By Matters India Reporter
Calcutta: India’s two leading theological seminaries plan to introduce a new course on child rights and protection in its curriculum from next academic year.
Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore, West Bengal, will introduce the subject “Ethics of Child Rights and Protection” in its theological education, because of the prevailing situations of child sexual abuse and exploitation in society and the church, Fr. Irudaya Raj S, dean of theology department, told Matters India on October 6.
The course is basically meant to help students understand their moral and pastoral responsibility in upholding children’s rights, Fr. Raj added.
“Future priests need to promote children’s rights as part of the Church’s pastoral ministry and protect them from predators and identify the abusers,” he added.
The seminary begins its academic year in July.
The seminary is affiliated to Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV, light of knowledge university), based in Pune, western India. The Pune seminary has asked the Morning Star to offer the new course as an optional subject for theology students. “But, we will make it mandatory,” Father Raj said.
The dean also said JDV will also offer the same subject for its students from next academic year.
JDV, the pontifical institute for philosophy and religion, was established in 1893.
Plans are underway to develop the details of the course content as a course module, Father Raj said.
Morning Star Regional Seminary is owned and managed by the Bengal Catholic Priests’ Training Institute and governed by Catholic Bishops of West Bengal.
It was founded in 1968 by the then Archbishop Albert Vincent D’Souza of Calcutta as the Calcutta archdiocesan seminary. It became a regional seminary to serve the dioceses of Bengal region. The first batch of deacons from this seminary was ordained in December 1975.