Roman Catholic Diocese of Chingleput

Bishop's Speaks

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

We joyfully greet all our Priests as we remember their holy and humble Patron, Saint John Marie Vianney on the 4th August and pray that they will live lives worthy of their consecration and be living witnesses of God’s love in all their mission commitments.

At the instruction of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), we have been observing 10th August as a Black Day or the Mourning Day as it is newly Christened to show our protest against the gross injustice meted out to the Dailt Christians who are unconstitutionally kept out of the Scheduled Caste list. The draconic presidential order 1950 Para 3 has excluded the Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Caste purview purely on the basis of religion. We used to have demonstrations and public meetings in various dioceses to condemn this. This year the CBCI and the National Council for Dalit Christians have requested us to organize a massive rally and public meeting in one particular centre in Tamil Nadu. As permission has been denied for rally we will gather for a public meeting in TRICHY. May I request the Vicars Forane and the Parish Priests to send representatives for this meeting. The Parish Priests will receive a circular explaining how to proceed with the arrangements for this important programme.
On 15th August our motherland India will celebrate the completion of 71 years of her independence. It is a matter of pride and joy for every patriotic citizen. We gratefully remember the sacrifice made by many freedom fighters to forge an independent nation that is almost the expanse of a subcontinent.

But it is also true that one cannot undermine or brush under the carpet many of the painful dark spots in the present political and social and economic life of this country with their worsening consequences day by day. The political spirit of free India is supposed to be secular but the present administrative policies of the federal and state governments reflect a clear strategy to wipe out religious freedom. Every other day new and strange laws are passed by central and state administrations to choke the throat of minority religions. Reports of religious harassment and brutal attack are on the increase. On the social field, the caste atrocities perpetuated on the weaker sections of the Dalits and the sexual assaults on women and female minors are shockingly but in a routine basis registered in the news bulletins of the nation. On the economic front in the name of development and foreign investments, the government is trying to maintain its glory in its corporate agreements and mega projects that will only cater to mighty industrial power structures while the poor farmers and ordinary people will unjustly be deprived of their ancestral landed properties and personal initiatives of growth. The big project with heavy investments by the government has no consideration whatsoever for environmental safety.

This year’s Independence Day should not be restricted merely to retelling stories of past glory but should make every patriotic citizen to reflect on the ways and means of making use of the gift of electoral freedom with the possibility to elect or reject the parties and parliamentarians who will or will not live and legislate for the wellbeing of every citizen of this free nation. This awareness and determination of every citizen will make a meaningful celebration of our Independence Day.
Our Blessed Mother Assumed into Heaven, whose memory happily coincides with our national festival, will certainly intercede for the true freedom of our nation.

God bless you all!

+ Most Rev. Dr. A.Neethinathan
    Bishop of Chingleput

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