ASIA/INDIA - Cardinal Cleemis: "Being a minority is not a disadvantage: it is beautiful"

Thursday, 9 November 2017 religious minorities   religious freedom   poverty   dalit   tribalism   local churches   bishops   human rights   mission   evangelization   mercy  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "For us being a minority is not a disadvantage, because small is beautiful, small is effective. Jesus himself gathered and sent a small group to preach the Good News and to testify the Gospel. This country is ours and we must respond proactively to the existing challenges ", states Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) - the Conference that groups the Bishops of the three existing rites in India: Latin Church, Syro-Malabar Church and Syro-Malankara Church - announcing the next plenary Assembly of the Indian Bishops, to be held in Bangalore from 1 to 9 January 2018, and inviting Indian Catholics to free themselves from the "minority complex" and rediscover their baptismal mission.
As reported to Fides and written by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the Bishops' Conference, the assembly will focus on the theme: "United in diversity, for a mission of mercy and testimony", while the reflection of the episcopate will start from the verse of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus says, "Behold, I am with you always until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20).
The Church - explains the Bishops’ note - starts from the observation of being a minority in a nation, India, which is the meeting point for many religions, social groups, ethnic communities that have different cultures, languages, customs, lifestyles and historical traditions. In the country Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, tribes, Jews, groups and communities, men and women of every language and belief have lived together, to a large extent, in exemplary harmony and tolerance. "Indian society is marvelously different and plural", says Mgr. Mascarenhas.
In this context, the Church questions itself on her identity and missionary mandate to strengthen regional and local communities, always relying on the words of Christ, who promises to "be with us always, until the end of age". "We are a small percentage in the population of this immense country - notes Cardinal Cleemis - but we must not be alarmed. We persevere in supporting the country's democratic and secular approach and promoting the relevance of the Constitution", as a charter that guarantees everyone's rights.
The Bishops cite the story of Sister Rani Maria, recently beatified, as paradigmatic experience in dealing with the challenges of the future in India, some of the points on which the reflection and confrontation will be articulated: the Catholic Church in India at the service of good news; the Church as a promoter of hope; the Catholic community next to tribal peoples and Dalits, the marginalized. (PA-PN) (Agenzia Fides, 9/11/2017)

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