Bishops march with candle to protest church attacks

 

It is time government enforced “the rule of law and curb the belligerence of the outfits defiling peace,” they said.

Bangaluru:More than 100 bishops in India took out a candle light march on Friday to express their concern over the increasing threat to peace in the wake of unchecked violence against Christians in the country.

Some 140 bishops from across the country attending the 27th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) marched through the street of Bangalore chanting Hail Mary and carrying banners.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Cardinal Telespore Toppo led the march March for Peace and Harmony’ along with nuns and priests on Feb. 6. The march began from at the St John’s College of Nursing.

“Hardly a day has passed in recent months without reports of attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions from across the nation,” the archbishops said in a statement during their Feb. 3–9 meeting in Bangalore

“Churches have been torched even in the national capital while reports of ‘Ghar Waspsi’ and blatant threats to hold mass reconversions are causing anxiety to the Christians scattered in the far corners of the nation,” they said.

The bishops said they are “distressed over divisive steps from passing of resolutions to ban Christian practices at village level to an aborted national level bid to keep educational institutions open even on Christmas Day.”

Such concerted efforts at different levels raise concerns of a planned program to undermine the Christian community as second class citizens in our motherland where the community has made immense contributions in the field of education, healthcare and social service even in the remote hinterlands, they said.

They expressed concern over police manhandling a peaceful gathering of even women, children, nuns and priests at the gate of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the heart of New Delhi on February 5. Such acts raise “questions whether these constitutional guarantees are not applicable to the Christian community,” the statement said.

The recurring assaults and vandalism against Christian targets in different parts of country and failure of the guardians of law to bring the culprits to book have only worsened the air of impunity, the prelates said.

Referring to government’s inaction and silence the statement said: The silence of those responsible for upholding our Constitutional Rights and their failure to protect the community are indeed baffling.”

It is time government enforced “the rule of law and curb the belligerence of the outfits defiling peace and communal harmony in the nation,” they said.

Source CCBI statement

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2 Comments

  1. February 10, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Friends, have you heard what our Bishop did to compromise the issue where the film industry hurt the sentiments of the catholic community. If this is the way our bishops work, let them not ask us for help they our church is attacked.

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  2. Isaac Gomes said,

    February 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    On 10 Feb 2015, when Arvind Kejriwal pulled off an AAPsolute miracle by crushing the “invincible” BJP at Delhi Assembly Election, the Archdiocese of Calcutta organized a Protest against the recent rash of attack on churches in Delhi and other places.

    Fr Dominic Gomes–Vicar General, led the Rally at Park Circus 7 Point Crossing at 6 pm. He was joined by Bishop Raju, Fr Vincent Lobo, Dean of Calcutta Archiocese, Alexander Anthony – President Catholic Association of Bengal, Eugene Gonsalves – President All India Catholic Union, Shane Calvert-MLA West Bengal Legislative Assembly, Fr Moloy D’Costa – Inspector Diocesan Schools and Sunil Lucas President SIGNIS India. Prof. Maria Fernandes, Lovina Khan Social Activist and many priests, nuns and believers in religious freedom, were present. The 3000+ turnout was jointly organized with West Bengal Minority Development Council.

    Fr Dominic said “attack on churches and other holy places of minorities is attack on the Indian secularism and its Constitution.” “Christians have always worked for India’s development. Why are our places of worship and properties being attacked and destroyed?” “যে কোন ধর্মস্থানের উপর আক্রমণ এবং তার পবিত্র জিনিষ ধ্বংস করা সভ্য সমাজে কোনমতেই মেনে নেওয়া যায় না৷” he reiterated. He pepped up the gathering by plunking his guitar and singing aloud. Charles Sassoon, VP1 Catholic Association of Bengal was called to lend his voice. All the dignitaries spoke in unison against the heinous outrages on Churches in Delhi and other states. They condemned the strange silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Alexander Anthony strongly condemned the attacks on minorities and said in Indian democracy this cannot be allowed.

    Eugene Gonsalves said that though Christians were about 2.5% of the Indian population, its share in the service sector was 24%. He emphasized if all minorities were united, they would become a combined force of 30% to counter any anti-minority policy.

    Fr Dominic read out a Memorandum which was later submitted to the Governor for sending to the Prime Minister.

    Photos of the Protest Rally sent separately.

    ISAAC HAROLD GOMES
    ICPA – KOLKATA

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