24 November 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 11/10/2017, 13.20


    Indian Church to celebrate Dalit Liberation Sunday on 12 November (Video)

    The CBCI Office for Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes is behind the initiative. India’s caste system is rooted in society and Church hierarchies. For Bishop Neethinathan, discrimination has divided Indians for generations.

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Mgr Anthonisamy Neethinathan, bishop of Chingleput (Tamil Nadu) and president of the Office for Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), is behind Dalit Liberation Sunday, a celebration for both Indian Catholics and Protestants that will be held on the second Sunday of November, 12 November this year.

    ‘Religious Freedom of the Dalits’ will be the theme of the event, which “is a clarion call to the whole Christian community to renew our faith, to be the voice of the voiceless and to stand by those who are made vulnerable in the society,” Mgr Neethinathan says in a press release.

    According to the bishop, "We are united in the same spirit of God to show love and treat others with brotherly concern. India is a cradle of many civilizations and religions.  Our constitution gives us the freedom to choose the religion we want to practice. But in reality, our Dalit sisters and brothers are denied the Scheduled Castes rights just because they convert into Christianity."

    In India, the Constitution abolishes caste divisions, but discrimination against Dalits (once known as untouchables) is still rooted in society.

    For the president of the Office, Dalits "are not only economically poor but politically powerless and socially outcastes.  The man-made caste system which remains a social stigma throughout generations has divided us, so that we are not able to experience the real presence of God in our lives. God the father created us to be His loving children and to become Christ like. But in reality, we remain strangers to God by discriminating our own fellow members of the mystical body of Christ."

    The bishop admits that Dalits are discriminated not only in society but also within the Church herself. Indeed, in order to overcome their marginalisation in the latter, the CBCI last year approved an action plan for the inclusion of Dalits.

    Mgr Neethinathan also explains that the bishops filed a complaint with the Indian Supreme Court to challenge the validity of the 1950 Constitutional Order that excludes Christian and Muslim Dalits from quotas in jobs and education, guaranteed instead to Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh Dalits.

    As he urges all Christians to join the celebrations, the bishop writes that “Dalit Liberation Sunday is an opportunity to give hope, to empower and uplift our brethren. It has to be celebrated with hope as the prudent virgins expecting the coming of Jesus Christ.”


    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    18/05/2017 18:35:00 INDIA
    Bishop of Chingleput: Catholic schools to offer discounts to Dalits

    Archbishop Anthonisamy Neethinathan heads the Office on Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. He issued a circular to all Catholic schools in his diocese, offering an example that "should be applied by all dioceses". Fee reductions apply to first generation and poor pupils.

    Editor's choices

    Mass for a deceased underground priest. Card. Zen asks for God ‘s grace to save the Church in China and the Holy See from the 'precipice'

    Li Yuan

    Fr. Wei Heping, 41, died in mysterious circumstances, his body dumped in a river in Taiyuan (Shanxi). For the police claim he committed suicide. Family members are not allowed to even see the autopsy report. For Card. Zen the Holy See (which "is not necessarily the Pope") seeks a compromise at all costs with the Chinese government, risking "to sell out the faithful Church". Justice and Peace publish a booklet about Fr. Wei, not to forget.

    Pope: No more war, its only fruit is death, 'our self-destruction'

    Marking the Feast of All Souls, Francis celebrated Mass at the American Cemetery in Nettuno. "When so many times in history men think of a war, they are convinced of bringing a new world, they are convinced of making a 'spring'. It ends in a winter, ugly, cruel, with the reign of terror and death."


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®