India's Catholic Bishops Conference has considered political formation of the laity as an coordinated response to the more than 200 attacks on Christians in the past two years.
    The biennial meeting of 140 bishops in Chennai was told that the absence of a nationwide Christian response to such incidents was regrettable.
    The convener of the ecumenical United Christians' Forum for Human Rights, John Dayal, told the bishops that such incidents could have been checked if traditional Christian pockets in the country, such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Mumbai, had asserted their social and political influence.
    The journalist and activist, who was invited to give the keynote address, said that the Church's "prime roles" included "defending, consolidating and strengthening" democratic concepts of "pluralism, freedom and secularism."
    Jesuit Provincial of India Father Lisbert D'Souza, who responded to the address suggested that the Indian Church set up a school to train credible political leaders.
    While some bishops considered the setting up of a political training school as an answer to current needs, others said establishing any "political school" to train leaders was fraught with danger.
    Some bishops suggested the use of existing schools to train political leaders and urged Catholic parents to encourage their children to join politics.
UCAN 12:39am 1/2/00

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