ASIA/INDIA - Bishops: the Church must leave its "comfort zone" and reach the suburbs

Monday, 14 March 2016 local churches   poverty   hinduism   religious freedom   democracy  

Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) - "As citizens of the country, we put our trust in democratic values and in the Indian Constitution. Trusting in the grace, love and mercy of God, we walk to accomplish the mission that God has entrusted us. We appeal to all people of good will in India to cooperate with us for a better church and a better society": is how the Indian Bishops expressed themselves in the final document of their 32nd Plenary Assembly, held from March 2 to 9 in Bangalore, on the theme "The answers of the Church in India to today's challenges".
The Document, sent to Agenzia Fides, recalls that "the Church in India offers a significant contribution to nation-building through education, social development, health care and service to the poor". Among the main issues like growing materialism, consumerism and dependence on social media, migration, the gap between rich and poor, corruption, illiteracy, child labor, religious freedom and intolerance, religious fanaticism and fundamentalism, the violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution are cited.
The Bishops reaffirm the vocation and mission of the Church. "As a community of disciples of Christ, the Church is at the service to the Kingdom of God. As an inclusive and welcoming community, the Church, which is a constant presence of Christ, actualizes the values of love, justice, equality, mercy and peace. As light, salt and leaven in society, it lives in complete solidarity with the people, especially with the poor. "
In response to the challenges which the Indian context presents, the document touches various points: family life; the renewal of consecrated life; the lay faithful and the mission of the Church; ecumenism; inter-religious dialogue; apostolate in the field of education, care of the earth; a new way of being Church.
The general approach is to try to be a community close to the people, imbued with proximity, openness and acceptance in all the pastoral fields: "A new way of being Church - shown by examples such as Mother Teresa and Pope Francis - calls to open new paths, to leave comforts and privileges, bringing all the mercy, grace and love of Christ". We - concludes the Bishops’ text - are asked to "obey the call of the Lord in order to reach all the suburbs, in the light of the Gospel". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/03/2016)