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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

‘Youth must choose a definite way of life,’ says Bishop of Poona

Bishop of Poona, Thomas Dabre wishes everyone in Pune a Happy Easter with a message that ‘true religion must promote unity and harmony among human beings’.

pune Updated: Mar 31, 2018 21:55 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona.
Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona. (Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

Bishop of Poona,Thomas Dabre, believes that religion must inspire people to constantly change their lives and to suffer for others and not cause sufferings for others. Speaking to Anjali Shettyon the occasion of Easter, he said, “Religion must spread joy and not sorrow and suffering. I wish everyone a Happy Easter.” Excerpts from the interview:

Your message on communal harmony on the occasion of Easter, given that India is a pluralistic society.

For the Christian community, Good Friday along with Easter are the most important events of the year. On Good Friday, Christians commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, which was his sacrifice for the unity and reconciliation of all humanity. On Easter, the community celebrates the victory of Jesus over death. It is a victory of goodness over evil, of glory over suffering, of life over death. Thus, we celebrate Jesus’ successful mission for the unity and reconciliation of mankind. That was the vision and mission of Christ, that all human beings live in unity, harmony and reconciliation. But, modern day world with all its progress in science, technology and economy, does not seem to succeed in making people live with unity and harmony. All over the world there is violence and discrimination. Societies, nations and communities are divided. Unfortunately, people of religions also have been the cause of division. True religion must promote unity and harmony among human beings. This is the religion Jesus preached and this is the religion that Christians follow.

Please elaborate on the efforts taken to localise church services in Marathi

This process is technically called ‘enculturation’, for us it means, inserting faith and worship into the lives of people. Thus, enculturation which is inserted in to the whole life of the people, involves a gamut of various factors and elements. The idea is to take faith to the grassroots and base of localities. One thing is to use more of local language in worship and in the teaching of religion. But there should not be a contrast between actual life and worship. In other words, worship cannot be in local language while you speak English in your normal life. This doesn’t go. As we promote the local culture, philosophy, customs and traditions, these must also be lived in the day-to-day lives of the people. Thus, this process of enculturation is opposed by the rampant, uncritical, colonial-minded westernisation. Therefore, we encourage studies of Indian religions, literature and history.

What are the social outreach programmes and initiatives of the Church?

Along with enculturation, we work for social justice, elimination of poverty, help in educating children, the poor and especially girls. And, reaching out to the sick, orphans and the widows are integral parts of Christian living. So, to promote such a social mindedness, we have set up a centre ‘Shraddha-Seva’, it means working for justice and serving people, inspired by faith. Of course, inter-religious dialogue is the need of the moment. So, we are promoting inter-religious dialogue as an important priority. For the work of the church we have devised a new methodology. We do not limit our work to huge crowds. We have organised our large communities into smaller groups of 30/50/70 families. This is helping us have a live direct contact with local people and local situations.

What will be your message to the youth?

Now, you may know Pope Francis has organised a world-wide meeting of youth representatives at the Vatican. The Church believes the future of the church and societies is with our young people. Therefor the Church wants to help young people to be well-educated, to be imbibed with ethical and spiritual values. They should not live their precious lives as it moves along. They must choose a definite way of life. A way of life that is in harmony with their abilities, capacities, desires and aspirations. To take a decision of this sort there is a methodology called discernment. It is meant to help young people to discover what they ought to choose. It is a complex self-examining process, in which there are important stake holders, such as the family, friends and religion leaders.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 21:53 IST

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