Cardinal Gracias speaks out against ban on homosexuality

Cardinal Gracias says criminalization is wrong.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Episcopal Conference of India, said that the Church has “never considered gay people criminals,” after the Supreme Court of India restored a law banning homosexual acts.

According to reports, Cardinal Gracias, a member of the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis on Curial reform, said “the Catholic Church has never been opposed to the decriminalisation of homosexuality, because we have never considered gay people criminals.”

“As Christians, we express our full respect for homosexuals. The Catholic Church is opposed to the legalisation of gay marriage, but teaches that homosexuals have the same dignity of every human being and condemns all forms of unjust discrimination, harassment or abuse,” Cardinal Gracias said.

India’s Supreme Court overturned a decision taken by the High Court of Delhi in 2009, which had decriminalised homosexual acts. The court said it was up to parliament to legislate on the issue. According to Section 377, a 153-year-old colonial law, a same-sex relationship is an “unnatural offence” and punishable by a 10-year jail term.

Source: Catholic Herald



Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh apologizes to Archbishop Anil Couto;



Singh apologized when a 10-member delegation, led by Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto, met him.

Police attack Dalit Christian protesting in New Delhi on Dec. 11

By Anto Akkara for CNS
New Delhi : 

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apologized to church leaders for the police beating of protesters — including priests and nuns — during a march to Parliament advocating for rights for low-caste Christians.

Singh apologized Dec. 12 when a 10-member delegation, led by Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto, called on him to press for the Christian demand for end to discrimination against Christian dalits, or members of the low castes.

Archbishop Couto was among six Catholic bishops and about a dozen of different denominations detained with 400 protesters during the march the previous day. Hundreds of the protesters from across India broke through police barricades and marched to Parliament shouting “We want justice.”

In 1950 the Indian government established a quota system in education and government jobs as a type of affirmative action for Hindu dalits.

Though these statutory privileges were later extended to Sikh dalits in 1956 and Buddhist dalits in 1990, the repeated requests of the Christian dalits — who account for two-thirds of 27 million Christians in India — have gone unanswered.

During the Dec. 11 march, police with batons charged and beat up several protesters. Undeterred, the protesters, including Catholic priests in cassocks, knelt on the road with crosses in hand, and a police truck mounted with water cannons sprayed them with muddy water several times. Church leaders alter courted arrest and were released.

“We are not going to tolerate this injustice (to the dalits) any longer, said Father Devasagayraj Zakarias, secretary of the Dalit Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. “We have made our stand clear, and the prime minister has promised to try to build consensus on our demand.”

The priest said Catholic leaders were happy that the prime minister apologized.

“Even nuns were beaten up,” said the dalit priest, who had his cassock muddied by spray from the water cannons.

Source: CNS

Dalit , Police Attack , Prime Minister , Quota

English: Manmohan Singh, current prime ministe...


Anger over seven-year-old Christian boy’s death

Father claims a cover-up and murder by Hindu fundamentalists.

Anmol Gemethi, who died in mysterious circumstances.

New Delhi:

Accusing police and doctors of shielding the accused, father of a slain Christian boy in Rajasthan, northern India, is demanding a second postmortem of his son’s body, claiming that he was brutally killed by Hindu fundamentalists.

“They are hands in glove. Doctors spoiled the first postmortem by saying that the death happened due to drowning and the police is going by the report,” Harish Gemethi, father of the slain 7-year-old boy, told today.

Gemethi, who belongs to Gamidi village of Dungerpur district, reasoned that if his son, Anmol, died due to drowning then “where did the injuries on the body come from?”

“It is the handiwork of Hindu fundamentalists, one of whom is the head of a nearby village where the body of the boy was found. They had earlier also threatened us not to come to the village because of our faith,” Gemethi, who belonged to the Believers’ Church, alleged.

Anmol’s body was found floating in a river in Tardiobri village in the district on Nov. 19, two days after he went missing.

According to Gemethi, the child’s face was mutilated beyond recognition. There were burn marks on his stomach, his toes were chopped off and one hand and leg were deeply slashed.

“My son’s face looked as if he had been burned up. His eyes, nose and ears were gone, and there was nothing that supported his neck. Yet, the police just refused to take any action,” he said.

However, police said that there was no communal angle to the case and it was an open and shut case of drowning.

The police also confirmed that they have received a fresh complaint of another postmortem Wednesday.

“Nobody was booked since police did not find any evidence against anyone but we would start investigation in to the case again from today after the fresh complaint,” Omendra Bhardwaj, Director General of Police, told

He said that the injuries on the body were inflicted after the boy’s death and are those of the bites of animals in the river as the body was lying in the river for two days.

Meanwhile, a Christian NGO Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) has sent a memorandum to the president of India, prime minister, governor of Rajasthan and other leaders to ensure justice in the case.

“An appeal was made to the conscience of those concerned to direct corrective and punitive measures immediately. Only a proper investigation and the severest punishment for the killers will serve as a deterrent,” Joseph Dias, CSF head, told

Source: UCAN News

Rajasthan ,Anger ,Christian Boy’s Death ,Tardiobri Village 
English: Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India. Polski: Pa...

English: Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India. Polski: Pałac Wiatrów w Jaipurze w Indiach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tribute to Nelson Mandela: Fr. Cedric Prakash; sj.

Every Human Has A Right




Friday, December 06, 2013

Mandela Will Never Die!-by Fr Cedric Prakash sj

Mandela Will Never Die!
 – Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
Nelson Mandela is no more! And hopefully, Mandela will never die!
The Mandela era finally came to an end last night (Dec. 5th 2013)-and its time for all of to reflect on what this one man has contributed towards making our world a more human and harmonious place.
When one looks back at the struggles he faced as a child, as a youth and later on as an elder statesman, one is simply amazed by the sheer grit and determination which characterised one of the contemporary world’s greatest figures. A large part of Mandela’s life was spent in isolation during his life sentence in the infamous Robben Island Jail. The torture he was subjected to would make any mortal give up, but with his’ never-say-die’ spirit, Mandela finally came out to freedom and  to new world in 1990; and a few years later  he became the first democratically elected President of South Africa.
His extraordinary life teaches us three key lessons:
·         if the spirit is strong- it will ultimately triumph, despite the powers and vested interests doing everything to subjugate one.
·         the belief that a non-violent struggle is the only and sure way to achieve results – something he learnt from Mahatma Gandhi.
·         divisiveness of any kind ( particularly racism) definitely has no place in a world which is becoming more and more a globalised village. Mandela believed that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and  though we are different in several ways, we are all equal.
At this moment much is being written and debated about Mandela’s legacy to the 20th & 21st century. The hard fact however remains that despite being an icon and an inspiration for millions across the world several parts continue to be ravaged with violence, hatred and divisiveness.
 Let us take Gujarat in India, for example, which gave to the world Mahatma Gandhi – one of the greatest apostles of non-violence. If one is a Muslim in Gujarat today, one is confined to specific ghettos or areas across the State. This is sadly evident in the commercial capital Ahmedabad, where a Muslim finds it impossible to buy or rent a house or a commercial establishment in the Western up-market part of the city. The tragedy is that the institutionalisation of this practice is very easily accepted by the majority community. In a State which projects itself  as ‘vibrant’ this is a blatant form of apartheid indeed!
Mandela fought against the segregation of the blacks in his native South Africa. He had to endure much because of this but then as history shows us, truth ultimately triumphed over falsehood. He is someone to be emulated. His unflagging spirit gave him the courage to speak truth to power; he did not care about the consequences that followed. What mattered most for him was that all men and women – whether black or white, rich or poor, should be able to live together, walk hand-in-hand and work side-by-side, accepting always the dignity of the other. The great thing about Mandela was his ability not to harbour any rancour or revenge for his white oppressors. He forgave unconditionally and that is why he was able to usher in a new South Africa with a hope of a better future.
The world has truly lost one of  its greatest sons! As we join in the mourning -the best way  to pay tribute to ‘Madiba’ is to “celebrate” the fact that he gave SO MUCH to this world-It  is therefore important  that each one of us wherever we are, try to do our best to realise his vision,to continue the legacy he has left us- in the simple, small ordinary events of our daily life.
 And if we sincerely do so- Mandela will never die!
                                                                                          6th December  2013
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
“PRASHANT”   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380052,Gujarat, INDIA
Tel :+91 (0)79-27455913/66522333
Cell : 9824034536
Fax:+91 (0)79-27489018
English: Nelson Mandela's prison cell on Robbe...

English: Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island Français : Cellule de Nelson Mandela, Robben Island Deutsch: Nelson Mandelas Gefängniszelle auf Robben Island Myanmasa: Robben Island (ရော်ဘင်ကျွန်း)ပေါ်ရှိ Nelson Mandela’s (နယ်လဆင် မန်ဒဲလား) ၏ထောင်အခန်း (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Mumbai Cardinal begins Advent with slum poor



Cardinal Gracias launched the campaign to raise awareness of the needy living in the city.




Dharavi slum in Mumbai.


Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai has launched the Advent Campaign against hunger and disease with a pastoral visit to Dharavi, an area known as Asia’s biggest slum.

“Pope Francis has dedicated his pontificate to economic justice, equality and peace. During his visits to poor communities, he praised the courage of the poor, urging society to receive them with love and compassion,” the cardinal said launching the initiative.

With the theme “struggle for survival– bringing hope to the urban poor,” the campaign to create greater awareness in society towards the poor who live in large urban centres.

The cardinal visited the Dharavi on Nov. 22. The area created in 1880, under British colonialism, now houses some 1 million people of multi-religious and multi-ethnic population. The area enshrines many negative aspects of India: open sewers, piles of garbage everywhere, dirt and crumbling shacks.

Mumbai’s St. Antony’s parish covers Dharavi and within a radius of about 300 metres there are six chapels. Two Christian communities are particular to the parish: Tamils (about 5,000 people) and ethnic koli (about 1,000 people).

Cardinal Gracias visited the parish and six chapels, stopping to pray and to bless all the faithful he met on his journey.



Dharavi Slum ,Mumbai ,Cardinal Gracias ,Advent ,Slum Poor




Archbishop Oswald Gracias of the Bombay Dioces...

Archbishop Oswald Gracias of the Bombay Diocese, India. Image taken by me after the Christmas midnight mass. (Cropped) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





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