» 03/02/2010 15:30 INDIA “A new life for the Indian Church,” Card Gracias says by Nirmala Carvalho The archbishop of Mumbai is elected president of the Bishops’ Conference of India. He tells AsiaNews that will focus on interfaith dialogue and helping the poor. “God calls on us to protect creation and this must be the core of our mission.”
Guwahati (AsiaNews) – The Indian Church “must been seen to be in the service of the nation through education, health care and social apostolate for those who are marginalised as well as the entire nation.[. . .] This is our mission among the people without distinction of caste or creed. It is essential that the Church [. . .] see the face of Christ in the poor, the vulnerable, and those living on the margins of society,” Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, told AsiaNews after his fellow prelates elected him today at their biennial General Assembly as the new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).
Card Gracias is known across the country for his untiring defence of human rights and religious freedom. He has been fearless in his attacks against the government for failing to protect Christians in Orissa during last summer’s pogroms. He is also well known for his ardent commitment to the protection of life, one of the missions closest to his heart.
One of his new tasks will be “getting the three Catholic rites of India to work together as well as engaging other religious in dialogue,” he said. “The Holy Scriptures describe human beings ‘as created in His divine image’, at the helm of creation. God blessed the world with other creatures; hence it is important to share with them the earth in which we live.”
Since the beginning, “God called on His Church to work within creation. This, now more than ever, is our most urgent duty. We must develop resources to place in the service of the nation and the whole world,” he said. For this reason, “Our Church has one, ultimate priority, namely helping the poor. But poverty is related to environmental degradation and fighting both will be at the core of our mission.”