12 Multi-pronged mission of Caritas - Nirmala Carvalho

posted May 2, 2018, 11:41 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 2, 2018, 11:41 PM ]
An interview with the outgoing Director of Caritas India

As Fr Frederick D'Souza ends his tenure as the head of Caritas India, he says the Christian perspective of volunteering or giving ourself in selfless service stems from Diakonia - "one of the subtle expressions of the life of the Church in society."

Caritas India is the official development arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), and is especially committed to serving the underprivileged sections of Indian society, especially those coming from socially excluded communities, including those at the bottom of India's caste system, its indigenous Tribal community, and religious minorities.

Caritas India is associated with Caritas Internationalis, the Church's main international charitable arm.

Fr Frederick D'Souza noted that the work of Caritas corresponds with the April prayer intention of Pope Francis: "Let us raise our voices together, asking that economists may have the courage to reject an economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths."

This is a particular problem in India, where the country's historic caste system leaves many at the bottom of society, especially the Dalits, who were once known as 'Untouchables'. Religious minorities and members of India's indigenous tribal communities also often face discrimination and prejudice.

"Social exclusion is very painful, as it discriminates against an individual in every way. Economic exclusion is the heart of social exclusion, as it denies a person his or her dignity. One needs to make both ends meet," Fr D'Souza told Crux.

"Most crimes are committed against the poor, and minors from poor and minority communities are the most vulnerable. This social exclusion also leads to political exclusion, as it makes people voiceless," he said.