Indian Catholic News

Mumbai Catholics demand justice of rape victims

The Archdiocese of Bombay issued a statement on April 14 summarizing the anger and disappointment of the Church.


Catholics in various parishes of Mumbai archdiocese launched protests demanding action against the criminals who raped girls in Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

"Evil exists and perpetuates because good people are silent," said a statement from the archdiocese April 14.

“We hope to awake the collective conscience of the community and the nation and say this is not the India we love. We don't want well-crafted advertising statements or campaigns but action on the ground that provides for a safe India," said the statement issued by Father Nigel Barret.

In Thane, Bishop Allwyn D'Silva is organising a rally and a signature campaign at St John the Baptist Church on April 18. He said, "We are inviting an advocate to explain the legal position and other speakers to communicate the gender aspect.

“The culprits must be brought to book and victims must receive speedy justice and compensation." Bishop Allwyn said parishes could organise similar rallies or a show of solidarity.

Fr Warner D'Souza, the parish priest of St Jude Church in Malad East, urged parishioners to wear black outfits to weekend mass.

"This is the least we can do. In another country the Kathua incident would be treated like a war crime. The situation in our country has reached breaking point," he said. Fr Warner also invited parishioners to speak on gender discrimination.

Fr Felix D'Souza who helms one of the largest parishes in the city, St Anthony's Church in Vakola, led parishioners in observing a minute of silence at all masses on April 14 and 15, Saturday and Sunday, "to symbolise the solidarity of a nation in mourning". "We raise three slogans -- we protest, we demand justice and may God protect our country," he said.

Fr Nigel said the Church has always stood in solidarity with victims of injustice. "Too often we are silent to the pain and suffering around us. Many people tend to think that if it does not affect me then it's not my problem. Even though these incidents have happened far away from Mumbai (they do matter). This is not a protest, it's not political but our collective mourning as a community," he said.

Source: Times of India

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