1. Medical College Inaugurated
Constant Lievens Academy of Health Sciences and Hospital in Ranchi, Jharkhand was inaugurated on 7 November 2015, by Chief Minister Raghubar Das. The ceremonies included Mass at 10 am, the inaugural function and cultural programs. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Chairperson of the college’s executive committee, said, the medical college envisages holistic health for everyone, especially for tribals and other marginalized groups. CBCI president Cardinal Baselios Cleemis described the medical college as the “long cherished brainchild project” of the CBCI. India has about 176 government medical colleges and 206 private medical colleges. Jharkhand has only 3,958 health sub-centers against the required 6,043.
2. No to Adoption Rules
The CBCI has criticized the country’s new adoption guidelines as they go against the principles of “ethics and human dignity.” It would be quite unacceptable to allow the single parents to adopt a child, as it involves risks for the children and defeats the very purpose of adoption.” This criticism comes in the wake of the Missionaries of Charity’s decision to stop giving in adoption from its Children’s Homes. They stated that the guidelines went against policies of Mother Teresa. According to the federal Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, headed by Maneka Gandhi, single, separated or divorced people can adopt children from registered organizations in India. 25 organizations across the country had expressed similar reservations against the guidelines which are “anti-child, anti-family and anti-faith.”
3. Bishops’ Biennial Plenary
BangaloreThe Catholic bishops in India will gather for their next biennial plenary, March 2-9, at St. John’s Medical College Campus, Bangalore. The heads of India’s 171 dioceses, auxiliary and retired bishops are expected at the assembly. The theme of the Plenary is, “The Response of the Church in India to the present day Challenges.” This is their first meet after the Modi government took over on May 26, 2014. Justice Cyriac Joseph, retired Supreme Court judge and acting chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, will be the main speaker at the plenary. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who heads US Bishops’ Conference, and invitees from other Christian denominations and religions also will speak. The CBCI, an apex body of the Catholic Church of India, was established in 1944.
4. Courageous Witness
The Archdiocese of Nagpur organized a get together on 25 October, to celebrate the Year of Consecrated life. 500 sisters and about 100 diocesan and religious priests attended. The day-long event was held at St Francis De Sales Cathedral, remembering the Pope’s call to “Wake up the World.” Archbishop Viruthakulangara hailed the consecrated persons, “The Church is rich in service because of you. You dare to reach the remote areas of the country where others cannot reach, bringing the light of education and health to the less privileged. You face many torments for that.” Symbolising the 50 religious congregations in the diocese 50 sisters performed an aarthi during the Mass. 20 religious who completed 60 years of consecrated life were honoured as well.
5. Focus on Values
The Catholic Church, which owns the second highest number of education institutions in the country, has asked the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry of the government to form its new education policy focusing on values and probity in public life without being religion-specific. The Church claimed that the present system was deficient in ethical and moral components. It should nurture diversity, inclusiveness and secularism as well as divergent and critical thinking among the students. Proposals also include moderating fee structure, creating corpus scholarship fund for the marginalised, scrapping of all-promotion beyond Class III, evaluation of teachers once in three years and the creation of a national service for teachers to give them mobility in civil service lines.