Indian Catholic News

Catholics urged to become better Christians, Indians

Cardinal Oswald Gracias was addressing the Conference of Catholic Bishops in India, the gathering of Latin rite bishops.

Cardinal Gracias opening the 30th Plenary Assembly of the CCBI. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, Archbishop George Antonysamy, Archbishop Anil Couto, Archbishop Bernard Moras and Father Stephen Alathara are also seen.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the head of the national conference of Latin rite bishops, has asked member bishops to prepare their people to become “fully Indian and fully Christian” at a time when certain groups attempt to question Christians’ patriotism.

The cardinal was addressing the conference of Latin rite bishops that met in Bangalore Feb. 4, alongside the meeting of Catholic Bishops? Conference of India (CBCI), the national conference of bishops of all the three rites in the country.

“The Catholic Church needs our nation, and India needs the Church. We will be discussing our role as Indian Christians and asking our people, also to become better Indian Christians. This is the call of today to be fully Indian fully Christian,” he said.

The cardinal’s call comes after some Hindu groups made a series of attempts to forcibly conduct certain rituals inside some Christian institutions purportedly to Mother India (Bharat Mata), which created tension in some parts of central India.

Christian educational institutions have foiled the attempts with the help of police and administration, but Christian leaders see in these events an orchestrated attempt to project Christians as law breakers and those having no respect for national ethos and Hindu cultural values.

“Our responsibility is to make the gospel values present in society and make people not only think about but also discuss gospel values as an element of evangelization, be it eradication of corruption, spreading of gospel values, truth, justice, selflessness, removal of prejudices exploitation of tribals and oppression of Dalits,” the cardinal said.

“Pastors should smell the sheep and at the same time they should smell God,” stated Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

Cardinal Gracias the President of the Federation of Asian Bishops? Conference (FABC) and the member of nine-member cardinals? team Pope Francis selected to be his special advisors, was the main celebrant of opening Mass of the 30th plenary assembly of Latin conference.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), with 183 bishops from 132 Latin rite dioceses in India, is the national conference bishops mandated by the Canon Law. It is the largest in South Asia, and fourth largest in the world.


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