According to Saramma Emmanuel reporting on Feb.1st from Bhopal: Catholic Church in India began to seriously ponder over revitalizing Catholic families after separate studies found only a “minority of people support the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage” in the 29thplenary assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI)
This is the first time Bhopal, the capital of the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh hosts this important Church meet which is expected to lay down measures to restore family values and morality in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church to keep its flock together. Currently, according to the CCBI office bearers more than 130 bishops from 132 Latin dioceses in the country are attending the week long plenary assembly which will conclude on February 8.
During the week long gathering the bishops will focus on the theme – Promoting the Joy of Love in Our Families – extensively. The participants also will hear the experience of living together from Catholic couples besides sharing their experience about dilution of family values in the changed global scenario.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the main celebrant of the inaugural Eucharistic celebration along with other con-celebrants Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo, bishops and priests invoked the Holy Spirit to lead them in their attempt to help the families to protect and uphold the family values for a joyful life.
Cadinal in his homely stressed the need for improving family life saying, “we need to turn good families into better families and holy families to holier families”.The prelate said, “revitalizing the families is one of the most urgent needs for the Church.” “A family is sacred and so we must protect it. There are many ideologies around us which destroy family values. So we must reach the message of love to the families without any exclusion.”
The families worldwide”, he said “are in crisis on account of economic disparities, cultural differences, religious and linguistic differences, greed, individualism among a host of other issues”.
Cardinal Oswal Gracias who is also the president of the CCBI, said in his address, “mercy is not an option but it is the culture of Christianity. Nobody is excluded from God’s mercy. Mother Theresa is the embodiment of the Mercy”, he said.
The chairman of CCBI commission for family bishop Lawrence Pius Dorairaj, briefly shared his findings on “Experience and Challenges of Indian Families” based on different studies carried out by Church agencies at different levels.The prelate said, families suffered multiple problems from within and outside losing the joy of living together.
The shift in the social values, poverty, unemployment, lack of basic amenities for a quality life, trafficking, domestic violence, hegemony of male over female, infidelity, caste issues, honor killing, rejection of elderly a few among a host of other issues take the steam out of a happy family life.
The prelate also expressed concern over the changing morality among the youth who never bother about the teachings of Church on moral values. Almost 74 per cent of the youth follow their personal goals when it comes to morality, he stressed.
Two couples from tribal communities also shared about their family life. Father Somy Jacob who works among the poor tribals in Jabalpur diocese of Madhya Pradesh also shared his experience of being with the company of poorest of the poor who even find difficulty in eke out two square meal a day.