Scottish cardinal advises Indian Church to provide moral, spiritual leadership

 "The Church needs to provide moral and spiritual leadership to the modern world", declared Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien of Scotland on Tuesday at the Headquarters of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) in New Delhi. The Cardinal was speaking at a gathering with the CBCI Secretary General Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, officials of Caritas India and Executive Secretaries of CBCI Commissions at the Conference,s headquarters in New Delhi. In his remarks the Cardinal said "The main challenge is to deal with the demands of secularism. Europe is fast getting secularised and consequently losing its Christian culture. The Catholic Church needs to sensitise Europe to the need of integrating Christian values in its secular life-style. "The second challenge is how best we support marriage and uphold family life as the norm for society. This means dealing with a range of issues including demands from homosexual couples that they be allowed to adopt children. Allowing this to happen would have grave consequences for society. "Further challenges also face us at this critical time in the history of our world. Not least of these is the threat to world peace posed by proposal toexpand and renew the world's stock of nuclear weapons. I take this opportunity to repeat my plea to the Government of the United Kingdom on behalf of the Catholic Bishops and faithful of Scotland that they do not go ahead with the renewal of the Trident weapons system." "What we are called to be is not just 'PC' (politically correct) but 'Procaine's of Christ' and his kingdom values, welcome or unwelcome", added Cardinal O'Brien. Stressing on the need to work for greater effort in gender equality, Cardinal O'Brien stated that the Church is already doing much in this field and these efforts are to be "strengthened and widened." Appreciating the vibrancy of the Catholic Church in India, especially its contribution to the field of education and healthcare, the Cardinal urged the local Church to promote advocacy for human rights and strengthen the civil society. In order to be effective and successful in the work, all Catholics, both leaders and the lay faithful "need to draw closer to Christ who is the light and saviour of the world, affirmed the 69 year old Ireland born Prelate. The Cardinal is on a visit to India accompanied by executive director of Caritas Scotland, Mr. Paul Chitnis to acquaint himself with some of the rehabilitation projects supported by Caritas Scotland for the victims of tsunami flooding of 2004. During his stay in India, he would also visit the Association of People living with Disabilities (APG) in Bangalore, a project that Caritas Scotland supports. Cardinal O'Brien is the chairman of Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), which is the official international relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland and a member of Caritas Internationalis. The organisation supports programmes for change among poor people regardless of race and religion in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It currently works in India and other developing countries, supporting various non-governmental, Church and community organisations to improve lives, reduce vulnerability and campaign for the rights and justice of the poor people.

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