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Bishops can learn from Women’s Day too

MUMBAI (UCAN): The bishops of India “could have also seized this opportunity to celebrate Women’s Day by having more women address them on their experience of expressing mercy at their biennial plenary meeting in Bangalore,” the former secretary to the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Virginia Saldanha, says in an occasional piece penned for Women’s Day published on March 8.

She said that having women address them at their plenary would honour their commitment to women in India, which is set out in their gender policy. “It would spur the 180 bishops to inculcate the merciful divine in their dealings with their people,” Saldanha says.

She adds that she thinks they could have taken up a suggestion of Father Cedric Prakash and watched the recently released movie, Spotlight, which he describes as a call to conversion.

“In this Year of Mercy, it should be viewed by all bishops, clergy, religious and laity. Yes, there should have been a day set aside for deep reflection and prayer by our bishops for the neglect and cover up of this issue in India with a firm resolve to mercifully address the pain of victims and their advocates, many of whom are women,” she continues.

“There are numerous vulnerable persons who still suffer great pain from this trauma. All other rituals to celebrate the Year of Mercy will pale if our leaders themselves do not become beacons of mercy when dealing with their own people in pain,” Saldanha says.


She describes the Year of Mercy as an opportunity for everyone, not just for women, as it offers an opportunity to explore mercy as a lived experience of equitable and just relationships, to seek to rediscover gentility and acceptance of the uniqueness and beauty of the other, to change our definition of power and strength to that of collaborative energy, rather than competitive ambition.

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