Post Mortem

Pastoral letter of the Bishops of North East India

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/28/2019 12:18:10 PM IST

 To all our Faithful and all People of good will.

In a few weeks, starting from April 11th, our Country goes to the Polls. As Pastors of our faithful we consider it timely for us to address you all through this letter. We pray that as we join hands with all people of good will we can really contribute to shaping the future of our nation.

We would like to re-iterate what the President of the Bishops’ Conference of India has stated:

The Catholic Church does not identify herself with or side with any political party.

We acknowledge the progress that our Nation has made especially since Independence and we are acknowledged as a fast growing economy. At the same time we cannot ignore some concerns: the growing gap between the rich and the poor; many unorganized and casual labourers are barely able to survive with what they earn. Fanners and those in agricultural section are under serious stress. Further, ethics is losing primacy and the guiding principle of society. Economics seems to be the driving force behind many decisions. Corruption at all levels becomes the order of the day. India is a spiritual Nation, and yet God is slowly being pushed to the periphery. We are called to rise above the many dividing walls that divide us: especially religions, cultures, castes.

At this juncture we call upon all our faithful to exercise their franchise. Voting at every election is a sacred obligation and a right of every citizen above the age of 18. At the same time we want to insist that voting for money or material gain (selling one’s vote), proxy voting, exerting force, using fraud or wrongful inducement for voting for a particular candidate, etc., are acts contrary to Christian values and principles. We call upon our Parish Priests to impress on our- people this important obligation which is our contribution to building up our Country to where we want it to be.

At the same time, as has already been done in many places, we urge every community to spend time in prayer for our Country so that we may have leaders who will make our Country a place where truth, justice and peace will flourish. Taking inspiration from the President of the CBCI we call upon leaders who will be elected to contribute to a government that will:

1. Work for an economy that seeks especially to help the poor and under privileged, protecting their dignity, working for their uplift and enabling them to play a role in nation building;

2. Promote probity in public life and thus seek to root out corruption at all levels;

3. Ensure a totally safe environment for all people, particularly women and children;

4. Safeguard the rights of tribals over land, water and forests;

5. Take particular care of Dalits and ensure that they are not discriminated against, granting equal rights to all Dalits;

6. Promote communal harmony and a spirit of national integration through inter-religious dialogue and understanding;

7. Take steps to protect the environment, preserving the riches of nature for future generations.

Further we pray that leaders from North East India will work unitedly to bring the concerns of our Region before the National Government so that we may also share equitably in the all-round development of our Country. 

May Jesus the source of life in all its fullness be with us. May the Spirit of God guide our leaders and our country men and women by His light. May Mother Mary under whose protection we have become a free Nation bring us the graces we need. God bless our Country, India.

Archbishop Dominic Jala, sdb, President, North East India Bishops’ Council

 

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