Archives February 2021

STOP MILITARY RULE AND RESPECT DEMOCRACY!

STOP MILITARY RULE
AND RESPECT DEMOCRACY!

Statement by ALL Forum on the Military Coup in Myanmar

Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum denounces the Military Coup and associated violence, which
has suspended the civilian government and effectively returned full power to the military in
Myanmar once again.

Myanmar’s military took control of the country and declared a state of emergency for a year on
1st February 2021, after detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her
ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), staging a coup against the democratically elected
government. The raids came hours before a new session of parliament which was scheduled to
open and members who won the November 2020 elections were set to take their seats. The
military and its aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has alleged voter fraud
in the November vote, but Myanmar’s election commission has said that there is no evidence to
support its claims. They also arrested and detained democracy activists, leaders of other
political parties, NLD lawmakers and chief ministers of 14 states and regions.

Power has now been handed over to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Senior
General Min Aung Hlaing, will now serve as acting president. Myanmar’s military has ruled the
country for a half-century before beginning a celebrated transition to democracy in 2010 and
allowing elections in 2015. But the current military-drafted constitution enshrines power for
military generals, who have a quarter of seats in parliament and maintain control over key
ministries. The persistence of a Military rule in Myanmar reverses the emerging political
openness that has occurred in recent years.

Many countries in Asia and UN have condemned what the Military has done in order to take and
maintain the power. International communities in the world also know vividly what has
happened from all the media.

ALL Forum amid commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Justice in the World”, one of most
important documents of Catholic Social Teachings (CSTs), expresses a deep concern for its
people and strong solidarity with the justice-peace loving Myanmar people who are now
protesting against the military at the streets, homes and workplaces.

Responding to Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon archdiocese who expressed in an open letter on
3rd Feb. his sadness of “the moment of darkness” in the country’s history but at the same time
hope of “the resilience of people in their struggle of dignity”, ALL Forum shares and echoes his
concern and support for Myanmar people.

Therefore, ALL Forum calls on the Myanmar military to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release all those currently arbitrarily detained.
  • Immediately restore the Internet and all forms of communications across Myanmar.
  • Allow Parliament to resume and elected Members of Parliament to fulfil their mandate without impediment.
  • Go back to their original service of protecting the people of Myanmar, the nation and its democracy; and not rule them by unlawful methods or even forces.

ALL Forum is pledged to support and have solidarity with Myanmar people’s struggles to protect its democracy with all the goodwilled believers and citizens until the Military publicly apologize and deliberate what we demanded above soonest.

On Feb 6, 2021, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum

Download full statement here

Overview of Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers)

Overview of Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers)

By Dr. Paul Hwang Director of ALL Forum

On 4th October 2020, Pope Francis signed the third encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti, at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. This document was prepared before the Covid-19, but was announced when all mankind around the world suffered from the pandemic and were skeptical about human dignity and loosing hope.

Composed of eight chapters and a total of 287 articles, the encyclical earnestly appeals that all mankind should restore brotherhood and social fraternity because humans cannot be saved alone. The miserable reality of violating human dignity, damage of neo-liberalism, structural poverty and the difficulties of refugees and migrants, is prevalent in the world. The cries of those in pain are increasing. Pope Francis reminds us that we should live as brothers and sisters pursuing a culture of world peace and dialogue and sharing friendship with each other through this social document.

Dark clouds (chapter 1) are spreading everywhere in the closed world, and injured people are driven out and abandoned on the side of the road. The shadow causes humanity to fall into chaos, isolation, and devastation. Like the story of a good Samaritan, when we encounter a stranger on the road (Chapter 2), we can pass by or stop to help him. What kind of people we are and what kind of political, social, and religious groups we follow are defined as whether we include or exclude injured travelers.

God’s love is universal. As long as we are part of that love and participate in it, we are called to universal brotherhood and to be open to all. We want an open world (Chapter 3) in God and with God. In order to achieve a world where there are no barriers, no borders, and people who are not rejected, one must have an open heart (Chapter 4). We must experience social friendship, pursue moral goodness, and practice social ethics. We are called to solidarity, encounter, and to give without expecting anything in return because we know that we are a part of all brothers and sisters in the universe.

In order to create an open world with an open mind, it is necessary to participate in politics, and it is essential to pursue a better kind of politics (Chapter 5). Politics is for common good and universal interest. Politics is ‘popular’ because it is with people and for people. The pursuit of human dignity is the politics of social charity. It is the politics of people who practice political love by integrating economic and sociocultural structures into consistent and life-giving human projects.

Knowing how to communicate is a way to open the world and build social fraternity (Chapter 6) by expressing an open heart and providing a better foundation for politics. Dialogue seeks and respects truth. It also creates a culture of encountering, becoming a way of life and passionate longing. The person who is in dialogue is generous, and acknowledges and respects the other person.

But just encountering is not enough. We have to face the reality of the hurt caused by the wrong meeting in the past, and we have to make a path of renewed encounter (Chapter 7). We must seek forgiveness and forgive, and heal wounds.

To forgive is to never forget. We must begin with the truth that acknowledges the historical truth, an inseparable companion to justice and mercy. All of this is essential to move towards peace. Conflicts are inevitable on the way to peace, but violence is not acceptable. Therefore, war is to be rejected and death penalty is a practice to be eliminated.

Many religions around the world recognize humans as creatures of God. As creatures, we are in a brotherly relationship. Religions have been called to be at the service of fraternity in the world (Chapter 8). We can build social friendship and brotherhood with dialogue and an open heart in the world. For Christians, the source of human dignity and brotherhood lies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which inspires our actions and dedication. Mary, our mother, is with us in this path of brotherhood.

Pope Francis invites us to make the world’s longing for human fraternity our own, starting with the perception that we are all brothers and sisters, facing people injured in the dark clouds of a closed world.

Download full Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti here

Celebrating love and diversity among indigenous youth

Celebrating love and diversity among indigenous youth

Jesuit Companions in Indigenous Ministry (JCIM)

This pandemic has inevitably changed the way we celebrate. Physical gatherings are risky, potential super spreader events where people might catch the virus. The next best thing is to take the celebration online: Zoom parties are the norm these days. And while a virtual celebration is certainly different, we do what we can to stay connected.

Last December, two indigenous youth groups–one from the southern Philippines (Bukidnon, Davao, and Culion) and another from the small village of Chingchuan in Hsinchu County, Taiwan– met online for a Christmas celebration organised by the Jesuits working in indigenous ministry. Despite the geographical distance, language barriers and technical difficulties, the youthful energy and spirit of sharing pervaded over the gathering. As Conference President Fr Tony Moreno SJ noted in his message to the group, it was “the only network within the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific to have a Christmas celebration”. This was a true example of how the joy and enthusiasm of the youth, no matter what obstacles they face in life, cannot be extinguished. As Abegelle, a Food Technology student from Bukidnon State University put it, they are “divided by distance, united by the love and hope of our tribes”.

Fr Ambrosio Flores SJ, coordinator for the Jesuit Companions in Indigenous Ministry (JCIM), and Fr Barry Martinson SJ, a pioneer in this ministry and parish priest in Chingchuan, steered the participants to put together a programme centred on sharing–their identities as indigenous youth, as students, and as talented young people with bright futures ahead. From the livestream in Malaybalay, students from the seven tribes of Bukidnon were resplendent in their multicoloured traditional clothing. Representatives from the Tagbanua tribe in the island of Culion and the Ateneo Lumad Students Association from Davao also participated.

Meanwhile in Taiwan, the lively group of Ayatal youth–all in high spirits from celebrating their Christmas party in the village church earlier that same evening–were bundled up in winter clothing, some wearing Santa hats and holiday accessories. They all had the chance to introduce themselves to each other. Fr Martinson emphasised using song and dance in the programme, which is universally appealing and easy to translate, as English was not spoken by everyone. The presentations were as diverse as the performers: from indigenous Ayatal songs, to traditional Filipino kundiman (love song) accompanied by acoustic guitar, from original rock ballads with full band to classic Christmas carols–and of course, dancing–the spirit of sharing their talents and expressions of joy for the season were palpable.

JCIM has done over two decades of apostolic work with communities all over Asia Pacific– aside from the Philippines and Taiwan, also Australia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia–and continue to accompany the youth, with a focus on integral formation. As indigenous youth often have to struggle with things other young people take for granted and face obstacles like poverty, discrimination, and maintaining their indigenous identity, it is important to accompany and encourage them and provide opportunities for growth.

In Bukidnon, the Kapawa hu Paglaum College Scholarship and Formation Programme supports indigenous students as they strive for “selfgovernance and empowerment, and political, social, economic, and religious inclusion through accompaniment”.

In Chingchuan, while the youth all have the opportunity and resources to complete their education, they are also exposed to the arts through the artistic centres in the village, including the indigenously-designed primary school, a forest arts and crafts village, and the Catholic Church with its mosaics, murals, and stained glass. Thus equipped, they now have to find a way to “advance in society while sustaining and developing their own distinctive culture, to keep their faith in the face of a materialistic society, to preserve their characteristic warmth and hospitality with increasing tourism and opportunities to make money, to find meaning in life when so much has been given to them.” Today, Fr Martinson says, the Ayatal youth “are proud to be what they are. They have come a long way, and it has not been without struggle.”

The gifts from the JCIM online gathering were not in the form of material things. But the participants took home insights with far greater value. “The Christmas encounter made me believe that there is still a thriving fervour of love within the indigenous youth towards one’s tribe, one’s community,” shared Ereca, an agriculture student from the Manobo tribe. Needheart, a sociology major from Bukidnon State University, said: “Sharing with the indigenous youth across Asia Pacific is one of the most memorable moments for me. It reminded me of God’s love for us that is undeniably unending and big.”

If you would like to help the students through the Kapawa hu Paglaum College Scholarship and Formation Programme, please visit this link for more information.

Action Amidst The Pandemic

Action Amidst The Pandemic

Summary of activities by Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement
(BCSM)

Since December 2019, the world has been struck massively by the destructive COVID 19 viruses. This virus has been so deadly that the whole world has stand still in the last year. All the countries in the world have been more or less affected by the virus. Bangladesh has been victim to its grasp as well. The first COVID 19 patient was found on 8th March 2020, in Bangladesh. After that the situation got worse and the country fell under a lock down state.

Bangladesh Catholic Students’ Movement, commonly known as BCSM, also fell victim to the pandemic. The movement activities started to lose its pace. Even though the members were all willing to support during this crisis moment, the condition was not favorable. Falling to the effects of the Pandemic condition, the members thought on helping the people in need and also to keep the movement activities going on. To accelerate the working of the movement, many former members came into support as well.

The members of Khulna BCSM first took the initiative to support the families in distress. They gathered some financial aid from the local community and bought some regular household commodities like rice, pulse, soap, potato, onion etc. for the people in need. They distributed the support to more than 3500 people in the time period between April to August 2020. Inspired by the action of Khulna BCSM, other Diocesan BCSM Teams worked in their locality by supporting the people in need. All together more than 10000 people were supported by BCSM directly or indirectly during this pandemic time.

Also, it is worth mentioning here that, BCSM not only worked for the distressed people, but also worked for Mother Nature as well. Responding to the Call of the Holy Papa, Pope Francis, BCSM wanted to take more active part than before in care for the common home. During the onset of monsoon season BCSM planted more than 5000 trees in different parts of the country. Also, this activity is going to be a continuous process from now on. This initiative by BCSM was supported by many local people and thus the nature loving mentality among people has been boosted.
Besides this, meetings were held online and thus the activities of the movement was still on the run. Online photography competition on the World Environment Day 2020 was held for the BCSM members. The competition covered the sectors of Nature, human and humanity and 3Rs.

An Online Christian Leadership and Capacity Building Training was held via zoom app from 6 to 8 September 2020. The training was conducted by Caritas development institute. 45 participants from all over the country took part in this training.

Besides, an online Magazine and online newsletter was published prior to the activities conducted by the team.
Even though the pandemic has made the world slower than ever, BCSM had run its activities quite smoothly online. But we hope, this condition won’t prevail and we all will be able to see each other once again enjoying the company of all. Hoping to have better days in the upcoming future in a COVID 19 free world.


Re-conceptualization of Christian Anthropology

Re-conceptualization of Christian Anthropology

by Felix Wilfred

A programme of ecological reform may not prove to be effective unless more basic things are set right. In the case of ecology, it is a question of right anthropology. In his widely discussed article, The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis, Lynn White laid squarely at the door of Judeo-Christian tradition the culpability for the present day ecological mess. For him, it is the anthropocentrism of this tradition that is to blame.

In his words, Especially in its Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen. As early as 2nd century both Tertullian and Saint Irenaeus of Lyons were insisting that when God shaped Adam he was foreshadowing the image of the incarnate Christ, the Second Adam. Man shares, in great measure God’s transcendence of nature. Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia’s religions (except, perhaps, Zoroastrianism) not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends1.

Let me not enter into the details of Lynn White’s thesis here. Even without his thesis, common sense tells us that with traditionally interpreted Christian anthropocentrism we may not be able to come to terms with the present ecological crisis. There is the need, so to say, for a “sanatio in radice “ – a healing in the root – of this anthropology. It is this pope Francis has tried to do in his Laudato Si. He has introduced a welcome corrective to a misguided Christian anthropology which saw the human beings as the crown of creation. It chimed with the anthropocentrism of Western philosophy,

Renaissance culture and the Enlightenment. From a philosophical point of view, as René Descartes expressed, human beings are “masters and possessors of nature”2. European Renaissance and Enlightenment were the secular versions of Christian anthropocentrism. They fed on mutually. I have been struck by the fact that in Renaissance art, nature figures little. Great Renaissance masters like Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Caravaggio tried to study the human anatomy, emotions and behaviour very closely and created great works, but not the rhythm of nature and how it works. If at all, landscapes were used only as backgrounds to highlight the human figures. The male dominated art of the time paid scant attention to nature in itself. Like women, nature was viewed as a subjugated object (natura naturata) and not a creative force (natura naturans).

This Western Christian, Renaissance and Enlightenment tradition stands in contrast to the larger Asian vision and its understanding of the world of the humans as intertwined with nature. The life of the humans in Asian tradition is one with the elements of nature. Therefore, when Pope Francis attempts to correct a deeply embedded Western theological and anthropological tradition and speaks of integral anthropology, Asians can understand him immediately without difficulty. For, what he says, reverberates with the Asian experience; reflects the vision of Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist traditions; and the way Asian tribals and indigenous people see the reality as interconnected and bonded together. One of the thoughts running through Laudato si is the interconnection of the entire reality.

In the encyclical, there is an effort to move from a hierarchical ordering of creatures, to a more teleological understanding in which both human beings and other creatures journey together. We appreciate the novelty of this approach, if we set it against the Western understanding of “chain of beings” (scala naturae), of Aristotelian vintage. We could further differentiate it from the Neoplatonist frame of hierarchy of beings that moulded the Christian thought of the Middle Ages, including that of Thomas Aquinas.

According to this philosophy, the less perfect is contained eminently in the more perfect; the less perfect is in service of the more perfect. To put it more concretely in terms of our present day experience, the local superior of a religious house is eminently contained in the provincial; and the provincial is eminently included in the general! So, also the vegetable life is contained in the animal life, and the animal life in the human. Hence, all of nature in a less perfect state is in service of human beings, the crown of creation. This understanding of nature through the hierarchical lens fails to capture the value of each reality in its uniqueness; nor is it able to appreciate the richness of plurality and diversity.

Pope Francis seems to challenge this kind of philosophy and theology and draws our attention to the truth that the value of anything in nature is not to be judged in hierarchical fashion of high and low (secundum sub et supra) , but rather from a mystical perspective of unity of all in God. In his words, “The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God.” (LS 83). These words of Pope Francis evoke the symbol of pilgrimage, so dear to Asians. The thought of Francis cannot but strike the Asian readers who are accustomed to see and deal with nature not from a hierarchical perspective but from a mystical perspective of unity of all reality. The sense of bondedness and cosmic solidarity with nature brings forth the spirit of non-violence (ahiṃsā) and compassion (karuṇā).

Ref:

  1. Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, in Science, (March 10, 1967):189.
  2. René Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, translated by Elizabeth S. Haldane (Stilwell: Digireads.com Publishing, 2005):28.

Beyond the Reasonable Announcement of the Good News

Beyond the Reasonable Announcement of the Good News—is Fraternity in Solidarity Represented by our Closeness to the Poor

by Rafael Velasco, S.J.

It was this way at the beginning, as many saints, theologians, and martyrs have reminded us. One of the consequences of our faith in the Incarnation is the place from which theology is made. If God incarnated, nothing human is alien to him. And if God incarnated among the poor, living in the margins, the action of the church and its theology cannot be neutral. We cannot be neutral before injustice. If God was made flesh in the margins of history, we must read history from that place. God does not see history from above, but from the margins, from those who suffer exclusion, those who are often absent in the official liturgy, those who feel they are sinners and needy, those who have no access to central power. From that place the gospel is read differently.

The theological question: “Who is God?” is inseparable from the ethical question: “What to do?” (“What have you done with your brother?”) If the first question takes us to the God announced by Jesus of Nazareth, Father of all, the God of Life who establishes in Jesus a Kingdom of Justice in which the poor come first, the answer to “What to do?” also has consequences. A theology that tries to assume as central the category of fraternity must have at its center the poorer and more vulnerable brothers and sisters. From our faith in the Incarnation it is impossible to think theology decontextualized; we must think and do it historically rooted in reality. And reality in Latin America is still strongly marked by exclusion and poverty. To make theology from this reality implies adopting a perspective from the poor: from the poor person’s life while committed and in dialogue with other types of knowledge.

In Latin America—our context—life is menaced by exclusion, violence, and poverty. This means lack of access to health services, decent housing, justice, drinkable water, and human rights. Theology in Latin America would then imply to think life from the reality that the poor suffer. It will mean to make theology from the reverse of history written by victors, but from the defeated ones, from those who cannot get quality education, those who see their green spaces transformed into a dump. Why is this so? Because they are poor and they only count at election times.

We must reflect from those who are not the main characters and so are not present in headlines. It will also mean to make theology from the outskirts of society: where the victims live, those whose faces show the “suffering features of Christ, the Lord” as the Puebla Document states.1

It then means to make theology from the suffering majority since most of the population in Latin America is poor and suffers. The love of God here and now should be called liberation, commitment to the transformation of reality. The Kingdom of God, which is grace, historically begins when we share our bread. This theology of sharing, of incarnated fraternity, should have a prophetic character. It needs to call it somehow, because it should disturb, ask uncomfortable questions, and look for the necessary answers and commit to them. A theology that goes beyond dogmatic and notional elaborations, that goes beyond the question of “How can we be good in society?” to wonder about “How can we be good at making this society good?”

A theology that helps us live more humanly in this world, that encourages us to make the world more human, that aspires to something more than good behaviour, must in some way be spiritual wisdom rationally articulated. Wisdom that helps us live with taste and sense. Wisdom related to our own daily life. Such a theology emerges from the New Commandment the Lord left us. It is about that commandment lived in fraternity that Chiara Lubich beautifully says: “When it is radically lived, it generates unity and brings with itself an extraordinary consequence: Jesus, the Resurrected one, is present among us.”2

Ref:
Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture, Vol. 2, No. 2 (October 2013) 77–81 © 2013 The Church, Dialogue, and Fraternity Doing Theology from the Place of the Poor

  1. Puebla Document, August 6, 1979, no. 31.
  2. ZENIT Interview with Chiara Lubich.

Reflection on ALL Forum Course 2: Basic Understanding of Church Teaching

Reflection on ALL Forum Course 2: Basic Understanding of Church Teaching

by Rashali Pieris, Catholic Students’ Movement, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

Firstly, I would like to thank Dr. Paul Hwang for this very enlightening session on few of the most fundamental and primary teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I am a bioscience undergraduate reading in my final year, and though it has been a very keen desire of mine to study in depth about my religion (Christianity), did not have the opportunity to do so thus far, therefore these sessions were very informative, useful and interesting to me personally. A lot of the points made in the session were relatively new and eye opening for me, as this is my first time studying theology (I used to do bible studies). Few concepts were quite difficult for me to grasp, but the simple explanations, the organization of slides and the style the contents were mentioned, the group discussions were really helpful for me to understand the concepts.

From course 2, firstly I was introduced to what religion was, and that faith and tradition are parts of religion and that it’s development is evolutionary and meant to reunite the relationship broken by sin. Also I was introduced to terms such as fetishism, Animism, polytheism and monotheism. Then God’s nature, relying on the old testament as identified by scholars such as Rudolf Otto and Mercia Eliade were taught to us, such as God’s HOLINESS, that he transcends everything and anything, Numinous experience by man in the presence of God, SACRED and PROFANE nature of God, Supernormal powers of God. Then the difference in faith and belief, and the cosmotheandric nature of God, as by Raimon Panikkar (one of my most favourite ideas delivered in this course) was discussed broadly and in depth. Then on the next session, Faith seeking understanding that is theology was introduced to the class, as explained by many saints and scholars such as: St. Augustine, St. Anslem Of Canterbury, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

In the next few sessions, the most important and complex doctrines in the Catholic church were discussed in the class. A few of my favourite topics and concepts are as follows. The explanatory session done on the Holy Trinity: In this session I learned that the Holy Trinity is incomprehensible, and that it is one of the most fundamental and important doctrine in the church. The Holy Trinity in the bible and the concept of the Holy Trinity explained by St. Bonaventure and Jacques Dupuis, on pluralism deeply intrigued me.

Another important topic I’d like to reflect on is the Paschal mystery and its relationship to the Christian Faith. It is one of the central concepts in the church, also celebrated by other churches such as the Orthodox Church. In this session, the relationship between the Baptism and the Passion- it was pointed out that though in the Gospels there were confessions on who Jesus was, St. Peter confessed him as saviour, but no one really understood who he was or his nature. Jesus mentioned to the disciples in the Gospel about this relationship between baptism and passion. Also the relationship between the baptism and death was discussed in the session broadly.

Topics such as adult faith, and what it is to be a Christian and become a Christian was taught in the course. Overall, I am extremely pleased and grateful to Asian Lay Leaders Forum (ALL Forum) for organizing such enlightening sessions which helped me to improve my understanding on church teaching and to solidify and root more in my faith.

The New Perspectives

The New Perspectives

By Anna Mitzi

It was my first time to join a course or even to discuss about the documents of Vatican II. I read the bible rarely and too lazy to read Vatican documents. I say that I was sceptical about the Vatican. Somehow, I thought that the Vatican or church can never be brave enough to make a statement or perhaps take action about the issues that are actually going on this world; gender issues for example. But, for the past two years maybe its not the Vatican who’s not brave enough rather myself who blindly did not see the Vatican’s actions; and their actions lay between words on the Vatican documents.
The first time when I joined the course, I was completely confused and lost during the discussions. My knowledge about the history of the Vatican or church is really poor. But that’s what made me more curious about how exactly the church is looking at the global issues and where actually the churches stand is.

During the discussions in the session, my I always thought it would be easier if the Pope could make a “mandatory” or doctrine, in order to make a global movement. But…the change is never easy isn’t it? And for hundreds of years the church has survived, it actually has changed from the early church. And it turns out that the gospel is dynamic, it moves. The system or the way church represents to the world has slowly changed. I realize that it is really hard for churches to make a very clear statement on where they stand. Why? Because there’s an impact from political or cultural issues. The church needs to embrace all the circles, whether it is conservative or progressive; whether it is pros or cons, agree or disagree. The Church needs to embrace all the circles based on humanity. Just because you disagree on something that doesn’t mean you are not valued. So, in my perspective that way one could interpret the Vatican documents and form it into actions in the society, which is most important rather than debating about The Pope statements about the global issues.perspective was changing a little bit.

And maybe that’s why Vatican II changed the way of its communication. The Church can no longer wait for people to come to church but the church needs to be present at the center in society and so it becomes easier for lay people and the world to recognize the existence of the church. But how could we make this existence possible to see? My simply answer is by ‘Us’.

I must say that we are the church. We are the face of the church, the form of the reign of God and the voices of the world. Once in my discussion during the course I said that church is like a body. Every single creature is a part of it. The brain can’t work by itself; it needs blood which carries the oxygen from the heart and the body cannot move by itself without the system of the brain. There cannot be just clergy or just lay people even the nature is a part of it. It means that the clergy needs lay people to serve and the opposite too, we need to serve the nature to give back what we take from it. And that’s what makes the church become more adaptive through the world changes.

The next question that comes to my mind is what is the benefit if we (Us) become the ‘agent of change’ of the church? In my vision the world that we’ve been living could be a better place than now. I do believe that anyone who is reading my writing right now, has a vision, an idea of how the world is supposed to be. It cannot be denied that the church always becomes a big part that witnesses and even impacts the global movements. Hence, I do believe that if The Church can hear us then the world can hear us too.

Fraternity and Solidarity in the time of COVID-19

Fraternity and Solidarity in the time of COVID-19

By Neilan D’souza

Covid-19 has been a good teacher in helping us realise the needs of the people. At the time of
serious lockdown, almost every daily wage worker lost employment- the only source of their income.
Some lost their homes, unable to afford to stay; many suffered without food and many more suffered
either from the Corona virus or other health conditions due to lack of access to medical & health
care.

This pandemic situation made us realise that we are all the same regardless of our religion, culture,
customs whether rich or poor. The virus simply does not choose; it affected us all. It brought face to
face with some of the most basic questions in life. What are we here for? What have we done with
our lives? Who is truly important in our lives? What is it that we truly cherish? It connected us and
reminded us of who we are. It made us work together and build relationships with different
communities around us. It instilled kindness in our hearts to help one another and those who were
suffering.

The Pandemic has also stressed to make us realise how our greed has affected all of creation on
earth. It has shown us the importance of recognizing the true purpose of all Institutions,
Organisations, Governments and all other systems i.e. to serve human needs and purposes. Not just
of individuals but of all societies and of our common home as articulated in our religious and cultural
aspirations. This Pandemic has showed us a glimpse of what would happen if we continued to ignore
to care for our common home.

In this second issue of our E-Newsletter we invite you to join us in experiencing the action carried out
by Networks and Partners of All Forum amidst the Corona virus pandemic