Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 09 • MAR 03 - 09, 2018

01 Cover

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:40 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:40 PM ]


03 Index

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:39 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:39 PM ]


04 Engagements

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:38 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:38 PM ]


05 Editorial - Women's Role in the path of Peace and Pace of Progress

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:31 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:34 PM ]

Today more than ever, it is necessary that women are present. A woman, possessing special characteristics, can offer an important contribution to dialogue with her ability to listen, to welcome and to generously open herself to others. Her role is of prime importance for the path of humanity towards pace of progress, peace and fraternity—a path which is not at all obvious and clear, but marked by difficulty and obstacles.

Unfortunately, today, we see how the figure of woman as an educator in universal fraternity is blurred and often unrecognised, due to many evils that afflict this world, and which, in particular, affect women in their dignity and in their role. Women and children are the most frequent victims of the blind violence that takes place in the world today.

However, women have a key role to play. Women must collaborate with men in carrying out their mission as educators, in a serene and effective way. We cannot undervalue the inestimable role of women, educating in fraternity and dialogue. Within a complex society, marked by plurality and globalisation, there is need for a greater recognition of the ability of women to educate in universal fraternity.

If women are able to freely put their gifts at the service of the entire community, the way in which society understands and is organised is positively transformed, reflecting better the substantial unity of the human family. Because of this, a beneficial model for society is one that amplifies the presence of women in social, economic and political life at the local, national and international levels, as well as in the ecclesial. Women have the right to be actively involved in all areas, and their right must be asserted and protected, even by legal means, wherever they prove necessary. This involves expanding the spaces of a more incisive feminine presence.

There are so many women who, in their daily commitments, with dedication and conscience, with courage that is at times heroic, have developed and put their genius to use, their precious traits in the most varied, specific and qualified skills, combined with the real experience of being mothers and teachers.

Women as educators have a special vocation, capable of creating and growing new forms of acceptance and esteem. Education brings a wealth of implications, both for the woman herself, for her way of being, and for her relationships, for the way she deals with human life, and life in general. Because of this, men and women are called to contribute together in fostering universal brotherhood, which is, in the end, also an education in the peace and complementarity of their various and sensitive roles.

Women, intimately linked to the mystery of life, can do much to promote the spirit of brotherhood, with their care for the preservation of life, and with their conviction that love is the only force that can render the world habitable for all. In effect, women are often the only ones to accompany others, particularly the weakest in the family and in society, and victims of conflicts.

Educating in fraternity is also an essential part of interreligious dialogue. Women are often committed more than men in this area, and so contribute to a better understanding of the challenges characteristic of a multicultural reality.

However, women can also become fully involved in exchanges at the religious level, as well as those at the theological level, and are well prepared to face encounters of interreligious dialogue at the highest levels, and not just from the Catholic side. This means that the contribution of women is not limited to feminine arguments, or to encounters of only women. Dialogue is a path that man and woman must accomplish together.

(Extracts of Pope Francis' talk to the members of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, exploring the theme of 'the Role of women in the path of humanity towards Peace'.)

06 Push the Pace of Progress - Shonel R. Teke

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:29 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:30 PM ]

The year 2017 was a year of revelations, and shocking ones too! More than 50 women accused Hollywood tycoon, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual abuse through the years. When Weinstein denied the claims, social media took up the cry with #MeToo, where women from different socio-cultural, religious and political backgrounds spoke out about being victims of sexual abuse, molestation and rape.

India soon joined the global protest, with women sharing horrific experiences or simply showing solidarity with victims by posting #Me Too. Our media pointed out that we don't need a hashtag to raise awareness about a problem that is staring us in the face. In Delhi alone, registered cases of violence against women have gone up from 572 (in 2011) to 2,155 (in 2016). While courts have become a wee bit swifter in doling out punishment to sexual offenders, women still live in fear of sexual harassment and rape.

In November 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres admitted that gender violence is a "direct challenge to women's inclusion and participation in sustainable development and sustaining peace." Building on the UN's vision of sustainability and inclusion, the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report [initiated in 2006] rated 144 countries by analysing the following thematic dimensions:

• Economic Participation and Opportunity: Sex ratio in the workforce, parity in wages, leadership roles and gender-specific job roles

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08 Girl Child to Woman Leader in the Church! - Fr Anthony J Fernandes

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:27 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:28 PM ]

In the history of the Catholic Church, laywomen and women in religious institutes have played a variety of roles, and the Church has influenced societal attitudes to women throughout the world in significant ways. Prominent women in the life of the Church have ranged from Old Testament figures to the Virgin Mary and female disciples of Jesus, to theologians, abbesses, monarchs, missionaries, mystics, martyrs, scientists, nurses, hospital administrators, educationists and religious sisters. The Gospels suggest Jesus Himself broke with convention to provide religious instruction directly to women.

The Catholic Church produced many of the world's great women scientists and scholars - including the physicians Trotula of Salerno (11th century) and Dorotea Bucca (d. 1436), the philosopher Elena Piscopia (d. 1684) and the mathematician Maria Agnesi (d. 1799). Four women are honoured as Doctors of the Church: German mystic Hildegard of Bingen, Spanish mystic Teresa of Ávila, Italian mystic Catherine of Siena and the French nun Thérèse de Lisieux.

Other Catholic women have risen to international prominence through charitable mission works and social justice campaigns—as with hospital pioneer St Marianne Cope, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, or anti-death penalty campaigner Sr Helen Prejean.

In our Youth exchange programme to Germany in 2012 to the Diocese of Limburg, we witnessed how women were actively involved in the pastoral ministry, in the absence of priests. They were literally running the parish, while the priest would come on Sundays to celebrate the Eucharist. We are witnessing the active role of women in the Church in India, especially in our Archdiocese, where women are a huge majority, when it comes to grassroots workers.

Women today are also filling the ranks of the Roman Curia on a historically unprecedented level. "I think we are at a point of seeing (a different model)… a springtime for new forms of leadership… in the Church," said Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, while speaking to participants of an April 14, 2015 conference held at Rome's Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas. He referenced numerous changes being made in the ongoing reform of the Church and the Roman Curia, noting that the process has led to the opening of new doors for both women and laypersons to take up roles of leadership that had never before been open to them. The cardinal pointed out several recent examples of women serving in positions that until now were filled by men.

In 2012, Flaminia Giovanelli was appointed as the undersecretary for his Council, the cardinal recalled, making her the highest ranking laywoman in the Roman Curia, and the first laywoman to hold the position of undersecretary.

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10 Metanoia - a Journey to the Heart - Christopher Mendonca

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:26 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:26 PM ]

Conjectures of a modern-day Jeremiah (a first-person account):
The Covenant made by the LORD with my people
was referred to as the Tables of the Law,
Engraved in stone tablets, it signified permanence.
We were a people on whose hearts
the Image and Likeness of God had been permanently etched. 
So when Moses destroyed the tables of the Law
as he saw us regress into worshipping the Golden Calf,
he knew that our hearts were hearts of stone,
not malleable enough, and unwilling to be shaped.
We had taken the "spirit" out of the spiritual.
We were like blotting paper,
absorbing what was written, but getting it all upside down.
When Jesus overturned the money-changers' tables in the Temple,
it reflected very much Moses' frustration.
It is a hardness of heart 
that my mentor, Jeremiah the prophet, recognised.
Our attitude to the Law was skewed.
The breaking of the Law is more than mere non-observance.
It is a refusal to let our hearts be broken instead.
Clinging to the images we have made of God and of ourselves,
we forget our identity of being made in God's image and likeness.
The return from Exile to Jerusalem was to be the obverse of the Exodus.

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11 REPENTANCE: A Call to Greatness - Dr Paul Mathulla

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:25 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:25 PM ]

What is repentance, and how is it associated with greatness?" are questions we shall ponder in this article. If there were the smallest business opportunity, the aspiring entrepreneur would immediately seize it—that's business sense. How about the far greater opportunity to draw close to God? Repentance is that golden opportunity, a spiritual exercise that emanates voluntarily, reaching the cavernous depths of our soul and cleansing us deeply.

Repentance, first and foremost, is an act of love, undertaken by a disciple conquered by the love of God. We have so great a saviour that we will stop at nothing, but complete reconciliation with Him. The poetic words of Saint Augustine come to mind, "Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness, I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you, they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath, and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace." Augustine realised that nothing could compare with the magnificence of God's love; if repentance was the way to get there, Augustine went the whole hog. What a conversion Saint Augustine had!

Second, repentance is meant to place us in the truth. We who are flying high and mighty need to be reminded of our reality before God. Repentance reveals the truth about us, and invites us to humility. It's God's mercy that tolerates our arrogance and foolishness, and gives us many chances to realise our truth. It lowers our belligerence and brings us to our senses. 

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13 50 Years of Breaking the Word (1968-2018) - Fr Joseph Royan, CssR

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:24 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:24 PM ]

Breaking the Word" is at the very heart of who we are as Redemptorists, who are called to "follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the Word of God to the poor, as He declared of Himself: 'He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.' (Lk 4:18)" (Redemptorist Constitution No. 1). Effective preaching involves effective breaking of God's Word to the people of God. Preaching the Word of God to the most abandoned poor was very central to the life of St Alphonsus. He was known as a tireless preacher of the Word of God. He devoted more than thirty years of his life towards preaching the Word of God to the simple rural folk, retreats for priests, seminarians and sisters. He preached more than 150 parochial or popular missions (Parochial Missions during the time of St Alphonsus would last anywhere from two to four weeks). His preaching was thoroughly persuasive, utterly convincing, born from his own conviction. His style was always simple; he derided elegant jargon and fuzzy abstractions. He insisted on the removal of all fancy words from sermons, and called for the use of everyday, normal language. He said of himself, "I may have to account to God for every other sort of sin, but not for improper preaching. For I have always preached in a way that everyone could understand me." To make sure he would be understood by his listeners, Alphonsus made frequent use of simple, familiar metaphors. He proved in fact to be a master of the apt image and illustration. The goal of his preaching was always to draw the listener to an experience of conversion and a deeper love and union with the Redeemer.

The Redemptorists, carrying on the legacy of their founder St Alphonsus, have through the centuries proclaimed the Word with simplicity and renewed enthusiasm. A Redemptorist in his priesthood is a servant of the Word, and serves the community as he breaks that Word for his people. It is worth quoting Constitution 6, "All Redemptorists, ever following the Magisterium of the Church, must be humble and courageous servants among people of the Gospel of Christ, the Redeemer and Lord, who is the head and a model of the new humanity. This message has for its special object plentiful redemption; it proclaims the love of God the Father 'who first loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins' (1 Jn 4:10) and through the Holy Spirit gives life to all who believe in Him."

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14 Western Region Social & Pastoral Communications Conference 2018 - Wendy Chaves

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:22 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:22 PM ]

The Western Region Social and Pastoral Communications Conference (WRSPC) 2018, hosted by the Archdiocese of Bombay, was held over two days — February 20-21, 2018 at Sarvodaya, St Pius X College Complex, Goregaon (East) — to discuss matters relating to social and pastoral communications in our specific time and place, to share the work being done and address concerns being faced by the Western Region (Arch)dioceses.

The 12 participating (Arch)dioceses represented through the respective Directors of Communications or their proxies were: Bombay (Fr Nigel Barrett and Fr Melroy Fernandes), Kalyan (Fr Franklin Joseph Pottananickal), Khadki (Frs Melwin Matthew and Santosh Abraham), Poona (Fr Malcolm Sequeira), Nagpur (Fr Lijo Thomas), Amravati (Fr Joselyn Pancras), Aurangabad (Fr Sinto Chiramal Antony), Chandrapur (Fr Vincent Pangola), Baroda (Fr John Raju Athukuri), Rajkot (Fr Tigin Mathew), Goa (Fr Barry Cardozo) and Sindhudurg (Fr Alex D’Mello).

The participants were warmly welcomed by His Lordship, Bishop Barthol Barretto, Chairperson of WRSPC, who wished all present a fruitful experience, and expressed his gratitude to the respective Archbishops/Bishops for the positive response to his invitation to the Conference.

The opening session commenced with a reflection, prayer and hymn, led by Bp Barthol, invoking the Holy Spirit to guide the discussions. His Lordship then outlined the programme, and provided a brief overview of the expected outcome. Fr Franklin Pottananickal, Kalyan Diocese, volunteered to be the Secretary for the meeting to record and present the Minutes.

The representatives, who ranged from the newly ordained to the seasoned veteran, presented their reports on the situation and activities in their various (Arch)dioceses. This feedback incorporated the desire to strengthen and maintain an effective and collaborative communications network in the Western Region. Of particular note, among the current activities, were the independent and dedicated printing facilities and studios, multi-lingual newsletters, websites, blogs, music albums and videos, film festivals, YouTube ministries, live streaming of pastoral events, dynamic social media, and WhatsApp groups, the preferred medium of communication. In some (Arch)dioceses, live theatre, street plays and dance were being employed to bring the Gospel message to outlying villages, this being either the best or only medium of communication. 

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