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Manipur violence: Catholic clergy told to play prophetic role, not be complicit in crime

Counterview Desk 

Maria Nirmalini, president of the high profile Christian organisation Conference of Religious, India (CRI), in an open letter to Catholic Church's major superiors, the clergy which governs an entire or a part of a clerical institute, has called upon them to meaningfully engage in "burning issues" of India "which are happening at a frightening regularity".
Particularly referring to violence in Manipur, where "Christians and other tribals are being attacked, Nirmalini said, "The fact is that we can no longer remain ensconced in our comfort zones; our silence and our fear to play a prophetic role, makes us complicit in the many crimes of today."


I am writing this letter to share with you my concern at the many serious happenings in different parts of the country; these include the ongoing targeted violence in Manipur on the Christians and other tribals; the continual attacks on Church personnel and institutions; the denigration of the Muslims; the mainstreaming of hate speeches; the pathetic plight of our protesting women wrestlers. There are of course, several other issues.
In the face of these growing hostilities, the question I have been asking myself is: Can I remain silent? What would Jesus have done if he was physically present in the India of today? The answer is obvious: he would have taken a visible and vocal stand against these acts of violence and injustices! 
As Religious, wedded to the person and message of Jesus- we have no choice! Like Jesus, we too must come out in the open; be visible and vocal and to do all we can to right the wrongs.
There are several ways by which we can get involved in these critical issues; these include:
  • Join in/collaborate/support protests/ peace marches/ rallies/dharnas being organized in support of the protesting wrestlers, the victims of Manipur etc.
  • Already beginning today, 1st June, the farmers of India have begun a nation-wide campaign in support of the wrestlers which culminates in a massive national protest on 5th June
  • Encourage as many as possible religious, clergy, laity and others to join in
  • As the Diocesan CRI Unit you can also decide to organize a protest rally as early as possible – bringing together religious and other like-minded individuals and groups
  • Write letters of support to the wrestlers
  • Give a memorandum to the District Collector/Governor
  • Donate/help in collecting relief supplies for the victims of Manipur
  • Use social media to condemn what is happening to our wrestlers and in Manipur
The above are just some possibilities for meaningful engagement in the context of the burning issues taking place in our country at this moment and of other issues which are happening at a frightening regularity. 
The fact is that we can no longer remain ensconced in our comfort zones; our silence and our fear to play a prophetic role, makes us complicit in the many crimes of today. Pope Francis constantly has demanded that we as religious need to “wake up” and also “to wake up others”. In ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ (The Joy of the Gospel) he strongly says:
“Demands involving the distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised”. (#218).
Let us then, begin NOW – before it is too late!



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