18 Notes & Comments

posted May 8, 2019, 8:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 8, 2019, 8:25 AM ]

Expression of solidarity with terror victims in Sri Lanka

The most ghastly serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka's Churches and hotels on Easter Sunday have shocked the entire civilized society all over the world. We, the undersigned, condemn unequivocally these dastardly acts. The persons and the groups responsible for the serial blasts are anti-human, anti-civilization and anti-God. They are the incarnation of the most heinous forces on the earth. To associate them with any faith would be most sacrilegious to the faith itself. Therefore, the people of all faiths must disown and condemn such barbarous individuals and groups. It is our duty to expose them and banish them from civilized society.

(1) The terrorist attacks become all the more gruesome if launched under the garb of religion and holy mission. Besides causing great loss of innocent lives, peace and harmony is destroyed. It is the prime duty of all faith leaders to stand up and use all our resources and to cleanse society of this evil.

(2) Attacks on religious places and during religious festivals such as Easter are perpetrated with a design to cause a divide between people of various faiths and communities. Therefore we feel it all the more necessary that we stand together with our Christian brothers everywhere, and assure them that we share their sorrows and pains, and express our solidarity with them.


Catholic theologians seek ways to save "inclusive" India


India's Catholic theologians have decided to collaborate with civil organisations and people of good will to check the forces of religious fundamentalism, bigotry and discrimination. Since the past few decades, communal identity construction has emerged in Indian society that undermines the country's pluralistic nature. "The great Constitutional values of the democratic republic are under great threat," bemoans the Indian Theological Association (ITA), a band of women and men committed to promote the development of an Indian Christian theology.

The Association held its 42nd annual meeting at the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre, Bengaluru, southern India, with the theme, 'Whither India'. "The founding fathers and mothers of the Indian Constitution framed the centrality of our composite culture in building of our nation together with its social equality, economic parity and religio-cultural harmony," the April 25-28 meeting pointed out. "There is misuse of power by evoking sentiments of religious fanaticism by powerful groups that threatens India's secular democratic traditions," the meeting warned.

It regrets that the economic liberalisation and globalisation India introduced since the 1990s have only made the rich richer and powerful. "The elite section has benefited from these trends, whereas there is a sense of alienation by the subaltern and other backward groups. A large majority of the people are becoming poorer and poorer," the meeting added.


'No to Retaliation & Revenge'


Official message by the President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Bishop of Yangon (Myanmar) on May 3, 2019.

"On behalf of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences and of the Church in Myanmar, we unequivocally condemn the horrific suicide attacks against unarmed civilians in churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, in Sri Lanka. Many were targeted while celebrating the most propitious and joyful moments of the Christian calendar—the victory of life over death in the Resurrection of Christ. Unfortunately, those who try to promote discord and hate were at work on that day, when we lost so many precious lives, sowing death and destroying life," said the statement. "Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka are both minorities, and suffered discrimination, intolerance and persecution in the past. Turning against each other would only make the situation worse. Solidarity must prevail. The actions of a small group, which represents an extremist interpretation of a religion, should not be used to judge the entire community of adherents of that faith."

For this reason, the Asian Bishops ask religious leaders "to promote a sense of solidarity and to rebuild trust among the communities," and the Sri Lankan authorities "to act to stop incitement to hatred and to protect the most vulnerable. Ignoring this problem will only stimulate resentment, which is exactly the goal of ISIS."

The message assures "prayers for physical and emotional healing and for love to prevail. Let us not allow hatred to get a foothold in our lives. Instead, let mutual love reign." The Federation of Asian Bishops reaffirms its closeness "to all those in Asia who suffer persecution and hatred," opposing, in the name of the Gospel, "all forms of intolerance, hatred, discrimination, violence, and injustice."