Cardinal Toppo Elected

Trichur (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has elected Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi as its new president for the next two years.

Cardinal Toppo, made cardinal last year, was the first tribal prelate to be introduced into the College of Cardinals. He succeeds Archbishop Cyril Baselios of Trivandrum as president of the CBCI.

Conference spokesperson Father Babu Joseph told reporters that 147 bishops took part in the election Jan. 12. Ballots were cast during the biennial CBCI meeting being held Jan. 7-14 in the Trichur diocese. Trichur city, 2,020 kilometers south of New Delhi, is in the state of Kerala.

The new CBCI president is also president of the Indian Latin-rite bishops' forum, known as the Catholic Conference of Bishops of India (CCBI). His predecessor Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios of Trivandrum has been elected Vice president, together with Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Trichur. They belong respectively to the Syro-Malankara and Syro-Malabar rites.

The CBCI comprisesbishops fromLatin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites, which together form the Catholic Church in India. The Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Churches are Oriental-rite Churches based in Kerala.