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HISTORY
Bishops Circular



BISHOP
2006 - Family Renewal Year
PRIESTS
Family is the foundation stone of society and the church. There was a time when family was considered as the heaven on earth. Today that meaning has lost its applicability. The conglomeration of media and globalization has converted our families into, slaves of westernization and consumerism. Relegating our valuable tradition and code of conduct, our families have embraced perverted attitudes and actions. It is in these circumstances that Kerala Catholic Church is observing 2006 as Family Year.
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Our society was born of love, dedication and unity, with family as its basic unit. The book of Genesis manifests such an ideal society: �Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Gen: 2:24). Asserting the same, Christ added: Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate (MT: 19:6). He was referring to the unquestionable value of married life and the fortitude of family life. The purity and strength of married life is the basis of relationship among family members. We have to study meticulously the causes of cases in the civil courts and Diocesan tribunal. It is a pathetic condition when a husband and his wife who are supposed to be one flesh, vice each other, to asunder their relationship for false pride and supremacy, which endanger their posterity.
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Our society was born of love, dedication and unity, with family as its basic unit. The book of Genesis manifests such an ideal society: �Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Gen: 2:24). Asserting the same, Christ added: Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate (MT: 19:6). He was referring to the unquestionable value of married life and the fortitude of family life. The purity and strength of married life is the basis of relationship among family members.

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We have to study meticulously the causes of cases in the civil courts and Diocesan tribunal. It is a pathetic condition when a husband and his wife who are supposed to be one flesh, vice each other, to asunder their relationship for false pride and supremacy, which endanger their posterity.
Our society was born of love, dedication and unity, with family as its basic unit. The book of Genesis manifests such an ideal society: �Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Gen: 2:24). Asserting the same, Christ added: Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate (MT: 19:6). He was referring to the unquestionable value of married life and the fortitude of family life. The purity and strength of married life is the basis of relationship among family members. We have to study meticulously the causes of cases in the civil courts and Diocesan tribunal. It is a pathetic condition when a husband and his wife who are supposed to be one flesh, vice each other, to asunder their relationship for false pride and supremacy, which endanger their posterity.
Mutual dedication of the life partners is the basis for a happy matrimonial life (cf. Gs 48). The life partners should maintain the same sacrificing love, which was revealed through Christ. They must participate in family seminars, retreats etc. that enrich their mutual relation
It is of paramount importance for husband and wife to propagate and nourish the God given life. By fulfilling it, they become partners in God's creation. Begetting children and letting them grow is the greatest responsibility of a husband and wife. The parents have to take every decision in view of the good future and welfare of Family and the church (cf. Gs: 51). No personal gain or selfishness be allowed here; Life begins from the very moment of conception and should therefore be seen as a human person. Therefore the church does not encourage any element that supports annihilation of life. The church instructs us not to yield to, or encourage abortion, sterilization, prevention of conception, infanticide etc. but advocates to remain stable in protecting life.
t is the duty of the parents to let their children grow as the church directs. Children should have many faceted developments in their body, mind, spirit, faculty, right feeling, right thinking and sex. It is sad that certain parents lack these views. The Parents must cultivate in their children, true love, mercy, sacrifice, patience, unselfishness, fidelity and a sense of satisfaction in serving. Parents must be exemplary to their children. Seeds of true faith germinate only in families. Make children attend catechism classes regularly. Teach them to pray and enable them to choose a dignified path of life.
Prayer is the strength of a family. We must continue the practice of traditional prayers and Bible reading at home in the evenings. Family Prayer and Holy mass attended together, would reconcile difference of opinion among family members. The frequent reception of sacraments, especially confession and Holy Communion, will purify the God given life and family.

Modern technological developments, specially the T.V. and Internet and their influence upon the families, must be a topic of discussion in the family. Their part in imparting knowledge, recreation etc. is unstinted. Thus they become instruments of development in education, cultural progress and spiritual growth. But still the negative impact of it on modern generation cannot be disregarded. The training for right usage of media should come up in families.

This renewal year is to encourage the activities of the BCC unit. This should not be framed as an activity of women and children alone. Its function should be conducive to the growth of the church and community. It will be a fruitful forum of evangelization by the unity and participation of families through mutual love, rendering free and genuine service.

I hope that this year, all parishes will hold seminars, debates, discussions and awareness programmes for the couples. Let this be an occasion for the couples to study their problems and find solution to the issues arising in different stages of their married life. The marriage preparatory courses conducted by the diocese for the would-be couples are commendable. Equally commendable is the decision taken by the family apostolate to lead family units through couples. And also praiseworthy is the prompt actions initiated by the Diocesan pro-life movement.

The morale to understand everything and put them into action is to be awakened. For the same, the best stage is family. May the Lord Almighty bless our efforts to strengthen the relationship among family members.

Pro-life Day - March � 25

The Pro-life movement raises the esteem glory and value of human life. March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation is commemorated as pro-life day.

Life is the gift of God. No man has the right to eliminate it; on the contrary everybody is bound to protect it. Through abortion, Murder, Suicide, Mercy killing etc life is being destroyed. Of all these, abortion is the most brutal. I invite your attention at this juncture when we observe this year as family year.
Loving Union and begetting children are the basic aims of the relationship of a marital life. When we refer marriage and family, we should not be obvious of what second Vatican council teaches (church in the modern world 48, 49, 50). Same idea is taught by the �catechism of the Catholic Church (cfr. No. 1646-1654). Married life becomes fruitful when the spouses become parents. The dwindling of children in the family is a sad state. The dedication and sacrifice are replaced by selfishness, which paves path for comforts and enjoyments. The perverse attitudes have denied the parents having a third child. If at all it occurred, they considered it as a crime � say's Pope John Paul II in his encyclical �Gospel of life'. Those who boast of being a faithful catholic and perform their religious duties, forgets comfortably that abortion is a murder. Studies disclose that number of abortion among married couples are more than among unmarried relationships.
A parallel thinking must be framed with respect of life expressed in the Holy Bible. From Didache written in the first century, to the present day, the History of the church instruct us to be discrete on abortion (Gospel life No: 61-62) Pope Paul VI instructs that, sterilization, Copper-T, Contraceptive tablets, Condoms etc are morally wrong. The church is not against birth control or family planning, but is against all that demeans human life. Men turns no brutal that he terminates the fetus if its sex is not desirable, allowing the unhealthy fetus to die, creating the fetus artificially, creating fetus for the purpose of scientific experimentations etc., which will result in the destruction of God-given human life and a play with life. These activities are infringement (cf. catechism of the Catholic Church 2274 � 75. Donum Vitae 1, 3-6). The Code of Canon Law instructs that the abortionists are liable for excommunication (CCEO 1450.2, CIC 1398). This is to make the faithful aware that abortion is a mortal sin.
The church invites every male and female to be messengers of the Gospel. Word, deed and attitude of parents must be Gospel to their children. When family members pray together they proclaim the Gospel of life. Such actions are more praiseworthy and great when orphan children are adopted or they are helped to build a better future.

25 th march is to be observed as Pro-life day. May it be an occasion to pray for the innumerable babies who are killed through abortion. The priests should form pro-life cells in parish levels along with the diocesan pro-life Movement. There will be special mass and seminar at Bishop Catalani centre on the same day. Also, a bike rally conveying the message of life will start from press club maithan and visit parishes. If possible, all may take part in the said programmes.

May God bless you to protect life and glorify human life.

Youth Day 2006 - July 9, Sunday
In the name of the ever-youthful Christ I wish you all a graceful youth day. In this auspicious occasion, the church expresses her bountiful duty to conscientize the youngsters about their special needs, rights and doubts. The parish community should celebrate the day worthwhile by ensuring the youngsters of the church's love and concern.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI charts out a clear program for the youngsters as he says � �Build up your life in Christ, Receive the word of God happily and practice them in your life�. There is no big master or a good book than the Holy Bible, which could impart the youngsters with the best of knowledge in catechetical and personality development. Therefore, the church encourages the youngsters to read the Bible daily. Christ, the word which became flesh, is the lamp for your feet and light for your path. Pope John Paul II speaks to us, that � �Human life especially in the youthful age, is filled with varied questions and the Gospels with solutions�. The questions concerning your individuality and identity have complete solution in the Gospel, in Christ. St. Jerome says, �Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ�. Gospel is the only means to know Christ � the fulfillment of youthfulness.

The recent messages of His Holiness limelights the gifting of the esteem presence of God in the community, as not only the duty of youngsters, but, all; not only in family, but also in parishes and various movements that the liberator God has to be made present. The second Vatican council insists us to build up a better world diligently. Though Kerala is in the hues of Golden Jubilee, let us not forget the thousands who are living in poverty. Youngsters should wage creatively in the political and social fields and stand for the downtrodden.
In most of our dioceses, official catechetics come to an end with the 12 th standard but it ought to resume practically through the youth movements in our parishes. Therefore youngsters should actively participate in the parish and diocesan youth movements, which intervene in social and political discrepancy of the people. Meantime when education, labour and other issues disturbs, you shall attain leadership quality, personality development and also become members in the evangelical mission of the church and thereby helping the society in your own way. Hereby, the church insists all youngsters in the parishes to actively collaborate with the diocesan youth movements, become members of the same and contribute yourselves for Christ and His gospel.

Teachers, parents and leaders of the Youth should give preferential attention to the youngsters. Our parishes should ensure prime importance for youth ministry. As His Holiness states � They request us - �Help us to be followers and witnesses of Christ�. So we must be accessible and trustful persons to the youth. Ensure them our transparency and accessibility to enquire courageously to find solutions to their questions. Our exemplary life parallel to our instructions should encourage self-assurance in them. We should support, strengthen and encourage our youngsters in their vision to build a better world.

Family should not become strict military camps thereby interrupting the harmonious social and political maturity of human life. Also the parents should not pamper too much the youngsters. Development of a matured personality is the outcome of healthy family interactions. Parents should find time to listen, encourage and help them. Parents should consider them, ask their opinions, discuss and take decision with them which in turn results in building up in them, a matured personality

Reverend priests, Religious and lay ministers should assiduously encourage KCYM and make sure that the KCYM state convention which is to be held from 20 th to 24 th of October 2006 becomes a grand event by the participation and cooperation of all. I hereby recommend for your sincere co-operation to meet its expense through lucky draw coupons. I request your humble prayers for our youngsters and donate whole heartedly to this convention fund.

Let's all pray for a day when everyone in the church will acknowledge youngsters of the church of Kerala, like that of His Holiness Pope John Paul II who said � �I trust the youngsters. I place hope in them with my whole heart, strength and conscience�.

I request your humble prayer for the same. May the Lord bless you all abundantly.

JOINT CIRCULAR OF ALL BISHOPS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN KERALA - July 23, 2006

Main points

The nation can never ignore the contributions of Christians to the field of Education in Kerala. The selfless service of Christians was more for the holistic development of the nation than for the mere welfare of their own community. They judiciously blended spirituality and morality with education. Christians are granted the constitutional right to propagate their culture, faith and lifestyle, and this is mainly carried out through education. Thus, we enjoyed a special privilege and right- �minority right'. But now, the Kerala Government is trying to redefine the term �Minority' on the basis of new laws enacted by themselves, disregarding the supreme constitution. According to the new act, minority status is determined on the basis of two new criteria: the ratio of minority students with those of other groups and the ratio of minority institutions with those run by other groups. It follows that the number of minority institutions should be less than that of other groups. It is absurd to demand that the number of minority students should always be below that of other students. According to this new law, minority education right is over if any of the two-the number of minority students or minority institutions- becomes equal to or exceeds the number of others. It is nothing but the violation of the right of education granted by the constitution.

Undoubtedly, it is the result of a malignant hidden agenda to check the progress of the Christian minority. The Act is chiefly aimed at striking down the minority status of the Christians of Kerala. It means that the little freedom we have at present in appointing teachers and admitting students etc., will vanish if we succumb to this. Not only that, the law could easily be extended to aided educational institutions and also to other institutions like Hospitals in course of time. If Christians are no more a minority, the legislature can make a very restrictive law at any time.
Also, it is unjust to say that half the students of an institution pay the fees of their classmates as well. The Government should determine a justifiable fee structure if they intend to stop corruption. The church is always against corruption. The Government needs to take initiative in providing free education to the poor by giving scholarships etc., and the managements would definitely cooperate with this. The Christian institutions are not alien to charitable works.

The present Bill and the picture given by the Government that the Christians are having more educational institutions than other communities, would only breed communal spirit among the other religious communities of Kerala. This should by all means avoided. We are not for communal rivalry, but for harmony and peace with all.

The faithful need to stand together to fight against this unlawful and unjust policy, which is against the constitution itself. This is to safeguard our rights. We are proceeding legally to get justice from the Court. At the same time we are facing great challenges and threats of attacks from many sides. This is a time to stand united and protect our rights as well as our institutions.

July 23 rd Sunday is a day of prayer and let us hope that everything will turn out fine with the grace of the Almighty.

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