Despite Problems, Church In India Is Vibrant
Feb 12, 2007
The Catholic Church in India has many problems. However, it is the fourth biggest conference in the Catholic world and it has the highest number of priests and religious in any one country, which is a clear sign of the vibrancy of the faith life of the Indian Catholic community”, declared President of CBCI, Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo.
New Delhi, Feb. 12, 2007 (CBCI News) Archbishop of Ranchi, Cardinal Toppo was speaking to executive secretary of CBCI Commission for Social Communications Fr. Henry D’Souza during an interview at CBCI Centre, New Delhi on Feb. 12, 2007.
Expressing satisfaction at the overall situation of the Church in India he said, “the history of Church in India is incredible, considering the fact that Christians comprise only a minuscule 2.3 per cent of the country’s population”.
Highlighting the contributions of the Catholic Church in India he opined that the Church has made significant contributions in all spheres of life be it education, healthcare, communications or social service and it will maintain this momentum.
“However, the Catholic Church in India has its own set of problems as it is very much part of the civil society which faces many problems and challenges. The Church has stood by the people irrespective of their caste or creed through thick and thin”, stated Cardinal Toppo.
“We should thank God for all the remarkable contributions of the Church to the society which would not have been possible without his grace and for being with the Church all these years”, he added.
Quoting St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Cardinal said, “We must do everything possible as if everything depends on us and pray as much as possible as if everything depends on God”.
Talking about the much-debated issue of ‘euthanasia’ or mercy-killing, the Cardinal stated, “Life is a gift of god, nobody has the right to take it away.”
Putting forth the Catholic Church’s stand he maintained that as Christians it is our duty to take care of the infirm or the terminally-ill to make their lives more bearable rather than taking their lives.
“It is a God-given opportunity for us to serve the incurable and show them that God loves and cares for them. By being humane to such people, we differentiate ourselves from animal world”, he declared.
“Euthanasia is a part of ‘culture of death’ that has enveloped the world, to counter it we must oppose it and foster a culture of life that preserves human life in all forms”, he stated emphatically.
Responding to the hardships the Catholic institutions are facing in M.P. and Chattisgarh on the issue of tribal-lands, he pointed out that the Catholic institutions are being targeted and discriminated against by the authorities as other institutions in similar lands have been left untouched.
“Targeting of the Catholic institutions is a blatant case of discrimination by those in power and such discriminatory practices have no place in a democratic polity like India”, opined the Cardinal
“Catholic institutions in so-called tribal lands have existed for years and have only worked for the good of the society, both tribal and non-tribal irrespective of caste, creed or religion”, asserted the Cardinal.
However, he maintained that this planned agenda against minorities will not succeed, and ultimately, “only truth shall prevail”.
Commenting on the government’s special economic zone (SEZ) programme, he held that development should not be brought about at the cost of destruction, certainly not at the expense of the poor farmers as was the case with SEZs.
“Human person should always be at the centre of development and it is the responsibility of the government to take care of the poor people who become victims of development”, he affirmed.
He said that policies such as SEZ only contribute to the ‘culture of death’ which is detrimental for the society instead one should adopt the path of inclusive development or ‘development with a human face’ which promotes development of all members of the society.