16 Notes & Comments

posted May 17, 2018, 8:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 17, 2018, 8:43 AM ]

Cardinal Gracias: Peace journalism very crucial


In his message for World Communications Day, the Pope warned of the "dire consequences" of disinformation spread through fake news, that is fuelled by "greed" and the "thirst for power," and thrives on the absence of a "healthy confrontation" necessary for "constructive dialogue." In today's rapidly evolving world of communications, the Pope asked those working in the media to "promote a journalism of peace" that is truthful and helps to form others, but which is not harmful or sentimental, overlooking serious problems.

Vatican News approached Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, and asked him how important "journalism of peace" was in today's world, including in India.

According to the cardinal who is President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), as well as of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), it is "very crucial" for "journalism for peace" to fight fake news.

This, the cardinal said, is very dangerous, because the end result could be disharmony, anger, prejudice or hatred, based on absolutely nothing, falsehood. Combating fake news is a challenge for the Church, and its media offices have got to take it seriously, said Cardinal Gracias, who is a member of the Council of Cardinals (C9), the group of nine cardinals chosen by Pope Francis to advise him on his reform efforts.

Fake news, he pointed out, is also a challenge for the Government of India. One needs to distinguish between fake news and truth, how not to allow fake news to influence ourselves, and how to counter fake news in the media by giving the truth.


Pope prays for peace after Indonesia church bombings


Pope Francis prayed for "reconciliation" rather than hatred and violence in response to church suicide bombings in Indonesia, that killed 14 and injured dozens more, as it emerged that one family, who involved their four children, was responsible for the attack. The churches targeted were Santa Maria Catholic church, Diponegoro Indonesian Christian church and Surabaya Centre Pentecostal church.

Speaking after the Regina Coeli on May 13, Pope Francis said: "I am particularly close to the dear people of Indonesia, especially to the Christian communities of the city of Surabaya, which have been severely hit by the serious attack on places of worship. I raise my prayer for all the victims and their relatives. Together, we invoke the God of peace to stop these violent actions, and in the heart of all, find not feelings of hatred and violence, but of reconciliation and fraternity. We pray in silence."

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message sent on the Telegram app. A second family of five, also including children, carried out another suicide bombing in the same city, Surabaya, targeting the police headquarters. A girl, aged 8, survived this attack, in which four police officers and six civilians were injured.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian told journalists at a press conference that the family was among 500 people recently deported from Syria after they attempted to join IS, but were arrested by Turkish police.

There were at least two other attempts to bomb more churches, but these explosives failed to detonate according to the Jakarta Post. More bombs were found at the family home.


A spirit of self-control, power and love

Fr Pravin Fernandes

Are human beings afraid? It is like asking if the earth revolves around the sun. Everybody has fears of one kind or another. Some are concerned about losing their jobs, about a relative with terminal cancer, about their biological clock ticking and not being able to find a suitable partner, about losing a prestigious position at the office, about an evaporating bank account. Still others have an existential anxiety, an 'angst', an ultimate powerlessness in the face of life's challenges.

Our Lord Jesus was afraid; St Paul was afraid; the early Church was afraid. From vast experience, despite the creative solutions offered by contemporary Psychology, Neuroscience, self-help literature, and other human and social sciences, the best response from a believer is to fling oneself on the promises of God.

In the book of Joshua, we read, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." The Psalms emphatically declare, "I know that God is for me; what can man do to me?" Romans 8:38 assures us with unbridled confidence, "Neither death nor life, nor things present nor things yet to come, nothing in all Creation will be able to separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus Our Lord."

On the feast of Pentecost, we commemorate and celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is the spirit of self-control, of power and of love, which helps us live victorious lives. The Spirit is the delicious fruit of the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus which quenches our every thirst.


Mumbai's tribal community

Nirmala Carvalho, CRUX CONTRIBUTOR

Bishop Allwyn D'Silva celebrated the Eucharist for Migrants in Hindi on May 6, 2018 at St Theresa Church, Bandra. During the Mass, Bishop Allwyn confirmed 24 of the migrants, and married six couples, who he said "probably would never have the opportunity to live a happy life otherwise."

Bishop Allwyn explained, "Most of these migrants hail from Chhota Nagpur Tribal belt, comprising of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, some parts of Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. The missionaries went deep into the jungles of these areas, and gave their lives for these people to know Christ. Their spiritual needs are taken care of in their own dioceses, but when they migrate in search of work, to other states all over India, minimum care is taken of their spiritual needs and faith."

Thousands of tribal people migrate to Mumbai, the business capital of India, to take up low income jobs in construction sites and homes, besides working as drivers, security staff in offices. Majority of the women work as domestic help. Their children often suffer discrimination at school because of their background.

Fr Jerome D'Souza SVD who has been working for the Tribal Migrants for nearly 15 years, told Crux, "Most of the population arrive in Mumbai when they are young—between the ages of 15 and 30—and have little chance to find a Catholic spouse. In fact, many of them never marry at all.