[Source: Manorama. Dated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 23:49 hrs IST]
A Nun shouts slogans for the Constitutional Rights of Dalit Christians outside Parliament House, New Delhi, India. Police rounded up the gathering, used force, beat them with batons, and used water cannons of dirty water against thousands of demonstrators. Many: Bishops of Catholic Church, Church of North India, Church of South India, Lutheran, Jacobite Churches etc; and the Arc hbishop of New Delhi, were assaulted and arrested. National Dalit Christian Council (NCDC), consisting of all major Churches in India, organised the March. "At all times, you must continue to make certain that special attention is given to those belonging to the lowest castes, specially the Dalits. They should never be segregated from other members of society. Any semblance of a caste - based prejudice in relati ons between Christians is a countersign to authentic human solidarity, a threat to genuine spirituality and a serious hindrance to the Church's mission of evangelization.”(Pope John Paul II , November 17 th 2003. Source: www.zenith.org )"
On Sunday January 2013, Churches Together in Southall gathered in St. Anselm’s Catholic Church for a Service to mark the We ek of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Service had been prepared for use throughout the world. We came together in worship and in solidarity with our Dalit brothers and sisters, mindful of the challenging words of Pope John Paul II to the Catholic Bishops of India (1st page).
Fortuitously the theme of thisWeek ofPrayer coincided with efforts in the UnitedKingdom,to combat caste discrimination on the rise in the British-sian community.LastSpring, UK's anti-discrimination Equality Act 2010,with caste as "an aspect ofrace",was amended,making it illegal.
We continued to meet in Southall to consider ways in which we might supportDalits, bothChristian and non-Christian, hereand in S. Asia. We brought our concernsto Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Office for Migration Policy, Member, CBCEWDepartment of International Affairsand Episcopal President of the Catholic Associationfor Racial Justice (CARJ). The Conference is its fruit and an opportunity to bring othersin, for caste discrimination poisons the lives of millions of our brothers and sisters, stripsthem of status and keeps them in abject poverty.
It is an opportunity and invitation to hear the voices oftheDalit struggle and toreflect upon how the words of Pope John Paul 11 might impact upon the Church in itswork of evangelisation and the development of peoples. It will be an occasion to hearfrom those who speak powerfully and authoritatively,from national and internationalperspectives. We invite you and your organisations participate.Fr. Gerard Mitchell SJ.
(For and on behalf of the Organising Committee)
Archbishop of New Delhi addresses the protestors (11.12.2013)
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January 6th 2014
Dear Friends ,
I am writing to both inform you about and invite you to the upcoming conference on the “Christian Responsibility to Dalits and Caste Discrimination” which will take place at Amigo Hall, St. George’s Cathedral. Lambeth Rd. SE1 on February 18 th and 19 th 2014. Eleven years ago whilst visiting India Pope John Paul recognised the challenge of responding to discrimination when he said to the Bishops of India:
“At all times you must continue to make certain that special attention is given to those belonging to the lowest castes, especially the Dalits. They should never be separated from other members of society. Any semblance of a caste - based prejudice in relations between Christians is a countersign to authentic human solidarity, a threat to genuine spirituality and a serious hindrance to the church’s mission of evangelization”.
Those sentim ents are echoed by Pope Francis in his recent Apostolic Exhortation - EvangeliiGaudium - when he stresses the importance of inclusion, peace and social dialogue as key elements of evangelization today when he says: “Our Faith in Christ who became poor and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis for the integral development of society’s most neglected members” (no. 186).
I know you will find the speakers informative and inspiring so I hope you will be able to join us. A programme for the two days is attached.
With every good wish and blessing,Bishop Patrick Lynch SS.CC.
Rev. Patrick Lynch SS.CC