Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Post III

Laity-Sponsored National Family Survey
in Pune Aug. 23-24

 james kottoor

“You are citizens like all the saints and part of God’s household” Eph.2.19. These Church citizens of India organizing a national consultation in Pue on Challenges facing families ordered by Pope Francis, humbly call for your sincere participation in person or through suggestions through mail.

Family is the basic brick of society in church, society, country and world.. Societies will stay strong and lasting as long as families – made up of triune elements called father, mother and child -- continue to image the unbreakable mystery of a triune God ( “in God’s image; male and female God created them” Ge.1.27.) It is to help ensure such stability of families, Pope Francis ordered a survey of families.

It is most unfortunate that the Indian Catholic Hierarchy did not respond to Pope’s order with the seriousness it deserves, as did bishops in other countries. In happy contrast it is most fortunate, the stones (laity) ignored or rejected by the builders are rising to the occasion to do their little bit – putting out their few loaves and one fish – by way of conducting a survey of their own to quench the hunger of five-thousands of Church citizens in India to respond 
to Pope’s call. God’s power is being made manifest through the powerless to confound the powerful and arrogant, it looks.

In an article published April 28th in these columns: “Pope of Periphery Poll Pews” (Visit: to read full article) this writer referred to initiatives taken by laity in India in collaboration with Catholic Church Reform International (CCRInt’l) to conduct a public survey. One such initiative is led by an esteemed colleague Chhotebhai, from Kanpur, working in collaboration with CCRInt’l, to support the efforts of Pope Francis. The two reports below: 1. Background Paper, and 2. Feed back on Framily Survey in India, are vital to understand the importance of the two-day National Consultation finalized for Aug.23-24 at the Pastoral Centre, Pune. The organizers request at least a dozen lay leaders from Kerala to take part in this consultation.

In a two month long correspondence on Family Survey with our Ernakulam Centered Syromalabar bishops, to which we could not receive any reply, it is abundantly clear no Family Survey was done in Kerala. Similarly Chhottebhai corresponded with Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai and other Latin Bishops in the north, to which at least he received responses from bishops, which made it clear no survey was done also in Latin Dioceses.

In his feedback Chhottebhai writes: “I got responses from eminent lay leaders all across the country stating that no such Survey had been conducted. The response came from people in the following dioceses: Bombay Archdiocese (the Cardinal’s own), Delhi Archdiocese, Bangalore Archdiocese, Pune Diocese, Ernakulam Archdiocese, Chennai Archdiocese, Allahabad Diocese, Bareilly Diocese and Meerut Diocese. I consider these responses 
sufficiently representative to state that no Family Survey had been conducted across the 167 dioceses in the country…

“If several countries like Japan, Germany, England, etc could conduct the Survey in the stipulated time frame, why was it not done in India, more so when one of the Pope’s handpicked 
group of eight advisors is here, and was at the time heading both the CBCI and CCBI? Does this not amount to disrespect for Pope Francis’s stated intentions? Does it also not amount to betrayal of the aspirations of the laity in India, and its families who are the Domestic Church? Has there been a deliberate cover up, to avoid facing embarrassing questions; and presenting a rosy, but grossly distorted picture, to Rome? Unfortunately, the Catholic Church in India, and the universal Church, are the poorer for this.” 

Similarly Pope Francis had even sent a personal letter addressed to families on Feb.25th to listen to their raw voices. Indian bishops seem to have succeeded to cover this up also to public view although I got it published in Almayasabdam as soon as it came out.

It is in this context that a lay initiated national survey is planned in Pune. Small groups of Catholics anywhere in India are advised to conduct their own survey and sent the results to CCRInt’l ( Even individuals are welcome their own views and suggestions directly. The CCRInt’l will collate them all and bring them to the attention of the Extraordinary Synod during coming October. We may never be sure that any suggestion 
sent through our bishops will ever reach the Synod, just as we can’t expect to receive even acknowledgements to letters sent to them. This will not be the case with the CCRInt.l. So grab the opportunity to make your voices and concerns heard at the Synod. Also share this information with other faithful, acting like a link in the relay race to spread the good news. This is evangelization in our internet age. Equally it is thinking and acting with Pope Francis.

Details for Registration: 
1. The Registration Charges for 2 days for twin room sharing, and including all meals, is Rs 1200/- per person. For local participants, or those who can arrange their own accommodation, the Registration Charges, including all meals, are Rs 700/- per person. Participants would have to bear their own traveling expenses. 

2. The Registration Charges, as applicable, may kindly be made by direct bank transfer to the following account: Name of Account: DIAGO BENJAMIN ALMEIDA, SB A/c No: 05020000083, 
Bank: JANASEVA SAHAKARI BANK LTD, Branch: Wanowadi, IFSC CODE: JANA 0000005, 
Address: Parmar Park, Wanswadi, Pune – 411040

3. The completed Registration Form may please be sent by email to chhotebhai at (Phone No 09415130822).

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