|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Syro Malabar Church head issues guidelines
George Iype in Kochi | August 20, 2003 17:55 IST
Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of India's Syro Malabar Church, has issued guidelines that he says will immensely help improve the image of the church in the country and usher in religious harmony and communal peace.
In a recent pastoral letter, which the Kerala-based cardinal of the oriental church circulated to various dioceses, he asks Catholics to desist from building churches along roads.
He says the wayside chapels create public inconveniences, including noise pollution and traffic congestions.
The letter, which church officials call revolutionary, contains a number of dos and don'ts concerning civic rights, prayer meetings and festivities, which the cardinal says all Catholics should abide by.
Syro Malabar Church spokesperson Father Paul Thelakat says the cardinal's guidelines to the laity are based on the deliberations of the church assembly in March.
"The cardinal wants the Catholics in India to lead the other religious communities by the finest examples of civic sense and communal harmony," Father Thelakat told rediff.com
He says the letter emanated after a number of clergy expressed serious concerns about some of the practices in the Catholic church.
The cardinal states in the letter that weekly prayer meetings at various wayside churches cause innumerable traffic hold-ups.
He says if Catholics adhere to these measures, it would immensely improve the image of the church and minimise public inconvenience.
In June this year, the cardinal, who also heads the apex Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, had issued a 45-page leaflet on 'morality and faith'. He had asked Catholics not to deviate from the church's teachings and interpretations of the Bible.
He had also urged the people 'to respect the religious faiths of Hindus, Muslims and others'.
"As Catholics, we are called to mingle with all people of all religious permanently, without destroying their faith and cultures," the cardinal then argued.
More reports from Kerala