By Philip Mathew
Bengaluru: Poverty is the biggest terrorism and evil that needs to be fought by the Church, says Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar.
Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of the 33rd general body meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) that began at the St John’s Medical College auditorium in Bengaluru on February 2, the Salesian cardinal said that “Poverty is the mortal sin of modern times.”
“Our Eucharist is a great challenge. We break Bread on a world of injustice,” the Cardinal said adding that “we need third and final war – a world war against poverty and injustice.”
The CBCI general body on the theme “United in diversity for a mission of mercy and witness’’ began with a Mass presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro.
Inaugurating the general body, the Apostolic Nuncio called for an attitude of opening and expanding one’s heart. “A big heart doesn’t get entangled in other peoples lives, it doesn’t condemn but forgives and forgets,” Archbishop Diquattro noted.
He told nearly 200 bishops, priests, nuns and guests that diversity is a creation of the Holy Spirit.
“It’s true this diversity is so rich, so beautiful. But, then the same Holy Spirit creates unity, and in this way the Church I one in diversity,” the Nuncio said.
According to Cardinal Bo, when there are challenges around us, unity is not a luxury but a necessity.
Church which started with Jewish converts had to grapple with many cultures. Unity was a challenge even during Peter’s and Paul’s time.
He termed Mother Teresa and Sister Rani Maria as two extraordinary women of the history of the Indian Church. They have taught the Church what mercy means, he told the gathering.
Earlier the inaugural session began with the lighting of the lamp.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the CBCI stated that the Catholic Church in India will continue to remain at the forefront of serving the “lost and the least” in the country.
Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore in his welcome address called the Christians not to be parochial and inward looking but to counter intolerance that is gaining ground in the country.
Archbishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the CBCI presented a two-year report. He expressed the hope that the visit of Pope Francis to India is likely in the near future.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, second vice president of the CBCI read out the messages from the president of India and prefects of the different congregations of the Vatican.
Archbishop Andrew Thazath, vice president of the CBCI proposed a vote of thanks.