National Seminar on
' Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church'
Indian Church reflects on
the social teachings of the Church
“God destined the earth and all it contains for all peoples so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, p.122, N. 177)
The National Seminar on the Church’s social doctrine which was held from 24-26 March 2006 in Mumbai was organized by the CCBI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India). It was a significant effort to understand and put into practice the recent social teachings of the Catholic Church. Around 450-500 participants comprised of bishops, priests, religious and laity from 55 dioceses of India gathered at St. Pius X College at Goregaon to reflect on some of the important documents of the Church regarding social, ethical and moral issues. His Excellency Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City, Rome, who is the co-author of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which was published in 2004, was specially invited to explain and introduce the document, which he did effectively.
In the inaugural address by Bishop of Vasai, His Lordship Thomas Dabre, Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Doctrine and Theology, said, ‘The Compendium contains treasures of the Church’s Social Doctrine’. In his keynote address His Excellency Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi said, “we are living in a world which is devastated by wars, injustices, unemployment, poverty and abuses to the dignity of the human person. India and the subcontinent are faced with a variety of such problems. The values of the Gospel, which foster love, solidarity, justice and peace, are not readily received by so many people. Hence there is an urgent need to proclaim the message of salvation: of the faith that saves, of the hope that enlightens, of the charity that saves. The mission of evangelizing the culture through the social doctrine of the Church is an important challenge for our times.” Explaining about the compendium he added, “the Social Compendium is an instrument for the moral and pastoral discernment of the complex events that mark our time, a guide to inspire…and an aid to the faithful concerning the Church’s teaching in the area of social morality.”
Besides the explication of the Social Compendium and the first encyclical of Pope Benedict VI—God is Love, there were other papers presented on the following themes:
- God’s plan of love through proclamation and mission
Fr. Glibert de Lima
- Justice and faith in the light of the social teaching of the Church
Fr. Ivo da Conceicao Souza
- Church’s mission for an integral humanism in solidarity
His Excellency Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi
- Solidarity as the key to justice and peace
Fr. Stephen Fernandez
- Human dignity and human rights in the Catholic social teaching in relation to the Church in India
- The challenge of living the Gospel of life
Fr. Clement Campos C. Ss. R.
- The Struggle for Justice And Love in the Indian reality
Fr. Cedric Prakash S.J.
The Panel Discussion and workshops which followed touched on a variety of topics like human rights and struggles against discrimination, Religious freedom/rights of the minority religions, respect for human life and dignity, right use of the Mass media, collaboration and dialogue with people of all creeds. There were many insights and concerns shared by the participants, and suggestions and proposals were made.
Sr. Clare Ukken FSP representing the Daughters of St. Paul who are publishers and distributors of the Social Compendium officially presented two copies of the same to His Excellency Bishop Crepaldi. In all his discussions, His Excellency encouraged everyone to read the documents as well as suggested making an edition of the Social Compendium specially for the youth in India as they grapple with difficult moral decisions of life like birth control, extra-marital sex etc. Copies of the Social Compendium and other books, cassettes, CDs and VCDs were made available at the venue.
Bishop Thomas Dabre who is the CCBI chairman for Doctrine and Theology gave the inaugural address and Bishop Agnelo Gracias gave the concluding message.
Among the Daughters of St Paul , Srs. Clare Ukken, Celine Sebastian and Liza Luis attended the seminar.
Celine Sebastian FSP and Liza Louis FSP