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Be Church of poor: Catholic bishops

Feb. 18, 2014

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has urged their people to become an example of simplicity, transparency, justice and mercy in a society polluted by corruption and violence. A statement issued at the end of their 31st assembly Feb. 12 in the southern state of Kerala’s Palai quoted Pope Francis: "We want the Church to be truly a church of the poor." The 187 Bishops reaffirmed that the Church in India should try to live according to the vision of Vatican Council II, “a Church involved in the struggles of human suffering, based on the principles of respect for the person, of solidarity and dialogue.”

The Bishops noted that the experience and encounter with God, through the Word and Sacraments need to be promoted. "The experience of God leads to an inner conversion made visible in the simplicity of our lives, in an attitude of love, compassion and forgiveness, following the example of Pope Francis. The experience of God will lead to involvement with the marginalized, with those living in the economic, cultural and social suburbs. We will speak against all forms of injustice carried out against them and we will enforce their rights."

The Bishops' Conference reiterated its solidarity with Dalits – communities forced into economic and social deprivation by centuries’ old Hindu caste system – who continue to be oppressed. In its fight to ensure equal opportunities for Dalit Christians, CBCI called for abolition of the Presidential Order of 1950, which denies state’s affirmative privileges to Christians converted from Dalit castes.

Emphasising the need to ensure "equal dignity and equal opportunity", it supported the fight against discrimination against women, female foeticide and gender-based violence. The Bishops asked for more significant Christian presence in political and public life and proposed dialogue as its style of presence in a land of rich cultures and ancient religions. "The Church in India should be a Church in dialogue. We exhort the laity to engage in dialogue of life," the statement said.

The message also focused on the role of the laity and said that it should be given more space in pastoral care. The CBCI statement also emphasised on the protection of creation for sustainable development.

Source: UCAN



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