02/17/2020, 17.01
INDIA
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Card Gracias: Human life must be respected from conception

by Nirmala Carvalho

The 32nd Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India-Latin Church is underway. The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India condemns a new abortion bill. Bishop of Lucknow reiterates the importance of dialogue. A new English Lectionary and Querida Amazonia are presented.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Mumbai yesterday reiterated that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. The Church has been unwavering in its protection of the sanctity of human life, from conception until natural death.”

Card Gracias, who chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), made the statement in his address to the 32nd plenary of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI)-Latin Church, currently underway in Bengaluru (Bangalore).

In his address, the prelate again condemned abortion as well as India’s new abortion bill, which extends the period to end a pregnancy to 24 weeks. “Bishops have the responsibility to spread Christ’s message about the dignity of all human life”, he said.

Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, opened the plenary assembly. He invited the faithful to live every aspect of their daily in accordance with Gospel values.

“The followers of Christ,” he noted, “have the responsibility to promote the Gospel values of mercy and compassion. The Bishops in our country should encourage the faithful to deepen the values of the Gospel in their lives”.

Bishop Gerald John Mathias of Lucknow told AsiaNews that “dialogue is an inevitable imperative and an urgency particularly in situations where there is a climate of distrust, suspicion and intolerance.  When there are adversaries and hostile people, there is a greater need for dialogue”.

In his view, “the Catholic Church must be in the forefront of dialogue and make situations conducive for dialogue; eventually, people will witness that dialogue is creating a new way of being, [and that] a new relationship is being created and fostered through dialogue

Ultimately, “dialogue fosters a civilisation of harmony, understanding and good will among people. We may not always succeed, the journey may be long and also fraught with difficulties, but the Catholic Church must take the initiative to foster dialogue.”

The Catholic Church in India, through its “educational and health apostolate is already immersed in dialogue. The poor, the needy, the marginalised, the destitute, and even the rich are all beneficiaries of Catholic educational institutions as well as healthcare and social services.”

“Without discrimination of any caste and creed, our apostolate selflessly serves each one, and this is a concrete [form of] dialogue of Life.  Even people hostile to us are welcomed into our institutions, and this too is way of dialogue.”

The CCBI, which is structured in 132 dioceses with some 190 bishops, is the fourth largest bishops’ conference in the world.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão of Goa and Daman, who is CCBI president, urged all those present to pray continuously for the speedy recovery of all people affected by the deadly coronavirus.

At the end of the day, the new English Lectionary was presented to the public, together with the Book of Gospel, the Rite for the Administering Marriage, the Rite of Administering Sacrament of Confirmation and Querida Amazon, the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pope Francis released last week.

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