22 Notes & Comments

posted Feb 6, 2019, 6:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 6:43 AM ]

Catholic-Muslim dialogue at heart of Pope's Abu Dhabi trip: Archbishop Machado

Nirmala Carvalho, CRUX

Pope Francis' visit to the UAE will "encourage Catholics throughout the world to continue to put into practice the teachings of the Church regarding dialogue with Muslims," according to Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, who served as the Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican from 1999-2008.

Archbishop Machado said there were "conservative and politicised voices" critical of the Pope for making a trip to an area without a native Catholic population.

"It is not just where Catholics are that the Church must go. We must go to such places where there are no Catholics, precisely to explore the possibilities for the future," he said. "Pope Francis is the one who said that the Church must not be self-centred, but must look outside of herself. That is what he is doing."

Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates, and it is illegal to proselytise the Muslim population. However, Christians make up nearly 13 per cent of the residents of the country, and are served by at least 31 churches.

"I have witnessed the faith of the Catholic workers in UAE and other Gulf countries. Mainly, our Indian population is giving strong witness to the Catholic faith there," Machado said, adding the immigrant community has "made the Catholic Church's presence very valuable and relevant there."

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SOS from Home for the Aged

Milton Frank

The sunset years of life are a challenge for even the well-heeled. The body and faculties break down, health problems are a daily recurrence… why, even getting from one room to the next can become a chore. And all this, for those who have plenty – and family to care for them. Imagine the fate of those who are poor, and whose daily destiny hinges on the charity and mercy of others.

At the Home for the Aged, Andheri, there are 150 such elderly poor. Mercifully, they are cared for by the dedication and altruism of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who ensure that they enjoy a rare dignity of life in their final years. The inmates are of all castes and creeds, without any discrimination. Their upkeep is totally free; they would never be able to afford any payment whatsoever… such is their poverty!

This Home for the Aged has no source of income of its own. It runs completely on the charity of people like you and me, as well as philanthropic organisations. Every single day, two sisters set out across Mumbai to literally beg for donations in cash or kind for the upkeep of the inmates and general maintenance. Every single day of the past 60 years! Some days they succeed, some days they don't. But God always provides.


CBCI discusses fresh legal options on Kandhamal case


The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has brought together supporters of Kandhamal survivors to seek fresh legal options for seven "innocent" Christians convicted of murdering a Hindu religious leader more than ten years ago.

The January 29 meeting at the CBCI headquarters in New Delhi was held after the Orissa High Court summarily dismissed the bail application of the seven on December 4, 2018.

CBCI Secretary General Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas welcomed the gathering on behalf of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the President. He thanked those who over the past ten years have assisted, helped and laboured in what the prelate said were "very difficult and sometimes hostile circumstances" to bring relief and legal help to the affected people.

The consultation, he explained, was convened at the request of Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar who wanted to review the Church's interventions in Kandhamal, especially after the refusal of bail to the seven who, he says, were falsely implicated in the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.