24 Letters

posted Jun 27, 2018, 7:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 7:35 AM ]

Teachers in the role of parents

Sir, In a landmark judgment, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh has upheld the role and dignity of the Principal and teacher of a school, as parents, and the right to admonish and correct a child who transgresses the discipline of the school. The judgment came after the High Court dismissed a petition for abetment to suicide, filed by the uncle of a Class X student, who hanged herself after the Principal scolded and slapped her for indiscipline.

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Inviolable right to seal of confessional

Sir, I refer to the letter of Prof. Robert Castellino in The Examiner (June 23-29, 2018) on the above subject. It is quite shocking that legislation passed by the Canberra Assembly, Australia makes it compulsory for priests to reveal the identity of any one who has confessed to the sin of child sexual abuse in the privacy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The world at large knows that what a priest is told in the secrecy of the confessional is inviolable. The priest would be guilty of a grave sin.


Role of the Laity

Sir, Laity Sunday 2018 - another much-needed effort by the Church in Mumbai to get women and men, young and old, to realise their fundamental baptismal calling to act as ambassadors of Jesus, ambassadors of His Kingdom in this day and age. This calling is not a privilege bestowed by priests and nuns. It is a calling by the Holy Spirit at the baptismal font and re-affirmed by the same Spirit at Confirmation.

Never before in the history of the Church has the absolutely essential role of the layperson been so dramatically emphasised as it is now. It is through the Body of Christ that Jesus does His work in the world. And that work is done, not merely by priests, bishops and popes, but most especially by laity, who make up roughly 98% of the Body of Christ.

More and more lay persons understand what Christ and His Church expect of them today. Do our clergy and religious truly and fully support the laity in this respect? A 64-dollar question, indeed!


Mediocrity and the remedies

Sir, Pope Francis on June 13, 2018, referring to Mark's Gospel (10:17-31) - the dialogue between Jesus and the rich young man - revealed: "The greatest danger modern youth face is the temptation to 'mediocrity' – preferring to stay immobile, rather than making a leap to the next step."

"How to obtain eternal life is the challenge of everyone in every circumstance – the desire for a fulfilling and satisfying life. Many young people today seek life, but end up destroying themselves by pursuing worldly desires."

"However, our worst enemies are not concrete problems, however serious or dramatic, but a bad spirit of adaptation towards 'mediocrity' leading to timidity! Young persons who are mediocre have no future, because they don't grow in maturity and success."


WhatsApp for a good cause

Sir, One morning last week, I received a very touching WhatsApp forward. It was an appeal by a young boy for the treatment of his ailing mother. He had lost his father to cancer a year ago, which drained the family of its resources. Six months later, his mother was diagnosed with a tumour. The family had no resources left to meet the expenses. The WhatsApp forward was linked to a cloud funding web site. I checked the site and found that donations had just opened that morning. The target was Rs 1,00,000. A few thousands of rupees had been collected. I checked again after two hours and was surprised to find the appeal had closed as an amount of Rs 1,29,000 had been donated—in just two hours. I called up the boy, and he confirmed the same.

He told me that just the previous day, desperate for help, he had gone to his Mira Road parish for financial assistance. The church fathers put him on to the website www.ertin.org. I contacted the founders of the site—two young entrepreneurs from Mira Road, Roberto and Martin. They told me that some time ago, a friend had met with a serious accident, which required huge funds. They approached several NGOs, but received little response. And so www.ertin.org came into existence. The prime objective of the website, which is linked to Facebook and other platforms, is 'To act as an alternate and trust-worthy fundraising avenue for the community (indirectly reducing the burden on the Church and parishes) to cover every case that merits finance'.