Indian bishops to address Church response to modern challenges

New Delhi (Sathosh Digal – Matters India): The Catholic bishops in India will seek ways to help the Church respond meaningfully to modern challenges when they meet for their next biennial plenary.

The plenary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) is scheduled for March 2-9 at St. John’s Medical College Campus, Bangalore, capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Heads of India’s 171 dioceses, auxiliary and retired bishops are expected at the assembly that has chosen the theme, “The Response of the Church in India to the present day Challenges.”

The bishops are meeting first time after a coalition headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the pro-Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party) formed the federal government on May 26, 2014. India was in the grip of an election fever when they prelates met last time at Palai in February 2014.

Justice Cyriac Joseph, a retired Supreme Court judge and acting chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, will be the main speaker at the next plenary, said CBCI secretary general Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra in a report.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, is also invited to address the plenary. The plenary has slotted some space for eminent persons from other Christian denominations and religions to express their views on the issues the bishops will discuss.

The bi-annual assembly will allot some time to celebrate the Year of the Consecrated with the Religious. Among others, the Regional Bishops’ Councils are to present their biennial reports,.

Archbishop D’Souza has also informed that the working paper on the main theme, prepared by the CBCI Core Team, will be circulated among all the dioceses to facilitate discussion and deliberation on the plenary’s theme at various levels of the Church in India. This will help the plenary to reflect the thinking and feeling of the whole Church in India, the prelate added.

The previous plenary was held at Palai, Kerala, in February 2014 with the theme, “Renewed Church for a Renewed Society – Responding to the Call of Vatican II.”

The bishops’ conference is currently headed by Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis, the major archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Church.

The CBCI, an apex body of the Catholic Church of India, was established in 1944. The conference comprises bishops of India’s all three ritual Churches – Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara.

The plenary assembly, held on a particular theme, reviews the situation and assesses the progress of the Church in India.

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