Pope Benedict XVI nominated the Cardinal to Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Council for Eastern Congregations.
Pope Benedict XVI nominated the cardinal to the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, of the Vatican and the Council for Eastern Congregations.
The Council for Eastern Congregation oversees the affairs of those hierarchies in the Catholic fold that follow eastern traditions, including the Syro-Malankara and the Syro-Malabar churches.
A church spokesman in Thiruvananthapuram here said the Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, formed in 1964, was entrusted with the task of promoting understanding between the Catholic Church and other religions.
The pontifical council would also promote studies on all other major religions of the world and train churchmen to engage themselves in meaningful dialogue with those following different traditions of faith.
Mar Cleemis, 53, was elevated to the status of cardinal in November last year.
He is one of the youngest cardinals in the apex body of the Catholic Church, entrusted with the power of electing the Pope when a need arises.
- the hindu
Kerala, January 18, 2013: The seminar organised by Imams Council, Kerala as part of their yearly state wide campaign ‘Priyappetta Nabi’ [our dearest prophet] close to the Milad day celebrations, observed that the nation could overcome today’s financial crisis by enacting the economic directions of Prophet Muhammad [SAW]. The seminar was inaugurated by Kalamasseri Juma Masjid Imam PK Sulaiman Maulavi.
Former minister and CPIM leader NK Premachandran opined that social imbalance occurs when prophetic teachings get confined to class rooms. The financial crimes and poverty will decrease only when the world start discussing the economic reforms preached by prophet Muhammed, he said. Extensive interests rates are one among the major crisis faced by the nation, he noted.
Arch Bishop Baselios Marthoma Yakob Prathaman, Kayamkulam MES College Lecturer Dr Manoj, Imams Council President T Abdurahman Baqavi, General Secretary Abdul Rahman Faisy Kadavallur, Sunni Yuvajana Sangham [SYS] state organising Secretary Ahmed Ukhail, Jaleel Saqafi, Campus Front of India [CFI] state president VM Fahad, Muvatupuzha Ashraf Maulavi, Popular Front of India [PFI] district president Abdunnur Maulavi, Abdul Salam Faizy, MEM Ashraf Maulavi, and Sadruddin Maulavi spoke at the seminar.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) has come out in support of nursing community that has been demanding fair salaries for some months.
In his May Day message, KCBC Labor Commission chairperson Bishop Jose Porunnedom of Mananthavady, called for setting up a Hospital Regulatory Authority to monitor the health care sector in Kerala.
Referring to the allegations that Church-run organizations were not paying decent remuneration to their staff, the message said, “Injustice toward those working with Catholic organizations cannot be justified”.
However, the condition of the nurses working in private hospitals is pathetic, Bishop Porunnedom said and noted a “huge difference” in the salaries of nurses and doctors.
Quite often nurses do not get a salary proportional to the amount they spent for studies,” the prelate noted.
Coming down heavily on doctors, the message said, “There are doctors who do not want their salary to be accounted to evade taxes. The hospital managements that need their services are forced to misappropriate account.”
The KCBC message comes in the backdrop of nurses strike in several hospitals around the country for fair salaries and decent working conditions.
The prelate also observed unrest brewing in the unorganized sector as sales girls, non-medical staff, teachers of unaided schools and domestic workers get not even the minimum wages.
He alleged that neither the government nor the trade unions have shown interest in the welfare of laborers in the unorganized sector.
Kerala, April 22, 2012: The judicial first class magistrate court has turned down an application for an urgent hearing on the alleged role of Cardinal Alencherry and Union minister K V Thomas, ‘in trying to facilitate the release of Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen’. Petitioner T G Mohandas from Koovappadom had alleged criminal conspiracy by the cardinal and the minister.
The judge, S K Anil Kumar, held that the application to advance hearing on the case to record the statements of Alencherry and K V Thomas cannot be heard urgently as the court is already tied up with ascertaining evidence in other cases and as “there is no urgency” to hear the case. Observing that the case was filed this year and is posted for a hearing on April 28, the court decided not to allow the application for an early hearing.
In the petition, Mohandas alleged that the cardinal and the minister engaged in criminal conspiracy and tried to facilitate the release of the Italian marines. The petitioner alleged that the cardinal’s statement on February 21 to Italian media that he has urged local authorities in Kerala not to ‘precipitate action’ amounts criminal conspiracy as his efforts were to help the Italian marines.
“I immediately contacted the Catholic ministers to ask the Kerala government not to take precipitate action,” Alencherry was reported to have told Catholic news agency Fides in Rome.
“It seems that the opposition wants to exploit the situation and manipulate it for political motives by talking about ‘Western powers’ and ‘the drive for American domination’,” Alencherry was quoted by Fides.
Kochi: Allegations of criminal conspiracy against cardinal George Alenchery and Union Minister KV Thomas, in trying to facilitate escape of Italian marines accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen, need not be heard urgently, a magistrate court here has ruled.
Judicial First Class Magistrate of Kochi decided not to allow an application by TG Mohandas from Koovappadom seeking urgent hearing of his petition filed in February.
The judge, SK Anil Kumar, held that the application to advance hearing on the case to record the statements of Alenchery and KV Thomas cannot be heard urgently as the court is already tied up with ascertaining evidence in other cases and as “there is no urgency” to hear the case.
Observing that the case was filed this year and is posted for a hearing on April 28, the court decided not to allow the application for an early hearing.
In the petition, Mohandas alleges that the cardinal and the minister engaged in criminal conspiracy for trying to facilitate the escape of the Italian marines, who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen while they were employed on deputation onboard Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie to protect against pirate attacks.
The petitioner has alleged that the cardinal’s statement on February 21 to Italian media that he has urged local authorities in Kerala not to take “precipitate action” in a row between Italy and India amounts criminal conspiracy as his efforts were to facilitate escape of culprits and use of power towards escape of the culprits.
“I immediately contacted the Catholic ministers to ask the Kerala government not to take precipitate action,” Alencherry was reported to have told Catholic news agency Fides in Rome.
“It seems that the opposition wants to exploit the situation and manipulate it for political motives by talking about ‘Western powers’ and ‘the drive for American domination’,” Alencherry was quoted by Fides as saying.
Yes to League, No to Rigid Muslim!
Kerala, April 20, 2012: Communalism, Casteism and Religion rule roost in Kerala, CM reduced to taking orders from High Command & Muslim command, democracy in Shambles, boot out the rot to resurrect meritocracy.
Recent events in Kerala have simply tarnished beyond measure the image of the Muslim League, the Congress party and Oommen Chandy the CM, and in that order.
First the Muslim League. Among an endless array of political parties in India, too long to enumerate, I think Muslims alone have the unique distinction of floating a political party with an unmistakable religious tag: ”Muslim League”, and take pride in it. It would be excellent in a Muslim theocratic state, but definitely a misfit in a secular country like India. So I am forced to say: Yes, to League and No to the adjective ‘Muslim’ with good-will to my Muslim brothers.
For instance, how would the public react if others followed suit and started political parties like Hindu League, Christian League or Buddhist Leage? How many non-Muslims will join a Muslim League, how many non-Hindus will join a Hindu League and how many non Christians will join a Christian league? Nay will anyone tolerate a political party with a religious tag in this day and age?
Politics must include all
The assumption of course is that politics and political parties are to be all inclusive, meant for the common good of all in a Panchayat, district, state or country. How is it that Keralites who call themselves literate and enlightened fail miserably to see this contradiction in their daily political speech and conduct? How can they parade themselves to be global (they are all over the world) and all embracing in their talks but sectarian, divisive and narrow when it comes to acting in their little narrow home state?
You can fool some people for some time, not all people, all time and everywhere. We have seen it happening in recent elections in UP, known as an illiterate state. Even the most tolerant can run out of patience. Weather enlightend or illiterate, according to Markandey Katju, “The truth is that the minds of 90 percent Indians are full of casteism, communalism and superstition.” No one wants to slap that comment on the enlightened sections of Muslims in Kerala.
But in the recent elections, the party though confined to Northern Malapuram areas, came out with flying colours with a record of 20 MLAs. Taking pride in it is quite legitimate, but not boasting over it or acting like one gone drunk with it. Critics say, it was the latter that prompted the League’s supreme command. Panakkad Shihabi Thangal to announce, ahead of anyone (which made many wonder who heads the UDF—Oommen Chandy or Thangal) that Manjalamkuzhi Ali would be its fifth minister and he would take oath together with Anup Jacob, The League stuck to it until it got its pound of flesh 100% in weight, in spite of all persuasions spread out before them by friends, foes and critics.
What are some of them? In the 140 Kerala assembly the ruling UDF has only 72, that is a wafer thin majority of two, with one seat laying vacant following the resignation of CPM’s R Selvaraj from Neyyatinkara to be won or lost by UDF or LDF, no one knows to whose benefit. With the induction of Anup Jacob and Ali the number of cabinet members rose to 21. The rule book restricts the size of the cabinet to 10% of 140-member assembly,14 or 15. This rule was kept by EMS and broken by successive governments to feed a white Elephant of a jumbo cabinet of 20 for long. Ali’s entry made it 21 for the first time. Remember, the cost of maintaining a Minister for one year is Rs.5 crore. Multiply it for five years and again with 21 to get the staggering cost of supporting a top-heavy government, all for the sake of the Aam Aadmi committing suicide at ground level for not having Rs.26 or 32 to spend.
Ruled by three KUs
What is worse, is the communal misrepresentation and imbalance in cabinet. According to 2011 census Hindus constitute 56% of Kerala’s population of 3.3 crore. Of this Muslims are 25 % and Christians 19 %. Now the shameful picture is this. Muslims and Christians have stolen the lion’s share – six ministers for each (that is a total of 12) in a 21member cabinet.
The Muslim League gets six, only because Aryadan Muhammad of the Congress also is included. Being a Muslim, weather in Congress or League Aryadan also automatically represents the Muslim community, it is argued by Sukumaran Nair of NSS and Vellapally Natesan of Ezhava community. Hence the Comment of Sukumaran Nair that Kerala is governed by three KUs — Kunjalikutty, Kungungu and Kungumani.
Finally when all these arguments failed to prevent the League from pressing for the fifth minister the KPCC met and decided and declared their decision not to give another minister. Within hours it had to revert its decision to save a sinking ship and stay afloat. Reportedly the options offered by League were: 1. It would withdraw its 4 ministers en block, 2. Give outside support, 3. if that too doesn’t work, a senior leader would leave the ship with a bunch of 10 to join the LDF to form a new government. At such a three pronged torpedo, Kerala’s Congress CM had to cave in and surrender unconditionally, it is said.
Still the CM should have stood his ground and resisted like a late Karunakaran or a living Antony, some say. These critics also ask the counter question: What if even that didn’t work and LDF formed a government? Then wouldn’t Oommen Chandy alone be put in the dock for wrecking the ship on the slender rock of a 5th minister? Left with no alternative the Congress simply had to bow and prostrate before the League and busied itself with damage control by handing over Home ministry to Thiruvanchiyoor, a senior Congress leader from Nair community to pacify the NSS and additional responsibilities to existing Majority community ministers.
Haj subsidy is another irritant. This preferential treatment given to Muslims, its use and misuse is frowned upon by other communities. During last elections Jayalatlithaa tried to make political capital out of it by promising similar subsidies for Christian and Hindus to visit their Holy places. If the government is bent on placating minorities no one can prevent it. But let it treat all minorities equally, say critics.
When it comes to the image of the Congress, one thing that makes people to look with disdain and contempt is the Congress High command’s treatment of state leaderships like vassals or kids with no brains. For every silly decision the CM and the KPCC president have to fly to Delhi to get clearance from the Madam, it looks. Where is co-responsibility and subsidiarity in Congress? That is why Congress is rootless even in States they rule. Everywhere It is a remote control rule from Delhi.
Two other things for which the Congress is roundly criticised are its craze to promote dynastic succession and its unprincipled fervour to reward defectors with favours denied to faithful party workers as in the case of the prodigal son. Anup Jacob is example for the first. What mattered for Congress was dynasty and winnability due to sympathy vote, not merit. For the second we have the case of Sindhu Joy who was in the opposite camp abusing Congress and campaigned against Chandy. Latest is making CPM-defector Selvaraj contest on the party symbol forgetting his earlier statement, he would commit suicide rather than join the UDF.
Communalism Rules Roost
All these prove one thing for certain. Democracy, whether at the national or State level, has become just a façade only, an eyewash. It is used as a fig leaf to cover all kinds of undemocratic doings to promote vested interests. Being a fig leaf it reveals more than it hides – the deplorably shameful nakedness of our honourable rulers which has become an eyesore. How?
Read a marriage ad appearing beside a news story about the final shape of Kerala Cabinet: “Nair brides, Menon brides, Mappila brides, Marthoma brides, Jacobite brides, Roman Catholic brides, Pillai brides, Nambiar brides. Izhava brides”, all are available just for the asking.
That explains best the mentality – caste and communal mentality — working behind Indian politics on national level and at state levels. Politics is simply reduced to the rule of the jungle where the dominant bull or bulls (parties) sire progenies from a hoard ready to bend or crawl before them. You call it democracy? What can be a more despicable farce? This is not rule of reason but passion, a passion that is communal to the core.
Democracy is meritocracy, selecting the right person, irrespective of caste, communal or religious affiliations, for the right post from top to bottom. In that sense I vote for V. M. Sudhiran, not Oommen Chandy, for the post of CM to start with. You vote for the rest, at the next elections if not now. And make sure not to vote for any professedly caste or religion based parties. They have no place in a democracy. If an illiterate, but roused voting public in UP could send topsy-turvy a corrupt Mayavathi with no principles (think also of Delhi civic polls), a literate and determined voting public in Kerala can and should work wonders at least at the next elections.
- james kottoor
Madhya Pradesh, March 27, 2012: Over the weekend two incidents of Christian persecution have taken place Barwani and Chindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh. In a shocking incident in Chindwara district of Madhya Pradesh under the Bichua police station three Christians are arrested from the prayer service held in a house in the village. The incident took place during the Sunday worship time. The area where incident took place is very remote and news reached to the outside world only a day after when the police had already completed all legal formalities.
Vijay Mohar, head of the Bharatiya Sevak Sangathi, who resides in Nagpur said, “They are members of my Church, they have been falsely accused of forced conversion. Police arrested them on Sunday but did not allow them to use any means of communication.”
Bichua police station in-charge Gangaram Kasera says, “We have arrested three persons namely Harichan Varti, Mayaram Padame and Santaram Parteti on a complaint by Sirpath Pawar and a few villagers. They have given us a complaint that these people were trying to convert them through illegal means. And it also created tension between communities in the locality.”
They have been charged with IPC 153 and 3-4 of Freedom of Religion Act 1968 of Madhya Pradesh. Pastor Devasish Mohar said, “The accused persons were produced in the Court and they are sent for 12 days remand.”
Shankar, one who is coordinating with the people, said, “Police have acted under pressure from the RSS and allied organizations. We were in prayer and we have not done any illegal religious conversion.”
In another incident in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh under the Chainpur police station police attempted to disrupt a three days Gospel convention. On the second day evening fundamental organizations along with police reached the venue.
Pastor Kiran said, “We had taken permission from the administration for three days, our people too have made strong objection to the police. We have told the fundamentalists too that we are not cowardice and we have followed the legal system.” He said, “We are number around fifteen hundred people, police told us to vacate the place but after tension police is providing protection.”
Barwani Christian community have declared a protest march to the collectorate on 14 April, 2012. Isai Mahasangh have declared their support to the protest march. Communist Party of India, Barwani unit too have declared support to the proposed rally. It is to be noted that in the last Assembly Election Mr. Pascal, a Christian fought election from the CPI. He had obtained over five thousand votes.
Isai Mahasangh State General Secretary said, “we will take up the matter with higher officials in State. We are also planning to take up the matter with Governor of Madhya Pradesh.”
- sanjay ekka, csf correspondent
Kerala Church award in honor of bishop
Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours in Thrissur, billed as the tallest church in Asia, has constituted an all-India award for outstanding contribution in the field of the history of Christianity in India.
The award comprises 25,000 rupees (US$ 500) and a citation.
The candidate for the award would be selected by an experts’ panel.
It would be presented at the commemorative function on the 70th death anniversary of Bishop Francil Vazhappilly in May this year.
Bishop Vazhappilly was the first Bishop of Thrissur Diocese and also the founder of the Basilica, which is famous for its Gothic style architecture.
Nearly three million people are expected to attend the Maramon Convention which got underway at Thiruvalla in Kerala yesterday.
Asia’s biggest Christian convention will be addressed by prominent evangelists from across the world including Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana from South Africa, Rev. Kang-San-Tan from Malaysia and Rev. Martin Alphons from the US.
Philipose Mar Chrysostum, senior metropolitan, of the Mar Thoma Church led the opening worship of the 117th edition of the convention.
The week-long event is being held under the aegis of the Syrian Mar Thoma Church, headquartered at Thiruvalla, about 130 km from Thiruvananthapuram.
Maramon is situated on the banks of the Pampa river, about 20 km from Thiruvalla and the convention takes place on the river bed under a temporary shed made out of coconut leaves, which can seat a lakh of people.
“Arise, let us be going” is the theme for this year.
There would be three separate sessions daily with special sessions for women and men, besides a series of prayer and devotional music sessions.
It was really an inspiring and recharging experience for everyone to spend a day with Rev Dr Joy James SJ – The dean of Loyola college Thiruvanathapuram.
He is a well versed in Pro-social programmers. He collaborated with different governments in developing manifold social projects for the empowering of women and the needy one.
He has proved his authority in this field through various innovating studies and projects like Kudumbasree which is a powerful women movement for the growth of women in society.
He introduced group activities to plan out programmers for CRI units in favor of various social issues where the religious can contribute much to the welfare of the less privileged groups or to any relevant are of the society.
He helped the groups to identify the social issues to be addressed- areas like Health work, Education, social action, and Dalit community.
The workshop, team work, and concrete training for developing programmes helped every participant to move with a motive in life for the needy to have a self awareness- which will lead to attitude and action.
Fr George Puramadathil CFIC presented his insights on Dalit Christian welfare. Fr Mathai Kadavil OIC spoke on mission and youth animation.
All unit secretaries presented annual reports and accounts. The meeting also passed a resolution to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar.
Admiring the commitment and sacrifice of Sr Valsa John the group felt that the work must go on.
In his welcome speech, RevDr Francis Kodiyan MCBS, KCMS president highlighted the fundamental principles Christian leadership.
In his inaugural address, Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath, President KCBC, exhorted every one present to be united with Jesus as we read in Gospel, ‘I am the vine and you are the branches .remain in me” Jn 15, 1-10.
He underlined the need for a deeper relationship with our leader Jesus Christ by presenting the figure of the Good shepherd in Jn.10:11.
The Kerala Conference of Major Superiors (KCMS) has convened the leadership conference for the all Kerala CRI unit executives on 9-11December at Assisi Shanthi Kendra, Karukutty.
- sr. nitya
New Delhi, December 14, 2011: First of all let me thank Rev. Fr. Babu Joseph who invited me to a give a message for this gathering organized by the staff of the CBCI and the Caritas in Delhi. I humbly consider it as a privilege to say a few words on this occasion. In my Christmas message, I would like to be in line with the Holy Father Benedict XVI who recently said in one of the parishes in the diocese of Rome that during the advent we should focus on Christ the Lord who enters our lives and brings us light and joy, without being distracted by the lights. He also mentioned that we must give things their correct value and fix our inner gaze on Christ.
We are gathered here in the capital and the CBCI being the nerve centre of the Church in India, if I could say so, I think there is a need to feel a kind of sense of responsibility. Let us ask a few questions like, has Christmas become Xmas like ex-minister?: – meaning Christmas without Jesus – Has Jesus been replaced with Santa Claus, thus strategically defeating the occasion itself? Has the preparation for the Christmas tree taken the place of the preparation for the Christmas Eucharist?
Why I say this is because some of the beautiful words of the past like “missionary”, “conversion” etc lost its original meaning and today they have become the hated vocabularies that people avoid. Will that happen to the Holy Name of Jesus? Of course, with a good intention, in order to promote communal harmony, and facilitate inter-religious dialogue there seems to be an emerging trend even at the highest levels to avoid taking the name “Jesus” and replacing it with words like “God, Lord, Ishwar, Bhagwan” etc. with a decent rider that for us these all mean the same thing. In the end, even the use of the name of Jesus might end up as an undesirable practice.
First I thought it was my feeling but later I realized that there are many who share the same feeling. Moreover, surprisingly the number of people thinking that Christmas is the birthday of Santa Claus is on the increase. I don’t know whether we can do something to stop all these dilutions and erosions of reality. Dear friends, certainly, I do not want to be a prophet of doom on a beautiful day like this and therefore I firmly hope and humbly pray that I am wrong. But let me reiterate what Holy Father said, “we should focus on Christ the Lord who enters our lives and brings us light and joy, without being distracted by the lights.” How can we in the CBCI bring Jesus Christ into the focus – not his message, please – that is only a natural consequence! How to preach Jesus Christ and not about Christian values – that is again is only a natural consequence – How to bring the focus on to Jesus Christ in all our missionary activities?
Therefore, Let us be proud of Jesus – Let us be proud of His birth. Because, there is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved. (Acts 412) You know, that’s why in that cold night the angels told the fear stricken shepherds, “Today in the city of David a saviour has been born for you”. (Lk 211)- Yes, dear all, a Savior is born for us too and we too are celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus’. Let our celebration too “bring Glory to God in the highest and peace to all on whom rests his favour”. (Lk 214). Once again I wish you all a very happy Christmas –
- franco mulakkal
Kochi, November 24, 2011: Church leaders vowed today to work for a more progressive and vibrant India. “We have to work toward lifting up the downtrodden [dalits, tribals and the poor] for the nation’s development,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias in his opening address to the 11th general session of Catholic Council of India (CCI) in Kerala.
Cardinal Gracias, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’Conference of India and archbishop of Mumbai, said “there canbe no progress without peace and without justice and forgiveness there can be no peace.” Noting that one of the major hurdles to development is corruption, he appealed for the eradication of the “scourge” from society. Church’s Role for a Better India is the theme of the four-day meeting which began today in Kochi, the southern state’s commercial hub.
Major Archbishop George Alencherry, head of the Syro Malabar Church, said globalization and consumerism have widened the gap between rich and poor. “The poor and the dalits are exploited and unless we address this issue, the country cannot progress,” he told the 150-strong gathering of bishops, priests, nuns and laity. He appealed for the Church to build bridges with other faiths in order to help speed up efforts for development and progress. During the four-day meeting, CCI members will share their experiences, reflections and suggestions on vital Church and national issues and decide on common action in which to carry out Christ’s mission. The biennial meeting comes ahead of the General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, which this year has the same theme.
In a lecture on Blessed Teresa in Kolkata yesterday, he said a genuine sense of concern for others and “warm heartedness” comes not from prayer but through “analysis and removal of negative feelings allowing no room for lies or cheating.”
Therefore it is essential that all major religions emphasize self-discipline, forgiveness, love, compassion and well-being of others, especially for the poor and downtrodden.
Noting that Blessed Teresa practiced and implemented what Jesus Christ taught, he said everyone has the same potential.
Dalai Lama said he has visited Missionaries of Charity centers and was very impressed by the sisters’ work.
“Although Mother Teresa was not physically there, her spirit was very much alive,” he told the gathering.
Calling himself a “son of the soil”, he said since 1959 he had made India his home which taught him religious harmony.
West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayan, addressing the gathering, said: “Humanity craves for peace and the world is fortunate to have such great apostles like Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama.
“We are rich to still have the Dalai Lama with us,” Narayan said.
Responding to China’s objection to his visit, the Dalai Lama said: “It is a routine thing. Anywhere in the world I go to deliver a lecture, I receive this kind of special blessing from the Chinese.”
The lecture was organized by Missionaries of Charity co-worker, Sunita Kumar, a renowned artist, and her husband, former tennis player Naresh Kumar.
MC Superior General Sister Prema was the chief guest.