Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 37 • SEP 15 - 21, 2018

01 Cover

posted Sep 11, 2018, 11:08 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 11:08 AM ]

03 Index

posted Sep 11, 2018, 11:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 11:07 AM ]

04 Official & Engagements

posted Sep 11, 2018, 11:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 11:05 AM ]

05 Editorial - Our Lady of Sorrows

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:55 AM ]

Every year on Sept. 15, the Church commemorates the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. St Paul told the Corinthians that "we preach Christ crucified" (1 Cor 1:23), and St Clement I, the fourth Pope, urged the Christians of the late first century to "look steadfastly to the blood of Christ" that was shed on the Cross. It was only a matter of time before Christians, in contemplating Christ's Crucifixion, would also turn their attention to those standing near the Cross, especially His sorrowful mother. Prayerful reflection on Sacred Scripture led to the numbering of Mary's sorrows (or dolours) at seven (Mary's seven sorrows).

In the 13th century, two events occurred that spurred the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows: the founding of the Servite Order and the writing of the Stabat Mater. In 1233, seven cloth merchants left Florence to live a life of prayer and penance. Later, the Blessed Mother appeared to them, and said, "I have chosen you to be my first servants, and under this name, you are to till my Son's vineyard. Here, too, is the habit which you are to wear; its dark colour will recall the pangs which I suffered on the day when I stood by the Cross of my only Son." Their order became known as the Order of Servants of Mary, or Servites; the order grew in numbers; its members spread devotion to Mary's sorrows.

Features of the devotion included the wearing of the black scapular of the seven sorrows of Mary and the recitation of the Servite Rosary, also known as the Rosary (or chaplet) of the Seven Sorrows. In 1645, Pope Innocent X established the Servites' Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows in its present form. In subsequent centuries, the Servites also promoted the Via Matris (Way of the Mother), a counterpart to the Stations of the Cross, in which the faithful meditate on Mary's seven sorrows.

Within decades of the founding of the Servite Order, the hymn Stabat Mater was composed, likely by the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306). The most popular English version, often sung in American parishes at Stations of the Cross, begins, "At the Cross, her station keeping." The hymn became popular in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, and eventually became part of the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as the Mass, in which it is an optional sequence before the Gospel.

As the Stabat Mater grew in popularity, sacred art also increasingly portrayed Mary's sorrows. The image of the Pietà, in which Mary holds the dead body of her son, became increasingly popular from the 14th century; Michelangelo's famous sculpture dates from 1498-99.

The people of the time were particularly receptive to devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, because "there was great suffering at times among the masses of people, and the plague spared no social class." "As people contemplated this sorrowful Mother with whom they could identify, they saw that while she lamented, she also joined herself to that suffering, and as she said 'yes' at the time of the Annunciation, she said 'yes' to this saving action of Christ and so shared in it."

Mary's sorrows came to be commemorated liturgically on the Friday before Palm Sunday, and on Sept. 15, the day after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Lenten commemoration was celebrated throughout the Church from 1727 until 1969; the September commemoration has been part of the Church's calendar since 1815. Source:

J.J. Ziegler writes from North Carolina in OSV Newsweekly.

06 Sisters of Joy - Fr. (Dr.) John Rose S.J.

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:50 AM ]

Twelve years ago, Mother Teresa's birthday, August 26, a variety of circumstances brought me to Mahim, to the Xavier Institute of Engineering. The feelings that I was experiencing were mixed, and not very uplifting. When I looked out of the window of my room on the fifth floor of the Jesuit residence, I found myself looking straight at the twin towers of Mount Mary's Basilica in Bandra, and the sight of its Cross, lighted up in red, inexplicably brought me great consolation. Once a week, I made it a point to visit Mount Mary's, for reflection and cooling off, and giving my legs good exercise. On one of my early days in Mahim, I saw on our notice board an invitation from the Canossian Sisters for one of their special feasts - Our Lady of Sorrows, and I signed up to be present. I did so out of solidarity with Our Lady who must have undergone far worse than what I was going through, and expecting that the Sisters' prayer service would bring me peace and blessings.

I had not expected to find what I saw at the Canossian Convent. The Sisters were in a very jolly mood, all in smiles. After a brief prayer service, the celebrations began: cool drinks, a variety of starters, a big and varied spread for dinner, and thereafter fun, music, games, dance, and much banter. I was scandalised, almost. But I was set to make an investigation about my belief systems, since the Sisters seemed to have the consolations that I did not on the feast day.

When studying Philosophy, a professor stated that, to understand the nature of the tree, we have first to experience the fruit of it. I had firsthand knowledge of what the Canossian Sisters had accomplished in urban areas and in inaccessible remote areas of Bhilpudi, Fulwadi, Vadoli, Zaroli, Shirpur and Shrirampur. They worked with slow learners, children of special needs, girls from slum areas; and they ran night and nursing schools for Adivasi girls and hospitals for lepers, besides organising NGOs for many social programmes and empowering women through self-help groups. I think it was mainly through these Sisters that I felt what really undergirded the devotion to our Lady of Sorrows.


07 Cardinal Oswald @ 21 and ‘The Gracias Effect’  - Nirmala Carvalho

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:49 AM ]

Marking the 21st Episcopal Anniversary of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay has been silently ushering in a revolution of tenderness, while he continues to shine as an ecclesial star, both in the Church in India and in the Universal Church.

Paving the way for a new culture of leadership in the 21st Century Church, a 'culture of inclusion; of encounter' remains steadfastly the Cardinal's vision and mission for the senior priests. His Eminence continues to inspire the emerging generations of both clerics and lay faithful of the Wisdom of Life and Ministry of our retired clergymen.

"Throwaway culture" has been one of the signature phrases of Pope Francis' papacy, a shorthand way of referring to what he regards as a brutal 21st century culture in which whole categories - including the elderly and even the Earth itself - are essentially regarded as disposable.

However, Gracias @ 21 contrasts the "throwaway" culture with a "culture of inclusion, of encounter" especially for the senior and retired priests in the Archdiocese of Bombay. Clearly, a cornerstone of the Cardinal's episcopacy is the obvious warmth, respect, brotherly affection, concern and care the Archbishop of Bombay has for his senior priests.

Cardinal Oswald provides a new visual of what a spirit of service looks like, by the high priority he places on Inter-generational exchanges and Dialogue between young and senior priests (ditto for lay persons).

Cardinal Gracias sketched his vision of inclusion for the senior priests prior to the "Francis effect". In 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI announced the Year of Priests, Cardinal Gracias inaugurated the Year with a solemn celebration in the Clergy Home in Bandra, citing three reasons for his choice:

• "Firstly, to show them our affection and appreciation for their Priestly ministry so faithfully carried out for so many years;

• Secondly, for their apostleship of prayer which makes our senior Priests a power house of prayer for the Church in India and the Universal Church; and

• Finally because our retired Priests have a wealth of wisdom that stems from their pastoral ministry and experience—their graces will shine on all our Presbyterians all over."


08 Should Catholics be rejoicing at the striking down of Section 377? Yes and No. - Fr. Joshan Rodrigues

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:47 AM ]

The LGBTQ community is rightly celebrating in India, with the Supreme Court slashing down Section 377, which branded homosexual acts as criminal. The LGBTQ community has been fighting this archaic British era law for many years. Coupled with the social stigma associated with homosexuality in India, this legal clampdown made life almost impossible and fearful for people with same-sex orientations. Now in light of this ruling, Catholics around the country may wonder what this means for us, in the light of Church teaching on homosexuality.

There is much misunderstanding among Catholics when it comes to understanding what the Church teaches on this issue. Many Catholics themselves believe that the Church is homophobic and condemns homosexuals. Many people have already put up links and messages on social media platforms, welcoming this decision and supporting free love. As social mores in our country change, Catholics must explore the deeper ramifications of this issue in the light of Church teaching, and what the Church really says. Quite often, we hear what the Church says from non-Church sources which greatly twist and confuse the real teaching of the Church.

So what 'does' the Church say on homosexuality? Is the Church homophobic? NO! The Church is not against people with same-sex orientation. They are Children of God, just like each one of us. They are invited to the Church and Sacraments, just like each one of us, and the same rules apply to them as they do to us. Whether you are married or single, heterosexual or homosexual, priest or laity, black or white, rich or poor, we all have an equal dignity in the Body of Christ. The Church too wants LGBTQs to be happy and experience love. There are many faithful Catholics with same-sex orientation who help in different ministries in our parishes. I have spoken to many such people in the confessional, where they've poured out their hearts and struggles. They have shared with me how they try to live as faithful and loving children of God everyday of their lives.

Having said this, there are other aspects to this issue. Though same-sex acts should not be a crime, they are still sinful. It is fallacious to think that whatever is legally allowed should also be morally allowed. Abortion is an example. Similarly, there are acts that may be immoral, and as a consequence, sinful, but not criminal in the eyes of the law. LGBTQ activists are already saying that their next goal is to legalise same-sex marriage, and give LGBTQ couples the right to adopt children. This is where we need to be alert, because in many other countries, legalising homosexuality has slowly and eventually opened the doors to marriage and adoption. Many Catholics themselves see no issue with same-sex marriage.

"Why shouldn't they have a right to love and have kids?" is the common refrain. And this is understandable, since we do not understand the full implications of this issue.


11 Care for Our Common Home – A Way Forward - Premila Martis

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:43 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:43 AM ]

Laudato Si' 14: All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of Creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvement and talents.

The path to green living first starts in our hearts and minds; and as we reflect and act, it leads to green living in our homes and communities. Living in commune with Nature brings a sense of wellness that is sorely needed in today's age.

An effective way to deal with environmental problems such as pollution, waste management and declining green cover is to start small and local, and do the best we can. This would involve bringing together all the stakeholders in that locality. The Green Diocese initiative of the Archdiocese of Bombay is a timely step in this direction.

A valuable resource that is being burnt or junked and burnt at the landfills is LEAVES, and its related biomass like twigs and branches. Leaves that fall from trees (or plants) are meant to go back into the earth to rejuvenate the soil, and in turn, the trees they fell from. Those who know its value call it BROWN GOLD. So, burning this brown gold is a double whammy in a city that desperately needs greenery. The #SaveALeaf Campaign hopes to bring about individual as well as community involvement to Clean Our Air, Build Our Soil and Green Our City. The three objectives are all inter-dependent on each other.

A chance discussion about #SaveALeaf at a local SCC (Holy Angels Community) in St Andrew's Parish, Bandra in February 2018 led to the birth of Dream Grove, Bandra. A local park was taken up on an experimental basis, and the residents of the area started their green journey, giving it their all. Slowly and steadily, people from other areas of Bandra trickled in. The park utilises leaves from the surrounding areas to build its much-neglected soil, and grow edibles as well as diverse plants. An ultimate demonstration of green living is growing food, eating local and seasonal, thus reducing food miles.


12 Synopsis of findings of the SCC evaluation 2018 Archdiocese of Bombay

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:41 AM ]


An Evaluation Committee comprising priests, religious and lay people was formed in October 2017, under the guidance of Bp. Barthol. After several meetings, it was decided that the evaluation would not be in the form of a formal research or survey, but a reflection process on the present state of the SCCs in the archdiocese.

The reflection process would take the form of a group discussion – groups of priests, laity, religious and seminarians.

A Core group was formed to formulate relevant questions for group discussion. The Core group prepared a form (containing four questions) that was approved by the Evaluation Committee. The form was presented at the Bishops’ Team meeting and approved.

A handout (containing the concept note, questions for discussion, along with important guidelines to be followed for group discussion) was sent to the Deans and the Deanery SCC Coordinators (priests).

In February 2018, the Deans conducted the group discussions for priests at the monthly Deanery meeting. In the same month, five lay representatives from every parish (including the Parish lay SCC Coordinator) along with the religious men and women involved in SCCs were invited for a meeting at the deanery level, conducted by one of the members of the Evaluation Committee.

+ Bp Barthol Barretto


Q 1: Impact of SCCs on Overall Life of the Parish Communities

a. Understanding of the Catholic Faith

1. Relationship with God: increased awareness of concern for neighbours; BUT no real faith formation on Catholic Faith / Doctrine. Bible sharing has created an increased awareness only among core group members.

2. Gospel Sharing: gives opportunities for Core Group members to grow in their faith, BUT it does not happen in the proper way. Sometimes, personalized understanding of the gospel to promote one's own ideology may conflict with the authentic understanding of faith.


14 Notes & Comments

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:38 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:38 AM ]

The Church is worth fighting for: Bishop Barron


The Catholic Church is passing through a "terrible crisis", and a great number of people "seem to be calling for the abandonment of the Church", according to the celebrated US Bishop Robert Barron.

Bishop Barron has released a new YouTube video titled "Why Remain Catholic? (with so much scandal)."

In the video, he refers to the scandals of clerical abuse and ecclesiastical cover-up, and says that he shares the "feelings of anger and frustration" which motivate such calls to abandon the Church, but argues "this is precisely the wrong strategy at this moment in the Church's life."

He makes a historical reference to Abraham Lincoln, and by way of analogy, describes how, just as Lincoln wouldn't abandon the ideals of American democracy, but instead fought for them even against great opposition, so Catholics shouldn't abandon Catholicism, but instead should strive to uphold the ideals of Catholicism, despite the iniquities of those clerics and Church leaders who betray them.


Call to Ban Nuclear Testing


Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, renewed on September 6, 2018, the Holy See's call for a total ban on nuclear testing. His appeal came on International Day Against Nuclear Tests at the United Nations in New York.

The Full Statement of Archbishop Auza:

Mr President,

The Holy See has called for a total ban on nuclear weapons since the dawn of the nuclear age. In February 1943, two-and-a-half years before the Trinity test, Pope Pius XII had already voiced deep concern regarding the violent use of atomic energy. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, observing the totally uncontrollable and indiscriminate consequences of nuclear weapons, Pope Pius XII demanded the effective proscription of atomic warfare.

Read More... 

Pope stresses 'Double Healing'


Healing requires the removal of sickness and fear, Pope Francis stressed on September 9, 2018. His comments came before praying the noonday Angelus with a crowd of some 15,000 pilgrims in St Peter's Square.

He referred to the gospel for the day, from the seventh chapter of Mark, on the healing of a deaf-mute.

"This account stresses the need of double healing: first of all, the healing of the sickness and of physical suffering, to restore the health of the body; even if this end isn't completely attainable in the earthly horizon, despite the many efforts of science and medicine," the Holy Father said. "However, there is a second healing, perhaps more difficult, and it is the healing of fear; the healing of fear that drives us to marginalise the sick, to marginalise the suffering, the disabled."

The Pope warned that we can be "deaf and dumb" in the face of suffering. But we can repeat the miracle by opening ourselves to others.


EU must 'put people' first


Members of the European Parliament are calling on the European Union "to put the people of the world before our financial and political interests", in a new freedom of religious beliefs report.

The Annual Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017, presented by an MEP Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and Religious Tolerance, states that "much of the world's population is deprived of their right to freedom of religion or belief, thought or conscience, " and hope it will serve to highlight "practical ways in which the EU can use its influence in the wider world."

The report focuses on 34 countries, in 19 of which people face significant restrictions in living in accordance with their faith. It rates each country according to restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, along with citing suggested EU action plans.

For example, in Guinea - one of several countries rated highest on the report's FoRB restriction scale - the report says that "given the link between freedom of expression and FoRB", the EU should use funds to provide workshops in which journalists from Guinea and the EU can exchange ideas, and can work together on the benefits of Freedom of Expression and FoRB for their respective countries.

The report also urges the EU to "openly condemn" the anti-conversion laws in seven of India's states and "encourage the central government to push for their repeal."


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