16 Notes & Comments

posted Jul 5, 2018, 8:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 5, 2018, 9:59 AM ]

Kandhamal survivors inspire Kerala Catholic women


A group of Catholic women from Kerala who spent five days in Kandhamal said the faith of Odisha's persecuted Christians has deepened their belief in Christ.

"The Christians of Kandhamal have manifested a deep-rooted faith in Christ by facing the worst religious persecution in modern India," said Sr Josia Padinjaradathu, a member of the 11-member team representing the Women's Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council. "I am deeply touched and moved by listening to the survivors of Kandhamal," she told Matters India.

The June 26-30 visit was a part of the Women's Council of the CBCI's national reach out programme in Kandhamal. Sr Talisha Nadukudiyil, Secretary of the Council who arranged the visit, noted that Kandhamal was the epicentre of anti-Christian persecution in Odisha in 2007 and 2008. At least 100 people, mostly Christians, were killed and more than 56,000 people were rendered homeless. Hundreds of churches and houses were also destroyed in the mayhem that lasted for months.

Sr Nadukudiyil said the Kerala team members found the visit a "faith-deepening experience" and "an occasion to express solidarity with Kandhamal people's struggles." The Council had earlier organised similar visits from other parts of the country.

"We want the people in Kandhamal, especially women and children, to experience the Church's concern and care," Sr Nadukudiyil added.

Last April, the CBCI Council distributed sewing machines to women of Kandhamal. According to Sr Nadukudiyil, the situation in Kandhamal has not improved, even after ten years. "Churches and houses are not rebuilt in certain areas, and children have little scope for studies. The youth face a bleak future. Women have no work since their displacement," she bemoaned.


Church in India gives dignity to human life


"The Church in India works in an altruistic manner for the human dignity of marginalised, tribal people, Dalits, girls, women and those with special needs, without discrimination of caste or creed," said Dr Pascoal Carvalho, a medical doctor who is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The Mumbai-based doctor was recently in Rome to attend the meeting of the Academy, centred on the theme "Equal beginnings. But then? A global responsibility".

He addressed the conference, noting that "There is no historically equal beginnings because of colonisation. Some were richer than others. The rich continue to exploit and continue to be rich." For this reason, "Asking now poorer nations not to develop in the name of global warming and greenhouse gases is not fair."

"We need energy to produce wealth to distribute to the poor. To create even basic livelihood, we need energy. So, when we say global responsibility, it is dangerous because poorer nations' right to develop has to be respected."

The doctor shares the view that Pope Francis presented in his message to the participants about, among other things, the sacredness of human life and of a human ecology that considers "ethical and spiritual quality of life in all its phases."

The "Catholic Church in India is foremost in providing human dignity to the poorest of the poor and those on the peripheries of society. Through its vast apostolates of education and healthcare in the remotest rural areas throughout the length and breadth of the multicultural, multi-religious Indian society, the Catholic Church works selflessly for the human dignity of the marginalised, tribal people, Dalits and girls and women and those with special needs, without discrimination of caste of creed."


UN: 10,000 children killed, maimed worldwide


A United Nations report stated that more than 10,000 children have been killed, maimed, raped, sexually assaulted while others were forced to serve the army or were caught in attacks at schools and hospitals. A total of more than 21,000 violations of children's rights were reported in 2017 - a sharp increase from the previous year, according to the annual 'Children and Armed Conflict' report.

The UN blames a US-backed Arab coalition fighting in Yemen for at least half of the more than 1,300 child deaths or injuries recorded in that poor nation. They were victims of aerial and ground attacks by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Houthi rebels opposed to Yemen's internationally recognised government.

Among the casualties tallied in the report were child soldiers as young as 11, fighting in Yemen's civil war and in other countries, the UN said.

"The point is, these kids should not be treated like children of a lesser God; they deserve the same rights as every kid to live their lives at least meaningfully and to be given a chance at recovery," said Virginia Gamba, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict.

She said the report left UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres feeling "outraged".

The 21,000 violations of children's rights included 10,000 who were slain or maimed, especially in Iraq, Myanmar, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, the report said.