appointments, fear of standing for the truth and fear to correct for whatever consequences.

As action plan, it was decided to make diocesan policies on par with government policies in matters of pay scales with regard to schools, social apostolates, domestic workers…, to have periodic internal auditing by an appointed team, to organise programmes with regard to justice, corruption, value formation for all levels of Church personnel, stop accepting favours from publishers, link up with NGO’s and RTI, tap local resources, government policies and schemes, respect, understand and love every individual to reduce corruption, involve sisters in the decision making process in the Parishes, make transparency norm in the use of funds.

We expressed our gratitude to our Bishop for inspiring us and streamlining our discussions with great interest to make the Church a credible instrument of God.

– sr. veronica fdcc, cri

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