Christian women in India take steps to address clerical abuse cases

Participants of the National Consultation on "Impact of Religion and Culture on Women's Empowerment – An Indian Perspective" at Hyderabad, southern India. (Provided photo)After efforts to persuade the Catholic church in India to deal with sexual abuse of women by clergy, and upset over the church's slow progress, a group of Christian women, mostly Catholics, announced steps for addressing the issue on their own.

"We should move outside the church to seek answers to abuse cases. We should treat this problem as a crime and take recourse to the law," said Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a lay woman theologian.

Gajiwala, who heads the women's collective Satyashodak (meaning "seekers of truth"), made these remarks at a recent national seminar that studied the impact of religion and culture on the empowerment of women from an Indian perspective.

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“Impact of Religion and Culture on Women’s Empowerment - An Indian Perspective”

Statement from the National Consultation at Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad,

23rd – 26th September, 2016.

Pack nothing. 
We bring only our determination to serve and our willingness to be free
. We will not hesitate to leave our old ways behind: we fear, silence and submission.
Only surrender is to the need of the time: to do justice and walk humbly with God.
Though we set out in the dark.
We are confident that God will be present with us in fire and in the cloud to encourage us.
Alla Renee Bozarth)

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Varghese TheckanathDown the ages men have been perceived to be the sole recipients and transmitters of divine messages. Women on the other hand, have been socialized by patriarchal religious structures and practices to passively accept religious teachings as interpreted by men. These andocentric and patriarchal interpretations have defined and shaped the social and cultural contexts of Indian women resulting in their disempowerment and second class status. Recognizing the influence of religion and culture on Indian women’s lives, Streevani took the initiative to organize a National Consultation on the theme “Impact of Religion and Culture on Women’s Empowerment – An Indian Perspective” from 23rd to 26th September, 2016 at Hyderabad.  The Montfort Social Institute hosted the meeting and were also co-organizers together with the Indian Christian Women’s Movement, The Indian Women Theologians Forum, and Satyashodak. 50 people, religious women and men, lay women and one diocesan priest were present.

Jesus & ourselves, compare! He emptied himself, we peacock!

by Dr James Kottoor

Murder most foul on the cross. It made Friday good for the world and is called “Good Friday”
Murder most foul on the cross. It made Friday good for the world and is called “Good Friday”

Jesus is supposed to be the fulcrum on which everyone who calls him/herself to be a Christian must swing around all throughout his/her life, twenty-four hours a day. He is the role model. He is the leader, we the followers; he is the master, we the servants whom he has raised to the status of his friends. He became a slave, we in contrast become “Peacocks!”

Holy week is the time when Christians around the globe focus their attention solely, so to say, on the person of Jesus on the cross, especially his passion and death. How do we compare ourselves to him?  “On bended knees!” could be the best pictorial description of that relationship of the generality of Christians towards Jesus, that is, the relationship  of a creature to its  creator for everything. When that relationship grows and matures, it may become specific and different for different people from the way they look upon him

From Peripheries he comes as outcast

The Homeless Jesus comes to the Vatican

 By ANDREA TORNIELLI in Vatican Insider, 3/03/2016

The statue of Jesus that sits at the entrance of the Office of Papal Charities.

A life-size sculpture of the Nazarene, depicted as a homeless person lying down on a bench, has been placed at the entrance of the Office of Papal Charities. It was created by Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz

 (Note: “From the Peripheries.” That is how Francis started his pontificate: “Go out into the peripheries…..yes, out, out of your churches of sacristies to the far-flung outcasts and cast outs who live in the peripheries, “favellas” and of whom you know nothing about.” These faceless, homeless, broken-down humans represent the “crumbling church of St.Damian” a St. francis was asked to “Go and repair” and not churches built of  brick and mortar. Note the “homeless Jesus sleeping covered in blanket before the papal office. In it we should see the image of the ongoing crucifixion of Jesus. In earlier Notes CCV wrote, “Jesus wandering about dressed in a tunic (over which they caste lots) never had even a home address. Such homeless persons in the shanty towns are the living-crumpling-temples of God, His Church today has to build or rebuild, and not 50-crore and one-crore monstrosities (towers of Babel) of pride and worldly glory. Stop therefore forthwith the present “church building mania”, and go about our neighborhood, imitating Jess doing good, feeding, heeling, comforting, helping, totally immersed in the works of mercy in this Year of Mercy. james kottoor, editor)

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Bangalore CBCI Meet - Why No publicity, transparency, Lay participation, press coverage?

Report by Philip Matthew, Matters India reporter, Indian bishops to seek Church response to current challenges

Dr James Kottoor replies:

The General body meeting of the Catholic Bishops conference of India (CBCI) is a two-yearly happening. The participants in this meet are the bishops of the three different Rites – on it there are still many unresolved questions --- like Latin, Syromalbar and Syromalankara.

More than 180 bishops from these Rites (right or wrong) have already started their week-long session on Feb.2nd. Its theme is “The Response of the Church in India to the Present Day Challenges.” It stands out for two distinct features: 1. Presence of Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington is the invited Chief Guest. Similar was the presence of President Obama for the Republic day. 2. The invited Justice Cyriac Joseph gave the keynote address. Lack of due advance publicity, we already noted, was a flaw on the part of organizers. Why?

Our stress is on due publicity, that is, publicity the event deserves.