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  • 1. COMPANION National Fortnightly for Christian Leadership January 2011 Vol.1 No.5 ` 15 SMART INDIA Gender in the Church Church in Chotanagpur ‘Watchdog’ at Vatican Priests: Time for soul searching India: World power? Women Religious QUO VADIS ? Smart Companion India | July 2010 1
  • 2. 2 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 3. Editorial Religious life: Quo Vadis? L iving in Rome, I am often struck by huge Generalate houses now devoid of members and used as rental apartments for tourists. These testify that any Congregation that cannot read the signs of the times and adapt accordingly will certainly die out. In fact, when a congregation has nothing challenging to offer, it has no right to exist. Talking to various Superior Generals/Provincials, I realize that conforming to the ‘status quo’ seems to be still the norm of the day. Congregations with a definite charism, working in certain areas must be challenged to respond to the new needs of the times but formators tend to conform to the irrelevant needs of the establishment. Naturally they can- not attract new members, nor respond to the demands of society and the Church today. In survival pangs, some Congregations search for an alterna- tive base in developing countries like Asia, Africa and Latin America. Each Congregation needs to re-interpret its charism and make it alive and relevant to the changing situations. In Europe and the US, health and education have been taken over by the government. The areas unaddressed are that of religion, spirituality and value education. These are acute areas due to growing secularization. Ignoring these areas, several congregations migrate to developing countries, ascribing a strong social and pro-poor dimension as a reason for their existence. It is heartening to see, India has Congregations that are responding to the Spirit identifying themselves more with the marginalized and the de- prived of society. However, even these tend to be at home with relief and remedial measures than addressing the root causes of poverty, inequality and dehumanization. Attempts to collaborate and get the Government to act, are minimal since Congregations prefer the style of “Private Limited Companies”. As long as the Government fails to better the lives of the marginalized, our services may be viable. What if one day we are no more needed in these areas, when welfare systems as in Europe, may take over! Be it the secularized, Godless, developed world or the developing world, there is tremendous erosion of genuine values, as seen all over, especially in the third world enmeshed in dishonesty, bribery and all sorts of corrup- tion. Are religious congregations concerned about this situation? Do they feel challenged to be living testimonies of selflessness, sincerity, generosity, simplicity, forbearance, honesty, love and respect for all religions? No one can teach non-violence while giving in to violence even towards children. No one can preach sincerity while being ‘walking lies’. And it all hits at the basic need of a formation that promotes selflessness, maturity and genuine search for God. Witnessing through one’s own life is everything today. As Companion’s home city hosts the annual meet of the CRI Women’s wing anddiscusses the theme “Our Consecrated Life - Our Mission” Companion wishes a fruitful dialogue and meaningful future to religious women in India – almost one lakh of them!!! Dr. Jacob Srampickal SJ Smart Companion India January 2011 3 3 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 4. COMPANION National Fortnightly for Christian Leadership January 2011 Vol.1 No.5 ` 15 PATRONS SMART INDIA Vol.1 No. 5 January 2011 Managing Editor Dr. George Therukattil Chief Editor Dr. Jacob Naluparayil Executive Editor Sr. Leela Jose Cardinal Cardinal Sub Editors Sr. Sheela FS Telesphore Toppo Oswald Gracias Sr. Virginia BS Contributing Editors Allwyn Fernandes (Crisis Communications, Mumbai), Cyril D’Souza SDB (Religious Education, Rome), Felix Raj SJ (Education, Kolkatta),Francis Gonsalves SJ (Contextual Catholicos Cardinal Theologies, Delhi),Godfrey D’Lima SJ (Social Baselios Mar Cleemis Varkey Vithayathil Activism, Maharashtra), Jacob Parappally MSFS (Dogmatic Theology, Bangaluru), Joe Andrew SDB (Media, Chennai), John Dayal (Human Rights Journalist, Delhi), Subhash Anand (Indian Philosophy and Religions, Udaipur), Virginia Saldanha (Women’s Issues, Mumbai) MCBS Provincial Design Cibin Moothedam Francis Kodiyan Photo Nias Marikar Illustrations Sathish Krishna Advisory Board Circulation Thomas Vaniyapurakal Rev. Henry D’Souza Advertisement Shibu John (Bishop, Bellary) Rev. Steven Rotluanga Regional Correspondents (Bishop, Aizawl) Adolf Washington (Bangaluru), Joseph S. (Varanasi), Rev. Felix Toppo (Bishop, Jamshedpur) Ivan D’Silva SVD (Arunachal), Santosh Digal (Orissa), Sr. Santan Nago FS Santosh Sebastian (Gorakhpur), Shane Alliew (Kolkatta) (Superior General, Fatima Sisters, Pune) George Plathottam SDB (CBCI Media Commission) EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Felix Wilfred DR. JACOB SRAMPICKAL SJ (Asian Centre for Cross Cultural Studies, Madras) Jose Kavi Editorial Office (UCAN, Delhi) SMART COMPANION INDIA Kalpaka Bungalow Perumanoor P.O. COMPANION National Fortnightly for Christian Leadership January 2011 Vol.1 No.5 ` 15 Thevara, Kochi - 680 215 Kerala, INDIA. website : Contact : 0484 - 2334766, 09447679783 Articles published in this magazine are copyrighted. Illegal copying and reproduction by any means is punishable under the copyright laws. Articles published will be made available to the readers for per- IN THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN VATICAN SLAMS NOBEL FOR ART sonal use on written request. Disclaimer: Smart COMPANION is dedi- FUNERALS WITH OUT COFFINS cated to providing useful and well researched pieces of information. CHURCH & PSYCHOLOGY However readers are advised to consult prior to acting on it. The views Religious Women expressed by writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the QUO VADISfizz Spirituality is the ? views of the editor or publisher of the magazine. Smart COMPANION Smart Companion India | July 2010 1 does not accept any liability for errors or redundancies of any nature whatsoever. All disputes are subject to the Cochin jurisdiction only. Cover Photo : by Nias Marikar 4 Smart Companion India January 2011 4 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 5. focus - 2 18 India: Emerging World Power? focus - 1 Quo Vadis? Do they synergise their Respect for other 3 26 Women Religious- 12 focus - religions is the resources to choose and tread God-directed paths? acid test for genuine faith CONTENTS leader moulds faith matters 8 l Watch Dog at Vatican 16 l Faith Active New laws at Vatican to check its A Christian perspective on the deadly finanacial transactions. use of pesticides like Endosulfan 22 l Gender in the Church 24 l Never Stop Asking An area where we have yet to ‘walk A Moral Theologian responds to Pope’s the talk’ with greater sensibilities. comment on condoms 32 l E-Ministry 34 l We Are the Church Novel ways of being with and in the Story of the Chotanagpur Christian Church community 40 l Logos news & views A simple and unique exegetic journey 10 l Top Ten through the Sunday Gospels. Glimpses of top Christian news from around the world. interview 33 l Top Five 9 l Ten Questions Important news from the National Archbishop Lucas Sirkar of Calcutta Christian scenario takes the ten questions 42 l Final Cut 30 l Luminaries Priests are challenged now more Dr. Albert Nambiaparambil shares his than ever. It is a time for soul search- experiences in dialogue with other ing and dedication religions. media regulars 37 l Film: “Of Gods and Men” 3 l Editorial 39 l Books/Music Album 6 l Readers’ Voices 38 l Website: SAR News 36 l Foot Prints Smart Companion India | July 2010 5 Smart Companion India January 2011 5
  • 6. READERS rEadErS’ VoiCES COMPANION W National Fortnightly for Christian Leadership e thank our readers for the encouraging response to January 2011 Vol.1 No.5 ` 15 Companion. Due to limitation of space we are un- able to publish all comments. We select some representing different areas and topics. Please continue to get back to us with your ‘voices’ and suggestions. Thanks IN THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN VATICAN SLAMS NOBEL FOR ART Editor FUNERALS WITH OUT COFFINS CHURCH & PSYCHOLOGY Growing Pains of GenNext Spirituality is the fizz Smart Companion India | July 2010 1 Theology made easy Great work indeed Living faith You know what I like about Thanks for Companion. It re- Living Faith is indeed a Companion? It makes profound ally is worth reading. I perceive it lively column. Last time I enjoyed theological concepts easy to un- as a professional Catholic maga- Chhotebhai’s version and now derstand for the common man. zine which is very readable. Francis Lobo’s. Their experiences A great example of how media Sreeja David SND touched me. Thanks to Com- can make theology understood Patna. panion that brings such down to what most journals and authori- A treasure for the earth material to help Christian ties in the church fail to do. Keep Church living. up the great work. I was excited to see a Catholic Anslem Britto Dr. Bernardo Suate, magazine that is up to the times. Kolkata SIGNIS, Rome The editorials set the tone - this A companion always Just excellent magazine will improve the knowl- I found companion very useful; Excellent content, refreshingly edge of the readers and empower the content very good. Yes it is beautiful layout.That is the way them to make informed decision really a companion for us when to go. shaped by the faith culture of we travel and especially when we Christopher Joseph the Catholic religion. It was remi- are down. It generates optimism. UCAN, Delhi niscent of Gaudium et Spes of Sr.Jolly, I want to promote it Vatican II. Companion reviews Kroot Niwas, Assam Thanks for sending me the the past, examines the present Colourful and nourishing electronic copy of Companion. I in detail and summarizes what Thanks for “Companion”. It have forwarded it to many others present knowledge tells about the does nourish from page to page. too. It is a worthwhile magazine future. Keep up the good work you and in content as well as in layout. I Ralph Coelho your companions are doing. really appreciate it and want to Bangalore K. Jose SVD promote it. Jose Palakeel MST IMPACT, Kochi Youth power Foreign journal? Liked the comments, observa- The article on Xmas had lots tions, and suggestions of Allwyn of useful relevant information; Fernandes on our approach to- and artistically presented as well. wards youth. Surprisingly in our Its look is that of a foreign mag- church circles there is lot of talk azine on our home stand. And about resourcing youth power, thanks for keeping it affordable but hardly ever we do anything so that lay persons like me can concrete, except organize camps pick up one without hesitation. for them. It is too late that we entine does make a point when Hope it keeps up the quality. cater to the real needs of our he stresses the right spirituality Veronica Alva, younger generation and channel- for the youth. Mangalore ize their energies for the benefit Shaila SRA of our fellow beings. Chris Val- Benares 6 Smart Companion India January 2011 6 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 7. S’ V oICES rEadErS’ VoiCES Naxalites The analysis of Fr. Lakra on Funerals without coffins local churches to bring it to the the Naxalite issue was an eye ‘Funerals without coffins’, National audience. Change has to opener. A lot of terrorist upris- I feel is a brilliant idea for the start somewhere by someone. ings are symptoms of justice Indian church. It is also one way Angela Pereira denied to marginalized groups. that the Church can incultur- Vasai. The marginalized, when totally ate its ways. I think all dioceses helpless and cornered give in to can emulate this model and do clandestine warfare, to achieve yeomen service to people who their goals. It is sad that our have no money to go through country after many years of inde- expensive funerals. Companion pendence and having the best of needs to be congratulated for Constitutions, still lag far behind picking up new initiatives by in meting out justice to its people. How can we forget the French met a parish priest who actualizes said, more conveyed”. Well done! Revolution? It is history that man a PPC this way. Many do not have Fr. Mathew Alapattumedayil learns nothing from history. one, and those who do have, take Kottayam G. Anoop Kumar the total control. And yet, it is the Excellent work Muzzafarpur teaching of Vatican Council. So I went through the entire Inspiring life how can the Church really grow “COMPANION”. I congratulate I was very excited to see my old in India? We have a long way to you. It is excellent work. professor, Peter Lourdes speaking go yet! +Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J. to Companion. No one who has George Bastian Jamshadpur encountered him can forget the Mumbai Quality is here compassion and wit he communi- Attractive, rich Companion is improving in cates. He was one who knew too Companion is attractive and quality and content with every well the follies of human nature ‘simply’ rich. It gives a pleasurable issue. The December issue of and with a blatant nonjudgmental reading even while talking about Companion was a bonanza for attitude he could help those in vitally important matters. Things the readers. It touched on matters trouble. May his tribe increase in can be improved still but I can which mean a lot to us and relates the Church! Thanks to Compan- understand the struggle of the to our lives. Poetry of existence ion for bringing him back to my Editorial team and their determi- by Francis Lobo inspired me and memory. nation to do something beautiful gave boost to my faith in God. for the Church in India. I wish Christmas inputs such as Silent Ancy Fernandes Pune their efforts find support. Night, St.Nikolas were interest- Informative Dr. Cajetan D’Mello ing. I felt Growing Pains-Gen Companion is informative, Pune next, the article of the hour. The educational and interesting. I wish Editorial: story write up on Lourdes was interest- that it reaches many more hands I have gone through the De- ing too. The fillers - True Peace, soon. To deserve a good maga- cember issue of Companion, the and ‘Success don’t happen in zine like this, we have to promote whole of it in one go. Impressive, isolation’ carry really good social it as well. It is a great respon- to say the least. And the Christ- messages. I wish Companion a sibility for you and your board mas message: Paradox of the great success in India members to keep up the standard “more” in the “less” - you can’t Allen R. Johannes, and uniqueness of Companion be more succinct than that. “Less Bihar and also publish it regularly. COMP Fr. Sebastian Ettolil Send your Letters to: U.S.A Long way to go SMArT COMPANION INDIA The description of an ideal Kalpaka Bungalow, Perumanoor P.O. parish pastoral council made hair Thevara Jn. Kochi Kerala - 680 215, India. stand up! In fact I have not yet Call & SMS 094476 79783/ 0484 2664733 Smart Companion India | July 2010 7 Smart Companion India January 2011 7
  • 8. VatiCan trEndS Watchdog at pastoral significance.” Traditionally the various departments have been largely autonomous in their financial dealings, with a rather loose coordination provided by the office of Vatican the Apostolic Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA). By pledging cooperation with international monitoring agen- cies, the new “moltu Proprio” mark a break with the Vatican’s traditional reluctance to open up its internal fi- nancial operations to outside scrutiny. The Vatican City, a 108-acre sover- eign state surrounded by Rome, aims to comply with the rules of the Fi- nancial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based body that lists nations failing to comply with standards on money laundering and terrorism fi- nancing. By adapting the norms, in- cluding that of establishing a Financial Information Authority (FIA) along the lines of those in other countries, the Vatican commits to comply with FATF standards and liaise with the group and law enforcement agencies. The new laws will take effect by April 1, after the new FIA is set up and its members chosen, the Vatican said. In part, the law is designed to imple- ment an agreement between the Vati- can and the European Commission on fighting money-laundering, signed in December 2009. It establishes crimi- nal penalties for violation of financial norms, including four to twelve years in prison and fines of almost $20,000. In addition to creating new penal- ties for financial misconduct, Benedict XVI has also criminalized environ- P ope Benedict XVI has created ties seized €23 million in mental pollution. In article 18, the a new in-house watchdog called funds from the IOR as new law establishes a penalty of up to the “Authority of Financial Informa- part of money-launder- six months imprisonment and a fine tion”, with the power to supervise all ing investigation. Italian of $3,500 to $35,000 for anyone who Vatican transactions, including those courts have rejected the pollutes soil or water. The jail term of the Vatican Bank and Propaganda Vatican’s bids to free those rises to a year, and the fines range Fide (Congregation for the Evangeliza- funds, authorizing the in- from $7,000 to $70,000, if the pollu- tion of Peoples). Vatican’s new rules, vestigation to continue. tion occurs with hazardous substances. set forth in a motu proprio, released on The Vatican spokesper- Benedict’s environmental teach- December 30, come at the end of a son, Jesuit Fr. Federico ing and activism, including the in- year marked by complaints that the Lombardi, today descri stallation of solar panels both at Vatican bank, the Institute for Reli- bed the new laws as “a the Vatican’s audience hall and his gious Works (IOR), had been involved step towards transpar- private home in Regensburg, Ger- in questionable money transfers. In ency and credibility” with many, have already earned the pon- September, Italian banking authori- “far-reaching moral and tiff the nickname the “Green Pope.” COMP 8 Smart Companion India January 2011 8 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 9. 10 Questions ShEphErd’S VoiCE Born in Borisal in the undivided Bengal on 24 September, 193; ordained a Salesian priest (SDB) on 20 April 1968; appointed Bishop of Krishnagar In 1984;, and Coadjutor Arch- bishop of Calcutta on 14, April, 2000. He took charge of the Archdiocese of Calcutta as its eighth Archbishop on April 2, 2002. Rev. Lucas Sirkar takes the questions. The unique features of the ture, the state being paralyzed Church in Bengal? by strikes, agitations and rallies. The Church in Bengal follows Church’s response to Abp. Lucas Sirkar two distinctive traditions: one of movements like Nandi- Muslims, in order to win the sup- the bhakti tradition as initiated by gram, Singur and Lalgarh? port of the group; but those who spiritual gurus like Chaitanya, Sri The governmental manner remained Catholics are looked af- Ramkrishna, Swami Vivekananda, of tackling people’s uprising ter, even politically, with their rep- Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya, and was not effective or realistic. resentative in the State Assembly. Animananda, the other, mission- Our approach is one of love; ary expansion under Padroado the Communist way is of force. Mother Teresa effect on Chris- with the patronage of the British They neglected the interests of tians/religious? empire in India. Brahmabandhab the people they were serving for Mother Teresa is an inspiration who had great influence on Swami the past 34 years. The Church for all – priests, religious, common Vivekananda and Rabindranath is for the poor, and stands by people; Her spirituality is of reli- Tagore, had attempted to estab- them for their just causes. gious origin. She had never thought lish a truly Indian Church on the of starting a congregation, but had Approach to immigrants to do it for the service she under- basis of rich Indian traditions. from Bihar, Bangladesh? took. She touched the lives of Contributions of Bengal History has it that persons the people irrespective of religion. Christianity to the nation? from the priestly castes of The greatest was the translation other states were brought to The motivation behind found- and publication of the Bible in var- help in the religious rituals of ing two diocesan religious ious Indian languages, undertaken congregations? rural Bengal. We still find them by Serampore College, under the During one of the Jubilees of the in many villages. The Christian leadership of William Carey and diocese of Krishnagar, some girls missionaries established locali- his companions. Since then more came forward to offer their lives and ties of people of the same lan- translations of the Bible came to services to the Church. This and guage or culture, for example, be undertaken, enriching the lan- the needs of the local church mo- Stella Maris parish in Kolkata. guage and the literature of the tivated me to found two new Con- The missionaries also brought regions. A movement towards Eu- gregations -Adoration Sisters of people from other areas, and charistic devotion was given a lot the Heart of Mary and Adoration helped them settle in their mis- of importance in the early Bengala Brothers of the S.Heart of Jesus. sions; those who came newly Church, which later rippled on to could easily insert in the local- Image of priests? the wider Church. The traditional ity of their own kind. The mis- They are appreciated for their belief of Bengalis - matri bhakti sionaries also catered to their social commitment as well and are (devotion to the mother figure) spiritual and pastoral needs. respected. and guru bhakti (devotion to the So, there is a systematic way of What is your dream for the master) influenced Christian wor- reaching out to the immigrants. Church in West Bengal? ship of Jesus, the Guru and de- Integration of Anglo-Indi- I wish to see the people of the votion to Mary, Mother of God. ans in Indian culture? state self-sufficient and self-reliant. Communist government’s at- The Anglo-Indians of Portu- This is possible only through coop- titude to the Church? guese and English origins, had erative societies, where people take As far as the religion is concerned, difficulty integrating into the active part to save, circulate and trade we have no problem. Even when Indian culture. Many of them with prospective clients. The mon- we had minor problems they were migrated to Canada, Australia ey that is collected from the people quick to tackle them. Instead, we or to England. The remnants should not be deposited in banks. are disillusioned in the area of did not want to join the na- Instead, loan the money directly education. Due to the high-hand- tives. So, the locals began to to people. This is a viable dream edness of Communists, the state look at them as if they were for Bengal and for the country. developed a very poor work cul- aliens. Some of them married Interviewed by : Julian S. Das COMP Smart Companion India | July 2010 9 Smart Companion India January 2011 9
  • 10. intErnational nEwS 1 2 3 4 An Egyptian christian mourns in front of a blood 1 4 stained Jesus painting. Source: AFT Mourning Christmas Jesus Youth Jubilee Egypt Kochi Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for A church explosion in Alexandria, Egypt, killed the Evangelization of Peoples, urged Jesus Youth (JY) 21 Coptic Christians, in the early hours of 2011. to witness Christ “with our sweat, with our word and, if In Shubra, some 500 Muslims, Coptic activists, God wills, with our blood.” He was launching their Sil- and civil society leaders led a protest to show soli- ver Jubilee Convention at Kakkanad, Kochi. More than darity with the Coptic minority and to denounce 20,000 JY members from 29 countries attended the five- the deadly assault. Marchers shouted slogans like day program. He urged the participants to become “liv- “We want Egypt to be a secular state”. They car- ried banners showing the crescent along with the dinal Camillo Ruini, President of the foundation’s sci- cross, a historical symbol of unity between Egyp- entific committee. The award is in view of promot- tian Muslims and Copts. The neighbourhood of ing research and study of the thought of Ratzinger. Shubra is one of few suburbs in the capital where It will also organize scientific congresses and award large communities of Christians live alongside scholars who are outstanding for their theological re- Muslims. Copts account for 10% of the country’s search. Monsignor Scotti, president of the founda- population of 82 million. Jan. 7 (Coptic Christmas) tion, said that experts of theology must have “the hu- will be a mourning day without any celebrations. mility to listen to the answers that the Christian faith 2 gives us. In this way humanity is also helped to live.” 5 NCR Person of the year Religious Education valued USA The National Catholic Reporter announced England Sr. Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, Presi- New research among young people in London dent and CEO of the Catholic Health Associa- indicates that Religious Education (RE) is a valued tion (CHA) in US, as the ‘NCR Person of the year subject that leaves a lasting impression on those who 2010’. In a video message delivered to the CHA study it. This timely research comes as the govern- convention in June, President Obama had praised ment sets out its Schools White Paper, calling for a Keehan: “Your work, your passion, your commit- return to traditional humanities-based subjects. The ment, helped make the difference and you did so in study was commissioned by the RE Council of Eng- a way that protects your long-standing beliefs and land and Wales (REC). It involved 1,000 young people the beliefs of so many others across the country.” aged between 16 and 24 years. 80 percent of respon- In the spring of 201, Keehan led CHA to endorse dents suggest RE for better understanding among the legislation on health care and helped pass it religions. 83 per cent of those who had studied RE at through Congress. This put health care coverage GCSE shared the same view. There was notable sup- within the reach of an additional 32 million Ameri- port for this sentiment from all religions, including cans. The CHA also supported St. Joseph’s Hos- 77 per cent of those who called themselves atheists. 6 pital facing the verdict of Bishop Olmsted. “She was one American Catholic who showed extraor- Leaders Join to Defend Marriage dinary leadership and courage in 2010”, said NCR. Wahington DC 3 Nobel Prize for Theology Religious leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catho- lic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Ortho- Vatican dox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United The new “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratz- States united to publicise a letter affirming their com- inger - Benedict XVI” intends to create a Nobel mitment to protect marriage. In the open letter, they Prize for Theology. This was announced by Car- underlined marriage as “the permanent and faithful 10 Smart Companion India January 2011 10 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 11. 5 6 7 8 9 T P 10 business. “The pontiff sounded more like a western politician than a religious leader,” said the Global ing” witnesses to Christ in the modern world. The Times, the English version of the People’s Daily. jubilee began with music by Rex Band, the JY’s music Since the 1949 revolution, China has refused to al- ministry. The crowd sang and danced with the band low Catholics to recognise the authority of the pope. that fuses Indian ethnic rhythms and Western music. The Vatican estimates about eight million Chinese 9 Several bishops, 757 priests, 918 nuns, 113 seminarians Catholics worship secretly in underground churches. and 3,160 families were also present. The conference Help Abused Domestic Workers concluded with a vigil on New Year’s night. The youth proclaimed with one voice, “Jesus is our superhero.” England Special sessions were held for teens and children. The Domestic Abuse Working Group (DAWG) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and union of one man and one woman.” The publica- Wales have begun a new website with a range of tion of this letter on “The Protection of Marriage: resources to help the Catholic Church to grow in A Shared Commitment” is timely as a federal court awareness of issues surrounding domestic abuse of appeals in San Francisco has begun hearing ar- ( The aim of CEDAR guments on the ‘Proposition 8 case’ known as (Catholics Experiencing Domestic Abuse, Resources) the California Marriage Protection Act. It was ap- is to create an environment within the Catholic com- proved by a majority of voters in that state in 2008. munity to understand and recognise domestic abuse 7 as unacceptable. The site also provides appropriate First Catholic Woman Priest responses. Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, Da- vid McGough said: “Domestic abuse is possibly the Latin America most widespread, yet most hidden form of abuse On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron in society today. I know from experience as a parish Saint of Latin America (12 Dec. 2010) the first Latin priest that the Catholic Community is no exception”. 10 American woman was ordained a Catholic priest, opening a new chapter in the history of the Catholic Anti-blasphemy Act Church there. It reminded of Pope John XXIII’s say- Islamabad ing in ‘Pacem in Terris’ (1963), “Women are gaining “Citizens for Democracy” in Karachi is ahead with an increasing awareness of their natural dignity…the a national campaign, demanding amendment of the rights and duties which belong to them as human controversial blasphemy law. They have expressed persons” (41). The ordination took place in the cata- full support to the amendment bill submitted by combs as a reminder to sinful structures of gender the Parliamentarian Sherry Rehman, on 26 Dec. On discrimination and to represent small Christian com- Christmas day Pakistan Christians marched against munities, where ‘bread’ is broken today. Although the anti blasphemy laws. However, Islamic religious made valid through the laying on of hands in apos- groups are on agitation for stabilistaion of the law. tolic succession, it violates the Canon Law that stipu- It started after President Zardari announced pardon lates ordination only for baptized males (can 1024). to Asia Bibi, the woman condemned for death for 8 (NCR News) blasphemy. Muslim neighbours, her co-workers in Pope Warned by Chinese Paper the field, had abused her as “untouchable” Christian Beijing, China woman for using the common glass provided to the Pope Benedict XVI, in his Christmas message, workers to drink water. Later she was implicated with criticised China in his, for limiting freedom of re- blaspheming the Prophet. In a sad development, Pak ligion. No official response has come from the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer,66, was shot dead communist government on this. However, a state by his security guard for supporting Christians. He newspaper came out with a strongly worded edito- had become the target of Islamic fundamentalists in rial warning the Vatican to stop meddling in Beijing’s recent weeks after he took a bold stand on the law. COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 11 Smart Companion India July 2010 11
  • 12. foCuS national Women Religious New Challenges, New Responses “Y es, we will build a renewed Church for Jesus Christ,” pledged the enthu- It was such a pledge that moti- vated Sr. Laurentia to take up the cause of marginalized women and heard their cry, saw their misery and was deeply moved to offer possibilities of new life to them.” siastic young women religious at children on the Goan beaches. “I The faces of human trafficking Institute Mater Dei (IMD), Goa came to Goa in 1992,” she recalls. - women, youth and children - at the end of a course on ‘Social “Goan beaches were becoming speak volumes of extreme human Teachings of the Church’ by notorious for trafficking, not only greed and blatant violence of John Desrochers CSC. Listening drugs but also women. Behind human rights. Exposure to the to those determined voices, one the façade of tourism promotion shocking human misery moti- could simultaneously visualize women and children were treated vated the theologians of IMD to scenes from Goa beaches. meanly. I frequented the beach, commit themselves to a just social 12 Smart Companion India January 2011 12 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 13. foCuS national Agents of Transformation The mission, enhanced ism, casteism, child labour, mass by spirituality and community media exploitation, excessive life, has to be at the heart of quest for power etc, the vows consecrated life. The whole take on new dimensions. Greater structure of religious life will fidelity is expected of us through keep renewing when the focus our consecration and mission. is Jesus and His mission. Our The CRWI has been inspiring us contribution to the transforma- to take up this challenge. tion of this globalized world is our creative, radical and critical Sr. Sahayam Augustine fidelity to our vocation. In today’s context of massive pov- FSAG, erty, materialism, individualism, Treasurer, CRWI. religious pluralism, communal- pavement dwellers, street children, through their consecrated life, broken families. There are those committed to the vision of Jesus. who dare, at the risk of their own Plenary Assembly at lives, to take up remote village-lev- Cochin el justice issues helping the ‘voice The current Plenary Assem- suppressed’ poorer classes to take bly of the CRWI at Cochin, courage and speak up for their (Jan 8-12) on the theme - ‘Our rights. Some have suffered rape, Consecrated Life – Our Mission’ mutilation and even death for such intends to delve deeper on the labours of love. challenges posed by the present “The challenge today, in the age, on Religious Life. Inputs by multi-cultural, multi-religious Dr. Sr. Rekha Chennatt RA on context of India, is to radically live ‘Biblical and Theological Per- the Christian values, to be another spectives of Consecrated Life’ order. “What shall we do to offer Christ. It is time that traditional and Dr. Sr. Evelyn Monteiro them a dignified human life?” teaching or mechanical following SCC on the ‘Emerging Challeng- they pondered with deep concern. of meaningless rituals give way to es to Consecrated Life’ will pave “I just wanted to be with them, new expressions of faith and love. the path for further study and to feel with them, and to experi- We need to make our presence felt reflection. The theme of the As- ence firsthand what it means in areas most needed,” added Sr. sembly takes into consideration to be looked down upon. We Seli, a practicing lawyer in the local the challenges of community life cannot work with or for a people court of Krishnagar, West Bengal. in the globalized world where unless we empathize with them,” The Women’s Section of the individualism is becoming ram- explains Sr Beena who joined Conference of Religious India pant. Around 624 Major Superi- landless daily wage labourers in (CRWI), has been challeng- ors of 253 congregations intend a paddy fields at Kutkoli, a small ing women religious in India, to to plan together ways to chal- village in Dakshina Kannada renewal and adaptation after the lenge and lead forward almost District of Karnatka, during her spirit of Vatican 11. Some of the 100,000 members, to render early formation years. members showed more open- Consecrated Life and Mission Today, religious in India have ness and courage while there even more relevant and mean- started to opt for more challeng- is a changed awareness gradu- ingful. Traditions, constraining ing and frontline ministries using ally spreading among all. Neither structures and attitudes exist but their expertise in law, ecology, Hindus nor Muslims understand the challenge continues. media, community health, and the value of virginity accepted for counseling. They care for prison- the Kingdom. And yet women re- Looking Back ers, prostitutes, HIV affected, The post - Vatican era opened ligious have accepted the challenge Smart Companion India | January 2011 13 Smart Companion India July 2010 13
  • 14. foCuS national fold thrust of revitalization was: The Real Challenge 1. The cry of My people (open- ness to the needs of contempo- To me, consecrated life in for prophetic witnessing. In a rary men and women), 2. Procla- North India is primarily to be globalised world, we need to be mation in deed (Life actualizing a contemplative in action, as border crossers psychologically the compassion and mercy of prophetic witness in a fragmented and geographically - cross the Jesus), 3. Prophetic-activist leader- world. My experiences among borders of our congregations ship (not a conforming, passive, the poor santals have given me an and be partners to proclaim the observance imposing leadership) impetus to find Jesus in the poor compassionate face of Jesus. 4. Liberation movement thrust and in my sisters. CRWI’s Kochi In the words of Joan Chittister: (Seek the Kingdom within you plenary is posing a challenge “Religious Life was never meant and around you especially in the towards an inward search, to simply to be a labour force in poor and in those who suffer in- understand consecrated life and the Church…but a searing justice) 5. Solidarity and network- authority with a new vision. The presence, a paradigm of search, ing (better collaboration among call to fullness of life through a a mark of human soul and a different Congregations and the passionate commitment to the catalyst to conscience in the dioceses). mission of Jesus, has to be sup- society…” May our gathering Together for a ported by life-giving structures, and theological reflections en- better world that can free us as well as pro- able us to bring our womanly mote unity. We are called to the 1. Formation for a New Way gifts of nurturing, healing and of Being service of leadership, entrusted seeking right relationships to with authority in order to facilitate CRWI has been managing the the Church and society. Institute Mater Dei (IMD), the collaboration, interdependence and shared responsibility among National Theological Formation and beyond our sisters. Our Sr. Sreeja David Centre, since 1964. The first community life and our com- Gen. Councillor executive council of CRWI, under Notre Dame Sisters, the guidance and active collabora- mitment to the poor are means Rome tion of Archbishop Knox and Fr. J B Miranda SJ of JDV shaped wide not only the windows but In 1992, a paradigm shift from the vision for IMD as a premier also the doors of Religious Life prophetic animation to prophetic Institute of formation. The to a new world vision, enabling action was proposed. The five- commitment of CRWI to build the religious - women and men - to return to their origins. It was an invitation from the Divine Move out of fossilized, static Spirit to renew and adapt their structures charisms to the changing needs of the times (Cf Perfectae Carita- My forty years of commit- personal paradigms, and toppled tis No 23). Religious were invited ment to consecrated life, has my worldviews. The age-old dic- to create structures of collabora- taken me along some pretty tum, “to be in the world, yet not tion for the common mission of rugged terrain. Shunted from of the world”, I believe is all the the Church in the context of the one ‘apostolic’ assignment to more pertinent today. In a world complex Indian reality. another, with or without pro- driven by corruption, greed, vio- It was Archbishop J. R. Knox, fessional preparation, to meet lence, and injustice, I am called, (1957-1967), the spirit-filled congregational needs, led me first and foremost, to a life of Inter-nuncio for India who initi- to experience my own personal total integrity at all levels and in ated a joint meeting of women brokenness while at the same all aspects of my commitment. and men religious at Bangalore in time, discover my potential and Consecrated life today calls us to March 1962. This resulted in the versatility. I grew in the under- move out of our fossilized, static formation of a Conference for standing that consecration calls structures into creatively connect- Religious. The Holy See formally me to BE and not merely to ing with all of life. approved the statutes of the DO something for God. Close Conference of Religious of India encounters with the poor in Sr. Nancy Vaz FdCC (CRI) in 1963. Today we have ministry, shook me from my self Ex. Provincial separate sections for men and sufficiency and complacency, Africa women. challenged my perspectives and 14 Smart Companion India January 2011 14 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 15. foCuS national the Church of Christ through inter-congregational collaboration and solidarity saw expression in the development of IMD into Mater Dei Academy (MDA). Today it is a centre for higher learning and research affiliated to the Theology Faculty of Jnana Deepa Vidyadeep (JDV), Pune. An average of hundred women religious passes out from here every year. There are 7 residen- tial Staff members. This year, 116 women religious from 50 congregations are being formed for a deeper and contextual faith CRWI 2008- 2009 commitment. About 5000 women Apostolic Contemplative Total religious have passed through the Congregations 244 9 253 portals of this Institute. MDA Major Superiors 569 55 624 has contributed its mite to form Religious 93162 863 94025 an array of enlightened leaders in Novices 5901 35 5936 various Congregations. Candidates 9910 30 9940 2. Grow in Communion CRWI networks effectively women religious there. Sr Jyoti ops Conference of India, for the with international organizations Pinto BS was elected to be on the empowerment of women in the of women religious and other re- executive council of AMOR. Church and Society, and to edu- lated groups in the service of the 4. Combat Dehumanization cate the marginalized and youth. universal Church. The Plenary Closer home, two workshops New horizons Council Meet of the International were conducted in October, “Consecrated life, to be lived Union of the Superiors’ General 2009 (Raia, Goa) and in May after the model of the Trinitarian (UISG) at Prerana, Bangalore, has 2010 (Kolkatta), for women community, is facing many chal- been an unforgettable experience religious of South Asia involved lenges today. Along with interde- of the confluence of spirituali- in the prevention of ‘traffick- pendence, collaboration and at- ties and cultures. Writing to the ing’ and to ensure ‘safe mi- titudinal changes, major superiors former President of CRWI, Sr gration’. The network, ‘Asian have to be alert to respond to the Innamma JMJ, the then UISG Movement of Religious women realities” observes President of President, Sr Amelia Kawaji, Against Trafficking of Persons’ the CRWI, Sr. Prasanna Thattil MMB stated, “…we come to (AMRAT) was created at the end CHF. Religious women are chal- India from the four corners of of the second session to assist lenged from all corners towards a the world to learn from you and women religious of India, Paki- heroic witness of life. share with you, learning from one stan, Bangla Desh, Nepal and Sri The 45th Plenary Assembly another ..... to respond to ‘the call Lanka to work in solidarity with of women is set to motivate and to weave a new spirituality that each other. inspire women religious to move generates hope and life for all’. towards new frontiers, entrust- 5. A New Gender Policy 3. Move Beyond “Gender sensitivity is not a ing their dream to God who says, The XV Asia-Oceania Meeting woman question; it is a human “See! I make all things new” (Rev. of Religious (AMOR) in Octo- and a spiritual question,” says the 21:5). ber, 2009 held at Thailand with Gender Policy of the Catholic the theme, ‘Moving Beyond’, was Bishops’ Church of India (2010). Sr Jyoti BS, another occasion to build bridges This paradigm shift heralds a new President, among Asian women religious, gender relationship. Together Mater Dei Academy enriched by Asian cultures and with other sections of CRI, the Trust, Goa spiritual treasures. Sisters Innam- CRWI is actively involved in the ma JMJ, Jyoti Pinto BS, Olivia AC implementation of the Policy and Sibi CMC represented Indian Document of the Catholic Bish- COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 15 Smart Companion India July 2010 15
  • 16. faith aCtiVE Don’t Spray Us to Death! E nlarged heads, disabled bodies, underdeveloped brain, malfunctioning nervous taka’s coffee growers are using En- dosulfan. It was reported an year ago that out of about 8,000 peo- States Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a highly hazardous pesticide. The same system…human misery at its ple in Kokkada, Patrame and Nidle Agency, which earlier allowed its worst…media bring us these villages of Beltangady taluk, nearly restricted use on tomatoes, cotton pictures and the villain behind a thousand suffer from mental and and other crops, has stopped the is Endosulfan, an agrochemi- physical disorders, cancers, heart use completely since June 2010. cal sprayed as pesticide. It has diseases, dumbness, blindness, etc. But Endosulfan continues to be once more revealed the dreadful Alarm bells are already ringing in used in countries such as Bra- face of the reckless use of pes- Punjab as water bodies and the soil zil and Australia, besides India. ticides in India. Endosulfan has are being found to be poisoned This chemical is under consider- already proved fatal claiming a with pesticides. The havoc caused ation for inclusion on a list of per- heavy toll in Kerala, Karnataka by the use of Endosulfan can be sistent organic pollutants under the and other parts of the country. best described only as a bio-trag- 166-member Stockholm Conven- Due to its air spray for two edy, impacting the environment, tion. It is a treaty to protect human decades across 4,500 acres of biodiversity and human beings. health and the environment from cashew plantations in Kerala, Alarmed World chemicals. At the sixth meeting of more than 9,000 people are now Having become aware of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Re- suffering from serious ailments deadly effects of Endosulfan, 73 view Committee to the Stockholm like cancer, physical deformities, countries including the European Convention held at Geneva during mental retardation, skin diseases Union and several Asian and West October 11-15, 2010, India op- and growth abnormalities. An African nations have banned or posed a global ban on the manu- estimated 10 per cent of Karna- phased out its use. The United facture, use, import and export of 16 Smart Companion India January 2011 16 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 17. faith aCtiVE “Having become aware of the against innocent people. The use of Endosulfan amounts to the violation of the fifth command- ment, ‘thou shall not kill,’ in its wide and profound sense. A pro- deadly effects of Endosulfan, 73 life Church cannot overlook this bio-tragedy. Just as we rightly countries including the European protect unborn human life, we need to protect life in all forms. Union and several Asian and West Giving occasional press release asking the government to ban En- African nations have banned “ dosulfan would not be enough. Approach of the Church must be comprehensive and effective. Endosulfan. Of the 29 members industrial lobbyists. The govern- First, there must be concerted in the review committee, 24 sup- ment may choose to let down a efforts to pressurize members ported the ban and four (Germa- few thousand lives and their po- of the parliament to force the ny, Ghana, Nigeria and China) ab- litical support compared to the government to ban Endosulfan. stained. Ironically many of those financial support of the industrial Mobilize people in various parts, 24 countries cited reports of En- multimillionaires. It is not rare that especially the worst affected re- dosulfan-caused health problems government policies, in India and gions, to protest against the slug- from Kerala to back their demand outside, are likely to be high-jacked gish attitude of the government. while only India opposed the ban! by business houses that fund po- Secondly, make sure that the vic- (Kerala banned the use of Endo- litical parties. Secondly, death in a tims or their relatives get adequate sulfan after a state panel proposed pesticide tragedy catches less at- compensation for the tragedy. so in 2001). Despite India’s oppo- tention of the society, than let us Make the responsible agencies, sition, the committee has recom- say, death in spectacular terrorist definitely the producers, pay the mended a ban to the Conference attacks. Recall the due national re- compensation. Giving the whole of the Parties of Stockholm Con- sponse to the Mumbai terror attack compensation by the government vention scheduled for April 2011. of 26 November 2008, in which at means punishing the public for the India Cool! least 175 lives were claimed and crime committed by certain busi- In general, India still remains 300 people were injured. But the ness corporations. That is unjust. cool and lethargic towards the loss of innocent human life is hor- Thirdly, in the agricultural sector, Endosulfan tragedy, barring the rendous whether gunned down by the situation demanding the use following things: central govern- terrorists or killed by a pesticide. of pesticides, such as Endosulfan, ment appointed study groups for Thirdly, the government seems still remains. Banning Endosulfan scientific reports. National Hu- to ignore a few thousand lives, in would not solve the whole issue. man Rights Commission speaks a country of more than a billion Farmers need viable alternatives. more of rehabilitating the affected people. Fourthly, the affected peo- Research and development must people and giving compensation ple are poor, the first choice to be be promoted in this area. Fourthly, for them. State-wise ban on En- let down in any socio-political and Endosulfan is not the only villain dosulfan has been issued by state economic race. Not banning the among the harmful pesticides. An governments - for example, Kerala use of Endosulfan nation-wide objective evaluation of the impact since 2005. Unbiased media have amounts to letting the manufac- of all kinds of pesticides and fun- sufficiently exposed the dismal turers kill innocent people. Any gicides is necessary. Banning En- situation of the abased victims. government, professed to protect dosulfan should not be an occasion the life and welfare of its people, for other equally toxic pesticides to Why this Violence Al- cannot remain indifferent. It is seize the market. That would make lowed? also the duty of Indian Church a mockery of the whole effort. Addressing adequately the En- to mobilize and wield a suit- dosulfan tragedy primarily means able response to this bio-tragedy. asking the important question, why this violence is allowed in India. I Challenge to the Church dare to make four simple, but not As protector and promoter of Dr. Mathew Illathuparampil necessarily untrue, speculations. life, the Church has to intervene Moral Theologian, First, the central government may effectively and make the govern- St. Joseph’s, Aluva be acting under the pressure of ment stop the chemical atrocity COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 17 Smart Companion India July 2010 17
  • 18. foCuS national Emerging World Power? H aving recently come to Bangalore, I noticed, the city nicknamed ‘pensioner’s town’ from Ranchi to Jamshedpur in Jharkhand; both these towns have outgrown their capacity. Yet, over has grown to be one of the most a 100 kilometer stretch of road, sophisticated cosmopolitan cities there were hardly any schools, of India. Besides the IT complex- primary health centres or es, some of the business centres market places. Being to- and super markets can compete tally a tribal dominated with any of the best in the West. region, Jharkhand If you have the money you can boasts of over purchase any item produced 60 percent in any part of the world. Yet, of India’s poverty and misery exist just 100 miner- kilometers away from the heart of als. Bangalore, with no proper drink- ing water, no toilet facilities and children forced to study in dilapidated classrooms with no toilet facilities. Last month, I travelled 18 Smart Companion India January 2011 18 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 19. Corruption, injustice and illiteracy add to the gap between the rich and the poor But the people here are forced to pool are there too. Two floors live a sub-human life. The coal are reserved for family guests. mined from here illumines Delhi, Four floors above these are Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana. family floors with a superb view The irony is that these tribal vil- of the Arabian Sea. On top of lages have neither electricity nor everything are three helipads. A safe drinking water! 600-member staff takes care of On the other hand, the four the family and home! richest Indians are now richer In 2004, India became the 3rd than the forty richest Chinese. most attractive foreign direct Mukesh Ambani is the second investment destination. In the richest Indian. He has built a new same year, the United Nations home - Antillia (after a mythical, had requested the Election Com- phantom island somewhere in mission of India to assist them in the Atlantic Ocean). At a cost of holding elections in Afghanistan. $1 billion this would be the most India has been sending its army expensive home on the planet. A personnel to be part of the UN’s 173 meters tall family residence, peace-keeping force. 12 per- for a family of six, the equivalent cent of America’s scientists, 38 of a 60-storeyed building! The percent of its doctors, 36 percent first six floors are reserved for of NASA scientists, 34 percent parking, the seventh, for car of Microsoft employees and 28 servicing/maintenance, percent of IBM employees are the eighth, houses a Indian! They provide consultancy mini-theatre. A to some of the most prestigious health club, a business corporations in the gym and a world. swim- This is not the end of the ming story. Sabeer Bhatia created and founded Hotmail. Sun Micro- systems was founded by Vinod Khosla. The Intel Pentium processor, that runs 90 percent of all comput- ers, was fathered by Vinod Dham. Bollywood (Bombay Film Industry) Smart Companion India | January 2011 19 Smart Companion India July 2010 19
  • 20. Indian Social Reality democracy rests, i.e. free and fair elections, which enable citizens to Population 1,027,015,247 choose their own leaders without Total Literacy 65.38% recourse to arms; an independent 6-14 years’ out of school children 75.4 million judiciary and the rule of law, Dropout by primary school 48% which allows people to address Child labour working 12 hours a day on an average 80 million their grievances; a thriving free press and vibrant civil society Household without drinking water 23% which allows every voice to be Household without electricity connections 47% heard. The President also assured Below Poverty Line 36% to support India to secure a seat Villages with medical facilities 14.0% in the United Nations Security Source: Census Reports 2001 “ Council. We are happy that our economy grows. But this economic growth is not fully reflected in the quality This economic growth is not fully of life, in the majority of people, particularly in rural areas. India reflected in the quality of life, in the witnessed a widening of income majority of people, particularly in inequality during the phase of “ acceleration in economic growth rural areas in the post-reform period (1993- 94 to 2004-05). There is an ever widening gap between the produces 800 movies per year constitute the basic element of urban elites - owners, managers, and six Indian ladies have won India being a world power. The professionals, rural moneylend- Miss Universe/Miss World titles number of phone connections in ers and absentee landlords on in the recent years. Some Indian India –mobile and landline - has the one hand, and the unskilled women have played leading roles crossed 400 million in January urban workers, marginal farmers, in Indian politics. They are now 2010. This means, there are 35 agricultural workers and unor- asserting their place and role in phone connections for every 100 ganized sector workers on the India’s economy. persons. This is a phenomenal other. While one day consultancy After three decades of slow growth in the last few years. fees of a professional in India progress (2 percent GDP No wonder these facts led could be between Rs. 5,000.00 growth/ year), India’s growth rate President Obama to state that to 10,000.00, an agricultural accelerated to 5-6 per cent in the India is claiming its rightful place labourer’s family would earn Rs. late 1970s, with an occasional leap in the international arena. He 5,000.00 per month! One won- to 7-8 per cent. The fast recovery further stated that India built ders as to how these families of the Indian economy from the the institutions upon which true survive. Corruption, injustice and effects of the global crisis led to a return to the 9% growth rate in the 2003-08 period. This opened Aspiring to the top? up avenues for greater invest- showcase islands of urban pros- ment in growth and development. perity and have the delusion of Moreover, this growth pattern has Fr. M.Mihir Upasi grandeur as a world power while Director, Social Services the vast country side of Bharat also emboldened India’s Prime Berahmpur, Orissa. (rural India) languishes in misery. Minister to declare in the interna- tional arena that India does not India aspires to be a world Major hurdles to be overcome on want any aid for development. power and wants other signifi- a daily basis are: rampant corrup- India aims at achieving energy cant nations like USA to recog- tion, caste based discriminations, independence by 2030. The coun- nize and support the aspiration. religious fanaticism, insurgency try is a member of G20 which A reality check is good as it forg- and poor infrastructure. There is plays crucial role in international es ahead. Millions of rural poor a long way to go with determina- economic cooperation. All these still do not have access to quality tion and commitment. Above all, contribute to make India towards services like transport, telecom- we need a different political cul- becoming a world power. A munications, schooling and ture and politicians who are ‘with population of over 1 billion itself health care. India Inc. cannot the people and for the people’. 20 Smart Companion India January 2011 20 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 21. faith mattErS Mind the gap! and don’t make the extra effort for pro-poor development, the murder are common in our gap will constantly grow. Along Dr. John Crasta metros. Right now, a change Moral Theologian, with tackling poverty, we also of mindset in the common is need to handle problems of illit- Ranchi most urgent. We need to begin eracy, insufficient health care etc. Unequal distribution of wealth to love cleanliness and public is the worst enemy to progress How can India be a world pow- hygiene; give up spitting in the er when almost 50% of women in India. The political parties, public; respect traffic rules; national or local, have failed to among the Dalit, Tribal and Mus- love the environment as a gift lim communities are illiterate? If rise above caste and communal of God, learn to be givers than lines. Corruption has permeated Indians have done well in higher receivers. Concerted efforts education and IT, it should have our society so much that we have in addressing the issues of learnt to live with it as a “neces- reflected in the overall develop- injustice and corruption can ment of all its citizens. But this is sity”. Crime graph is alarmingly take India towards becoming a rising. Incidences of rape and not the case. People who come to world power. visit India are amazed by the un- illiteracy add to the gap between precedented progress and growth the poor and the vulnerable have achieved in the last fifty years. But the rich and the poor. no place in India. Official apathy The agrarian crisis pushes farm- they are immediately stunned as contributes to the vulnerability of they move in rural areas or the ers into distressful situations and these very poor tribal communi- ultimately to suicide. It is argued slums in the cosmopolitan towns! ties. Their land and resources are That is a deplorable India. that the cumulative effect of a appropriated for the ‘develop- number of factors is responsible In fact, there are two Indias in ment of the country’. They are reality: one, an emerging world for the present agrarian crisis. forced to starvation and death. It These factors are categorized as power, projected by the media to is not just suicide of farmers but the outer world. The other, a dis- technological, ecological, socio- starvation deaths reported regu- cultural and policy-related. In criminated, exploited and pauper- larly from this world power, called ized India which the media does the last ten years, over 10,000 India! The national media prefer farmers have committed suicide not address. In the latter lies the to ignore such news. Heart of India, as Mahatma Gan- every year due to their inability Speaking about the Millennium to repay loans taken for agricul- dhi stated. It continues so, even Development Goals (MDGs) in after 64 years of independence. tural purposes. But the ruling the Indian context, Erna Wi- class is totally unconcerned about toelar, United Nations Special this impending crisis. Since the Ambassador for MDGs in Asia agricultural sector is in crisis, food and Pacific, advocated that the In- insecurity has become a major dian governments should balance Dr. Louis Prakash SJ issue. It is the poor and the most pro-poor policies with economic Social analyst, former Director, ISI, Delhi vulnerable who bear the brunt of growth to achieve the MDGs. If Co-ordinator, Jesuit Refugees Services. it. And, again the irony, they pro- we don’t concentrate on poverty duce food and others consume it! COMP India ranks among the 30 most corrupt nations, according to a What is real power? survey by a leading international inclusive development, better NGO, Transparency Interna- Dr.Rudi Heredia SJ quality of life, greater social tional. Politicians thrive on false Social Analyst, equity and secure human promises. The recent scam in the ISI, Delhi rights, not high GDP, ac- telecom sector has shocked the celerated growth or military entire country. Billions of rupees, From “will India survive?” at might. This is closer to the supposed to go to the treasury our Independence, the question vision of national freedom have been siphoned off into the today is: “India a great power?” movement than great power kitty of politicians. Power tends to corrupt, great status, closer to the India of The death of 35 Birhors, power corrupts greatly! Our Gandhiji’s dreams, a model a primitive tribal group in bewildering cultural diver- for a brave new world, more Jharkhand, in October and sity, political differences and human, less powerful, a free November 2008, has once again economic disparities demand and happy people, not a rich driven home the message that participative democracy and and powerful nation. Smart Companion India | January 2011 21 Smart Companion India July 2010 21
  • 22. pr managEmEnt media, for instance, women were initially assigned to cover soft subjects like women’s issues and education. Politics and sports were out of bounds. So were assignments to trouble-spots in rural areas or even riot-hit areas in cities. All that is now his- tory because as women entered the profession and sought no concessions from men, attitudes changed. With that grew gender sensitivity. Language changed and became gender-neutral. In journalism, we no longer talked of ‘eve-teasing’, ‘man hours’, ‘chairman’ or ‘actress’. This is not just about placating or pleasing women by substituting one word for another. Language developed from mindsets, from a time when only men worked outside the home and women were confined to the home. Today we acknowledge that our choice of words reflects an attitude and with the change of words comes an attitudinal shift. Comments over women’s bodies or clothes are now a complete Gender no-no in the work space. One does not even comment on how pretty a colleague looks. Imagine my surprise therefore when in the mid-nineties, my son in the Church came home from a Teenagers’ Orientation Programme (TOP) and told us over dinner of the “joke” they had been told by the seminarian from St Pius X W hen I got into The Times of India over 40 years ago, there were just three women recruiters of a qualified workforce, College. A priest distributing is hugely responsible for the large communion was so distracted number of women working in by the dress of the girl receiving journalists in the whole of Mum- urban India today. At least half the communion that he said “Christ, bai. In public relations, there was jobs in the IT and ITES sectors what a body”. just one woman. Both fields were are held by women. The number In subsequent years, I have literally a man’s world. Today of women in the IT industry grew heard this repeated several times as much as 40% of the staff in from 4.21 lakh in 2006 to 6.7 lakh in my own parish from the pul- most publications are women! In in 2008. In technical functions, pit. I have been tempted many a PR, perhaps as many as 60 per traditionally considered all-male time to stand up and shout back, cent are women! bastions, the percentage of female “Are you sure that it was a male The same thing has happened employees has seen a steady rise to who said this? Because today in several other fields -- financial 36 per cent at present. many of those distributing com- services, information technology, The result of this is a whole munion are women. What gives retail, hospitality... The IT-BPO new perspective in work space. In you the right to tell this kind of industry, one of the largest 22 Smart Companion India January 2011 22 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 23. pr managEmEnt stupid story from the sanctu- ary?” In the world of work, such corny, apocryphal anecdotes would never be told. Many com- panies which pride themselves “ It is the attitude of superiority that women in the church experience from priests or bishops “ as “best places to work” include attitudes towards women in their orientation sessions. One of the points made is that this is not a 9-5 attitude, but begins at home. superiority that women in the Many companies have strong church experience from priests not just for young seminarians women’s networks that aggres- or bishops. “Many of them lack but also for older priests who sively discourage any tendency basic courtesy towards women. clearly need a regular continuing towards gender harassment or Laymen are different, in fact education programme to keep sexual harassment (the two are we feel more comfortable with them in tune with the times. We distinct) and any behavior or lan- them,” nuns tell me. Bishops set also need similar programmes guage coloured by such attitudes. the trend sometimes by trying for women in formation in the Women are now just co-workers to order women school and col- church to empower and encour- for many of us – most times we lege principals about, as if they age them to stand up to offen- are not even conscious of their should be taking orders from sive behavior. For that, those gender. But in the church, time them even on professional mat- in charge of formation need to seems to have stood still. ters like admissions. be trained, right from those in One of the things that sur- Clearly, a lot needs to be done charge of novices. Such pro- prises me when I interact with to bring male clergy in tune with grammes would also bring about nuns of various congregations is the times. That has to begin in a maturity in the way we handle their suppressed anger towards the seminary itself. These are conflicts in the church. priests – not just among young not matters related to faith, nuns but even those at major morals or the teaching author- Allwyn Fernandes superior/ provincial levels. ity of the church. I wonder if Crisis Communications This is not about ordination gender issues are part of the cur- Mumbai or women. It is the attitude of riculum for priestly formation, COMP CHURCH AND BAR I n a small town in America, a person decided to open up his bar business, which was sible for the demise of his bar, either through direct or indirect actions or means. right opposite to a church. In its reply to the court, the The church & its congregation church vehemently denied all started a campaign to block the responsibility or any connection bar from opening, with petitions that their prayers were reasons to to authorities and daily prayer to the destruction of the bar. In sup- God. port of their claim they referred to Work progressed. However, the Benson study at Harvard that when it was almost complete and intercessory prayer had no impact! was about to open a few days As the case made its way into later, a strong lightning struck court, the judge looked over the the bar and it was burnt to the paperwork. At the hearing session ground. The church folk were he commented: ‘I don’t know how rather smug in their outlook I am going to decide this case, but after that, till the bar owner sued it appears from the paperwork, the church authorities for $2mil- we have a bar owner who believes lion on the grounds that the in the power of prayer and an church through its congregation entire church and its devotees that & prayers was ultimately respon- doesn’t.’ Smart Companion India | January 2011 23 Smart Companion India July 2010 23
  • 24. nEVEr Stop aSking AIDS & Condom Q uestion: I am a Catholic living in Pune. I came across lot of argu- ments and counter arguments regarding tion. That can really lie only in a humanisation of sexuality. “She (the Church) does not regard it tent and correct use of condoms is a source of ef- Pope Benedict XVI’s comment, “con- (the use of condoms) as a real fective reduc- dom use is acceptable in certain cases” or moral solution, but, in tion of HIV in the new book, “Light of the world: this case, there can transmis- The Pope, the Church and the Signs of none- the- sion. Equally the Times”. I would like to have a clear less, strong are the understanding of the practical implica- in the voices of tions of this saying. Asher D’Cunha inten- those tion w h o Answer: Dear Asher, you have o f hold asked a very relevant question. I re- that must admit that this is a thorny con- issue. The Pope does not see the use of condom as a real and moral solution. The head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics said: “In cer- tain cases where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality.” Pope Benedict sparked an international outcry in March 2009 during his visit to AIDS ravaged Africa. He had told re- porters that the disease was a tragedy “that cannot be over- come through the distribu- tion of condoms, which even duc- aggravates the problems. ing the risk of The Pope’s apparent shift infection, in position is illustrated by an a first step in example he offers: “There may be a movement to- a basis in the case of some individ- ward a different way, a uals, as perhaps when a male pros- more human way, of living titute uses a condom, where this sexuality”. What he is try- can be a first step in the direction ing to say is that the use of of a moralisation, a first assump- condom in the battle against tion of responsibility, on the way HIV/AIDS, must be situated toward recovering an awareness against the larger background of that not everything is allowed and Church’s teaching on love and sex. dom that one cannot do whatever one Pope desires to move the debate availability wants. But it is not really the way to a deeper level. There are pro- has not brought to deal with the evil of HIV infec- ponents who argue that consis- about the de- 24 Smart Companion India January 2011 24 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 25. “It isbeingmerelybutquestionactiv- sex not safe, a sexual of “ ity being rooted in love sired drop in the number of new calls by various cardinals, bishops Church does not rest upon the infections. More important, con- and moral theologians for con- rights or wrongs of condoms, doms as prophylactics do not ad- doms to be used as a protective because condoms do not in them- dress the issue of a world without measure when couples find that selves have a moral value. What is HIV/AIDS, but simply advocate either uppermost in the church’s con- an accommodation of the virus. o n e cern, as shown in the teaching of We need to go beyond o r Humanae Vitae and pope John Paul from “How can we both II’s ‘Theology of Body’, is wheth- make sex safe?” to of them er a sexual act mirrors the fruitful, the more funda- are HIV faithful, total and free love of God. positive. If we continue a polarized de- Indeed, the bate we will fail to be agents of Ghanaiain hope and life. Besides, the pan- cardinal Pe- demic that we are trying to eradi- ter Turkson cate will continue to take its toll, did touch generation after generation. While on this is- the media, politicians and activ- sue in a ists call for ‘safe sex’, the Catho- P r e s s lic Church calls for something Confer- more humanly fulfilling. It is ence. It not merely a question of sex be- would ing safe, but sexual activity being rooted in love. The challenge of HIV/AIDS is that sex is not ul- timately about being safe, but it is about giving and receiving life. It is to this Gospel of life that the Church needs to give clear witness. To remain silent on this thorny issue, the Pope might have thought, would be to miss the opportunity of bringing hope to those affected and infected. That would once again be playing into the hands of those secular agen- seem cies which are not convinced to be an that the Catholic Church has no opportune mo- credible contribution to make. ment for the Catholic Church to make clear that there is a great difference between the use of condoms as a method m e n - of contraception and their use tal question, in particular pastoral cases, as Dr. George Therukaattil MCBS “What is sex for”? a life-enhancing prophylactic. Moral Theologian There have been, however, The teaching of the Catholic Bangalore COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 25 Smart Companion India July 2010 25
  • 26. faith mattErS God, Religion and Happiness.... Respect for other religions is the crux of genuine faith. How can we express this respect? Godfrey D’Lima suggests creative ways of peaceful conviviality O ne night an unknown Hin- du truck driver brought a bedraggled Christian youth, a Christian, bound to love my neighbour, was relieved, but left wondering at the Hindu driver’s day. An Ambedkarite friend of mine was insulted on a journey by an to our Shirpur Mission. He was hospitality. That evening I learnt imagined ‘high-born’. But when found lost on the roadside. I hesi- again that the law of charity has incensed co-travellers wanted to tated to accommodate the youth practitioners beyond baptised jettison the latter, he said: “No, not sure of how and why he had church membership. The Buddha, let him travel peacefully, I have no confessed his creed to the driver. it is said, discovered his vision of quarrel.” When the journey ended Seeing my anxiety, he pacified me life and salvation from everyday the offender begged my friend to saying that he lived in Shirpur and events such as this. How true it is share a cup of tea together. He that he could keep the young man of insights into life! They depend came to regret his behaviour at as his guest. He could later take on our sensitivity to what can and my friend’s equanimity, despite him to his destination as well. I, does happen around us day after the provocations. 26 Smart Companion India January 2011 26 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 27. faith mattErS “ thrived under the Slavery radically egalitarian Islamic and Christian powers! World Wars were sparked in Chris- tian nations even though the Christian announces peace “ on earth. They are: respect for God, desire human well-being. In all peoples to cooperate with God’s Will to there is a complementarity of establish goodness in this world, faith awareness. security for our daily needs, for- In India, the Jains and some giveness with the awareness that Hindu sects advocate among we too fail, and protection from other values, that of vegetarian- Two years ago, during my the ravages of sin and evil. ism. Apart from the dietary value tenure in Nandurbar town, I was I have observed that people of such an approach there is an involved in setting up training of different faiths have the same implied concern for life. One can halls. There were moments when concerns as expressed in the keep arguing about the anomalies critical decisions of design and Lord’s Prayer. In different ways of this approach. But all religious fabrication needed to be made the world’s believers and non- principles have their anomalies or with limited professional guid- believers articulate their conver- their limits of rational justifica- ance, finances and pressure of gent human concerns. The great tion. Christians advocate the law deadline for completion. With and small religious traditions of love. Yet colonial peoples have me was a Muslim mason Asif, a have their particular versions of suffered exploitation from Chris- Catholic fabricator Antony, their Hindu friend Nana, a skilled car- penter. This trio so determinedly worked out solutions to my ar- Respecting other Religions chitectural and practical problems that I felt a deep sense of security religions. Peaceful coexistence is at every step. Dr.Santiago Michael turning a mirage. ‘Respect other The world abounds with Pontif. Commission for Inter- religions as you would like others religious and others who abstain religious dialogue to respect your own’ is the golden from God-talk but truly live the ROME principle towards peace. Respect law of charity seriously, even at for other’s faith, religious convic- their own peril. The alarming rise of religious tions and practices springs from The foundation of my respect fundamentalism and its after- the basic respect for the dignity for religions is not so much dog- math in recent times generates of the human person, irrespective matic, doctrinal, spiritual or theo- great concern in today’s multi- of his/her subjectivities. Respect logical. It is related to concerns religious society. Exclusivism, the unique other leads to re- of human life, the matter of the majority-minority syndrome, de- spect for the uniqueness of each Lord’s Prayer, the only prayer nial and suppression of religious religion. The need of the hour is Jesus is supposed to have taught freedom have resulted in suspi- to promote human dignity and specifically. In this prayer the con- cion, intolerance and even hatred peace so that respect becomes a cerns of faith are summarised. among practitioners of different habit of living among us. Smart Companion India | January 2011 27 Smart Companion India July 2010 27
  • 28. faith mattErS extol compassion and wisdom of and doubts about its claims. Yet, tian nations. Today there is no the Buddha. There are, however, all religions have struggled greatly doubt that Christians genuinely Buddhists who have indulged in to introduce aspects of human- strive to improve life for poorer armed conflict. This does not ism in their adherents. If the societies. Muslims uphold rever- take away from the Buddhist struggle seems unsuccessful at ence for God and God’s Word. contribution to human serenity times, it can never be an excuse At the same time we know that and tolerance. The Buddhist mark for condemnation. In the history they struggle with one another’s on Dr. Ambedkar’s liberation of every religion there had been variant understandings of God, struggle for the dalits has been times of failure in values. Slav- the actual Word He spoke and its impressive. ery thrived under the radically practical implications. Yet who No religion has escaped internal egalitarian Islamic and Christian can deny that Muslims point to conflicts, confusion, suppression powers! World Wars were sparked a just world and the need for an of freedom, historical mutations, in Christian nations even though egalitarian society? Buddhists the Christian announces peace on earth. Jews and Arabs fight in the Middle East. The West RESPECTING OTHER RELIGIONS exports deadly arms. India of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism Dr. Noel Sheth, S.J. does not imply agreement with and other different religions sinks Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, all their beliefs and practices. low in corruption and casteism. Pune Indeed, the differences can help Religious sects within the broad Believing that all peoples each religion to gain insights fold of each religion have had comprise a single community, into its own unique features. the bloodiest of communal riots. the Catholic Church looks with Furthermore, respectful inter- Religious texts have both their sincere respect upon the ways religious dialogue also brings faults and their triumphs. Some of conduct and life, rules and about mutual understanding and parts of them read like a horror teachings of other religions, even enrichment, so that we can join story, even extolling murder. In when they differ from what the hands together to heal a broken other parts, they are full of noble Church holds (Nostra Aetate 1 world and build bridges of peace ideas and injunctions for human and 2). Respecting other religions and harmony. happiness. 28 Smart Companion India January 2011 28 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 29. faith mattErS Looking at the tapestry of religions, and the religious expres- RESPECTING PEOPLE OF sions among their adherents, one can intuit the splendour of OTHER FAITHS… God. But this knowledge only sisters subscribed to. Welcoming infinitesimally mapped by the people in our homes and being a limited human mind. And we guest at their homes are moments acknowledge that we are heirs of spiritual interaction in addi- to a fascinating quest in which tion to bringing us joy and love every human being and every Dr. Matthew Coutinho SDB and appreciation. So even if we creature bears a vital testimony Moral Theologian, Shillong are not among the experts who to the Truth that lies at the heart I passed by a small Hindu can sort out what our religions of our universe. This Truth is so temple this morning. I was have in common and where we profound and yet is so simply ex- impressed by the attitude of the differ, our yeoman service will be pressed in the type of faith prayer passersby. Every one reverently to simply ‘meet and greet’ people that Jesus articulated. bowed their head acknowledg- coming from all walks of life Sometimes we are aghast at ing the presence of the divine who follow diverse faiths. These what we see as intolerance of in that sacred place. Some of experiences replete with peace, faiths. The temptation of every them were evidently followers of joy, fellowship and harmony will believer is to imagine that s/he other faiths, but that in no way build the bridges and bonds of holds the whole truth in concept, prevented them to revere a faith the Kingdom of God, making precept and practice. The believer that many of their brothers and our world a better place. then goes on to attack the faith of others. Ultimately aggressive attacks are charged with igno- ligions of minorities and majori- task, as mandated by the God rance and bigotry. One of the ties, in flux and stable. Guiding all of faith. Our sense of religion ways to avoid religious conflict religions is the Indian Constitu- will be at its highest when India is to examine whether what one tion - an exemplary humanistic struggles for better living condi- opposes in the other really af- document hardly surpassed by tions, egalitarian education and fects a universal human value or any individual scripture. If all development for the poor and just some peculiar way of living. religious adherents in India could also reaches out to other nations Food habits, clothing, language see the link of ideas and ideals in distress. We will learn to re- and culture are some instances between their particular faith spect religious faith by caring for where great variety is possible. If aspirations and the goal of the the least of our brethren in soli- these do not offend fundamental Indian Constitution, we would darity with all peoples of good- human values we should welcome have a citizenry committed to will. The universal celebration of the tapestry of difference. improving the living conditions Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a At times religious adherents op- the poor and the deprived. parable of faith convergence. pose art or literature that depicts Respecting faiths is a chal- The future of religion is nei- their religious icons ridiculously lenge and an opportunity. It is ther dark nor bright. It depends as in the Danish cartoons, the a challenge to persevere in true on what we as believers seek to novels on Christ’s private life, secularism despite the faults of do with our lives. We can squan- the images of Hindu deities in faith traditions, to embrace all the der them in fratricidal conflict advertisements, art that exploits enrichment offered by diverse sparked off by religious person- holy images in erotic depictions creeds. The opportunity is to ages or rally together to work for etc. It is foolish to say that the manifest one’s faith convictions human betterment. It is up to us offensiveness is unintended or is in a way that others can appreci- to draw from the riches of God- based on scriptural data. If we ate and converge on. given inspirations and religious grow in sensitivity to the evolving One of the greatest fields of traditions for a more humane religious understanding of others convergent faith action is the area world. we shall find ourselves converging of development of the poor. No progressively on more humanistic doubt, the best minds of India faith. need to bring the riches of their Fr.Godfrey D’Lima SJ India is home to varied scrip- religious tenets - respect for life, Social activist among tures and traditions, ancient and compassion, love and service - Warli tribals in Talaseri, Maharastra new, imported and exported, re- into this extremely challenging COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 29 Smart Companion India July 2010 29
  • 30. luminariES Fellow Pilgrim On the path of interfaith dialogue Dr. Albert Nambiaparampil CMI N ative Place: Vazhakulam, Ernakulam Dt, D.O.B: Au- gust 20, 1931, 1st religous profession: • The fundamental assertions in new ‘openness and fresh air’ that inter-religious dialogue? A common, but mistaken I experienced within the Church after Vatican II. My participation 1950, ordained Priest: 1959, Doctor- notion is that dialogue partners at ‘the Church in India’ seminar ate in Philosophy: Rome, Professor: should talk mostly on ‘religious’ of 1969 and regional seminars at Dharmaram, Bangalore. Founded topics. I think dialogue has to be gave me new insights and wave- the Kerala Philosophical Congress ‘interfaith’, i.e. between persons length to the issues involved in in 1968, Chavara Cultural Centre, of different religious traditions, interfaith dialogue. As I set out in Kochi, in 1971, was Secretary, of where they talk about their this ministry, I studied linguistic the CBCI Commission for Dia- genuine commitments. In my philosophy which helped me to logue (1973 -1982), Dialogue and correspondence with persons found four religio-cultural cen- Ecumenism(1987-1994), Director of of other faiths I address them tres, all aimed at religio-cultural the Centre for Indian and Inter-reli- as ‘fellow-pilgrims’. Even while integration. These and further gious Studies at Rome. Founded 3 cen- at the CBCI, I emphasized this exposures to other faiths gave me tres for dialogue. Organised the World person to person dimension of greater depth. Conferences of Religions in 1981, the interfaith ministry. In the • Difference between Inter- 1991, 1996 and 2000 in Kochi and living-together experiences of Religious and Intra-Religious in 1993 in Kanyakumari. A pioneer 34 days we conducted this was dialogue? and verteran in the field of inter-reli- the thrust. The participants could During the 1st World Con- gious and cultural activities. Believes taste interfaith celebrations, cul- ference of Religions in Kochi, inter-religious dialogue an urgent need tural and ritual aspects of differ- Kerala (1981), the draft proposed of the time and continues to take the ent religions. On the eve of the for discussion after a decade of leading role to promote inter-religious departure, interfaith processions interfaith networking, was ob- harmony in the spirit of St. Francis were held as well, with the flag of jected by a group of Buddhist del- of Assisi. Took part in the Centenary Gandhiji, as our banner, stopping egates. Raimundo Panikkar moved of the World Parliament of Religions on the path, to meet believers an amendment confessing our (1993) in Chicago, of Cape Town and praying for the followers of inability to arrive at a formulation in 1999, of Barcelona-2004; the that tradition. They also shared acceptable to all. He admitted that Millennium Peace Summit held by their personal experiences with the draft was over-loaded with U.N. in New York in 2000. Ivolved anecdotes from their lives. This theistic words. This proves that in international interfaith movements. indeed has been a departure from inter-religious dialogue demands Edited 15 books of the Kerala the tradition of holding dialogues from partners the readiness for Philosophical Congress and Guidelines and discussions ‘on’ religion. intra-religious dialogue. That is, for Inter-Religious Dialogue and has • Your background in this field? one needs to have clear under- published profusely. My background was that of the standing of one’s own religion, its 30 Smart Companion India January 2011 30 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 31. luminariES “ In the pilgrimage with those of other traditions and ideologies, the challenge is to find new dimensions “ of the same call basics, usages, symbols, and an points to those who hold on to matics. There are also attempts at understanding of the terms we the fundamentals of a tradition. ‘institutionalizing’ dialogue. I un- use to define our faith. In view Fanatic expressions of religious derstand that this is a ‘must’. But, of this we have had get-togethers traditions are more widespread it can also block the dialogue pil- on dialogue, at the regional levels, and find new expressions in the grims. Christian partners need to questioning our own self-un- Indian context where politics be more exposed to persons and derstanding. Understanding our makes inroads into religion and not to systems. The experiential, faith at depth can make us more the other way too. celebration aspects of interfaith open and inclusive, without the • Meaning of Interfaith net- dialogue are very precious for the fear of losing our identity. The working? dialogue pilgrims. guidelines for Inter-Religious Interfaith networking aims to • Present initiatives of yours? Dialogue published in the Seven- unite us as Indians. Participants For the last 25 years Upaasana ties, re-edited and published in in interfaith exchanges will have in Idukki, Kerala is holding inter- 1989 was in view of a better self to be watchful of the different faith dialogues every Sunday, on understanding. The new edition games played in such dialogues. topics of common concern and affirmed our Christian duty to For example, during the last relevance -meaningful dialogues provide religious instruction to Kumbha Mela a Hindu Ashram between believers, between believ- students of other religious tradi- in Mathura organized an Inter- ers and non-believers, where di- tions studying in our institutions, faith Meet on the banks of the verse ideologies emerge. Through by persons of those faiths. holy river in Allahabad. There the ordinary happenings of life, • Any suspicion of attempting were mentions of interfaith we share a meaningful form of to convert to Christianity? blocks in the teachings of dif- dialogue and find a platform to Initially there was this ques- ferent religious traditions. The collaborate for common good. tion in the air: Is your ‘dialogue’ Catholic teaching that ‘there is • New forms of Inter-religious a new means, with the hidden no salvation outside the Church’ dialogue? agenda of conversion, or for came in for clarification. As a In Mumbai, Holy Father Pope proclamation aimed at conver- participant I had to respond. Paul VI had given this invitation sion. The first World Assembly All that I did was to analyze the to the people of other religious of 1981 was held at the backdrop sentence picking up the issue of traditions to ‘meet not as tour- of the Meenakshipuram conver- who is inside and who is outside ists, not in buildings of stone and sion, the whole village embracing and the meaning of the words brick, but as pilgrims set out to Islam… hence the resulting fear. ‘salvation’ and ‘ church’ making find God’. Interfaith dialogue will The assembly concluded accept- use of Wittgenstein’s tool of and must continue as the sacra- ing and passing the declaration finding the linguistic context in ment of union and communion that conversion was something search for meaning. seeking further shores, and it will natural, and that inducement of • Main challenges in inter-reli- move on to reconstruct people’s any kind should be avoided, that gious networking? lives. We must continue the work fundamentalism must be avoided In the pilgrimage with those of with more vigour, especially as at all costs. other traditions and ideologies, communal harmony is threatened • Fundamentalism versus Fa- the challenge is to find new di- in the country. We cannot live naticism? mensions of the same call. New as a minority. We need to find In the context of multilateral challenges are faced by dialogue- our commonality and go ahead dialogues I avoid using the term partners. There is hardening together to make our world more fundamentalism to denote fanati- also in our religious tradition, as developed, more peaceful. cism. The term ‘fundamentalism’ among Pentecostals and charis- COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 31 Smart Companion India July 2010 31
  • 32. CrEatiVE CatEChESiS E-Ministry, a welfare, financial needs and sup- port to women”. In the intense spiritual life of his parish, prayer, Boon to Church song and dance play an important role. Bhumel has produced many vocations - priests and nuns- to the Church. Vijay is happy to nar- rate how the parish has ensured - my e-minis- to keep even small children active. try. I want to Right from the start, they are be a bridge helped to feel that they can make between a significant contribution to the God and my wellbeing of their families and people by community. He animates a small sharing im- group called Jagruti Bal Parivar portant news (JaBaPa). “The children began and events. I their first ministry by conduct- find the blog ing prayers in every house”, he an effective says. JaBaPa has now extended its way to reach activities, assuming some liturgi- out also to cal responsibilities in the parish. my Gujarati conducting a Sunday school, arra brothers and Yet the life of the parish does not sisters who focus entirely on the children. are away from There are approximately 350 home land,” Catholic adults, representing 55 Vijay Macwan families in an area where the total sums up his adult population is almost 4,000. vision. Most of the people are Hindus, Once a the ‘aborigines’ of the area who, Jesuit novice, in spite of their rich, vibrant and he now works ancient culture, are still simple as a senior and educationally backward. officer in a “ It is not only Catholic infor- Call Centre in mation that I give in BHUMEL Ahmadabad, News, but all that helps to live which sustains his family of wife a sane life. We cannot separate A ll that he has is a small computer with a slow Internet connection.Sometimes and a school-going child. The 50 mile motor ride each day from his village to the office is no excuse the spiritual and the material. My dream is to see my church ever more participatory. And he has to wait for hours to up- for lack of time. Macwan, 35, is to do that one must be in the load, and yet Vijay Mcwan’s zeal the sort of young man we wish know of what is happening and drives him. All those who have catholic laymen to be. Although why it is happening. I also wish an I-connection in and around he could not make it as a priest, that people around us know that his parish keenly look out for he continues to be a missionary. a Christian community exists his postings on the blogspot In his parish Macwan acts almost here and that we practice faith http://vijaymacwan.blogspot. like a catalyst to Basic Ecclesial in specific Gujarati ways.” Daily com. The Bhumel Broadcast Community and his main tool, mass readings, current happen- News –BBN relayed here is his his website. Charismatic and ings in video format etc., posted attempt at catechizing. “I started dynamic, he speaks warmly of his on his site provide for the faithful this website because I want to do parish, Bhumel, describing it as to live enlightened lives. In fact, something for God and people. “the place where real Christianity every Indian parish needs a ‘Vijay I bring news and events to all is practiced even today. It is not Macwan’ today! through my website. It does cost exactly their activities and celebra- but I feel immense joy to spread G. Anoop Kumar tions but their genuine concern the Good News in my own way for each other – for spiritual COMP 32 Smart Companion India January 2011 32 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 33. Top Five Top Five 3 Nun Rape Trial Stalled Orissa national nEwS Church leaders and activists have blamed the Orissa government for the abrupt closure of the trial of a nun’s rape case. Public prosecutors han- dling the case boycotted work on Dec. 7 saying that the government has not paid them their fee. They also told the Court that they would not resume work unless their grievances were addressed. “We have re- ceived fee only for two months and payments for another three months are pending,” said Sangram Sahu, one of three public prosecutors. The trial was Cathedral Blessing Ceremony underway in the district session court of Cuttack. 1 4 New cathedral at Guwahati Presbyterian, Head of ICCI Guwahati Bangalore A Presbyterian theologian, Rev. Roger Gaikwad, The new Cathedral at Guwahati has incorpo- has been installed as the new General Secretary of rated local art and culture in it adding to its appeal the National Council of Churches in India, which among North eastern people who frequent it groups together 30 Orthodox and Protestant church- seeking divine solace. Archbishop Thomas Me- es. “My aim is to strengthen ecumenical relations at namparampil opened ‘Christ the Bearer of Good the grass roots to bring out greater unity among the News Church’ at Dispur on Dec. 19. The church churches,” Gaikwad told ENInews. He was installed has used japi and horai that local people use to on Dec. 19 at the NCCI’s Nagpur headquarters, in honor guests.The church is centrally located in central India. Fifty-seven-year old Gaikwad had northeastern India. The Dispur parish was started been the Principal of the Aizawl Theological Col- in 1997. Guwahati diocese was erected in 1992 lege of the Presbyterian Church of India. His was carving it out from Shillong archdiocese and Tura chosen unanimously for the post, in August 2010. 5 and Tezpur dioceses. It became an archdiocese in 1995.The Catholic population of 68,000 is spread Body for medical research over 42 parishes and centers. Calcutta 2 Church collaboration The Calcutta province of Jesuits has handed over the body of Father Ruy Joseph Cordeiro for medi- W. Bengal cal research. A member of St. Xavier’s College, Kol- Church groups in West Bengal will collaborate kata Father died on Dec.19 at the age of 92. Within with government and NGOs to improve disaster two hours of his passing, an eye bank removed his preparedness in the state. Government officials eyes. Within 24 hours, his body was donated to Nil hailed the planned joint effort. This is a first time Ratan Sarkar Hospital and Medical College in the initiative of the kind. About 40 government of- city. “It was wonderful to see an old man deciding ficials and representatives of NGOs and Church to offer his body for the service of humanity”, his groups attended the workshop on “Emergency Rector, Fr. Ponodath said. Belgian Father Gerard Need Assessment.” The Dec. 7-9 program at Beckers, had mooted the idea of donating organs Burdwan, 120 kilometers northwest of Kolkata, for medical research and his body was handed over decided to set up an Emergency Need Assessment to the medical college in 2006. Now Fr. Cordeiro Team as required by the Sphere Standard - a char- followed suit. Father Albert Huart, who handles re- ter on improving emergency responses signed by cords on organ donation in Calcutta province, said more than 300 international humanitarian NGOs. 17 other Jesuits have already pledged their eyes and Assessment of a disaster being crucial, the groups 14 have agreed to donate their bodies. Emulating Jy- have planned to do it within 12 hours and a second oti Basu, almost 7,000 members of the CPI (Marx- assessment within in the next 36 hours. ist) have reportedly pledged their organs as well. COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 33 Smart Companion India July 2010 33
  • 34. wE arE thE ChurCh Church in Chotanagpur Chotanagpur is a plateau in Eastern India, which covers much of Jharkhand and parts of Orissa, West Bengal, Bi- har and Chhattisgarh. Fr. Alex Ekka narrates the growth of Christian faith here “S ave us please…they are killing my husband” standing by the roadside she of Jharkhand, reeled under the oppressive British rule in the19th century, when Christianity was and Jatra were captured by the British and put in prison. Birsa died in 1900 and Jatra in 1917 of kept shouting in desperation. Fr. preached in the region. The tribal cholera, leaving their adherents Lievens, who was passing by his people had lost their land owner- disillusioned. horse, heard her cry. ship rights under the new tenure It was in this context that the “What’s the matter lady?” he system introduced by the British Lutheran missionaries first came asked. in 1793. This busted the tribal to Chotanagpur in 1848 preach- “Please come with me,” say- agrarian system called the Mun- ing that the woman ran ahead dari Khuntkatti or Oraon Bhuin- towards her village. hari (collective tenure). As a result, An angry crowd had gathered besides paying rents and taxes to in front of her house. They were the landlords, they were subjected preparing to offer her husband to forced labour, extortion and as a human sacrifice. Fr. Lievens repression by the non-tribal trad- instantly sensed the danger. He ers, moneylenders, government wasted no time in futile discus- officials and the police as well. sion with the raving crowd. They were treated like slaves and Immediately he dismounted from contemptuously called Kols (un- his horse, went up to the hapless cultured people) by non-tribals. victim, lifted him up swiftly, put Liberation Movements him on his horse, and speedily Due to dehumanized social dashed off before the people status and dispossession of could catch up. ancestral lands, many tribals Chapa was a tribal, who became migrated to the tea gardens of a Catholic and ever since he had Assam in the North East India. refused to offer sacrifices to the Those who stayed back took to Fr. Lievens village spirits, who they believed rebellion to restore their lands. ing Christ among the aboriginals. were causing cholera. Firm in his The whole of Chotanagpur was in As a result, four Oraons became new found faith in Jesus Chapa crisis. Messianic leaders like Birsa Lutherans in 1850. The Anglican had the audacity to refuse the Munda among the Mundas and missionaries who came in 1868 spirit worship; hence the people’s Jatra Bhagat among the Oraons accepted about 3000 Lutheran outcry and resolve to offer him as rose up to drive away the British converts into the Anglican Com- a human sacrifice to appease the from their lands through armed munion. These missionaries also ‘angry’ spirits. struggle. As a means to bring tried to help the aboriginals in This happened in 1889 at about tribal self-rule, they also the court cases pertaining to their Murma, a village close to Ranchi preached a new religion, advocat- land but without much success. in Chotanagpur. Fr. Lievens, a ing monotheism, vegetarianism Belgian Jesuit missionary had Apostle of Chotanagpur and giving up alcoholism. They Under the Bengal Mission of arrived from Calcutta in 1885 for were accepted as God-sent for evangelization. the Catholic Church in the Indian tribal liberation. But both Birsa subcontinent, Fr. Augustus Stock- Chotanagpur, the present State 34 Smart Companion India January 2011 34 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 35. By August 1, 1888, Lievens had 11,291 baptized Catholics and 39,060 catechumens in 832 villages, from 7,139 families man was the first German Jesuit By August 1, 1888, Lievens had gpur was the birth of a religious to come to Chaibasa in Chotanag- 11,291 baptized Catholics and congregation - the Daughters of pur in 1869. By 1873, he baptized 39,060 catechumens in 832 vil- St. Anne. Under the influence of about 28 Mundas into the Catho- lages, from 7,139 families. He also the Loreto Nuns and the Ursu- lic faith at Kathupani. However, had a band of 189 catechists. He lines of Tildonk, four tribal girls it was Fr. Lievens who started a had also built 95 chapels and 77 started a diocesan congregation great missionary movement in schools with 2,400 children. in 1897, with the permission of Chotangpaur. He first tried to un- Being alarmed at the mass con- Archbishop Gaul Goethals SJ. derstand the tribal agrarian system version of tribals, and freedom The four founders were Sr. Anna and studied the existing land laws from their clutches, the landlords Bernadette, Sr. Veronica, Sr. Ceci- so that he could help the hapless raised false allegations against lia and Sr. Mary. tribals in the court cases. The ex- Lievens to the British authorities. The starting of St. Peter’s Pri- pected happened and through the He was accused of preventing mary School for boys in Ranchi in legal aid of Lievens, many tribals the people from giving taxes to 1887 was another significant event were able to redeem their lands the government and of inciting of the Church in Chotanagpur. confiscated by the zamindars. He rebellion against the crown. But In the course of time, St. John’s also told them to refuse forced he spoke eloquently in his defense Middle School and High School labour and undue land rents. This and apprised the British authori- were annexed to it under the pa- made the tribals question why ties of the falsity of their accusa- tronage of St. John Berchmans. their guardian spirits had failed to tions. The overall impact of evange- protect their lands and resources, In a span of just 7 years, lization in Chotanagpur was the while those of Lievens’ religion Lievens and the other Jesuits had twin liberation experience of the had succeeded to do so. When the sowed the seed of the Catholic tribal people – first the experience news spread of the first success- faith among the tribal people of of socio-economic emancipation ful case of tribal land restoration Chotanagpur. Thus was born the from the exploitation of the land- through Lievens’ legal advice, tribal church of Chotanagpur lords and the second, the experi- hoards of them began to come towards the end of the 19th cen- ence of freedom from the oppres- to him for similar help. He shared tury. But on account of the long sion of the alien and malevolent the same spirit of St. Francis and arduous journeys without spirits of the tribal world. The Xavier who preached Christ in the proper food and rest, Lievens Catholic Church in Chotanagpur 16th century, in Goa and South ‘the Apostle of Chotanagpur’ had its roots on this foundational India. died of T.B in 1893, in his native experience of liberation. Fired by this passion, he country, Belgium. (To be continued in the next issue...) travelled far and wide on foot as Impact of Evangeliza- well as on horseback through the Dr. Alex Ekka SJ dense forests of the Munda areas tion Ranchi in south Chotanagpur to the west One of the greatest impacts of Chotanagpur of the Oraon areas. the early missionaries in Chotana- COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 35 Smart Companion India July 2010 35
  • 36. foot printS William Johnston SJ (1926-2010) Japan “Johnston spent his Jesuit life on the frontiers, explor- ing the common ground between Christian and Buddhist mysticism, seeking words to express what is beyond lan- guage”, said Paul Andrews SJ, announcing the death of William Johnston, 85, at Tokyo. He was a Jesuit theolo- gian who wrote extensively on Zen and Christian con- templation. Domiciled in Japan, he was actively involved in inter-religious dialogue, especially with Buddhists. His autobiography, Mystical Journey (2006), clearly shows that while he was loyal to the Church, he pas- sionately believed all religions should strive to work to- gether in peace. After 9/11 he wrote in the Tablet: “We used to say that dialogue between the religions is nec- essary for world peace. Now we can say that dialogue between the religions is necessary for world survival.” Born in Belfast in 1925, entered the Jesuit novi- tiate at Emo, Co Laois in 1943, was ordained a priest in March 1957. He immersed himself in the study of mysticism, transcendental meditation and has written profusely on it. He translated Endo Shusaku’s novel Chinmoku , published in English as Silence (1969). John F. Harvey, OSFS (1918 – 2010) Maryland “Thank you, Father Harvey, for the kindness, love, and compassion you have shown us. Jesus is more real to many of us because of you”, wrote Tina remembering him in her blog. John F. Harvey, OSFS, 92, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales for 73 years, died on 27 Dec, 2010, in Maryland. He was the founder and national director of Courage, which is a spiri- tual support group for homosexual women and men. He was a voice of compassion,” his provincial, James J. Greenfield, OSFS, said. He had helped to found both the DeSales School of Theology and Cour- age, was Director of Courage since its foundation in 1980. Today, there are more than 100 Chapters of Courage worldwide. Born in Philadel- phia, he entered the Oblates Novitiate and made his first profession of vows on September 8, 1937. Specialised in Psychology and Moral The- ology his commitment to pastoral care in the Church, was tireless. M.A. Thomas (1937-2010) New Delhi Dr. M.A. Thomas, founder of Hopegivers International, passed away on 6, Dec.2010, at the age of 74. Hopegivers International rescues or- phans and abandoned children. He built “Hope Homes” – Christ- centered orphanages that provide physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support for children – across India. The ministry later also sup- ported those suffering from leprosy and HIV/AIDS in the country. Hopegivers International has helped to start more than 70 orphanag- es, over 100 Bible colleges and institutes, and 25,000 churches in India. Thomas began his ministry as a missionary in Rajasthan in 1960 and started his first church with only a $25 donation from Dr. Bill Bright, the co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. He was lovingly called “Papa” by the orphans, Bible students and pastors within the ministry. Thomas had received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Padma Shree from the president of India. He hailed from Kerala, S.India. COMP 36 Smart Companion India January 2011 36 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 37. mEdia SCan Des Hommes et des Dieux “Of Gods and Men” villages, the role of the military is ambiguous. Later, with stronger A Cistercian monks’ commu- nity at Mt Atlas, Algeria, in the 1990s. The monks are contem- into the monastery just before Christmas Midnight Mass. Fr. Christian calmly tells them that evidence emerging with documen- tation, more open and available, the violence is known to be perpe- platives, who pray and work in si- he can’t help them because it is trated by both sides, including the lence and earn their sustenance. In a sacred day. He quotes from the military. The centre of the film, spite of being contemplatives they Koran and the fighters leave them however, is the life of the monks do have strong bonds of friend- to continue their celebration. and their preparation for death. ship with the Muslim community In another gut wrenching The screenplay does not shy around them. The Superior, Broth- episode the monks continue to away from deep and reflective er Christian (Lambert Wilson), sing while a helicopter gunship words which support the visual ac- studies the Koran and is friends swoops round and round over tion. First of all, the words from with the local Mullah. Brother Luc, the rooftop. One of them says, the scriptures, especially about (Michael Lonsdale), who runs a “staying here is as mad as becom- two together, one taken, one left, medical clinic for the villagers, also ing a monk in the first place.” and the text on losing and gain- has a useful stock of children’s Seven of the monks are killed ing one’s life are most apt. But, shoes; they sell their honey at the in the latter part of May, 1996. each of the monks is given sev- market. They are invariably invited Towards the finale, Brother eral opportunities to speak about to attend the village celebrations. Luc is shown serving wine and his vocation and his commitment. Being French expatriates the playing a record of Swan Lake It grows stronger as the risk situ- monks are increasingly viewed during their evening meal. The ation becomes more precarious with suspicion, by the government camera gently moves around the and their lives are endangered. troops who keep watch against table playing on the smiles and Yes, Xavier Beauvois’ “Of terrorists as well as by terrorists tears on their faces. This is a scene Gods and Men” is Christian cin- themselves. When a group of which is the moral and emotion- ema at its best - beautifully filmed, Croatian workers are murdered, al heart of the remarkable film. with a haunting soundtrack, sen- the authorities urge the monastery The group of middle aged sitive performances and a grip- to accept a military guard, which and elderly men is very endear- ping human story that deals with they refuse on grounds that the ing and totally credible. There is faith, community, inter-religious villagers don’t have any protec- a very touching scene when an dialogue and the meaning of vo- tion. As more foreigners are killed elderly monk falls asleep in bed cation. Filmed in Morocco, the the monks are urged to leave, and with his glasses on, book in hand, theme of the film is matched they deliberate slowly and careful- his brother monk gently removes by the beauty and austerity in its ly over this. One tells the villagers them and covers him with a blan- landscapes and in the interiors of they are “birds on a branch, not ket. Lambert Wilson does a mas- the monastery; in the interior lives sure whether to fly”, but the villag- ter performance as leader of the of the monks, their commitment ers tell them they are the branch it- community; his inner struggles to God, to their order and to the self, providing protection from the play in silence on his features. people. The director shows an in- chaos beyond. Finally the monks While the film expertly builds stinct for depicting the details of unanimously decide to stay in soli- up the background of post-colo- monastic life with sensitivity and darity with their Muslim friends. nial Algeria, corrupt government, strong insight into monastic life. The tension builds when a extreme Islamists like Taliban Peter Malone group of Muslim fighters break imposing terror in the towns and COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 37 Smart Companion India July 2010 37
  • 38. wEb SitE S ar news was established in 1981, by the Indian Catholic Press As- sociation (ICPA) to gather and dissem- inate news about South Asia. Reports on religious events and trends through a network of correspondents in the re- gion. It provides accurate and speedy news and features to Christian peri- odicals, personnel and organizations. SARNEWS website covers issues of Christian concern that affect the Catholic and other Churches, denomi- nations and society at large. Through its service, SAR NEWS is commit- ted to promoting peace, justice, religious harmony, ethnic relations, ecolo- gy, environment, health, development, gender equality, issues affecting the poor, the minorities and the marginalized. It informs and assists newspa- pers and periodicals, Church leaders and other decision makers by high- lighting events and trends in Church and society. It covers the whole of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. With correspondents placed in every region, SAR NEWS insists on ob- jective, impartial and comprehensive reporting. Besides covering spot news, it specializes in analytical, interpretative reporting and features. The Indian Catholic press Association (ICPA) is a Professional organi- zation of Catholic News papers, Periodicals, News Agencies, Publishing Houses, Working Journalists and journalism Teachers, promoting excel- lence and competence. It works in collaboration with the Catholic Bish- ops Conference Of India (CBCI), the South Asian Catholic Press Asocia- tion (SACPA) and the International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP). Triple Filter Test something good?” “No, on the contrary...” “So,” Socrates continued, “you “Before you tell me I’d like you to want to tell me something about pass the Triple Filter Test.” Diogenes that may be bad, even ‘Triple filter?” asked the ac- though you’re not certain it’s quaintance. true?” “That’s right! Before you talk The man shrugged, a little to me about Diogenes let’s take embarrassed. “You may still pass a moment to filter your message the test though, because there is a to me. The first filter is ‘Truth’. third filter of Usefulness. Is what Have you made absolutely sure you want to tell me about Dio- that what you are about to tell genes going to be useful to me?” me is true?” “No!” the man said, “No, not really.” O ne day an acquaintance ran up to Socrates and said, “Hi, do you know what I just “Actually I just heard about it.” “Well,” concluded Socrates, “All right,” said Socrates, “Now “if what you want to tell me is let’s try the second filter, the filter neither ‘True’ nor ‘Good’ nor heard about Diogenes?” of ‘Goodness’. Is what you are even ‘Useful’, why tell it to me or “Wait a moment,” said Socrates. about to tell me about Diogenes anyone at all?” COMP 38 Smart Companion India January 2011 38 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 39. nEw bookS INSPIRING BOOKS: MUSIC ALBUM Priest: Human Face of Divine Compassion Dr. GEORGE THERUKAATTIL In this book, Dr. Therukaattil touches the core of the New Testa- ment priesthood by presenting the divine compassion explicated in Je- sus’ priesthood. One who closely reads the letter to Hebrews, the only New Testament document on the priesthood of Christ, will agree with the thesis that the author brings out in the book: “The spirit of com- passion is the main trait in the priestly personality of Christ. It is what made him a mediator between God and man – in fact a priest’ (p.57). The first two chapters deal with the meaning of compassion while presenting God’s compassion as the source of Christ’s priesthood, the third and fourth chapters deal with the priestly ministry as a min- istry of compassion, and the fifth chapter carries the author’s reflec- tions on the formation of candidates to priesthood in the spirit and praxis of compassion. For an effective training to become priests after the heart of Jesus, the candidates should be more exposed to contacts with the poor, the sick and the suffering, he asserts. “The self-emp- tying and self-donation after the compassionate Jesus for the ser- vice of the Kingdom of God, should be the goal of seminary for- mation programme” (p. 155). Bishop Bosco Penha recommends this book with the words, “to be thoroughly studied both by the staff and students in the context of seminary formation” (pp. 10-11). Karunikan Books, Kochi-15, 2009; pp.199; Dr. Mathew Manakatt Price: ` 100. Contact no: 09745215467 Paurastya Vidyāpitham Vadavathoor, Kottayam Proximity with the Other: ROGER BURGGRAEVE Emmanuel Levinas is the great Post modern Franco - Jewish Philosopher, whose works cen- tre around humans and relationships. Based on his philosophy, Roger Burggraeve examines the relationship between the self, the other, society and politics. The book unveils a multidimensional concept of responsibility, which is often seen as the extension of free- dom and self-interest. Devotional Album Levinas sheds light on Eeshavayam is a compilation of songs from the another view of re- film Christaayan produced by Satprakashan Sanchar sponsibility, namely Kendra, the communication wing of the SVD. The responsibility that en- lyrics of the songs have been written after much ables ethical proximity research, reflection and learning about all the cultures with the other. Some of the country. The album contains 11 songs starting aspects of the book re- with a lullaby of Mother Mary for her Child Jesus. 10 bounds the author’s tes- popular playback singers have lent their voice to the timony about his own tracks. The album is a sweet soother to the minds of encounters with Levi- the listeners, against the present craze for noisy music. nas. A ‘must read’ title Music is ‘double prayer’ St. Augustine said. This by all who considers album strives to lead the listeners to their inner world personal relationships to experience God in silence. The divine touch on the Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore. vital to one’s mission. human souls can lead them to an inner awakening. Price ` 125 . Contact no: 08041116137 COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 39 Smart Companion India July 2010 39
  • 40. logoS Jan 16:2nd Sunday of the year the baptism of John the Baptist of defeat or fear. But the evange- (1:30-34), Jesus is revealed to all. list deduces it as the fulfilment of John 1:29-34 There is lot of goodness that re- God’s plan revealed through the mains unknown and hidden in prophets (4:14-16). It is important Context and Theme and around you. Your words and that in your life too, the will of Jn 1:19-40 presents John the deeds should help to unveil the God must be the criterion that dic- Baptist’s testimony about Jesus. hidden goodness of those around tates your actions, even withdraw- Today’s gospel deals with the you. It is then that your family and als. There are moments when you second day’s testimony. The fo- society becomes noble, divine. have to withdraw and accept your cal theme is Jesus’ identity - who 3. The priests and Levites ask failures. If that is in accordance He is. Jesus is identified as “the John, “Who are you?” (1:19-21). with the will of God, even your fail- Lamb of God ”, “the one who John does not answer that question. ure would turn into great success. takes away the sin of the world”, Instead, he describes who Jesus is 1. Jesus invitation to his listeners “one who baptizes with Holy (1:29). What is most vital in your is for a change of heart. The rea- Spirit”, and “the Son of God”.. life is not ‘who you are’ but who Je- son for such a change is the immi- Message sus is to you. That determines the nence of the Kingdom of heaven 1. John the Baptist came for tes- quality of your life. Your life ac- (4:17). Today, he invites you too, to timony (1:7). His testimony is “the quires meaning and worth through a change of heart. The Kingdom is one coming after me is greater your relationship with Jesus. not far from you; rather it is quite than me”(1: 27-30). Witnessing Jan 23: 3rd Sunday of the year near to you. However, you have not to the greater one (1:33-34) his entered the Kingdom. Unless you Mt 4:12-23 change your mind and heart you life acquires meaning and worth. Your life too is rendered signifi- cannot enter in it. In other words, Context and Theme cant, when your life and work you have to change your way of brings out the greatness in oth- Jesus begins his ministry imme- looking at things, your thinking ers, or when your life makes oth- diately after his baptism (3:13-17) patterns, and your life-style. The ers great. When you beget a son and the temptation (4:1-11). Jesus’ first disciples of Jesus proved greater than you, produce a dis- initial proclamation (4:12-17) and their change of mind in the act of ciple more enlightened than you, the call of four fishermen (4:18- by leaving behind their boats and or a friend more famous than you, 22) are the two central themes. nets to follow Jesus. Till that time, your life becomes meaningful. Message they had placed their trust on these 2. John tells about Jesus as “the At the news of John’s arrest, Je- precious possessions- boat and one standing among you whom sus withdraws into Galilee (4:12). net- for their livelihood. Once they you do not know” (1:26). But at This could be interpreted as a sign heeded to the call of Jesus, Jesus Jesus Began ToTeach... A simple, unique exegetical journey through the Sunday Gospels 40 Smart Companion India January 2011 40 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 41. became the anchor of their trust, of Christ. Through this uninter- Message their security. This was indeed a rupted communication with Jesus drastic change of mind and heart 1. Salt is known for its specific you will gradually be transformed that occurred in the first disciples. qualities of giving taste to food, into a genuine follower of Jesus. When you place your trust in Je- preserving it from decay, and 2. The Kingdom of Heaven sus, your life-style and patterns of healing wounds. Jesus urges his belongs to those who are poor in thinking begin to change – you disciples never to lose their salti- spirit (5:3). One who is poor in get transformed into his likeness. ness. What is the saltiness of your heart depends on others for every- 2. The first disciples were fish- life? It is your identity as a child thing. God is the only dependable ermen. Jesus tells them, “If you of God. It is your experience of person for anything and every- follow me, I will make you fish- God as your Father. That specific thing. You are poor in spirit when ers of men” (4:18-19). This is experience adds qualitative ‘taste’ you depend on God for every- promise of a great change. Be- to your life. It also enables you to thing. God, being your father, will fore meeting Jesus they caught safeguard yourself from all evil, not let you down. This must be fish. Once they met Jesus, they from adversities/adversaries; the your basic conviction. If so, you are promoted as fishers of men. filial experience brings healing to come under the purview of God’s The presence of Jesus brings in your ‘wounds’. That is why Jesus reign, thereby becoming His child. great changes in your life. But it reminds you of the importance of 3. Possession of the Kingdom is important that you are with Je- conserving your saltiness. If you is synonymous to being sons/ sus. Be constantly aware of His were to lose your awareness and daughters of God (5:5). This is presence in your life; He is always conviction that God is your Father, because the Kingdom of heaven with you. That would bring about you would lose the ‘taste’ of life and belongs to God and you are His tremendous change in your life. ‘taste’ for life; you would collapse child and you receive an inheri- at the smallest hurdle, succumb Jan 30: 4th Sunday of the year tance from the possession of your even to minor hurts. So do all you Father – the Kingdom. Through Mt 5:1-12 can to preserve your saltiness, your his temptations Jesus has taught sense of being a child of God. the way to become a son/daugh- Context and Theme 2. The noblest of duties for a ter of God, (4:1-11). (All three Today’s gospel is the first part disciple is to spread the light. Your temptations of Jesus converge on of the Sermon on the Mount life will either spread light or bring to the core question – Is He the (5:1-7:29), which begins with the darkness. What do you do with Son of God?). By gaining victory beatitudes (5:2-12). What is the your life? What do you spread into over the tempter, Jesus teaches greatest blessedness? This is the the lives of other people? Do you that one who does the will of theme of today’s gospel. Accord- communicate hope, confidence God (4:4), one who places one’s ingly, inheritance of the Kingdom and the sunshine of warmth to trust in God (4:7), and one who is the greatest blessedness (5:3, those who come in contact with submits oneself to God (4:10), is 10, 11). It is equal to becoming you? Do your life and words prop the true son/daughter of God. Sons of God (5:9). The net ef- up hope and optimism in the life Consequently these are conditions fect of that blessedness is to be of people around you? That is to your divine sonship/daughter- comforted by God (5:6), to get the way to become light of the hood. You become a son/daugh- satiated by God (5:4), and to re- world, as Jesus invites you to be. ter of God in the measure you ceive mercy from Him (5:7). In 3. Jesus speaks of a light that seek His will, place your trust in short, the Beatitudes portray gives light to all in the house (5:15). Him, and submit yourself to Him. the way to inherit the Kingdom It is indeed a delight to be in a fam- Feb 6: 5th Sunday of the Year ily, to be the light of a family. To and to become children of God. Mt 5:13-16 be in a family implies togetherness Message - not to be alone. You are called to 1. The disciples came to him and Context and Theme communicate the joy of together- Jesus began to teach them (5:1-2). ness and caring love. Jesus invites The thread of the sermon on the The beatitudes affirm that the you to a togetherness qualified by mount is the communication be- greatest blessedness is to be a son/ love and care. All the more he in- tween Jesus and his disciples. In daughter of God. Jesus further ex- vites you to be a light in the family, fact, this communication is the core plicates that the primary responsi- i.e., to light a lamp in the hearts of of Christian discipleship. Build up bility of the one who is blessed to those who are dear to you, when- a communication line with Jesus; be a son/daughter of God is to ever you are together with them. that is the primary and necessary become the salt of the earth and the light of the world (5:13-16). Dr. Jacob Naluparayil MCBS requisite to become a disciple COMP Smart Companion India | January 2011 41 Smart Companion India July 2010 41
  • 42. final Cut The Church and the priests in particular have to confront this crisis at various levels. Obviously, it has to begin with a personal soul searching: a solid look at one’s own convictions, spirituality, self care, friendships and accep- tance of one’s own brokenness. Priesthood, especially celibate priesthood, cannot be the result of sheer personal efforts. It is a grace, nurtured and cultivated day in and day out. Secondly, the Church and the priests have to learn their lessons from the past, particularly, from the experience of western churches in han- Priests: dling sexual abuses. Thirdly, the Catholic Church may have to be willing to look at the possibility of married priests. This makes all Time for soul the more sense when one realizes the fact that some of the priests who get into trouble are highly acclaimed pastors, appreciated by searching one and all. In an interview Fr. Thomas J. Reese S J reflected on the crisis of pedophilia they had faced in the U.S. which taught them T wo news items surface in my mind right now: first, accused of a financial scam, a The nostalgia of bygone days when priests were esteemed as solid lessons. His insight that protecting the victim is of prime importance is very relevant here. leaders of communities still lin- priest, eminent and popular in the ger. Irrespective of religion, caste “Forgiveness, yes; but a sin that country, is transferred into ‘wil- or class, people would flock to betrays the trust of the commu- derness’; second, a married lady him for prayers, advice and even nity must have consequences”, claims that her parish priest has innocent entertainments. In fact, seems like a valid insight for us fathered her third child. She has he was the only educated person too. approached the court for justice. in the village/ town and everyone Crisis times invite us to take a These are not common cases needed him and trusted him. sincere look at the formation of and yet with the media around Scandals tend to erode the un- our priests. Quantity we have, to pour oil on the fire, priests in questioned or even naïve trust of but do we have genuine quality? general feel caught up in a whirl people, in their priests. A senior Is our formation outmoded? Is wind. priest was once recalling an ex- the theology and philosophy they They are in trouble for various perience of his younger days. He learn become communicative, reasons: missionary priests who had boarded the train to Calcutta helping them to understand and are attacked for their genuine ef- from Chennai. Just as the train respond to people in need? Does forts to ‘liberate’ people; priests in was moving, the father of beauti- it generate the compassion of Khandamal, Principals and teach- ful young girl rushed towards Jesus in our pastors? ers in the North East etc, attacked him and told him: ‘Father, my The Church still needs priests. and held at ransom by terrorist daughter is travelling alone. Please You ask a believer, or a genuine groups, or beaten up on their way take care of her.” And the father pastor. At the end of the day, they to churches and back. Still a few walked out in absolute trust and are happy that there are still some others -luckily few- are attacked confidence. How many parents good priests around. And that for their mischief, be it sexual would trust their daughters with a may well be the reason that the misconduct, financial irregulari- priest today? people suffer even the bad ones. ties or arrogance. son of man COMP 42 Smart Companion India January 2011 42 Smart Companion India | July 2010
  • 43. - A Must for Theological & Philosophical Libraries - An Indispensible Reference Book for Research Scholars Compassion Passion for Communion Festschrift for Prof. George Therukaattil m es! g Ti g in al len Ch kf or B oo g ing al len A A Ch C For Copies Plz Contact: 09495046051 09745215467 COMP This book contains 25 thought - provoking, inspirational and well studied articles of Eminent Theologians Smart Companion India | January 2011 43 Smart Companion India July 2010 43 and Philosophers on the theme of Compassion and Communion
  • 44. January 2011 / Smart Companion India RNI No KER M6 17349/10 (R-DY) 44 Smart Companion India | July 2010 Printed, Published and Edited by Jacob Chacko, owned by Jacob Chacko. Published from Kalpaka Bungalow, Perumanoor P o, Kochi 682 015. Eranakulam Dt. and Printed at Mangalam Press, Kottayam. Editor: Jacob Chacko