Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 46 • NOV 17 - 23, 2018

01 Cover

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:36 AM ]


03 Index

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:34 AM ]


04 Official & Engagements

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:32 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:32 AM ]


05 From Network Community to Human Communities - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:25 AM ]

The theme for 2019 ‘From Network Communities to Human Communities’ is a development on the theme ‘The truth will set you free’ (Jn 8:32) for World Communications Day 2018 the Pope explained the difference between fake news and journalism for peace and how one can recognise the truth of statements from their fruit. Whether they provoke quarrels, foment division, encourage resignation; or whether they promote informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue and fruitful results.

In this message he had also invited all people to promote ‘a journalism of peace that is truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines. A journalism created by people for people, one that is at the service of all, especially those who have no voice.’

He argued for less emphasis on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts, in order to promote a deeper understanding and contribute to their resolution by setting in place virtuous processes. A journalism that has to be committed to pointing out alternatives to the escalation of shouting matches and verbal violence.

Continuing his reflection for this coming year, the Pope pleads for Christians to do more to make sure the media, especially social networks, are places of dialogue and respect for others, and human communities rather than highlight differences and increase divisions, said Paolo Ruffini the prefect of the Vatican communications office.

On the same day when the theme chosen for the World Communications Day 2019 was released, Paolo Ruffini the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications remarked, "The risk in our time is that of forming tribes instead of communities - tribes based on the exclusion of the other". We are members one of another: From network community to human communities.

This Theme for the forthcoming World Communications Day is a call for "reflection on the current state and nature of relationships on the internet, starting from the idea of community as a network between people in their wholeness," the Vatican said. "The metaphor of the web as a community of solidarity implies the construction of an 'us' based on listening to the other, on dialogue and consequently on the responsible use of language."

Affirming that Pope Francis wants people to use social media as a network, not a web, Ruffini told Vatican News that Social media can nourish ‘true, beautiful, solid relationships forming friendship, but it also can trigger enemy mechanism feeding hatred’. When this happens, there is no real relationship. He reiterated the caution given by the Holy Father that we should not allow the digital media to trap us but enable us to be free and make us instruments of freedom.

He elaborated that the use of new digital platforms not only requires significant technological updates but also a willingness to accept that the attachment to the past may prove to be a dangerous temptation. He added that “Catholic journalists and news organisations must realise that only by shutting down the noise of the world and our own gossip will it be possible to listen, which remains the first condition of every communication."

The Pope warned that particularly in today's world of new media technologies, the speed of information surpasses our capacity of reflection; church members are exposed to the impact and influence of a culture of haste and superficiality and risk reducing the Church's mission of effective evangelisation.

Sharing the Gospel with people at the peripheries might not even require stepping outside the door through encounters in our world of digital revolution. In an age when technology is ever-evolving, Pope Francis urged that Catholic news organisations must be willing to adapt to effectively proclaim the Gospel to all.

Collated and adapted from CNS and EWTN

06 Message of Pope Francis on the Second World Day of the Poor

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:21 AM ]

The event is scheduled for November 18, 2018.

"This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him." (Ps 34:6) The words of the Psalmist become our own, whenever we are called to encounter the different conditions of suffering and marginalisation experienced by so many of our brothers and sisters whom we are accustomed to label generically as "the poor".

Psalm 34 uses three verbs to describe the poor man in his relationship with God. First of all, "to cry". Poverty cannot be summed up in a word; it becomes a cry that rises to heaven and reaches God. What does the cry of the poor express, if not their suffering and their solitude, their disappointment and their hope? We can ask ourselves how their plea, which rises to the presence of God, can fail to reach our own ears, or leave us cold and indifferent. On this World Day of the Poor, we are called to make a serious examination of conscience, to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor.

To hear their voice, what we need is the silence of people who are prepared to listen. If we speak too much ourselves, we will be unable to hear them. At times, I fear that many initiatives, meritorious and necessary in themselves, are meant more to satisfy those who undertake them, than to respond to the real cry of the poor. When this is the case, the cry of the poor resounds, but our reaction is inconsistent, and we become unable to empathise with their condition. We are so trapped in a culture that induces us to look in the mirror and pamper ourselves, that we think that an altruistic gesture is enough without the need to get directly involved.

The second verb is "to answer". The Psalmist tells us that the Lord does not only listen to the cry of the poor, but responds. His answer, as seen in the entire history of salvation, is to share lovingly in the lot of the poor. So it was when Abram spoke to God of his desire for offspring, despite the fact that he and his wife Sarah were old in years and had no children (cf. Gen 15:1-6). So too when Moses, in front of a bush that burned without being consumed, received the revelation of God's name and the mission to free his people from Egypt (Ex 3:1-15). This was also the case during Israel's wandering in the desert, in the grip of hunger and thirst (cf. Ex 16:1-6; 17:1-7), and its falling into the worst kind of poverty, namely, infidelity to the covenant and idolatry (cf. Ex 32:1-14).

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08 Fake News – Jeopardy of our Times - Fr Nigel Barrett

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:19 AM ]

"Recent shifts in the media ecosystem raise new concerns about the vulnerability of democratic societies to fake news and the public's limited ability to contain it." (Combating Fake News: Agenda for Research & Action, Harvard Kennedy School)

The above statement raises fears, and rightly so. Because fake news, as a form of both mis- and dis-information, benefits from the fast pace that information travels today, via social media that is available to all, irrespective of economic or educational background. This means that those who are unable to distinguish fact from fiction, or have the ability to counteract it, are usually the first receivers and sharers! Fake new proliferates faster than it is generated, and because of this 'abundance' is trusted sufficiently to be forwarded even further, making it difficult to contain or neutralise in real time.

This fake news can influence how people make decisions which could be detrimental to the person and society. Bad decisions result in consequences that, in turn, lead to mistrust. And mistrust leads to a misinformed, disintegrated society with no stable guidelines to understand the world and react to situations that affect it.

In the course of this article, we will try to define Fake News, and seek ways by which we can, at least, spot fake news.

The Rise of Fake News

Fake news is not new. However, it has become a hot topic. Traditionally, we obtained our news from trusted sources, journalists and media outlets that are required to follow strict codes of practice. There were checks and balances in place, and editors acted as gatekeepers of information. Now, the internet has enabled a whole new way to publish, share and consume information and news with very little regulation or editorial standards.

Most people – the general public – now source their news from social media sites and networks, and often it can be difficult to tell whether stories are credible or not. Information overload and a general lack of understanding about how the internet works has also contributed to an increase in fake news or hoax stories. But most of all, the contributing factor is availability: when one can access information by the press of a button on a smartphone, why take the trouble of looking further?

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09 Being Digitally Responsible - Eddy D’Sa

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:18 AM ]

What does it mean to be "digitally responsible"? We believe that it's our responsibility to use communications technology in a way that doesn't harm others, and to be aware of the impact that technology has on our own health, the environment and society at large. We shall not dwell here on the anti-social and criminal aspects that infect various social media platforms. But communications technology can also have a large impact on users' mental and physical health. Being overly connected can cause psychological issues such as distraction, narcissism, expectation of instant gratification, and even depression. It can also have negative repercussions on physical health causing vision problems, hearing loss, and neck strain. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate these health issues. We can benefit or suffer due to our hyper-connected lives. Those who best capitalise on new technologies will be able to effectively sift through large amounts of information as quickly as possible. On the flip side, technology may make us impatient, subject to frequent distraction, and desperate for constant entertainment. An obsessive need to check for text messages, a desperate desire to constantly update your Facebook status, or a near-addiction to iPhone games are all manifestations of what is termed "iDisorder". It remains to be seen exactly how technology will affect our psyche, but some changes are already starting to become apparent - cognitive loss, deficits in social skills, a sense of isolation and depression.

Aside from its effect on our psychological and social well-being, spending a large portion of the day in front of a screen can lead to a panoply of physical health issues. Here are some examples of problems: Net Vision Syndrome is the complex of problems associated with excessive screen time, including eyestrain, blurred vision and dry eyes. Take a 20-20-20 break. The Mayo Clinic advises staring at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Spending your life plugged into your iPod may make you feel like dancing in the streets, but it can take a toll on your ears. Earbud use can cause hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The sensitive hair cells in your inner ear never grow back, once they have been damaged. According to research from Stony Brook University, School of Medicine, just one hour a day of listening to your earbuds at Level 4 could cause permanent damage. Neck Strain: When you bend your head down, the head is no longer supported by the whole system of the vertebrae, but only by the neck. This puts unnecessary strain on the neck muscles and can lead to pain, including tension headaches. Holding your cell phone between your neck and your shoulder may be a cheap hands-free option, but it also puts your neck in an unhealthy position. Even texting involves a lot of hanging your head over your phone. Do some exercises. While you're studying or working, take short breaks to do some simple movements like shoulder rolls. Sitting Too Much: Researchers in a University of South Carolina study found a 64% greater chance of heart disease mortality for men who sat 23 hours or more behind the wheel or the TV screen, compared to men who spent only 11 hours per week on those seated activities. Get up! Stand when you can. If you need to talk to a co-worker or a fellow student, why not take a short walk around the office or library? Try to form the habit of standing up for particular activities, such as talking on the phone.

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11 CHILDREN – hosts to Children

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:16 AM ]

Celebrating Children’s Day with a difference

Came November, and our excitement grew in leaps and bounds as November 4th dawned! The red letter day when we the members of our "NCC" (Neighbourhood Children's Council with children of all faiths) based at the Nazarene Society, Kharodi, Malad West, planned to celebrate 'Children's Day' with the children of 'Sneha Sagar' – an orphanage fairly close to us. Normally, our elders plan a celebration for us in our community; this year, we wanted to do something different. We children would host a party for the less privileged. Through our monthly Council meetings, we have come to realise how blessed we are in many ways: what security we enjoy in our families who provide all we need. We have so much, while there are other children of our age who have so little. This called us to SHARE - of our time, our talents, our resources with them.

Our planning began in September. Our mentor, Sr Manisha, guided us to reflect on more deeply what we had already verbalised, and to chalk out an action plan to express our awareness. To host the Children's Day celebration, we would need money, and this we would provide by collecting our own pocket money from that day onwards. Of course, we too would participate in the celebration! Joy shared would be Joy multiplied!

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13 St Sebastian Church - Over 400 Years of God’s Faithfulness - Metilda Stanley

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:15 AM ]

Chembur, the Queen of the Eastern Suburbs, has now come into the limelight, thanks to India's first monorail, the Eastern Freeway and Santacruz-Chembur Link Road. The erstwhile tinsel town, once favoured by film folks, is now well connected with the rest of Mumbai. Chembur has changed so much in the past few decades; many heritage bungalows making way for skyrises and plush recreational clubs that dot this salubrious neighbourhood. Chembur's old villages retreated quietly, and only a few still survive as gaothans. While Chembur is getting ferociously redeveloped, the Marouli village is far from the clamour and glamour. With its old Catholic cottages and tree-lined bylanes, this sylvan village still manages to retain its old world charm.

The most popular Catholic Church in Chembur is OLPS (Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church), followed by a lesser known Holy Family Church at Pestom Sagar. Tucked away in a cozy corner of Chembur is one of the oldest churches of the Archdiocese of Bombay, called St Sebastian Church, or popularly referred to by locals as Marouli Church. The church is believed to have been built circa 1630s, though the exact year is unknown. The old church was in another location close to the present St Sebastian School near the RCF gate. An outbreak of bubonic plague led to the relocation of the church to its present location. The first reconstruction of the church took place in 1900. The present church building was rebuilt and inaugurated on November 20, 1993, by His Eminence Cardinal Simon Pimenta, under the then Parish Priest, Rev Fr Elias D'Cunha.

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14 Pilgrimage in the footsteps of Jesus - Raymond Machado

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 14, 2018, 8:09 AM ]

The human soul relentlessly yearns for The Divine - The Supreme Being. The mystery of one's being is embedded in each human mind, and it takes a lifetime to unravel the Unknown. For believers (theists), life from birth till death is a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage to reach heaven - the ultimate goal of life to be in union with God.

In the world today, we have Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, besides countless offshoots. Religions provide a myriad ways of worship to the faithful to beseech God or a deity for a happy and peaceful earthly life and blissful life hereafter. Many people undertake pilgrimages to shrines and places of saints, considered sacred by their respective religions, in order to thank God for blessings received or to ask for mundane favours and peaceful existence. Shrines may contain tombs, statues, pictures, relics or other objects of holy persons, which arouse devotion and veneration among their followers. Shrines are generally associated with founders of religions, sects, religious congregations or saints and martyrs, who are known for their heroic virtues, supernatural apparitions and miraculous occurrences. Usually churches, chapels, mausoleums, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras enshrine such objects that are periodically visited by pilgrims who seek spiritual assistance.

According to Pew Research, 84 per cent of the world's population believes in one deity or the other. Out of these, one third are Christians - 2.2 billion worldwide. Christians have been making pilgrimages to various holy places of saints for hundreds of years. The first pilgrimages were undertaken by Christians to places associated with Jesus' lifetime in the Holy Land - today located in Jordan, Israel and Egypt. But over the centuries, due to clashes between Jews, Christians and Muslims, pilgrimages to the Holy Land have faced difficulties.

Today, Rome, the Eternal City, remains the most popular site of pilgrimage for Christians around the world. Vatican City State in the centre of Rome is the headquarters of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, where the Supreme Pontiff - the Pope - resides. Pilgrimages to holy places in Jordan, Israel and Egypt are considered most important, where Christians long to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and have an unforgettable lifetime experience. Other renowned Catholic sites of pilgrimages are Marian shrines at Fatima in Portugal, Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Lourdes in France, Guadalupe in Mexico, Aparecida in Brazil, Vailankanni in southern India and so on.

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