Vol. 167 No. 50 - December 10 - December 16, 2016
Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referring to Human Rights Day 2016 said, “Let us recommit to guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and protecting the human rights of all."He drew attention to the fact that many are fearful about the way the world is heading, and called on everyone to stand up for Human rights for all!.
Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on people’s fears. Humane values are under attack. The time has come to take a stand for the rights of all, which is a theme of Human Rights Day this year. We must reaffirm our common humanity.
Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport, in the voting booth, on social media. It starts with each of us to step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, ZeidRa'ad Al Hussein called on people ‘to take a stand together for more humanity,’ and affirmed that “It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference.” Pope Francis also appealed during his weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square that everyone should take a stand so that more of humanity has access to food and water which is a basic birthright of every person. He urged believers and people of good will everywhere to take personal responsibility for the needs of their neighbours.
He specifically focussed on the phenomena of state actors forcibly recruiting and using child soldiers around the world for committing brutal violence against religious and ethnic minorities. When a State is unwilling or unable to confront such atrocities, it is the responsibility of this body to provide, when all other tools and means are exhausted, the military means necessary to protect citizens from such inhumane aggressors. The increasing use by terrorist groups and other non-state actors of children in armed conflicts demonstrates the urgent need for a new International consensus to confront this crime, and to renew the will of the international community to address this scourge.
In Syria and Iraq alone, we have seen more than thousands of children coerced into becoming child soldiers. While the world searches for solutions, we must all take the first step and uniformly affirm that the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts is not only a grave violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, but is an abominable evil to be condemned. This affirmation must be done not by governments alone, but by all social, political and religious leaders.
Solutions to children in armed conflict cannot be limited to the use of force alone. Rather, the first step requires a renewed commitment to addressing the humanitarian, social, political and economic situations that drive conflicts in which child soldiers are used.
A solution to the plight of child soldiers also requires sensitivity to finding ways to reintegrate these children back into their own communities. While we witness barbaric acts beyond any one’s imagination also committed by child soldiers, we must remember that these children are exploited and manipulated into what they have become.
Thus, while their reintegration into society requires that we recognise that they have committed atrocities,we must, at the same time, build pathways for counselling and reconciliation with a view to fully accomplishing that reintegration.
Collated from un.org and other news websites.
What can one do in order to be enlightened?
As little as we can to make the sun rise.
What use then of the spiritual exercises we perform?
Only to make sure we are not asleep when the sun rises.1 Isn’t it strange that Lucifer, the angel of Light,
is also known as the Prince of Darkness?
The devil, we know, often disguises himself
as an angel of light.
We may make the mistake of thinking we are alive,
when in fact we have merely fallen asleep
in Life’s waiting room.2
Don’t we switch off the lights
when we want to go to sleep?
The first Word uttered by the LORD brought Light
The final Word of the LORD is the Light of the World.
The Sun had dawned, but many were not awake to see it rise.
In our search for enlightenment, however well intentioned,
we are often looking in the wrong place.
We are like the person, searching for a lost coin
beneath the light of a street lamp,
only because there is no light where it was dropped.
Made in the image of God, we hold within us
the spark of the divine.
We are lured, however, away from our true Self,
drawn by the street lamp that illumines our self-image.
We are lost within, but seek to find ourselves elsewhere.
And so it was with many, waiting for the LORD.
The Light had come and most could not recognise it.
We prefer darkness to light, because our own deeds are evil.3
Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus (1983-2008) died in Beirut, Lebanon on November 26, 2016. He would have completed 88 years on November 30. May he rest in peace!
Fr Kolvenbach inherited the mantle of the leadership of the Jesuits from the visionary and charismatic Fr Pedro Arrupe. Fr Arrupe suffered a severe stroke in August 1981, from which he never recovered. Pope John Paul II appointed two other Jesuits to govern the Society for more than two years, till the 33rd General Congregation, which elected Fr Kolvenbach as Superior General in September 1983.
It was certainly a tall order for any one to step into the shoes of Arrupe, who had ensured that the Society of Jesus was attuned to the workings and direction of the Spirit, in keeping with Vatican II; besides, those were turbulent years for the Society. Kolvenbach however, in his own discreet, humble but definite style continued with the rich legacy he inherited from Arrupe.
On November 14, 1980, Arrupe founded the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). Arrupe was convinced that the Jesuits had to respond to the cries of the ‘boat people’, who were fleeing war and persecution. For almost twenty-five years as Superior General, Kolvenbach made sure that, in keeping with Arrupe’s vision, the Jesuits never lost sight of their commitment to the refugees and other forcibly displaced.
XLRI and the JRD Tata Foundation for Business Ethics presented the 25th JRD Tata oration on Business Ethics on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at Jamshedpur. The speaker was Rev. Fr (Dr) Frank Brennan, SJ – Prof. of Law, Australian Catholic University. The topic of the oration was “The Place of International Law in Seeking Sustainable Development for India: Some Ethical Reflections.”
In 1991, XLRI –Xavier School of Management, in association with a few Tata Group Companies founded the XLRI-JRD Tata Foundation for Business Ethics to mark the long standing commitment and contribution to business ethics in India. For the last 25 years, eminent speakers from around the globe have come and addressed on the urgent need of doing business in an ethical manner and to evolve a conducive culture in which it can thrive and progress.
Rev. Fr E. Abraham SJ, Director of XLRI welcomed the distinguished Speaker, the guests, faculty, staff and students who filled the auditorium to capacity. He gave a brief history of the Foundation and its activities, which include besides the annual oration in Business Ethics, recognition and presentation of the JRD Tata award for Business Ethics to an eminent person who has distinguished oneself in Business Ethics, and the setting up of the XLRI-JRD Tata Chair in Business Ethics at XLRI which undertakes research in various industries.
The FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences) Climate Change desk was established under the Chairmanship of Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Fr Allwyn D’Silva was appointed the Secretary. The Climate Change Desk requirement was to lay a foundation on Climate Change in the context of Christian Business, and accordingly organised a one-day Maharashtra State Level Conference on Laudato Si’ and CHRISTIAN Business on Sunday, November 13, 2016 at St Pius X College, Goregaon, Mumbai, together with the Christian Chamber of Commerce.
How will the world's climate change in the coming century? The answer to this question depends on how human societies develop in terms of demographics and economic development, technological change, energy supply and demand, and land use change.
The Climate Change Desk conference on Climate Change and Christian business required to deal with how Christian Business can save the environment through their respective business and establishments and had described new scenarios of the future, and predicted greenhouse gas emissions associated with such developments. The scenarios provide the basis for future assessments of climate change in the context of Christian Business and possible response strategies.
I had a rendezvous with Jesus at ‘THE ENCOUNTER’ on Sunday, November 27, 2016 in the Auditorium of Our Lady of Health Church, Sahar. It is amazing that the concept, script, direction, music and lyrics were the brain child of Aloysius (Elvis) Machado, who has already earned fame in Mumbai for the annual Lenten Recitals for the past six years: “WERE YOU THERE?” presented with his choral group who call themselves ‘The Sahar Beacons’.
The presentation of ‘The Encounter’ held the audience spellboundfrom the very outset. The action took place in church on the Feast of Christ the King. At the sound of church bells, people entered, filled the pews and knelt before the Monstrance as Fr Thomas (Fabian Jeffries) delivered his message. Then dramatically, as the Choir sang in crescendo the Hallelujah Chorus, darkness descended and there was a sound of thunder and lightning, with angels dancing with beautiful fluid motions ... the scene brightened, and lo and behold, the Monstrance disappeared, and we saw Jesus (Hilton Lobo) dressed in a beautiful white and gold robe, seated on a gold throne.
As scene after scene unfolded, different issues were touched upon.
• Kid’s problems: There was Martha (Josephine Coutto)’s complaints about her kids who are caught up in the gizmo world and care a damn for church and prayer.
Saint John was born, probably in 1540, in Fontiveros, near Avila in Spain. His father died when he was very young, and he had to move with his mother from one place to another, while he tried as best he could to continue his education, and at the same time to earn a living. In Medina, in 1563, he was clothed in the Carmelite habit, and after a year's novitiate, was given permission to follow the unmitigated Carmelite Rule.
John is a saint, because his life was a heroic effort to live up to his name: “of the Cross.” The folly of the Cross came to full realisation in time. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34b) is the story of John’s life. The Paschal Mystery—through death to life—strongly marks John as reformer, mystic-poet, and theologian-priest.
Ordained a Carmelite priest in 1567 at age 25, John met Teresa of Avila, and like her, vowed himself to the primitive Rule of the Carmelites. As partner with Teresa and in his own right, John engaged in the work of reform, and came to experience the price of reform: increasing opposition, misunderstanding, persecution, imprisonment. He came to know the Cross acutely—to experience the dying of Jesus—as he sat month after month in his dark, damp, narrow cell with only his God.
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