Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 24 • JUN 16 - 22, 2018

01 Cover

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:56 AM ]


03 Index

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:55 AM ]


04 Official

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:50 AM ]


05 Engagements

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:52 AM ]


07 Editorial - Concern for Migrants

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:44 AM ]

Concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty, may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate."

Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally. This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families. At the same time, it is hoped that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees. Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries. Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions; particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights. It is also important to offer migrants and refugees adequate and dignified initial accommodation. "Greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success".

The second verb – protecting – may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status. Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices. This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their identity documents at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum income sufficient to live on. Migrants must be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities, and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity. For those who decide to return to their homeland, there is the need to develop social and professional reintegration programmes. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a universal legal basis for the protection of underage migrants, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education, and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies.

Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator. Among these, we must recognise the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice. Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognised and valued. Since "work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples", I encourage a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees, guaranteeing for all – including those seeking asylum – the possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue. In the case of underage migrants, their involvement in labour must be regulated to prevent exploitation and risks to their normal growth and development.

The final verb – integrating – concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees. Integration is not "an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their 'secret', to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects, and thus contribute to knowing each one better. This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings." This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalisation to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival.

Pope Francis

08 Stand # With Refugees - Fr. Cedrick Prakash SJ

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:42 AM ]

In 2016, just before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched a massive global campaign and petition #With Refugees. The primary aim of this initiative was to show world leaders that the global public stands #With Refugees, and that concrete solutions need to be found to address the global refugee crisis. The campaign focuses on

• ensuring every refugee child gets an education
• ensuring every refugee family has somewhere safe to live
• ensuring every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families.

This campaign continues until a Global Compact for refugees is adopted at the next UNGA in September 2018. On September 19, 2016, at the conclusion of a ‘United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants’, in New York, world leaders finally produced a significant declaration to deal with the refugee crisis. To implement the lofty ideals encompassed in the Declaration, they committed themselves to drafting and approving, by the end of 2018, two Global Compacts: one regarding refugees and the second, for safe, orderly, regular and responsible migration. Both these Compacts are meant to comprehensively protect, promote the rights and integrate migrants and refugees into the mainstream.

With less than six months to go, some work has been put in, with ‘zero’ draft documents on both the Compacts already in place. However, the recent past has not been easy for refugees and others displaced all over the world. Last December, the United States announced that it was withdrawing from the two Global Compacts. There is an ‘official’ atmosphere of hostility towards refugees and other migrants in the US today, despite visible and vocal protests from the Church and civil society there.

India, on the other hand, has literally shut its doors on the Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar. On September 11, 2017, in his opening statement to the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said, “I deplore current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country. Some 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India, and 16,000 of them have received refugee documentation. The Minister of State for Home Affairs has reportedly said that because India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, the country can dispense with international law on the matter, together with basic human compassion. >>>

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09 An open letter to the Parents of Class X & XII students - Fr. Dr. Patrick D'Souza

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:40 AM ]

Dear parents of the tenth and twelfth standard students, I wish to share with you some information and insights that I have gathered from my encounter with the students of the tenth and twelfth standard and their parents in personal and group counselling sessions.

1) High expectations

Parents have high expectations from their children, when it comes to the final grades or marks. It is obvious that the parents want their children to do well in the examination, so that they can get admission in the best of the institutions of higher education and get degrees from the reputed universities and educational institutions. They want their children to get the best jobs and secure their future. Definitely, it is a need in the modern age of excellence and competition for the students to work hard and sincerely, so that they can achieve their targets and be successful in life. The parents cannot be blamed if they push their children a bit harshly, out of genuine love and concern for their future and for the success of their careers. When the children are tempted by electronic media and other avenues of entertainment, the parents have to take an active role in regulating their entertainment time and study time, so that a proper balance is created in the life and behaviour of the children.

2) Guidance, not nagging, is needed

Many parents feel that they have to be after their children all the time, reminding them about their studies, otherwise they will waste their time and will not be adequately prepared for the examination. The parents constantly remind them to study because they love their children. But the parents must be able to distinguish between encouraging their children to study and nagging them time and again. The children in the age group of 15 - 18 are very sensitive regarding any advice or suggestions from their parents. This is the age when they begin to feel responsible for their life and they feel that they are wise enough and old enough to take independent decisions and to manage their life. At this stage, they don’t like any interference from anyone -neither their parents nor teachers. Therefore, parents should resist the temptation of constantly reminding their children about studies. Instead, they must have a dialogue with them at the beginning of the academic year and make them aware of the parental expectations from them.>>>

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11 School is Kewl - Ninette D'Souza

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:38 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:38 AM ]

Addressed in Love to all school-going children, from a Parent-Educator

SCHOOL' – It's not just a place where you go to learn Einstein's theory of Relativity; rather, it's the place where if you choose to, can take your learning beyond the limiting walls of a classroom. It's a place where Sport, as a part of the curriculum, encourages you to always move ahead in Life, putting your best foot forward. School is where Skills are honed and Identities strengthened. Competitions at School and Interschool levels encourage networking between schools, thereby allowing you a peek into a world different from your own. "Education is not preparation for Life; Education is Life itself." (John Dewey) So true!!!

"Character is not ready made. It is created bit by bit, day by day in the manufacture of daily duty." (President Woodrow Wilson) What better way to build your Character than through the daily routine of Education, both formal and informal, received in school, for 'To Educate' is to sow values in order to form persons with a solid personality. Dear children, coming to school ensures you are befittingly nurtured from a young age, and kept away from the many distractions that can lead you astray. Interactions with peers lead to friendships built for Life. Six months ago, I attended the wedding of a young man whose mother and I developed a friendship in school at the age of 10. Administrators of schools are concentrating on Annual Day and Sports Day extravaganzas and other curricular and co-curricular activities, big and small, rather than only on Academics, because these activities fine-tune your talents and work towards showcasing them while helping your creativity to blossom. These are effective in teaching you 'Lessons of Life' through a spirit of participation and co-responsibility. They allow you to pool your talents and come up with a 'Champion Team', rather than remaining a non-performing team of champions. With most schools going techno-savvy, horizons are broadened through greater exposure and development of a scientific temper, while subtly allowing Values to take root in you. >>>

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12 St Aloysius Gonzaga: A Call to be Holy - Anush P D'Cunha SJ

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:37 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:37 AM ]

Holiness is the sweetest word in the practice of Christianity. It poses a challenge to everyone, irrespective of their age. The word itself denotes something extraordinary. If we sit back and ponder on this word 'HOLINESS', we automatically link it to priests and religious and those who have dedicated their life to the service of God. For some, holiness portrays the Pope, and nothing more. True. But it is not as abstract as we really imagine. It is a call to be different. It stretches us to move into zones of discomfort. At times, it compels us to go against the norms. It evokes a feeling of difference in thoughts, words and in being. The modern world is led by ideologies. People generally, especially the youth, respond to situations of life collectively in a group. Today, in the area of religious practices, young people fear to 'stand out' in the crowd. They are terrified to 'stand out' in the practice of religion. It seems very hard to be set apart. It is a matter of being faint-hearted. A great example is the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron of youth whose feast we celebrate every year on June 21. A brief history of his life is enough to give us an insight into holiness.

Aloysius Gonzaga was born on March 9, 1568, in Castiglione delle Stiviere, Republic of Venice, Italy. He was the son of Ferrante, marchese di Castiglione. Aloysius was educated at the ducal courts of Florence and Mantua, and at the royal court of Madrid, where he was the page to King Philip II's son Diego. In 1585, he relinquished his inheritance, and joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) at Rome.

His spirituality was manifested in his change of ideas and plans for his life. At the tender age of seven, Aloysius experienced a profound spiritual awakening. His prayers included the Office of Mary, the Psalms, and other devotions. At age nine, he came from his hometown of Castiglione to Florence to be educated; by age eleven, he was teaching catechism to poor children, fasting three days a week, and practising great austerities. When he was thirteen years old, he travelled with his parents and the Empress of Austria to Spain, and acted as a page in the court of Philip II. The more Aloysius saw of court life, the more disillusioned he became, seeking relief in learning about the lives of saints.

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14 A Hindu Majority India? - Lionel Fernandes

posted Jun 14, 2018, 8:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 14, 2018, 8:35 AM ]

It is generally believed that India is an overwhelmingly Hindu country. The ideologues of Hindutva push this argument to the extreme. It is necessary to take a close look at this assertion, and check out whether it is backed by facts. Yes, the 2011 Census gives the following percentages of Religions in India: Hinduism 79.80, Islam 14.23, Christianity 2.30, Sikhism 1.72, Buddhism 0.70, Jainism 0.37, Zoroastrianism (57,264 Parsis), Others 0.90. Prima facie, the above figures bear out the claim of Hindus being the overwhelming majority of India's population.

However, the 79.80 figure conveniently includes the Scheduled Castes (SC) 16.60, and Scheduled Tribes (ST) 8.60, both of which are not strictly speaking Hindu. Traditional Manuvadi Hinduism included only the 'savarna' castes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, while the Shudras were considered 'antyajas' or literally 'born outside the fold' and therefore untouchable. The last category is today lumped together as SC, while the tribals are enumerated as ST, often referred to by savarna Hindus as 'vanvasis' or 'forest dwellers'. It is another matter that aspects of Hinduism have influenced the SCs and STs, even as they have been influenced by other faiths, not excluding Islam and Christianity.

If one deducts the 16.60 of the SC and the 8.60 of the ST from the 79.80 figure given for Hinduism, we are left with 54.60 for the latter which is certainly a numerical majority, but not by any stretch an overwhelming one that warrants India being declared a Hindu Rashtra, as the Hindutva ideologues would want. Indeed, if the SC and ST percentages are added to those of the non-Hindu faiths, the total for the non-Hindu segment of Indian society is an impressive 45.40.

The Founding Fathers of the Indian Republic very wisely decided that India should be a secular, and not a theocratic, State. Apart from statistics, a more basic question is how to define Hinduism. The answer is proverbially elusive on all counts, as the term does not imply adherence to any mandatory doctrine, cult or religious authority. It does not even demand belief of any kind, as non-believers (nastikas) are not excluded. It is more an allusion to the collective practices of the inhabitants of the geographical region deriving its name from the river Indus. It is a default category, in view of the other faiths having a defined character in terms of founder, doctrine and cult.

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