Cardinal Gracias: NCW Move is Absurd And An Infringement On Freedom of Religion.

MUMBAI, JULY 28: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of CBCI has condemned the demand by the National Commission of Women (NCW) to end the practice of Confession in the Church. The following is the full text of the press statement:

Sub: Press Release from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, President, CBCI on the interference into the Christian religious practice of Confession.

I was shocked to read in the press about the demand from the National Commission for Women for a ban on the Christian Sacrament of Confession. This demand by the Commission betrays a total lack of understanding of the nature, meaning, sanctity and importance of this Sacrament for our people; and also an ignorance of the strict laws of the Church to prevent any abuse.

Such a ban will be a direct infringement on our freedom of religion guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Millions of people from all over the world, over the centuries, have testified to the spiritual benefit of this Sacrament and to the grace, pardon and peace they have experienced as a result of receiving this Sacrament. I am confident the Government will totally ignore this absurd demand from the Commission.

There are very many issues concerning women that the Commission should pay attention to: empowerment of women, their capacity building, prevention of domestic violence, organizing rescue systems, and so on, instead of dabbling in religious matters about which it understands nothing. The Church wishes to promote even more the advancement of women in society and is ready to collaborate with the National Commission for Women for this, as it does with other agencies.

+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias

Archbishop of Bombay & President, CBCI

Superior General Of Missionaries Of Charity Sister Prema Explains

Sadly, there has been much discussion in the media, with much fire and fury, even with un-substantiated allegationssr_prema_mc_2against the Missionaries of Charity's home for children. In this context the following is the press release issued by Sr. M. Prema MC, Superior General, Missionaries of Charity founded by Saint Mother Teresa:

NIRMAL HRIDAY, MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY HOME, EAST JAIL ROAD, RANCHI (Missionaries of Charity, Mother House, Kolkata - July 17, 2018):

We are deeply saddened and grieved by the recent developments at Missionaries of Charity Home - Nirmal Hriday at East Jail Road, Ranchi. Even while we place our full trust in the Judicial process that is underway, we wish to express regret and sorrow for what happened and desire to express in unequivocal terms our condemnation of individual actions which have nothing to do with the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. We are fully cooperating with the investigations and are open to any free, fair and just inquiry. In this context, specially in view of many myths being spread, information distorted and false news being diffused and baseless innuendos being thrown about regarding the Mother Teresa Sisters, it is expedient to lay down the turn of events as they actually transpired.

Sr. Concelia MC was appointed as the sister-in-charge of the 'unwed mothers' section at Nirmal Hriday, East Jail Road, Ranchi on June 06, 2017. She was responsible for admission, hospitalization, counseling, record keeping, accompanying mothers and babies to CWC, when necessary and for discharge of the unwed mothers from the Home.

Mrs. Anima Indwar began working at Nirmal Hriday from January 2012. Initially, she worked as a ward helper and then as a staff member to care for the unwed mothers. She learnt the work very well and ably assisted Sr. Concelia MC. Mrs. Anima Indwar thus, came to enjoy the trust of the Sisters at Nirmal Hriday. As and when Sr. Concelia MC got engaged in pressing responsibilities, Mrs. Anima Indwar would escort the unwed mothers, their babies and their guardians to Sadar Hospital, RIMS and CWC office as was required, by herself.

On June 29, 2018, at around 12.30 pm, the Child Protection Officer, Ms. Seema and other Social Welfare officers, about five of them, came to Nirmal Hriday. They called for the admission and attendance registers containing information about the inmates at the Home. They seized the registers and records maintained by Nirmal Hriday without providing the receipt for such seizure to the Home.

From the records maintained for 'unwed mothers', the said officials particularly enquired about Ms. Karishma Toppo and her baby. Ms. Karishma Toppo had taken admission in Nirmal Hriday on March 19, 2018 and had delivered her baby on May 01, 2018. After her delivery, Ms. Karishma Toppo had declared in the Home's register that she would surrender her child to CWC. Mrs. Anima Indwar, Ms. Karishma Toppo and her guardian thus, took the baby from Nirmal Hriday to surrender the child. Neither Nirmal Hriday nor the Sisters had any way to ascertain whether the child was actually surrendered to CWC. This is so because CWC as matter of practice did not give any acknowledgement to the Home after obtaining custody of a child from an unwed mother.

On July 03, 2018, Mrs. Anima Indwar when summoned by CWC, admitted that Ms. Karishma Toppo's child was not surrendered to CWC. Upon such admission, she was handed over to the police by CWC. Ms. Karishma Toppo's child too was surrendered to CWC by Mrs. Anima Indwar and Ms. Karishma Toppo on the same day.

On July 04, 2018, Sr. Concelia MC and Sr. Marie Deanne MC, Superior of Nirmal Hriday were also questioned by the police. Sr. Concelia was arrested by the police while Sr. Marie Deanne MC after being kept in police custody till 7 pm the next day, was finally let off.

On the evening of July 04, 2018, CWC along with Child Protection Officer, Ms. Seema without serving any notice to Nirmal Hriday, carried away the 11 unwed mothers, one unwed mother along with her baby and one guardian from the Home. The said women were subjected to utmost humiliation and public embarrassment by the officials as they were carried in full view of the media.

For reasons unknown, our Shishu Bhawan Home at Hinoo was raided by CWC with a police force consisting about 7 members on July 06, 2018. 22 children lodged in the said Home were carried away by CWC, which included a one month old baby. One such baby took very ill in the custody of CWC and was admitted in the ICU at Rani Hospital. The records and registers of this Home too were carried away by the officials without providing the Home a receipt of such seizure. It is distressing that

CWC has meted out such treatment to a Home which its officials themselves had described as having an "excellent environment for the care of children" only about two weeks before.

The Missionaries of Charity following the footsteps of our foundress St. Mother Teresa is caring for the poor, destitute and the afflicted since 1950. Today, there are 5,167 sisters, both active and contemplative, with 760 houses in 139 countries. The Missionaries of Charity have 244 houses in India including those in Jharkhand. Our works include running homes for leprosy patients, TB patients, AIDS patients, physically and mentally challenged children and adults, night shelters, indoor primary healthcare facilities, homes for women in distress, girls in danger, abandoned pregnant women, and for women whom poverty and starvation have driven into the streets.

The Congregation of Missionaries of Charity vows to continue their whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor, by serving the needy and vulnerable even in the middle of the unprecedented and unfounded criticism that it faces today. We have full faith in the courts of law and the investigating authorities and are confident that justice shall prevail.

We pray for all those who have been hurt by the recent developments and we ask God to bless all those who are standing by us in these painful and difficult moments, and we lift up to God in prayer all people of goodwill.

May our Mother, St. Teresa of Calcutta intercede for us before our Almighty Father.

Sr. M. Prema MC
(Superior General)

Pope Francis Presents Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate

Pope Francis has issued his 3rd Apostolic Exhortation 'Gaudete et Exsultate', on April 9, after Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia. The five-chapter, 98-page document can be considered somewhat of a practical handbook on how to help people achieve holiness in the circumstances of their ordinary life. The chapters include:

1) The Call to Holiness, 2) Two Subtle Enemies of Holiness, 3) In the Light of the Master, 4) Signs of Holiness in Today's World, and 5) Spiritual Combat, Vigilance and Discernment.

Reflecting on saints, the Pope speaks interestingly of the saints 'next door', he says, "I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God's people: In their daily perseverance, I see the holiness of the Church militant, a holiness found in our next-door neighbors, the middle class of holiness." Our call to holiness, Pope asserts, is a constant battle. If we do not realize this, he warns, we "will be prey to failure or mediocrity." Yet, he suggests, we can count on "the powerful weapons" God has given us, including prayer, meditation, Mass, Confession, Eucharistic adoration, charitable acts and community outreach. Pope Francis concludes stating: "It is my hope that these pages will prove helpful by enabling the whole Church to devote herself anew to promoting the desire for holiness."

For full text please access

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