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Church of the poor has become Church of institutions

COCHIN (CNS): “Today the Church is no more the Church of the poor, but one can even say it is the church of institutions,” said Presentation Sister Shalini Mulackal, president of Indian Theological Association on April 20.

Speaking to around 100 Asian theologians at the Eighth Congress of Asian Theologians, organised by the Christian Conference of Asia, she said, “Starting from the 70s and extending to late 80s, there was a great zeal in the church to be at the service of the marginalised. Individuals and groups were fired with the zeal of Jesus, who took the side of the poor and the outcast.”

A prominent Catholic theologian in India, Sister Mulackal observed that, “Now Churches own many institutions and, regrettably, some are mere money-making institutions.” 

She urged the gathering “to be authentic to our vocation.”

“The challenge before us is to bridge the gap between theological articulations and our own lifestyle,” she said. “In the long run, what is important is that our theologising (has) to be a credible exercise.”

Sister Mulackal also pointed out that there was a disconnect between theology about poverty and suffering with the poor.

“We cannot understand what the poor experience until we ourselves share some of those moments of anxiety and despair. Then we will be able to theologise, not only using our intellectual faculty alone, but also with our heart, which is moved with karuna (compassion) and disturbed by injustice suffered by the poor,” she said. 

“Such a theology will make a difference for the poor and also one who is theologising.” Sister Mulackal concluded.

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