Karnataka – Too little, too late *Take care of old Mass books
Karnataka, December 2, 2011: Church leaders today called on the Karnataka government to bring the real perpetrators of sectarian violence in 2008 to justice, following its decision yesterday to drop charges leveled at 338 Christian youths.
Karnataka’s decision to withdraw charges against the Christian youths is highly commendable, but the guilty ones are still at large, they said.
Charges were leveled at the Christians for reacting against a wave of attacks in 2008 against churches and prayer halls by militant Hindu groups who had accused Christians of trying to make forced conversions.
The decision to withdraw the charges was made by state Chief Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda at a cabinet meeting yesterday.
“The Church in Karnataka is grateful to the government, but this is not enough,” Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore said.
“The government has failed to identify those who made innocent youths suffer for more than three years,” said the archbishop, who is also the president of Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights.
He urged the government to reject a report from an inquiry into the violence by Justice B. K. Somashekhara Commission, as it had not identified any of the real ringleaders.
Another Catholic bishop questioned why it took so long to drop the charges.
“We knocked at every possible door. If this decision was taken earlier we would have been much happier,” said Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore.
Many of the youths who were charged expressed relief but said they should never have been accused in the first place.
One of them, Stany D’Cunha from Mangalore, said: “I had to attend court nine times in the last three years because a criminal case was registered against me because I was in a prayer group in our church.”
Before the cabinet meeting yesterday, the chief minister also assured the Christian community the government will help restore 83-churches in the state.
Take care of the old Mass books
“Whether or not the Sacramentary has been blessed by an official rite, it is appropriate to treat it with care,” the bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship said in a recent response to several queries from U.S. Catholics. “Its disposal should be handled with respect.”
The bishops’ liturgy office recommends “burying the Sacramentary in an appropriate location on church grounds, or perhaps in a parish cemetery,” after the switch to a new liturgical translation on Nov. 27.
“Some have even suggested following a custom used in various Eastern churches,” they noted, “whereby liturgical books or Bibles are placed in the coffin of the deceased as a sign of devotion and love for the liturgy.”
Some Catholics may be surprised to learn that it is appropriate – and even customary – to burn or bury old liturgical books and other religious items.
According to the U.S. bishops’ secretariat, the ashes of liturgical books should be collected and “placed in the ground in an appropriate location on church grounds.”
Catholic tradition offers these means of disposal in order to ensure that objects used in worship are not casually discarded or mistreated, even when they are no longer needed for use or reference.
The liturgy office advised parishes to keep a copy of the old liturgical translations in their archives or libraries, after the switch to the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.
Hymnals and hand missals are also among the types of items that would traditionally be blessed, and should therefore be replaced respectfully after the changeover.
But the secretariat acknowledged it “might be difficult to appropriately dispose of a large number of copies of such books.”
If burning and burial are impractical, non-archived hymnals and hand missals “could be stored for use by prayer or study groups in the parish, offered to parishioners for their own private devotional use, or donated to other small communities that could effectively make use of them.”
The secretariat also noted that the new liturgical books ought to be blessed, using the rite provided in the Church’s official “Book of Blessings,” before their first use on 2011′s first Sunday of Advent – possibly at a weekday Mass the preceding Saturday, or outside Mass at a separate parish gathering.
- can/ewtn news