24 Notes & Comments

posted Jan 22, 2019, 1:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 1:43 AM ]

Pope sets goals for bishops' anti-abuse meeting

Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

At the upcoming meeting on protecting minors in the Church, Pope Francis wants the leaders of the world's bishops' conferences to firmly grasp what must be done to prevent abuse, care for victims, and ensure no case is covered up.

"The Pope wants it to be an assembly of pastors, not an academic conference — a meeting characterised by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering," Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican Press Office, told reporters on Jan. 16. The Feb. 21-24 meeting in Rome "has a concrete goal: That all of the bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors," Gisotti said, reading from a written communique in Italian and English. "Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response," he said.

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Why church signs are going viral in Mumbai

Times of India (January 20, 2019)

'Invest in God... Our banking has failed'. This pithy message popped up outside St Andrew's Church on Mumbai's Hill Road when l'affaire Nirav Modi unfolded last year. And when rains lashed the city in June, 'Never ask for lighter rain, just pray for a better umbrella' read the wisdom board outside Mount Carmel Church in Bandra. St Michael's Church in Mahim even caught the football fever with a picture of the holy chalice captioned 'The Original World Cup'.

Sometimes, you find humour in places you least expect, and Mumbai's pun-laden church signboards have their own way of handing out folksy wisdom and unexpected laughs to people passing by.

Contrary to the mundane bulletin boards of yore featuring service timings, weekly events or trite quotations, these tongue-in-cheek church billboards refer to pop culture, social trends and the current news cycle, or call out the weather, road conditions or a corrupt politician. Informal, edgy and occasionally hilarious, these messages are meant to lure younger faithful into the pews or simply put a smile on people's faces. And the more trendy the wisecracks, the more likely are they to spiral into social media fame.

Fr Clifton Lobo, 69, belongs to the city's wealth of witty church board writers, who are mostly greying clergymen and parishioners with a flair for Biblical puns and spiritual one-liners. Assistant at the Orlem parish in Malad, Fr Clifton is almost an unsung celebrity whose wordplay on St Michael's Church board often found pride of place on Facebook and Instagram.

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