‘World Day of Poor’ challenges one’s comfort zones: Jesuit

By Matters India Reporter

Kolkata, Nov. 18, 2018: Every person needs to revisit one’s comfort zones thinking of the poor, says a Jesuit educationist.

Matters India talked to some people about the second “World Day of the Poor” declared by Pope Francis. It was celebrated on November 18 this year. The theme of this year was “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.”

“All of us are required to revisit our security and comfort and increasing distance from the poor. This also means uncomfortable options in our ministries. The Church leadership is becoming increasingly isolated from the poor, because among other things we run the risk of becoming more and more irrelevant,” said Jesuit Father Patrick Walsh from Bengal.

“India is being sold out to the richest of the rich. Many of church institutions created for the poor have been usurped by the creamy layers and the poor are being pushed out. There is little doubt that policies today are ensuring that the widening gap between the rich and the poor is being prolonged and perpetuated,” he said.

“Can we just pretend that we must remain spectators to this systemic injustice?” asked Walsh, former Rector of Morning Star College, Barrackpure.

For Manas Ranjan Singh, a human rights lawyer and activist from Kandhamal district, Odisha, government should work for their advancement so that the word of poor will be no more in the dictionary. And church should strengthen the bond of faith with church.

“We have World Hunger day May 28, World Food day on 16 October, World Eradication of Poverty day on 17 Oct and we can keep adding on this list, a few concerned people raise questions and some concerned people intervene. But the general public, the Church leadership and faithful included in that list, are quiet complacent in all these lopsided development and the huge majority going through suffering and starvation. We are rather immune to the sufferings all around us or at times accept the status of poverty fatalistically,” said Jesuit Father Irudaya Jothi, director of Udayani (awakening) Social Action Forum, a Jesuit-managed NGO, Bengal.

“Unfortunately we tend to forget that the wealth of the Church is entrusted to the leaders as custodians and it is for the poor! We tend to lord over it. Added to this crime is power. The power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he added.

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