Discrimination Based on religion unacceptable, say Bishops
Bengaluru: Any kind of discrimination that separates people of this great nation on the basis of religion cannot be accepted, say the Bishops of the 34th Plenary Assembly of CBCI on the fourth day at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru on February 16.
His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias lighting the lamp during the inaugural ceremony of the 32 Plenary Assembly of the CCBI. His Excellency Most Rev Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, Archbishop George Antonysamy, Archbishop Anil Couto and Rev. Dr Stephen Alathara are also seen
The Three Ritual Churches had their Celebrations of the Eucharist in their respective Rites and the meetings were held separately. However, all of them deliberated on the Theme of the CBCI Plenary Assembly, Dialogue: The Path to Truth and Charity, along with some pastoral concerns related to their Rites.
The Plenary Assembly of the Latin Rite (CCBI)
The 32nd Plenary Assembly of CCBI began with the Eucharist with Lauds presided over by Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio to India, along with Oswald Cardinal Gracias and The CBCI President, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, the President of CCBI and other Office-bearers. All the Latin Rite Bishops, over 132 of them, participated in the Sunday Eucharist.
In his homily, the Nuncio said, “Jesus teaches the new Torah with authority as he is God”. The words, “I say to you”, were equivalent to claiming the authority of God. The newness of the saviour Jesus Christ is, He himself fulfils the commandments with the love of God. Swearing is a form of insecurity and we are called to establish in our families, parishes and dioceses a climate of clarity and mutual trust so that we can be considered sincere without resorting to greater tactics in order to be believed. Mutual suspicion is always a threat to peace.”
The proclaimers of the Prayers of the Faithful offered prayers in different Indian languages manifesting the linguistic plurality and richness of the Indian Catholic Church.
The inaugural ceremony of the 32 Plenary Assembly of the CCBI began with interceding to the Holy Spirit, singing the Veni Creator Spiritus (Come Creator Spirit) and the lighting of the lamp done by the dignitaries.
Bishop George Antonysamy, the Vice-President of CCBI, welcomed the gathering saying that CCBI since its beginning since 1987, is the largest Bishops’ Conference in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. He said, “It observes, judges and acts on important aspects in the mission of aggiornamento (the process of bringing up to date methods, ideas etc. or to revise, update) in the Indian context. It is the need of the hour to strike a healthy balance between two fundamental dimensions such as the inward-looking Church and the outward-looking Church. We have an important role, not just to shape the public opinion but the greater need of forming the public conscience. The Indian Church needs to act at once.”
Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrão, in his Presidential Address, expressed his joy over the Plenary Assembly as well as the participation of the Christians in the Nation Building. In the similar line, he lauded the efforts taken up in the Extraordinary Missionary Month in remembrance of the centenary celebration of Maximum Illud (is an apostolic letter issued by Pope Benedict XV on November 30, 1919. As is traditional with such documents, it takes its title from the opening words of the original Latin text, meaning “that momentous”) issued by Pope Benedict XV. He also updated the Assembly about the inauguration of CCBI extension office Shanti Sadan in Goa on January 6, 2020. He expressed his appreciation to all concerned for the efforts made for the growth of the Indian Church at all fronts.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Giambattista Diquattro, shared the concerns and priorities with the Members of the Plenary Assembly.
The Secretary-General, Dr Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, presented the CCBI statutes and pastoral plan of the CCBI to the newly appointed Bishops since the previous Plenary Assembly.
In the afternoon session, the new English Lectionary (3 Volumes) along with Book of Gospels, Rite of Administering Marriage, Rite of Administering Sacrament of Confirmation and Querida Amazon were released jointly by the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Gracias and Archbishop Felipe Neri.
Message from Syro-Malabar Church
On February 16 morning, the Holy Qurbana (Holy Mass) in Syro-Malabar Rite was presided over by Mar Raphael Thattil, Eparchy of Shamshabad (Hyderabad), along with all participant Bishops of the Syro Malabar Church at St Joseph’s Chapel of the St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences. In his homily, Bishop Thattil exhorted the faithful to do everything for the love of the Church to inherit the heavenly kingdom, for our actions should be motivated for the salvation of our souls. Mar George Cardinal Alencherry addressed the faithful at the end of the Holy Qurbana. The Syro-Malabar faithful in and around the campus participated in the celebration. The whole day was spent on discussing various topics related to the activities of the Church. The sessions were led by the Major Archbishop (Cardinal Alencherry) and animated by all the Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church.
Message from Syro-Malankara Church
As scheduled in the programme of the 34th Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was convoked at 9.30 a.m. The Synod was convoked and presided over by Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, the Major Archbishop-Catholicos.
Attuned with the major agenda of the CBCI Conference, the Synod had a serious discussion on the theme, Dialogue: The Path of Truth and Charity. It was decided by the Synod to propose to the faithful of the Syro-Malankara Catholic to keep a positive, constructive and friendly attitude when they relate with the people of other religions. The delegates felt that the very reality of Indian diversity demands friendship and dialogue. Being Christians, it is both a call and a duty to build bridges of love and friendship among the members of our society.
The Synod had further deliberated on the present scenario in India, especially on political polarization and religious fundamentalism. Any kind of discrimination that separates people of this great nation on the basis of religion cannot be accepted and subscribed to. The sacred constitution of India has to be respected and valued at any cause. The Synod ended at 4:00 p.m.